Category Archives for staging

Featuring Fragrances in Your Home or Office

According to a Rockefeller University study performed in 2014, the human olfactory system can sense 1 trillion different smells1. That is a far cry from what you can find at Yankee Candle or Bath and Body Works.

Therefore it is no surprise that smells can have a strong influence on our psychology; most notably memory and emotions. With that in mind, surrounding your home or office, whether being staged for sale or for your own living comfort, with specific fragrances can have very positive results.

Here are some of the most common and pleasing smells, broken into different categories of their scent2, that you can incorporate into your life to stimulate a number of different emotions and feelings depending on your use.

Aromatic Herbs

  • Lavender - Calming and soothing. Reducing stress and increasing relaxation. Great for use in bubble baths, in a bedrooms before to assist with insomnia or relaxation.
  • Peppermint – Cooling and stimulating. Great for use with Epson salt baths for tires and sore muscles, for headaches and migraine. I have a smell stick of peppermint oil I keep with me to swipe across my forehead when I feel a migraine coming on. The smell and oil on my skin does wonders. Lastly peppermint can also be used for stimulating your mind to wake up and work in an office setting.
  • Chamomile – Calming and soothing effect for relaxation and sleep, often mixed with vanilla, lavender and other scents to emphasize this.

Citrus

  • Bergamot & Citrus fruit – zesty, bright, can boost your energy and increases your alertness. Often used in cleaning supplies and diffusers, citrus smells are great for conveying a clean fresh house. For an office, reception or common room setting Citrus scents would be ideal, not to strong, nostalgic or unpleasing to anyone.

Floral

  • Roses, jasmine, peony – sweet, perfumey, fragrant – Floral scents can boost your mood and brighten your day, but can sometimes smell too overwhelming to others.

Fruity 

  • Fruit scents are very much the same as floral. Sweet, tropical, nostalgic of places and foods we have experienced, but frequently too "sticky sweet" for some noses.

Greens

  • Lawns and grasses, - Australian research shows that the smell of cut grass can make people feel relaxed and joyful. These scents are again great for clean, bright spaces, both at home or at work.

Oriental

  • Cinnamon, vanilla, cardamom – The warm and sweet scents can be sensual, increasing both nostalgic memories, warmth in the body and soul, and passion.

Woods

  • Birchwood, cedar, pine, sandalwood, amber – Festive and forests aromas often reduces stress. depression and anxiety, by reminding us of winter activities and being outside in nature.

Dry Woody

  • Oak moss, leather, smoked wood, musk – The scents can be described as woody as the name implies, rich, earthy and sensual. Often connected more to the masculine, stimulating a sense of smoldering and beneficial for romantic endeavors. However they can also be fragrances people love or hate, often never indifferent of. So this category can be a little tricky.

If you are looking for inviting, homey smells for use in staging, house warming, or entertaining, you can't go wrong with your sugaed vanilla /cupcakes/cookies/pies scents. Those always bring a sense of nostalgia and make people think you are baking cookies! What more could you ask for? Of course if there is something specific, like the smell of cinnamon apple pie that brings back warm memories of your childhood, you should absolutely work that into your space as well!

I hope this has brought you some new ideas or helped you decide on something you were thinking of! There are plenty of ways you can incorporate these smells, whether purchasing a candle, using essential oils in a diffuser, making your own candles and diffusers, or boiling fresh peels and herbs on your the way my mom used to on our wood burning stove in the winter. Happy smelling!

http://vosshall.rockefeller.edu/assets/file/BushdidScience2014.pdf

http://www.fragrancesoftheworld.com/FragranceWheel

6 Quick & Easy Occupied Home Staging Tips

If you want to take advantage of the last of the spring and summer home sales, you'll want to follow these 6 quick and easy staging tips to get your home sold fast. Hopefully, you will have already organized, decluttered and updated a few things in your home in order to make it ready for the final touch - staging!

According to Zillow, Realtors name curb appeal the #1 factor in selling, so I have 3 tips to spruce up the outside of your home in minutes.

  • Do some landscaping, make sure your lawn in green and manicured, add some potted flowers to the front porch, cut any dead trees, touch up the wood chips or rocks.
  • Buy a brand new welcome mat and decorative door hanger
  • Power wash walkway, driveway, house and roof

The second group of tips is regarding in the inside of your home.  The essence of staging is to allow homeowners to visualize themselves in your home. If you are staying in your home while it is on the market, as a majority of home owners do, it is imperative to reduce the clutter! (I know I sound a little like a broken record..)

  • Pack up anything out of season, not used recently or frequently and store it in the garage, storage unit or get a donation run together!
  • Neutralize your home - take down family/personal photos, and extreme color or design choices.
  • Make the house look clean and smell nice (Some best choices of candles are cupcake or cookie scents as they make families feel at home!)

See I told you that was quick and easy!  If you aren't sure of how to do any of these, want some help executing these ideas, or want to know more of my suggestions, please reach out to me. I am happy to come out for an in-home consultation and provide my report of recommendations to get the maximum value for your home. Happy summer selling!

6 Simple Upgrades to Sell Your Home Fast


Continuing on my theme of helping you sell your home this month, here are some relatively simple upgrades you can do now to sell your home faster and get a better return on investment. Home buyers want a model home, ready to move in look, without having to pay for it. Therefore the best way to sell your home is to create that as best you can.

  • Paint - This is the first and foremost upgrade that home sell usually complete. But I am not just talking about the walls in your home. Sure, if you have a blue living room and a red kitchen, and a brown study, you should tone those colors down with neutrals that are more appealing a wide variety of prospective buyers; tan, pale yellow, off white, grey. However paint can do so much more! Consider a dated kitchen with dark wood cabinetry. A kitchen renovation may be due, however that makes no sense for your ROI, instead paint all of the cabinets white to attain a modern and bright look. Sherman Williams has a wonderful app (Color Snap Visualizer) in which you can upload a picture and test how their colors will look. I highly recommend that. tiles can be painted if you have outdated patterns or colors in the kitchen or bathroom. And you can really make your interior and exterior pop by painting the shoe molding, crown molding, chair railing and trim. Consider whether you want to have the trim blend into the walls/siding with a monochromatic look, or stand out with a complimentary color. Don't forget that your choice of paint should match the style of the home as well - American Colonial, Traditional, Victorian, Tudor, Craftsmen, Modern, etc.

Monochomatic - Craftsman home

Complimentary - Colonial home

Complimentary - Colonial home

  • Contact Paper - This is not really one of my favorite recommendations because contact paper is not very easy to work with. It is extremely sicky and difficult to get perfect without bubbles or creases. However, it can make a big difference if you have plywood shelving in your cabinets that is not easy to paint. It is also a practical solution to cabinets that already have aged contact paper that does not peel over easily. If that is your situation and you have that crazy 1970s Austin Powers/ That 70s Show pattern in your cabinets, I would suggest slapping a coat of primer down first so that the old paper does not show through. The positive thing about shelving paper is that is extremely multifunctional. It can be used on cabinet doors, shelving, counter tops, backsplashes, tiles, basically anywhere. Although I would not recommend it on a main thorough fare.
  • Carpeting - Here is the age old question: carpet or wood floors? Well if you have wood floors, in decent shape, under the carpet I always suggest removing the carpet and refinishing the floors. If that is not an option, you should always have new carpeting laid. It doesn't have to be special, stain resistant, or anything since you won't be living there and the new owner will more than likely replace it themselves. However again, we are trying to attain the model home, cared for visualization and a plush, clean, unused carpet will do that.
  • Fixtures - A home fixture is anything attached to the house, expected to be sold with the house. Replacement of some of the simplest to more complex items will give your home an updated and 'cared for' feel, especially if your fixtures of outdated or if you are drawn to a particular style that isn't common or doesn't go with the original character of the home. Below an outdated overhead light was changed with a more modern dome light, changing the feel of the breakfast nook immediately.  Replacing overhead and scone lights, kitchen and bathroom faucets, and cabinet knobs and pulls are your go-to choices. These can be done in a matter of hours. Then for maximum impact consider toilets, appliances, and bathroom vanities as well if you have more time and flexibility.
  • Bathrooms - A good bathroom is one of the most sought after places in a home, so while you don't want to spend too much of your time and money on this if you are moving out, you do want to give a prospective seller a good reason to buy your home.  Consider re-glazing the bathtub if it is cast iron and looks dated, chipped or worn. You can also purchase Rust-Oleum Tub & Tile finishing kit to update a discolored or worn ceramic, porcelain or fiberglass bath or shower yourself.  Lastly, bath fitters for bath and shower combos are also highly popular. While I don't like that concept as much as updating the current tile, placing a whole new fit fiberglass section over your tub, shower, or combo is a quick and seamless way to get a new modern look. 
  • Power washing - As I will discuss a little more in the home staging piece next, curb appeal is a HUGE part of selling your home!  So power washing is a really quick, cheap and easy way to upgrade and stage your home for sale.  Many people don't notice that their sidewalk, driveway, home siding, and roof have become discolored and stained over the years.  It's not until you actually power wash that you realize how bad it was before.  This one little clean up can make a huge difference in giving your home a manicured look, as seen below.

