Home Staging 101:  The 90%

Home Staging 101: The 90%

Did you know that only 10% of people, including your perspective buyers, are able to visualize how an empty room would look when furnished?  The same applies to rooms that have an overwhelming amount of furniture or distractions (clutter, personal items).

This means that 90% need to be “shown” how rooms would function for them in order for your listings to seen at an optimal level – both online and in person.

Master Bedroom

In this example the “before” photo was the first impression, seen in the online listing.  It was benign with no sense of space.  If buyers had moved beyond the online view, to do a physical walk through, they may have wondered:  “Will our furniture fit in here?” or better yet…”How?”.

With the addition of a bed it made it obvious to the buyers the a queen or king bed would fit in the room comfortably with plenty of room for dressers and more.  It softened the space and created a more inviting feel.  These are the emotions that you want to capitalize on when you are selling.  You want them to feel like they just walked into their new home.

Conversely, here is an example of a room with an abundance of furniture and busy patterns:

Before_After Craft Room

It was hard to “see” how spacious the room was because it had been filled with furnishings that were not in use.  It was recommended that the seller pack away their personal items and move the excess furniture pieces to storage to open up the room.  One end of the room is a great craft area, complete with an island and plenty of storage while this end of the room now shows a study space as well as a bedroom with the use of a futon.  It is very clear to buyers that this room is very versatile.

If you want your home to stand out among the competition, keep this statistic in mind as you prepare for your listing photo session and subsequent showings.  If you have 10 potential buyers come through your home, make sure that you are visually reaching all 10, not just 1 of them.  Your chances of receiving an offer will increase significantly if you are reaching everyone!

Repurposing Tip:  What a Grate Idea!

Repurposing Tip: What a Grate Idea!

I often run into a friend who works at our local grocery store who has renovated an old cape in our little town.  I love to hear all about her updates so when she recently told me that she and her husband had recycled an old heating grate as a welcome mat – I was intrigued.  She’s going to send me a picture that I will share with you but for now, I’ll show you an example I found online recently on the Frugal Family Times Blog page.



Grate Idea from Frugal Family Times

For anyone with a deck, this is a fantastic way to deal with the mess that comes with shoes that get covered with muck all year long.  It is especially great for the muddy season – which will be upon us very soon in New Hampshire.  This keeps the dirt from piling up on your floors inside and gives immediate style to the entry at the same time.   For details on how this one was installed, click on the photo above.

Do You Have an Accent?

Do You Have an Accent?

For this post, I’m so excited to be sharing a photo taken at the home of a special friend.

Bath 2_adjusted

This bathroom has a series of smaller walls that lead to a larger, standard wall where the full sized tub/shower are located.  My girlfriend’s husband finished the wall behind the new vanity with this beautiful tile work.  It is a gorgeous addition to the space and gives the otherwise basic room, an old world feel without being overwhelming.

Do you have a wall like this that is in need of something special?  Consider this classically styled update – it will surely stand the test of time.

NOTE:  Do you have an accent or update in your home that you would like to share on this blog, please email photos and a full description to amy@parkerhouse-designs.com to be considered for a future post.

Home Staging 101: Staging with Kids

When selling your home, it can be a bit of a balancing act when you have children and a busy life whirling around you.  It can sometimes be a challenge to keep your home in “show ready” condition when you are trying to live your life there.  This post includes a few tips for getting prepared initially and streamlining the process of preparing your rooms for showings when you have kids “stuff” to contend with.

Outside Clean Up – With small kids, there will be an abundance of toys around your home…both inside and out.  Create a storage location with a covered container and be sure to take a look around the yard to make sure that toys are stowed away prior to showings/Realtor Tours.

Inside Organization – Try to pre-pack as many excess toys/games that you can.  Kids will have their “favorites” so keep those toys available but in storage bins, baskets or boxes so they can be tucked away neatly when perspective buyers come through.

Take Out Large Scale Items – Remove the larger scale toys (i.e. plastic kitchens, ride on toys).  They take up valuable floor space in the same way that excess furniture pieces do.  You want to allow the rooms to be seen in their entirety without the distraction of brightly colored toys.

Bedroom Updates – Kids often have fun, theme-inspired decor in their rooms which include brightly colored walls and tend to be gender specific.  It is recommended that rooms be neutralized to allow buyers to have a “blank slate” to personalize the room to their child’s preferences or for another purpose upon moving in.

