Neon Notables

Neon Notables

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On the short list of what makes good style, you’ll definitely find neon and the clutch. Imagining the two combined, especially in these months of dark hues, is hard to resist. Fortunately, Alexander Wang is a step ahead with this acid lambskin clutch. You don’t have to wait for Spring to sport this piece; it’ll work beautifully with Winter’s palette of gray, brown, navy, camel, and black.

Bad Accent

Bad Accent

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Disclaimer: this is only a suggestion.

Accent walls have become that thing in decorating: the perfect two-in-one that provides the bold color (you really desire) without the total commitment (of an entire room). So where’s the problem?

There are two. Firstly, accent walls have been done so many times and in so many ways that, as a feature of design, they are done. Perhaps if a design demigod like Kelly Wearstler can find a way for reinvention in a fresh and edgy way, accent walls can make a celebrated return.

Secondly, they are often a bit of a style sacrifice, a way for an ambitious yet nervous homeowner to try experimenting with bold color without having to totally commit. I want you to commit to that color you are drawn to but fear will ‘make the room smaller’ (and every other concern we have about a bold or dark shade). Remember that paint isn’t permanent, so take a chance and a big step forward in your style savvy.

The Fit Factor

The Fit Factor

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A visitor to planet America might observe our (unofficial) national motto: bigger is better. Our TVs and SUVs, plates portions & people only seem to be growing in size. Even in tough economic times, we are still a people of plenty. I see this phenomenon most distinctly in many client’s homes, where no matter the size and scale of the room, the furniture is enormous.

And it’s understandable- mainstream stores (Pottery Barn, Arhaus, etc.) are following our national trend with products to fit in giant rooms of giant homes. While perusing the catalogues, you might notice the showrooms (where these huge sofas and tables all reside) are at least 3x the size of a typical room.

Nothing hurts the look and feel of a room more than furniture that doesn’t fit; by fit I’m referring to not only the size and measurements but also the scale and proportion. If the space is small, you need to scale down the furniture, stick to pieces with clean lines (Room & Board has an excellent selection), and reduce the amount of unnecessary stuff (not every chair needs a pillow or side table). Your rooms will instantly look bigger and feel more spacious and contemporary.

How To Sell Your House

How To Sell Your House

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home-sold-sign-houseFew things in life are as stressful, time consuming and all around unpleasant as selling your home. It’s labor intensive, expensive and emotional. It’s also when I get called in as a first offense: helping clients create beautiful rooms that maximize a home’s market appeal. I consulted with realtor to Boulder’s best, modern luxury listing agent at Remax/Alliance Jennifer Egbert on what really sells homes; not surprisingly, our notes matched up.

FIRST IMPRESSION– Jennifer encourages exciting buyers the moment they lay eyes on your house. You want to elicit an emotional reaction from prospective buyers, where they want the home even before stepping inside. Curb appeal (your home’s profile picture) includes not just the landscaping but also the sidewalk, garage and front door, numbers and mailbox. Fixing gutters or a roof ranks low on a buyer’s wish list, so take care of these items before putting your house on the market.

Once inside, the name of the game is clean and this clean is a professionally done move out scrubbing of everything. Re-caulk bathroom tiles, replace every visible lightbulb in the house, and make sure the windows are cleaned inside and out. Your home is your showcase, and you want it to sparkle.

Bookending clean is clutter, as in there should be none. Remove two thirds of stuff on every surface, paying special attention to all things personalized (more on this later), opting instead for a neat stack of books, a beautiful vase, an orchid, etc. Store children’s toys in plastic bins. If you’re stuck amongst your stuff, consider hiring professional organizers. Sheryl Hadley, CEO of Organization & Relocation and her team of mad genuises have helped me on numerous occasions purge, organize, and systematize.

UPDATE– For a house to perform competitively in the market, it must be up to date, and certain upgrades can be made more affordably than others. Countertops in Caesarstone or granite return huge for their cost, and appliances in stainless are, in the high-end market, a non-negotiable. Jennifer explains that buyers not only dislike having to update, but also overestimate the associated costs, seeing a $10,000 price tag when the reality is only half. Budget in additional updates to lighting (pendants and chandeliers) and hardware (knobs, pulls, handles).

Walls are another area requiring updating. Paint rooms a neutral color (greys work beautifully), don’t forget the trim and baseboards (bright white looks best), and remember that while you might prefer a few rooms to be dark and dramatic (I certainly do), your house must appeal to everyone. Jennifer prefers Benjamin Moore’s Horizon (for a grey) and Chantily Lace (for a white), and since I get paid for my paint recommendations, they’ll remain a secret. 😉

SPECIFY- I’ll put this gingerly: if buyers have imagination, most won’t apply it when looking through your house. Rather, they need to be told, visually, how each space is designated. Convert any spare rooms into ones with purpose. If your home comes with a formal living room that was never used, you should still dress it up to show buyers the potential. Ditto the home office, sun room, or extra bedroom. Your goal should be to alleviate any need for people to ask ‘what goes here’.

NEUTRALIZE– Definitely one of the biggest challenges for sellers is removing themselves from a home that is still technically theirs. On this point, Jennifer advises to leave emotions at your front door: buyers don’t want to see your family on the walls, they want to envision theirs. Too many personal touches don’t let the buyer mentally move in. Store photos, severe art, religious iconography, anything that will bring attention to itself (and away from the house).

EXTRAS– Let in the light by opening all blinds and turning on lamps in every room, minimize the existence of any household pets, verify (through a friend or neighbor’s nose) that your home doesn’t smell like anything. Replace the traditional chandelier bulb with round for a modern look. If your situation allows for staging and you have the budget, we both encourage hiring Heidi Garthwaite of Property Staging & Design.