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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.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Flokati-Me-Not

I generally like to share good ideas and show pretty pictures of successful design / stagings / solutions, etc. but in this instance, I'm gonna tell you what NOT to do.

Let me start by saying we have a Flokati rug in our master bath.  It's warm, cozy, and withstands the wet feet as we pad across the bathroom from the shower.  Best of all, it's easy to care for with my dog's brush and the cold, hand-wash (light to no spin) cycle of our front loading washer.  What is a Flokati rug, you ask?  I'm glad you asked.  

The origin of the modern day Flokati was a serendipitous moment.  I won't go into all the history, but it is interesting, and you can read about it HERE.  But for those of you who like pretty pictures, here is a photo of the natural, white Greek rug:
Obviously, this isn't a photo of the rug in my bathroom.
This photo is courtesy of The Real Rug Company.
As I mentioned, I love our Flokati rug because it's cozy on the feet and easy to maintain.  Well...it's easy to maintain when you are paying attention.  

Here is what ours now looks like as it's drying in the sun after one of those "easy" washes:


Let me give you a better visual.  This is what it is supposed to look like up close:
Ooooohhhhh...FURRY!
Again, not our rug.  Photo courtesy of shag-arearugs.net.

Here is a close up of our sad Flokati.  It doesn't look quite as inviting to the bare bottoms of your feet, does it?  Sigh.


This is an even closer upper of the sadness:

What happened to cause such devastation?  Simply put, I washed it in hot water.  AND it got spun.  I wasn't thinking!  Oh, the depravity!  The Moose went tinkle on his furry Flokati friend and all I was thinking about was the sanitary aspects of walking across the rug in my bare feet...hence, the hot cycle.  Another deep sigh.  If I just woulda / coulda / shoulda just added some natural bleach to kill the ick and run it on a cold cycle with low or no spin, it would still be pretty.  

But how can you be mad at a pooch with a face like this:

This is his embarrassed look.
He knew he's was a bad boy.

So what items have you ruined by not paying attention to what you were doing at the time?  And have I told you about the sweater of my husband's that I shrank shortly after we were married?  I think it might have fit The Moose (aka "Maximuus") it was so small...which is a minor miracle since my hubs is 6'3" and not prone to being mistaken as skinny.  

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Paint By Numbers

Ever see an episode of (anything) on HGTV where they pick a color, slap it on the wall and it looks great?  Let me tell you, folks:  THEY LIE.  Real life isn't so easy.  Try it and you'll find that 9 out of 10 times the paint doesn't look just like the paint swatch you chose, and then the sun will shift and it will look even MORE different than what it looked like the hour before.  

So recently the hubs and I have agreed to paint our main living areas.  We've been in the house for over three years and since the house was "move in ready", we were able to move right in without having to do (much) work.  But a few months ago, we came home and all of a sudden our walls looked to me like they were a pinky peach color!?  So in passing, I mentioned it and like a bad song that gets stuck in your head, it's all we can think about whenever we are in the living room, dining room, stairway or hallway...pretty much our WHOLE living area now screams the question "Am I peach or am I pink?".  Our response:  "Whatever you are, YO UGLY!".

Obviously, something had to be done.  

We started by picking a palette of grays and swatch-ed them around the space.  Why gray?  Because it wasn't beige.  I wanted a little more style and love the neutral yet edgy look of gray. So the first five stripes on this wall were all shades of gray from Sherwin Williams.  We lived with them striping various walls around the space for a couple of days, and then decided they looked a little to industrial for what we were wanting (and I quote the hubs "it looks like a cinder block prison") so we went back to the drawing board.

Doesn't the wall look peachy-pinky?!  EW.
Here are the colors (all from Sherwin Williams) in order of the first five stripes on the wall.  See what I mean?  They don't look ANYTHING like the swatches on this wall.  Granted, part of it is my camera, your monitor, and so forth, but we stood back and had to do a double take.  