TIP 1:  Repaint brightly colored walls with warm neutrals and add removable transfers to have some fun elements in place until your move.

Warm Neutral Background with Fun Decals

TIP 2:  Start dreaming with your child about their “new” room.  Pull together a scrapbook of ideas to help them focus on the new home.  This may help with the shift from one home to another.

TIP 3:  In rooms with older kids, try to minimize the amount of items on walls and remove all items that might offend your potential buyers.  Carefully pack these items so the kids can recreate their rooms in your new home.

Clothes/Laundry – Pre-pack the next season’s worth of clothing to pare down closets in kid’s rooms.  Buyers want to see “ample” storage and tidy spaces.  Keep laundry up to date and neatly organized in baskets to eliminate the piles in rooms and bathrooms.  Be sure to remove any/all used towels from bathrooms prior to showings as well.

Bath with Laundry Messes

Buyers do not want to feel like they are intruding in someone else’s home…they want to be able to visualize it as their own. If you have ever rented a home or hotel room, you know the value of a neat, clean space that allows you to feel welcomed and comfortable.

This is the first of the Home Staging 101 Series of blog posts to come throughout the year.  I love your feedback and interaction so if you are interested in a specific topic, please note it here and I’ll be happy to address it in a future post.

Repurposing Tip:  Skis to Usable Home Items

Repurposing Tip: Skis to Usable Home Items

In a recent post to the SUNDAY FUN PIX on Facebook, I posted a photo of an Adirondack chair that was made from recycled skis.  It was such a novel idea to have winter sports gear creating an item that we’d most likely use in the summer.  As we shift from Winter skiing to Spring skiing here in New Hampshire, I thought I’d post some other fun ideas I found to recycle old skis.

Vintage Ski Rack http://www.recycledskis.com/racks

Vintage Ski Rack

This is probably a way many people have seen skis recycled.  I recommended it to clients a few years back for their mudroom and there is one like this in our local Orthodontic office.  The owner is a huge ski fan from Maine so it was a great way to let us know more about him, give his office a fun theme while providing a place to hang our coats.

Here are a couple coat racks that stand alone but are used for the same purpose – a little vintage and a little more modern.

Modern & Colorful

Modern & Colorful

On a smaller scale, some decor items to personalize your space.

Mug Rack from The Cabin Wall.com

Mug Rack from The Cabin Wall.com

Wine Rack from Forest Furniture Tahoe

Wine Rack from Forest Furniture Tahoe

The most unique way of recycling skis that I found was this chandelier made by Designer Willem Heeffer.

Willem Heeffer Chandelier

Willem Heeffer Chandelier

Willem Heeffer Chandelier

Willem Heeffer Chandelier

Could you imagine using any of these repurposed ski projects in your own home?  If so, which room(s) and how?

Upcycle vs. Recycle

Upcycle vs. Recycle

I’ve been noticing the word “upcycle” in headlines and articles that are promoting green design and living.  I was thinking that it was the new, sexy way to say recycle so I hopped online to do a bit of research.  What I found was that there is a marked difference between upcycling and recycling so here I am sharing the details with you.

As we know, recycling has always been about breaking down a used item to create a new, usable one.  The obvious examples are plastic bottles and paper.  Milk bottles are broken down and turned into things like benches and picnic tables and we are able to purchase recycled paper in many forms in major retail outlets everywhere.

Here’s a great example of a recycled bench from Walt Disney’s Animal Kingdom found on Jack Spence’s Blog on AllEars.net

Benches at Discovery Island

Benches at Discovery Island

When I dove into figuring out the origin of the word UPCYCLE, I learned that the term is fairly new and was introduced in the book “Cradle to Cradle:  Remaking the Way We Make Things” written by Michael Braungart & William McDonough – an architect and chemist that came together with the idea that items should be created knowing that after their initial usable life, they can be used in a functional way other their original form.  For example, they propose edible grocery bags rather than plastic that need to be broken down or “downcycled” in a manner that causes harm to our environment to become usable bags again.  The premise is that industry as a whole should be changing the way goods are produced to reduce the harmful effects that not only the original process makes but that recycling also creates.  The authors certainly give readers some food for thought and have spurred the movement to upcycle items that may otherwise have been dumped or pushed into the recycling process.

