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.
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.
Whether you are working to create a more serene living space, or to stage your home to appeal to a picky buyer, it’s important to begin with getting rid of the clutter that we collect as part of our daily lives. Having clutter is natural, it doesn’t mean you’re a slob or lazy. Just look at the ground in any wooded area. Clutter is simply a part of life. But since we can’t count on a good wind storm to blow away the stuff we have collected or no longer need, here’s a few tips to help reduce clutter in your home: 1. Don’t try to do it all at once. Choose an area that is most irritating to you. The top of your desk in your home office, or that junk drawer in the kitchen. 2. Divide things into three piles, one to keep, one to sell or give away, and one that you just aren’t quite ready to part with. Box the third one up to store away. 3. Take the box to sell or give away and do something with it now! That’s why it’s helpful to have an organizer or stager work with you to make sure that clutter just doesn’t move from a drawer to a closet floor! Once you have finished, do something to reward yourself. A half an hour on the couch with a good book, a walk in the sunshine or maybe even a manicure!Continue Reading... No Comments.
This has been a “staged today and sold tomorrow” week! Last Tuesday I staged a lovely Redmond townhouse. We brought in a few (very few) accessories and added a dining room set. Then we “shopped” in the garage for a few accent pieces and artwork. I left the home owner with an EcoJoe (check out my website products page if you aren’t familiar with him). After giving her detailed instructions on how to bury him we were on our way. On Saturday while I was helping my brother move I received the loveliest text! “Pam I sold my condo today! I buried the statue just like you said and the first person to look at it bought it! I love what you did with my home and I’ll refer you to anyone I know who is selling. I really appreciate that you used my things to stage it! Thank you Pam!” That my friends is what happens when you do what you were meant to do in the world and I am so grateful that I gave myself the gift of following my passion!Continue Reading... No Comments.
Days are getting shorter, leaves are turning, and there is a definite chill in the morning air. Sundays are now dedicated to football, and chili and stews are replacing hamburgers on the grill. Sweaters and jeans are in, shorts and tanks are out! Why not add a little fall color and spice to your home? Fall colors are fabulous! Rich oranges, brilliant yellows and luxurious burgundy’s abound in nature, bringing them into your home will make it warm, cozy and inviting, and best of all it’s easy and inexpensive! In the living room, add a rich burgundy throw casually tossed on a sofa or comfortable chair. Simply add a cup of tea and a good book and voila’ a rich and warm fall retreat. Replace the centerpiece on the coffee table with a vase filled with greenery and fall leaves. Add some heavy candle sticks with spice scented candles and not only will your room feel rich it will be filled with the comforting aroma of cinnamon or pumpkin spice. In the dining room, simply adding a rich brown, orange or golden-yellow runner, and a bowl or basket filled with deep olive faux pears. Your grocery store is filled with sqaush, pumpkins and colorful fall corn create an arrangement from veggies’ or again simply take a walk and collect leafs and branches that delight your eye. Arrange them in a vase add candle sticks and your stage is set for intimate dinners of rich soups and stews. And don’t forget the bedroom! Replace the light summer quilt with a rich down comforter, or simply add a fun faux fur throw to the end of the bed! A vase filled with rich yellow or orange mums either fresh or silk add a pop of fall color to your night stand that will delight you when you cuddle up in your blanky during crisp fall evenings. I think the most important thing is to let your home change with the seasons, and follow natures with flare!Continue Reading... No Comments.
