January 10, 2011
March 24, 2010
February 3, 2010
January 11, 2010
September 1, 2009
August 20, 2009
There are few little known secrets of sellings houses... for example, planting yellow flowers by the front entrance, or changing out the address numbers with sharp, visible ones. One of the biggest secrets how extremely important it is to make the front porch look and feel welcoming. A porch swing is one of the easiest changes to make!
Installation is not that difficult and can be done in just a few hours. All you have to do first is find the swing that best suits your home.
The most popular types of swings are wicker and wooden ones. Both can be spray painted whatever color you'd like. Wicker will have a more timeless, old world feeling, while wooden could stretch from a country look to a modern sleek look. Adding cushions to your swing will make a world of difference in a fresh, clean, comfortable feeling to all who see it. The main thing to remember is to match the style of your porch swing to the style of your home.
August 13, 2009
Making Your Buyers Feel Like Guests
Buyers only know what they SEE, not the way it's going TO BE. Pack up all personal collections, family pictures and taste specific decor. That includes religious items, personal awards and trophies, self-help books, bills and financial information sitting on the desk or kitchen counter, the family portrait on the wall and everything stuck on the fridge. If your family's personality is in every room, buyers can't imagine living there and they will feel like guests. It is vital to neutralize each room to appeal to the broadest range of buyers.
Decor that Fails to Connect with Your Buyers
June 25, 2009
Some Homes Are Selling!
It's not all doom and gloom. Fred Soule sold his home in Fort Wayne, Ind., after just two weeks. While he got $5,000 less than he'd hoped from the sale of his 4-year-old, three-bedroom house, he broke even when he bought another home across town. Soule negotiated the price on his new home based on what he was getting from his own sale, and the deal made it worth it, he says.
Soule also had a secret weapon -- staging. His sister and brother-in-law, big fans of TV home fix-up shows, coached him on decluttering his house and getting it sale-ready. Soule moved out a lot of his nonessentials, cleaned out the garage and even rented a storage unit.
May 27, 2009
- Use your dresser drawers. You don't have to take everything out of them when you move. Lightweight items such as clothing and linens can stay. In fact, it is smart to put a clean set of sheets, towels, and PJ's in each dresser so that you'll know right where they are when you move into your new place.
- Pack books and other heavy things in smaller boxes. Separate books by size so that you can pick and choose the right size and shape to fill each box snuggly.
- Pack like with like. Items of similar size, shape and weight travel well together. Lampshades often fit one into the other, saving space and offering each other protection. Lightbulbs can be wrapped carefully with extra paper...and put into a box marked "extra fragile."
- When you can, tape a small item to a larger item so it won't get lost. The tv remote can be taped to the TV, or the lamp finial taped to the lamp. If you cannot tape the small item to anything, wrap it with bright tissue paper so it can be found easily in a box filled with different things.
- Have some OLD sheets? Use old fitted sheets to protect a mattress... put two on one mattress, one on the front and one on the back. You can also wrap furniture with old sheets...use packing tape to keep it secure around the item. They are easy to wash, or just toss out, when you get to your new place.
- Most packed boxes will need "filler" material to keep items from moving around. Use clothing that doesn't fit into suitcases or boxes. Also use blankets, towels, stuffed animals and pillows.
- Labeling can be your best friend or worse nightmare. Boxes should be numbered AND labeled. Most expert packers suggest that you identify the contents of the box and its ulitmate destination on the top and on one side. Some people use a color coded system by room or floor. For extra security of the whereabouts of an item, also put on the box the room those items came from in the old house...since it could have come from the exercise room and the new house doesn't have an exercise room.
- The more you can BOX the better. It's easier to pack similar shapes together in a truck than it is to work with unusual shapes. So the floor lamps, garden tools, and golf clubs can each go into a wardrobe box. Put the pots from your patio into the same box that is used for table lamps. This will make the job of loading the truck much easier. As you pack, make sure nothing in any box will shift, or is poking out the top or sides.
