Thursday, February 28, 2013

There's Retro and there's Reno- PROGRESS!

Hi there 1960's peach bathroom!

We first told you about my in-law's super-small master en-suite here.

Let's look at the positives:

You don't have to trudge down the hall in your skivvies and accidentally run into your daughter-in-law. (Disclaimer: that has thankfully never happened to me!)

There's also plenty of natural light., ok...I think we're done with the list of positives.

 Let's get real......

Problem: No tub
Solution: There's one down the hall, so we decided to have a fantastic shower!

Problem: Vanity is 24" wide. TEENY TINY!
Solution: Steal some space from adjoining hall closet. Shot down by homeowners.

Ooooohhh-K. On to plan B: Work within the footprint.

One way to make a small space feel LARGER is to lighten up!

Wouldn't it be great to transform this peach-beast

into this, natural stone MARVEL?

Best Tile had this lovely mosaic pattern Carrera marble; perfect for the floor.

Classic Carrera marble subway tile and a full-size double glass shower door are what the doctor ordered for this formerly 24" shower.

Once we removed the thick tile wall between the vanity and the shower we could see the potential in this small space.

Keeping it light is definitely key.

We presented the homeowners with an improved space layout by moving the toilet to the wall that backs up to the bedroom. This would allow for a slightly wider shower space and a wider vanity. In our mood board, we presented this vanity from Home Depot.

Our Mood Board featuring an ideal layout, fixture selections, vanity, shower doors, tile, and paint color.

This service is available to everyone for $150. Do you want to spend hours designing, or would you rather US do the heavy lifting? Er, mental lifting that is... But, we do know a guy (see pic below)...

Mom & Pop Poovey loved everything except the basket weave tile for the floor, so we replaced that with the marble mosaic.

Now for the fun part: Demolition

The "guy" we know!

The toilet will replace the step stool!
An improved layout is essential when working in a small footprint. In the picture above, you can see that we brought in the new, Martha Stewart vanity for a dry fit. It's always good to visualize the big pieces in place. 

There's no going back now! I'd say we're committed at this point. Stay tuned to see how this ugly duckling becomes a swan...

Monday, February 25, 2013

Plant your summer bulbs soon!

Are you seeing spring bulbs popping up around your neighborhood, cursing yourself for forgetting to get some in the ground last fall? It may be too late for tulips and daffodils but look what I found at Wal-Mart yesterday.....
 Caladium Bulbs!!  
Caladiums are tropical plants which come in a variety of colors and combinations. They are native to the banks of the Amazon River in South America. The main colors are red, pink and white, and each different type of Caladium has its own unique and exciting color combination.
Caladium border along a fence. Lovely!
 They can go in the ground, in a pot, in the shade, in the sun; you can't hurt these beauties. That's my kind of plant. AND, plant them once; they come back year after year! Now we're talking.

I was cracking on Nicki Minaj on Idol for saying she was obsessed with every contestant. Well, I. AM. OBSESSED. WITH. WHITE! They are called Florida Moonlight and I want them everywhere! Buy them here: Happiness Farms

Oh, would somebody find me this piggy planter in bunny-form? Pretty please WITH a cherry on top!

Caladiums thrive outdoors during the warmer months and add a lush, exotic touch to your yard or garden. Most Caladiums are at home in the shade or partial shade, but some varieties are more sun tolerant and can be planted in areas with little shade. They are a great way to add color to shady areas. They are often used as border plants, alongside homes, or in beds. They may also be used in window boxes and make stunning patio container plants.

So if you live in NC like me, you have to wait a little bit longer before you can plant, but that gives you plenty of time to PLAN your border or planter and to locate all the neat varieties of these wonderful plants!
 Happy planting!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Tips to Sell Your Home FAST

Even after nearly five years since the end of "the boom", it is still a buyer's market. With the high inventory of homes on the market today, home buyers can afford to be picky. Buyers are looking for the best of the best. If your home is not in pristine condition the moment it goes on the market, you could be missing out on a sale.

Here are our top tips to whip your home into shape and wow potential buyers.

Landscape. Curb appeal is crucial to a good first impression, so make sure your home's lawn is immaculate as you can. This doesn't mean go out and spend a fortune on landscaping. It does mean mow the lawn, prune the bushes, weed the garden and plant a few flowers or put some in a nice planter.

