Front Porch Refresh

Now that we’re in the middle of summer and all of its hot, muggy glory, we want to give you a few ideas to spruce up your front porch. Everyone gets excited to clean and plant new plants when Spring rolls around, but by July the front porch is probably getting ignored. Since we all need some motivation from time to time, we came up with a few easy tips that can be done in less than one hour to give your front porch a midsummer refresh. Oh and remember, back to school is about a month away and you want your porch to be ready for the First Day of School photos!

  • Do an overall cleaning- If you haven’t cleaned off the porch in a while, then get to work. Just spraying off any furniture, cleaning off cobwebs and wiping the doors and windows will make a huge difference. If there are any weeds hanging around in your planters or flower beds after all the rain, take a few minutes to pull them. Don’t get too distracted and pull out the pressure washer. Just do what you can do and hit the areas that will be the most impactful.
  • Add a fun wreath to your front door- if your wreath has already started to dull from the summer sun, replace it with a new one that can carry you into September. We pulled a few great options.
  • Get a new rug – This is usually an easily forgotten or ignored item at your front door. One mistake we see so many people make is choosing one that is too small. Make sure you select a rug that is wider than your front door, so it does not end up looking too small.
  • Update your planters and add new plants- If the plants in your planters have seen better days, why not replace them? Add something with bright colors that can carry you through the rest of summer and possibly into Fall. There are also some great subscription services that will ship you new plants for your front porch each season. We are definitely checking them out!

Sources:

Is your dream home hiding under all your stuff?

Have you heard yourself say, “If we only had a larger home, we could keep it organized”? If you have, you’re certainly not alone. There are 300,000 items in the average American home. When you break it down, that means you are finding a place to store 300,000 different things in your home. According to a U.S. Department of Energy report, 25% of Americans with two-car garages don’t have room to park their cars in them. Only 32% have room for only one car. A NAPO study found that 55% of people polled would save up to 60 minutes per day if they were more organized. A UCLA study confirmed that there is a direct correlation between a woman’s stress levels and the number of items in her household. Just finding all these statistics in one place (Maids.com article) got my head spinning. Most people think the size of their house is the main problem, so they decide to purchase a larger house. Then guess what, after a few months that larger house is filled with more stuff and the cycle starts all over again. The problem isn’t the size of your house or the lack of storage space in your home. The problem is all the items you have accumulated over time have taken over and they’re causing more stress than enjoyment. You deserve to be happy in your home.

We fully understand that de-cluttering your home could be a huge task for most and something that requires a lot of time. If you have no idea where to begin, here are 5 tips to help you start making small changes that will hopefully lead you to crave more organization and peace in your life.

  • Grab a bag, basket or plastic bin and go through each of the main living areas of your home. Put anything that does not belong in that room into the bin. Don’t try to put an item where it belongs or organize it by room. Just grab it and throw it in. This should not take more than 15 minutes. Stick to the main living areas only- living room, dining room, kitchen, etc. Once you’re done, go through the bin. Donate anything you can, toss anything that you don’t need to keep and find the home of the rest. Do this every day moving forward to make sure you don’t let things pile up.
  • Clean off your kitchen countertops. Get rid of anything that you do not use on a regular basis. If you can relocate an item you use regularly to an easily accessible place, do it! If you’re storing a coffee grinder you never use, donate it! You have cabinets and pantries for storage. Don’t use your countertops as an additional storage space. Once you’re done, make a commitment to keep them that way.
  • Go make your bed. We don’t care if your entire room is a mess and your bedding is ugly. Make it. Do it every day as soon as you’re out of bed. You will be amazed at how this little task will transform your bedroom. Once your bed is made, you will want to straighten your nightstands, dressers, etc.
  • Do a load of laundry every day from start to finish. This means wash, dry, fold/hang and put away. Start it in the morning then finish in the evening. This is a game changer. You will no longer dread the weekends with mountains of dirty clothes. Breaking it up over every day of the week will make it so much more manageable.
  • Go through your mail as soon as it enters the house. Don’t let it pile up for a week before you decide to tackle it. Toss the junk mail, pay the bills and store anything you will need in the future. This small step will save you so much time and reduce clutter.

These small steps can lead to larger changes as you continue. When you see your home clutter-free, you will be more conscious about what you bring into your home in the future.

