Tuesday
February 9, 2016

Styled, Staged & Sold

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Bringing you the latest home and design trends.
Updated: 37 min 6 sec ago

The Importance of Show-Ready Model Homes

Mon, 02/08/2016 - 01:00

By Patti Stern, PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating

Is model home building still a smart investment for homebuilders in today’s market? Some builders believe that today’s buyer knows exactly what they want and therefore don’t have to tour a model to help make home-buying decisions. However, only a small percentage of buyers today have any vision. Therefore, builders’ property specs and floor plans alone are usually not enough to convince buyers that a property will fit their needs.

Model Homes Decorated By PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating
Builder: Centerplan Communities, Pierpont Hill at North Haven, Bradley & Dayton Models

Our design team created a warm, inviting environment throughout this luxurious model above enhancing the spacious, open floor plan, elegant architectural details and on-trend features targeted to today’s buyers of all ages.

“Models are definitely worth the investment as they are another arrow in a sales manager’s quiver to help allay buyers concerns and build confidence in the product,” says Chris Bennett, builder/president of Centerplan Communities and a 20-year veteran of the construction management industry who has worked with companies such as Toll Brothers Luxury Builders and Fischer Homes. “The home building industry is still one of the few industries where the buyers want to touch, feel and experience the product before they purchase.” If buyers become engaged in the product and can envision themselves living in the space, they will ultimately feel more comfortable making a decision.

In addition, investing in both the design and decor of a model helps builders step it up a notch by appealing to target audiences with specific lifestyles and needs. According to Bennett, “the builder’s familiarity with their target market or buyer plays a significant role in the success of the model investment. For example, showcasing a first-floor master bedroom suite is important if the target market is 50 plus. In addition, young professionals will be attracted to stylish amenities or features such as barn doors, multi-height cabinets, pocket office space, energy efficient construction, LED lighting, under cabinet lighting, and custom kitchen islands.”

Model Home Decorated By PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating
Builder: Toll Brothers, Dorwood Model

For this model above, our design team created a coastal living theme targeted to the 55-plus community by incorporating different tones of blue, white and coral along with rustic wood and metallic accents. This theme helps suggest to buyers that one doesn’t have to go south to enjoy serenity.

To summarize, the following are some of the key reasons why we believe investing in show-ready models are as worthwhile as staging vacant properties:

  • Design, amenities and décor are targeted to buyers needs and interests
  • Placement of appropriate furniture and accessories will enhance architectural details, features and floor plan
  • Buyers can engage by touching and viewing details and envision living in the space
  • Buyers will feel more confident about the product and their decision
  • The properties will ultimately sell faster and create more traffic

What do you think? Do you think model homes still have a place in new-home construction?

 ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Patti Stern, principal, interior decorator and professional stager of PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating, has been decorating and staging homes since 2005. She and her team provide turnkey, full service home-staging and interior decorating to clients across Connecticut, New York and Massachusetts. She also developed an award-winning staging program for luxury homebuilder, Toll Brothers. Stern has been featured in Connecticut Magazine, the Hartford Courant, Danbury News-Times and on NBC Connecticut and FOX TV.  She is a regular contributor to Style, Staged and Sold.

The Importance of Show-Ready Model Homes

Mon, 02/08/2016 - 01:00

By Patti Stern, PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating

Is model home building still a smart investment for homebuilders in today’s market? Some builders believe that today’s buyer knows exactly what they want and therefore don’t have to tour a model to help make home-buying decisions. However, only a small percentage of buyers today have any vision. Therefore, builders’ property specs and floor plans alone are usually not enough to convince buyers that a property will fit their needs.

Model Homes Decorated By PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating
Builder: Centerplan Communities, Pierpont Hill at North Haven, Bradley & Dayton Models

Our design team created a warm, inviting environment throughout this luxurious model above enhancing the spacious, open floor plan, elegant architectural details and on-trend features targeted to today’s buyers of all ages.

