Monthly archive - April 2015

The Tale of a Property Long on the Market

The Tale of a Property Long on the Market

Recently a Real Estate agent called me in to do a consultation for a seller. The home had been on the market for over a year. The RE Agent let me know that she just convinced the seller to drop the price to comparable properties on the market.  The  property was in a desirable family development, on a corner lot. It needed a little bit of curb appeal improvement but overall the property was appealing from the outside.

As I met the home owner she informed me that “her” taste was “outstanding, everyone loves her home and is only letting me come in because the RE Agent told me that I should have you come and take a look.” We proceeded into the front door and this is what I encountered…

dark entrance way

“Smoked” mirrors, with a dusty wreath attached, faux rocks with black grout and a brass chandelier from the from the 1990’s. Not too bright, open and cheery feeling when entering into the home. When selling a house your goal is try to make it feel as bright and appealing when someone enters in, it is their first impression. Reducing specific taste preference as much as possible helps the buyer feel at home, not intimidated that they are entering into someone else’s home that could never be theirs.

dated living room

As we continued our tour of the house I felt as though I had been teleported to another year. Although the house appeared neat, the stain on the ceiling “isn’t really noticeable, my husband had fixed it” The chandelier that was hanging, was doing just that, it was not plugged into anything nor wired, but “a beautiful addition to the room” the seller told me.

We discussed the possibility of updating lighting, removing some of the lacy curtains to allow the light to come into the room, moving and removing some of the furniture, removing the dated wall paper and giving the walls a fresh coat of paint. She felt the effort and expense would not be worth it because the “buyer can offer $1000 less and they can do the work. We are more than happy to negotiate a bit when an offer comes in”  Wishful thinking on her part, they eventually lost over $60,000 on the original listing, not to mention it took an additional 9 months to sell and the carrying costs that the seller incurred during that time.

As an Agent, bring in your stager at the beginning of the selling process, as a seller ask your Agent to have a professional consultation with a Stager. This Agent knew the importance of staging this property, but unfortunately was the third listing Agent to work with the seller because all the previous agents had not sold the property. Getting a seller on board with understanding the importance of being objective, what a buyer wants today, and how the marketing of selling properties has changed since 1990 is crucial.

  Believe in the importance of the staging consult and how it will help the seller understand how to improve a house to market it property. Make your Professional Stager your partner to ensure listings are presented in the bet possible light. It can help save everyone money in the long run.

Chi The Energy In Your Home

Chi The Energy In Your Home

The first time I heard about Feng Shui and Chi I thought… ok not so sure, tell me a little more. So I started reading and came to realize that there definitely is energy always around and surrounding us. The condition of the building, photos, art, windows and the way the sun comes in through windows, colors and how they change in different light, furnishings- imagine a chair covered in a fabric you think is horrible, but then the same chair covered in a fabric you love- objects that surround us daily whether we realize it or not are giving off energy; positive or negative that affect us.

What is Chi you ask?  Chi is the energy of life itself; it is the balance of Ying and Yang. Chi is the term for the universal energy or the energy that permeates everything around us, like the items we have in a room.  When Chi becomes unbalanced, stagnant, or depleted; emotional and physical problems can begin, you just don’t feel like yourself.

blue bedroom

Before After


The first step, look at your building outside with objective eyes. Does the building itself make you feel happy when you view it? The outside of a building can affect the energy in the space inside. Look at the outside of the building, is it in good repair, are their any obstacles that feel offending to you? By doing repairs, removing garbage cans, possibly repainting your front door to complement the outdoor surroundings along with adding planters with vibrant colors on either side of the door can improve the outdoor Chi of your home. The outside energy and that surrounds the front door into your home – known as the mouth of Chi is where the energy enters the home.Bagua Map

Good Feng Shui for an entire home has basic guidelines. Important factors to consider are keeping the rooms clutter free, good air quality and light are essential to creating a good foundation of positive energy in a room. Understanding the Bagua or energy map of your home for your rooms also helps. Knowing which area a room lies within the Bagua will help you determine the best colors for that room and placement of furniture within the room. Include the five feng shui elements, wood, fire, earth, metal and water in each room; but be aware that they will be used in different proportions depending on the location of the room according to the Bagua.

If this seems confusing or overwhelming keep in mind when creating a room; color, form, flow and function are elements in every room that create balance. If one is not quite right you will notice it, possibly not understanding why you feel it. The key to a balanced room and life is to develop positive energy within the room. If something is amiss look objectively at the spaces you live in and surround you. I thought “like it will really make a difference”, but also thought “try it what will it hurt.” By changing a few things within the space of a room might create balance and more positive energy again.

Sterile or Styled | Makes a Difference When Selling

Sterile or Styled | Makes a Difference When Selling

Many people think they understand the purpose from reading blogs, and their listing Agents, that they need to declutter and remove their “stuff” in order to sell and make their property appealing. They need to clean and eliminate, style the rooms but not make them sterile. The crucial factor to making it all work comes down to what you eliminate, and how you edit the “stuff.”

Statistics have proven that a clean decluttered house presents better than one where nothing has been done to it. The “this is how I live” look does not necessarily convey well to buyers looking for a property. But if the house is decluttered and no style exists, then the property will still fall flat in reaching its target market. Part of the styling comes from the existing features in a house. If the “bones” of the property are good then it is a little easier for a non-professional to prepare the house to look great. If the house is a little dated, has too many “personal touches” then it is essential to bring in a professional home stager to assist the seller, giving them direction as to how to bring out the best in the property.

kitchen before and after

Before Staging | After Staging

I have heard it repeatedly; why do I need a Professional Stager if my Agent told me what to do? Your Agent is a professional responsible for fiduciary and marketing duties, but that does not necessarily fall into styling knowledge. They may be aware of styles that will sell better in certain markets, similar to them understanding what is important in an inspection. Although neither are they professionals or responsible for; therefore it is wise to have the knowledge of a professional in the field. Would you ask your lawyer to perform a heart transplant on you?

family before after

Before Staging | After Staging

Back to sterile versus styled, this is the balance a Professional Stager can crate though a property, making the house stand out above the competition in the area. If you watch HGTV you see it with the Property Brothers, Love It or List It and other similar shows, the Agent sells the property and negotiates the best price for the client, the Designer/Decorator creates the beauty and style throughout the house that buyers fall in love with.