How to Style a Bar Cart

If you don’t already own a bar cart, we’re here to tell you why you should go out and purchase one immediately. If you already have one, we want to show you some fun ways to style it and you’ll probably want to go out and purchase a second one for another room. (Erin currently has two in her home)

So, besides the fact that they totally up the ‘I’m really cool, sophisticated and classy” vibe in your home, the bar cart is quite functional. It can provide storage, help when you’re entertaining and of course give you a stylish place to store ingredients for your favorite cocktail. They can also serve as a coffee bar, hot chocolate bar during the holidays or a side table for any room. It is such a fun piece to style for each season or holiday too!

When styling a bar cart, there are a few basics that you want to make sure you have. Stylish barware, cute glasses or mugs, an ice bucket and your choice of spirits. If you want to step it up a notch or two, we recommend adding the following: flowers (real or fake), fun artwork, paper straws in fun colors and cocktail napkins. We pulled together a few fun items in three different styles to give you some inspiration. All items are found on Amazon and we have included the link to each item.

We start with the Glamorous Gold Bar Cart which includes the best book we have seen on bar carts. It shows you many different styles and even includes cocktail recipes.

Gold Bar Cart     Gold Stemless Wine Glasses     Gold Decanter     Champagne Art

Small Gold Vase     Bar Cart Book     Gold Bar Kit     Paper Straws

 

Next up is the Farmhouse Chic Bar Cart with galvanized barware! GALVANIZED BARWARE!!! We haven’t seen anything like these fun, rustic pieces and can’t wait to get our hands on them along with those adorable mint julep napkins.

Rustic Bar Cart     Galvanized Cocktail Kit     Galvanized Ice Bucket     Galvanized Mugs

Copper Moscow Mule Mugs     Mini Faux Plants     Mint Julep Napkins

 

Last but not least, we wanted to include a Give Me All the Coffee Bar Cart. This would be fun to set up in a walk-in pantry or breakfast nook area.

Oak Bar Cart-     Keurig     Mugs     K-Cup Holder     Paper Straws      Coffee Art Work

Farmhouse Vase      Canisters     Coffee and Jesus Dish Towel

These are just a few ways to have fun and play around with styling a bar cart. We hope it excited you and gave you some inspiration!

Margaritas by the Pool and Home Staging?

Although Home Staging has been around for quite a while, it is still a relatively new concept to most people selling a home. Most realize they will need a Real Estate Agent, inspector, appraiser, and mortgage company but they forget the important aspect of fully merchandising their largest asset by hiring a professional home stager. Even when it is brought up by the selling agent as something to consider, it may initially be shot down and looked at as another added “cost” of selling a home. Home Staging is the art of merchandising a home to appeal to buyers the same way companies merchandise their products. We want to break down some of the top objections people have when they think of home staging and debunk some of those misconceptions.

  1. “I don’t want someone coming in to “judge” or criticize my home.” Let’s get right to it! This is probably the first thought most people have when initially approached with hiring a professional stager. The first and most important thing to remember is that a stager’s number one goal and your number one goal is the same – getting your home sold as quickly as possible for as much money as possible. They are not in the home to critique your décor style or judge the clutter that may have crept in over time. Their main goal is to help you capitalize on your largest asset by merchandising it to appeal to the buyer demographic in your area. Yes, they may tell you to declutter an area or recommend you remove some of your favorite décor pieces; but they will also show you how to see your home in the eyes of a potential buyer. They can help emphasize and strategically highlight the positive aspects of the home while downplaying the negative.  If you take anything at all away from this post let it be this – People do not live in staged homes. No one expects a home that is lived in to perfectly appeal to a broad range of buyers. Your home is a reflection of you and the way you live, as it should be. The goal of the stager is to objectively view the home, depersonalize it and provide suggestions on what can be done to show the home in its best light.
  2. “How can I continue to live in my home once it’s been staged?” So the stager comes in, works their magic and the home looks amazing. Now what? In an occupied home, a best practice for most stagers is to work alongside the seller to develop a plan for the home that is realistic for the homeowner to live in until the home sells and a plan that is easy to maintain. Stagers understand that the home will still be used while it is on the market and that it is important to make sure it is ready to show at a moment’s notice. Once the changes and updates have been made to the home, it will be incredibly easy to prepare for a showing or open house. An HSR trained professional stager will give you tips and a checklist to have it ready to show within 15 minutes.
  3. “I don’t want to spend more money when there are already so many costs in selling a home.” Hiring a professional stager is not an additional cost in selling your home. Hiring a professional stager is an investment in your largest asset. We like to refer back to a quote from Barb Schwarz, the OG of home staging, “The investment of staging in your home is far less than a price reduction on your home”. According to the National Association of Realtors, the longer a home stays on the market the further below list price it drops. Homes that stayed on the market more than 4 weeks, sold at an average of 5% below the original list price. In another study by NAR, 53% of seller’s agents say that staging a home decreases the time it’s on the market. The typical investment to stage a home is 1-3% of list price and having a consultation with a staging report customized to your home is less than a 1% investment in most cases.  An investment of 1-3% is LESS than the first potential price reduction!  Another point to consider is the expenses you continue to incur while your home is on the market. You most likely have a mortgage payment, utilities, insurance, taxes and the list can go on. Most professional stagers have multiple service options available starting at a walkthrough that will result in a list of items that you can do yourself to a full day of staging where the stager works with you. It is important to review all options to find the one that works best for your schedule and budget. There are many costs associated with selling a home, but professional staging is not one. It is an investment in merchandising your largest asset to help it sell as quickly as possible.

