Category archive - Helpful Solutions

Can’t Paint? Idea to Decorate Plan Walls

Can’t Paint? Idea to Decorate Plan Walls

As I helped unloaded all the “necessities” into the college apartment I noticed how cold, sterile the white plan walls are.  I thought aside from inexpensive posters what else could be used to decorate plan white walls to spice up the room? You can’t paint the walls in most college apartments, dorm rooms or in some apartments that you rent, so what else can you do???

There are many companies now that offer wall “stickers” that are removable and add just that pop that a room might need... How about adding a tree of knowledge to a college dorm room to inspire …Tree of knowledge

Just search the internet for sticker wall art, wall stickers, sticker wall paper and you can find a ton of sites and companies that have very cool designs. You can even have a custom design done- maybe the college mascot, a favorite animal, or just shapes. I am also seeing these at stores such as Ikea, Target and Home Goods- although the breath of designs not as wide.

These are completely removable and do not damage the walls. They will add whimsy and style to those plan white walls. Experiment, be imaginative have fun! Great idea for any room. Let me know what you tried!


Target Your Market-Get Your House Sold!

Target Your Market-Get Your House Sold!

If you have ever been involved in selling something for a business, purchased an item from a store, or watched TV and seen commercials, these companies target their market by implementing the 4P’s of marketing Price, Place, Product and Promotion to sell that item. This is pretty basic right? Not always….

4 p marketing

Apply this to when a home owner puts their house on the market; they trust their agent is going to do everything to get it sold. This is where the ball can drop.

Let’s say you plan to sell your house, your agent brings you comparable’s of houses that have recently sold. This is a great place to start with the right Price.

Then you look at Place, where your house is situated is it in a neighborhood, desirable town etc. the place can affect the price.

The Product is the house, new, old, has it been updated, what features does your house have that buyers desire in your market. Again, product can reflect back on the Price.

Last is Promotion this not only includes MLS, advertising, open houses it includes the presentation of the home, the packaging of the house so to say. If the presentation does not interest your buyer, you have missed that target market. Think of this, if you had $xxx to spend on anything, where are you going to spend your money? Typically on the product that communicates value – the best item available at the best price.

How can a house speak value to a buyer? Presentation-by making sure that the house is updated, furnishings convey what a buyer desires, emotional points that make that house sing to a buyers mind “I want this one.” Hiring a professional stager  will assist you to concentrate on what buyers want to make your house stand out above the competition. If you can implement the promotional part completely and thoroughly, convey the value your house has; you will find a target buyer that can’t wait to buy your home at a desirable price to both of you!


Hudson Valley Jazz Festival

Hudson Valley Jazz Festival

Warwick, NY somewhat secluded, located in the beautiful Hudson Valley in Orange County, NY is known or it’s apple orchards in the fall. If you enjoy music, and who doesn’t,  the Hudson Valley Jazz Festival is held in and around town. To sit outside, sip a cool ice tea or glass of wine and listen to some amazing local musicians is a great way to spend a weekend in Warwick.jazz
This concert series has been highlighted in The Village Voice, Jazz Times, Orange Magazine and The National Examiner to name a few. This year the festival  begins August 16,  Thursday and runs through the weekend.  The first performance by John Ehlis  will be held at 3:30 on Railroad Ave.
Warwick Garden RR Ave
Get away from it all, come to downtown Warwick to enjoy the daily offerings of artists from the area.

Warwick – Orange County, NY – A Gem!

Warwick – Orange County, NY – A Gem!

You know how sometimes you take things for granted? Have you ever gotten use to enjoying what you have and don’t think much about it? As I was running around Warwick,  NY recently I stopped and thought how lucky I am to live here. Warwick in Southern Orange County, NY has so much to offer with lots of recreation, shopping, and fine dining, and we are close to NYC.

Warwick NY

Let’s start with the bounty of summer, visit the wonderful Warwick Farmers Market but close by are all the other fabulous farmers markets. During the summer many of the locals look forward to going to the Warwick Drive In for a different movie experience. There is Greenwood Lake and the recreation it offers, or the nearby water park at Mountain Creek. In the winter there is Skiing close by at Mt. Peter and Mountain Creek.

For one weekend in August the annual Hudson Valley Jazz Festival is held downtown in Warwick. Hudson Valley Magazine designated it as the “Best New Music Event” of the year (2011), and the festival a recipient of an arts award from The Orange County Arts Council.

There are winery’s for attending tastings and purchase, along with different scheduled events. Of course I have to mention why Warwick is the number one fall destination in Orange County, NY…the apple orchards!

apples warwick


Each orchard abundant with apples and family fun events, picking fresh juicy apples is irresistible. Don’t forget, this year in October Applefest will take place, named one of the “Top 100 Events” in the country. It is a  one-day event with over 200 Craft vendors, music and entertaining, and children’s carnival it’s fun for the whole family.

