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When it comes to home staging and interior design, it isn’t always the odd shaped floor plans that create the most challenges. Often potential buyers can see a challenge with how to make efficient use of space when presented with what is essentially “a square box”. In a city like New York where space is at a premium, a potential buyer will want to make every inch of their square footage count; this is where creative space planning comes into play.
Recently I staged a spacious one-bedroom residence located at 345 East 73rd Street, in which a potential buyer walks into a spacious open room that is a living/dining room combination with large bedroom. The “head scratcher” is not “what could I fit in here?”, but rather “how should I place the furniture?” The main living space is so large; either a sofa and two chairs or sectional sofa can fit with ease. No need to guess where a TV could go, and the space easily fits a dining table that could seat 4-6 people comfortably. As a Certified Staging Professional, how to layout this type of configuration was easy for me to see, as I took time to “walk the space” and create a floor plan with appropriate furniture that is to size and scale. The issue with this residence could have been confusion on the part of potential buyers because the living and dining areas weren’t clearly defined in the open floor plan. The home seller had the vision and foresight to realize that his best chance of potential buyers seeing the home’s full potential was to have the property staged. Now when potential buyers enter the space, they can clearly see not only where their furniture could be placed but can get a true sense of how spacious the residence is.
When it comes to maximizing space and effectively furnishing an open floor plan, here are some of my to Design Recipes tips:
- Create a blank floor plan
- Sketch out a general furniture plan
- Measure large pieces of furniture first and place them onto your floor plan
- Evaluate the remaining space, adding smaller furnishings
- Allow 2-3 feet of circulation throughout
- Edit if necessary
Looking for more tips?? I share more design tips with The Epoch Times
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As an ASID Interior Designer specializing in residential interior design, I simply love using the color green. Why? To sum it up in a single word, “versatility”. Like a great black dress, the color green can be dressed up or dressed down and can be paired with so many colors. Best of all, there are so many shades and tones of greens to choose from. One of my favorite shades of green to use is the color of Jalapeno pepper. What I love about this rich shade is that its deep yellow undertones not only creates a bright, warm interior, but also looks so amazing with a myriad of colors, from pure white to eggplant and other citrus colors such as orange and yellow. The color green , also adds a level of sophistication to an interior especially when paired with other strong neutrals like white, black, and chocolate brown.
How to incorporate green into your décor
From painting an accent wall, to incorporating green into accessories such as artwork and toss pillows, there are a large number of options. I really love using bold rich green tones as a wall color and one of my favorite shades is Fresh Cut Grass (color 064-6) by eco-friendly paint company Mythic Paint. As their exclusive Brand Ambassador, I can also tell you that their colors go on silky and smooth and truly add luster to a room. Not ready to take the plunge? Well why not use bursts of rich green in your accent pieces such as artwork and accessories (such as toss pillows or bedding). While colors like yellow and amethyst work well with green, so do colors like blue, charcoal gray , as well as pure white, black and chocolate cocoa brown.
Why is green the new neutral?
I believe green is one of the few colors that is on trend, without being trendy. It is really a standard color that stands the test of time. Shades such as Hunter Green are often associated with traditional interiors, while shades such as dill pickle (which I’ve used in children’s rooms) and even chartreuse add a modern edge.
Interested in more ideas? The popular on-line decor site SheKnows.com, shared with it’s 4 million unique monthly visitors for green decor.
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When it comes to creating the perfect color palette, there is nothing quite as pure, timeless and versatile as decorating using black and white. Black and white simply serves as the perfect “blank slate” for creating virtually any color scheme you desire. First and foremost don’t be afraid to a simple all white color palette, as it can be crisp and fresh, the simplicity of let’s say a pure white dining room color scheme in which the plates and tabletop items provide the hint of color (as opposed to using the traditional pure white). Also open yourself to the possibility of creating a pure black and white palette; the stark aspect of the pure white with the rich black can really be stunning. What I tend to do most however, is use black and white as the foundation of my color palette and then bring in a single accent color such as yellow or red. Warm colors work really well as accent colors against the cool tones of the black and white and really add an appealing sense of luxury and coziness. Also, don’t be afraid to bring in an accent color, by using an accent wall, some of my most successful designs ever; have involved the use of pure white furniture or a white and black color scheme, highlighted by a bright, bold accent wall!
