Just as we settle in to fall and start to enjoy visions of oranges, deep purples and olives, Benjamin Moore and Glidden announce their color of the year for 2016 is …. White? Sherwin-Williams and Behr are also showing an off-white in their 2016 color trend forecasts. But wait, isn’t white um boring? I think it’s all in how you use it and of course what you use for accents and accessories. Kitchen cabinets painted in Benjamin Moore’s’ Simply White contrasted with a black counter top and black pulls create a crisp clean look. Add some primary colored canisters to the counter tops for a pop of color and voila’ you have a kitchen that states, clean and crisp with a side of fun. Appliances can be classic stainless steel or White is becoming a clear star across a broad range of kitchen styles, but do keep in mind for us baby boomers, these new models are not the white appliances you may have grown up with. White cabinets paired with white appliances add to the flow of the space, which is particularly important in a small kitchen. You can also add bright pops of color to your kitchen with some of the smaller appliances, such as a bright red or blue Kitchen Aid or even a toaster, and bright color metal retro bar stools finish the look. For living rooms, Cappuccino White from Glidden is a creamy white that works best with warm hues. Used in a room with a dark floor it will boost the light in the space and help to create the warm glow you get from a sunny day. A creamy white is warmer and friendlier than the grays that are currently popular and can help to keep the chill away during the upcoming gloomy winter days. But for those of you who are just starting to love the grays painting walls with Sherwin Williams Alabaster, and accessorizing with a mix of grays and browns will create a visually interesting, warm and welcoming space. A bonus of a neutral-only room is that you can easily add pops of seasonal colors to keep a room fresh and interesting, adding sunny yellows for spring, bright blues and teals for summer, and olives, burnt oranges and purples for fall. For furniture such as sofas and large chairs, I recommend staying with creams, beiges or grays, rather than whites. Whites work well for formal seldom used living rooms but don’t hold up well for day to day living. I’m not sure that the old real estate advice of painting everything white is on its way back, and even if white stays on as a lasting trend there are a multitude of shades of white to consider. If you would like help we now have a color specialist and interior designer on staff with over 25 years of experience in design that can help you to choose the shade that will be best for you and your project.Continue Reading... No Comments.
Fall is my favorite time of year for staging because I can use more of the deep rich colors I love. Deep purples, burnished oranges, elegant burgundy’s, rich teals and blues make beautiful accents for beiges and grays to create an elegant warm fall look that mirror the colors of the turning leaves. The key to helping a buyer fall in love with your home is to create an emotional connection the minute they walk in the door, then continue building on that connection as they tour each room of the home. I love to include cuddly fur throws, where buyers can see themselves lounging with a book enjoying a chilly fall evening with a cup of tea or cider. Crisp sunny fall days fade quickly into dark cold evenings, making lighting even more important than ever. We use more uplights and make sure to keep all lamps on to create a welcoming ambiance. It’s also important to set your heat to at least 65. Buyers won’t want to stay long in a home where they can see their breath! Outdoor staging in the fall offers lot’s of color choices as well. With the cooler damper weather, bright yellow, orange and burgundy mums are fabulous to add warmth and color to flower beds and pots. Coleus and bright cabbage can also be added to pots placed on back decks to add color. We don’t suggest staging patios and decks in the fall unless there’s a view or the area is well covered. For living, most of us store our outdoor furniture or keep it well covered to protect it from the weather. For staging, it’s very similar. With our blustery rainy days, outdoor furniture gets grimy pretty quickly, and when selling, clean is critical. Colorful fall foliage makes a much better statement than dirt smudged outdoor furniture. Make sure to check pots often and remove any dead or decaying leaves to create a fresh and welcoming appeal.Continue Reading... No Comments.
Fall in the Pacific Northwest is one of the most beautiful times of year and the market is cooking! It seems like we hardly finish staging before we get a call from the Realtor that the home is pending! I just checked our statistics and over 90% of our staged homes are pending within 7 days! We just helped a client who had a condo that had been on the market for over 90 days. The Realtor decided to pull it off the market for two weeks to take care of some minor repairs and during that time we staged the condo. The good news is that once staged with new photos, the condo was pending in 5 days. In a buyer’s market, staging makes the difference between a home that sells in 30 days or less and a home that languishes on the market. In a seller’s market, staging is the key to getting over the asking price and launching bidding wars. Staging is packaging, and according to the latest research on HomeGain.com there’s a 196% return on the investment staging. I wish the stock market did that!Continue Reading... No Comments.
