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Staging a house filled with little kids (and their toys) is never easy. Finding a way to make the house look its best while the family still is living in the home means finding a place for all those toys. Fortunately, the homeowner had a large basement which was perfect for a play area and we were able to shift a lot of those toys out of the front room, making it more open and welcoming. With some editing and a few additions, we were able to make this space shine!
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A project that has been in the works for 11 months has (almost) been finished. Heightened Impressions was hired almost a year ago to redesign the lobby area and social room of a lovely downtown condo. Working with a Condo Board means designing for a committee and waiting for feedback between monthly condo meetings. It was a long drawn-out project but the feedback from owners and guests has been tremendous.
The lobby is bright and open and the first thing guests and owners see upon entering the building. Sadly, it had been furnished years before with little concern for style. The seating was old, badly worn in places and was not really inviting.
After many meetings with the buildings Condo Board, new furnishings were finally chosen. A large sectional replaced the oxblood-coloured sofas and the tired chairs were replaced with a pair of bright teal chairs. The cumbersome table was replaced with a large round table. Matching side and console tables and new vibrant chairs replaced the dark furnishings, bringing colour and new style into the lobby.
The Social room was in worse condition. The sofas were all held together with black duct tape, the tables were chipped and, frankly, quite ugly. The carpeting was stained, buckling in places, and the colour of it made the cream walls look vaguely pink-ish, and not in a good way. It desperately needed help.
The main concerns with the social room were to provide sufficient seating for a variety of activities, from board meetings to private events, as well as making sure the furnishings were durable and comfortable. We chose a pair of sectionals upholstered in a high performance upholstery tweed. We also replaced the worn carpeting with carpet tiles for durability and style.
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There are a few tasks that any good realtor will suggest that the homeowners accomplish when they are getting ready to list their home; give it a good cleaning, finish minor repairs, and declutter. These three are no-brainers! All potential home buyers want to walk into a place that looks and smells clean, looks reasonably maintained, and isn’t packed to the ceiling with stuff. No one wants to walk into a listed property and see every nook and cranny jammed with stuff, it actually makes them wonder if the house is going to be too small for them.
One thing that often gets forgotten is to depersonalize. I don’t mean the homeowner needs to gets rid of all their knick knacks and tchotchkes but it’s a good idea to evaluate the decor and look at it from a buyers perspective. Will buyers see your child’s room, with walls completely covered in posters, collections of hats or bears, or whatever is there, in the same light you do? What will buyers think about the enormous gallery of family portraits taking up valuable wall space? Then there’s that beautiful stainless steel fridge, completely obscured by kids drawings, takeout menus and that silly magnet from your last vacation. Don’t forget that spoon or plate collection that's been passed down from your Grandma, you might like it but is that what you want a potential buyer to remember? The time to deal with some of this decor is before the house is listed. After all, if you are moving anyway, why not pack away a bunch of non-essential items?
While it’s true that most homeowners think buyers should only be looking at the “bones” of the home - location, layout and general style - buyers often have gut reactions to decor that can taint an otherwise great house. A staging professional can help a seller look at their own home with “buyers eyes”. We make recommendations that the homeowner can implement in the weeks before listing the home and then we stage the home to highlight its best features. Selling your home is a LOT of work and it can be overwhelming. Professional stagers tell the homeowner what changes are worth their time and effort, give them a plan, and then stage the home to get it sold faster, so that the homeowner can relax and move on to the next stage of their life.
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I just finished reading this book about de-cluttering and I wanted to share it with everyone I know. It's a short read for those of us with very little spare time but it is worth the time, I promise. I borrowed it from the library because I am trying to cut down on the books I buy but, after reading it, I may go buy my own copy so I can go back to it over and over.
The premise of Marie Kondos system is quite simple. Only keep things in your home that bring you joy. While I can't picture myself doing some of her suggestions (like thanking my possessions for helping me, this is just a little "out there" for me), I am in love with her process. Taking the time to evaluate every item in your home to see whether they bring you joy, stress or even unhappy memories is an extremely useful process. How many of us keep things we don't like just because they were a gift? How many people have junk drawer(s) filled with bits and bobs that we don't even look at and probably forget we have the instant we close the drawer. How many times have you bought something just to find you already had it in the back of a closet or in the garage?
If we only kept the things that truly made us happy, how much happier would your home be? How much happier would your LIFE be?
Now I'm not saying everyone should follow her process to the letter but I plan on trying this in the new year. I am so fortunate that I don't have the shortage of space that most people living in Japan (or many urban centers for that matter) have but I KNOW I have piles of stuff I don't need, want or love. Time to really clean my house.
Thank you, Marie Kondo, for inspiring me!
