An Annual Christmas Tradition

Every December for the last eight years, my client and I have readied her home for the holidays together.  It’s evolved into a highly anticipated fun social event.  We enjoy delicious finger food and mimosas while Christmas music or the Cowboy game plays in the background.  Last year we updated her formal living room tree decorations and her dining room arrangement.  This year, we updated her family room decorations to create an “alpine winter wonderland”.

This year, we had a special sense of urgency, since my client is hosting her niece’s rehearsal dinner this Friday.   The gold, ivory and white color palate conveniently provide the perfect backdrop.

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for a wedding celebration.

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Staging Statistics

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Benefits of Staging Your Home

Benefits of Staging Your Home 

  • Based on national statistics, Staged Homes, on average, sell for 17% more.
  • Based on national statistics, Staged Homes, on average, sell 8 times faster.
  • ROI for Staging is often 10-fold or more. It is an Investment.
  • The investment in Staging is far less than the cost of your first price reduction.
  • Staged Homes look better in online photographs increasing your number of showings.
  • Staged Homes are recognized by other realtors as properties that are ready to sell making them more likely to show your home to buyers.
  • Staging your home showcases its focal points.
  • Staging your home helps buyers “mentally move in”, visualize your space and remember your home.
  • Staged Homes are perceived by buyers as being well cared for and better maintained.
  • Staging your home helps buyers see your home, not your stuff. Buyers are shopping for a home.
  • Staging works.


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General Staging Principles and Recommendations


    • Staging is marketing.
    • Staging is not decorating.
    • Decorating is personalizing. Staging is de-personalizing.
    • You are selling your house, not your stuff.
    • Staging is showcasing your home’s space and focal points, allowing buyers to mentally move in.
    • The six C’s of staging: Clean, Current, Color, Clutter-Free, Creativity and Commitment.
    • Hire an experienced and accredited staging professional. We are too emotionally attached to stage our own home.
    • Select a stager with the experience, knowledge, tools, rental art and accessories and the team of subcontractors for you to prepare your home for sale.
    • Stage Now: before the Broker’s Open, before professional photographs are taken, before your home is listed. The best time to sell a home is in the first three weeks on the market.


    • When you go into a model home you will see that they are usually sparsely decorated. In a resale home you want to apply the same principles. Reduce clutter and the overall number of items. You want buyers to see your home, not your things.
    • Sell, donate or throw away now items you will never use again.
    • Pack and store items now that you will not use before you move. You are going to have to pack anyway. It will save you packing time and expense later.
    • Pack up all valuable items to protect them. Consider taking them to a safe deposit box.
    • Pack up all collections. They become a distraction for buyers from the desired focal points of your home.
    • Reduce the number of books on bookshelves.
    • Reduce the number of family pictures on shelves and tables. Remove family portraits from walls.
    • Consider rearranging or removing some of the furniture. Many times we have too much furniture in a room. This may meet your personal needs, but when it comes to selling, we need to thin out to make rooms appear larger.
    • Clean. Have your home professionally cleaned.
    • Remove, rearrange or substitute artwork as recommended. Generally, limit to one large piece on a wall or a small coordinated grouping. Make sure art is hung at eye level on an empty wall or at the appropriate height relative to a piece of furniture underneath.
    • Professionally paint all rooms in need of a fresh coat. Neutralize as recommended. Repair all cracks on walls and ceilings.
    • Professionally clean or replace carpets as needed. Offering a buyer a credit to pick their own new carpet or a discount off the price is far less effective. Pick a light to medium-colored neutral.
    • Clean, remove or replace drapes as recommended.
    • Professionally clean windows and make sure they operate freely. If the seal is broken on a double-pane window, replace it now.
    • Check all light fixtures. Replace all burned out light bulbs. In dark rooms or hallways, increase the wattage of bulbs.
    • During “showings” turn on all lights and lamps.
    • Keep all curtains and blinds open during the day to let in light and the view. The extra cost of additional heating or air conditioning is a necessary cost of selling.
    • Take a hard look at houseplants. In many cases they need to be pruned and/or the number of plants reduced to create more space. If plants don’t look healthy, throw them away.
    • Fireplaces need to be cleaned out. Glass doors should be cleaned. Mantels and hearths need to be cleared off except for recommended decorative items.
    • Create 1/3 empty space or more in every closet. Empty space communicates an abundance of storage space to your buyers.
    • Be sensitive to odors; buyers are. Excessive odors from cooking, smoking, pets, babies, laundry or mildew will turn off buyers. If there is a challenge with odors in your home use room deodorants or disinfectant sprays and keep windows cracked open for ventilation. Tips: There are great products in pet stores for pet odors. Pure Ayre odor eliminator kit with blacklight flashlight is recommended for pet urine in carpet. Professional carpet cleaners have special ozone machines that can help with difficult odors. You can’t sell it if you can smell it.
    • Repair any items that are broken. This will communicate that your home is well maintained. Broken items will be identified during inspection. Buyers may walk away, ask for a discount or will ask for them to be repaired anyway, so do it now.


  “The Way You Live in Your Home and the Way We Market and Sell Your House are Two Different Things!” — Barb Schwarz

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The Designer Client Relationship


Clients vary. A unique strength of mine, based on my background, is my flexibility to work with a variety of client types. To work together most effectively, it is important to recognize and communicate your “type”.

Budget Considerations:

  • “Best-bargain client”:   Willing to compromise a bit on selection options and decisions in order to meet a fixed budget.
  • “Balanced client”: Willing to splurge on some items to create a “look”, conserve on other selections to stay within a budget range.
  • “The-sky’s-the-limit client”: Desires a “perfect” result. No expense is too great to achieve the goal.

Involvement Considerations:  

  • “Do-it-for-me-client”: You are very busy. You have limited to no time to shop. You prefer selections to be made and the project to be executed for you.
  • “Let’s-do-it-together client”: You prefer a project partnership. You provide significant input upfront regarding your preferred style and preferences so that your home reflects your personality. We plan, meet and shop together. Tasks are delegated to Design Perspectives only when it makes sense. Joint selections and design decisions will be reviewed and finalized before implementation.
  • Just-tell-me-it’s-ok client”: You prefer to design and execute your project yourself. You are just looking for a professional to offer opinions and guidance.
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A Hip Master Bedroom Worthy of the Stunning New Bathroom

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One thing leads to the next.  The carpet had been replaced with hardwoods a few years in advance, but once the master bathroom was updated, the other components in the master bedroom sorely needed a refresh.  The existing furniture was refinished in an espresso finish; the chair and ottoman were reupholstered and accented with a pillow to complement the bathroom tile; and new custom bedding and pillow shams picked up on the new color palate. A fresh coat of paint in the same “family”, but just one shade lighter than the bathroom walls seamlessly connects the two spaces.

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More Glass Art

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I initially had to twist my client’s arm to have her consider glass art for her newly refinished master bedroom.  Once she entered the art glass studio, saw the possibilities, witnessed the creativity of our local Chihuly-trained artist and understood the participatory process, she wanted more.

In addition to her “Hanna Branch” that we designed for her master, she fell in love with  glass “ribbons and plates” and decided she wanted a custom piece designed for her dining room.

We were able to pick our exact color preferences to pick up on other colors in her room, but add some additional pop.  A template was made on my client’s dining room wall, so the artist knew the precise size and shape of the piece to be created.  The piece was created in the studio on the template, disassembled, then re-assembled on my client’s dining room wall.

The last step was to install art lighting that pops the colors and casts shadows, making the piece even more interesting.  Now my client’s guests may enjoy her original glass art without popping into the master bedroom.

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