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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Staging Works

A few posts ago I shared some Before and After photos. I was proud of how I accomplished my goal as stager; to create bright, open, airy living spaces. Today I want to share some good news.......

The house went on the mls website on a Tuesday and by Saturday ( just 5 days later) it had sold for more than the asking price, in a bidding war, a rarity here in Halifax. I'm feeling pretty good but not as good as my clients who can now head off to Toronto to buy their new home. I know their agent is feeling pretty good too, after all, his listing sold just days after the sign went up.

Thought I'd share a few more pictures showing the transformation.

Sometimes it takes a little to stage a room. Just remove the clutter and replace some accessories.



Sometimes a fresh coat of paint, a layering of towels and new knobs are needed.....

BASEMENT BATH BEFORE To create a spa like feel.

Sometimes a bigger cherry is needed to ice the cake.
KITCHEN AFTERAnd wall art has to come tumbling down.
KITCHEN AFTERSometimes a door mat needs neutralizing, light fixtures need updating and boots need to be hidden from site.
FOYER BEFORESometimes out of fashion wallpaper needs to disappear.....
FOYER BEFOREto make a great first impression.
Sometimes out of scale pictures must say goodbye.

FOYER BEFOREAnd greenery is needed, to create a welcoming entry way.

But.........sometimes it takes A LOT to stage a room.


Staging works!!!! These Before and After pictures speak for themselves. You can count on
Rave Re:views when you hire us to stage your home in the Halifax Regional Municipality.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Area Rugs Add Intimacy

For quite some time I have been on the hunt for a rug to add intimacy to the conversation area in our multipurpose living space.

However, because the space is small and the rugless natural birch flooring beneath the glass coffee table allows the accessories to take centre stage, finding the perfect rug proved to be a challenge. I love black and red and knew that either would work both with the furniture and colour scheme. I knew, too, that the accessories would fade from sight if black or red took to the stage. A patterned rug was out of the question because the pattern would do battle with the accessories.
A cow hide was my first choice, only lighter in colour than the one below that I used in a client's house. I love the way that a hide can be placed on the angle so as to soften the geometric layout of a conversation area and I like the fact that furniture can sit comfortably atop it but.....

my husband, who rarely gets a chance to voice his opinion on matters of decor, was adamant that he did not want a hide so .......a hide was out of the running.
I didn't want a 'low pile' nondescript rug . While neutral is lacklustre, it was the necessary backdrop to maintain the look of the room. Because most rugs, unlike cowhides, are linear in shape, a neutral low pile rectangular rug shouted out 'boring' and uninviting to me. I wanted something with more pizazz to soften the room and create a feel of intimacy. I happened upon this shaggy white carpet but......... it was too small.

I kept it anyways. At $49.00 I felt I had to keep it. Right now it roosts as a throw on our large 80's vintage, leather hide -a- bed.
Then, the other day, while perusing the new arrivals at HomeSense, ( Canada's HomeGoods) staring me straight in the eyes was the perfect rug.

Just $59.00, it fits the space like a glove and although neutral and linear, its thickly layered pile, soft and cozy, is already garnering Rave Re:views. ( the actual colour is richer, almost exactly the same shade as the darkest variation in the engineered hardwood, and not one bit the grey it appears to be in the photos).

Design Tip #1: Cozy up a conversation area with a rug.

Design Tip #2: Unless using a hide, atop which furniture can rest, a linear rug should be surrounded by a border of flooring. Not sure if your rug size is right? Send me a picture. I'll be happy to help you garner Rave Re:views!

Design Tip #3: If you are laying a rug beneath a glass topped table, ensure that the accessories and carpet create a harmony. Need help? Give me a shout.

Design Tip #4: Don't shy away from patterned rugs, even under glass topped tables. They add punch to a room. Beneath a solid surface coffee table, the accessory/ patterned rug conflict is not an issue.

Design Tip #5: Interesting rugs need not cost hundreds of dollars. A high end look can be created on a limited budget.

Photo Faux Pas- What Not To Do

I have a super new camera with an incredible wide angle lens that is a very user friendly 'point and shoot' camera. In my last entry, the 'Before' photos were taken with my dying camera which was incapable of capturing the true size of a room. The 'After' pictures, taken with my Panasonic Lumix ZS3, convey the spaciousness I aim to create when preparing a property for the real estate market. So no more excuses! Because of my impatience to photograph the finished product, the eye for detail with which I attack every project I undertake, is thrown by the wayside. No longer can I fault my camera when pictures are not what they could be. The fault is mine and mine alone!

So here are some 'What Not To Do's'......

Don't include yourself when photographing a room with a mirror.

Don't photograph electrical cords. Make sure they are hidden.
Don't take your picture until you are sure bedding is perfectly in place (pillows and bed skirt included).

