Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Starting to Stage Bacon's House

Home Staging In Portland

When I grow up...  Now that you have that Pussycat Dolls song stuck in your head... or maybe that's just me. 

I check out lots of blogs. I watch HGTV till Hunky Husband wants to poke his own eyes out. I cruise Pinterest for hours. I'm writing this blog, taking pictures and linking.  But what I really want to do is become a Professional Stager like Miss Maureen of Room Solutions Home Staging in Portland, Oregon.
  • with a storage space full of inventory furniture to stage vacant properties
  • with classes under my belt and certifications
  • with fancy association buttons to put on my web site
  • with all the answers for my clients on how to sell their homes quick & for top dollar
In the mean time, I'm helping my friend Bacon (really, that's her last name) get her house ready to put on the market before her husband leaves on his next deployment. 

this is a day time photo with flash, like I said daaaarrk

Martha Stewart Rainwater
via Home Depot
We have to start with paint.  Her living room is a dark taupe and a gorgeous shade of Ohio State crimson. The fireplace surround is white builder grade tile and the mantle is Ohio State Gray.  It matches her husband's fan flags -- it is perfect for them to live in. GO BUCKEYES! It is a comfy, cozy cave.  However, the dark colors suck every bit of light out of the room. For listing pictures, we need to brighten & lighten. Primer + paint and it will sound like a good episode of House Hunters.  "I love the light. Good space. Great light in here."

We live in sunny Florida and the room has 20' vaulted ceilings and glass doors that open out to the back yard.  Once we throw on some Martha Stewart colors in Behr paint in a light gray tone, it will sparkle and glow.  
Martha Stewart Enamelware
via Home Depot

We are trying test boards of Rainwater and Enamelware on sheets of foam core. I think the Enamelware is a little too blue, but every paint does funny things in different light.  -We shall see. Either of the sea glass gray tones will really pop against the dark hard wood floors.  We are also going to try this trim trick I found on Pinterest to visually bulk up the baseboards.

via Pinterest

Her kitchen cabinets are the same dark gray color as the mantle.  She was afraid we would have to repaint them all.  Then I showed her the pretty two-toned scheme that Miss Layla has in her The Lettered Cottage kitchen.  Perfection. So, we can paint just the uppers and trade out hardware.

Miss Layla in her TLC kitchen

Martha Stewart Sea Anemone
via Home Depot
The kitchen opens into the living room so the two colors will bump up against each other in one corner and have to play nice.  We are going for a fresh green yellow (and crossing our fingers that it doesn't come out looking like lime sherbet).  For now, Sea Anemone is the front runner.  It looks so pretty against Rainwater and the lower cabinets.

via Pinterest

Bacon just loves the look of white subway tiles. They are classic and cheap economical per square foot. Her next door neighbor and my Hunky Husband are awesome tile guys and their rates are reasonable (coke & pizza till the job is done).

As we start projects, I'll include some before shots.  This is the dreamy post about all our wanna/gonna ideas.  I also have to let Bacon scrub her house before I take any pictures. She is one of those clean for the cleaning lady, stage for the stager kind of girls.  I'm so thankful she is letting me share her house with you.  We are both crazy country girls, so I'm sure there will be some shenanigans along the way to share, too.

Hunky Husband is also going to price out one more project for us. The kitchen is on the smaller side and doesn't have a lot of storage, but it does have super high ceilings.  I think it would be great to build boxes on top -- it turns standard height cabinets into extra tall ones. 

boxes with crown via Remodelaholic

We want to be very careful with the budget.  Every dime that goes in needs to really come back as a quarter.  I'll let you in on every way we stretch it (like color matching any fancy color into Behr paint).  You can also check out this project as it grows on my Pinterest board -- Bacon's house.

just bec

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Stinkin Cute Teacher Gifts

The evil genius who put the pharmacy inside Wal-Mart got my $40 today while I was waiting for the two prescriptions that totaled $2.98. Of course, it saved me from the $100 I would have spent going to the pharmacy inside Target.

I was  stealing comparison shopping their huge paint chips (for a crafty project) when I saw these little cuties.  They are supposed to hold soap or tiny potions & lotions in the shower, but on the becca channel, I saw them holding post-it notes and little markers on the side of a file cabinet.  No need to contact your cable provider, I'm the only one who gets the becca channel.

the picture in my head of how the teacher can actully use this
via becca channel

Maybe you don't give presents to your teachers for every holiday.  School is expensive enough with trips, books, lunch, fees, activities, pictures etc. Our school also has $1 fundraisers, what seems like every Friday. It adds up.