So where do you start? And most importantly how do you go about selecting those black and white pieces that define your design style?
7 ways to incorporate black and white into your décor..
Step 1 –Choose a general design style
First! Begin with identifying whether your personal style falls into one of these four categories.
- Country chic
I find that nearly everyone’s design style falls into one of these four categories and then there are sub-sections from there.
Step 2—Narrow it down!
After identifying your basic design category, now it is time to narrow it down a little bit more and define your style more specifically.
Step 3 –Select a signature piece
From here I always suggest picking one signature piece that you feel defines you most. It can be an area rug with a big, bold graphic pattern or a fabulous piece of artwork or a gorgeous chandelier. Whatever piece you choose it will serve as the anchor for the room and help to fill in the rest of the blanks of your décor. For example if you choose a large overstuffed sofa with white “Shabby Chic” slip covers, it will serve as the foundation for your space decorated using other pieces that are “Country chic”. Conversely, if you choose a sleek, leather sofa with polished chromed feet, this will serve as inspiration for what has all the makings of a modern décor scheme.
Step 4- Select large pieces first!
Purchase large pieces first then accessorize. Once you have selected your signature piece that you feel best represents your personal taste and style, allow it to serve as your inspiration. From there choose your largest pieces first then your accessories. Remember your furniture enhances the space and the accessories enhance the furniture.
Step 5- Use different shades and tones
White on white can be a really interesting design choice so can different shades of black. Don’t’ be afraid to use different tones and shades of white or black, mixing and matching them throughout your space.
Step 6- Add a pop of color
One of the beautiful aspects of working with black and white is the fact that it is really a blank canvas. Virtually any color “pops” when placed against black or white. So when using black or white or a combination of the two, why not consider a pop of color to liven it up. Full chroma, bold colors work best.
Step 7- Mix with charcoal, chocolate or taupe
The beauty of working with black and white is that it creates a general enough color palette that you can use it with other so called neutrals and still create a warm, vivid and inviting design scheme.
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When it comes to interior design and home staging, clean, minimal lines may be the best choice. In designing and staging a $6 million dollar penthouse in New York City I decided to utilize the following design tips that anyone can incorporate into their own homes.
1. Begin with neutral palette and then add bursts of color, beiges and grays are great places to start.
2. If you decide not to paint walls a color, you can bring in lots of color through your furniture, artwork and accessories.
3. Purchase well made, timeless furniture pieces. When it comes to high ticket items, you don’t want to be too trendy.
Recently I shared my design ideas with WCBS-TV “Living Large” Host Emily Smith who featured a $6 million dollar property I designed and staged on her segment.
Click below to view the WCBS-TV Clip:
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White is one of the most versatile and heavily used shades in home decor. But believe it or not it is also one of the most misunderstood. Yes, not all whites are created equal. There are a whole myriad of shades and tones. Some whites, have more gray, some more yellow etc. As an ASID Interior Designer and Certified Staging Professional, I can tell you that yes! you can mix different shades!
Link to article:
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Remember when black and mauve was the hot color combination and when mirrors were all the rage? Well, in case you are too young to remember, those were some of the staples of 80s home décor.
The 80s were indeed the decade of opulence, marble, gold, and mirrors; however these days, the trend is toward minimalism and more subtle design. Even so, it may not be unusual for a potential buyer to travel back in time when faced with an apartment that has not been renovated since its 80s glory. As an interior designer who often works on renovations, and a home stager used to working with furniture and accessories limited to a home sellers own possessions, my biggest tip is to embrace the past!
I was recently asked by the extraordinarily talented real estate agent Angela Rapoport of The Corcoran Group to stage her Penthouse listing located at 255 East 49th Street on Manhattan’s East Side. As someone old enough to remember, I immediately identified the fact that I had walked back into the 1980s, cue the DeLorean car and Patrick Nagel painting, anyone?
While it would have been easy to suggest covering up as much of the 80s-themed design as possible, I chose to embrace it, as this property is truly spectacular and to me and it never makes sense to cover up great design, no matter when it was done.
The reality is the same challenges I faced as an interior designer and home stager are similar to those that any home owner or home seller will face when looking to modernize an interior space designed decades earlier.
Here are some of my top tips for modernizing the past while embracing the present:
1. First, embrace the current décor and use it as inspiration. In the case of the Penthouse at 255 East 49th Street, all of the floors were either black or white marble, or a combination of the two. My solution was to build a color palette around the two colors, infusing bursts of bright color while using black and white as the foundation for my color scheme.
2. Soften a space, while adding color and texture. Whether floors are made of marble or hardwood, it is often an appealing solution to add softness through the use of area rugs and soft goods such as toss pillows.
3. Add elements such as greenery. Nothing quite softens a space like the use of plants and greenery. When I am often faced with interiors that have a lot of architectural or natural elements, I try to keep my décor as simple as possible. One example of this in the case of the Penthouse at 255 East 49th Street was to select a centerpiece that was a simple orchid, as opposed to something too elaborate.
4. Select a mix of modern and contemporary furnishings. The wonderful aspect about design is that you don’t have to follow any formulas! For instance in the case of the 80s penthouse, I mixed modern, timeless pieces with those that were more antique, in order to embrace the existing architectural details. It is important to not ignore the current design and décor but instead to embrace it as another design element.
5. Finally, focus on function and lifestyle, when it comes to lifestyle, we are always evolving, a room that may have been popular in another decade, may now be considered to be a waste of space. These days, with space at such a premium, it is even more important than ever that all areas of a residence are shown as useful and with a purpose.
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When it comes time to sell your home you are going to want to make sure that you sell it for the most amount of money in the shortest amount of time. This is when home staging and lifestyle selling can come into play. The reality is that most potential buyers have no idea how to envision a space that is either empty or cluttered with too many things. The key is to show function and highlight the positives of a space while down playing the negatives. The key to lifestyle selling is to show potential buyers how a space should function. Recently, I was asked to share some of my top home staging tips and techniques on the NBC program LXTV Open House.
Cathy’s Top Home Staging Tips:
1. Choose furniture that doesn’t overcrowd a space but instead shows how spacious and roomy it is.
2. Layer your decor, add items such as throws and toss pillows.
3. Use repetition. Large pieces of art can be expensive. One of my favorite design tricks is to repeat the same piece of art in a series of two or three.
4. Choose an area rug either first or last. Choosing it first allows for it to serve as design and color inspiration, using it last, helps tie everything together.
5. Think function first, when it comes time to sell your home, it is critical that potential buyers know how a space could be used.
For more of Cathy’s top home selling tips be sure to go to http://www.cathyhobbs.com or call 800.961.5202
Here is the listing information for the property that was profiled in the NBC segment.
45 East 30th Street, Penthouse B
4 Bedroom/6 Bathroom, 4,460 Square Feet
Scott Harris, Brown Harris Stevens
Julie Rupprecht, Halstead Property
Here is the link: http://bhsusa.com/manhattan/midtown-east/45-east-30th-street/1552460
Interested in a career in home staging? Go to http://www.stagingtraining.com or call 888-STAGING to learn more about Cathy’s classes taught through the industry leader Certified Home Staging Professionals.
INTERESTED IN LEARNING MORE EXPERT STAGING TIPS — BE SURE TO CHECK OUT THE CLIP BELOW OF CELEBRITY INTERIOR DESIGNER CATHY HOBBS AS FEATURED ON NBC’S LXTV OPEN HOUSE
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As a National Trainer for Certified Staging Professionals the leading international home staging certification training academy. I have taught their 3-day certification course several times in Arlington, Virginia which is a suburb of Washington, D.C. The course is mostly attended by real estate agents, interior designers, professional organizers and interior designers interested in starting a home staging business. What they all agree with and have shared with me is that when it comes to selling a home in the Northern Virginia market, with so much inventory available a property truly needs to have an “it” factor to stand out from the crowd. In January I created a list of my “Top 10” Home Staging Tips for 2012. I wanted to share them again, as they are easy, affordable and will certainly help any home seller sell their home for the most amount of money in the shortest amount of time. Hope it helps! And Happy Selling!!
