March 18, 2016 § 1 Comment
Wallpaper continues to make design headlines as it rolls back into our homes. From half baths to bedrooms and dining rooms, we’re seeing it in almost every room. If you have an older home that always had wallpaper, then this is no big deal. But for some of us who have enjoyed plain neutral walls throughout, this wallpaper trend is a bit scary.
Here are some guidelines:
- Start Small. See how you like color and pattern on a small area before committing yourself to a big project. Try papering an accent wall in your office or guest bedroom. Or even wallpaper a table top for fun. Small projects are easier to undo or live with than full-room projects. Or break the rules: Dive in and wallpaper your dining room above the chair rail. You’ll love the dramatic change.
- Scale matters. Select a large scale pattern for a large area. That will keep the wallpaper looking contemporary and not left over from a different design era. Or break the rules: If you love the look of small flowers in a guest bedroom, then who’s stopping you.
- Love it. Wallpaper is a little more permanent than a coat of paint. So you should really love the paper you select. Stay in your home’s color palette and choose something that will coordinate with adjoining rooms. Or break the rules: If you really love foil, then it’s only wallpaper. Go for it. Make your home yours.
- Give the walls their stardom. Since you’ve wallpapered the walls, we presume you want people to notice them so back off on the other patterns in your room to let the wallpaper take center stage. Using a neutral sofa in front of a patterned wall keeps the pattern from overwhelming the room. Or break the rules: The latest trend is mixing lots of patterns together to give a room personality. Try to stay in the same color family to avoid room overload. But again, if you love it and it’s you, then own it.
- Take a deep breath. Before making that decision to wallpaper your bedroom ceiling, channel your interior decorator within. Realize that unless you are restoring an historic home to its original wallpapered grandeur, wallpaper for the rest of us is yet another design trend. In 7-10 years, you may very well hate it. So be prepared to undo the trendy foil damask in your half bath. Especially if you are planning to sell your home anytime soon. Wallpaper is what we call taste-specific. Potentially you may be the only one who sees it as timeless. Just an FYI. Or break the rules: Live for TODAY!! Enjoy your wallpapered ceiling and deal with it later.
Photo: This lovely wallpaper is 44 Gatti Secret Image (available at http://www.notonthehighstreet.com).
February 12, 2014 § Leave a comment
Classic but always with a modern twist, white is trending now as a house color on new construction. Whether we’re craving our grandparents’ old homestead, or we like a crisp, uncomplicated look, white is in. White siding with white trim. But the surprise element lies in the accessories. Fresh options include silver for the metal color (not the traditional black), white or pastel door colors (nolonger black or red), medium-toned metal roof colors (not just charcoal shingle anymore), mismatched out-buildings (that old classic farm look is coming back in a big way), and even (gasp!) white shutters on a white house.
The beauty of white is that it really is timeless. Not only that, but it shows off your colorful flowers and the greenery of your landscaping, the orange patio umbrella and Adirondack chairs, and the turquoise of your backyard pool (okay maybe I’m going a little overboard).
See if a fresh pop of white brings out the character in your house.
May 16, 2013 § 2 Comments
- Caulk the cracks. Nothing sticks out more as you’re walking through a de-cluttered house than cracks — in the grout on the floor tile, along the baseboards in the bathrooms, in the corners of a room where the walls meet the ceiling — a prospective buyer will spot all of them. A little caulk, silicone, or other repair will make those ugly black lines disappear and make the paint job and floors look fresher too.
- Up the wattage. I know, I know. Everybody wants to save money by using compact fluorescents or other energy saving sources, but believe me, to sell your house, you are going to need light. And if the house is not flooded with natural light from the windows, the agents will turn all the lights on. Make sure the lights in your house actually light up the house.
- Raise the ceiling. Obviously if your ceilings are over 9 feet high, you can disregard. But if you have low ceilings, like in a one-story traditional ranch home, then either remove your window valances altogether or mount them just below the ceiling so that only the window molding and any raised shade are covered by the valance. This will add more light to the room and make the ceiling appear higher. Same with the window side panels. Mount them about 2 inches from the ceiling and your ceiling will appear higher.
- Roll up the rugs. Small scatter rugs around the house break up the visual “flow” of the rooms and make the floors appear smaller. You can have a rug at the entry but ditch the little scatter rugs in the bathrooms and kitchen.
- Hide the jewels. Once your house goes on the market, strangers will be wandering through. That may seem obvious but you should think about it. Make sure your priceless heirlooms and other treasures have evacuated the premises — that means jewelry, breakable antiques, crystal, precious toys, and anything else that you either a) do not want touched or broken; or b) do not want displayed to the world.
Walk through your house from the front porch as if you were a potential buyer and fix what pops to the eye as you enter each room. Be critical. Believe me — buyers will.