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When people begin thinking about selling their home, many of them take on some renovations beforehand. Sometimes it’s about completing that project that never quite got finished. Sometimes it’s about repairing minor damage; those dents and dings in the walls, that cracked lampshade or that baseboard trim that the dog chewed on when he was just a pup. No matter the size of the project, many people are unsure of how much work to do to get the maximum return on investment. A good rule for whether to paint or not is this; if you can’t recall the last time the walls were painted, if your walls have never been repainted in the years you have owned the house or if the wall colour is...let’s just say non-traditional, it would be a good idea to add that to the list of things to do before listing your house.
Wall colour is one of the first things buyers notice and a bad colour choice can actually drive potential buyers right out of the house. Some people will say “Paint everything white!” but I disagree. White can be a very stark and cold colour and may not work with the rest of the colours in the house. The best way to choose a colour is to look at the finishes that can’t easily be changed; flooring, cabinetry, tile, etc, and then find a more neutral colour that will work with these finishes. Avoid doing any bright colours or any fancy textured finishes. Faux finishes can have a place in your home but they will not help sell your house. Stick to neutrals like creams, grays or even beige. It doesn’t have to be white! Also, if you’ve never painted before, now may not be the best time to attempt it. You’re trying to impress your potential buyer, not make them wonder if the quality of the paint job is an example of the rest of your home maintenance. A professional painter will be an additional expense but, if you’re a painting novice, hiring a professional will get the job done faster and better than you ever will. Bonus: this also means you don’t have to clean up the mess, cleaning paint brushes and rollers is a hassle. However, if you do know what you’re doing, don’t forget to properly prep your walls to give the best finish possible. Either way, giving the whole house (or at least the main rooms) a fresh coat of paint will go a long way to impressing every potential buyer that walks through your door.
Remember, if you’re afraid of making a bad choice, you can always hire a colour consultant like myself to help you find the best colour for your space.
2019 Colour Trends
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As everyone who has ever bought or sold a house knows, the process is very emotional.
People selling their home often only see the things they love about their space. They don't see the flaws or the clutter, the sofa pushed tight up against the walls, the mismatched furniture, the nicks in the drywall. They see the years of love and all their happy memories. Buyers, however, are looking for a space that they can create those happy memories in and often can't see past the homeowners style or design choices. This is where a professional stager comes in.
Using a combination of the homeowner's decor and furnishings, supplemented with the stager's own inventory, the stager creates a space that buyers can more easily imagine themselves in. This can involve editing the homeowner's decor, re-organizing the furnishings to allow maximum flow and effective use of space, as well as making recommendations regarding painting, minor repairs and even major renovations, if necessary.
In many ways, staging is very similar to decorating. The goal is to create a space people want to live in. One big difference is that with staging, the goal is to appeal to the general public, not a specific person or persons. Certain paint colours or decor styles will actively put off many buyers and the stager's job is to help the homeowner sell their home for as much as possible, as quickly as possible. In the case of a vacant residence, the stager will bring in furnishings and decor to help create a feeling of home that is completely lacking in a vacant space. Buyers often have difficulty imagining how they would set up their own furniture or decor in a vacant residence and staging the space will help them see themselves there.
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Why hire an interior decorator?
All of these are reasons to consider hiring an interior decorator. Whether for a colour consultation to bring some colour into your room or help to bring together two different personal styles, a decorator brings their experience and resources to help create a space that works for the entire household.
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Even as a child I had dreams of being an interior designer. At 12, I convinced my mother to let me paint my bedroom and together we designed a repeating pattern of geometric shapes that I stenciled and painted on my walls. I spent hours making cushions and curtains to match. The end result was a space where I was at home, where I could relax and be myself.
Over the years, though I worked for my family business, I found ways of following my dream. I bought, redecorated, and sold several houses, and helped friends decorate, choose colours and stage their houses to sell. I learned colour theory, the history of art and architecture, and various painting techniques in my spare time, collected a ridiculously large library of books on everything from decorating, renovating, fine art and architecture, and binged on home decorating shows while (sometimes harshly) critiquing their design choices. I volunteered and then worked in theater, doing everything from sewing costumes to painting sets. I traveled to the UK and Europe, indulging my passion for architecture, art museums and decorating. I was hired to decorate a high-end local photography studio, which led to consulting for photographers internationally. My whole life has been filled with designing, in a variety of mediums and styles.
When our family business shut its doors, I was finally free to pursue official accreditation. I graduated with distinction from the University of Alberta Residential Interiors program and followed that immediately by completing the C.S.P. Professional Staging course. Armed with the knowledge I had learned from running the family business for twenty years, as well as my theatre background and my new certifications, I opened Heightened Impressions Decor and Staging. Since then I have been helping my clients stage and sell their houses quickly and painlessly, and to transform their homes into beautiful spaces they love to spend time in.