Before

After

I hope these ideas and tips have given you some things to think about and plan for in order to sell your home for the highest value in the quickest time! If you would like me to come out there and give you personlized recommendations, please feel free to reach out.  And if you have some of your own proven ideas or suggestions, I would love to hear about them! Happy selling!









Resources:  Exterior house colors - Better Home & Garden https://www.bhg.com/home-improvement/exteriors/curb-appeal/best-exterior-house-color-schemes/

My Favorite Places to Find Bargains

If you are looking for high quality items, there are a number of stores where you can purchase beautiful furniture, fixtures and accessories local to your area and nationally. However I am not going to talk about those, because that isn't my thing. If you are a little more cost conscious, like myself, then you are familiar with Overstock and Wayfair (some of the most popular online stores) as well as the popular physical store Pier 1. Then for organizers, The Container Store and Amazon can be our holy grail. But if you are on a budget and just looking to spruce up your space with a few decor or organizing items, those places can really add up.  So I have put together a few of my favorite bargain recommendations for you, that go beyond your local Target!

  • Home Goods – part of the same conglomerate as TJ Maxx and Marshalls, but as the name implies Home Goods is household oriented. This is probably a well know one, but I thought I would start us off simple. They are great for cheap kitchen and bathroom items, canvas artwork to fill odd spaces or blank walls, and ohh the selection of canvas totes and boxes for organizing! But beware, finding things there is hit and miss; they never have the same things twice and items are spread out across the store. So, if you see something you like, you better snag it because you will probably never see one again.
  • At Home – This store is new in my area. Maybe you know of it, but I absolutely love it! The first time I walked in, I just strolled up and down the aisles in awe. The throw pillows were organized by size and color. It was like a dream. Here is the awe struck picture I snapped, its ridiculous I know, but everything is arranged very easily to understand with tons of options. So as opposed to seeing only one kitchen pot rack, there are 6 kinds. Bathroom accessories, two aisles. Storage totes and boxes, 4 aisles.  Not just one centerpiece vase, but you have your choice of silver, yellow gold, nickel, rose gold, brushed metals, ceramics and glasses of different colors… I think you get where I am going.
  • Big Lots - This is an interesting store.  To be honest the quality is not very good.  It's a step up from the Family Dollar or similar, but if you are looking for something really simple like a cheap shower curtain, those plastic stackable storage drawers for the kids bathroom, basic outdoor furniture, or even a cute little gnome to put in your garden, they have all of that.  Just don't expect it to last more than a few years or make it through a few moves.
  • Charming Charlies - This is a jewelry and accessory chain store. So you are probably wondering why I suggest it. Well, they have darling little jewelry bowls, stands, and plates. If you are shopping for a statement piece to stage a home for sale, you may be able to grab something cute for cheap. Also perfect for pre-teen and teen gifts. I bought this little ceramic white and gold decorate plate that is perfect for a bathroom or a master bedroom, for $8.00.
  • Thrift stores! - This is really more for decorating than organizing. I am addicted to this one by my house, Wagging Tails. It’s similar to an antique mall in that it is HUGE and there are tons of things spread across the warehouse. But, it is all donations AND the proceeds go to MCHS, our local county humane society. Bargains and helping animals, what more do you need?! I have found great gems there including these amazing red glass votives, a mercury glass bottle, unused candles (flame and flameless), and surround sound speakers (ok that last one is irrelevant to home decor, but I wanted to make a point that the options are endless). I think it helps that I live in an affluent and diverse area as well. If you have a wealthier neighborhood/county near you, I would definitely suggest scoping out the thrift stores in that area as you will find better quality items. If you don’t have anything like that, Goodwill and Salvation Army are worth a peak as well. I personally haven't had good luck at yard sales or estate sales because often those items are out of fashion or very used, but if you have had some good finds or again a wealthier neighborhood, go for it!
  • Your own closet! Ok you came here looking for suggestions of places to buy new to you things, but I just started really thinking about repurposing and re-using items in a different way lately, so wander around your house and take a look. Is there something that you aren't using that may be better somewhere else.  Because not buying anything is the best bargain of all!

I hope this has been a little helpful, that I at least gave you an idea or two you didn't already have.  Let me know in the comments if you have other suggestions for your area, local to me or on a national level that myself or others should check out.  ​ Happy bargain hunting!

My Favorite Home Decor Items

Just like raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, I have prepared a few of my favorite home decorating (and also staging) accessories that don’t cost a lot if you know where to look for them (i.e. check out my next post on great places for bargain buys!).  I think these items give you the most bang for you buck; eye catching and attractive. For staging, that little little emotional connection that a few of the create, is ideal to give a potential buyer the feeling of a home, not a house.  So without further adieu, here are my 8 personal favorite staging/decorating items.

