Designing in Stages – Step 2

Designing in Stages – Step 2

I previously posted about working with a client to update her lakeside home with new furnishings and finishes.  (Designing in Stages – Step 1)

This was a very special project because it started when my client had made the decision to make changes with her home after the loss of her husband.  Changes to a home can be emotional after a loss but can also be helpful and even therapeutic in the transition to their new reality.

Here is the rest of the story…

As we were wrapping up with the first part of the project, my client started dreaming about a 3 season porch and deck to extend her living/entertaining space.  It was something that she’d had in mind for some time and she found that the time was right to move forward with it.

We started by taking some measurements and doing up some drawings to see how everything would look before connecting with AZER Renovations to get estimates.

Our goal was to keep the views of the lake with lots of windows and include cozy furnishings for family and friends to relax in while visiting.

Exterior Deck Before

The sliders and windows above were all to remain in place while a new, enclosed deck was constructed.  While the work was underway, we refined the furniture plans and went shopping.

Furniture Plan for 3 Season Porch

This time, we worked with Stephanie at Coastal Furniture on Dover Point.  She was great about showing my client pieces that fit her requirements, were super comfortable and she eventually ordered a combination of traditional pieces and rattan.  Here are the fabrics and wall color we pulled together:

Furniture Fabrics & Wall Color

The finishing touches were completed in the space…including a gorgeous pickled paint ceiling treatment and arched windows throughout:

Pickled Paint Treatment on Ceiling

Large Arched Windows with Views of the Lake & Deck

Small Arched Side Windows to let in the Sunlight

Now, there is plenty of room for visiting, relaxing and even the option of sleeping on this beautiful porch that overlooks the lake.

Cushy Chairs Around the Windows

Additional Storage Closet with Conversational Seating

Sleeper Sofa with Existing Trunk

It’s so great to help homeowners update their spaces but more important to me is being a part of the personal transitions that they go through in the process.  Its projects like this one that remind me that it is my purpose in life to help others through a part of their life’s journey and I treasure every moment of it.

 

RESOURCES:

COASTAL FURNITURE – http://coastalfurniturenh.com/

304 Dover Point Road
Dover, NH
(603) 749-0808

 

AZER RENOVATIONS – http://www.azerrenovations.com/home/

Chris Pike & Eric Bygd

Newmarket NH, 03857 | 603 534 3946

MATTHEW YEATON PHOTOGRAPHY – http://www.myp-realestate.com/

North Berwick, ME

Phone:  603-312-3252

 

Are You Gambling with the Sale of Your Home?

Are You Gambling with the Sale of Your Home?

Listing a vacant home is a gamble.  You can roll the dice and hope that the right buyer – the one with the “vision” – will come in and fall in love with the place.  The reality is that only 10% of buyers (and homeowners in general) are able to envision the rooms with their furnishings and decor in them.   Consider that statistic…only 1 in 10 buyers can see the potential and the remaining 90% of buyers see the house at face value.   Often times, this means that any/all flaws (i.e. peeling wallpaper, scuffed flooring, worn paint on walls) in the home become the focal point because that is all there is to be seen.

3 Tips to Up the Ante & Reduce the Odds Against Sitting on the Market

TIP 1:   Address the visual reasons you would be offered less for your home – things like peeling wallpaper, nicks/dings on painted walls & trim, brightly painted rooms and scuffed/stained flooring.  When these things are taken out of the equation…buyers view the home as “move in ready” and will not try to offer less money because they think it will be costly to address them.

Wallpaper Example 2

Before – Peeling/Missing Wallpaper

Wallpaper Example 3

Before – Peeling/Missing Wallpaper

 

Wallpaper Example 1

Before – Peeling/Missing Wallpaper

TIP 2:  Everyone enjoys spending time in homes that are clean, welcoming and comfortable.  Help buyers see how warm & inviting the rooms can be by adding furniture and decor.  This also allows them to see how their furnishings will fit into the spaces.

After

AFTER (Wallpaper Removed and a Fresh Coat of Paint Added)

TIP 3:  Have professional photography done so that the charm of your home is truly reflected online. This is very important because approximately 95% of buyers begin their search online.  They will complete their drive bys and first showings on their computer and handheld devices.  We are such an app driven, visual society so it is important to tell a strong visual story of your listing to prompt more showings in person.

Recent Example

This house was on the market for 6 months with no offers so we were called in to consult.  The room above was surrounded by updated spaces…a new Kitchen and Bath as well as an additional Family Room that had had wallpaper removed and paint.  Since it was empty, the missing and torn wallpaper was very obvious.  The sellers were willing to make changes so they removed all the paper and painted the room.  Once that was completed, we added in the furniture and decor seen in the “after” photo.

