April 30th, 2010
Technology is fine. I learn things as I need to, and as long as it helps me get things done better and faster, and there are kind and honest people who can fix things when they break- and aren’t all smug about it-technology and I get along great.
I know the different social medias do have many good applications, but if I have 3 or 4 ways to reach you, I’m good. Constant preoccupation with our electronics does not necessarily make for good communications, or good relationships, and the automatic, immediate Pavlovian-like reaction to any ring/buzz/hum/etc cannot be good for developing judgement and priorities.
Mine is a minority opinion in many circles, so how surprised was I to see South Park, the bad-boys of late night comedy, take the FaceBook and friending craze on. “You Have 0 Friends” is one their most recent episodes. Sad in parts, all too true in others, I won’t link it here, but suffice to say if you can get past the rude and crude parts, you will find it spot on, and very funny.
I will probably always struggle to keep up with the latest and niftiest, but I think my real friends and clients will look me in the eye and be okay with that.
April 28th, 2010
The Times recently ran a story about the upcoming launch of ”True Prep”, a 2.0 version of the 1980 cult-classic “The Official Preppy Handbook”.
Interesting. I would like to say I remember it thru a distant nostalgic haze, but truth is I was in my very impressionable early 20s, and I devoured it. Primarily out of curiosity, but it was a white-hot trend at the time; I wanted to know enough to understand that lifestyle, fit in, and yes, still poke fun.
I’m not proud, but that was then, this is now. Was more interested in clothing and social protocol at the time, so I thought it’d be kinda cool to go back and see what they said about homes, interior decorating and such, and ok, maybe poke more fun.
OF COURSE my copy was long gone, so went to the WP library. Not even a listing, either title or author. My hunch was confirmed- who cares about this stuff, and yes, I was the most shallow person, ever. Then I found myself to be at peace with that thought in surprisingly short order, so my curiosity returned.
Went online, looking for maybe a mention….on google with “prepp__” lots of things came up, wow, a couple of pages. I now wanted that book, and I wanted it bad, so I went on Ebay.
I buy a lot of books on Ebay, got Doug a 3 volume hardcover set by noted historian Shelby Foote on the Civil War-first edition-from a guy in MA, pristine condition, even the book jackets, for $80.00; so thinking maybe $5.00 for a beat-up paperback…
Be afraid, be very afraid.. Used copies were being bid on in the $40.00 range, new copies-of a paperback that sold for maybe $7.00?-was going for just under $200.00. REALLY. 6 months before True Prep gets launched. Well I can deal with the pink oxford shirts, but I hope they’ve done something about those top-siders, the ugliest shoes ever.
April 28th, 2010
Today I echo the thoughts of another…Phil Faranda is a childhood neighbor, a friend, a successful local RE Agent Broker, and a prolific blogger. He’s written several recent posts that, in my mind have morphed into a single theme, which has resonated with me greatly.
Selling your home cannot be a spectator sport. It is a pro-active, collaborative, present-tense goal-driven process (see, lots of verbs!) where each party has a task to do, and success rests on all that happening.
My services are not for someone who is thinking about selling their house, or would like to sell their house; rather, my services are for someone who must sell their house, who wants to sell their house, someone who has made the decision to sell their house. You come to me because you recognize that Staging is a business decision that will support that.
“Collaborative” for the homeowner means there are things they alone can do, should do, and must do. As a Stager, much of what I recommend to clients are a means to an end. No one gets asked to pawn heirlooms or part with a kidney, but it will be your part of the deal to keep the refrigerator free of kiddie art, the lawn mowed, the beds made, counters clear of clutter, and get the carpets and drapes cleaned if I can guess how many cats you have, or how many smokers there are in the house.
Getting your home ready for sale when you are living in it is an awkward time, sort of a state of semi-suspended animation; be ready and wait. Trust me, there is no joy derived from curtailing the comfort or lifestyle of another, but my job is make the most of your property’s assets, while keeping this time is kept to a minimum, so that your property sells quickly, and you can then get on with your life.
Let me in, figuratively-it all starts with a conversation; then help me to help you-literally. I don’t want to debate you on the merits of taking down a wall full of the kid’s school photos not from this century, I just want to help you sell your house.
