Friday, August 29, 2014

FAQ: Have You Ever Staged a Haunted House?

Happy Labor Day, everybody!  A long, leisure weekend awaits us!
Nightmares Fear Factory

Here's my story du jour.  Virginia's house for sale has had offers.  The best one was just this week.  The buyers made a reasonable first offer and my friends countered in kind.  Everything was going along swimmingly!

Yesterday, the potential buyers requested a third tour of the house before they countered.  The buyers were in the driveway when V's next door neighbor drove by, stopped, rolled down her window and shouted,

"You don't want to buy that house.
It is haunted!"

Our neighbor thought her remark was very clever and totally fun, fun, FUNNY.

All the buyer replied was, "You must be a neighbor."

The haunted house remark happened yesterday afternoon.  No counter-to-the-counter has been received.  Way to go neighbor!  The buyers probably weren't scared of the house but scared of our neighbor.

I can stage a house for it to sell but there is no work-around of stupid remarks.

I guess if Virginia's house is haunted, then I have staged a haunted house.  In 12 years, I have only been in one house that gave me the willies.  The house was gorgeous but it was a vacant house.  I was called in because it wasn't selling.  It was a cold, dark winter day.  Of course, I was by myself.  As soon as I walked in the front door, it felt creepy.  As I walked around taking pictures, I felt a cold chill envelope me.  Okey-Dokey me no likey.  Color me GONE.  When I downloaded the pictures there was something that looked kinda vaporous, grey-white, floaty--sorry, I'm not good a describing 'it'.  I showed the picture to a client and she told me 'it' was an evil entity, to rebuke it in the name of Jesus Christ, and I must never go back into that house.

'nuff said!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Meanwhile....More Staging at Virginia's

Hello from beautiful Raleigh NC!  The sun is shining, there is a gentle breeze and it is in the 70's.

Here's the powder room staging.  I'm bummed I failed to take before shots.  The picture is from Z Gallerie on clearance (and it had a small scratch on the frame so there was a further discount).  It couldn't have been more perfect!  Glass candle holders are from World Market.  Silver soap dish is one of Virginia's from her stash.
I added a wee little lamp.  There are no windows so the room shows as dark.  The biggest change was the new tile!! (See the right corner?)  There was dark brown carpet (original to the house! yikes!) before.  After much persuading (damn that StagerLinda and her demands!), it was replaced with gorgeous new tile.  (Mr.V is a tiling machine.  He replaced the tile in 3 other bathrooms too.)

Here are some more before and afters.  I swiped this antique secretary from another room and created a vignette as a quiet place.  It is a great place to compose handwritten notes.  (I do so hope personal notes never go by the wayside.)  It's always a good idea to turn 'wasted space' into 'usable space' for selling.
Landing After Staging
Landing Before Staging
Here is a small bedroom upstairs that was used as an office/guest room.  The primary selling feature of this space is the window seat.  The top lifts to reveal deep storage.  Mr. Virginia took all of the hinges and 83 nails off, cleaned, painted and reinstalled. Great job, Mr. V! If you were decorating you would place a cushion and pillows on to of it.  Since I was staging, the potential buyer needs to see and access the functionality of this great storage unit.

Small Guest Room After Staging

Small Guest Room Before Staging

Friday, August 22, 2014

The Perfect Sofa for Staging

C Homes

There are hundreds of thousands of sofas floating (or stuck to walls) around America.  I say there is one perfect sofa.  This is Jessica deRuiter in her LA home.  I stumbled on her house on the blog Habitually Chic.

Notice the perfect low profile arms.  Many of the sofas I see have huge rolled arms that take up too much space.  What a great neutral!  You can add pillows in different colors and patterns that will make it pop on camera for MLS pictures.Neutral?  Doesn't get more neutral that this lovely shade of white.

Oh that reminds me.....most folks think that all neutrals are the same.  Wrong-y Dong-y.  Check this picture out.  Any one of these neutrals could stand alone.  Mixed together they are don't work.
Raleigh Pinterset
The sofa is pinky-beige, the carpet is yellow-beige, and the ottoman is greenish beige.  Not a good combo. 

Back to The Perfect Sofa...
I like the plain wood legs.  There's no skirt to get in soiled and in the way.  A skirt on this sofa would visually take up more square footage. Being able to see under and around the sofa opens a room.

Three tied back pillows are primo.  They stay in place and don't have to be plumped.  And see how her foot sinks into the cushion.  Awwwww.....feathered cushions...pure luxury.  However, with feathered cushions you need to go first class.  White pin feathers poking through is prickly and unattractive.