- Reserve a box for those items that you know you'll need the minute you arrive. A flashlight, things you eat/drink every day, tools you'll need for assembly, the telephone, paper products, etc. Label accordingly and make sure it's last on the truck.
May 19, 2009
- Keep grass mowed and edges trimmed regularly (weekly).
- Pick up garden equipment, kids toys and empty clay pots.
- Hide trash cans out of view.
- Trees should be trimmed so that the bottom six feet is visible.
- Clear away bushes and trees to let some light in the house.
- Power wash the walkway and driveway.
- Neatly store children's toys in bins in the garage or side of the house.
Consider doing the following things to add more appeal:
- Add a large pot of bright flowers, and new doormat.
- Consider updating lighting or adding walk up lights.
- Plant, plant, plant! Flowers work miracles in the front yard.
- If you have a larger porch, consider a bench or rockers.
- Fresh mulch should be added to beds for a clean, manicured look.
- Consider hanging flower pots and colorful pots on steps and around the deck/patio.
Within 15 seconds a buyer will develop an attitude toward your house -- either positive or negative -- that they will be looking to reinforce throughout the rest of the home tour. Make the best of their first 15 seconds!!
May 18, 2009
DO use bright colors in accessories, but not wall color, cabinetry color, or floor color.
DO use higher end materials on fireplace surrounds, like tumbled stone and tile. Make the fireplace a showpiece!
DON'T install bowl-type above counter bathroom sinks. They look cool, but they need more upkeep and the water often splashes out of them... they have developed a not-so-good reputation.
DON'T install too many glass-door kitchen cabinets. These have a great look in kitchen design magazines where all the items behind them are kept in perfect order. But in practice, few people have the time or inclination to keep more than a few cabinets in order, color coordinated, and in perfect arrangement. Reserve these for your china and very few nice glasses and dishes. A good rule of thumb: don't install glass on more than 10% of your cabinet doors.
DON'T minimize the breakfast bar overhang. Buyers don't want to knock their knees against the cabinet when they pull up a stool to the bar. Make sure your countertop extends out a full 12 inches, or don't have a bar!
DON'T omit the window moldings. Plain drywall around the windows looks cheap. A lot of tract homes don't have moldings... be the most appealing home on the street just by investing in some molding to add around your windows! You can do this: http://www.remodelingguy.net/?p=699
May 14, 2009
1. Calm, clear, pure, wide open
-Reduce the color palette to calm, ‘quiet’ colors (like neutrals, water and earth tones)
-Gradually take away all clutter, including small decorative items (visually, they are clutter as well), things you don’t actually use, things with an obvious pattern, area rugs (particularly if they’re colorful and eye-catching)
-Clear the space (walls, floor, tables and other furniture).
When you look at this list, you might find that Zen interior design is a very radical concept. But it doesn’t have to be. You could, for example, start with one area, even a very small one; if you have a home office, it could just be one part of your desk. Decide that nothing is going to disturb this free, clear, calm space. No decoration, nothing.
Is there a part of your home that would be suitable as a Zen interior decorating test space? Just experiment a little. What color(s) do you want to have here? What materials? How would you like to express calmness, clarity, purity and openness?
2. Conscious awareness.
Reducing the decor in your home can have a very calming effect. The less there is to stimulate your senses, the more you will notice what is there, and how it affects you. Which brings me to the next aspect of Zen interior decorating …
3. Loving kindness.
Some people think that Zen interior design has to be sparse and spartan, that it's about denying yourself creature comforts. But that's not how I understand it. You could express loving kindness through the materials you use, and the things you surround yourself with. Are they pleasing to the senses? What do they look, feel, smell, sound, and taste like? Is your furniture comfortable? Do you feel at ease with the things around you? Are they welcoming to others?
Zen interior design really isn't about living in empty rooms. It's about creating true well-being, for body and soul.
There are many ways you can focus and calm your mind using home decor. For example, pictures or natural objects can help you enter a clear mind-state, and they definitely have their place in Zen interior decorating. The fewer and simpler they are, the better:
a piece of driftwood
a picture of a waterfall
...All of these can work beautifully in Zen interior design.