April 27th, 2010
The door to door ordering time has passed, it is still possible to procure these treats, but better hurry. Heart of the Hudson, the council that oversees scout troops in our area has inventoried some of these delights, and now, thru 5/21, on a first-come, first-served basis, you can soothe the crave.
This year there are a total of 11 varieties to choose from…half are old favorites-thin mints, tag-a-longs, samoas, trefoils and do-si-dos; some of the newer favorites include lemon chalet cream, do-si-dos, dulce de leche and a very intriguing sounding-thank you berry munch.
Boxes cost $3.50 each, and it was a very pleasant surprise to find out that the bulk of the proceeds stay right here in the area, supporting activities and projects of the girls and their troops..and what activities! While I don’t exactly go back to the days of Juliette Gordon Low (GSA founder), “each cookie has a mission”, and it was a real eye-opener to find out what today’s scouts know, and do for badges now (CAD?? Polymers? What, exactly is a polymer??) Check it out then_now , and then_now_jrbadg e, wow.
ANYWAY-back to the important issue, buying these delicious cookies, um, I mean SUPPORTING THIS WONDERFUL ORGANIZATION! Gloria Gorell and Jill Jameson are co-leaders of Pleasantville Seniors troop #2687- and now my personal heros, both have been leaders for years, Gloria even worked with this same group of 10th graders since they were Daisies, in Kindergarten!
Contact Gloria directly at firstname.lastname@example.org she will hook you up…said cookies are being kept at an undisclosed location, but suffice to say you can probably have them in hand pretty quickly. And if you want to support the girls without actually ingesting the calories yourself, you can buy boxes that the troop donates to a local charity on your behalf, how cool is that?
Lastly if you haven’t seen it already, check out the riff on Girl Scout cookie time, from this past weekend’s SNL Weekend Update. http://www.nbc.com/saturday-night-live/video/update-john-mulaney/1222369/ Watch, enjoy, but leave some thin mints for the rest of us!!
April 25th, 2010
One of George Carlin’s best routines was about STUFF. Debuted in the mid 80′s, it still rings true today, over 25 years later: nearly 1.9 million viewings of this 5 minute clip on YouTube alone.
The Encarta dictionary defines this noun as ’… generally material things, especially when unidentified, worthless or unwanted’. While I don’t like it, have to admit that Georges’ line about ‘a house is a place where you leave your stuff, while you go out and get more stuff’ hits a little too close to home.
As a Decorator and a Stager, dealing with STUFF is how I make a living…organizing, editing, re-positioning, etc. Value/worth, like love, is emotional, intensely personal, and always in the eye of the beholder. I never question it, unless it’s an impediment or contradiction to the client’s larger goal, or when I catch drifts of ‘unwanted’.
“Unwanted” does not mean ”worthless”. Every day I see and hear about unwanted things of value. Often unwanted things are kept at great expense(time, money, energy) simply because it’s not known what else to do with them; keeping them and waiting is deemed a better option than the curb. If there are to be any silver linings from the last few years, its’ a our very real understanding that donating is kind and meaningful, and more places/organizations exist to make it easier.
Recently, 11 Girl Scouts and their 4 leaders from troops #2687 and 2287 in Pleasantville collected about 50 pairs of eyeglasses for the local Lions club to organize and re-distribute, and a number of small appliances for the project close to my heart, Furniture Sharehouse. Zero Waste Day, courtesy of the Town of North Castle Recycling Committee netted us almost a full moving van of furniture and furnishings; as well as perhaps thousands of articles of seasonal clothing for the Community Center of Northern Westchester, quite a number of bicycles for Recycle a Bicycle, and a van full of cat/dog supplies to help support the work of a pet rescue/adoption agency.
Bottom line, you should have things you enjoy and value around you. But if you find your stuff more of an obligation, please check out my Good Turns page-or google- for some local solutions. Besides having newly-freed up space, it’s green, and a potential tax write-off- you can make a real difference.
April 21st, 2010
SURPRISE! There’s A New Lead Paint Law
In less than an hour, the EPA’s new RRP law officially goes into effect.