One of the other rooms that we addressed was the Dining Room.  We removed the small scale table & chairs to bring in a larger table, chairs, updated window treatments and decor.  Here are the results:

Before

Previous Listing Photo

After

After

The great news here is that this house had several showings and was under agreement in 30 days!

It’s another example of how Staging & Professional Photography make a huge difference in how homes show online and welcome buyers in when they come for showings.

“After” photographs captured by the talented Alison Payne Bellaud – 603.320.2295.

Designing in Stages – Step 1

Designing in Stages – Step 1

I’ve been working with a client for several months to update her small lakeside home.  Her goal was to create cozy spaces for her along with enough eating and visiting space for when she has friends and family visit.  The facelift included a fresh coat of paint, new window treatments and 3 new furniture arrangements.  Here are the “before” pictures:

BEFORE

BEFORE

BEFORE

BEFORE

BEFORE

BEFORE

I took measurements and offered a variety of functional furniture plans and we decided on this layout:

Refined Drawing 2

Next came the fun part…SHOPPING!!  We used the drawing as a guide while ordering the new pieces at New England Furniture in Farmington, NH.  The only decisions we needed to make was about the fabrics and we had a color scheme in mind that would coordinate with the wall color and window treatment fabric seen below:

Paint_Window Treatment samples

It would be several weeks before the furniture was due to arrive.  In the meantime, a built-in storage bench was installed/stained and the walls were painted by the awesome guys at Azer Renovations.  The customization kept going with a one of a kind table that was created to fit into the space perfectly.  Once those steps were done, we hung the window treatments and saw it all come together when the delivery arrived.  Take a look at the “after” photos:

AFTER

AFTER

2016_01_26 161 Nicola Rd-022-SMALL

AFTER

AFTER

AFTER

AFTER

AFTER

AFTER photos by Matthew Yeaton Photography

After this project was completed, the homeowner decided to add on a 3 season porch to extend her living space.  That will come in a future post (Click Here to check it out).

This project has been such a pleasure ~ I’m so grateful that I have been able to help a wonderful person transform her home into the warm retreat that she had been dreaming of.

RESOURCES:

NEW ENGLAND FURNITURE – http://newenglandfurniture.net/

433 Route 11(Farmington Rd)

Farmington, NH 03835

603-755-4402

COUNTRY CURTAINS – https://www.countrycurtains.com/

2299 Woodbury Avenue

Newington, NH  03801

(603) 431-2315

AZER RENOVATIONS – http://www.azerrenovations.com/home/

Chris Pike & Eric Bygd

Newmarket NH, 03857 | 603 534 3946

MATTHEW YEATON PHOTOGRAPHY – http://www.myp-realestate.com/

North Berwick, ME

Phone:  603-312-3252

 

Home Staging 101:  Sprucing Up the Exterior

Home Staging 101: Sprucing Up the Exterior

Whether you have a long drive or a simple set of steps to the entry of your home, focus on these 5 updates to do before listing to make a great first impression…through your photos online and when you have showings.

1. Be sure the house number is visible. House numbers are extremely important when perspective buyers are trying to locate homes to view.  Make sure that they are a large enough scale to be seen from a distance.  They can be on a mailbox, at the end of the driveway (both are best for longer driveways when the house is not completely visible), or on a front door.

Red Door
2. Provide a clear path to entry door. When having guests, it’s important for them to know how to get into the house.   When a landscaped path is not in place, you can improvise by adding plants, lawn lighting or crushed rocks to lead the way.  They also make for a prettier, more welcoming entrance.

Yard of suburban home
3. Add a new Welcome mat. This can be inside or outside.  After long seasons at your entry, the Welcome mat can get a bit worn and tattered.  Invest in a new one as you get ready to list your home.  What a great first impression buyers will have when they get to the entry.

Welcome-Mat-CT-Home

4. Put a fresh coat of paint on the door. Not only do red doors look good, but they also make the house look more approachable. “In Feng Shui, a red door means ‘Welcome.’”  Here are some great options for reds you can use to update the front door in no time.  If red doesn’t work on your front door, a fresh coat of the appropriate color makes just as much of an impact.

RED COLORS FOR FRONT DOORS_20155. Add/freshen your lighting.  If you have lighting in place, start with a good cleaning to get rid of cobwebs and dust, then confirm that the bulbs are working and at the highest wattage they can be.  If you do not have lighting at the entry, you may want to consider adding in a fixture either next to the door or hang it from above if there is a roof covering the entry steps.