1. Glass mosaic votives - I'll admit it, I may have a collection of mosaic votives in different shapes sizes and colors. I love them all. Some give off beautiful spectacle of light when holding candles or the sunlight hits them, others just remind me of stain glass. I have a gold glass one that is sophisticated and eye catching for a modern, chic staged home. This large red glass one holds a large pillar candle around the holidays, and my small challis style votives are more earthy; remind me of a Moroccan outdoor eatery. Whatever you choose, I don't really think you can go wrong, however it does have to fit the style of the rest of your furnishings.  So keep that in mind.

2. Decorative entryway bowl/tray – Mine is actually a candle stand, I bought it at a thrift store. There are only two of us in our household so it holds our keys and my boyfriend's wallet. Many people use ceramic or wood bowls and sometimes trays. For some families this is also the mail drop, but don't let this become your catch-all. Your entryway should be clutter free!

3. Imitation flowers - Not just any fake flowers, they have to be excellent imitations that make you take a second look to confirm they aren't real. Hearth & Hand (By Joanna and Chip Gaines) have adorable ones; Magnolias (obviously) and Hydrangeas. Home Goods has them in all different shapes and sizes; loose and in vases. I bought a few with gel that looks like water. And I even bought a few succulents, because somehow I always kill the real ones.

4. Windchimes – There’s nothing that says summer to me like windchimes blowing in the wind. Now I am slightly biased (I have 5 sets), but I think that for a home with a great patio or porch, this would be a marvelous little touch to the home staging. It would really create the ambiance of relaxation in the outdoor space.

5. Pillows with gold accents - As I look around my home I see that I have multiple sets of pillows with gold accents, all in different rooms. I would have thought that earthy reds and browns are the colors that tie my home together, but I think it is actually brown and gold. Gold accented pillows are great because they add a little pop and sparkle when natural or artificial light hits them. You can choose modern styles  like this pattern or a rustic twist like this adorable vintage pickup truck I picked up at the At Home store. My boyfriend has worked on cars his whole life, so I bought it for him (but obviously it was really for me 😀 )

6. Flameless candles - These can come in unscented or, somehow, scented.  I love these because they are safe around pets and children, you don't have to worry about putting them out, they don't melt everywhere, and they give off the same alluring glow of a flame.  I have bunched a few together on my table for quiet evenings.  Sometimes I even light one real candle or wax melt, while those are flickering in different rooms to make it seem that I have many candles glowing. I have to admit, this is my friend's arrangement, I just thought it was so beautiful that I took a picture.  

7. Nest candles – And what candle burns that gives off enough fragrance to trick someone into thinking all of the flameless candles are also scented, you ask? Nest candles! They are expensive but last a while and are totally worth it. Birchwood Pine is my ultimate favorite. It smells like the holidays to me for some reason – it reminds me of nutmeg and cinnamon and mulled cider and Christmas trees. Its funny because I was introduced to it by a friend in Hawaii so that is the opposite of my experience, but none the less. This says “home” to me, if I walked into a house for sale with that burning, I might be sold. I burn it before people come over and when I am trying to unwind.

8. Large decorative mirrors - These are a pretty well known tool of the trade, but I can’t make a list without mentioning it. Mirrors open up your space, making any room appear larger… just don’t put mirrors across the entire wall. It was a trendy idea in the early 80s, but it makes the room feel like a carnival. Boy am I glad that is out of fashion.

So there you have it. A few things you might want to pick up to spruce up your house before your next gathering, your in-laws come over, or if you are interesting in renting or selling your house.  But if you really want to get the most for your home, hiring a professional stager is really your the 9th and best purchase you can make.  Let me know what you think of my list and if you have any to add of your own!

My Journey into Home Organizing, Staging and Redesign

​One of the things I have been asked frequently as of late is how I got into this business.  While a lot of this information can be found on the About page, I thought I would give everyone a little bit of my back story, pull all of my thoughts together into one place to explain My Journey to Home Organizing, Staging and Redesign.

I was born and raised in a small town in Connecticut. We had two tiny gas stations, an orchard/petting zoo, and a few stop lights.  No other commercial business were and are allowed to this day. Starting at a very young age, every few months I would get the itch to reorganize my life. For a child this essentially just meant my bedroom. I would go through my clothes, books, and accessories to get rid of the things I wasn’t using, either by donating them to the church where we served hot dinners once a month, having a “tag sale” or just throwing them away. Once this started, it would inevitably end with my mom finding me dragging my furniture across the room to create a new and more pleasing layout. I'll tell you a secret, I always thought the girl in the mirror had a cooler room than me. I may have grown up, but that itch has never ceased.