Photograph: Take pictures of your home's exterior at different times of the year. You may want to show it with spring-blooming bulbs, or as the leaves are changing in fall. It is helpful to do this now even if you aren't considering selling now but MAY want to sell at some point in the future--near or distant.

Declutter.  Box up knickknacks, photos, extra furniture and other personal items. When you think you have removed clutter from a bookcase or tabletop and it looks perfect...... remove two more things. LESS is MORE. Buyers want to envision themselves in your home and pictures of your own family are distracting. Pack them up--you're moving anyway! There will be plenty of space in your next home to display those photos.
Yes, you can leave your coffee maker out on the counter, but try to clean off most everything else.

Repair. In a buyer's market, you want your home to be in the best condition possible. Take care of major defects like broken windows or a leaky roof that could discourage buyers. The home inspector is going to find it anyway, so go ahead and fix those things. And, this time--DO sweat the small stuff. Use a magic eraser on scuff marks on walls and molding. Be sure to touch up nicks in your paint and any other minor imperfections.

Invite. A fresh coat of paint and a new welcome mat will make the front door stand out. Replace faded house numbers so buyers can see them from the curb. Take down less expensive brass knobs and hinges and spray paint them black. Don't forget an eye-catching potted plant or 2 (if you have the room!)

Paint color is Cheerful by Sherwin Williams
Organize. Messy closets give the appearance that your home doesn't have enough storage space. Clean them out! I would even recommend packing up seasonal clothing so all that remains is the current season's clothes. This will give the appearance of more space in the closets.

Great tip from It's Overflowing: Keep a laundry basket in the family room that you can use to pile the left out toys and then throw that basket into the car with you when you leave during a no-warning showing.   

Sparkle. From ceiling fans to floors and everything in between, clean your home until every surface shines. This may sound as if I'm stating the obvious, but seriously; clean it until your fingers hurt. You don't have to do this deep clean for EVERY, SINGLE showing but before you list and periodically thereafter you need to make it SHINE!

Cleaning Tips

Neutralize. You might like your tennis-ball-yellow kitchen, but potential buyers may not. Paint your walls a neutral color that will appeal to a wide range of buyers. Just go ahead and assume that the wallpaper you chose in 1995 will NOT appeal to anyone. Take it down.

Our top five neutral paint colors are:

how to sell your house, how to get your house ready to sell

Eliminate. Hide the litter box and spray air neutralizer throughout your home. You don't want to use a typical air freshener or you'll end up with rose-smelling kitty pee. Trust me on this one. I've just spent months looking at houses with our good friends. The air "fresheners" in some of those houses could gag a maggot. Fresh wave gel is the best neutralizer I've found. Neutralize the odor; don't cover it.

During an Open House, fill your home with inviting smells by putting out fresh flowers and/or baking a batch of cookies.

Stage. When selling your home, you have one chance to make a good first impression.You have to sell your home TWICE; first online through the listing's photos, and then again when the potential buyers walk through your door.You know that forest green pleather couch you hate? Potential buyers will think it looks dark and dated too. Sell, Sell, Sell; some poor college student would love to spill beer on that sofa! And, you can pad the coffers of your NEW HOUSE DECORATING FUND!

With Spring approaching, now is a good time to make a to-do list for yourself. Whether or not you are about to enter the real estate selling game, it's always smart to spruce up. And, you will be surprised what a little declutter/pare down can do for you. It worked wonders for Catherine. Tell us about your attempts at Spring Sprucing! Your comments make our day!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Go BIG or Go Home-decorating with high ceilings! Contest winner announced!

I hope all you gals survived our "big snowstorm" here in NC this weekend. I was inside by the fire most of the time and left the snow frolicking up to the kiddos!

The last time we had snow, Jacki sat by her fire and obsessed about focused on decorating her mantel. One of the dilemmas she ran into is a common one in this area--balancing the size of your accessories with the uber-tall 10ft. ceilings.

When we traded our 9 ft. ceiling home for one with 10 ft. ceilings, I got a real shock as well. The buffet lamps that looked perfecto in my last dining room looked like doll furniture in the new house--and that was just the beginning!

This server (small buffet) fit the bill in my last house but looked very tiny in this large room with high ceilings. I thought I could remedy the situation with larger lamps but the larger lamps just overpowered the server. Of course I turned to my friend Craig and his list. I sold the server and bought a longer buffet.