RRP stands for Renovation, Repair and Painting, and sets pretty stringent guidelines for lead containment by contractors who work on homes built before 1978, when lead was a common ingredient in paint.
Michael Murphy, Directory of New Project Development for Murphy Brothers Contracting in Mamaroneck explains that any contractors who perform work that could disturb old lead paint , like painters, carpenters, HVAC installers, as well as professionals who indirectly refer them-like decorators and architects, are all responsible for compliance, with some pretty hefty fines, up to $32K per violation, per day.
Lead from old paint can be absorbed several ways…most of us remember hearing about young children eating paint chips that have peeled away from old walls. Those chips were appealing not because of the child’s hunger, but because they had an unfortunately sweet taste. Children younger than 3 have an especially vulnerable system, and ingestion of lead was found to cause serious and permanent damage, primarily to the brain and nervous system. That’s why real estate transactions-even rentals-require a lead paint disclosure form.
It’s since been found that adults, and even pets -who’ve been exposed to lead particles in dust that is released when a surface that’s been painted with lead paint is cut, or otherwise disturbed- have developed some of the same conditions and ailments children who’ve eaten paint chips.
It seems to be a fair observation that this law has kind of snuck up on a lot of people, but nevertheless, it is still about to become law, and compliance is expected. Contractors must take an 8 hour course to become certified, use specific equipment, and present the homeowner with a booklet explaining the process, which the homeowner must sign a receipt for, saying they received it. Last fall, Murphy Brothers became one of the first contractors in the area to become certified in this process, but it remains to be seen how-and how quickly-the others can be accommodated.
Here in Westchester, where so many homes are built before 1978, this law will be a very big deal; whether you are a homeowner or a contractor, know the law and protect yourself, you can download the pamphlet, www.epa.gov/lead
April 21st, 2010
Over the weekend, Doug and I celebrated our 16th anniversary (in Stockbridge MA) and then surprised Grandma Stella to ring in her 96th birthday(Rochester NY) and logged at least 20 hours of driving time- almost 25% of the whole 96 hour sojourn. My brain is slightly addled, but maybe that’s why this next thought is so appealing…simple, profound and universal.
During the trip, Doug bought a bag of Goldfish for the the car…you know, the crackers moms buy kids to snack on because they’re cute, travel well and are not so bad for you. I’ve bought them in the past, but only to pep up the Chex Mix…
Yes, I’d brought plenty of reading material, but after a while was looking for something…well, less challenging, so I read the Goldfish bag.
The back panel asked the question ‘What do you see?’ with a 3 panel cartoon featuring smiling, animated Goldfish crackers underneath it. The 1st panel showed 2 Goldfish sunning themselves,poolside, and a third on a diving board, about to jump in the pool; in the 2nd panel she jumped in, spashing the other two in the process.
The third panel had one of the splashed-on Goldfish-still smiling-saying ‘Yeah! Let’s dive in!’; but the other poolside Goldfish, no longer smiling, exclaimed to the diving Goldfish-’No! You got me all wet!’.
The copy went on to say it’s not always easy to see the sunny side of things, and urged the reader to challenge themself to find something good in every situation.
WOW. In our hurry-up, bottom-line kind of world, I love that Pepperidge Farm is giving time, space, and energy to put this thought out there, and that kids (of all ages!!) will see it.
And yes, it came in handy when we were in slow traffic (the landscape was beautiful this time of year!) and one museum-goer in front of me had many, many questions for the docent (good questions, I would not have thought to ask that) or the very busy server did not bring the customary bread to the table (a-ha, you know where I’m going with that one, right?)
May the Goldfish be with you!
April 13th, 2010
Picking Wall Colors, Part Deux
Green is the New Beige
Yes. But so is Flora, Weimaraner, Croquet, Alpaca, and Mistletoe. Also-Pashmina, Meditation, Cotswold, Paris Rain, and Coastal Path.
Part of the Benjamin Moore collection, they’re some of the deeper, more saturated colors in their Historical Colors and the newer Affinity lines. They have strength and character, but read warm and nuanced, not hard or flat.