May 1, 2013 § Leave a comment
If you’re preparing your home for the market (or if your home is already on and just sitting), here’s a tip that might get your home ready for its close-up shot and looking good on the big screen (or at least the laptop):
Take photos of your house from the street and then take a shot of every room from the doorway. Then put them on the computer and take a look at what the public is seeing online.
1) Does the photo of the house from the street show that the house is kept up? Is there stuff in the yard? Are there weeds in the garden? Is there peeling paint anywhere? (You can see the to-do list forming, can’t you…)
2) In the photo from the front door, can you see into other parts of the house or is the foyer closed off and dark? Is there old carpeting on the floor or is it tile or hardwood?
3) Inside, are any rooms dark? Do the curtains cover the windows? Is your furniture in sad shape or is there too much of it in a room? (These are the areas to address)
4) And lastly, is there something in the photo that immediately grabs your eye — and not in a good way? It could be a crooked picture or a sloppy bed. That is what the public remembers from that photo.
With to-do list in hand, fix those items that are keeping your house from getting a personal visit from potential buyers. Selling a house is far more than just listing it with an agency and sticking a sign in the front yard. Make sure you value the importance of photos that show your home to its best advantage.
March 25, 2013 § 4 Comments
I’ll be blunt. The first thing a prospective buyer will notice upon entering your home is … (drumroll please)… the smell. If any peculiar odor is detected, it can kill a deal in the first minute. Or at least knock thousands off the price. So if you have carpets and plan to keep them and if you have pets, here’s my Number 1 tip:
Hire a professional carpet and floor cleaner. It will make a huge difference. Not only will it rid your house of much of the odor, it will make one of the biggest selling features (your floors) look ready for buyers. Some other important tips:
Don’t burn fragrant candles or use air fresheners. A dead giveaway that you’re trying to mask some mysterious odors in the house. The best way to combat the smell is to clean from top to bottom and inside out, freshen the rooms with paint, and remove old carpets if possible.
Dehumidify your basement. Unless you have a completely dry basement with windows and doors that walk out into the yard, your basement will smell musty. Even if you’re not featuring a Man Cave, the basement needs to show itself to best advantage. Make sure it smells neutral.
Find a pet sitter for your animals. Whether it’s a litter box or a giant dog crate, the animal equipment detracts from the selling features of the house. And some people are actually allergic to cats. (Pet owners will not like this tip — but I’m just telling it like it is.) Move the animals to a friend’s house while you’re on the market — or at least for the Open House and the week following it.
Get rid of the dirty old furniture. This is a tough one for realtors as homeowners can take offense. But listen. Would you buy a house with a living room full of ragged recliners and tray tables? No. Remove the old furniture and let a home stager set up your living room to attract the most number of buyers. Your house will sell quicker if you stage it properly.
Tough love means a quick sale. You heard it here.
November 16, 2011 § Leave a comment
Is your living room a Man Cave? Many of us have reconfigured our rooms at home to reflect our lifestyles: dining rooms may be home offices; family rooms may have movie theater seating and 60″ televisions; and master bedrooms may have more exercise equipment than your local health club. All that is fine and probably a good use of space… until you decide to put your house on the market.
When called upon to stage this home, we couldn’t help notice the elephant in the room. The pool table and its well appointed overhead lighting had to go. We needed to return the living room to its original function with a conversation area that would welcome prospective buyers coming in the front door. (Note: some of you might love a pool table in your living room, but majority rules when it comes to staging!)
With the pool table gone and the rug rolled up to expose the beautiful hardwood floor, we moved the sofa from the other side of the room and brought in two slipper chairs, a cozy rug, and some accessories. The result? A more conventional living room and an easier sale.
If you plan to put your house on the market, start your prep by returning rooms to their original function. Move excess furniture and equipment to storage. You will get a quicker sale!
July 5, 2011 § Leave a comment
Staging (in the mid-range of home prices — not the very high end) is often referred to as “undecorating.” We take great pains to remove all the homeowner’s treasured collections, family photos, and personalized sense of style and substitute a more generic brand of “decor” that is most likely to appeal to a broad range of potential home buyers. Sometimes the job entails de-cluttering and a little rearranging of the furniture. Other times, we strip wallpaper, repaint, and rejuvenate a house that hasn’t seen any upgrades in… ahem… awhile.
For those of you who are curious, I just posted some Before & After photos of some recent projects to give you an idea of what happens with staging. Most of the homes pictured sold within 2 weeks of going on the market (with the help of superb real estate agents, of course, setting an appropriate price for each property, and very motivated and cooperative sellers who were willing to go the extra mile– it’s a partnership!).
Here’s the link: