Fall Color Consults – Everyone is painting!

October seems to be the month for color consultations.  We’re starting to migrate back inside, my phone is ringing and wall color is the hot topic.  One of my clients will be doing BM-Stardust with BM-White Dove trim.  A gorgeous combo and I can’t wait to see the outcome.  I couldn’t talk them into Farm Fresh (below) on the ceiling……. the ultimate.

Benjamin Moore color trends 2012

Benjamin Moore 2012 colors

This client  is also doing a tranquil and soothing bedroom in Nimbus Gray (above) with White Dove trim.  Although it comes off as a blue, it’s in the grey family and is very soft, pretty and serene but can also be dramatic depending on how it’s used.

Another client is doing a BM-Conventry Gray living room (BM-Revere Pewter is an amazing gray as well).  With over 200 Benjamin Moore shades of gray (well over 50), Coventry Gray is one of my favorites.  It’s an extremely versatile, fresh color with blue undertones and is being used as a neutral in her living room.

Benjamin Moore HC-169 Coventry Grey

In a bedroom, the debate is over Sherwin Williams 6415-Hearts of Palm, much softer than the old granny smith apple, yet still bright and cheerful and 7732-Lemongrass, sophisticated and chic especially when paired with black and tan.

SW 6415 Hearts Of Palm

SW 7732 Lemongrass








Nobody has bitten on the Benjamin Moore color of the year, 331-Lemon Souffle …… just not feeling the soft yellow yet.

Benjamin Moore Color of the Year 2013 – Lemon Souffle







5 Savvy Fixes To Help Sell Your Home

Get the maximum return on your spruce-up dollars by putting your money in the areas buyers care most about

Kristie Barnett for Houzz
Color Expert, Interior Decorator, & Design Blogger (http://thedecorologist.com)….More »


No one wants to spend money on the home they are getting ready to sell, but it can be crucial if you want to sell the house quickly and for the price you want. Beyond basic decluttering and cleaning, there are areas where some money may need to be spent. While there are some areas that aren’t necessary to spend money on, you may need to spend a little cash in order to get your property sold.

traditional dining room by Michael Abrams Limited
1. Paint
Painting the walls in updated neutrals and on-trend colors will set your home apart and help home buyers remember each room. Open areas all should be painted the same color — maybe a light griege or muted-down color. You’ll want to skip the dark or intense colors in these areas.
traditional bedroom Guest Room Redesign
Master and guest bedrooms are best painted in muted but distinct colors. Muted versions of blues, greens and yellows are good bets.
This lovely guest room painted by Warline Painting in Benjamin Moore’s Georgian Green will be remembered over a similar one painted Builder Beige.
2. Make Necessary Repairs
Go ahead and make any repair work that you have left unfinished. Not only will the buyer’s home inspector find those issues anyway, but you are hindering offers if there are obvious repairs that need to be made.

Unfinished repairs or projects reflect badly on the overall maintenance of the home and send up a red flag to would-be buyers. Nothing will make a buyer pull out of a deal and run for the hills faster than a home inspection report riddled with needed repairs and safety concerns.

3. Replace Old Carpet
If you have old or stained carpet, you should consider replacing it before putting it on the market. Often a professional cleaning is enough to get it ready to show, but sometimes that just won’t do the trick. Stained or dated carpet is a huge turnoff to potential buyers, especially if you have pets. Even pet lovers are not interested in buying a home with carpet stained by other peoples’ pets.
bedroom by Freedom Restorations Co.

And before you even mention it, “carpet allowances” really don’t work well anymore. Mortgage companies are increasingly reluctant to allow a contract with repair and update allowances. Besides that, most people don’t have the luxury to stay a few extra weeks in their previous home after the closing date while new carpet is being installed. Fresh, new carpet is even more crucial when selling an empty property, since that is all buyers will see in an empty room.
Same thing goes for vinyl flooring — you’re going to have a hard time selling if it’s old, torn or stained. Replace it with a clean, neutral vinyl or vinyl composite tile (VCT).
4. Install Solid-Surface Countertops
You’ve probably heard that kitchens and baths sell houses. If you are interested in getting your house sold quickly, replacing laminate countertops in the kitchen will help make that happen. We can argue the particulars, but solid-surface, natural stone or quartz countertops will help sell your home.

When a property is above the $350,000 range, I highly recommend the upgrade. If it’s below that, there is absolutely nothing that will sell a home faster and for more money. Buyers on the lower end will swoon over them and will always choose a home with solid-surface countertops over other homes in their price range that don’t have them.

More on choosing kitchen counters

5. Find a Stager

Investing a few hundred dollars with a really good home stager can help you make tens of thousands when selling your home. Not all stagers are created equal. Do your homework and find a stager with a good track record and a great portfolio so you can see the work before investing in a consultation.

Spread out the cost — and enjoy some fixes yourself. If you are considering moving within the next couple of years, don’t wait until the last minute to improve your home to make it more marketable. Do a little at a time so that you can spread out the cost. Why not enjoy the improvements yourself before your house goes on the market?

Guides to selling your house
How to Sell Your House Faster to a Younger Buyer


Painting to Sell: What Color Homes Sell Best?

AOL Real Estate

By Christopher Moore   Posted Jul 16th 2010 3:10PM

exterior painting colors to sell your home  Wilma Horner said no to blue. And it paid off.

Horner, a broker for RE/MAX in Bridge City, Texas, had a client with a blue-colored facade. “I said we need to make a change because that’s not going to attract people,” Horner recalls of her exterior painting suggestion. Her clients agreed to go with a more neutral color. “It’s turned out to be a positive,” Horner says of the home’s new look, which netted more than $100 per square foot. That is the going rate for a much newer home in the neighborhood, the Texas Realtor says with considerable pride in her voice.

Call it exterior painting to sell. Horner’s basic rule, one underscored repeatedly by others with firsthand knowledge of what’s selling, is to go mainstream. Try to appeal to the widest possible swath of buyers. This is no time to be idiosyncratic.

Or as Jackie Jordan, the director of color marketing for Sherwin-Williams, puts it: “Get rid of anything that’s kind of obnoxious.”

After all, Jordan is not just a color expert at one of the world’s most famous paint companies. She’s also a Dallas-based professional who has boughtand sold many homes over the years. She always looked to make sure the color of the home she was selling had broad appeal. “Anything I thought would not appeal to the masses … I painted over it,” Jordan said.

Aaron Hart, a RE/MAX broker in Colorado, championed cream and light green and light brown for exterior paint color schemes. As someone who invests with others in properties, Brown has seen how brash colors can turn off his business partners. “They’re typically more hesitant to look at the house and sometimes even skip it,” he said.

Other tips on exterior painting to sell:

• “Drive around your neighborhood,” suggests Sherwin-Williams’ Jordan. “Get inspiration that way.”

• Think about your part of the country, but don’t get too stuck in that mindset. “There’s definitely regional color,” Jordan explains. Spicy tones might work in the Southwest; tropical areas might be more used to a little blue. But with more and more transients landing in new places, some newcomers do not necessarily adapt to their new neighborhood. Some take their style (and their furniture) with them from one part of the country to another.

• Earth tones abound. They should, according to Ainslie Dougherty, a RE/MAX Realtor in Colorado. “What I suggest to all my sellers is that they start with earth tones, nothing too bold and nothing too taste-specific.” No lime greens. No oranges. “No pink unless you have an old Victorian and you are fixing it up,” Dougherty says.

• Look at new home construction, Dougherty suggests. Copy what the builders of new construction are doing.

• “Make sure that your front door is beautifully painted,” advised Jordan. Front doors matter, which is an argument underscored by at least one company, Therma-Tru Doors, of Toledo, Ohio. Heather Sonnenberg, the director of product management at Therma-Tru, says the biggest hurdle is getting someone into your home. When it comes to painting the door, Sonnenberg advises: “You can add a little drama, but you want to steer clear of going too far.” And don’t put a Craftsman-style door on a contemporary house.

Want to be all about color? Do it later. “People are more brave with color when they know they are going to stay for a while,” Jordan said. “They’ll go with the chocolate-brown or bright-red dining room.”

Or as RE/MAX’s Dougherty puts it: “After the house is yours, do what you want.”

In the meantime, Horner insisted that it’s all about curb appeal. Too often sellers think about what they would want, the Texas broker says. “If it’s a bright person, they think about that bright color.” Her suggestion: Don’t.

Think about painting the exterior to please. After all, as Horner has learned about selling homes: “It’s a business, not an emotion.”


New Uppercase Living Catalog

Uppercase Living® has a new catalog, 75% of the expressions are brand new and it’s time to celebrate! From July 1 – 31, 2012 all of the expressions in the new Celebrations Edition Idea Catalog are Buy Two, Get One FREE!  Now that’s something to celebrate!.  Whether you want a stunning Two-Part Expression for your formal living room or a playful border for the nursery, Uppercase Living® has just the right expression. Browse through these pages to find yours!

Click here to view the new catalog.




Fresh Flowers

Source:  The New York Times – April 25, 2012

Q. Is it worth spending money on flower arrangements for an open house?

Flower arrangements for open house.

A. “If you spend $200 on flowers, in the grand scheme of things, compared to the amount of money that you’re selling your apartment for, it’s totally worth it,” said Lisa Lippman, a senior vice president at Brown Harris Stevens in Manhattan. “Flowers just make a place look lived in, in a good way. It makes it seem like somebody cares about the home.”

Flowers can also help ensure that buyers’ olfactory senses aren’t offended.

“They give a fresh smell,” Ms. Lippman said. “It can potentially cover up an animal smell, stale smell, mothballs or whatever.”

Sandra de Ovando, owner of the New York floral design company Ovando, said she often creates arrangements specifically for open houses.

“Flowers can make an apartment more appealing because they bring a space to life,” she said. “People can relate to how they would feel in the home, because it’s warm and intimate.”

Just don’t go overboard.

“All the flowers for an open house should be simple; I’d do bunches of flowers,” Ms. de Ovando said, adding that she often prefers using only white flowers. “I wouldn’t really do anything too complicated, with designed pieces.”

The flowers should enhance the surroundings, she suggested, not steal the show.

Ms. de Ovando suggested putting one bunch of flowers in the foyer and another on a coffee table in the living room, at the very least.

“If there’s the budget for another, I would also do something in the kitchen,” she said.

To get the most for your money, she recommended using seasonal flowers whenever possible. In the spring, that might mean hyacinths and peonies.

“For summer,” she said, “I love gladiolas, because once they open you get so many flowers, and it’s such a big impact.” In the fall, she likes large mums, and in the winter, amaryllis.

If you want something fragrant, she recommended lilies or hyacinths. But for open houses held over consecutive weekends, she suggested orchids, because “they’re a little more long-lasting.”

As for how much you should spend, Ms. de Ovando advised that the cost of the flowers should reflect your home’s asking price. That means your budget could range from $200 to $1,000, she said, depending on whether you’re trying to sell an entry-level apartment or a more luxurious home.

And if you’re just doing a simple arrangement, Ms. Lippman pointed out, it’s possible to do it yourself.

“It depends a little bit on how good you are at arranging flowers,” she said. “But you can go get daffodils or tulips and put them in a couple of vases.”

The payoff for the extra bit of effort is clear.

“If you see an apartment that looks really neat and put together, with flowers on a couple of tables, it’s just much more inviting,” she said. “Even in an apartment that needs work, it makes a difference.” TIM McKEOUGH marketready@nytimes.com

Subscribe to The Home Staging Source Blog above.



Back to the Spreadsheet

Youngstown/Lewiston, NY

A great riverfront house in Youngstown. Note to self - keep appropriate footwear in vehicle at all times.

Spring Home Staging in Western New York is in full swing.  Several open projects have me resorting back to my spreadsheet system.  A problem I welcome.

This week was all over the board.  It was primarily consumed with designing and packing for a vacant. The painting is complete, the color palette is hot and the design is coming together nicely.

Interestingly, I’ve seen an explosion in the number of requests for exterior color consultations.  The “artsy” neighborhoods in Buffalo are a favorite.  The older homes have quite a bit of gingerbread and architectural detail.  They allow for a little more creativity with making funky color choices.

