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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

From Breakfast Bar-none to Best Breakfast- Bar None

When my client Paula saw her 2 story condo for the first time, she fell in love. Having viewed a number of condos of varying styles and configurations this was her favorite -bar none. So she took me to see it before purchasing a unit to get my opinion re: room sizes, layout, closet space, functionality and aesthetic. A brand new brick fronted Georgian condo townhouse, with old world charm, I knew this was what Paula was looking for. While she wanted to live in a condo that fit into the landscape of the neighbourhood, she had visions of a trendier more current interior.
The kitchen which had ample storage space and attractive clean lined cabinetry suited Paula's needs and tastes. Its galley style layout, however, resulted in an enclosed space that would cut her off from visiting family and guests. Not one to like enclosed spaces she had been hoping for open concept living .
There was an easy but not inexpensive solution to this problem. A portion of the wall on either end of the kitchen was cut away, thereby opening up the kitchen to the living room on one end and the dining room on the other . The kitchen no longer felt merely like a passage way that connected the living and dining rooms but rather had the look and feel of a much more spacious room.
Paula had dreamed of cooking for company in her new kitchen, while guests chatted with her perched on stools at a trendy looking breakfast bar. Before deciding to have a portion of the kitchen wall removed this would not have been a possibility. Once the walls came tumbling down a perfect spot was created to build a breakfast bar but the wall removal was not an expense that Paula had anticipated when she fell in love with the condo. A granite breakfast bar was out of the question.
My first thought was to install a floating shelf that would stretch the length of the wall, under which stools could be tucked. An inexpensive and attractive fix. Jysk sells these shelves in varying lengths for very reasonable prices. But on a shopping expedition I found a great solid wood parsons table at Wicker Emporium that I knew would function as, and give the illusion of a breakfast bar. Because a table was being reinvented as a breakfast bar, stationary counter or bar height stools would not work. They were too tall. Luckily, today a good many stools have a mechanism for adjusting their height. Because height was at a premium, thickly padded seats would not work. At Home Outfitters I found stools that were a perfect fit and a perfect price. Less than $150.00 for the pair.
So voila! From breakfast bar-none a reinvented table became the best breakfast -bar none!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Perfect Flip

