Thursday, July 23, 2015

Staging & Spirilizing

This was a fun house to stage.  Check out the architecture!  This is the view from the front door as the buyer enters.  It definitely has the 'wow' factor.

 Here is a picture of this grand family room before staging.

I wanted something dramatic on the back wall.  The position of the electrical outlets limited the kind of artwork that could be displayed.  Aren't these metal and wood ornamental pieces perfect?

Love me some big bright pillows on the sofa and chaise!  The red pillows really pop in real estate photography.  I added a small glass top coffee table for some visual interest. The glass top and open base  'disappear' instead of eating square footage.

Those black and rattan chairs have been with me since my early days of staging.  They are the most versatile pieces that I use for staging. These chairs adapt to any decor!

The  tall bookcases flanking the fireplace did not match in dimension. (Why Mr. Builder? Why?) They were a bit challenging to stage.  Too many items and the shelves would have appeared cluttered.  The casing surrounding them is heavy.  However, the height of the shelves is low.  Does that make sense?  The owner said she was at a loss as to what to display on them.


The brown love seat and purple ottoman were removed.  A small upholstered chair and ottoman from the original decor was moved near the fireplace.  It made for a cute sitting area near the fireplace. Now on to my latest discovery!

Have you Spiralized?

I am having a love affair with my new Spiralizer!  I am a self-professed pasta junkie.  Always looking for a healthy alternative, I thought I'd give the Spiralizer a spin.  Holy Curly-Que! Veggie pasta is da bomb! Zucchini noodles really are delicious with spicy tomato sauce on 'em.  Spiralized yellow squash are succulent cooked in a little EVOO with garlic and parmesan.  Tonight, I spiralized a Videlia onion and sauteed it.  A sweet potato was twirled into spiral noodles and added with a tad of chicken stock. Fresh spinach, goat cheese and a few pine nuts were thrown in for good measure . It was so YUMMY!

Those spiralized savory sweet potato noodles were easy-peasy-quick-n-tasty comfort food to ME.

Cowboy was very suspect and took a pass. 

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Get the Big Picture for Staging

Oh my goodness, it is hot as a firecracker in Raleigh, NC.  Hope you are managing to stay cool.

Wanted to share with you the importance of large art for staging.  Large, bold and colorful art pops in MLS pictures.  Of course, big art also makes rooms show better.  Below is an office after I added 3 large art prints. 
Here's the office before.  The wall sconces look kind of puny in relation to the rest of the room.
Over the piano, I placed a Geranium print for a splash of color.  It is displayed higher than I would have preferred.  The Kincaid picture it replaced had heavy screws anchoring it into the wall.  I had too many fish to fry on staging day to remove the screws, patch the sheetrock and repaint.
My apologies to any Thomas Kincaid collectors.  I am well aware that his art cost is pricey.  I'm not a fan.  Just sayin'.... I always tell home sellers with Kincaid's (truthfully!) that landscapes don't photograph well.  Also, our target market for this house is a young family.  That buyer gravitates more towards contemporary pieces.

Below is example of one of  my BIG accessories--a ceramic urn and lush peacock feathers.  Folks always seem to be baffled by those dang niches.  "I've never known what to put there."

Ya think?
I love my job!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

"That's Not Centered!"

Here is a dining room staging to show you.You know how I'm always saying staging is not decorating?

My first step in staging is to stand at the front door and look at the space through "buyer's eyes".  I do a quick scan of the of everything in my immediate vision.  I concentrate on the area that would be around 10 o'clock, if you were looking at a clock face.  This quick look is what your potential buyer sees when they step into your house.

What does the buyer see when they walk in?  In this case, it is the back wall of the dining room. dining room back wall. The wall was previously void of decor. 

Also, it is important to remember we are selling the architecture. We are selling that fabulous chandelier, trey ceiling, inset lights, and transom door.  So, to play up the architecture I used tall, chunky red pillar candlesticks and candles.  This is to draw the eye up towards the features.

Picture is only to illustrate my point.
You will notice that the picture on the back wall facing the front door is not in the middle.  For staging, it was cheated a bit to the right to look best from the front door.  The ficus tree was pulled away from the wall. (Hard to tell from the picture but it is a bit left of center--for the same reason.)
I moved the dining room table a wee bit to the right of center to create space between the chairs and the buffet. Here's the before picture.
The buffet has mirrored shelves.  I selected accessories that wouldn't 'get lost'.  The majority of accessories are shiny gold or brass objects.  I did not put anything on the bottom shelf.  It gives a less cluttered look and can't be seen above the backs of the chairs.
By the way, when the owner came in for the reveal, she unconsciously pushed the chairs as far under the table as possible as we chatted.  When she finished I laughed and said, "I guess you didn't know I had a reason for leaving the chairs out a bit?  It allows breathing space and makes the room look less crowded."

Oooooooooh! replied the seller.
It's those little things....

Keep cool.  We are in a record heat wave.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Hot Fun in the Summer Time

Hi lovelies.  Yeah, I know I've been on hiatus for quite awhile.  We are taking month long beach vacation. Before vaa-k I was quite busy with work. The first three weeks at the beach were fun.  Friends and family came down and frolicked on the beach with us. Grandson Jack, 4, thought it was pretty funny to see incoming waves toss his Mimi like a rag doll! We've over eaten until all we could do was moan and put our feet up. Icy-cold adult beverages flowed abundantly.  I've coined my fav "Loose Goose" (Diet) Cran Pom and Grey Goose.  I have laughed so long my voice is hoarse. When Virginia visited, she made me howl so loudly a lady on the beach asked 'are you OK?' (I have a really annoying laugh complete with snorts and shrieks.) Oh! and, my poor feet! They are barking because I have walked at least 150 miles barefooted in the wet sand. It's "good-pain". The kind you only get from walking on the beach.