Exterior shot of a Wooden Front Door

Quote from… http://www.stacymakescents.com/the-red-door-significance

Lighten Up

Lighten Up

When it comes to Home Staging, it is very important to address the lighting within a home to ensure that all rooms are light and bright.  The goal is to create open and airy feel throughout a home where each room appears spacious, warm and welcoming.

Here are a few tips to make sure your listing photos shine:

  • When there is no overhead lighting, bring in lamps to brighten things up!  A combination of floor and table lamps will help to lighten up the corners and show off all the great features of the room.
  • Always use the highest wattage bulb possible in overhead lighting, bath vanities and lamps.  Choose bulbs that emit a warm glow vs. a cool, flourescent which can make a space feel cold and antiseptic.
  • Open those window treatments…or remove them all together. Long, heavy drapes or lacy curtains are a triple threat because (1) they are overly formal and style specific which will limit who the home will appeal to, (2) they are covering the trim work and filtering all the natural sunlight from the room and (3) they block the views to the outside which can be a major selling point in a home.  We live in a rural area where the majority of homes have beautiful views of forest settings, mountain overlooks and lake side scenes.  If there are blinds or shades installed, be sure to open them up all the way when you have photos taken and for each “showing” of the house.
  • Use professional photography whenever possible to get bright, crisp photos that truly represent your home.  This is especially important if you have invested in the items noted above.

Here are a couple of examples:

Dark Room without a View

Dark Room without a View

Rooms with dark colors appear smaller so lighting is especially important in these spaces.  In this example, the room looks small because the closed window treatments act as a continuation of the walls.  When you open up the window treatments, the room immediately opens up and allows your eye to travel further and see the outside benefits of the property.

Bright Space with Nature Filled View

Bright Space with Nature Filled View

Here is an example of how the natural sunlight bright and spacious a room can look when you can see and appreciate the outside spaces.

There are a lot of issues to consider when Staging your home for sale…this is just one aspect that can make a big difference and can be done at a minimal cost.

 

New Year – New Adventures

New Year – New Adventures

Happy New Year!!  Parker House Designs has officially embarked on our 2015 adventure and are excited to have you along for the ride.  We’ll be sharing our stories and projects (complete with Before & After pictures) with you over the coming months.

My husband and I took the leap into the world of investments a few short months ago.  It’s been a dream for some time but we hadn’t expected it to come along for a couple more years.  You know, when the kids were both in college and we were “ready” to take on the role of landlords and/or maintenance workers.  Ha!  Don’t they say that the best laid plans often go awry.  When a great opportunity showed itself, we took the leap.

So, here is a picture of our 1910 gem…she’s a little rough around the edges but she is undergoing some exterior renovations to become more energy-efficient along with some fresh paint (in the Spring) to show off the unique architectural features on her face:

Building 1 Building 3

The building is located in the center of town and was a commercial building next to the railroad route that ran through the Lakes Region Area years ago.  One of the items on the To Do list is to connect with our local Historical Society to learn more about the property.  We’ve heard through the grapevine that one of the storefronts was the first postal location in town so I look forward to getting the scoop.  I’ll be sure to share what I learn along the way!

As I thought about how this process has been wild, overwhelming and a little scary, I realized that these are the same feelings that many of my clients have.  They are worried about the unknown when they are trying to update their homes or are trying to sell their homes to move onto their next phase of life.  In every case, when they made the decision to move forward, break away from their anxieties and embraced the change, they flourished and met their goals.  I’m so grateful for being a part of this special evolution.  This is where my theme for 2015 comes from:

Embracing Change = Positive Growth

What’s new in your world?  What changes are you going to embrace in 2015?

 

State Farm Insurance – Office Update

State Farm Insurance – Office Update

I was contacted by Aileen Dugan from State Farm Insurance earlier this year to evaluate an office space which houses two of her employees.  She has made changes over time to this space, including the wallpaper installation, custom window treatments and new carpeting.  What we were focusing on with this project were the workstations (new furnishings & arrangement) and a new wall treatment (to coordinate with reception area).

Our first step was to work on the wall treatment to coordinate with the reception area – which had had a chair rail added and a darker color painted below.  It was decided that the wallpaper on the lower wall would be removed and a dark color of paint would be used.  It was a color that worked well with the Reception area, the existing window treatments and the large scale artwork that was remaining in the room.

Dugan Before

Before

 

 

After

After

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next step was to create a furniture plan using an existing desk and storage unit (that were in a different part of the building) and a new desk that matched as close to the existing as possible (wood tone, edging and hardware.  A group of drawings using straight, L-Shaped and U-Shaped desks were presented then narrowed down to the final arrangement – seen here:

Dugan Arrangement

After the desk size was determined, it was placed on order and the focus went to ordering the side chairs.  New chairs that were similar to the Reception area chairs were purchased and it was decided that one per desk would work and keep costs down.