What is your favorite style of sofa?
C Homes
 I WANT THIS SOFA!  Anyone know where it can be sourced?
 Happy Friday, y'all!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

How to Stage with Fabulous Fun Fake Flowers

It is the question that is as old as time (talk about exaggeration)....

Should you use fake flowers?

These fun fake flowers were on a distant aisle, low on a shelf, suspended from a wire grid.  Shopping at Michaels, I found these awesome red itty-bitty-teensy faux flowers. They bounced and swayed. Fakes with movement? SOLD!

I brought them home and broke them down.  (Rule #1 for Fakes: don't just take 'em as they come and throw 'em in a container. Take wire cutters and break 'em down to different lengths and groupings.)

I dug into my silver stash and found this FABULOUS silver pitcher.  Look at the detail! Nope, did not pull out the Wright's and polish it.  Too much patina for you? (I am willing to polish it if you folks think I should.)

Here are the leftovers.  Hmmmmm.......what to do, what to do?

Oh!  The price for these fabulous fun fake flowers?
And! I had a 20% off coupon!

Winner, winner, chicken dinner!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Sunday Musings: Overwhelming Grief in Our Small Community

It has been a time of sorrow for a little neighborhood.  Two of our beloved families suffered a double-hit of loss.

Faye and her husband Bill live down the street from me.  They have been residents of our 'hood since its inception.  Faye was 78 and full of life.  She was fun and funny.  Not to mention cute!  I remember one of the last things I told her was that her butt looked good in her (designer) jeans. She wiggled her behind and laughed a wicked giggle. 

Faye and Bill have a son, Alvin. Alvin and his wife, Kathi, bought a house in our neighborhood in 2005.

Kathi's mother has been sick and was in the hospital in a nearby town.  Kathi's mother passed at 1:55AM on Thursday morning.  Faye had a reoccurrence of cancer was in a rehab center for a few weeks. Faye passed at 5:30AM Thursday morning.  Alvin got the call that his mother had passed while they were in the car on the way back from the hospital for Kathi's mother.

The coincidence of one couple losing both mothers within hours on the same day is mind boggling. I visited Kathi and Alvin's home Friday afternoon.  They were not home but making Kathi's mother's arrangements.  Their daughter, Allison, was home and said she was simply in shock over losing both grandmothers.

When I stopped by Bill's house, his eyes were glassy from tears.  He lost the love of his life.  "She put up with me for 60 years".  His loss was palatable.  Then Bill said, "I guess you heard about Kathi's mother?" and shook his lowered head.

Please pray for our families.  They have an incomprehensibly difficult week ahead of them.

The Good Times
Here we are at a neighborhood "Hat Party".  That's Ms. Faye on the back row with her wine glass!
We will miss our Faye.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Staging Virginia's Bookshelves

Happy Friday, y'all.  Can't believe the summer is zooming by at warp speed.

Last time, we looked at the staging of Virginia's Family Room.  Her Family Room has wonderful bookshelves.  Virginia had some great accessories that were fun mix and match with a few things I had.  I kept the mid-section of encyclopedias. The books are beautifully bound, add elegance and ground the other sides.

Virginia comes from an old Southern family and has tons of beautiful silver pieces.  I raided her silver closet (yes, really--she has a closet for her silver) and picked out some to-die-for-pieces.  The silver was tarnished. I decided to let the patina stand alone.  The older ladies in our neighborhood turned their nose up at my audacity to display silver without polishing it.

Take a look.

Since the bookshelves are darker wood, the silver trays, bowl, candlestick and small cup really pop.

Sorry about the poor quality of the before picture.  It will give you an idea of how we started.
Virginia reports that she loves gazing at the shelves while she watches TV.  She says she never payed  attention to the bookshelves until after they were staged. Since the built-in shelves are part of the architecture of the house, it is important to draw attention to them as a selling feature.
If you look closely, you will see that the second shelf has two silver trays, a smaller tray mounted in front of a larger tray.  Displaying one-in-front-of-the-other gives dimension.  The top shelf holds a small silver bowl with two stone balls and a small pronged piece of driftwood. I stole a picture from the hallway for this shelf. Four small square mirrors were used to the back of a few shelves.  The reflection of the mirrors adds light to this fairly dark corner of the room.
I used a small galvanized bucket next to an ornate silver tray.  The juxtaposition of the silver with the tin works--industrial with elegant.