Don't take an After picture from an angle that differs from your Before picture.

Don't include your client in the photos as I did on my first job.
Do look through the lens of the camera with the same critical eye you use when you carry out your initial consult. No more 'faux pas' from me!!!!! I always want to garner Rave Re:views!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Before and After

I just finished a staging project. The house goes on the market today. Thought you might want to see some of the Before and Afters. New at the home staging game, I still question my capability , but I must say I am feeling pretty proud of myself after hearing that the real estate agent hired by my clients gave my work a Rave Re:view. Upon entering their home after I had completed the showcasing, he remarked on how beautiful the living room looked. I must admit, I thought it looked pretty good too.


The furnishings in the dining room occupied every inch of space. Not seen in the photo is a tall china cabinet which further compromised the flow. It now resides in the living room. Potential buyers accompanied by their agents would barely fit in the room let alone manouever around around the table. The huge painting not only overpowered the space , but added to the illusion that the room was smaller in size than it actually is. By simply relocating the buffet and china cabinet to the living room and paring down the artwork, the dining room becomes an airy open formal space for entertaining. The only expense: a few dollars spent to rent faux greenery and artificial fruit that was placed in a bowl once hidden away in a kitchen cabinet.


By removing a bulky love seat and replacing it with a sleek buffet that originally was housed behind the dining room table, the living room was opened up and the hardwood floor, a buyer's dream, was further exposed. Artwork was rearranged and a few added floral rentals allow buyers to notice the spaciousness of the room as opposed to the 'stuff'' in it. Once again a little money goes a long way.


This was the family room I wrote about a few weeks ago re: the 'to paint or not to paint the wood' issue. As you can see the cabinetry was left as is. By removing the dark green leather love seat and the ottoman, both of which overpowered the room, the carpet now more fully exposed, lightens the space. By clearing the bookshelves, adding white vases and resting a bright painting on the mantle, a once dark room was further lightened. Other than the faux plant resting on the hearth, along with two others not in the photo, the accessories, furniture and artwork belong to the homeowners. The two small tables in front of the sofa were nestled under a larger table in the living room. The two pull up chairs were initially gracing the living room as were the throw pillows. The painting on the mantle was hiding in the basement. Big changes do not require big bucks.

Except for the bathrooms, the house feels younger than its age. The kitchen has recently been updated and there are gleaming hardwood floors in the living and dining areas. There was no money in the budget to replace the beige toilet and sinks, to remove the powder room wall paper and to install tiled flooring. The other two bathrooms received a fresh coat of neutral paint. The generic nondescript mirrors were replaced in the main and master baths with attractive wooden mirrors, and current accessories were added. The goal: to create a spa like feel and to disguise the dated beige bathroom fixtures. With a minimum of money, the bathrooms no longer stick out like sore thumbs in an otherwise updated house.




I love the challenge of using a home owner's furnishings to create bright, open, current living spaces that have a focal point, a good flow and a recognizable function. The changes I make when staging a property are not made out of disrespect. I believe that everyone should create a living environment that suits their needs. People don't inhabit magazines, they live in homes. It is not for me to pass judgement on the decor, flow or room function of other people's dwellings. As a stager, however, I owe it to my clients to create spaces that possess the features today's buyers are looking for. Any changes made reflect the demands of the buying public and are not a commentary on clients' living styles or decor preferences.

Home staging for the real estate market is an investment not an expense. By hiring a professionally trained individual who can make your home stand out from the others, you are upping the equity in your property.


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Pillow Power-A Quick Fix

My client Joan, who recently hired me to redesign her bedroom, took me on a tour of her home on my first visit. She and her husband live in a lovely bungalow which is tastefully decorated and houses the very interesting and colourful treasures that they have collected through the years. While showing me her living room, she commented on how she hated the fabric on the sofa, wanted to recover it but was not in a position to do so at this point in time. In the photos, the fabric appears to be a solid colour but in fact it is a charcoal /black tweed with tiny flecks of blue, red and white. Now don't get me wrong. I love tweed but the colour combination in the fabric doesn't quite work. While Joan has a good sense of colour and is spot on when putting herself together, her choice of throw pillows did nothing for the room.

I told Joan that the size and bulk of the sofa worked well and that by simply replacing the pillows, both the sofa and the room could be transformed.

Taking a cue from the vibrant painting that hangs above the sofa, 2 pair of throw pillows brought the room back to life. Now the little wicker coffee table wants to be spiced up. A sprinkling of paprika should do the trick. Homesense, here I come.

Joan is no longer talking about recovering the sofa. Because our eyes are drawn to the pillows, the flecks of colour on the sofa's fabric go unnoticed.

A simple redesign that cost a pittance, this quick fix is garnering Rave Re:views.

Design Tip: Reawaken your tired sofa with the toss of a pillow.


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