Then there are the restaurants and shops…I could go on! Let me know what your favorite thing is to do in this fabulous town! If you haven’t ever been to or taken time to stop by check it out, if you have let me know what your favorite thing to do in Warwick is!

Staging, Why Bother, Who Needs It?

Staging, Why Bother, Who Needs It?

The other day, a good friend that is a RE Agent, asked me to stop by her open house. The house had great charm, obviously recently redone siding, great curb appeal and the photo’s on line looked pretty good. She was excited by my comments and asked me to take a tour.

The décor expressed the sellers taste. The kitchen had a sunken and cracked floor, but the seller was willing to throw in an architectural plan to fix it. The colors throughout were bold. The pet beds looked neat and clean as did the giant lizard cage in the upstairs bedroom.


Who needs staging? A homeowner that is putting their house on the market and is not aware of any problems that might cause a buyer to walk away. Some Realtors do not feel comfortable to tell their sellers there are issues that need to be addressed. An Agent likes to keep their clients happy and not rock the boat – so to say. To address anything that might cause an upset is something best to be avoided. No one likes conflict, and there should not be any when selling a home. So how is a seller suppose to know all the concerns that might lose a potential buyer?  Hire a professional Stager, make them your partner.


A professional Stager will evaluate the your house keeping in mind not necessarily how the seller believes their house should look and be marketed, but what buyers want, are looking for, and love. Many RE agents operate in the belief that it is too costly to suggest staging, but in reality it will cost less than the first mark down the seller will need in order to keep interest in their home. Why take a chance to lose a potential sale ever? Every buyer that walks through a home should feel that they could live there. That is why you need to bother to have your listing staged.

 First Impressions, are Lasting Impressions

Your House SOLD!! Now WHAT??

Your House SOLD!! Now WHAT??

CONGRATULATIONS!!!  Now it’s time to  get organize. How, you say?

Start with notifying people of your office
Go to your local Post Office pick up a change of address kit. This will help you to inform everyone where you are headed. Don’t forget to notify banks,  credit card and  insurance companies, Doctor offices anyone that you are in contact with on a regular basis.

 If you have not already packed some of your belongings this is the time to start. When doing so, break it down by room it’s more manageable this way. The room that you use the least every day is the first place to start. In my house it would be the dining room. Pack anything that you know you will not be using within the next three months AND when doing so envision how you want your new home to feel. MovingBoxesThis is a great time to streamline your clutter and stuff. Keep in mind the vision of your new home, do you really want to have to unpack all that clutter that you will never use at your new abode? If you’re like me I am sure I still have a box or two in the attic that was moved from the last house. Get rid of it! Sell, donate or throw it out why take the extra baggage?  As you pack each piece imagine wrapping, physically carrying to your new house, unpacking and finding a space for it. If it’s worth the effort do it, if not get rid of it, it’s time to let it go. On a weekend or when you have some extra hands to help, tackle the Outside– all that outdoor stuff. This might be a little overwhelming , start with the front of the house, get rid of anything that is broken or does not work…. hoses that leak, pots that are broken,  toys that your kids no longer play with,  furniture or tools that you haven’t used or know you will need to replace because they are in disrepair. Remember keep in mind  what your new home is going to be like….

As you pack up each room remembered you will need essentials for the very first day once you arrive at your new home. Make a “OPEN ME FIRST” box, it’s sort of like the first gift in the house. Make sure to include basics like toilet paper, tools (screwdriver, hammer etc), trash bags, light bulbs, shower curtain, a few towels, sheets for the beds. These few items will help the craziness of moving day go a little smoother so that you start settling into your new home and loving it right away!

Share with me any “essentials” you were happy that you needed the first day in your new house!

Stage Your Home to Sell

Stage Your Home to Sell

See how staging your home will help you sell in this infographic created with MyMove.  If done properly, it could be the difference between your home sitting or selling.

Home Staging
From: Home Staging

Designing By Numbers

Designing By Numbers

I am often asked  how far, high, amount, etc. things should be placed in a room.  There are some general guideline to use but many factors go into creating a perfect space. The contents in the room, the placement of objects in a room, size of room,  architectural details etc. all play together to make a space perfect.

These tips might help when you are not sure, or find something is not looking quite as you expected.


When hanging a piece of art on a blank wall (no furniture around) the center of the frame should be at eye level- approximately 50-60 inches off the floor.  Above a couch the bottom of the picture is typically hung 6″ above the back of the couch. When grouping pictures of different sizes and shapes in a room on different walls, keep the top of the frames or bottoms level throughout the room depending on objects within the room, and sizes of frames. This allows the eye to easily move around the room. Of course these are only general guidelines but it’s a place to start if you are totally confused.


Light fixtures should hang about 30-34 inches above a table for a standard 8 foot ceiling. If the ceiling is higher add an inch for each additional foot beyond the standard 8 feet. You do not want to be sitting at a table with the light fixture obstructing your view.