“Models are definitely worth the investment as they are another arrow in a sales manager’s quiver to help allay buyers concerns and build confidence in the product,” says Chris Bennett, builder/president of Centerplan Communities and a 20-year veteran of the construction management industry who has worked with companies such as Toll Brothers Luxury Builders and Fischer Homes. “The home building industry is still one of the few industries where the buyers want to touch, feel and experience the product before they purchase.” If buyers become engaged in the product and can envision themselves living in the space, they will ultimately feel more comfortable making a decision.

In addition, investing in both the design and decor of a model helps builders step it up a notch by appealing to target audiences with specific lifestyles and needs. According to Bennett, “the builder’s familiarity with their target market or buyer plays a significant role in the success of the model investment. For example, showcasing a first-floor master bedroom suite is important if the target market is 50 plus. In addition, young professionals will be attracted to stylish amenities or features such as barn doors, multi-height cabinets, pocket office space, energy efficient construction, LED lighting, under cabinet lighting, and custom kitchen islands.”

Model Home Decorated By PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating
Builder: Toll Brothers, Dorwood Model

For this model above, our design team created a coastal living theme targeted to the 55-plus community by incorporating different tones of blue, white and coral along with rustic wood and metallic accents. This theme helps suggest to buyers that one doesn’t have to go south to enjoy serenity.

To summarize, the following are some of the key reasons why we believe investing in show-ready models are as worthwhile as staging vacant properties:

  • Design, amenities and décor are targeted to buyers needs and interests
  • Placement of appropriate furniture and accessories will enhance architectural details, features and floor plan
  • Buyers can engage by touching and viewing details and envision living in the space
  • Buyers will feel more confident about the product and their decision
  • The properties will ultimately sell faster and create more traffic

What do you think? Do you think model homes still have a place in new-home construction?

 ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Patti Stern, principal, interior decorator and professional stager of PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating, has been decorating and staging homes since 2005. She and her team provide turnkey, full service home-staging and interior decorating to clients across Connecticut, New York and Massachusetts. She also developed an award-winning staging program for luxury homebuilder, Toll Brothers. Stern has been featured in Connecticut Magazine, the Hartford Courant, Danbury News-Times and on NBC Connecticut and FOX TV.  She is a regular contributor to Style, Staged and Sold.

Design Trends That Make People say … ‘No!’

Mon, 02/01/2016 - 01:00

By Justin M. Riordan, Spade and Archer Design Agency

Design trends are just that: trendy. They change from day to day, year to year, and decade to decade. The ones that are popular now won’t be soon. The ones that were popular years ago aren’t now and the ones that were popular decades ago are already back again.

Interior design trends tend to follow fashion trends about three years later. As colors gain popularity in fashion, they follow shortly thereafter in interior design.  The trick is being able to see what are trends and what is classic.  The difference is that classic will never go out of style, whereas trends always eventually go out of style.

Here are some major trends from our recent past that are turning people away from houses:

 1.   Carpet in the master bathroom. The 1990’s brought us so many fine trends, carpet in bathrooms was one of them. The thought was that cold tile on your bare feet was unpleasant. You know what else is unpleasant? Mold in your carpet pad.

2.   Plantation shutters. They are expensive, I know. Every single one of my clients who has them tells me over and over how expensive they are. Plantation shutters were designed for plantations. Hot, muggy places. The shutters were designed to block light and still allow a breeze to come into the house. The issue today is that they still block light, over 50 percent of the light that would have come through a window is blocked by plantation shutters. The fact of the matter is that nobody wants to buy a dark house. If the shutters aren’t there, they won’t miss them.

3.   Curtains over closets. The odds of the next buyer having the same taste in curtains as you is slim. Curtains over closets scream “YOU HAVE WORK TO DO” to your potential buyers.  Do yourself and the buyer a favor, take the curtains down and put the doors back up.

4.   Family, Friendship, Love, Laugh, Dance… BARF! Word art inevitably tells a story of the seller’s life and is distracting to the buyer.  Nobody cares how deep your family roots run, or that this is Emma’s crib. Take it down.