So, the idea of upcycling  is more on the lines of repurposing – to take something and reuse it in a way it wasn’t necessarily built for.  For some examples and ideas for  the Do-It-Yourself homeowner/creator in mind, check out www.upcyclethat.com.


Jerry Can Luggage


Slide Show Curtains


Window Coffee Table

How about that trampoline in the backyard that sits dormant, with no purpose?  Turn it into a new home for your livestock!

Chicken Coop

A New Coop

The next large scale examples are created by professionals that use an amazing process to turn old storage containers into living spaces.  Here is an example of an addition on a home in Arizona to include a bedroom and bathroom space and was connected to their 1950’s Ranch style home with a hallway.  The complete project and others can be viewed on www.upcycleliving.com.

Home Addition Beginning

Home Addition Beginning

Addition 3

Addition with Windows Added

Finished Space from Outside

Finished Space from Outside

Finished Inside Space

Finished Inside Space

These units are the latest trend in the modular home building market.  Container City has done amazing projects including this building that provides affordable, compact housing in London.


Container City Project

They’ve also completed many schools and professional buildings including the BBC Broadcasting Studios And Offices in London.

BBC Broadcasting Studios And Offices

BBC Broadcasting Studios And Offices

What are your thoughts on all of this?  Could you imagine living or working in a building like these?  Or better yet, have you upcycled anything recently?  We’d love to hear from you.

Special Valentine Ideas

Special Valentine Ideas

So, I’m pretty sappy when it comes to weddings, babies and abundant love in general.  I like the idea of Valentine’s Day to show love to our partners and families but I’m not a fan of the commercialization of the day.  I don’t think it’s necessary to charge people ridiculous amounts of money for jewelry, roses or meals in restaurants because it is February 14th.

You can show your affection for those you love in many ways that can mean so much and not wreak havoc on your wallet.  Here are a few examples:


One of my favorite gifts (for Valentine’s or Mother’s Day) have been coupons made up by my husband and kids.  They have included things like: taking me to dinner to a restaurant of my choice when I didn’t feel like cooking, going for a hike, cleaning around the house, helping me with yard work, taking me to a movie and  so on.  Think of the things that your loved one enjoys most and make up your own little coupon book.  The memories you create and the thoughtful ways you help them are priceless.


If you want to give a floral gift, consider using red, pink and white alternatives to roses (i.e. carnations) to create a beautiful arrangement within a budget.  Click on the photo below to see some gorgeous AND unique ways to make someone’s day.

This is 1 of 25 Flower Decoration Ideas for Valentine's from www.digsdigs.com

25 Flower Decoration Ideas for Valentine’s from www.digsdigs.com

If you really want roses but not the cost of a dozen, purchase a few, take some of the petals off and display all of them on a romantic table for two.

The Romance of Roses

The Romance of Roses


It really is the little things that matter.  Adding extras to a table setting, a cup of tea or snack time show people how much you care.  Taking time out of our super busy lives to focus on the details can be so special to someone else.

Like the Romance of Roses photo above, you can create really fun “tablescapes” with all types of items.  In the past, we’ve scattered candy hearts (with the sayings) all over a white table cloth and pastel gift ribbon that we curled up in little squiggles.  The kids loved to set the table up and we had everyone’s favorite meal for dinner.  You can use chocolate kisses, red hot cinnamon hearts or candy coated chocolates in the holiday colors.  Here is a beautiful example of a table you can create using paper.


Gorgeous Idea from LushHome.com

I love how the hearts create a flower look under the dishes and overlap to create the patterned feel of a table cloth.   Adding special touches to a treat of tea and cookies will make someone feel terrific. Create a gift box full of both for them to keep and enjoy long after Valentine’s Day is over.

Cookie Love

Martha Stewart Tea Bag Craft Project

Martha Stewart Tea Bag Craft Project

As you are trying to decide what to do for the “loves” in your life to show how much you care, remember this quote by Laura Ingalls Wilder It is the sweet simple things of life that are the real ones after all.”

Repurposing Tip: Recovering Your Pillows

Home & Life Series:  Organizing Your Meals

Home & Life Series: Organizing Your Meals

Happy 2013 to everyone!  I always love the start of the New Year because it holds the promise of great things in the year ahead and a renewed focus on our goals for our homes and lives.  Starting with this entry, am beginning a Home & Life series of posts that will offer suggestions to enhance our lives at home.   I recently had a request to cover organizing and will cover this topic in many ways and offer ideas that you can put right to work to make your life easier at home.  The goal should be to have less chaos and more time to relax and recharge when you are in the warmth and comfort of your home.

For most people, their lives and family are in constant motion.  Between work, school and life commitments, it can be tough to pull together dinners at the end of long days.  What makes it harder is when you do not have the energy to decide what to make and end up ordering take out as a quick fix.  Organizing your meals can alleviate those stressors in your life.

By organizing meals I mean that you create a weekly meal plan and detailed shopping list simultaneously.  I use my computer to create the menu in a document and when I first started this process, I used a 2nd page in the file to create the shopping list.  The list was organized by departments in the store so there was no wasted time during shopping trips.  I would then print them out and post the menu on the refrigerator for the whole family to see and take the list with me to the grocery store.

Here is a sample:

Menu Example

Shopping List Example

This doesn’t have to be fancy and could also be done by hand.  The benefit to computer versions is that you can save several weeks and rotate them.  Scheduling meals a week in advance allows you to plan a good variety as well as evenings out or leftover nights.  I also like to note who is responsible for cooking which evening because my kids are responsible to cook 1 night per week.**

Reasons to incorporate a system like this into your life:

1.  LESS STRESS:  Pre-plan meals for a week or more in advance so there are no confusing nights when you don’t want to “deal” with dinner.  An organized list at the store reduces the time you have to be there.  Remember….more time relaxing and recharging at home.

2.  SAVE MONEY:  A detailed grocery list eliminates excess/impulse purchases.

3.  EAT WELL & WASTE LESS:  By planning leftover nights, you reduce the amount of food that is discarded by scheduling them to be eaten on super-busy nights.

Over time, I have changed the process a bit but the general concept is still going strong.  I still create the meal plan on the computer but have started using an App on my smartphone called GrocerySmart to create the shopping list.

GrocerySmart App

GrocerySmart App

You create an account online at their website:  www.grocerysmart.net and then upload the app to your phone.  You can then invite family and friends to join on to become a collective group that can add/omit items from the shopping lists that are created on the account.  Now, if the family runs out of something, they simply log on and add it to the list.  The phones and computer sync up and everything stays up-to-date.  It is an amazing tool!!


**Special Note:  I started having my kids cook dinner in an effort to get them to stop complaining about the meals I was making.  They have come to see how much work it takes to create a balanced meal for everyone.  The other great thing that has happened is that they are experimenting with new foods because they are not allowed to repeat a meal for at least 3 weeks.  They must present their meal and grocery list prior to shopping day (Sunday for us).  There was a learning curve at the beginning and I had to be present for many of their first meals but they are really becoming great cooks!

What types of routines do you use to cut down on the chaos in your evenings at home?

Decking The Doors

Decking The Doors

For my winter newsletter, I highlighted the latest in front door wreath designs after receiving a great question from one of my clients who happens to be a fan on our Facebook page.

Click the photo to view the full article.

Wreaths are very common in New England and the holidays inspire some beautiful options.  You’ll find evergreens of all types that are usually decorated with pine cones, berries, fruits and ornaments of all shapes & colors.  Although the evergreen versions are traditional and beautiful,  I really love the variety that these newer, less traditional styles offer:

Square Boxwood with Burlap Ribbon

Initial Letter in Berries

Tree Shaped Wreath

Yes, It is Made of Wine Corks

Star Wreath from www.mixandchic.com

Simple and Classy

For the Knitters Out There

Nature Wreath by Kate Ledford Designs

Marshmallow Wreath from Food Network

This is just a sampling of unique wreaths that you can buy or create for your front door.  If you want to try something new, think about items you may have around the house already, open up your mind to the possibilities and have fun creating something beautiful that reflects who you are.  There is no end to the possibilities so jump in and have some fun!

SPECIAL NOTE:  All photos have links to the originating website so “click” on the ones that you would like to learn more about.

What do you think of these non-traditional wreaths?  Do you have something unique hanging on your front door?