Think of your home as a product in a store like we said in the beginning. For this example, let’s go with a blender.  The manufacturer of blender A makes sure it’s shown in the best light possible so it stands out from the other blenders at the store. They carefully choose great ways to highlight the features of the blender on the package by showing graphics of frozen cocktails with little umbrellas giving the potential buyer thoughts of a carefree lifestyle, hanging out by a pool sipping a margarita. They set up a fun display with margarita glasses and limes next to their blender out of the box. Their main goal is to entice the buyer by giving them a glimpse of the wonderful life they could have if only they purchased this blender. Now, let’s look at blender B. There are no photos on the box. All the writing is in black and the box is white. The boxes are stacked on top of each other with no props or displays showing the blender out of the box. Which one do you think is going to stand out first to a potential buyer, margaritas or boring with no pictures? Which do one do you think the buyer will end up purchasing? Let’s take that same concept and apply it to a home. You want to be the fun margarita blender that stands out against the other competition by helping a potential buyer envision a wonderful lifestyle. While a stager is not going to set up your home to look like a tiki bar with margaritas, like the blender manufacturer, they are going to set the stage to merchandise your product (aka home) to appeal to the buyer demographic in your area.  If you simply leave your home as is, you’re leaving it up to the buyer to visualize the home as theirs which most cannot. Over 80% of buyers say it is easier to visualize a property as a future home when it has been staged. Understand that staging is actually an investment in your home, not something to make you feel insecure or something that would be hard to maintain. It allows you to effectively market your home to buyers and allows you to stand out against all the other homes competing for buyers’ attention.

New Spring Decor- 3 Ways

I decided to start shopping for some fresh, new decor for Spring and wanted to bring you along. I have a problem with home decor and clothes where I feel a new season equals an opportunity to shop. I’m sure I’m not alone here. I wanted to see what some of my favorite stores had as well as check out Amazon Home. I always like to make small updates around my home as a new season approaches. That being said, I like to make these subtle additions without making huge investments. I think small decor items, new art work, some florals, and maybe even an accent chair can really create a seasonal touch without breaking the bank. These small changes brought out seasonally can give a constant refresh to your decor. I chose to look at Pier One, Kirlands and Amazon Home. I also put together different looks for each one that represented neutral, light pastels and brights. I’d love to know which represents your style!

Pier One is up first with a neutral look. The first thing I saw was the Frenchie doing yoga and I will totally be purchasing both dogs for my home. I also fell in love with the candlesticks that come as a set. I love the detail and the varying heights. Oh, and that clock!!!! I think all these pieces either together or separate add soft touches of Spring throughout the home and all can easily transition into other seasons. Links to all items are below.

Pier One

Yoga DogBox WoodClockVaseFloral Canvas Wall ArtSilver Yoga DogTriangle SculpturesAbstract Wall ArtPillowGray Pillow Candle SticksGreenwood Curl Arrangement

Kirklands is up next. I seem to always find what I’m looking for at Kirklands and then some. I tried to stay with very soft, Spring pastels in this group. I started with the painting which basically screams SPRING. I feel like you can really pair so much with these colors and it will all look great. I also adore this chair which happens to be on sale right now. I have been searching for a chair to put in a weird corner of my house and I think this may be the winner. I had to include the set of three candles because I feel candles are a must in every season!