Although symmetry can create a calm space within a room, the best way to achieve balance other than symmetry is to work in odd numbers (3, 5, 7 etc. of something) The eye finds this more pleasing.

Speaking of odd numbers, when designing window treatments break the height into thirds also. For instance if you want your curtain to swag on the side of a window have it come either 1/3 or 2/3 down the side of the height of the window.


When putting down an area rug you should consider to have at least 18 inches between the edge of the rug and wall. There are exceptions such as entry ways.

When grouping furniture so guests can comfortable sit and talk place the couch and the armchairs 4-9 feet apart.

Shelving should be open, less is more. Try to keep 30% of the space as open space when adding items. Baskets are a nice way to reduce the cluttered look on shelves.

Kitchen counters… the maximum appliances left on countertops should be no more than 3. Countertops are work areas and they should be kept

Let me know how you have used numbers in helping achieve the perfect room!

Hand-Me -Down / Inherited Furniture- What To Do??

Hand-Me -Down / Inherited Furniture- What To Do??

Many times I go into a house to do a consult and I hear “oh, that piece was my parents”, or “I inherited that.” Followed by “it really is not my style or, it does not fit the space.”  When people downsize or unfortunately pass away, we  inherit furnishing. Many of these pieces are usable in the home spaces, but most people just don’t know how to incorporate them.

floor planWhat to do when the newly brought home piece “does not fit” into the space? If you really love the piece and you cannot find a place in your space, it would be well worth your time and money to call in a professional stager. For a minimal cost they can help you with placement and flow in your rooms.  When the flow of a room is not quite right, subconsciously it can play as a discord  in our minds every time we enter into the room. We forever feel like the newly acquired piece is a misfit, when actually it might enhance the space.


Consider the condition of the piece. For upholstered furniture ask yourself does  the fabric work, does it look tired and worn, are the cushions in good shape? The fabric may looked tired and used, not coordinate with other items in the space, sometimes the seat cushions need to be replaced. The finish on the wood or metal might need some “help.” You can find many products to restore the wood and metal at hardware stores, there is a wealth of fabric on line, or in nearby stores to help get the look you desire. Find a good professional upholster that can help with fabric selection and cushions to reupholster and revive  and harmonize with what you do own.


orginal chairrefurbished chair

Here is a great example from

 Wood pieces can be refinished with stain, wax, painted, varnish, lacquered,  new hardware can be added. Metal pieces can be refinished and painted. Home design stores, magazines, furniture stores can be a wealth of inspiration. The best thing with hand-me downs is the cost- typically they are free, and sometimes better quality .  If you lack the do-it-yourself confidence, call in the pros to help. For minimal cost you will have a treasure to pass on to the next generation.


Home Selling Therapy

Home Selling Therapy

This week I had a fabulous experience with a home seller that reminded me why I love staging so much.

I had visited the sellers a couple of weeks prior to get an understanding of what their goal was and a budget they felt comfortable with. We toured their home and I could tell that they did have pride of ownership, it just currently was not apparent. I went to my office and drew up a plan.

Two days before we were to stage I contacted the home owner who said “I don’t know if I am ready for any of this yet.” I explained that as long as the key items we discussed would be addressed we would be fine. They hesitantly agreed.

I arrived and the concerned look on their faces told me they were uncertain. As I entered the house I had a plan in place and the sellers were ready to help out still feeling, I believe, a little overwhelmed. I explained that selling is tough, it can be stressful and emotional, and you feel like there is so much to be done, but that the house will be buyer ready when we finish. Being ready to show at a moment’s notice will be worth the work we were to embark upon, they agreed to that and we got to work.

Due to the size of rooms and furniture we moved furniture around, and I got to work setting the rooms up to allow buyers to visualize the house as one they wanted to move into. As I finished the first room they were thrilled and became energized to keep plugging along after seeing the difference that was made. We continued through the house, bedrooms, living room, dining room, family room and kitchen. We moved more furniture as they continued to pack items they were ready to move to their next home, organizing and de-cluttering rooms. We added art and accessories to unify the spaces together  and arranged the rooms to allow sellers to connect to the property.   We downplayed the features that were not as desirable and emphasized the beauty that buyers expect in a home. The living room became a open warm space to entertain, the Family room a great place to gather around TV and play a game, the master bedroom a sanctuary to relax in. Check out the results!

The staging day came to an end, the seller could not believe the results and said that it was beyond her expectations. Their stress was lifted because they knew they had made the right decision and the process was a lot easier than they originally expected. They felt confident that their house looked great and would convey better than the competition.

Although there can be stress selling a home, these home sellers felt that home staging was a little like therapy.  Having a solid plan and seeing it unfold to transform spaces  that highlighted the beauty of the home was inspiring to them. A professional home stager has an objective eye to  help transform spaces which these buyers loved and gave them the confidence that they needed.

I LOVE my job!