5.  Accent walls. The term “accent walls” is a misnomer, they should instead be called focal walls as they tend to provide a focus point for the room. Unfortunately, as the focal point of a room, they tend to dictate how a room should be set up and what the color scheme should be for the room. If you have a purple accent wall and all of your buyer’s furniture is red, they are going to have to work to remove that paint or more than likely just buy some other house.

6.   “Faux” is french for fake. No matter what language you translate it to faux paint is fake and is as out of style as pleats on men’s dress pants. The overwhelming commonality of all of cultural trends is truth — people want real food made by real people in real time. The time of fake and fast is over. Faux painting will send your buyer away faster than you can say “marbleized”!

7.   Wallpaper. Wallpaper is hard to take down and, again, the chances of them having the same taste as you and having furniture that will go with it is slim.

8.   Curtains.  See item 7. Wallpaper and item 3. Curtains over closets.

9.   Platform beds and other Feng Shui items.  Feng Shui is the Chinese thought system of laws considered to govern spatial arrangement and orientation in relation to the flow of energy, and whose favorable or unfavorable effects are taken into account when siting and designing buildings. It most likely works great in China where most people are acutely aware of the thought system, but in Western culture it just looks like a giant platform bed with a mirror and a stick above it. Your buyer will most likely have no idea why you did it and it will distract from the room.

10. Collections. Using a collection to highlight built-in shelves works well, so long as the collection does not overshadow the shelves themselves. Completely overwhelming a house with a collection or series of collections will overshadow the house and positively or negatively take attention away from the house. Pre-pack these items to proudly display them in your next house.

11. Rounded outside gypsum board corners.  These became popular in the building boom of the 1990’s because they required less time and skill for laborers to mud and tape. This, of course, was a very cost effective way to build homes. However, we quickly realized that rounded corners left us no place to end wall finishes like paint and wallpaper.  Needless to say, the trend faded away and now we have tons of houses with rounded outside corners.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Justin Riordan, LEED AP, is founder of Spade and Archer Design Agency based in Portland, Ore. As the creative energy behind Spade and Archer, Riordan fuses his formal training as an architect with his natural design savvy to create beautiful and authentic spaces for clients. Prior to opening Spade and Archer in 2009, Riordan practiced interior architecture and interior construction for 12 years, bringing an esteemed skillset and diverse background to home staging. Since founding Spade and Archer, he has personally prepared more than 2,100 homes for market.

Design Tricks to Transform a Family Room with Wood Paneling

Mon, 01/25/2016 - 01:00

By Charlene Storozuk, guest contributor

As a home stager, sometimes you have to work with what you’ve got.

Photo credit: Charlene Storozuk,DEZIGNER DIGZ

I was given free rein in this family room with one exception: The husband insisted that the wood paneling stay. What is it about men and wood paneling? There, I said it.  Maybe I’m stereotyping, but I come across this quite often. Men seem to really like wood paneling; women not so much. This was, however, a very good quality of paneling and it was a redesign project and not a staging job so I agreed to do it. After all, I love a good challenge.

I should add at this point that this family room happens to be in our home. Yes, the stubborn husband mentioned above is all mine. I’m totally OK with him wanting to keep the paneling though. It’s the only thing in the house that he has insisted on. I was able to do pretty much anything else I wanted to in our home, so it’s only fair that he got his way on this one.

The above photo shows what the family room looked like when we bought our home.  The first thing to go was the dated and tired furniture. With that out of the way, next on the list was to replace the orange carpet with a taupe berber.

Next, we had black wooden blinds installed to add drama. (I’ll never forget the look on the sales rep’s face when I told him that I wanted black. That’s OK, I’m sure he’s over it by now.)

Next was to bring in some “newish” furniture. I say that because we bought the sofa, loveseat and chair from a staging client after their home sold.

Then came my favorite part: styling.