Genderless, they soften oversize leather upholstery, but can work equally well with chenilles or paisley prints, and even look great in a kid’s room; yes, I’m a fan.
Bored with a room? Paint one wall in an accent color
Maybe. It seems like a good way to mix things up, but how do you know which wall should get the different color?
My recommendation would be one that defines a different/secondary function-it leads you up the stairs/down a hall, has a fireplace or headboard on it, that sort of thing. Adjacent walls that have the major seating area in front of it are generally not good candidates for 2 different colors, as that area already has the bulk of the interest in it, and different colors behind it will fight that, and undermine the continuity.
It’s a Kids Room, let them do what they want
Well, maybe…but chances are if that’s worked for you, you wouldn’t be reading this. . Most dilemmas I run into with kids rooms are either how to make the leap from ducks, bunnies and pastels, or how not to land in the all-purple/NASCAR/Bratz/favorite sports team/etc mode.
You want them to happy, but as the adult who’s paying for this-you’re concerned their fervor for the icon of that moment will fade almost as soon as the paint has dried.
If it’s a specific color that they’re set on, a smokier tone will age better than a pastel; but if it’s got to be Mystical Grape, Exotic Lime or Pepto Pink, consider going for it on one or two walls…OR the bedcoverings…OR the carpet; then cut it with deeper-toned neutrals on the rest of the surfaces. Deep taupe with the purple, chocolate brown with the lime, or a deep cream with the pink will lessen the contrast and also grow with them.
If there’s a theme, run with the prominent colors on the walls, you’ll need less theme-specific décor to make the point. Our nephew is quite the Dallas Cowboys fan, and his wise parents bought navy carpet, painted the top half of his walls deep silvery grey, ran a 3” white stripe around the room, and then painted deep navy below it. Big wow factor, yet classic; a lot less expensive than filling the room with licensed memorabilia, and easy enough to change should he become, say a Giants fan? (His aunt and uncle can only hope…)
Bottom line: How you’re going to feel about a wall color is very personal. Even if you don’t trust your instincts, at least listen to them. Never choose a neutral by default, but if you are contemplating a perilously new and bold direction, consider spending $15.00 to try a quart of your color first.
If it’s merely a different color that you’re vaguely uncertain about, in most cases it’s best to pick a direction, and see it through. You can cut the impact or tweak the results with art work or mirrors on the wall. But ultimately if you realize that Teal Blast was fun for about 3 weeks, remember that about 75% of the work and cost in painting is the prep, and the trim-which you’ve already done. So get back on that horse, pick another wall color you like, and get it done pronto.
The right color can change your mood, change your space, even breathe new life into your furniture. Allow yourself to try different ideas on for size, and have fun with it. And yes, say it with me- there is no easier, quicker or less expensive way to transform your space.
April 11th, 2010
Be Comfortable Picking Paint Colors
Even when I was working in the retail furniture industry, getting paid on straight commission, I always tried to start by establishing the wall color with the client. I didn’t sell paint, have a painter-friend who was looking for business, or have any ulterior motive other than making the design process more complete, and furniture selection process easier, and more satisfying for the client.
Because walls make up the most surface of any room, the choice of color is a meaningful one, but don’t let that hold you back. Here are the other sides of some of the myths I’ve heard over the years.
White (or off-white) walls always make a space seem larger/brighter
They make them colder, more austere, and in listing photos they read as dirty-especially if there is beige carpet or wood floors in a light color. Also, by contrast, your furniture will look bigger and boxier.
A recent Staging job I had was a newish condo the owners had been renting and wanted to sell. It was an open floor plan, and all still in the original builders’ off-white-one big vanilla space. Warmer, more saturated colors not only separated out the spaces, it created new ones, and you saw the nice trim details, now that there was contrast.
Conversely, dark colors can close a room in and make it feel smaller
Sometimes yes. And that’s not always a bad thing. Over-sized or dark furniture recedes into a darker painted wall, and it’s a great way to fill in a big/cavernous space without buying lots of ’stuff’.