A couple of weeks ago, a staging job unexpectedly fell into my lap . I was both elated and exhausted before the job had begun. A friend and I had joined a Wednesday morning hiking group. Our former principal, Connie, and her sister-in-law, Rayeanne, were in the group as well. On the morning of our second trek, which was to be a 10K trek, Rayeanne informed me that her home was on the market and that the photographer was coming to take pictures for the MLS site upon her return. She asked me to take a quick walk through and wanted my opinion. While the house had good bones and I could see that it was move in ready, the over abundance of furnishings would not allow the average buyer to see what I, a trained stager, could see. It needed to be edited and showcased before any enticing photos could be taken .
Home Staging an occupied property is a 3 step process : STEP 1 The Consultation, STEP 2 The Prep Work, STEP 3 The Showcasing. Normally I would arrange for a consult during which time I would tour the property planning for Steps 2 and 3. After the consult and before the Showcasing , the prep work would have to be carried out. Clients would undertake the prep work on their own or with my help. With the prep work completed, I would return to the property to ' ice the cake'. The Consultation and Showcasing are carried out on two separate days. The number of days needed to complete the prep work is dependent upon the amount of work that needs to be done. I invite you to check out my web site for a more detailed explanation of the Home Staging process along with my philosophy and approach to preparing properties for the real estate market.
What has this got to do with 'flipping' you are probably asking yourself. I'm getting there. Don't flip out on me!
What would normally have occurred in 3 days was undertaken in a record 7 hours. There was no time to preplan. The photographer was rebooked for the next afternoon. In spite of the fact that my aching legs could barely hold me up after our 10 k walk, we dove right in. Dave with his painful cough was a trooper. He ferried furnishings across the bridge at least 4 times that day. Rayeanne never blinked an eyelash as I told her what to do. Belongings got packed up, nail holes got plugged up , chipped walls got touched up and closets got tidied up The consultation, prepwork and showcasing happened on the run and I am proud to say that instead of chaos Rayeanne, Dave and I performed a symphony of sorts.
Upon my arrival , there had been a good number of side tables and plant stands in the house almost all of which I had Dave remove . While the sofa was in need of a side table, none of the ones sent to storage fit the bill. Scouring the house for a suitable table, I found what I was looking for in the basement . An over sized basket, table height, that I knew would fit perfectly. Rayeanne and Dave had been planning to dispose of it. How true is the old saying 'one woman's garbage is another woman's treasure! I grabbed the basket and raced upstairs. It's amazing how quickly my weary legs sprung to life as my brain filled with thoughts of flipping.
And VOILA! That big over sized basket that was about to be tossed was the perfect flip!
Beyond exhausted, at the end of the day I felt an incredible sense of accomplishment. New to Home Staging, my confidence needs bolstering and bolstered it was as day turned into night.
This, my second official staging job which fell into my lap last minute, did not crush me! I learned that I can function under pressure and create move in ready properties that will garner Rave Re:views.
Jobless for the moment, and still in need of some confidence building, especially after hearing that a number of my fellow members in Home Staging Atlantic were unable to make the last session because they had to meet with clients and that one stager even has 3 jobs on the go, I know I will get there. I'll keep you posted.
My husband and I are heading to Rome next week to visit our daughter Lauren and then on to London to spend time with Zachary and Cori, our son and daughter-in-law whom we affectionately refer to as Zacori. Lauren will finish the portfolio section of my website after which you will be able to see the fruits of my labour including Rayeanne and Dave's transformed property.
Keep on flipping!
"Till next time.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Votive to Vase

I can't understand why builders locate light switches or plug receptacles smack dab in the middle of walls. We have a number of light switches so placed in our new condo and as a result cannot hang artwork on these walls. Nine months after taking occupancy we finally own our unit and are now able to have some of the switches moved to one side or another on the wall.

In our kitchen we have a number of these eyesores, some hung straight others crooked. I have tried to hide them as best as I can. An easy solution, if the unsightly switch or receptacle is on the back splash, is to simply place an accessory in front of it.

I had a set of 4 votive holders on the counter and thought I might place a taller one in front of the receptacle but it was too short. When I picked it up to see if it would work in front of the receptacle, I noticed that the holder was hollow almost all the way up to the top. So .....

I flipped it over

filled it with water

added my favourite red flowers


My votive holder was reinvented .

Now a vase; it hides the receptacle.

Lesson learned: you don't always have to run out and buy new accessories to solve decorating problems in your home.

What draws me to home staging and redesigning is the satisfaction I get from reusing and reinventing clients' possessions, saving them money while at the same time creating pleasing aesthetics.

Bear with me. I have not yet learned how to cut and paste on blogspot so the pictures are still appearing at the top. By my next entry I hope to know how to place pictures where I so desire.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

From One Table To Another

A year ago my husband and I downsized from a 3500 sq. ft. house in a suburban neighbourhood to a 1400sq. ft condo in the city core. ( a subject which I will write about some other time) And I must add that I am loving it!!!!

Well, I purchased a trendy looking little table covered in faux snakeskin from Homesense, quite a few months prior to our move. I was going to place it in between two funky leopard look upholstered chairs. When we finally settled into our condo, the table didn't work in between the chairs. So what did I do? I reinvented it.

I flipped it on its side.
Lay a mirror on top to act as the table surface.
Covered the mirror with faux leather and VOILA......
My reinvented table.

I was going to simply use the mirror as the table top but found that the reflections on the table surface were distracting, hence the pleather insert.

The table looks great and functions perfectly in our den/ guest room as a side table next to our 1980's era black leather sofa bed. It has received a number of
Rave Re:views

Looking forward to sharing more reinventions and tips with you in the days to come.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Better Late Than Never

Well it has been over three months since I trained in Toronto with Canadian Staging Professionals to become a certified real estate home stager. The 3 day course, or should I say 3 day and 2 night course, was filled with a mind boggling amount of invaluable information.