Staging is not just pulling grandma’s couch out of the basement and putting it in the living room so the room isn’t empty. “Of course, I know that” you say, but it’s surprising how many times I have been called to look at a home that has been on the market for 30 days or more and amazingly enough there is grandma’s couch! Okay so it isn’t really grandma’s but you get the picture. Furniture placement is critical and can make or break the appearance and feel of a room. Selecting the right furniture, artwork and accessories is the beginning of creating a design that will showcase the home it’s best advantage. The next and most critical step is the process of arranging the furniture so the room flows well. Anyone who watches me stage will see me stand at the door way and study the room. I’ll then arrange the furniture, walk back to the door way and study the room again. In a difficult floor plan I’ll do this sometimes 3 or 4 times before I find the arrangement that shows the room to its best advantage. With the right furnishings and the right arrangement a small room can be made to feel larger, and a large room can go from a cavernous bowling alley to a spacious and elegant living room. When creating a look that will sell a home there are several factors to consider: 1. The features to high light or de-emphasize . What is the focal point of the room? What is there about the room that they buyer might find challenging or unappealing? 2. The flow of the room. Don’t block pathways and doorways. Arrange furnishings so they create a flow that leads the buyer through the room. 3. The eye of the camera. What will the camera see? The internet is the first impression of the home, if it doesn’t show well in the picture, the buyer won’t waste their time and gas to come in to the home. The formal living room is often the first room the buyers will see when they walk in the door, and the last room they see as they leave. In this example the large book-case on the far wall made the room feel heavy and created the “titanic” effect. Replacing the heavy book-case with a sofa, and facing the sofa towards the door created a look that said, “come in and sit down” . Bedrooms left vacant appear smaller than they really are. If the bedroom is small, the worst thing that you can do is to leave it vacant, the second worse thing is to put only one thing in the room. It is important to put the right size bed, in the right place in the room with the right accessories to show how really spacious and functional the bedroom actually is. A common mistake is to angle the bed in a small bedroom. Occasionally this is the right place for the bed, but most of the time it will create the illusion in the buyer’s mind that there isn’t enough space for a dresser even in a large room! This tiny bedroom looked no bigger than a closet when it was vacant. Once staged it was clearly large enough for a kids room. By not filling the room the buyer is left with the impression that they could easily add their dresser to the room and move right in. Selecting the right furniture is only half the battle, to create a look that captures the buyers heart and makes a sale the furnishings have to be arranged to truly showcase the home.Continue Reading... No Comments.
I just woke up from a dream that I had to write a story (probably because day after tomorrow I am getting new videos made and I went to bed without writing the scripts). In the dream I was given the basic details, it was a fantasy with fairies who lived in beautiful woods. I was given the main characters, the hero heroine and some of the supporting characters. Then they whoever they were said “Okay write the story”. “But I can’t!” I stressed. “What does their living room look like? What’s the color scheme? How can I write a story when I can’t see the rooms and the furnishings?” They, whoever they were, said “That’s your talent, you’ll figure it out.” So I started walking through my warehouse looking at my artwork and what sofas I had in stock thinking “What would fairies want in their house. Probably soft pastels. Most likely smaller furnishings. I picked my favorite small celery green sofa, and some artwork that would compliment the colors and the theme of whimsical, fantasy. Once I had decided on the main color scheme and artwork it was easy to start picking the accessories and other furnishings that would fill in the details of the decor. “Okay,” I thought to myself, “Now that I can see where they live I can write the story!” That’s when I woke up and decided that I had better get out of bed and write it down, because if I waited until morning it would be a fuzzy blur. This dream is really how I stage. I am given the plot, that would be the floor plan and color scheme of a home, the main characters are the people who I imagine would live in the home; a young couple just starting out dreaming of the life they will be creating together, or the young professional who works downtown and wants a home that is trendy and sophisticated, yet warm and livable, the empty nesters who are downsizing and want space for hobbies and grandchildren. The color scheme is almost always pretty neutral, beige or creams, occasionally I have a home with a striking orange or red pallette. To start a design I have to select the sofa or artwork that I will use to build the design around. Once I have selected the main pieces the rest of the design will begin to fall into place. Easy right?Continue Reading... No Comments.
Here’s the scenario: I’m in Target, it’s 8:30 they close in a half an hour and I need 12 bed pillows, bedding for a queen bed that will go with the artwork and lamps I have in the warehouse, towels for 3 bathrooms, rugs oh and I’m out of faux fruit. I’m figuring out how to stuff all of it into one cart and get out before they turn the lights off around me. I race to the check stand, pillows flying, hair on fire and the person working at the register looks at my cart and casually asks “Redecorating?” “No” I reply. “I’m a Home stager and we are staging a large home tomorrow.” “Oh, how cool!” they gush. “I’ve always wanted to do that it sounds SO fun!” My inside grumbly voice says “Oh yeah, this is fun. I’ve been up since 5am so I could get contracts written, banking figured out and bills sent out. I started packing the truck at 8, staging by 10 and by 5 had the luxury of walking around the beautifully staged home covered in sweat and starving BUT admiring our work. Took pictures, gave the team a hug said thanks see you tomorrow and headed out to shop. How glamorous.” My outside voice however says “It is fun! I love creating beautiful rooms for my clients and helping them sell their homes.” Then my inside voice thinks, “I was in the corporate world for close to 30 years. When we stage a home and the seller walks through with shining eyes thanking us for the beautiful job, then calls me excitedly the next day and says “hey we got a full price offer in one day! Thank you so much!!” I know that I love what I do, the good and the not so good, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”Continue Reading... No Comments.