However, I come from an education family.  Its kinda the family business.  Both my parents taught for over 30 years.  My Sistah is a 5th grade teacher.  I even had a long-term sub phase in my life (FDHS class of 2000 -- hollah!)  It is not an easy job. Teachers spend a lot of their own money for their classrooms and activities.  So, I like to do something special for the ones who put up with enlighten & encourage my short people all day.

I went through the stationary, valentines and candy aisles to find dollar or less treasures to fill the baskets up.

This was intented to be a bouquet of pretty lollipops for $1. I split them into two bouquets to add color and height. 

Middle girlie's teacher has their 1st grade class themed all in monkeys.  So, I couldn't resist these pencils. 

My mom is a breast cancer survivor (6 years wooo wooo). Hunky husband says I would buy a bag of dirt if they put a pink ribbon on it.  They didn't have a bag of dirt, but I did snap up these precious little tissues.  They are called "swanky hankies" and some portion of my $.97 purchase supports breast cancer reasearch.  Every penny helps.

Each of the girlies got to take a cute picture of themselves to put into the magnetic frame.  I am under no illusion that these pictures will stay in the frame for long.  They are cute, though. 

My one splurge, the Hershey chocolates.  Truth be told, I ate most of them while assembling these lovely gifts.  Teacher gifts are only the latest, thinly veiled, excuse for me to buy chocolates.

The open weave design of these baskets just screamed out to be tied up with ribbon. 

This all started because I "got lured" to the back of the store by these HUGE paint sample chips.  When we moved, I threw out or donated all of my scrap paper collection (a national treasure).  Raiding the paint chips keeps me from buying whole packs of scrapbooking or construction paper.  I'll have to break down and buy some eventually, but these work perfectly for small projects.

Big girlie thinks everything in the world should be pink.  Middle girlie would paint everything orange, so her shades are more vibrant. 

Each of the girlies got to draw hearts on the paint chips and cut them out. We glued them onto the leftover photo paper to make the card.

My first job was at a gift shop that made gift baskets and I've just never recovered.  Somehow, putting the crinkly clear wrap around anything makes it look more snazzy.  Plus, it gives me a chance to use up more of the ribbon stash that ate New York.

These worked out to almost exactly $10 each:
  • basket                       $2.47
  • lollipop                         .50
  • pink erasers                  .60
  • pencils                          .97
  • post-it notes                1.44
  • chocolates                   1.34
  • magnetic frame             .95
  • tissues                           .97
  • paint chips                   free
  • clear wrap                    free
  • ribbons                     + free
                                          $ 9.24

You don't have to spend this much or any money for that matter. But please, send you teachers' some special appreciation every time you can.  Please give respect (and a hug) to any parents you know who are taking on the task of teaching their own children.

via pinterest

just bec

finally getting the hang of these linky party things.  check them out for inspiration!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

VaVoom Value Furniture: Nadeau like Playdough

On the top - a selection of metal storage
from Restoration Hardware for $149-169.
On the bottom - similar options from Nadeau for $69.
Almost everyone loves a great deal (some snooty patooties like to brag how much they pay, but not any of my friends.) 

Stagers by our very nature, HAVE to find good deals.  We need a table that looks super fancy, but my client needs the price to be super tiny.  Inventory items have to be sturdy enough to move from house to house and still look great.  We want to spend the least while making the most impact.  I do check Craig's list and Goodwill, but I have a favorite place that you may not have heard of.  You may have driven by and never guessed at the treasures within.

This is my love letter to Nadeau, furniture with a soul. It is the perfect furniture store for me.  It is one of the reasons I wanted to become a stager. They have so many pieces I love, but my house can never hold them all.  Now, I can help others pick out some to go in their house and then add a dozen couple to my inventory.

all the treasures piled up, this
one is for my sistah (shhh)
via facebook
There are only in 17cities, but I had no idea they were so rare.  We had 3 at one time in Charleston, so I thought they were all over. 