That helped some but it still wasn't great! The lesson I learned here was a) good things do not come in small packages when dealing with high ceilings and b) bulkier is better! This room needed some heft (read: no leggy furniture). This is a hard lesson to learn as it applies in no other area of our lives (, personal hygiene, etc).

Of course, the rug helps too!
The rug, the lamps and a bulkier buffet serve to occupy your eye and help fill the space appropriately. This room could use some custom window treatments but alas! the money tree is not producing adequate fruit at this time!

Here are some examples we found around the 'net:


This room has tall ceiling and is blessed with built-ins flanking the fireplace. They did a good job with the tall painting over the mantel but fell short with the love seat and small rug. This room would look great with a giant sectional and a set of club chairs, don't you think? And, no one has EVER complained about too much seating in the family room!!
Large scale accessories are key! I love how they cut these hydrangeas long and stood them up in a giant vase! Perfect for a room with tall ceilings!

This is a large table with GIANT accessories! Just what the Decor Doctor ordered!

I like the example in this picture. They've taken somewhat smaller, yet skirted (read: appears bulkier and fills the space), sofa and club chairs and paired them with HUGE accessories against the backdrop of the tall french doors.

One of our favorite bloggers, Emily A. Clark, recently shared a reader question on the very same topic. Take a peak at her article here. There are tons more articles on the subject sprinkled throughout the internet but the bottom line is: if it looks too big in the store, it will look great with your tall ceilings!

One last thing! The winner of our room re-design contest from last week is...drum roll please... Jennifer O'Connell.  Jennifer, contact the blogsters to claim your prize!!! We can't wait to work with you!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Say It With Flowers

Peony Arrangement

On this day of flowers and candy hearts it is easy to get caught up in the grandeur. Seriously, who doesn't love an over-the-top bouquet from their main squeeze?

But one of the captivating things about flowers is...their
Many flowers intricately arranged in a fine, crystal vase are amazing eye candy. But, so is a lone flower. Even a few dandelions in the dirty hands of your three-year-old can take your breath away. There's just something magical about those delicate petals!
Tulip Arrangement


So, if no one sent you flowers today, show yourself some love. For a few bucks you can have a nice arrangement that will smell and look beautiful--and give you some decor you adore! 
Happy Valentine's Day!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Seifert Dining Room- progress! Room Re-Design

Fantastic color change! Benjamin Moore: Sterling Gray
We've been busy bees over at the Seifert home. The painter visited the kitchen and we did a little rearranging.

We originally told you about the dining room in an earlier post. With some inherited family furniture and a limited budget, we had to get creative.  

We started with the wall color. Even though it was a pale blue-gray, it was so light it almost blended into the trim. It definitely wasn't adding anything to the room! There was also too much furniture in the room making it look crowded. Since we couldn't replace the pieces, we relocated them to the kitchen and the family room.

 We chose Benjamin Moore's Sterling Gray for the walls. The new color has a calm, soothing effect and coordinates nicely with the existing rug. It now has a softer appearance without the icy undertone.

Since the large china hutch is black, we swapped the teak dining set with the darker one from the breakfast nook. The dark wood compliments the blue-gray wall color and the hutch. We love using what we already have in a fresh, new way!
This mood board was created so the client could see our vision for the finished space and implement simple changes as her budget allows. Who knows, maybe a run to Homegoods this week will yield a couple of buffet lamps or even a console? That fabulous round mirror might require a more thorough search. This is a perfect example of how keeping some elements frugal, allows for a splurge like this unique mirror. The mood board gives the homeowner a blueprint for the space and the opportunity to pick something she likes while out shopping.

The coral paint on the back of the shelves accents the coral in the rug. We took the navy and white china and placed it front and center inside the double doors to bring some blue to the shelves. The two end doors were then filled with a LOT of crystal stemware. If 40 people came over; every last one of them could have a glass of wine, in their very own glass.

Another before picture of the buffet. You can see how great it now looks in the Family room here.
As shown on our mood board, we'd like to add a funky round mirror, a black console and some candlestick lamps. For now, we're using the sofa table from the family room.

I love the deeper paint color and the china cabinet styling coupled with fewer pieces of furniture. I think it is a much cleaner look! Tell us what you think! Leave a comment below! And don't forget to enter to win a room re-design of your own! See official contest rules here and enter today!
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