Friday, June 19, 2009

10 steps closer to selling your house

The real estate market, ugh...if you are trying to sell.

Here's a suggestion from a real estate stager (me): If your house is on the market, take advantage of the slow-down in showings to do some extra prep.

Here are 10 ideas to get you going:

  • Pack away your collections. Buyers want to see your house, not your hobbies. Give them a clear view by visually editing your space.
  • While you're at it, pack away all personal photos. That's right, all of them. Buyers need to imagine themselves living in your house - not you and your family.
  • Declutter your kitchen cabinets by packing away pots, pans and dishes you do not use often. Cluttered cabinets will give buyers the impression your kitchen is too small.
  • Clean areas we overlook on a day-to-day basis, like under the kitchen sink. It's amazing how quickly we can accumulate dirt and spills. Leave this area clean and decluttered so buyers know they are looking at a well-cared for home.
  • Tackle the linen closet by packing away items you don't absolutely need. Buyers need to know there's plenty of room for their blankets, towels and sheets. If your closet is overflowing, they will imagine theirs will be, too.
  • Give the laundry room, including the washer and dryer, a good scrubbing. It's easy to overlook clutter and dirt in areas we are used to seeing every day.
  • Now's the time to look at your bedroom closets and weed out items you aren't using and pack away out-of-season clothes to show the closets to their best advantage.
  • Tackle the basement - or garage - or attic - or shed - or all of them! Pack, give away or sell what you don't need daily. And once you are done, don't allow anyone to refill them before the house goes on the market.
  • Clean litter and debris from around the yard that might have accumulated over the winter.
  • What to do with all you've decluttered? Hold a yard sale, sell items on craigslist, give away usable items to charitable organizations and toss what is no longer usable.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Monday, January 26, 2009

We take turns reading to each other and snickering at the decorating missteps

I've got to tell you there's no better way to shop these days than at consignment stores...

I found this chaise for $150 (I happened to know who consigned this item, so I felt good about buying it; I don't usually buy second-hand upholstered items...worry about possible smoke or pet smells or maybe someone who owned it didn't like The Office and I love The Office...).

Also got the print on the left and the one on the right of the girl with white hat for about $12 each. I decided to put all these items in my home office, giving it a little rehab. I really likely how this arrangement on the wall is turning out.

I placed this "I love you" American Sign Language sculpture in there, too. I originally bought it for the living room, until my 6-year-old son admitted he didn't really like it after he said he really liked it. He was just afraid he would hurt its feelings if he told the truth...and who needs a creepy hand on a stick holding a grudge? It's better contained in my office.

That's what the office looked like before I shoved those magazines out of the frame. I plan to read all of those...but there is a protocol.

You read them once, let them rest, and then go back and read again, this time ripping out the pages you like. But sometimes new magazines come in while the old ones are resting and you have to read those fast, so you don't mess up the order of things, but then the new magazines need a third read because they were not given proper respect the first time around and then the pile grows and grows and grows...and the kitten is staring at me...why is the kitten staring at me???

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Be the first to vote...

...on a poll I'm taking over at my other blog, Dispatches from Suburbia...

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Inaugurating a new blog; formal wear optional

Since some of my recent posts have veered off the topic of design and staging, I've decided to tart another blog, Dispatches from Suburbia, for those. It's meant to be a (hopefully) humorous look at life.

If that interests you, I'd love to see you there. If not, please keep checking back here for future decorating posts.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Friday, January 16, 2009

2 women, 1 lady in a hot city

I'm back and refreshed for the new year.

Just returned from a mini-vacation with my sisters in Miami.

Because my sisters begged me to join them. The sun won't shine as brightly without you there, they said. The soothing waterfall in the spa, not so soothing. The fruit smoothies by the pool, not that smoothy, they intoned.

I feigned modesty, but knowing that was all true, I decided to leave frigid Rhode Island and join them in their vacation-already-in-progress that they had accidentally forgotten to invite me along on when they made plans months ago.

(But, you are so important, we didn't think your family could survive without you. Your work so critical, and what with the economy already struggling, we didn't want to interfere with the global recovery. Your bank account so skinny given your propensity for charitable giving... So true, so true, I said, and forgave them for the inability to see what I can pull off to save my sisters from the dullness of a vacation without me.)

My sisters are both quite attractive, if you judge beauty in the conventional sense, of course. One has curly locks and is tone and muscular, clear to all thanks to her insistence on wearing a bathing suit in the pool. Truth be told, it's only the hours in the gym that make her that way. But is that natural beauty? I'm not sure...

The other is tall and thin with a mane of thick hair. You hear whispering about "Super Model" when she's around. True, it is she who is whispering, but still others get the point. But is beauty like that without work truly beautiful? I'm not sure...

From time to time, probably because I am generous enough to talk to people whatever their mental capabilities, people mistake me for their mother. I know what you are thinking: While you are the oldest of the three, aren't there only two and a half years between you and the youngest?

Yes, that is true. But I don't think people are judging physical attributes here. Take for instance, the massage therapist at the spa where we stayed in Miami. After appointments with my two sisters (who, as I mentioned, started the vacation earlier than me by mistake), it was my turn.

Another Harrington? he asked. Are you the mother? My initial reaction: I asked him to pinch himself - hard, on his upper arm, on the fleshy part where it really hurts. I was on vacation after all, and wasn't about to do that myself.

But, after that, I realized several things: One, he was clearly looking into my eyes and not at my body that has, after all, given birth. He could see the maturity, I am sure. He could see the way I have counseled my sisters throughout the years, guided them so well that one now owns a successful business and the other manages accounts worth millions. He could see that without me, they would stumble their way through life, accidentally taking dull vacations together.

And then there's the language barrier. "Mother" in his culture probably means "most kind of the three" or perhaps "willing to talk to the mentally deficient." In the end, we had a laugh. Well, actually, he may have been whimpering from the pain in his arm, but he saw the folly of it all.

We're home now, relaxed and ready for whatever '09 brings. I'm still keeping tabs on my sisters, with a maternal instinct of sorts. I have their travel agent on speed dial, for instance, checking in every few hours, keeping a close eye on their plans.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Sunday, November 30, 2008

What's better than eating candy? Decorating with it, of course

Two purposes for this post:

  • To verify that I am still alive. (Just been very busy, so sorry...)
  • And to make you hungry.

A local real estate firm hired me and my friend Marianne from Consignments Ltd. to decorate their window for a Holiday Stroll on Main Street (East Greenwich, RI).

The company didn't have a window so much as an entire room, a corner conference room with floor-to-ceiling windows on two sides.

We settled on a red and white theme, with candy, lots and lots of candy. Our theme was Home Sweet Home (get it, real estate company and candy...)

Two reasons to be bummed about this post:

  • I don't think the photos do the window justice.
  • You can't really drink those candy martinis...

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Monday, November 10, 2008

I can move a fridge in like, seconds

A long-distance client needed help figuring the layout of a large room with a few twists and turns in it. (That's the kitchen in the lower right corner. In the sitting area across from it, there's a fireplace.)

She gave me the dimensions of the room and of a few furniture pieces that she wanted to use (the large china cabinet, the dining table and chairs, a curio cabinet, the desk tucked in the lower left and a TV). She also emailed me a video of the room she shot on her cell phone.

The client wanted to imagine ways to lay out the room before she bought some new pieces.

When I re-arrange furniture, I always try a couple of options. You can never truly tell what will look best until you try. For this client, I drew up four options... cause moving furniture online is so much easier than in real life...

I have a favorite plan... but I think any one could work. (By the way, if you'd like an online consultation with a certain interior redesigner you could find out more here.)

Stumble Upon Toolbar