Monday started Week 4 of Beach Month.  Cowboy has returned to work.  Everyone has cleared out.  Izzie and I are alone.  I have 5 days of glorious 'alone' time.  Just me, Iz, and the beach. This is my week for uninterrupted wishin' and hopin' and thinkin' and prayin'.

Cowboy took the car when he left. Leaving me to hoof it for food. The Veggie Wagon is only a few blocks away. The Veggie Wagon is a petite-boutique grocery full of locally grown, organic good-for-you-food. As I stroll the aisles, I sip a freshly made Organic Strawberry Smoothie. I even had the guy add a shot of Whey Protein hoping to make up for past indiscretions. For dinner, I bought crab cakes from just-down-the-road-captured crab and a big fat, ugly Heritage tomato to go on my neighborhood-grown lettuce. 

Oddly, I didn't sleep last night. Insomnia is an acquaintance but rarely an all night guest. At 2:30 AM I decided to play my 'Spiritual Stuff'. As I lay awake in the dark, rubbing Izzie's belly, I listened to some great teachings.  Many of the lessons that are so easy to forget.  .

These mentors were vital in teaching me that what you believe is what you can have.  Thoughts become reality. If you believe something isn't possible, then it won't be.  Years ago, I thought I couldn't afford an oceanfront beach house--much less a place that allowed pets and was big enough to entertain friends and family.  I believed if I took an entire month off my clients would drop me and my business would be over.  My spiritual teachers taught me to think that everything is possible. If you want it, and believe it, it can happen. So happy I stumbled onto 'Spiritual Stuff' 25 years ago...

At first light, as the sun peaked over the horizon, I decided to take Izzie out for a walk. I took her off-leash since we were the only ones stirring. She was in heaven.  So much to sniff.  So many places to mark.  So much fun to run, and run, and run.

I am one grateful girl for my coffer overflowing with beachy happiness!

Friday, April 17, 2015

The #1 Organizational Tip for Sorting Mail!

Happy Friday y'all.

Home sellers are always asking me about solutions to their clutter.  I'll share a tip with you that I started when I worked in a busy office.

Create a Friday File.  

Go through all of your mail the day it arrives. 

Open the first class mail and deal with it.

You are DONE until Friday!

Place magazines, periodicals, catalogs, junk mail-ANYTHING that is not first class mail, into a basket or box--a Friday File.

Every Friday specify a time to sort through your Friday File.  Have a trash can, recycle bin and shredder close by.

Recycle junk mail and throw away anything that can't be recycled.

Place items you want to keep: charitable contributions, coupons, special offers, etc. in a separate pile or folder.  Take care of these items at the end.

It's Friday, so you can retrieve those magazines and catalogs!  I think you will find it is fun looking forward to devouring their pages.  It really is more efficient and rewarding than thumbing through mags and cats quickly when they arrive.

Hope you find the Friday File tip helpful!

Monday, April 13, 2015

What Waz They Thinkin' Staging

Hey folks.  Look at this lovely Tudor home in Houston, Texas.  It is currently on the market. The address is 18119 Wildcombe Drive.
I had a LOL moment when I saw this picture of the breakfast room.
If you don't have a breakfast table, build one with assorted sizes and heights of cardboard boxes.  Finish it off with a floral table cloth.  Top with fake flowers in a glass vase. (You know uneven, wanky bed treatments and table linens make me cra-cra.  Couldn't the tablecloth be cheated down to the floor?  Even if it was shorter on the side facing the windows, it might have look somewhat better.--at least in MLS pictures.)

Display platters on stands to accentuate the view of the pool.

I know, it bad form (or as we say in the South "bad manners") to criticize the work of someone else.
"Devil made me do it."

I vote no on the box table.  What say you?  Does it help you imagine your family sitting around 'it' enjoying the view.

Sunday, March 22, 2015


I'm super grateful that my friend Karen is doing great!  She's been battling breast cancer this year.  Her reconstructive surgery was Thursday and she is looking forward to her son's wedding this summer. Hooray!

I'm still under the weather.  It seems Mr. Infection hitch hiked from my sinuses to my middle ear. (I spend a lot of time saying, 'huh?') A is for Azithromycin--round two.  Sooo hoping The Super Bug doesn't hit anytime soon.  My immune system will be up the creek with no paddle.

Between naps and Nyquil , I've been binge watching "Parenthood"on Netflix. Anybody remember Craig T. Nelson from his days on "Coach"? Still love him. I've also been reading a ton of blogs.

Enjoying blogs is so much fun since, hey, I've got the time. I zig and zag getting deeper and deeper into recommended must read lists.  Here's a couple of observations:

1.There is a Universal Theme: All bloggers experience those awkward,awful don't-know-what-to-post-writer's-block times. It happens to everyone--not just me! 'Filler' posts are creative.

 "Upcycle Used Shoelaces As Decorative Bows!"  
"Fill Pillows Using Dryer Lint!"  
"Twist Twigs Into Place Mats!"  
"Lean Cuisine Boxes As Colorful Art!"

2.There are blogs on EVERY subject.  Cowboy has a retirement fantasy of us exploring America in an RV.  My worst fears were confirmed after reading -wait for it- a blog by: The Pop Up Princess. There is a whole world of folks updating and posting about their pop-ups. Who knew? The Princess, Larissa, is adorable.  There are lots of camper makeovers and great advice.

However, cramped quarters and damp bath towels hold no appeal--to this princess.

Have a great week y'all!