Everyone loves IKEA and I love the sleek look and great prices -- no one loves the wordless directions and that crazy little screwdriver thingy. It is a giant, well lit box filled with treasures and they babysit your short people. As close as that is to perfect, Nadau is a completely different kind of wonderful. It feels like a crazy furniture dream exploded into a warehouse space.  There are dressers stacked on top of one another, chairs on top of tables, screens peeking out from behind consoles.  There are distressed pieces next to deeply carved next to brightly painted next to Asian inspired next to primitive.  It is a wonderland for those of us who love to dig and explore.

bed, dining, dresser, orange shelf with green pigs department

The prices are unbelievable on everything.  It would allow your designer to pick the perfect piece for your fabulous 3rd country estate and then mark it up a gazillion percent.  Since I only have one servantless house, I go digging for my own perfect piece and drag it home in my F-250. 

Pottery Barn version
My first piece was our beautiful farm table. I had been lusting in my heart over the Pottery Barn version. I had shown this collection (over $3000 on sale plus shipping) to Hunky Husband several (thousand) times.  On a whim, I ended up cruising through Nadeau and saw the exact same table for $400.  It is not the exact same though, because this table was made of solid Plantation grown Mahogany, the PB version has a MDF top with veneer. 

Southern Living shoot $465 Nadeau version
Big girlie doing homework at ours
Hunky Husband was not happy to be summoned to a furniture store.  His mood improved exponentially when he saw the price/value/beauty of the table.  Let's be honest he really only cared about the price. He was so overwhelmed with relief that he had dodged the "if you love me you'll buy this Pottery Barn table" bullet. He picked out two bookcases and an end table to fill the adjoining Living Room. The total purchase was still less than the PB table alone.
Some of my Friends may or may not have used that same trick once they heard this story. I take no responsibility if you do the same.

The bookcases are in my office now holding the revolving collection of treasures when they are not on the table at a party or in someone else's house.  The end table is the nightstand in my little girlie's room.

Value aside, I just love Nadeau furniture.  My huge TV cabinet is one of my favorite pieces of furniture ever. You don't hear women say that very often. It looks as if a classically trained furniture maker fell off a ship and landed alone on a deserted island. It is the kind of furniture he would make -- traditional lines, rough hewn, hand rubbed, imperfectly perfect with 2 tons of character.

Each store location has different availability of items and they get different shipments all the time. In case you're wondering, I have never worked for them and did not receive any payment for this post. Besides my credit card slips, they do not know I exist.  The important thing is, now you know they exist. You even know how to pronounce it.

 So, good luck & happy hunting.  You'll find something to make your home more visit ready. 

just bec

adding this post to a great linky party at HOUSE OF HEPWORTHS. Hundreds of links for you to check out with projects, recepies & ideas.

my dream TV console for the bedroom, On the left, Z Gallerie's Planters Buffet for $999. On the right, Nadeau's nearly identical buffet $676.
Both are made from sheesham hardwood.

great for staging that awkward hallway/doorway space, but I'll prolly paint it out
via facebook
where else are you going to find shelves made of ox carts?
via facebook

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Staging Stash -- a little bit of it anyway

Sorry it looks like I haven't been doing anything.  It has been one of those times when working my booty off in real life leads to a lack of blog activity.
  • First of all, I got a whip and a cattle prod begged Hunky Husband to clean up in the sacred, all-man/all-the-time garage.  He did and I wiggled some of my extra inventory into the free space. 

I keep an extra set of neutral dishes around.  When they are not at someone else's house, we use them for cookouts. Baby calls them garage plates.  This is a little peek at my emerald green depression glass collection -- thus the green all over my site. -It's my signature color.

Various baskets take up too much room to stay in the house, but come in too handy to get rid of.  I got that galvanized wash tub and stand on clearance at Target -- it has been to a couple dozen parties already.  I can't wait to use it for the pre-mixed mason jar drinks I saw on Pinterest.

You can't tell, but that clear tub is FULL of curtain rings and brackets for window hardware. The pink one is full of casters that will be attached to something, someday.

This huge white tub is full of frames that I am not currently using. The sad thing is, they were all hanging in my tall/skinny house at the same time. Yes, we spackled for days before repainting on the way out.  The upturned box on the right is an extra flatware sorter. It amazes me that people can let their forks and spoons touch. That is why you hire a stager, I swoop in to save the day. 
I adore this oblong white china bowl. It is also a clearance find from Tarjay.  We've filled it with fruit, feathered spheres, napkins, bread, asparagus and twenty other things -- just not at the same time. One large, simple statement piece is so much better for staging than even beautiful small items.
I am slightly obsessed with fishbowl shaped vases. I buy every one I find at Goodwill.  They are perfect for holding flowers, candles, river rocks, coffee beans, Christmas ornaments, gumballs, Legos -- you will see them A LOT when I start posting some of my client pictures. My Sistah brought the blue & white wooden shoes back from a trip to Holland. (She was a flight attendant.) Mommy and I found the matching blue & white planter at a yard sale for a quarter.