5557 SW Campbell Place, Seattle from Bitlogic Productions on Vimeo. Views + Privacy! My-oh-my! This century-old beauty has been lovingly cared for and thoughtfully updated/remodeled. An integration of old and new creates a space that is simply magical. The 3,502 SF home offers three bedrooms and four baths on three living levels. A wall of windows and huge main-floor deck offer breath-taking views. The stunning custom kitchen fuses art and utility with bamboo floors and cabinetry, granite and glass counters, and high-end stainless appliances. A charming master has a dressing room that could double as a nursery. Updated baths. Storage galore: secret rooms and closets at every turn. An extra-long garage can house three cars tandem-style, or becomes play space for ping pong, hop scotch or whatever your imagination can dream. The garage has water views, too! Property borders Schmitz Park: 70 acres of old-growth timber, walking trails to Alki. Welcome home!Continue Reading... No Comments.
Whether you have an amazing view of the sound or just a back deck ready for entertaining, this is the time of year to stage for outdoor living. We might not always have the best weather, but hey we in the Northwest, don’t let a little rain, or gray sky interfere with our outdoor living. We like to be outside year round, which is what makes creating an outdoor space that is family and weather friendly so important when selling a home. In fact this time of year the right outdoor staging can make the sale. In the fall and winter, I don’t stage decks or patios, as furniture can get dirty and dingy quickly, and some year’s summer doesn’t start until August, but I think this year the weather is co-operating early. When staging the inside of a home, I create a design that will appeal to the type of family I imagine will be living in the home, as well as the style and location of the home. The same concepts apply when choosing an outdoor design. It isn’t necessary to fully stage the deck especially if it’s a large area, but if there’s a view it is important to create a seating vignette that highlights the view. I’ve had more than one client tell me that they wrote the offer for the home while sitting in my Adirondack chairs facing the sound in the sunset. Staging is important but landscaping is even more so. Even a home with a small back yard can be attractive and be a strong selling point. Here are a few ideas that I provided last year for creating an appealing back yard whether it’s large or small: If there isn’t a deck, pave or tile an area for outside dining. You can’t control the neighbors, but you can create a privacy screen. Adding a trellis to screen a sitting area creates a feeling of beauty and privacy even in a tiny back yard. Use curves instead of angles. Every yard your buyers look at will have the traditional back yard with a square or rectangular lawn bordered with bark flower beds. If you are re-landscaping the back yard anyway, create curves instead of angles. It makes the yard stand out from the rest and costs about the same as standard landscaping. Add planter boxes and/or built in benches to decks and patios. Even in winter months you can create attractive planter boxes, using plants such as grasses, flowering Kale and cabbage, small evergreens and ivy that are hardy enough to withstand the weather. While the front of the home may be the first impression, the back yard is where the family will see themselves spending time once they have moved into the home. The curb appeal of the front of the home will get them in the door. Touring the interior that is staged to match their lifestyle will create the all important emotional connection, and the backyard design will seal the deal.Continue Reading... No Comments.
