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Sunday, August 14, 2011

We Have Relocated!

In all the excitement of our new website, I almost forgot that our blog was relocated too!  Please check us out HERE and subscribe to our new format.


www.bymichellelynne.com/blog

Hope to see you soon!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Pantry Style

Whew!  It's been busy AND hot around here...and I'm not one of those pretty people who don't sweat so I can guarantee you there will be no photos of ME on this blog anytime soon.  

But here are some photos a client sent me today.  You may think photos of a pantry are a "random" topic, but we did a Walk & Talk with her last month and today she sent me photos of what she accomplished since we walked through her house as she took TO DO notes.  This is a perfect example of what a staged pantry should look like:

Notice how everything faces forward?

Keep "like" with "like" items.  This side has her medications and spices.
The other side you saw had her food items.

Keep as much off the floor as possible, and what must stay should be consolidated.
Why go through so much effort you may wonder?  The buyers won't be buying the FOOD in the pantry so why should it be organized?  It should be organized so that the buyers have confidence that if you put this much effort into maintaining your PANTRY, imagine how well you have maintained the big stuff in the house...HVAC, foundation, etc. etc. etc.

Staging isn't just about making a home pretty...it's about making it SELL!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Thanks, Dads!

So what does celebrating Father's Day have to do with design or anything related to interiors?  After all, Dad usually has the majority of influence outside of the main living area - you know, the grill, the garage, the uh, what else?  In my house, the hubs definitely has an opinion (but that is a WHOLE 'nother blog post) but I'm still "in charge" of the interior.  Thankfully too, since I'm a professional.  haha.  Back to my point:  in honor of Father's Day, I'm reminiscing of growing up with two amazing fathers and how they both influenced me in relation to my business as well as my style for decorating & maintaining a household.

First there is my "real" dad, aka Daddy.  He has a military background and is very (very) organized.  One of my earliest memories is him telling my brother & I "we have rules"...whether it be how the bathroom towels were folded and put away (even though it was my mom who did the laundry?) to where the tub of margarine went in the refrigerator and so forth.  His garage is always organized immaculately, and you never have to search for anything - everything was and is always put away where it belongs.  So Daddy definitely influenced my Type A-ness and I both love & curse him for that.  I love love love for everything to have it's place, and for everything to be in it's place in my home.  It just takes me to my happy place.  BUT I've had to tone done that not-always-attractive-personality-trait a little bit since getting married myself...I don't want to be a naaaaaag and the hubs didn't grow up in a house with the same "rules".  Although he does admit that it's been nice to be able to find his keys, wallet, and pocket change since I installed a sort of basecamp slash charging station close to the door for him....

And then there is my second (step) dad, aka Tommy.  He & my mom got married just before I went into high school so he was around for my let's-push-the-limits-and-see-what-I-can-get-away-with phase.  Lucky him, huh?  hee hee!  Well, he was in law enforcement (lucky me, right? OY) and was quite unflappable and of course, always had Command Presence (if you're not sure what that is, click HERE for a good description).  He was so calm, in fact, that he had to teach me how to drive instead of my mom, because I made her such a nervous wreck behind the wheel.  Sorry Mom!  Tommy not only taught me how to drive, but he also taught me to maintain a level head in the midst of chaos.  This is definitely helpful with staging because something ALWAYS goes wrong with an installation.  But when the unpredictable happens, I just remind myself and my staff that "we're just working in the living room...not the emergency room...nobody is going to die on our project".  That keeps things in perspective, don't you think?  Tommy taught me that even if something IS out of place at home (ahem, refer to my Type A-ness in the aforementioned paragraph) to keep it in perspective and peacefully live with it - at least until I have the chance to get it back into place.  It's all about balance, people.

So thanks to both of my dads.  I'm blessed to have been loved & raised by two amazing men who influenced me in more ways than I could ever include in this little ol' blog.  But my heart is filled with love for them every day, and especially this Sunday.  BIG BIG HUGS!

This is the three of us together before they walked me down the aisle a few years ago.  

Hmmm...does anybody else notice that they aren't wearing the same tie?  I don't remember that.  You know mis-matched ties is enough to make a Type A girl crazy.  But not this girl.  Thanks, Dads!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Contemporary Staging

In case you're not a "fan" on my Facebook Page (which you really should be if you're reading this blog), here is our most recent project:




My Facebook album with these pictures has captions with comments on each from yours truly with insight to the project as well as staging tips.  Check it out and "Like" us HERE.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Kicking Brass!

Do you have one of those bright gold, brass colored fireplace screens?  You know what I'm talking about.  It's circa the 1980's and looks something like this:



This baby catches your eye as soon as you walk into the room and screams "LOOK AT ME".  It's kind of like when you get a blemish on your chin and it's all you can see when you look in the mirror, no matter how good of a hair day you're having.  I know that  doesn't just happen to me....

Anywaaaaaay, what can do if you don't want to replace it altogether?  Maybe you're moving and don't want to sink $100+ into replacing it or maybe you're just sick of looking at it and have to have an alternative NOW.  Regardless, here is an easy solution in less than 10 steps and less than $10!