Take the individual preference element out of it (one person’s ‘small’ is another person’s ‘cozy’) Color is synergistic and the end result will depend on what else it’s shown with: both natural and artificial lighting, color of moulding and trim work, furniture, floor covering, furnishings, etc.
When a client craves a deep, intense color in their smallish or dark room, I recommend they follow their heart, but remind them the end result can be tweaked and lightened by hanging artwork and updating their lighting.
Semi-gloss finish on walls is durable, plus it adds interest in a room.
Well, yes, if you consider imperfections in the wall itself to be of interest. Easy to wipe down, so very suitable in a kitchen or bath, but shiny walls show EVERYTHING and can bounce light off them in an odd way. For durability in most of your living spaces, stay with latex flat in an eggshell finish.
Tomorrow: Kid’s Rooms, Neutrals, and Accent Walls
April 10th, 2010
WOW-got your attention, right?
Whether it’s the first question that’s actually asked or not, it’s the first thing people do want to know, how much does it cost?
It’s a funny question, I find as much as people think they want to know, they really don’t. Start to reply with ‘well, it depends…’ and they’ve lost interest. Respond with a number, and besides it having a real good chance of being inaccurate, it becomes just something to file away as a piece of information.
Know why? A number without a direct and specific value attached to it is just a number.
For many, overcoming inertia and starting the process of getting their home ready for sale feels just too daunting, too invasive; they just wring their hands, and bemoan the current state of affairs. Others are sales-pitch weary, and mistake the information-gathering process as just another gimmick. In all probability none of these people will sell their property any time soon.
Bottom line, it does depend-and on all sorts of things, so to get any real and helpful information, you’ve got to start-or be open to- the conversation. Staging your property is a business decision, and it’s a means to an end. But it’s also creative and flexible, and can be done in degrees, to correspond with your expected goals.
One thing is guaranteed, the cost of Staging will always, always, ALWAYS be less than your first price reduction.
Food for thought: A very conservative 3% price reduction on a 2000 sf house selling for $325,000.00 is a hit of $9750.00; HALF of that, could cover most Staging costs, even if your property was vacant.
Factor in that most costs are tax-deductible (for the year you sell the house) and your monthly carrying costs on this property, and oh yes, what is the going value of just getting on with youe life? Maybe a better question is what does it cost you if you don’t Stage your property….
April 9th, 2010
Fans of BRAVO network Real Housewives of NYC already know that how wildly loyalties have shifted and relationships have changed this season. After last nights’ episode, Andy Cohen of BRAVO’s live aftershow Watch What Happens Next made a neat tie-in twith this, and one of his guest’s current movies.
Liam Neeson, who plays Zeus in this remake of the 1981 sci-fi thriller Clash of the Titans dispenses justice/vengeance via another star of the movie. ‘The Kraken’ is a slimy, toothy, saliva-dripping, beast with a short fuse, bred to annihilate whomever it is sicced on. Not a new concept, but GREAT name. The audience was invited to text-vote on which housewife should have the Kraken released on them-Jill or Bethany; then Liam was presented a lineup of currently questionable people, places and things, and asked if he would either release the Kraken on them , or withhold the Kraken.
Because this is a stage for decorating and well, staging, will not dwell on my own personal list, but releasing the Kraken is not just fun to say, it’s an irresistible idea, so just quickly: I vote to release the Kraken on anyone who had anything to do with the new Tiger Woods commercial, the Melky Cabrerra trade, all those other housewives shows, or all those different flavors of Diet Coke-just bring back the Diet Vanilla-is that too much to ask??
97% of viewers deemed Jill to be Kraken-worthy, with only 3% thinking Bethany should get that call. Sorry, but for this season, I have to agree. Jill-we get that Bobby’s cancer surgery was horrible, scary and really rocked your roots, but we’ve all been disappointed at one time and another by people we love who don’t come thru for us at a time and in a way we think they should.
First and foremost- Bobby, we don’t see you a lot on air, but know that fans everywhere wish you a complete and speedy recovery. Jill and Bethany-I’m crazy about you both, and you belong together as friends. To quote the smart-mouth 7 year old daughter of a friend- ‘Just build a bridge..AND GET OVER IT!’
