Well, it’s official, the buying orgies of the 80s and 90s have finally caught up to us, there is just have too much stuff in our collective lives.
Do you know about Freecycle? Green, SAFE, thrifty and fun, you can find a home for the stuff that still has life in it, and find other stuff you want/need/could really use, all for free.
Freecycle was born almost 9 years ago, in Tuscon AZ. It started as one person doing this for the community, them looking for a way to connect other communities is what grew it to a a national organization with over 5000 chapters, almost 9 million members.
Free to sign up, free to belong, and no spam. Each chapter is moderated by local volunteers, who first check out your application (no crazy, anonymous posts, a’la Craigslist-it’s a closed system, members only!), then monitor posts that all culminate in daily e-newsletters to chapter members. Who has, and who wants. If you have or want, you submit the details, and someone within the chapter who can can answer that with their own want or have responds to that member, and arrangements are made for goods to be picked up, usually ASAP.
Here in Westchester, (13,500+ members!) I get 2-3 e-blasts a day, have seen the standards-baby stuff, clothing, household and electronic goods, here’s a sampling of the blast that came through about an hour ago:
Offered: a light wood Eddie Bauer high chair, a Sears car top carrier, two Razor scooters and a bedroom set (Queen sleigh bed, dresser, night tables).
Wanted: were lamps, a SONY phone charger, a walker, board games, a sewing machine, a piano keyboard and BBB coupons.
Previously offered and now taken included 3 boxes of kids games and videos, snowboard boots and a bag of assorted crafts materials.
I, myself am the proud new owner of a Happy Bunny accent lamp from a recent offering…just the right bit of fun for a dark corner in my office. Free, safe and local, check it out, www.freecycle.org
There are three elements I find that absolutely flummox most people about their home. They realize it’s important, but can’t visualize-or rationalize spending money on-anything beyond the basic.
Which is really too bad, because none of these elements need to cost a lot of money, and the right choice can go a long way, no matter what your goals.
Lighting is one of the Big Three most get stuck on. Not only is there rarely enough of it, what’s there is usually outdated, out of proportion, or looks just like what everyone else has…because it’s what the local big box store shows.
No matter if you are staying in, or getting ready to sell a property, if it’s well-chosen and with personality, it will add function and be engaging. It may be counter-intuitive, to spend money on something that will stay when you are selling but think of a small, well-defines area, and remember:
Engaging buyers in a way that other properties don’t is a big component of a well-prepared property
When YOU’VE figured something out for the buyer that no other seller has, that is value-added
You can always have the sales contract written to reflect the fixture is coming with you
Unless you are buying a close-out, you should be able to purchase another within a reasonable time frame
A solid, overall lighting plan will be unique to each property. In the case of task (end-table, vanity, desk top) and accent (sconces, buffet lamps) lighting-much will depend on the taste and existing furnishings. For our purposes today, I will just share a few scenarios I’ve come up against recently, and what I found that worked.
Chose this (left) fixture for a contemporary bathroom, in a modern apartment. It was a generous-sized room, with darker toned wood vanity, double sinks in a granite counter top and marble floors.
It had been a bachelor pad, new owners wanted to make it a little prettier. Did three of these fixtures, one at either end of the vanity, one in between the two sinks, $185.00 each.
This (right) was chosen for the entry of a 1928 Arts and Crafts home. Many A&C homes are often dark, harsh and austere.
As a design element, stars are signify luck and hope. Antiqued copper was the right material, and the clean lines agreed with the nature of the space, but these curves warmed and softened it.
Smiles from the first step inside the house, $218.00
In a contemporary colonial, there was a pass-through area off the kitchen. It was designed to be a butlers’ pantry, but owners decided to make it a wet bar.
We found this to be exactly the right ‘mix’ of fun and function, $225.00
Money spent on the right lighting is always money well-spent. Materials, scale, lines and light it gives off-both amount, AND direction!-are all to be considered first, but seriously, have fun with it, too.
Understanding how other people see things, what they find interesting and important is both enlightening and inspiring. Photography can tell you a lot about what anothers’ thoughts, so every so often I will troll through the free photo download sections on Flicka, and Dreamstime. Sometimes the titles are as compelling as the images.
I found this photo to be very provocative, have not been able to get it out of my mind. It’s called Deer, and Wolf Tracks inthe Snow. See how close the tracks are? TIMING here is a matter of life and death, probably for both parties.
TIMING works hard to be DELIBERATE, but there is still an unknown, a wild-card element that can play out in a number of different ways.
