July 26, 2014

Styled, Staged & Sold

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Bringing you the latest home and design trends.
Updated: 1 hour 12 min ago

Quick Ways to Create Shade

Fri, 07/25/2014 - 17:12

Help sellers create a cool outdoor living space buyers will want to relax in during showings — and come back to after they’ve bought the place. Post to Facebook a free article from the REALTOR® Content Resource with smart ideas to create shade in the yard: “Quick Ways to Make Some Shade, but Don’t Forget Trees are Best,” It’s one of five free articles now available in the “Stay Cool for Less This Summer” article package. Share all five today.

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The REALTOR® Content Resource is brought to you by the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. With it, you can download free homeownership content from HouseLogic to your marketing materials.

Pillow Talk: How to Use Pillows in Staging

Mon, 07/21/2014 - 02:00

By Audra Slinkey, Home Staging Resource

I gotta say it, I LOVE pillows! I’ve seen so many spaces transformed with the simple addition of pillows that I had to share some of my favorite photos of pillow inspired spaces, as well as my top six tips to styling and staging with pillows!

My friend HSR Certified Gregg Churchill, an amazingly talented Australian Home Stager and Designer knows the art of pillow placement, so I’m using some of my favorite photos of his work exclusively to give you my top tips and to conclude with some of my favorite places to buy pillows …

Tip #1 – You Can NEVER Have Enough Pillows, so Go Big!

Photo credit: Gregg Churchill, Mr. Home Staging & Design,

Can you imagine if this furniture were not dialed in with pillows? This is a perfect example of how the right placement and selection of pillows can transform couches.

Tip #2 – Don’t Get “Matchy Matchy.” Mix It Up!

Photo credit: Gregg Churchill, Mr. Home Staging & Design,

As a designer, there are things you want to “match” to add calm and symmetry to a space (like the tables and lamps above). BUT when it comes to pillows, have fun and get a little crazy! I love how Gregg completely breaks the rules here with his color and pattern choices to make this otherwise boring, white space…POP!

Tip #3 – Use Pillows to Guide the Eye in Staging

Photo credit: Gregg Churchill, Mr. Home Staging & Design,

Okay, imagine this room without the pillows. Again, Gregg breaks some rules beautifully by drawing the eye up and away from the dated terra cotta tiled floors to the colorful, selection of pillows contrasted against the white couches. Not only does he distract but he connects the floors with the space through the choice of two similarly colored pillows….love it!

Tip #4 – A Square for Every Chair

Photo credit: Gregg Churchill, Mr. Home Staging & Design,

I have to say, I love the on-trend, coral pillows on the end chairs of this dining room as a way to connect the art with the space. By using a clean, bright, color palette of similar tones it all just flows well together, so add those pillow squares to the chairs when it works like this.

Tip #5 – Add Drama and Go “Colorless”

Photo credit: Gregg Churchill, Mr. Home Staging & Design,

This is probably my favorite photo because Gregg removes all the color from the space for dramatic effect, so the buyers walk in and go…whoah! The reason this works so well is because he cleverly inserts plenty of textures and pattern (fuzzy rug, platinum lamps, geometric throw and pillows). Gregg deleted the color from the space, which allows a buyer to notice the architectural elements they are buying that are special in this room, i.e. the wainscoting and hardwood floors.

Tip #6 – Pillows Make Spaces Happy!

Photo credit: Gregg Churchill, Mr. Home Staging & Design,

This room without the pillows? You would have zapped all the “happy” out of the space.

Okay, I admit it…I’m a pillow junkie! This is why I like to buy pillow covers at (search for “pillow covers” and look for good reviews), which means I can store them better. I also look for pillows with zipper enclosures for easy washing and storing.

I shop at HomeGoods, Pier1, BurkeDecor, WayFair, BallardDesign, and PotteryBarn (most of which I get my “To the Trade” Discount).

What are some other pillow tips you want to add?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Audra Slinkey is president of the Home Staging Resource, a RESA Accredited home staging training and certification company. Slinkey has personally trained over 3,000 stagers worldwide and is a bestselling author and international speaker. She also serves as president of the American Society of Home Stagers and Redesigners. Connect with her on Facebook!