When preparing your home to go on the market, or when starting any project really, it’s always best to start with “A” for analyze. Stand across the street from your home and take a good hard look. Now the point of this exercise is not to put yourself into a giant case of the shoulds, you know “woh, I should mow the lawn, I should weed the flower beds, I should have never planted those Calla lily’s they have taken over the flower beds”, nope, nope nope! The point is to try to look at your home the way a critical buyer would look at it. Is the paint peeling? Can you see the front of your house or is it hidden by foliage that hasn’t been pruned since you bought the home in 1995. One of my favorite sayings that I learned from Barb Schwarz when I became an ASP is “If you can’t see it, you can’t sell it”. Keep that in mind as you look at the front of your home. But remember this isn’t the time to beat yourself up for neglecting your chores, this is the time to simply observe and start a list. Start with the most obvious, and work your way through to the most nit picky. Once you have your list the next step will be to sort through it and priotize based on importance, time, and of course money. Here are a few of the most common things that I put on the list for the outside of the home: 1. Prune trees from the bottom up to open up the view of your home. 2. Shape shrubs from the top down to create a symetrical shape. 3. Weed all flower beds 4. Spread fresh bark, either the standard red, or use dark brown which really pops next to healthy green lawn. 5. Plant flowering annuals to add a pop of color to your beds. For some people these 5 things will be the end of the list but for others the list can go on and on. So for brevity’s sake, I’ll talk more about curb appeal and outdoor repairs in future blogs. Once you have a good list for the front of your home it’s time to walk through the door. The key is to try to look at your home with new eyes. This is nowhere near as easy as it sounds. Most people I know are either hyper critical of themselves, or they can’t see anything wrong at all. It really is a good investment to hire a professional to perform a consultation and walk through your home with you. We can help you put things into perspective and prioritize what needs to be done so it isn’t so overwhelming.Continue Reading... No Comments.
I was going to blog about how to choose a color for the outside of your home but all I can think about is that it’s supposed to be summer here in Seattle and I’m still wearing jeans!! Okay I think I have that out of my system now. With our gray Seattle days I think color inside and out is one of the most important components of creating a space that nurtures and sells. Skillful use of color can disguise design flaws, boost curb appeal and increase the market value of your home. Choosing outdoor colors can be a real headache, especially if you start with a huge paint fan and try to narrow it down that way. I recently interviewed Pam Ellis from Ellis Design services on my radio show. Pam has years of experience as a faux painter, and in color design and offered great tips for my listeners on how to choose an outside color schemes. Here’s a few of her tips, sprinkled with a few of mine 🙂 1. Go for a drive. When choosing an outside color it’s important to blend in with the neighborhood. Now I’m not suggesting that you paint your home the same color as everyone elses, but it is important to choose a color scheme that is complimentary to the neighborhood, not one that sticks out like a sore thumb. 2. Consider the architecture of the home. Choose a paint color that highlights architectural features of the home, and plays down any flaws. One home I consulted on recently had upper siding that was different from the lower siding. By painting the siding the same color the result was well blended. If we had painted the siding two different colors the house would have looked dated and choppy. 3. Borrow from nature. If you have a home that is surrounded by woods, you might want to choose an earthy palette of browns and beige. 4. Consider features of the home that won’t be painted. Choose colors that will harmonize with the roof color, brick features and metal work. 5. Don’t get too creative with outside colors. I recommend using no more than three colors for the exterior of the home. One color for the main area, a trim color, and a color for the front door. The only time I would possibly recommend an additional color is if you have eaves that should have the underside painted. In that case I would recommend a darker shade of the main house color. 6. Choose outside colors that harmonize with the interior color scheme. The home should flow well, with the color scheme naturally transitioning from the outside in. 7. Check out palettes that have already been put together. Both Sherwin Williams and Benjamin Moore have some great color schemes that have been developed by their designers who have years of experience. Why stress yourself? What ever colors you are leaning towards, I recommend that you buy a small amount first and paint a few swatches around the house. Colors change with lighting and surroundings. A color that looks great in the store will look different in sunlight, and a little different in shade. Right now with our blah summer, I’m really liking those creamy yellows 🙂Continue Reading... No Comments.