So when listing your property honestly ask yourself; “am I able to style and update this house without investing a ton of money or losing a ton of money so buyers to fall in love with it the very first time they see it?” If not, ask to have your property professionally staged.

Other Articles

Benefits of Staging Your Property

Advantages of Home Staging

2015 Decor Trends and Highlights from the Architectural Digest Show

2015 Decor Trends and Highlights from the Architectural Digest Show

New year, 2015; everyone wonders when decorating their home “is this the trend” or will this “go out of fashion soon.” The good thing with home design is that because it cost a lot of money to create designs, décor for the home does not change as quickly as the fashion industry. A lot of the direction develops from trends that have succeed in the fashion industry though.

I have written about color trends for 2015 previously, and the trends in bathroom design and kitchen design that are emerging into 2015. But there are other trends that we can simply incorporate into our rooms that can give us a fresh feeling, or new feeling that can be uplifting.

One I notice at the Architectural Digest Show was the use of finishes on furniture, appliances and cabinetry. Very smooth and sleek.

smoth finishes

copper fridge


Also the various use of metal in lighting and accessories. The warmer metal tones like gold, copper and warm brass showed up a lot in pieces.


warm metal light fixturessun burst mirror


Lucite and glass were seen in a lot of ways to give the illusion of something in a space without overwhelming the space.Lucite book shelves

Lighting fixtures were bold; and with sleeker cleaner lines in furniture why not have an amazing lighting fixture with lots of texture.

metal light


texture copper light

The striking displays had dark warm walls and neutral contrasting pieces were quite striking and eye catching too. The balance of the colors created a sophisticated feeling over all.

So if you are considering how to update a space on a small budget maybe consider a bold lighting fixture or adding a smoother finished piece of furniture. If you have a bigger budget to take on a bathroom or kitchen try some of the suggestions that I have seen trending in those rooms. Adding a trending piece into a room can bring it to life and give it a totally different feeling,  trends that we see now, will continue to develop and we ill be seeing more and more similar items in the years to come.





Decorating Mistakes to Avoid

Decorating Mistakes to Avoid

How we decorate is completely subjective. What is visually appealing to one person is not necessarily so for another. These are just a few suggestions to be taken into consideration as a guide to help improve the feel, look and flow of your home.

Size Matters

Each room needs appropriately sized furniture. The size and scale of furniture needs to be proportioned to the rooms’ dimensions. Avoid crowding a room with too much furniture, sometimes one large piece is all smaller room might need. Contrary to what many believe, furniture can make a smaller room feel large than it is, even that on a large scale.

Tuxedo NY bed copy


Measure Up Your Space-

Know the size of your room, measure it first before you go shopping to make sure there is enough space for everything in the room. More often I help home owners relocate and re-position items in their rooms so that the flow, space, and items in the room feel in proportion. Not only consider depth and width but consider height also. If everything is to scale it will feel right.

Back Away- From Walls That Is-

I have been in some fantastic homes but the rooms feel blah because everything is pushed out toward the walls. By moving furniture off the wall and using them it to frame or highlight a focal point in the room like a fireplace, now you’ve got a room that’s speaking and pleasing to the eyes. Consider the flow of the furniture to the space of the room.

Matchy, Matchy-

Listen, I know it is really easy to go to a store and get the room on display, but boy is it boring! Rooms that come to life have texture, pattern and color from other items in a room. This is what gives a room depth and dimension.  Solid color sofas can really be perked up with various patterned pillows; add a chunky throw and a great patterned rug and you have a recipe for an awesome space.

Shed Some Light-

Outdoor light coming in makes a huge impact in a room, although proper lighting is essential in every room. Having just recess or one overhead light is typically not enough light for a room. It is best to layer lighting to make a room feel comfortable. Consider table lamps for ambiance but be careful of proportion. Task lighting can be useful and dramatic- think of reading, but also consider highlighting an architectural detail in your home such as a stone fireplace. Dimmers are indispensable in rooms because they allow us to adjust the amount of light in a room. More light, the bigger the room feels.comparison

Cheap = Inexpensive

Furnishing a home can be very expensive, but when shopping I always tell my clients to wait for a sale on a sofa they love if they cannot afford it, versus buying a less quality one. Certain items are worth buying the best you can afford even if it means having to save up a while for a particular piece.  Replacing a sofa every 5 years is not cheap. There are other areas where money can be saved. A smart decorator has many sources and can save you time and money this way.

Test It Out-

Yes, everyone that will be sitting on the couch/chair/dining table test it out. Everyone that will be using the pieces on a regular basis, have them see if the item is in proportion to them. Also when deciding on a color theme test out a sample first before going for the $45 can of paint. It is not only the paint but the labor and the headache you will have to live with. Same with fabric or accessories bring them into the space you will be putting them in to see if they work color and proportion wise. If they don’t work, return and move on.

Listen To Your Gut- Not Your Mother In Law

While testing things out go by what you like, it is your space that you will want to enjoy for years to come. Investing in good quality piece that you like, you will have for years, and the less expensive things like the accessories- well ok you can live with that ugly pillow your mother–in-law got you for at least a year.