5 Deck Makeover Projects Under $300

Fri, 07/11/2014 - 17:37

Give sellers everything they need to transform their deck into that one feature of their home buyers can’t walk away from — without spending a fortune. Email a free article from the REALTOR® Content Resource: “5 Deck Makeover Projects Under $300.” It’s one of five free articles now available in the “Livin’ Large in the Outdoors” article package. Share all five today.

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The REALTOR® Content Resource is brought to you by the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. With it, you can download free homeownership content from HouseLogic to your marketing materials.

Mudrooms: Should You Stage One in Your Listing?

Mon, 07/07/2014 - 02:00

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR(R) Magazine

Given the harsh winter across the country this year, more home buyers may have added a mudroom to their wish-lists. Could staging one in your listing win over more buyers’ hearts?

The home owner may already have the perfect space carved out for one. If that’s the case, all you may need to do is bring in a bench and add some hooks or cubbies for extra storage.

The mudroom is a place to transition from the outside to the inside. The idea is to create an organized place for hanging coats and bags, and removing those muddy shoes or organizing the children’s items as soon as you step in the door — and so they’ll be easy to grab when you’re ready to step back out the door.

As such, the location of the mudroom needs to make sense if you stage one. Mudrooms need to be close to an exterior door or the garage. Otherwise, the purpose is defeated if you have to track your rain boots and wet umbrellas across the house.

Here are some easy ways to add characteristics of a mudroom to your listings.


Add some cubbies for extra storage. This can be a perfect spot to store shoes, kids’ toys, or all of that ever-growing winter garb.

Contemporary Entry by Wellesley Architects & Building Designers Jacob Lilley Architects Traditional Entry by Millbrook Architects & Building Designers Crisp Architects


Offer up a bench where home owners can sit down and remove those dirty shoes, instead of trying to balance on one foot to do it.

Photo credit: Ryan Dressel, Stage Right Design Inc.,




Offer up an easy wipe-off mat or dress it up a bit by trying out this idea of using a tray filled of rocks to store those muddy boots near a door.

Contemporary Entry


Add some hooks for hanging coats or book bags. If the home doesn’t have an entryway closet, your buyers may never miss it.

Traditional Laundry Room by Toronto General Contractors HARDROCK CONSTRUCTION


A mudroom can get dirty with all those outdoor items heading in, but that doesn’t mean it should be coated in mud. Keep it clean, organized, and functional for quick drop-offs as you head into the house.

Traditional Entry by Minneapolis Kitchen & Bath Designers Crystal Kitchen Center 


The mudroom needs staged too. Don’t leave it completely empty or too cluttered that it doesn’t show off its function. Offer just enough touches to paint the picture and make buyers go “wow, that would be a nice space to have!”

Traditional Entry by Tyrone Kitchen & Bath Designers Turan Designs, Inc.

Can You Squeeze an Outdoor Retreat onto a Small Lot?

Mon, 06/30/2014 - 02:00

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

Builders increasingly are squeezing large, luxurious homes on smaller lots, at a time when home owners and home buyers say they crave outdoor retreats.

While buyers say they want outdoor space, they also are motivated by the perk of less lawn maintenance, which smaller lots offer. Also, settling for a smaller lot size may mean more space that can be dedicated to the inside of a home or getting a new home in an urban or historic area.

Whatever the reason, home owners are finding they can still make use of their small lot size and carve out plenty of luxury for dining, relaxing, or creating an oasis.

Take a look at these photos pulled from the remodeling website to get inspiration of how small lots can be used in big ways.

1. Peaceful dining space

Eclectic Landscape by Winters Photographers Dave Adams Photography

2. Squeezing in a pool.

Traditional Pool by Costa Mesa Landscape Architects & Landscape Designers Molly Wood Garden Design

3. Lounging spot.

Modern Deck by Toronto Architects & Building Designers Affecting Spaces Modern Patio

4. Perfect for entertaining

Traditional Patio by Portland Landscape Contractors Paradise Restored Landscaping & Exterior Design

5. Growing space

Contemporary Landscape by Seattle Landscape Contractors Avalon Northwest Landscape, LLC

6. Kid-friendly

Eclectic Landscape by Toronto Architects & Building Designers Carson Arthur Design

7. Back seat perspective

Traditional Landscape by Lake Forest Decks, Patios & Outdoor Enclosures Chicago Green Design Inc.