Bringing in black accessories helped to add richness and depth to the paneling. I don’t usually place an area rug on carpet, but in this case I made an exception. I think the black rug pulls together the look I was going for. It draws the eye away from the paneling and makes it more of a subtle backdrop.

Installing several pieces of Northwest Coast native art gave the room added character and an organic feel to tie in with the paneling.

A couple of throw blankets and a sheepskin rug were then added to soften up the room and add texture.

Photo credit: Charlene Storozuk,DEZIGNER DIGZ

 

The family room is still a work in progress. There are still three more things left on the ‘to do list’:

(1) Reface the fireplace with floor-to-ceiling black granite;

(2) Paint the baseboards and window trim black and

(3) Build black window box valances for above the blinds.

By the time this room is completely finished, it’s really going to make a statement.

I wanted to share this post with my REALTOR® friends to show you that with the help of a professional home stager there’s hope – even with your most dated and challenging listings.

When we’re eventually ready to sell our home, who knows, I may just leave this room as is. I didn’t think I’d ever consider keeping that darn paneling, but I just might now.  Maybe that’s a bit of a risk, but it’s one that I’ll consider taking. Love it or hate it, it is what it is.

What are your thoughts?  What WOOD you do?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Charlene Storozuk is the owner of DEZIGNER DIGZ, a professional home staging, interior decorating and redesign firm based in Burlington, Ontario Canada. She is certified as an International Staging Professional, International Design & Decorating Professional, Professional Colour Consultant, and Feng Shui Design Professional. Her work is published in the book “FabJob Guide to Become a Home Stager,” 2009 edition. Storozuk is recognized as a local leader in the home staging industry. She founded the Halton & Hamilton-Wentworth Real Estate Staging Association Chapter and served on the association’s Executive Committee for two years as Regional Vice-President, Canada. Storozuk is a past recipient of RESA North American Leadership Awards for Chapter President of the Year (2007) and Regional Vice-President of the Year (2011).

4 Ways to Help a Home Seller Tackle Clutter

Mon, 01/18/2016 - 01:00

Photo Credit: Tori Toth

By Tori Toth

One of the most cost-effective ways to prepare a home for sale is to organize it, but I know for many home sellers it’s no easy task. It’s important to contain and, in fact, erase clutter for three reasons:

  • Gain more square footage.
  • Showcase the positive features in the home.
  • Buyers can visualize living in the space.

Clutter comes in all different forms and it lingers in most homes. So if you see piles of paperwork, clothes on the floor, stuffed closets — it’s time to declutter! Here are some tips:

1. Start small. Organizing is an evolving process that changes as the needs of a home owner change. Start small: One room, one closet, one corner. Just start somewhere! To make it count, tackle the first cluttered area a home buyer would see as they walk into the home.

2. Schedule it. Many times a home owner never starts the decluttering process because of time constraints. Schedule blocks of time (2-4 hours) or even just 15 minutes a day depending on what needs to be organized to make your goal a reality.

3. Find a home. One reason why clutter can build up in a home is if an item is homeless. Creating a place for each item in your home is a crucial part to obtaining an organized home. Of course, keeping the space in order only happens when you return an item back to it’s home after use. 

4. Adopt “good habits.” By always returning an item home, you’re building in a maintenance system in your organizing process. Another good habit to adopt is to take 5-10 minutes every night and put items away. This way when you wake up in the morning, the house is ready to show off.

For more tips on how to organize a home, view: “Lose the Clutter: Habits That Could Make or Break Your Home Organizing Goals.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Tori Toth is an Amazon best-selling author who wrote Feel At Home: Home Staging Secrets for a Quick and Easy Sell.” She is also the founder of The Stage 2 Sell Strategy, the world’s first online home staging video course for home sellers. Toth opened her staging company, Stylish Stagers, Inc. in New York City back in 2009. Her book, how-to videos, newsletters, products and appearances now inspire hundreds of thousands of home owners and real estate experts worldwide. Meet Tori by visiting her website or Facebook Fan page.