At this time the season has wrapped, and Bethany-who we will officially find out is pregnant in next weeks episode is now in real-time married and very pregnant, so who knows how things will shake out-but gals I’m rooting for you both to work it out.
BTW-Speaking as another design professional, Brad, who works at Zarin fabrics and re-decorated Jill and Bobby’s NYC apartment last season is definitely NOT Kraken material. He put together contemporary colors, fabrics and metallics in a soft, elegant and pleasing way, nice job! (HA!! And you were wondering how I was going to keep this relevant!!)
April 8th, 2010
There needs to be at least 6 weekends in April. REALLY.
Seems collectively we cannot wait to emerge from our winter lassitude, and so we launch ourselves vigorously into April, and the business of being alive and doing good stuff. In between trying to get our spring and summer clothes out and get going in the garden, there are walks, and tryouts and fairs and drives; events, expos, and occasions galore! Speakers, specialty vendors, farmers’ markets, music, stuff you can win, things you can donate, how to decide??
Well here are a few very local and very good things you might want to consider in the next few weeks….
This Sunday , April 11th from 9am to 3pm, 107.1 The Peak is sponsoring Clean Up New York’s Backyard, meeting at the North White Plains train station. Register, and details on their site www.1071thepeak.com
On Saturday April 17thVillage of Irvington is throwing a daylong 40th birthday party for Earth Day, Growing Our Village Green. Activities all day, 11am-5pm, all throughout the village www.irvingtonny.gov
Sunday April 18thbrings the annual Earth Day celebration to Kensico Dam Plaza 10am-4pm. Lots of activities, very family-friendly www.westchestergov.com
Saturday the 24th
Pleasantville Junior Girl Scout Troops 2687 and 2287 are collecting unneeded eyeglasses, to be refurbished and re-distributed through the Lion’s Club, and small working appliances for the clients of Furniture Sharehouse. 10am-2pm, at the Girl Scout Building at 2 Great Oak Lane (corner of Bedford Road)
Larchmont-Mamaroneck Sustainability Expo 2010 at the Hommocks Middle School 9:30am-3:30pm. Over 100 speakers and green vendors, buy tickets or sign up to help, www.LarchMamkExpo.org
Furniture Sharehouse is having their 3rdAnniversary furniture drive in Armonk, behind North Castle Town Hall, 9am-3pm. Your unwanted gently-used furniture goes to Westchester families in need, free. www.furnituresharehouse.org
Thanks, and ENJOY!!
April 7th, 2010
In my lifetime I’ve purchased two homes. It’s not a decision you make lightly-or without some degree of anxiety. But there are 2 decisions buyers can make to help reduce it greatly during, and provide you peace of mind in the years to come.
Title Insurance can sound like a questionable add-on, like the car undercoating Puddy was trying to sell Jerry in one of my favorite Seinfelds. An intangible that plays to your uncertainties, maybe you need it, maybe you don’t-what, really are you buying?
Essentially, it guarantees the house you are buying is yours. It goes back through previous owners, making sure earlier loans, taxes, etc have been satisfied and that property is judgment-free, and title is able to be cleanly passed to you. It assures you that no tax men, long-lost heirs, lien holders/etc. will ever have a valid claim to your home, period.
You’d really always want this assurance anyway, but need more convincing? Factor in the potential havoc that over-heated markets and funky financial deals may have caused in a property’s provenance, not to mention human error-typos, misfiled papers, payments applied to the wrong accounts, etc….
Heather Jacobs, an Account Executive with Court Street Abstract in White Plains explains that while not a legal requirement, if you don’t have it, many attorneys will not want to represent you, PLUS you’ll end up paying higher mortgage insurance fees anyway. SO-say good bye to any imagined savings, as well as your certainty of ownership. And with the expected crush of contracts and closings, do you really want to start looking for a lawyer at the 11th hour?
OKAY you say, I’m in…a nice, counter-intuitive surprise, there is a NYS-mandated formula to calculate fees, so to insure your deal, every title company charges the same. Because fees are the same though does not mean the levels of service are.