Blog world went a little crazy over cloches last year and I know why.  They are kind of like the topcoat of your pedicure -- everything looks shiny and wonderful underneath.  They can make a tiny pile of stuff look like a treasured collection. They also keep said collection from getting dusty.  They also make fake plants look real and keep people from touching them to find out -- BONUS!

This is the part where most of you go reaching for the silver polish, but I have to admit my deep dark secret.  I love the look of tarnished silver.  I wouldn't do it on purpose, but I never shine it up.  Call me crazy, but after oil-rubbed bronze is over, you will all be running out to Home Depot to buy spray paint in "tarnished silver". It will be the hot new thing and I will be sitting here with the coolest collection in town. Or maybe I'm just lazy.

Do not fear, I have no intention of using the pumpkins to stage your house. They are (buy on clearance at the dollar store after Halloween, spray paint into a wonderful creation, add candy & sharpie markers) teacher gifts for next year. Unless you are one of my childrens' teachers -- then -Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

As you can tell I love glass.  This is a tiny fraction of all the lovely breakables I have in my house, in my friends' houses, in my clients' houses. Movers hate me. If you are decorating or staging, it is so wonderful to add the glossy sparkle of clean glass.  It adds interest without weight.  It is also super cheap to buy at discount or thrift stores. 

Secondly, I spent the day with a new client y'all will be hearing a lot about. Recently, she has rescued a 2 year vacant house.  She and her Handy Fella have taken on all the demo, now we put it back together on the tiniest budget we can.  They want to do things once, not have to undo it or redo it when they are ready to sell.
tutorial I'll need to check out on how to fix her tragically feaux painted stone fireplace
She's even agreed to let me share the whole pretty process here. Hope you like to watch how we make the sausage.  I will have some "before"s, work lists and project ideas for you as we go.  For now, I'll be piling ideas on a Pinterest board for her to check out and kick back.  Take a peek and come along for the ride as we get her place visit ready.  I really like this part more than the "after"s.  I might not sleep tonight.

sweet dreams, just bec

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Stage to Rent For More Rent

Income Property via HGTV
If you are not sure why you should stage a rental property, watch one episode of Income Property on HGTV.  Yes, you will see my amazingly gorgeous, imaginary boyfriend Scott McGillivray. You will also see that rental spaces sing, fly, soar when they are staged. 

Often rental spaces are small, so open spaces serve multiple purposes. You can show the renter that a small sofa and bistro dinette set will fit in a space. They do not have to wonder or worse, doubt.  If you show them that a slim desk will fit in the bedroom, you can attract the young professional with a laptop.  Vacant rooms can look misleadingly small or awkward. By staging a room with minimal furniture and a nuetral pallete, you give them the answers to the test and you give yourself a better chance to rent to a higher grade of tenant.

My boyfriend,  Scott (ok imaginary boyfriend Scott McGillivray, but that is the last time I admit it) can tell you all about how to be a landlord. He has hundreds of income properties of his own plus the ones he has created for property owners on his show. I can only tell you what I saw as a potential renter and offer to help as a stager.

pensacola beach via pensacola blogger

Hunky Husband and I recently moved to Pensacola, Florida because Home Depot said we should. They were absolutely right. It is coastal/casual Heaven here and we love it! But it was nothing less than traumatic for me.

I have lived in the same small town (Summerville) outside of Charleston, SC my entire life.  You really don't know an area till you get there and we had only 5 days to secure a rental. We have 3 girlies (ages 8, 5 & 3) so I did my research on the schools in the area with school digger.com. That pretty much decided where we would look.  Luckily for us, there were several good schools in the area and we had a helpful Realtor to show us around for 2 days -- that's right, new time zone, 2 days.

I scoured rental listings on the internet for weeks before our trip.  I used hotpads.com because it maps out the properties and the school district attendance lines better than anywhere else I could find. It has lots of great options to customize for size of property and the price you are looking for. I'm sure I drove our Realtor nuts with my frequent emails, but he good naturedly continued to send new listings and rule out my favorites that had already rented. Pensacola is a military town -- home of the Blue Angels. So, good rentals go quickly. 