The Look of Zen Interior Decorating
Let's take another look at the idea that Zen interior design is more or less the same as giving your home a "Japanesey" appearance. After all, you’ve read this far, and hardly a word about Japan yet! Well, Buddhism originated in India and then ‘traveled’ north to China. Zen as a practice was first established in China, about 1500 years ago (it was called Ch’an). It spread to Vietnam, Korea, Japan, later to Europe and the USA, and is now practiced in many parts of the world. Sure, the word ‘Zen’ is Japanese, and the first Zen teachers that came to the West were Japanese. But there are many non-Japanese 'schools’ of this type of spiritual practice. And while traditional Japanese interiors are exquisitely stylish, pure, and gorgeous, Zen interior design really doesn’t need to ‘look Japanese’ at all. Any style that is not ornate or frilly can work. If you pare it down enough to fit the following list of criteria, you’ll be fine.
Elements of Zen interior design:
-Clean lines: nothing that's visually busy
-Open, clear spaces (zero clutter)
-Natural, beautiful but unfussy materials
-High quality but simple furnishings: nothing ‘bling’, no high-maintenance stuff, nothing that grabs attention or tries to impress
-Low-impact colors taken from nature, a minimum of (subtle) pattern
-Quality rather than quantity
-A calm overall look (you get enough stimulation when you step outside the front door!)
By using Zen interior design you'll create a peaceful, inspiring home that looks good without looking dressed up.
May 11, 2009
This article looks at the manual removal of popcorn but also looks at the risk involved if yours uses asbestos as an ingredient. Many the early mixes did include significant levels of asbestos. Get yours tested by a laboratory before proceeding. If the test is positive, consider hiring an asbestos removal professional.
Even if the ceiling in your home doesn’t contain asbestos, any scraping or sanding needs to be done carefully. Controlling dust is important because non-asbestos containing dust poses health hazards. The popcorn can contain lead which is another hazard, especially with children.
Prepare the Area
First, remove any furniture from the room you will be working in to remove the popcorn ceiling. Then, shut off any heating or air conditioning. Now turn off the electricity to all ceiling fans in the room.
Remove your smoke alarms and any other equipment attached on or close to your ceiling. Lay a layer of plastic on your floor. In big rooms, you will have to use more than one piece. Overlap these without taping them together. Hang plastic in doorways or case openings in order to keep dust from entering other parts of your house.
If your Popcorn Ceiling is not Painted
If the popcorn ceiling has never been painted, you should spray it with a water and liquid detergent mixture by using a sprayer. Mix a ratio of one cup of liquid detergent to five gallons water. Spray your popcorn ceiling two or three times to be sure your popcorn is completely wet. Popcorn texture is extremely porous and will absorb quite a bit of water.
After about fifteen minutes, test the popcorn by climbing the ladder and trying to scrape a section off. If it doesn’t come off easily, spray it again and re-test. As soon as it falls off in clumps, scrape the entire ceiling and mind your head when the clumps come down. Try to minimize the gouging of sheetrock to make skimming easier.
If your popcorn ceiling has been painted, it will probably not absorb the water and liquid detergent mixture. In this case you will have to proceed directly to the scraping. Still, try to minimize the gouging of the sheetrock. Since is flaking off dry, it is especially important to wear a respirator and safety glasses!
Once you are done, get rid of the debris by bundling up, taping closed, and removing the plastic on the floor. Then set out new plastic as before. When the ceiling is dry, you will need to get it ready for the finish you intend to apply, whether it is just painting or texturing and painting.
You will skim the sheetrock ceiling with sheetrock mud. Use a broad blade for this so you can cover a maximum amount of real estate. Once this is dry, use a pole sander equipped with a sanding screen to sand it smooth. If it needs another skim, do that and then re-sand.
Now you are ready to apply your new finish!
