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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Moving? You need these two rooms to survive

1.  Junk Room
2.  Safe Room

First the Junk Room.  
This is where I tell all of my clients to put stuff they don't know what to do with as they are unpacking.  Maybe something like your great grandma's tea cart or Uncle Henry's framed self portrait.  I'm sure both were bequeathed to you with genuine love in the hearts of aforementioned family members, but there maaaay not be a place to put them in the main house.  

The Junk Room is a place where you can shut the door and not let the mayhem stress you out.  I do NOT advocate just dumping the items, turning and running...rather organize them such as all wall art together, knick knacks consolidated into a new box, old running shoes can probably go in the trash if you have two other pairs that have replaced them already (but you should consider culling these items when you are packing to begin with).  In a perfect world, you would start three piles:  DONATE, TRASH and KEEP (ALTHOUGH I'M STILL NOT SURE WHERE).

Having this junk room is a temporary fix.  Temporary, ya hear?  Don't get used to closing the door and hoping it will go away.  It's just short term but it will help keep you sane as you're unpacking, so your living room doesn't look like this while you're figuring out where everything goes:

Because you don't want to be buried in boxes:

NEXT:  The Safe Room
This is your haven, your retreat, refuge, sanctuary, and your hideaway from the mayhem of moving so you can catch your breath and enjoy your new digs.  I suggest it be your master bedroom or if you are lucky enough to have two living spaces, your main living area.  Do not keep any boxes in this space.  Unpack a box fully, put the items in the room (or not) but get the boxes and any extra clutter out of here.  Hang the art.  Fluff the pillows.  Confirm the lighting.  And enjoy living here....  Deep exhale.  The Safe Room.  Everybody needs one.  Especially when moving.

Oh, and for a little fun while you're moving, here are some GAMES you can play to pass the time.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Low maintenance for your high maintenance guests.

The holidays are quickly arriving and that entails the arrival of holiday guests...maybe some high maintenance in-laws?  Oh joy.  Keep them happy in the guest room by outfitting it like a swanky hotel suite:

  • Good linens for the bed.  
    • Thread count is important but it doesn't have to be expensive.  I like 350 - 400, depending on the brand.
    • A feather bed on top of the mattress adds a luxurious & super cozy feel.  Get the baffle box style so it maintains it's shape.  If you don't want to do a down mattress, you can get a fiber filled mattress that will give a similar yet, hypoallergenic result.
      • Your fitted sheet will need to be a deeper pocket to encompass this feather bed + the standard mattress OR
      • Get a neutral sheet to cover the standard mattress and use the fitted sheet that comes with the set to cover the featherbed.
    • All season cotton blanket.  
      • I suggest white or ivory so it will usually match your bedding choices.
    • Down comforter.  Ditto on the option to get a hypoallergenic fiber fill instead of feathers - you'll be surprised at how similar they feel to down filled.  You'll need to get a duvet cover style bedding set; I like these from Macy's because they are reasonably priced and have good quality options.  Choose a set that looks like what you would find in a nice hotel:

  • Have some spare pillows available; show your guests where they are (maybe out of sight in the closet).
  • Be sure there is good lighting next to the bed - either wall lamps or table lamps - in case your guests like to read in bed.
    • Set out reading material such as recent magazines or a novel that you could part with (in case your guest becomes hooked, they are welcome to keep it).
  • Provide an alarm clock on the nightstand - get one that has adjustable brightness.
  • A carafe of water somewhere in the room...preferably by the bed.  I like this one from Crate & Barrel.  Leave coasters on your bedside table or other flat surfaces.
  • Provide a television if there is space.  
  • Clear some space in the closet for your guest to stow luggage or provide a luggage stand at the foot of the bed.
    • If there is a chest of drawers or dresser in the room, clear at least one drawer for each guest.
    • Provide some empty hangers and open space in the closet for hanging clothes.
  • Nightlights are useful for navigating unfamiliar spaces.  Find one that is not too bright and put near the door and / or the bathroom.
  • Offer a one size bathroom for each guest staying in the room.
  • Finally, a small basket with healthy snacks in case your guests get the munchies while staying up watching TV or reading the recent magazines you have left for them....
Do you have any other tips that have worked for you in the past?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Out of my gourd!'s autumn!  Officially.  Although the weather in Texas hasn't caught up to the calendar yet.  Hopefully soon.  

Regardless, it's a time of year that warm & welcoming colors are trending in nature as well as in your wardrobe & home AND it's time to switch out the pool toys for pumpkins.  To me, that means it's high time to create new, seasonal centerpieces!

How fun are these?  You can set them in any shape tray with any type of bean or legume to fill in.