How many rooms should I stage? Should I stage the entire house? What if I only stage the living room? Do I have to stage all the bedrooms? My answer to these questions is as varied as the style and character of the homes on the market. It really depends! In a perfect world I would always stage every room, as The National Association of REALTORS 2015 Profile on Home Staging found that 81% of buyers find it is easier to visualize a property as a future home when it’s Staged. In addition, a virtual tour of a vacant room is well, boring. Do you stop and gaze at the photos of empty living rooms? No, you just click on through. How can you tell one bedroom from the next if they are just room after room of carpet and walls? It always seems a shame to me that many Realtors and sellers invest in professional photography without including staging as part of their marketing plan. Of course on the flip side, I hate to see people invest in staging without including professional photography. However it isn’t always necessary to stage all the rooms in the home, especially if you have over 3 bedrooms. Here are somethings I consider when deciding how many and which rooms to stage. Challenging spaces. Homes with great room spaces are difficult for buyers to imagine how the space will be used. Is it an eating area or a family room. Staging will define the living space and buyers will appreciate how great it will be for the family to be able to cook, watch TV and dine together in an open great room space. Is the room smaller than average? Staging will help the room to feel larger. Small master bedrooms and guest rooms feel larger and usable if they are well staged. Architectural challenges. How are they going to arrange furniture when there is a beam in the middle of the room? Did you remove a supporting wall and need to leave a support beam in the middle of a family room? These are the most challenging rooms to stage. If we find it difficult to imagine after staging hundreds of home, how much harder is it for a buyer to figure out how to use the room? Fireplace off center. The fireplace is usually the focal point of a room, but in some homes the fireplace is off to the side or located in the center cutting the room in half. These spaces are really critical to stage. Functional rooms not well defined. For example, in our world we all need a home office, but not all homes have a room that was specifically designed as an office. In these homes we can add a desk to a bedroom, creating a guestroom/office or add an office space to a large family room. The minimum staging design that I recommend is to stage the Living room, Dining Room, Kitchen, Family Room all bathrooms, and the master bedroom. If there is an eating area in the kitchen as well as a formal dining room, the eating area should also be staged. In larger homes where there is a formal living room, a family room and a bonus room, we sometimes leave off staging the bonus area. However this really depends on the room. In some homes the bonus room is just a space at the opt of the stairs, and not staged the buyer will not appreciate the perfect space for kids or an extra office. In a nutshell staging a few additional rooms may make the difference in a home that sells for asking price, or one that sells for thousands over. If you have a specific question, call me or post it on my Facebook page, and I will feature your question with an answer on my bi-weekly radio show on the Chat with Women Network. Listen in the first and third Wednesday of the month on KKNW 1150 AM radio from 8:00am to 9:00am! PamContinue Reading... No Comments.
There are rules and guidelines around just about everything, and I’m sure it won’t surprise you to know that there are some do’s and don’ts around how to hang artwork. How high? How many? How large? This month I’ll give you 5 tips that I use to hang art without putting huge holes in the walls and to accessorize rather than overwhelm the space. Hang art at about eye level for someone around 5’4’ to 5’6”. Most people hang art too high, which draws the eye up and away from the space and décor in the room. In children’s rooms, art should be hung much lower to accent and create a space that smaller one’s can enjoy. Bigger is better. On a large wall, one large piece is more appealing than several smaller pieces. If you are hanging art over a sofa, art should be centered and about 3 to 6” above the top of the sofa. To hang heavy pieces use Hercules Hooks or Monkey hooks. These little gems hold up to 200 lbs and they just put this teensy weensy hole in the wall. I LOVE them. Not only do they hold a ton of weight but they are easy schmeasy to get into the walls. Even I can do it! Basically, you poke the pointy end into the wall and twist to work the hook in. The hook curves around the inside of the wall board which provides the strength and voile’ you hang the picture. If the artwork isn’t too heavy, you could try 3M Command picture hanging strips. And they don’t damage the wall when removing! I’ve used these in my warehouse to create a purse hanging area, and use them in homes where clients are sensitive about holes in the walls. However, in staged homes I only use them for very light pieces. If you are hanging art work that has multiple frames, hang the art about ½ “apart to create the feeling of one large rather than several small pieces. We also use abstract art when staging that can be hung either horizontally or vertically: If I want to draw attention to a high ceiling, I might choose 2 or 3 pieces and walk them up the wall to draw the eye up towards the ceiling. In this home simple metal bowls from Ikea were used to create a dramatic space. Art like any other accessory can be overused in a staged home. As with anything, when selling less is more. When choosing which walls should have art, always think of the first impression of the room, and the angle that the photo will be shot from. Mirrors are good choices to reflect views and add depth to a room. Most of the time the tips we use for staging are also good rules of thumb to follow when choosing and hanging art in your home. The advantage is that it’s YOUR house! You really can do whatever pleases you, including an entire wall of the family history. But when you are preparing to sell, the “wall of family” will need to come down to help buyers imagine their families creating a new history in your home! If you have a specific question, call me or post it on my Facebook page, and I will feature your question with an answer on my bi-weekly radio show on the Chat with Women Network. Listen in the first and third Wednesday of the month on KKNW 1150 AM radio from 8:00am to 9:00am! Pam Pam Christensen is an Accredited Staging Professional Master who specializes in working with investors to help them maximize their return on investment by providing high quality staging that get results! Pam Christensen, ASPMContinue Reading... No Comments.