By now, we all know staging a property is such a smart investment!  It works and it does send the message of a well cared-for home. That series of first impressions highlighting your home‘s features, allows the buyer to feel at home, not in your home.  The before and after photos tell the story.  Eventually, I’ll spend a day editing and uploading pictures.  Until then, the Staging itself is the priority!

Subscribe to The Home Staging Source blog above.



Uppercase Living & The Home Staging Source


Uppercase Living The Home Staging Source

I’m pleased to announce that I’ve become an Uppercase Living demonstrator.  The thing is, I’m constantly telling clients they should remove their Uppercase Living sentiments and paint.  Staging your home to sell is depersonalizing so your home appeals to the broadest amount of potential buyers.  Uppercase Living is clearly personalizing.  I now can immediately offer the sentiment replacement for your new home…… or perhaps add to your collection during Redesign projects.

Case in point:  I am working on six open projects right now.  Two of the owners are Uppercase Living fans. One is devastated that the wall should be painted to sell the house as it symbolizes great personal feelings and memories.  A replacement for the new home can be ordered while the old is being removed. As I help clients move in and personalize the new space(s), several new sentiments can be added to reflect a new beginning.  An Uppercase Living customer is a true & loyal fan.  Adding UL to my Home Staging & Redesign business is a natural fit and a perfect way to make a new home a reflection of your unique personality.

Whether you identify with a deeply motivational thought, a beautiful embellishment, a bold image, or a combination of these, Uppercase Living® expressions let you be who you are and let you express that uniqueness in your surroundings.  Orders can be placed directly on my UL website from anywhere in the country.

Redesign a room, add passion and thought-provoking reminders to your current surroundings, or make your new home a reflection of your personality with one of the hottest trends in home decor………. Uppercase Living®


Getting Ready for Market: To Pay or Not to Pay for Staging

Wednesday, March 28, 2012, by Curbed Staff

Curbed University delivers insider tips and non-boring advice on how to buy, sell, or rent a home or apartment. Additional questions welcomed to tips@curbed.com. Up now, does it make sense to pay for staging?

curbedU_3_2012.jpgA picture is worth a thousand words, and since most people start their apartment search online nowadays, it better be a damn good picture. There are many companies in NYC that“stage” apartments for sellers and real estate brokers, meaning that they bring in furniture and accessories to make an apartment feel more like a home, and therefore appeal to a wider range of buyers. It also helps focus on the best features of the apartment byneutralizing a palette and using furniture and accessories that give each room a purpose and work with the room’s dimensions.

“An overwhelming majority of buyers cannot visualize  how the home will work for their furniture and needs when they first walk into a property,” says Kathryn Swift of Swift Solutions Home. This can apply to different sized couches, tables, and most importantly, knowing if you’ll be sweetly dreaming in a queen or king sized bed, which can be hard to see without that representation already there.

So why stage? “Homes that are staged sell more quickly and for more money than empty properties,” says Swift, “And many agents agree that the investment for staging is less than the cost of the first price reduction.” Though you might consider yourself an amateur designer, it might be difficult to separate yourself from your home. “When it’s your home, you place things where they make sense for you. When you’re selling your home, furniture may need to be rearranged or replaced to allow buyers to walk through easily and to get a sense of flow and space,” says Swift.

Any cons? It’s definitely an extra cost which grows depending on the size of your apartment. Also, if you’re staging, it means you have to live with this neutralized home while your place is on the market. If you have another place to crash, it usually makes it easier on everyone. Knowing the basics of how staging works will hopefully give you a better perspective on whether it’s right for you when selling your home.  Curbed University

Subscribe to The Home Staging Source Blog Above.


NY Times – Rental as Alternative to Foreclosure

Deal B%k – Bank of America Tests Rental Program as Alternative to Foreclosure

by Nelson D. Schwartz

Bank of America said Thursday that it would offer a small number of customers facing foreclosure the option to remain in their homes and rent the property instead. The program highlights how investors are increasingly interested in becoming landlords on troubled properties.