And if you want to mix & match heights, you could create some votive sizes.  I think these would be cool to line the front walkway with if hosting a dinner party (just make sure nothing is close enough to catch fire!).

This is what I would do with the gourds intended for votives but over-carved...I know my limitations!

Better Homes & Gardens
Finally...just a simple display of the mini pumpkins you can find at any grocery store or Farmer's Market this time of year.  Add a dash of greenery or floral to dress it up.

Better Homes & Gardens
Yeah yeah, I know lemons are fruit and not gourd, but I thought this was too cute NOT to include.  Just substitute the little gourdys.

Am I out of my gourd?  Depends on who you ask...but you don't have to be to try any of these simple and decorative ideas!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Home Staging with by Michelle Lynne- Dallas Real Estate Experts Check-in

In August, I was invited on the Robert J Russell show to talk with Dallas about Home Staging, what it is, who needs it and how it can help sell your home in the Real Estate market in Texas.  In case you didn't get a chance to tune it, here is the link to the show!  Enjoy!

Robert J Russell Dallas, Texas Real Estate Show with by Michelle Lynne

Owner Occupied

The easiest part of my job is dealing with people.
The hardest part of my job is dealing with people.

Staging an owner occupied property comes with it's own set of challenges. I'm not talking about having to deal with potentially ugly furnishings or small children running underfoot - although those are hazards of the job!  I'm referring to the personal aspect of coming into somebody's home and changing it.  I mean, I wouldn't want somebody entering my home and moving my STUFF around.  However, the way you live in your home and the way you sell it are two different things so that's what we do.  Cautiously.

I recently worked with a beautiful couple in a beautiful Turtle Creek townhome getting ready to market it.  Thankfully, the lady of the house had some fantastic pieces to work with but we just needed to clear some of them out to make the space feel as big as it is.  Take a look at some of these before & after photos...and then, of course, click on the listing at the might just want to make an offer!

Living Room Before
Living Room Before -
 (2nd sofa perpendicular to the first sofa)

Living Room After
...just a few adjustments
But by removing that second sofa, it opens the space nicely.
(Sorry it's not exactly the same angle as the before pic!)

Beautiful items on beautiful shelves - just a little too personalized for selling

Same shelves - staged to sell
Guest Bedroom - BEFORE

Guest Bedroom - AFTER
(Kitty not included)
We removed the extra furniture and put the bed on the opposite wall.  Much more walking space!
Gorgeous Master Suite!  Cozy to live in.
Yes, the photo is fuzzy...

Still gorgeous!
Just created more space for the potential buyers to see....

Take a look at the listing and what a beautiful property this is.  We had fun staging it and making new friends with the owners!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Santa has elves, and even THEY start preparing for Christmas early!

I's not even cool outside...HOW can we already be planning for the holidays?!  But pre-planning for your friends & family to visit will make the holidays THAT much less stressful.  

For example, if you are traveling to see friends or family, you should be coordinating your time off at work, booking your flights, renting a car now so that you're not overpaying and ending up with the last available (Griswold's) vehicle.

But if you are hosting the holidays this year, start getting your house ready now so you can enjoy November & December instead of working like a maniac to get the house ready for your guests (PLUS cooking AND shopping AND attending the social events that seem to multiply every year).  Here are a few tips to get started on outfitting a guest room:
    • If you have guests who will be staying with you for more than a night or two, be sure they have space to hang their clothes and put their luggage out of sight. 
    • If you have the space, get a small bureau or chest of drawers to put in the closet so the guest room (which is usually the smallest room in the house) feels more spacious. 
    • Any repairs that need to be done to the bathroom (whether it be a suite or down the hall) should be started now...just in case it turns into a bigger project.
    • Any drafts coming through the window now will be felt even more so when it gets cool.  Seal the windows from the cold.
    • Does the room need a ceiling fan?  A little circulation no matter what time of year keeps a room comfortable.
    • Squeaky hinges, noisy clocks, etc. are all easy fixes to do now.
  • Good time to update your decor
    • Many guest rooms are made up of "leftover decor".  You know what I mean, don't pretend you don't:  Your old comforter set from the 1980's...the big ol' television you moved from the living room when you got the sleek, flat screen...the lamps your mother gave you to match the couch you had after you graduated college....
    • This is a great time to catch some end of summer or back to school sales and update your guest room to WELCOME your guests.  

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Hot Tips from My Seminar at the DFW Home Show!


The way you live in your home and the way you sell it are two very different approaches. One of the hardest parts of my job is removing the tender loving care that the homeowner put into the space so that it will be more appealing to the average buyer.

Staging to Live: Function

Critical but don’t sacrifice your lifestyle (kids/pets) … practical needs outweigh design dreams

Staging to Sell: Function
Critical to use the room how it was designed so buyers can picture living there