How Staging Landed the Most Unexpected Buyer

Mon, 06/23/2014 - 02:00

By Patti Stern, PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating

My recent clients, Leta and Carl, spent over 20 years in their Hamden, Conn., home. For years they contemplated selling but delayed — hoping someday one of their daughters would want to raise their own family in the home. However, neither of their daughters had an interest in the property. While it is a beautiful home with more than 2,800 square feet of open living space, it was in need of some updating.

Their daughters are like many of today’s younger home buyers, who make up the largest groups of today’s consumers. Indeed, Millennials — the generation under the age of 33 and slightly older Generation X — represent more than 60 percent of today’s home buyers, according to a recent survey by the National Association of REALTORS®.

Many of these younger buyers want an already updated home, but with more than 75 percent of the homes in New England built before 1990 that poses a challenge for today’s older sellers, many who likely last updated their home’s decor 10-20 years ago. Older, outdated homes may give buyers a lot of reasons to cross the property off their list.

According to real estate pro Megan Stilwell Posner of Julia B Fee, who we recently worked with on her Irvington, N.Y., listing, today’s younger buyers only see “what is” and have difficulty visualizing how a space may look with a few simple changes.

“I often walk buyers through a property and they’ll comment that they don’t like an area rug or paint color,” she said. “Those things, which are easily changed or not part of the home at all, influence their decision and often will prevent them from considering a property.”

For Leta and Carl’s daughters it was even harder to envision their parent’s home as anything other than what it looked like the past few years.

So with no family buyer, they brought in our team to stage the home and prepare it for a spring sale. We staged and updated several key rooms — painting, removing dated wallpaper, and replacing carpeting as well as updating light fixtures and installing new granite counter tops in the kitchen. We then selected modern rental furnishings to style the home to appeal to a young family.

Not only did the home look great but it attracted a buyer immediately — Leta and Carl’s own daughter and her husband who prior to staging couldn’t envision the home as an option. After our staging they saw the home as move-in ready and chose to purchase the property before another buyer could make an offer.

What we did: A fresh coat of paint, updated light fixtures, and new furnishings turn this open living and dining room into a modern, inviting space perfect for entertaining.

What we did: Our team repaired damage in the kitchen, shifted the island to open up the layout and provide enough room for a new breakfast nook. New modern, granite countertops brighten the space.

What we did: This bathroom was dark and the wallpaper made it feel outdated. We removed the wallpaper and painted a fresh neutral color to update the space.

What we did: We also removed the wallpaper in this master bedroom, painted, and installed new carpeting. Modern furniture placed just right shows off this large room.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Patti Stern is a principal of PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating, and an interior decorator and accredited home stager. She and her team offer decorating and home staging services for individuals, real estate professionals, builders, and others in the industry. For more information visit or



You Just Moved In…. Now What? 6 Immediate Yard Care To-Dos

Mon, 06/16/2014 - 02:00
Home owners will be off to a good start with their new yards by following these important “move-in” steps. First and foremost, members of The Professional Landcare Network (PLANET), the national landscape industry association, recommend making safety a priority for your yard by doing the following:

1. Do a walk-thru of the yard and check for any dangers. Inspect the trees and evaluate the health of mature ones. One of the greatest assets in a yard are mature trees — they not only provide beauty but also shade and significant cooling to the home. Make note of any trees that don’t look healthy, may be diseased, leaning or are too close to the house. Consult with a licensed arborist to assess the health of your trees.

2. Evaluate the hardscape. Make sure any hardscape areas – stone or retaining walls, concrete or brick patios, tile paths, or wooden decks — are not heaving or creating tripping hazards.

3. Inspect the drainage around the house. The drainage should not cause any water to stand near or next to the foundation, which will prevent saturation of the soil and affect the foundation.

4. Make a plan to perform routine maintenance and clean up. Clean up any brush or debris in the yard. Weeding and mulching is an inexpensive way to make a yard look great; it also provides health benefits to the plants. Consider planting annuals to add some color and impact to the yard. Learn about your plants and shrubs and how to best take care of them.