Many real estate professionals do have existing relationships with Title Insurers, but as the buyer, know you do get to choose. Ask how long they are in business, what other real estate professionals (with a non-vested interest) may think of them, and how much attention you will actually receive-do you just get a report, or are they at the closing table with you?
As much as I’d want you to hire me for the fun things, the basics have to come first-you’ve got too much at stake. NEXT: Home Inspections
April 6th, 2010
This is now the third full decade I have worked with people and their homes in Westchester area, and I have seen a lot of what homeowners do, and why.
White-hot markets of the 80’s combined big and easy money with the burning desire to build, expand or deeply personalize one’s home, where against all logic, a contractors’ availability often became their best credential.
Then some restraint returned, and we experienced the exquisite, rarefied years: the frenzy was less obvious, but it was all about the pedigree of both people, and the materials. The more obscure, the more unique, and the more it was potentially unavailable, the more it was desired.
In the last few years we have found ourselves at the other end of the spectrum, where HGTV has a roster of over 150 shows, frugal is hip, and DIYers rule.
While this current way of thinking aligns very well with why I created, and how I run the refreshed home, I counsel my clients-or potential clients-that cost is only part of it, look beyond the dollars and see the value.
Good, quality professionals will ask questions and listen. They will also invite your questions, and are happy to explain in detail what they are doing and why it would be a better payoff for you. They are proud of the job they do, and their testimonials and referrals would cover a range of different projects, done over an extended period of time; this is true whether they are doing your taxes, cleaning your teeth, or yes (!) even Decorating or Staging your house.
Sure there are things that you can pick up and learn to do, but how long will it take you to learn to do it, and oh yes, is doing it well important, too? Skill and judgment comes from experience over time, it’s not something you can pick up from watching a TV show, reading a book, or attending a lecture at Home Depot. When I meet a new potential client, hear their story and see the space, I usually know in moments how I can make it work better for that person …that alone doesn’t make me an inherently better person, but I’m not embarrassed to say it’s what I do very well.
Engaging a professional will also make you feel smarter…just this morning Bob DiMaggio-a friend, colleague, professional painter and the owner of Brushworks of Rye was talking about staining a deck, and how he puts a tent over it while they are working.
Really? I had never heard of that before…so simple, so wise, when you’re staining a deck, the sun makes the finish dry prematurely on the surface, but not properly underneath, so it won’t adhere to the wood, and will peel off in short order. I love knowing stuff like that!
Look-we all know how important dollars are, but now more than ever, a good professional is a great value, and don’t be afraid or embarrassed to start the conversation!
April 2nd, 2010
I absolutely love clever and well thought out April Fool pranks. Good ones are usually out of left field, and while odd, are potentially feasible from the people/place they are coming from. They bring you to credible, then snap you back onto OF COURSE< what was I thinking??
Yesterday on Google’s home page the same iconic red, blue and yellow letters, spelled ‘Topeka’, and Google announced they were changing their corporate name to Topeka, in honor of the city. The page went into great detail about the history of the city, how it was not a decision taken lightly, and even how to address their employees (“Topekeans”)….what the….really?? Found myself thinking-well, start of a new month, a new quarter, on paper an ideal time to make a change…Google has already re-written so many rules of how to do busines….GOTCHA!!
A lesser known organization-Improv Everywhere does this year-round. http://www.improveverywhere.com They get willing participants to sign up and show up for well-choreographed big-crowd hijinks on a regular basis, just to see how others will react, then post these videos on their site. A while back a number of participants strolled into a NYC Best Buy, one at a time, all wearing blue polo shirts and khaki pants-what the sales staff wears.
An annual tradition is the No Pants subway rides. where groups board different trains, sans pants. This year they announced they were upping the ante to No Underwear subway rides. Paid less attention to this, hey, all sorts of things happen in NYC subways, those crazy kids, always pushing the envelope…GOTCHA!!
A heavily pixelated video posted yesterday allowed them to obscure the fact that participants were wearing flesh-colored underwear…. What’s more fun than pulling off a great prank on people who regularly prank others??
Well-played, both. BRAVO, and thanks for the smiles, Google and IE!!