Kirklands

Floral arrangementsWall ArtChairCandlesLamp •Pink PillowFloral Pillow Gray PillowBasket

Last, but certainly not least is Amazon. As we all know, you can find anything you need on Amazon but I find I am much more successful when I have a specific item in mind versus just browsing. I decided to go in with an open mind and just start searching for inspiration. Although it did take a bit longer to pull all of these items together, I have to say Amazon is a great place to find home decor. I was searching for brighter pieces and I really like everything I found. The three bicycle pictures are so adorable and fun. I was able to use them as inspiration when looking for the rest of the decor. The plant is REAL, not something I expected to find, and had amazing reviews. I also love the tray and lanterns. Everything is so fun and bright!

Amazon

Fiddle Leaf Fig TreeFarmhouse TrayWall Art Yellow Pillow CoversSolid Yellow Covers Green Printed Pillow CoversPlanterLanternsRug

I hope you enjoyed “shopping” with me. I know I will be picking up a few pieces from each store this season. I think you can mix and match from each retailer to really get a great, new look. Whether you choose one piece or all, I know they will help add a touch of Spring to your home and maybe even in your step!

Home Redesign and Interior Styling- What’s it all about?

Everyone has heard of interior designer and I think most people have a pretty solid understanding of what you would get if you hired one. But, do you know what home redesign or interior stylist is and what you would get if you hired one?

Home Redesign or a more glamorous term, Interior Styling, focuses more on using what you already have to create a more functional, stylish space that works for you and your family. It is a more economical solution than a full interior design project because in most cases they can make small tweaks like rearranging furniture, adding accessories or organizing a space, to help you create a home you love.

Have you ever sat in your living room and thought, I really love almost everything about this space, but something still feels a little off? Do you have a room or space in your home that you can’t seem to keep organized? No matter how many times you have moved accessories or furniture around you still can’t quite reach the look you were going for. This is where a home redesign project would benefit you. You typically start with a consultation and evaluate what is currently working or not working in the space. Then you would identify key decor pieces that you love and want to keep in the design. From there, a very customized plan is developed for you based on your time and budget. Some designers have the option of doing a 2-hour consultation and providing you a detailed list of updates and purchases to make so you have the confidence to make the changes as your time and budget allows. You can also take it a step further and actually have them assist you in the implementation of the plan. The end goal is to leave you with a home you love that is designed with your lifestyle in mind.

You deserve a home that brings you joy. You deserve a well-organized home that works for you and your family. You deserve a space to come home to each day that promotes relaxation. If your home is possibly missing the mark on any of these, you should explore how the small investment of a home redesign project could help.

If you’re interested in exploring the services Walker Hill Designs provides for redesign and styling, click here.

Is your home Color Perfect?

Color is complicated. Color can set a tone of a room, it can make a room seem more formal or informal, it can create a feeling of order or chaos. People have an emotional reaction to color, and it can affect your mood, energy level, and overall feeling when you enter a room. Basically, when you break it all down, color is one of the most important elements of the design of a space and it typically evokes the most fear when designing or changing a room. Let’s face it, paint is expensive and it’s really quite a pain. We have all been there. You see a color on a tiny sample at the paint store. You love it, it is the exact color of the rooms you spent hours browsing and pinning to your boards on Pinterest. You buy a few gallons and hire a painter or decide you’re going to do it yourself. You prep the room by moving furniture, protect the flooring and start taping everything off. Hours later after all the prep work, you finally get started. Hmmm…. That doesn’t look like the sample but maybe it will look different when it dries. Hours later… it doesn’t look the same as the room on my Pinterest board. A day later, I hate the way this looks. Back to the paint store. Money wasted. Time wasted. Energy wasted. Does any of this sound familiar?

Finding paint colors you like by spending time on Pinterest is a great start, but it is only the beginning. There are so many other items that have to be considered before diving head first into a pool of color. Color Consultants help guide you through a process of choosing a paint color you love and one that works for your home. If you have darker furnishings with mainly gold undertones, no matter how great that gray looks in that perfectly designed room on Pinterest, and no matter how much you love it, it will not work in your home.

Color Consultants (at least properly trained ones) have a process that is followed when selecting the best paint colors. It involves looking at the trim, cabinets, countertop materials/colors and existing furnishings. Then we review the overall look you’re wanting to achieve to find the best fit. It is a very detailed approach to selecting paint colors, but it is an approach that will ensure you’re not going to end up with a lot of wasted money, time and energy. Barbara Green from AOL Real Estate said that almost half the paint sales are generated from people picking the wrong paint color. At one point on Houzz there were over 326,000 discussions on the subject of people who chose the wrong paint color and they needed help. Color is complicated and there is no shame in relying on an expert to help you the next time you’re ready to make an update to your walls! You can spend your weekends enjoying life instead of mindlessly staring at tiny paint samples.