May 4, 2009
Here are some things that you should NOT DO when selling your home:
Don't do major renovations on your own without consulting a professional home stager or Realtor. Finishes and fixtures that you see as beautiful may not suit every buyer's tastes. It is best to limit the amount of time and investment you make on renovations to the essentials — replace old flooring, tackle small repairs, paint, change outdated fixtures. Save your renovation energy and dollars for your new home.
Don't assume the house will sell itself. The real estate market is a major game and you have competition. Make your home the most appealing product on the block. Declutter, clean, do small repairs, repaint and, in general, make it as new as possible. It should feel fresh and welcoming to the buyers.
Don't be afraid to ask for help. Call in a professional stager, whether they just spend a few hours giving you some helpful tips or they come in to completely redecorate your entire space. It is money well spent and will eventually end up back in your pocket when you sell your home for top dollar.
April 30, 2009
... or if you have wallpaper borders like this.
...or you have a wreath hung on your wall that looks like this.
...or if you are using a "swag" treatment over your windows/doors.
...or if you have this kind of wall display anywhere in your home.
All of the above "styles" were indeed very popular at one time. But as each decade passes, very few styles actually stick around. Just as you want to stay updated in your wardrobe, It's great to stay updated in your home decor!
April 28, 2009
1. Establish the room's major color palette. Gold accents should complement this palette, not dominate it--making gold the main focus could have a garish effect. The color of the floors, walls, window treatments and furniture will be the main palette; the gold accents will highlight. Stick to two or three colors at most for this palette.
2. Decide what kinds of gold accents work best with the existing decor. You can choose shiny, metallic or matte gold. A very contemporary decor requires modern gold accents, while a traditional theme works best with ornate, feminine gold details. Shop with your current color scheme and themes in mind. A trend is to mix contemporary and traditional lines.
3. Find artwork and wall hangings with gold details. A gold frame or gold paint can add pizzazz to your walls.
5. Consider paint tinged with metallic gold hues for the look of a gold-washed room.
6. Select gold hardware for doorknobs, cabinet doors and drawer pulls to complete the look. Gold-toned light switch covers may work well if the color is subtle elsewhere. A gold chandelier is perfect for more formal rooms. Buy gold-rimmed china and flatware to bring a gold accent to your serving pieces. Keep in mind that "brass" was very popular in the early 90's, and could look very dated.
Here are some tips on how to make attention-grabbing pattern work in your home.
Mix different patterns
You don't have to stick to one pattern, but don't use different designs of the same size, as they can make a scheme look busy.
Combine different-scale patterns
A large-scale design on walls or curtains mixed with a small repeat on cushions and other accessories is easier on the eye than a big print on every surface.
Keep to one color palette
You can guarantee a great-looking scheme by picking a colour theme and sticking to it. Choose up to three or four colors that complement each other and only select patterns in those shades. Too many colours can create a hectic atmosphere.
Take it in steps
If you're nervous about adding pattern to your home, think small. A patterned vase or a few cushions on the sofa are great starting points. To create an instant focal point, choose a patterned armchair to sit alongside a plain sofa, then gradually add more pattern to the room as your confidence grows.
Your home should reflect your personality, so the most important rule is to pick something you love, be bold and go for it!
(I do not recommend this decorating style when selling your home! When selling, think plain and neutral.)
April 26, 2009
Paint any room needing paint.
Clean carpets or drapes that need it.
April 22, 2009
Now, take it up to the next level – Create an atmosphere for entertaining, relaxation and romance.
--Have several comfortable chairs with a small table near the pool or spa.
--Naturally colorful towels neatly stacked or fluffy white ones neatly folded with a flower is attractive.
--Stage a small table with a book, sunglasses and a plastic glass.
Small pots will be overwhelmed and look out of place because pools and spas are large. Medium and midsize can give you an interesting mix. Lots of small pots will present a busy look, not one of luxury. Experiment in setting them around in different locations to see you what gives you the best affect.
--Continually water and fertilize plants and pull off dead leaves.
--Keep the water sparkling clear and all leaves, bugs, or other debris out of the pool.
--Remember to seal all the concrete joints and repair any damage tile.
--Damaged or worn spa covers should be out of sight whenever the home is being shown.