5. Check the soil. The soil is the foundation of everything in the yard — grass, plants and trees depend on healthy, well-balanced soil to flourish. Composting will improve the soil. Your lawn care professional or a DIY soil kit available at home improvement and lawn/garden centers can test the soil’s condition.

6. Study the PLAT map. The PLAT is a map, drawn to scale, showing the divisions of the piece of land; this is helpful for any restrictions that could prevent home additions.

For more tips: visit

Pick a Perfect Paint Palette

Fri, 06/13/2014 - 16:19

Just about every seller’s willing to throw a new coat of paint on the walls to attract buyers. But it’s got to be the right paint color to capture buyers’ attention.

Lend a hand by branding, printing, and hand delivering a free article from the REALTOR® Content Resource: “How to Pick Paint Colors.” It’s one of five free articles now available in the “Improve Your Home’s Value,” article package. Share all five today.

Visit for more articles like this.


REALTOR® Content Resource is brought to you by the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. With it, you can download free homeownership content from HouseLogic to your marketing materials.

Will Stainless Steel’s Popularity Ever Be Dethroned?

Mon, 06/09/2014 - 02:00

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

Appliance manufacturers are providing home owners with modern finishes to their kitchen appliances, and some of the offerings have even been touted as the “new stainless steel.”

Appliance makers are in the search for a potential successor to stainless steel, which some designers say will eventually wear out its welcome. But so far, no introductions have touched upon the popularity of stainless steel, and stainless isn’t likely to be doomed to the same fate as 1970s avocado-colored appliances anytime soon.

Still, some home owners have complained about the annoyance of fingerprint smudges and the upkeep in keeping their stainless polished. Eventually, that annoyance may tempt them to look more closely at some of the alternatives popping up in the last two years. Some appliance makers are choosing to still channel the stainless look in their alternatives so that home owners could even make a gradual switch. Other manufactures, however, are opting to offer more bold alternatives.

Could any of these finishes have the potential to dethrone home owners’ love for stainless steel one day?


Whirlpool introduced last year its White Ice collection of appliances, and at the time called white “the new stainless.” The glossy white appliances feature silver accents. Whirlpool also offers a Black Ice version — black appliances with silver accents.


General Electric is offering up slate as an alternative. The low-gloss gray finish is “inspired by the rich texture of stone” and “provides a warm, inviting alternative to stainless steel,” GE says on its website. GE also notes that  the dark matte finish hides fingerprints, smudges, and dirt.


Viking Range offers several various colors of appliances, such as in cobalt blue.

Viking Range Corp., which was a pioneer in stainless with its debut in 1987 of a stainless steel open-burner range, is providing home owners a colorful array of options with appliances. It has 24 color alternatives, from cinnamon, wasabi, kettle black and Dijon to plum, sea grass, and cobalt blue. Or, the company’s graphite gray may be a little less bold for more home owners who are looking to make a switch from stainless.

Contemporary Kitchen by Lansdale Appliances Kieffer’s Appliances

Up the Glamour with Mirrors

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 02:00

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

Photo credit: Anne Bourne, StagingWorks,

Mirrors have long been a favorite tool of stagers for the reflective qualities in lightening up interiors and elongating spaces. Lately, mirrors are making a bigger statements in rooms too.

The latest trends in mirrors: Whimsical, oval-shaped mirrors, such as in vintage-gold or silver, that are displayed in the entryway or over a sofa or bed, says Audra Slinkey, owner of the Home Staging Resource, a national staging and redesign training company.

Big mirrors are “in” too. For example, stagers are using oversized rectangular, framed mirrors that stand on the floor, sometimes 7 feet to 10 feet high, to freshen up a living room or bedroom space, says Barb Schwarz, credited as the creator of home staging and founder of, which offers training in staging.

Transitional Bedroom by Los Angeles Interior Designers & Decorators Annette English

Photo credit: MirrorMate

In a bathroom, sometimes all it takes is adding a frame to the mirror to give the space a more high-end touch. Some stagers are swapping out the plate glass mirror in a bathroom for an oval-framed mirror in the powder bathroom or a dark-wood framed mirror in the master bathroom. Companies are surfacing to make adding frames easier, without even having to buy an entirely new mirror. For example, MirrorMate allows you to add a frame to a mirror in a do-it-yourself project by using a pre-taped frame press onto the existing plate glass mirror.