After graduating from Emory University in Atlanta, I spent a year doing AmeriCorps service across the country. During that time I got my first real taste of the home improvement industry, working alongside volunteers and professionals at Habitat for Humanity in New Orleans and Miami. I specifically worked on framing and roofing. However, when my service was completed, I assumed it was time to start working in the "business world" So I began my professional career in the Residential Property Management field, something that related to homes but required bookkeeping and administration. Over the years I excelled in financial management, business management, operations, and social media marketing. In 2015 continued to achieve my Master of Business Administration (MBA).

So in 2013 when my father expressed his desire to renovate his New England Colonial house as well as a concern that he would not be able to manage everything with his busy travel schedule, I saw an opportunity. See after graduating from college, I had got my first taste of home improvement while completing a year of AmeriCorps service; working alongside volunteers and professionals at Habitat for Humanity. My father knew that I had loved the work. Due to some extenuating circumstances outside of my control, my long time boyfriend and I found ourselves in a position to make a move. Therefore he and I decided that I would move home and become the general contractor and designer on hand for my father's project.

Over the next year and a half, I supervised the renovation of the kitchen and four bathrooms, as well as the overall organization and redesign of the rest of his home, inside and out. We addressed a variety of items that had just been overlooked in the last 30 years ranging from pulling down the dated wallpaper, to refinishing floors, sealing the home, upgrading the electric, landscaping, and more. And I loved it! It was amazing to see how the small and large changes not only upgraded the quality of the home, but also my father's life in it. He would like to move out of the old family home one day, maybe not right this minute, but now it has evolved into a modern Colonial home with those options available.

While I was home, I also saw up close the snowball effect that "collecting" can have on a person. Someone close to me has unfortunately spiraled from collecting, to cluttering, and now to hoarding. And at some point, the "organized mess" I remember from my youth turned into an overwhelming task that no one even knows how to start. And while I don't think everyone has tendency of having this happen to them, I just wished that something had been done earlier; organizing and de-cluttering along the way. And more over, I wished I had been there to help and slowly encourage progress. Too often, this happens to seniors after a loved one passes away, or they are unable to physically address their belongings, or they must downsize to a different location.

Upon completing my father's renovation project, I tried to return to the business and financial management world I had known, taking a position as a Business Manager at a national commercial furniture liquidation company. Using my precision for planning and process, I helped to streamline the company procedures and finances. Having some history in home improvement and styling always helped my understanding of the services and assets we dealt with, however something was always missing. Something about the things I had done and seen stayed with me. Something about being inside of the office, without the ability to touch and feel and put my thoughts into physical action bothered me. I spent some time researching and considering what my strengths and interests during the past had been. And what I realized is that I enjoyed the work at my father's the most. Working my brain and my body and seeing the tangible results of my labor! So in 2018 I spent the year studying the theories and ideas behind the work I had been doing instinctively, and become an HSR Certified Professional Home Stager and Redesigner. And after a total of 11 years in various offices, I took a leap of faith launching my own organizing, staging and redesign company that combines my professional experience with my creative and problem solving abilities.

And so here I am today. My goal is to help others get and stay organized, and most importantly style living spaces in a way that will sell homes fast, invoke positivity, and truly reflect the inhabitants lifestyle and needs. I aspire to serve all people in my community, from families to real estate agents on behalf of their clients, to the elderly transitioning into a new living situation. Please let me know how I can help you!

Top 10 Reasons to Stage Your Home for Sale!

These days you can't flip through the TV channels without either seeing a home buying/selling show or a story about one of the hosts; they are just as famous as movie stars! There are shows on buying "fixer uppers", "flipping" homes, remodeling all sizes of home, building tiny homes and tree houses, getting amazing deals, winning makeovers, and of course nightmare transformations.  So it's safe to say that every new home buyer wants that remodeled look and doesn't want to pay top dollar for it. 

That's why Home Staging has become a fast moving industry. Home Staging is the stylized preparation of a home for sale by a professional who has been trained in this specific design.  And many Real Estate Agents believe that staging is crucial to selling a home for the maximum return, just like us Home Stagers do!  So if you are on the fence about whether paying a Stager is right for you, here is my Top 10 Reasons to Stage Your Home for Sale. 

So, if you are motivated to start working towards getting the most for your home, please contact me!​   We can start with a consultation and a list of recommendations for as little as $200.00.  Don't forget to follow me on social media for more ideas, tips, and insights. And of course, your thoughts are always welcome.

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