  1. Remove the screen.
  2. Wipe it down to get rid of the dust - use a lint free cloth.
  3. Mask off the windows with painter's tape & cover the glass with a brown paper bag or newspaper.
  4. Use a very low grade sandpaper and rough the brass up just a little.
  5. Use a can of heat-resistant spray paint and give this baby a makeover!  I would suggest layering a black and a bronze colored textured paint so you have a little visual interest.  Rustoleum brand has quite a few to choose from - just make sure it's heat resistant.
  6. Hold the can about 18" from the brass and spray in long, even strokes.
  7. Let each layer dry before adding the next coat (heavy black layer, light bronze layer, light black layer).  Be careful not to spray too much - you don't want drips!

For less than $10 you have a lovely new fireplace screen that will help your sale or your sanity from going up in smoke!




Monday, May 23, 2011

These Headboards Won't Leave You Bored

What do these two headboards have in common?  If you can't tell right away, that is a good thing because both are hand made.  If you look closely, you can tell the top photos is the first time we installed it...it's hung a little high.  

We are always looking for ways to save our clients money without losing the aesthetics of the final product.  And when it comes to those homes that are not at a mid to high list price, it's a difficult balance!  So being the born value hunter that I am, I knew there had to be a better solution than to require a full headboard.  Why bother?  Well, since you asked...it's because if I have to pay a higher price to purchase a full headboard, I have to turn around and charge the client a higher price (in order to stay in business for the long run).  And while using art is sometimes a good solution, it isn't always a cost effective solution - because decent looking art ain't cheap.

So look closely - sorry I don't have better close ups, but in general I think they look like nice upholstered headboards, don't you?

Chocolate brown microsuede.

Khaki microsuede with chocolate colored button tufts.
Both of these headboards were made out of foam board wrapped in batting and covered in 2 yard of fabric.  The idea wasn't mine.  Wish I could claim the brilliance but instead, two of my fabulous staff members came up with and created these two gorgeous headboards.  That is why the top one is named the "Danielle" and the bottom one is named the "Maria".  They are both adhered to the wall with the velcro Command Strips so there is no damage to the walls and can be hung at any level.  How cool is that?

This second headboard REALLY came in handy because we had to hang it below the light fixture that was attached to the wall AND bow it gently around the fixture as it came up from the wall.  A regular headboard would have protruded and left a big ol' gap between it and the wall and let me tell you, folks, THAT would have made my Type A and OCD-ness kick in in a not-so-pretty frenzy.  Whew.  Crisis averted.

Have you ever created a headboard?  And if so, what did you use?  Show us your pictures if you've got any!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

A True Staging Story

Once Upon A Time...I spent 3 - 4 hours with a real estate agent for a listing at the W Residences.  We discussed the psychology of staging and how to maximize an almost $2M listing so there isn't money left on the table when the transaction is done, we discussed dating, food and comfortable shoes as well as how to lead the buyer through the property and create the desire to purchase this specific unit compared to others with the same floor plan.  And when she wondered what that big, white arc looking thing was outside the window of this residence, I verbally outlined the surrounding neighborhoods, told her about the Trinity River Project and the Calatrava Bridge that was being constructed.  (She lives in Houston and didn't know about these details.)

I REALLY thought we had a good rapport and connection - she even invited me to have drinks with her & her friend on the balcony of the soon-to-be-listed property that evening.  I wasn't able to join her for drinks but thanked her and we stayed in touch via text for the weekend because she was in from out of town and staying in the unit, helping the owner clean out his personal belongings.  

Within 24 hours of meeting her, I tell her I want the business and submit my highly competitive Proposal.

Flash forward 1 day:  I call to confirm receipt of said Proposal; leave a voicemail.  
No response.

Flash forward 2 days:  I text to confirm receipt of said Proposal.
No response.

Flash forward 3 days:  I email to confirm receipt of said Proposal.
No response.

Flash forward 2 weeks:  Maybe she had a family emergency or was involved in an accident and hadn't been able to respond to me.  I leave a voicemail saying something along the lines of such concern and to let me know any feedback on said Proposal - even if she opted to go with another staging firm.

Flash forward 1 month:  I feel like a crazy ex-girlfriend calling again, but I do it anyway.  This job would be great for my portfolio AND the exposure.  I didn't see it listed on MLS anywhere yet....maybe there is hope.

Sigh.  No response.

Flash forward 2 months (yesterday):  I call and leave another voicemail "just wondering whatever happened to the listing AND by the way, I have a referral for you in Houston.  Give me a call whenever you get the chance.  Hope all is well...."

Flash forward to today:  Curiosity gets me back onto MLS and lo and behold the property is listed UNSTAGED (?!).  (I'm not going to post the listing, because I'm not here to punish the seller for the real estate agent's lack of professionalism or simple courtesy.)  The property is VERY taste specific:  one room has a purple wall, the living area has an orange / black / gold "sponged" wall, there are stenciled "motivational quotations" on another, and the master suite has a round leather bed that sits alone with no other furniture or accessories in the space AND it resembles a bed from either The Jetson's or Dirk Diggler.  Really?  This is how you're merchandising a $1.9M condo in the W???

I'm thoroughly disappointed with the lack of manners this agent has.  She wasted my time and hers and is doing her seller a huge disservice by marketing the property "as is".  But I'm done with this.  This crazy ex-girlfriend is never calling again.  No ill will, and no judgement, right?  Deep calming breath.  Inhale.  Delete the agent's phone number, remove the "auto fill" email address and wish her luck.  Exhale.  

But like the crazy ex-girlfriend, I wonder "what could I have done differently"?  Sigh.