If you would like to learn more about the certification I hold in color, please click on the image below.

To Stage or Not to Stage…

“So why would I stage my house when my neighbor’s house sold a few months ago without doing anything?” This is a common question that I’m sure most people have when they’re approached about staging their home prior to listing. I get it because I’m sure at one point I would have asked the same question. Let’s be real, you can sell a house without staging. I’m not going to write a post telling you anything different. I am, however, going to write a post telling you what you can expect from staging your house answering the more important question, “What do I get out of staging my house?”.

Let’s start with the basics, what is home staging? Audra Slinkey, President of the Home Staging Resource, states that home staging is the practice of using limited funds, practical creativity, objectivity, market demographic knowledge, real estate knowledge and extraordinary expertise to professionally prepare a home to sell. To add a bit more to this definition, Barb Schwarz, known as the creator of home staging, says “Staging creates feelings that truly elevate the buyers’ experience of a house, so they feel the real emotions of it being their home”. You are basically depersonalizing the space to an extent so that when a potential buyer views photos or walks through your home, they can imagine themselves living there.

IF THEY LIKE IT, THEY WILL COME – Now that you have a good idea of what home staging means, let’s get to how it can benefit you. A NAR (National Association of Realtors) study found that 95% of homebuyers are ONLINE first looking at photos of the homes, before they decide to drive by and visit. What does that mean to you? Have you ever taken a photo of something in your house and realized that it didn’t quite look as good in the picture as it does in person or you take a picture, post it on Facebook , then realize your home looks a bit cluttered or dated? A little straightening and dusting then simply having someone come in to quickly take photos of your home “as is” will not be enough to make your home stand out to buyers searching online. The number one action taken after viewing a home online was to schedule a showing! If you want to get people to look at your home you must have it properly staged and have great photos posted online to ensure you get interested buyers through the door.

LET’S MAKE ‘EM FALL IN LOVE – So now that you know that you have to get the home looking good so people viewing it online will actually come and see it, what’s next? You want to convert those walking through your home to a BUYER and in the shortest amount of time possible! Remember that definition of home staging we talked about in the beginning? Here’s where it really comes into play. You want that buyer to imagine themselves living in your home. You want to create an environment and emotional connection points throughout the home that makes them say “YES! I can see myself sitting in this home with perfect makeup, great hair, a fabulous outfit, sipping champagne while my personal chef whips up a delicious meal”. Well… maybe not that exact thought but you basically want them to envision what their lifestyle could be if they purchased your beautiful home. Another NAR survey found that 77% of buyers’ agents said staging a home made it easier for a buyer to visualize the property as a future home. What does this mean for you? You sell your home as quickly as possible. The longer a home sits on the market, the further the price will drop. In addition, each month your home is on the market and it’s not selling, you’re still most likely paying the mortgage, utilities and other costs associated with owning a home. You’re losing a lot every day your home isn’t sold.

SHOW ME THE MONEY – Don’t worry…I’m not leaving you you completely depressed and anxious from the last paragraph. I have good news! Staging your home can help you sell it for more! Benjamins, Bread, Coins, Bucks, Bills, Dough, Moola, Stacks…however you want to say it, if you want to get more out of it- STAGE YOUR HOME! In a 2018 HSR survey of more than 4,200 homes, 85% of the homes surveyed sold for 6-25% more than their un-staged neighbor. Another study of over 3,500 homes professionally staged, showed that the average staging investment that is between 1 and 3 percent of the home’s asking price will generate a return of 8 to 10 percent in the sale price of the home. A small investment of staging can lead to a huge return in the sales price of your home.

So now that we went through all of that, let’s get back to that original question. “So why would I stage my house when my neighbor’s house sold a few months ago without doing anything?” If you aren’t concerned with enticing people to come and see your home, you’re ok with letting it sit on the market for longer and reducing the price a bit, and you’re not concerned with getting a better price than that neighbor who sold a few months ago or the other neighbor across the street with the same FOR SALE sign that’s getting ready to sit in your yard, don’t give staging a second thought. But…if you’re ready to get people to come to see your home, you want to get started in your new home as quickly as possible and you want to get the best price, start researching a professional home staging company today to get your home SOLD!

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