Blue Angels flying right over my house via pensacola places

During that search I saw great properties well staged and well photographed. Sorry, I wasn't blogging at the time, so I didn't know to steal, link to the pictures.  I also saw some homes that were full of tenant's mess or empty rooms. Yes, vacuum marks are nice to see, but if they are all you see, it is hard to tell if your bookcases will fit or not.  Eighty percent of buyers/renters are looking for a home on the internet. The movers who packed us up said that all 3 clients they had before us, were moving to houses they had never been to -- just picked from photos on MLS!

When you are selling your house, you get to dust and put out flowers and leave.  When you are renting a house, the current tenant is not your agent. They are not invested in you getting a great new tenant.

One poor owner could only show pictures of the outside of his house because the tenants wouldn't allow photos of their things.  He had to show pictures of his lovely home from the street.  Even the best curb appeal cannot compete with great interior photos. Renters will not hope for the best, they will fear the worst.

lots of curb appeal, but that is all
via hot pads

One house that we were really interested in, was being held captive rented by a pilot who was too busy to answer phone calls from our Realtor.  In the listing it had beautiful hardwood floors, but I will never know, because he also would not answer the door. 

I say all that to say this. Stage your property to rent... at least once for the pictures.  Many renters will never see anything but your posting. If your images on a listing website or MLS are not good, they will never call your number. They will never knock on your door. 

If you can schedule the time after one tenant leaves to clean and stage, even for a small widow of time, it can be worthwhile.  Schedule as many potential tenants as possible for a few days, then you can evaluate their applications and decide on the best possible tenant (and get the best possible rent).

Boyfriend's Before & After, Income Property via HGTV

Please just watch one episode of Income Property and you will see what I mean.  Poor Scott spends weeks updating plumbing, eradicating knob & tube wiring, adding soundproofing, fireproofing doors and open concept-ing layouts like crazy. He also flips his hair, blinds with his crazy-white smile and wears tight T-shirts.  THEN, the reveal comes.. the homeowners see...the beautifully staged space.  They never comment on the lovely duct work. No one ever oooh's and aaaaah's over the functional plumbing stack.  It is the color and furniture and FEEL of the new space that seals the deal.

GUESS WHAT... when someone comes to see your property, it is the color and furniture and FEEEEL of the space that seals the deal. Go visit any large multi-family development. You'll see they have a model home, a model unit, because it works.  Make your rental property visit ready and you will see.  Better space. Better tenant. Better rent.

just bec

Inspiring Interiors via Pinterest
I am posting this old article at all the fun parties. First, because it was one of my first posts and 5 people besides my Momma read it the first time. 

I even posted it on the Income Property Facebook page, but it was the week his real wife was having a baby -- so much for my love letter to Dreamy Scott. Don't laugh, I have invested a lot into this imaginary relationship, in a totally non-stalker kind of way.

Second, to celebrate! My boyfriend is finally on Pinterest!! So now it is easy to pin inspirational interiors from Income Property.

sometimes I share at these link parties:

 nifty thrifty tuesday @ coastal charm show me what you've got @ our delightful home  tuesday to do @ the blackberry vine get your craft on @ today's creative blog tip me tuesday @ tip junkie  tutorials & tips @ home stories a to z  take a look tuesday @ sugar bee crafts  one project at a time@ a bowl full of lemons  tuesdays treasures @ my uncommon slice of suburbia  wow me wednesday @ ginger snap crafts   tuesday time out @ reason to skip the housework  sugar & spice @ 733 a creative blog  whatever goes wednesday @ someday crafts show & share @ southern lovely wow me wednesday @ polka dots on parade  under $100 @ beyond the picket fence  show off your stuff @ fireflies and jelly beans  pinspirational thursday @ the artsy girl connection   hooking up with hoh @ house of hepworths  strut your stuff @ somewhat simple    share awesomeness thursdays @ the 36th avenue  a glimpse inside @ catch a glimpse   feathered nest friday @ french country cottage  freestyle friday @ happy hour projects  thursday temptation @ two yellow birds decor   flaunt it friday @ chic on a shoestring  the pity party @ 30 handmade days  weekend wrap up @ tatertots and jello anything goes link party @ bacon time  pinworthy projects @ just us four  friday free for all @ five days five ways  frugal friday @ the shabbby nest  mad skills party @ mad in crafts  serenity saturday @ serenity you   manic monday @ serendipity and spice