TIMING is not random. There is PLANNING; PRACTICE and VIGILANCE improves your odds of a favorable result, but there are NO GUARANTEES, either.
It’s what happens when your actions intersect with LUCK-or FATE…which I would suggest are two sides of the same coin, it depends on your PERSPECTIVE.
Sometimes we will just never know what could have been…I’m hoping that was the deers’ experience. But in the end, whether you’re looking for a parking space, telling a joke or THROWING A GAME-WINNING TOUCHDOWN PASS (Go, TOM!) I think it will always come down to just showing up, and doing the best you can, every time.
Did you hear the one about the guy who died, then arrived at his post-earth destination?
He was given a tour…first, he saw an enormous room, filled with long tables, benches on either side. The benches were filled with people who were trying to eat. Unfortunately each only had a spoon that was longer than their arms. It was not working, and they were unhappy. The man was told ‘this is hell’.
The next room was pretty much the same scene: long tables, crowded benches, many people, with oversize spoons. He was then told ‘this is heaven’. He was puzzled, until he realized the difference was these people were smiling…because they learned how to feed each other.
I LOVE THIS STORY> In a nutshell, it illustrates how we can grow and thrive as a species. OR-what could be the very death of us. Maybe that is why I am so excited about this program called Empty Bowls, it is win-win-win, and so very life-affirming.
Empty Bowls is an international project that got its start 22 years ago when John Hartom, an art teacher in Michigan partnered with his friend Lisa Blackstone, and got involved in a fund-raising campaign in their community. They wanted to create an event where artists and art students could participate, and make a difference.
His students made bowls to be used as serving pieces at a fund-raising meal of soup and bread. After they ate, and were told they could keep the bowls, patrons were silent. All were touched; many, in fact wept, and they all realized what they had on their hands. That was many events, and millions of dollars ago.
Today under the ImagineRENDER Group, Empty Bowl programs abound in at least a dozen other countries. While each community structures it to their own resources, they are all called Empty Bowl events, and the mission is singular: to raise money to end hunger and food insecurity.
This coming Sunday, January 29th, from 11:30am to 12:30 pm you can be a part of this fund-raising effort, right in your own backyard, when the Rye Presbyterian Church Youth Group hosts their Twelfth Annual Empty Bowls Event in the Churchs’ Assembly Room.
The event is co-sponsored with the Clay Art Center in Port Chester, and all funds raised go to the Port Chester Interfaith Soup Kitchens, an organization of 3 soup kitchens and food pantries in Port Chester. In the last 11 years, close to $55,000.00 has been raised.
For the last month the twenty-plus members of the Youth Group (sixth through eighth graders) have worked with local artists and members of the community to make bowls for the event. Last count there were close to 300 that were made, glazed and fired at CAC.
Most bowls will fall between the $10.00-75.00 range, with soups courtesy of Corner Stone Caterers in Rye, with The Kneaded Bread of Port Chester providing the artisan breads. Come, and bring your friends. Buy a bowl, enjoy some soup, and support the community.
This is my bowl, made earlier in the month at the Clay Art Center. When it was done, we were asked to sign it…XOX, for love to whoever eats from it seemed exactly the right marking.
Get Your Armonk Contemporary-Style House Noticed-and SOLD!
Armonk contemporary-style houses have a unique character and appeal. In this series, we look to develop a successful selling strategy for at specific properties, by discussing what is appealing to who, and why; and how to use that to get this type of property noticed and SOLD.
As noted in an earlier post, over the top, or unexpected does not sell. With one possible exception.
Many visuals come to mind when hearing the words ‘contemporary style house’. Which is part of its appeal. Which IMO is what can make it the trickiest of architectural styles to prepare for sale.
Often, these style houses are usually in the upper ends of the market. Understanding the style, and showing it so buyers see its full potential is a worthwhile pursuit, and it will put more dollars in your pocket. Let’s start with the exterior.
Typically everything about Armonk contemporary-style houses is BIG. Large houses, with strong, sweeping lines, and lots of glass, and the finishing materials are chosen to compliment the scale and look. The unusual exterior is a great part of the appeal, so it’s critical it be well-maintained. Updates need to be authentic, and stay true to the design integrity, so value is not lost. Depending on the building materials, you’ll probably have to consider power-washing all the surfaces, painting the trim, even re-staining whatever has faded.