7022 Alpaca
7023 Requisite Gray
6022 Essential Gray
7024 Functional Gray
6001 Grayish
Here are 2 more striped walls to compare with.  I mean, really?  The top & bottom stripes (#1 & #5) look almost white on this wall, don't they?

This wall doesn't get direct sunlight, it's between two windows.
Yes, I'm busted.  That IS an ugly brass doorknob.  We just haven't gotten around to changing them out yet....
But staying on point, THIS wall has all sorts of natural light.

So the next three colors we got are the bottom three stripes:

7037 Balanced Beige
(Yes, it IS the "b" word.)
7044 Amazing Gray
7030 Anew Gray
They ware all starting to look the same so this is how we kept track of the paint stripes:

Back to the basics, folks.  We really are painting by numbers....


We think we've decided on one or maybe even two.  And need to make a decision soon because the painter comes next week.

Which stripe do YOU like?

Monday, May 9, 2011

Open Sesame

Recently my hubs & I went to California to visit with family for a few days and then celebrate our 3rd anniversary.  We spent our special day on Catalina Island, as he had never been and it has been YEARS since I was there.  (As a side note, I'm glad they let me return because the last time I was there, I had a few too many cocktails and had a field day at the local karaoke bar...R-E-S-P-E-C-T never sounded so bad!)

We were both enamored with this little island paradise.  This is what we saw as we arrived via ferry.  Doesn't it look a little like a European port?
 So charming!  Even in the overcast weather.


We rented electric bikes (neither of us felt like getting a workout trying to maneuver the hills with a regular bike) and headed up to the Wrigley Memorial & Conservancy:
The Wrigley Memorial honors the memory of William Wrigley Jr., who lived from 1861 to 1932. Although best known as the founder of the Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company, largest manufacturer of chewing gum in the world, he also played an instrumental role in the history of Catalina Island. He truly loved the island, and READ MORE

Once we got up the 999,999 stairs, this was the view.  We had to pause to catch our breath. Confession:  the main reason we opted for the electric bikes is because we're horribly out of shape right now.  The trek up the stairs confirmed it.

Say cheese:
My true love.
And here is the "design-ish" portion of this blog post (had to get it in SOMEWHERE) because I was in love with these doors and was the inspiration for the blog title.  I took about 20 other photos but I think this is my favorite.  I just love the idea that once you cross the threshold you're somewhere else.  And between the ornate doors and the stairs, my imagination goes wild.
 Look at the detail!!!


So once we got up even MORE stairs through those doors (you can't see, but you make a right hand turn and go up another flight), this is what you see inside the memorial.  Gorgeous, isn't it?


And finally after a few more cheesy photos of ourselves that I'll spare you from, we came back down into "town" as it was time for lunch.  Sadly, it remained overcast but on the bright side (pun intended) it didn't get very hot as we "pedaled" our way around the island.


We ate at The Lobster Trap, which was delish and the perfect ending to a perfect day.  Props to the team there for amazing food & service.


If you are looking for a quaint vacation spot, this place is full of B&B's.  We might just return on our next anniversary...and never come home.  

(Oh, and in case you're wondering, no, I did not get paid or perked to plug the island!)



Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Real Estate in The PK

We have all heard the news about Osama's capture and demise, but did you catch the part that he was found in a $1,000,000 mansion?  Yeah, after Sunday night's dramatic raid, a senior administration official told reporters that the property, an "extraordinarily unique compound" in an "affluent suburb", was valued at around $1m.  Really?

Is Pakistan's real estate market in a bubble or what?  Maybe the $1m includes the guards servant staff:


If you were a real estate agent, how would you describe this "unique compound" and it's "affluent neighborhood"?  I don't think Shakespeare could even put a good spin on that write up:


How about some exterior paint, new windows and some flower boxes?


Nice peeling concrete wall, dude.  Where is the curb appeal?


Wow - the traffic in this neighborhood keeps getting worse.  Is this rush hour?



Looks to me like they need to review their appraisal processes in The PK.  Just sayin.

And has anybody found interior images?  I'd love to know what direction the interior designer took....