For the first 2 days, classes began at 8:00 in the morning and went on until 6:00 in the evening. After returning to my cousin's apartment I wolfed down some supper and continued my studies by writing a test that covered the information we had been taught during the day, as well as material we were required to cover on our own. My poor cousin had to tiptoe around her apartment so I could concentrate on the test questions made more difficult by the fact that my mind was overflowing with newly aquired information and I was exhausted. On both nights it was close to midnight when I tiptoed past my sleeping cousin, crawled into bed and dreamed of flat fees and consultations and focal points and props versus accessories.

The third day began at 7:00 in the morning. We were taken to a home badly in need of staging. We had an invaluable hands on experience, putting to practice what we had been taught in the classroom. That morning I learned that real estate home staging is HARD work, both physiaclly and mentally. I also learned that it is exactly what I want to do in my years of rewirement. Home staging satisfies my insatiable hunger to edit spaces and provides me with the challenge of preparing a property, spending as little money as possible by reusing and reinventing the furnishings found in its interior and exterior spaces.

I would like to thank my instructors, Christine, Jackson, & Duncan for putting up with my endless questions. Thank you especially to Christine, the incredibly knowledgeable and busy founder of Canadian Staging Professionals, who travels the world training aspiring home stagers. She took the time to personally mentor me through some difficult moments when I returned home . Her prompt and lengthy email responses showed me that she was a teacher who cared about her students.

While CSP™ and CCSP are 2 different designations given to stagers trained through Canadian Staging Professionals, the credentials are one and the same. A Canadian company that initially trained Canadians, graduates were given the title of CSP™ or Canadian Staging Professional. Training courses are now being offered around the globe. For Stagers trained outside of Canada , CSP™ stands for Certfiied Staging Professional. For Canadian stagers the new designation of CCSP ( Certified Canadian Staging Professional) is applied. Many Canadians may still use the initials CSP™ because that was their original designation.

I am just happy to say that CSP™ or CCSP, I am trained and up and running. I had planned initially to be ready to begin my actual staging career in September, not realizing the work involved in setting up a business. I figured it couldn't take all that much time to get a small home based business off the ground. There were contracts to compose, business cards and a web site to design, a bank account to set up, insurance to purchase, stationary to have printed, a portolio and client education binders to put together, price lists to establish; all before I could pound the pavement. But I'm there now.


My daughter Lauren, an architect living in Rome, collaborated with me to conceive my logo. She worked tirelessly to design my website. A huge time consuming undertaking that is now garnering Rave Re:views. Thank goodness for Lauren and thank goodness for skype. Without skype this entry would not have been called 'Better Late than Never " it would have been called 'Later than Ever' .

Now, I had intended on sharing some of my reinventions and design tips today but while I am wired to stage I am technologically inept. I'm wired less than my wireless when it comes to having computer savvy. So par for the course, I clicked file on my tool bar to save this entry and as a result the complete entry disappeared. I should have clicked on save at the bottom of this entry. Screaming silently, fighting back the tears, I rewrote the entire entry from memory which took a looooooong time. So tomorrow I will share some of my reinventions if I can learn how to insert pictures along with my text. I'll worry about that tomorrow.

On a closing note, a little explanation about my company name:

'Rave Re:view Home Staging & Redesign'

The : in the word Re:view gives my chosen name a double meaning.
One meaning refers to that fact that there is a before and after ingredient in Home Staging and Redesign. Pictures of a room pre-staging are posted as are pictures of the same room post staging. So a room is viewed and then viewed again or re viewed.
The second meaning refers to a review as in a book or a play or a movie review.

I enjoy playing with words almost as much as I enjoy playing with space. So here is my motto, a play on words :

You can count on Rave Re:views when you enlist our help to stage or redesign your home.


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