You’ll notice in the “after” photo that the artwork was given a new, silver toned frame that really highlights the colors from the painting and gives the office a contemporary look that mirrors the new furnishings.

Before

Before

 

After

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Small changes can make a big difference in every space – whether it is residential or commercial.  This was a great example of using existing furniture and design elements as the starting point to create a plan to update a room.

The biggest perk of my job is that I get to know and work with such great people. It was so nice to work with Aileen and her wonderful staff, Cleo, Michelle and Scott!

For more information on how Parker House Design can help you update your office space, contact us here.

Timing is Everything

Timing is Everything

When you are in the process of selling a home, there are several times when you must meet certain goals within a specific time frame in order to move forward with the process.

One of the most common questions I am asked when people are getting ready to list their home is:  “When is the best time to Stage a home for sale?”  The simple answer is…prior to having the listing photos taken.

A general guideline is to have a Home Staging consultation as soon as you know you will be selling.  Having a professional come into your home will help you create a comprehensive “to do” list that is prioritized by importance.

Often times, the list can be completed in a week or less but if there are updates that require more extensive work, it may take longer (i.e. painting, flooring updates) so you will want to plan accordingly.  Keep in mind that contractors, painters, plumbers and the like tend to get very busy in the springtime so it may not be easy to get them to your project quickly.

Planning ahead and preparing your home will create the strongest first impression when your home is posted online.  Telling a great visual story through the photos is key to getting perspective buyers to move beyond their computers and/or mobile devices and through the front door to view the home in person.  The more people come through the door, the higher the chances for a faster sale. 

Home Staging Header copy

Home Staging 101:  The Virtual 1st Impression

Home Staging 101: The Virtual 1st Impression

Did you know that 83% of consumers begin searching for items they want to buy online?  That is for all types of items from clothing, to appliances and even new cars.  That number increases to more than 90% for people who are house hunting.  The days of buyers “doing a drive by” to check out a house are fleeting when they can review homes from the comfort of their sofas on their computers and handheld devices.

So, why is this important?  It means that the 1st impression of a home on the market is made online.  Our society is technologically and visually driven so it is important that the visual story of your home is being told clearly through the photos.  If they do not look good in the online listings, the perspective buyers will click away from the listing as quickly as they clicked onto it.

Here is a little test…

Do you think busy home buyers would rather take the time to look at these homes?

Or these?

When you combine well staged rooms that are organized and show their purpose, add loads of great photos, and have a fantastic write up you will create the best and strongest 1st impression possible – one that will pull perspective buyers off the couch and to the home for a showing.

TIP:  Take a look at homes in your area that are your direct competition to see how your photos and listing “stack up” against them.  This will help you determine whether your marketing is on target or may need some changes/updates.

A Revealing Update

A Revealing Update

I am so excited to be sharing a project that was sent to me by a local couple, and previous clients of mine, who recently updated their kitchen and got a surprise that they were not expecting.

Beverly &  Fred decided that they wanted to add a little something to the kitchen and opted to paint the back splash.  It had been the same creamy white color for many years and they wanted to add a “pop” of color so they started pulling color samples.  After much toiling about which color to choose, they decided on red…a deep red.

They knew that it would be wise to use a gray primer on the wall as a darker primer allows deep colors like red and purple to go on in fewer coats.  On a white wall, those colors may take many coats to achieve proper coverage.  The good news was that Fred remembered having some leftover gray paint from a previous project so he used that to apply the base coat on the walls.

Once the gray color was on the walls, both of them noted how much they liked it!  They agreed to shift to Plan B…the back splash became gray and Fred’s creative juices started flowing.

Counter Close Up

Gray Back Splash Steals the Show

To bridge the two colors in a non-traditional way, Fred took a piece of white birch from their yard, cut it in half the long way, coated it and attached it to the walls.  Simply gorgeous and full of character!

Close Up View of White Birch Branch

Close Up View of White Birch Branch

Sometimes, we are surprised by the little things that can have us shifting gears in life.  How often can you say that you agree with your partner wholeheartedly when it comes to Home Improvement updates?  Bev and Fred knew a good thing when they saw & agreed on it.  I’m so grateful that they shared their story with us.  Many thanks to them!!

Sink and window vew

Beautiful Evening Glow

If you have a project that you would like to share here, please send me all the information by email:  amy@parkerhouse-designs.com and I’ll highlight it in a future post!!