 

4 Ways to Help a Home Seller Tackle Clutter

Mon, 01/11/2016 - 01:00

By Tori Toth

One of the most cost-effective ways to prepare a home for sale is to organize it, but I know for many home sellers it’s no easy task. It’s important to contain and, in fact, erase clutter for three reasons:

  • Gain more square footage.
  • Showcase the positive features in the home.
  • Buyers can visualize living in the space.

Clutter comes in all different forms and it lingers in most homes. So if you see piles of paperwork, clothes on the floor, stuffed closets — it’s time to declutter! Here are some tips:

1. Start small. Organizing is an evolving process that changes as the needs of a home owner change. Start small: One room, one closet, one corner. Just start somewhere! To make it count, tackle the first cluttered area a home buyer would see as they walk into the home.

2. Schedule it. Many times a home owner never starts the decluttering process because of time constraints. Schedule blocks of time (2-4 hours) or even just 15 minutes a day depending on what needs to be organized to make your goal a reality.

3. Find a home. One reason why clutter can build up in a home is if an item is homeless. Creating a place for each item in your home is a crucial part to obtaining an organized home. Of course, keeping the space in order only happens when you return an item back to it’s home after use. 

4. Adopt “good habits.” By always returning an item home, you’re building in a maintenance system in your organizing process. Another good habit to adopt is to take 5-10 minutes every night and put items away. This way when you wake up in the morning, the house is ready to show off.

For more tips on how to organize a home, view: “Lose the Clutter: Habits That Could Make or Break Your Home Organizing Goals.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Tori Toth is an Amazon best-selling author who wrote Feel At Home: Home Staging Secrets for a Quick and Easy Sell.” She is also the founder of The Stage 2 Sell Strategy, the world’s first online home staging video course for home sellers. Toth opened her staging company, Stylish Stagers, Inc. in New York City back in 2009. Her book, how-to videos, newsletters, products and appearances now inspire hundreds of thousands of home owners and real estate experts worldwide. Meet Tori by visiting her website or Facebook Fan page.

 

The New Kitchen Finish: Black Stainless

Thu, 01/07/2016 - 23:44

Photo Credit: KitchenAid

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR Magazine

Among all the tech hype at CES 2016 this week, appliance manufacturers are showing off their latest high-tech, super energy efficient models. But they’re also doing it under a new finish: Black stainless.

KitchenAid, LG, and Samsung are among the appliance makers showing the black satiny finish. It’s the latest finish to go up against the long-held popularity of stainless steel, the rugged industrial look that has adorned modern kitchens for decades.

But stainless steel has had a love-hate relationship with home owners. Home owners love the shiny look but they tend to hate the fingerprint smudges that are often left behind. Manufacturers have tried alternatives, such as Whirlpool’s White Ice and GE’s Slate. But none have come close to biting into stainless steels’ popularity.

Photo Credit: KitchenAid

Will black stainless catch on? Possibly, because it’s not that too different of a look.

It’s less reflective than the conventional stainless steel. It’s just slightly darker and offers a slightly more (but not completely) smudge-free finish.

KitchenAid first launched its black stainless steel finish in September 2015, which had designers calling it the hot “new neutral” that added “warmth” and “sophistication” to a kitchen space.

“Major appliances are the anchor pieces of a kitchen, and their color and design contribute largely to the overall look of the space,” says Beth Robinson, senior brand experience manager for KitchenAid. “As a stylish alternative to traditional finishes, our black stainless steel offers designers and consumers tremendous design flexibility and the chance to experiment with fresh ideas.”

What do you think? Do you think black stainless will catch on?

You Won’t Believe This Holiday Light Display

Thu, 12/24/2015 - 01:00

Happy Holidays  - from Styled, Staged & Sold! To honor the holiday, take a look at this video of one rockin’ holiday display.

Holiday Light Show

 

You Won’t Believe This Holiday Light Display

Thu, 12/24/2015 - 01:00

Happy Holidays  - from Styled, Staged & Sold! To honor the holiday, take a look at this video of one rockin’ holiday display.

Holiday Light Show