So my friends, must silver be polished before it is put on display?

Yea? or Nay?

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Staging Virginia's Family Room

Virginia's fireplace is GORGEOUS.  The stone is rich in dimension and color.  The mantle extends the full length of the fireplace.  This fireplace is definitely one of the outstanding selling features of the house.

Part of the deal with staging is to accentuate architectural features for the buyer to appreciate.  I removed everything that was on the mantel and started from scratch.  Here's the after!
When you stand directly in front of the pictures the background disappears into the stone and the flowers appear to be growing out of the stone. (Really....I'm not on mind altering drugs!) I added a gorgeous silver tray behind the chunky mellow-yellow candle holders. The two vases are from my staging loot. The large triangle pottery piece is Virginia's and was hidden in an unused guest bedroom.

Here's the before.
I eliminated the wing chair because it blocked a door to the deck.  The two huge leather sofas had to stay in the same L shape.  See the white mirror behind the sofas?  It was added.  It is mother-of-pearl and was purchased at Pier 1.  Next, check out the lamp between the sofas.  It came from Home Goods and with a price tag of only $29! 

Similar lamp for $150

Virginia's favorite project in the house are the bookshelves in the family room.  Stay tuned next time and we will visit her staged bookshelves.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Sunday Musings: The Best Way to Discourage Business.

This is what I envision for our living room.  Our living room has a fireplace and is about the same size.
Southern Living
Or this one.  A bit more formal.  I have the same floor to ceiling windows....
Cote de Texas
It would be fabulous to have clients over to my house. But I don't encourage it. Since staging is design/decor related, folks expect my house to be amazing.
Wrong-y Dong-y.

I've been bitching about my living room for years.  It is a small room that is hard to arrange--lots of windows and doors.  I have two full-size-coordinating-but-not-the-same-sofas. I have shopped and shopped to replace them to no avail. There are are generous chairs, an upholstered ottoman, a 39" square coffee table, and an entertainment center.  As I post this (making a mental inventory). I realize there are also two console tables, three occasional tables and h-e-l-l-o two full size Ficus trees.  Truth: my trees have strings of lights on them (I am a recovering redneck, ya know).
I could just show you a picture.  Why don't I do that?

Cuz I'm embarrassed. 

My living room does not reflect the attention to detail I give my work. When I stage, I create flow and cohesion. Furniture editing is premo.  There is no clutter.   My rooms are pretty.  If I had to evaluate my living room, as I do my clients, I would give me a "D".  (I do love my art gallery wall.) 

What I am coming around to acknowledging, is that my hodge-podge living room fits the way we live.  I never cringe when my neighbors come by to share a glass of wine and bring in their dog.  I  don't scold my grandson when he spills.  We lounge, eat, drink, and wallow in our living room.

A friend was over Friday night. She arranged a nest of throw pillows, threw her feet up and had her beer precariously perched on the sofa. She was comfortable and happy and so was I.  I'm baby sitting my grand dog Cooper.  Cooper curled up with my friend.  On the opposite sofa, my pooch, Izzie, settled in with me after 'digging' the perfect spot.  Good times my peeps. Good times.

So there you have it.  I don't practice what I preach.  Of course, I'm not selling my house but somehow that doesn't satisfy my insecurity over being judged for my not-so-grand living room.

I covet a beautiful Traditional Home living room.  It would be smart to show case my talent and entertain clients....

But, it ain't gonna happen anytime soon.

So, stop in for a glass a wine.  And bring your dog.

Friday, August 1, 2014

FAQ: What's the Worst Chore When Moving?

Mr. Clean

The absolute worst chore when moving is

........drum roll......





You have prepped your house for sale, staged it :), kept it clean and show ready, weathered critical remarks from agents and buyers, been stood up and let down, negotiated price, made repairs, packed and closed.

You are exhausted from the whole process.  And let's face it, after that offer is a sealed deal, most likely housekeeping is the first thing you let go!

Don't try to save money by cleaning your own house after it is sold.  Hire a cleaning service.  I recommend a service that specializes in cleaning vacant houses.  You know that a vacant house shows every particle of dirt, wall nicks and dings from moving furniture, mold previously covered by shampoo bottles, etc.

 The job that my sellers despise the most is cleaning out the refrigerator.
I hate cleaning the refrigerator even when I'm not moving.  Check the dog in this picture.  Love those booties!
If you know someone who is moving, do them a favor; gift them a house cleaning service.
Did you clean your old house when you moved?  What's your vote?