Next too, “what does it cost to stage” I think the most frequently asked question I have is “What color should I paint my _____”. I used to advise against gray but right now gray is definitely a hot color in the northwest. But which gray? I have to admit that 50 shades is only the tip of the ice berg when it comes to the variety of grays available, even if you are only looking at one paint manufacturer. For example Sherwin Williams offers over 72 different shades of gray, starting with 59 in the cool neutral family, over 10 in the warm neutral family, a few in the green family, some in the violet and one in the white color family. My favorite Sherwin Williams shade of gray is Alpaca, a “greige” that offers the sophistication of gray but the warmth of a soft beige, and didn’t even come up in the search for grays! Benjamin Moore has a shades of gray collection that offers 30 different grays, ranging from cool blues to warmer greens and beige grays. So what’s a designer to do? Here are three tips on choosing the gray that will be right for your project, whether you are painting your own home or painting to create a beautiful product that will sell quickly. Always keep the style of the home in mind. You might love a cool and sophisticated white gray that suggest modern sophistication, but if the home is a traditional split level in a conservative neighborhood, a warmer gray would probably be a better choice. Lighting is critical. That awesome warm gray might look stunning in bright sunlight, but on a dreary fall evening it could change to a muddy depressing hue. Always paint a small sample on several walls and check it out morning afternoon and evening to see how the color changes. If you love it at all times of day, go for it! Don’t choose a color because you: a. saw it in a magazine and it looked great. b. you saw it on a wall in an open house or model home and loved it, or c. your friend, mom, sister, brother, etc. painted their house that color and it looked good in their house. Please go back to tip 2 before choosing a paint color. A final tip is to keep in mind that your wall color is the canvas and not the star of the show when creating the room. A warm neutral gray can be paired with just about any color or style which makes it a perfect choice for walls whether interior or exterior. Here’s one sample of a home we staged where the gray was the foundation for a trendy style that sold in 4 days: As you can see, gray is the perfect background for everything from hot oranges to cool chartreuse and teals. I’d love to talk to you about your project and have either myself or one of my designers help you choose the color and style that is perfect for you! If you have a specific question, comment here or post it on my Facebook page, and I will feature your question with an answer on my bi-weekly radio show on the Chat with Women Network. Listen in the first and third Wednesday of the monthg on KKNW 1150 AM radio from 8:00am to 9:00am!Continue Reading... No Comments.
Monkey hooks, or some call them Hercules Hooks are the best thing since sliced bread when hanging pictures. These little gems hold up to 200 lbs and they just put this teency weency hole in the wall. I LOVE them. Not only do they hold a ton of weight but they are easy schmeasy to get into the walls. Even I can do it! Basically, you poke the pointy end into the wall and twist to work the hook in. The hook curves around the wall which provides the strength and voila’ you hang the picture. No more Molly bolts! So how high do you hang those pictures? My rule of thumb is to hang them about eye level for someone 5’4″. Now I’m only 5′ so I have to stand on my tippy toes to get the right height. And my main picture hanger, Eamen, is 6’2 so he has to stoop a bit to get them right. As always there’s an exception to every rule. For example art in children’s’ rooms can be hung a bit lower as your appealing to a shorter audience. When you are working with area’s where you have switch plates or low window sills you might want to hang the pictures higher or lower to avoid obstacles or create a more pleasing line. How many are too many? Of course the answer to this question depends on whether you are arranging art to please your eye, or whether you are staging your home to sell. I have a wall in my home that I have hung my collection of dinghy pictures. I have six pieces of various sizes that I hung on a black wall to create a colorful nautical mural. I like it, and it reminds me of all the boating vacations we have taken. Will I leave the wall when I sell? Probably not. Usually I recommend one large piece over several smaller pieces when I am hanging art in home that will be on the market. One large piece will create a color statement or focal point without adding visual clutter. If I want to draw attention to a high ceiling, I might choose 2 or 3 pieces and walk them up the wall to draw the eye up towards the ceiling. I tend to choose abstract art for staging, for the same reason that I don’t recommend too many personal photos. The art is an accessory to the wall to highlight the space. I may create a focal point with art, but not to highlight the artwork, it’s to add pop and color to the room. Next post I’ll focus on some of my favorite places to find great art, and go into some of my favorite tools to make hanging art a breeze!Continue Reading... No Comments.