Cathy’s Top Home Staging Tips
1. Clear the clutter–this sounds simple enough, but if your home is not free of excess furniture and clutter it will simply take longer to sell.
2. Check the price — most buyers make decisions in large part based on price. It is critical that your home is priced correctly.
3. Shop the competition— I suggest to a lot of my sellers that they go to open houses and really see what their competition has to offer.
4. Neutralize and de-personalize — you want potential home buyers to feel that it could be their home, not your home.
5. Make minor repairs- now is not the time to skimp. Paint those steps that haven’t been painted in years or replace that front door. Your will be glad you did!
6. Hire a cleaning crew-it is imperative that your home is spic and span, especially kitchens and bathrooms.
7. Rent furniture or purchase accessories if necessary--sometimes it isn’t about the fact that your home is furnished, but what kind of furniture it is furnished with. When marketing your property you want to make sure that the furniture and accessories to not come across as outdated or inappropriate.
8. Paint--I have never seen a property that did not benefit from fresh coat of paint when it came time to sell.
9. Don’t forget curb appeal-– remember many potential buyers will judge the inside of a home by what they see on the outside. Make sure the landscaping is well kept as well as exterior elements such as shutters, front doors and driveways.
10. Hire a Certified Staging Professional (CSP) to stage your home–you wouldn’t perform surgery on yourself so why would you not trust your biggest asset your home to a professional.
Va. Home Sales Showing Possibility of Recovery
by SCOTT McCAFFREY, Staff Writer Sun Gazette Newspapers
When should a tie be counted as a win? In the case of Virginia’s real estate market, when sales from 2011 held up fairly well compared to transactions a year before.
A total of 83,748 residential properties changed hands across the Old Dominion last year, according to figures reported by the Virginia Association of Realtors (VAR), up slightly from the 83,561 sales recorded in 2010.
More importantly, the 2011 sales figures held up even without the federal tax credit for home-buyers that helped prop up the market a year before.
If overall economic conditions continue to improve – obviously a big “if” – then “there is reasonable hope for an improved housing market in 2012,” VAR officials said in remarks accompanying the sales data.
Sales across Virginia in the fourth quarter of 2011 totaled 18,715, up slightly from the 18,513 recorded a year. Sales were essentially flat, compared to a year before, in all three months: October, November and December.
For the fourth quarter, total sales were up in every geographic region across the commonwealth except the biggie: In Northern Virginia, sales were down 9.1 percent, to 8,221. (In VAR parlance, “Northern Virginia” includes a huge swath of territory, much larger than the more traditional inner and outer suburbs of Washington, D.C.)
Sales were up 12.9 percent in the Hampton Roads area, 9.8 percent in Roanoke/Lynchburg/Blacksburg, 9.6 percent in Greater Richmond, 9.4 percent in Southwest Virginia, 8.3 percent in the Central Valley and 2.4 percent in Southside.
The average sales price of all homes sold across Virginia in the fourth quarter was $220,000, down from $233,000 a year before.
But “given that Virginia has seen two quarters of consecutive increases in the pace of annualized home sales, we may see prices stabilize in 2012,” VAR official said.
Average prices were down in all seven reporting areas, from a low of 0.2 percent in Northern Virginia to a high of 8.5 percent in Greater Richmond. Average sales prices were $309,995 in Northern Virginia, $195,000 in the Central Valley, $194,000 in Hampton Roads, $171,548 in Central Richmond, $150,000 in Roanoke/Lynchburg/Blacksburg, $120,000 in Southwest Virginia and $84,000 in Southside Virginia.
The median sales price for all homes in Virginia continues well above the comparable national figure, standing at $220,200 in November vs. a national total (for existing homes) of $164,200.
Total sales volume for all Virginia residential properties sold in the fourth quarter was $5.18 billion, down from $5.43 billion a year before. The average number of days homes spent on the market before finding a buyer was 100 in the fourth quarter, up from 91 a year before.