One word of caution: Because of the size and shape of these projects, the unusual finishing techniques, and the dollars at stake, this is not the time to trot down to the rent-all place to save a few bucks, enlist friends in a house-painting party, or try your hand at pruning the bushes. Before you do anything, speak with several licensed and insured contractors who have the equipment and expertise to work on these style houses.
Windows play a big part in the design of contemporary-style homes, yours should be in top shape. They need to be squeaky-clean, but first, look at the condition of the windows themselves. One of my pet peeves about older contemporaries are those huge double-glazed windows with broken seals, and condensation inside. This dates the house, as well as puts its overall maintenance into question, so get them fixed.
Patios and walkways need to be power-washed as well, and make any needed masonry repairs. Garden beds should be neatly detailed, and landscaping-when weather permits-should be shaped and manicured. Clean and polished sells here, not rustic ‘charm’. Unusual plantings are bonus.
Conceptually, most interiors in Armonk contemporary-style homes are not that different from many other style homes. It’s fewer walls and grander proportions can throw buyers off, but here’s what makes this style house different: Most every element in these homes is chosen for its high aesthetic value. Having a trained and clever preparer of properties evaluate your space and provide specific suggestions is always best, but here are some general points to ponder:
Don’t need to fill the space with furniture, but shapbby, underscale or otherwise inappropriate furniture does little to enhance the inherent value of a contemporary house, so rent furniture if you don’t own what is suitable: LR, DR and Family Rooms are the most critical.
Embrace quality, strong lines and solid colors for the most sophisticated look. It will underscore what drew buyers to the house in the first place, and put dollars in your pocket.
Don’t rely on ceiling lighting to create a mood. Use area rugs and task lighting to define the traditional living spaces.
Rent/buy oversize sculptural live plants/trees to fill in the corners, place freestanding can lights on the floor, shining up into the plants to create drama.
Similarly, big art conveys great presence and character, especially when on a large wall or other prominent feature-like a two story fireplace. If you don’t own any, check out local galleries, or artist guilds to explore options.
Shots of vivid color are both classic and very of-the-moment.
Replace worn harware with sleek new handles to freshen cabinetry.
Update old or boring lighting fixtures with something fun: sculptural and eye-catching will engage buyers, and have them looking up
Tons of ever-changing natural light will play havoc with light-weight wall colors. Never pastels, and no white walls-unless it’s an uber-sleek stainless and glass creation.
One last suggestion: working with a smart REALTOR who knows the market and has a plan is always part of my plan, but the unique qualities each contemproary house has makes it harder to get and rely on comps-so make it part of your plan to sell your Armonk contemporary-style house also!
Welcome back to Word Of The Week, where random thoughts about the power of a single word are shared.
ASK is deceptively short and simple. ASK is about need, or want, but it’s not weak or needy. ASK is both DIRECT and PRO-ACTIVE.
Have you ever delayed asking, looking first for an indication of a YES? Or maybe not asked at all, because you thought you hinted enough?
Ann and Phil Faranda’s daughter, Catherine knows how to ask.
ASK shows your cards. Like many of the other featured words, there is a relationship in ASK. It feels close to the heart…sometimes, too close.
There can be a lot of pressure on ask. To ASK is to RISK….but what is the worst risk: to hear NO< or to miss out on an opportunity? I have a great quote on the wall behind my desk: “You miss 100% of the shots you never take.”
Sometimes doing a lot of asking puts things in perspective…kind of like job interviews, or dating. If you ask/date/interview rarely, EVERYTHING in the world seems to ride on that one event. But if you are ‘out there’ on a regular basis, a “no” doesn’t seem to hold that same power.
The best ASKS are clear and straightforward…just be sure to stop talking once you ask, so the other person can respond.
Finally, ASKING lets you know where you stand. It puts you in a position to clear away the old and move forward.
Lot of bantering about this word lately. It’s a word that is so universally understood, yet hard to define, and with many manifestations.
It feels strong and established, sturdy and dependable…yet still fluid.
Trust is not a manufactured modular house, created quickly, and dispassionately in parts that are trucked to and assembled on site. No, it is a stick-built home, that starts with the foundation, and is built up, upon that foundation, piece by piece. As in our relationships, each new piece rests on the integrity of what went before.
I think that’s why trust betrayed is so hurtful, you question everything that went before. But like a physical structure, if a part does fail, repair can make it stronger, but timeliness is urgent, so damage doesn’t grow.
It is not a solitary pursuit, it’s always about a RELATIONSHIP…even if you can’ trust yourself’ with, say cheesecake in the house (!!), you create another, evil, cheescake-snarfing bad-twin, because your sane self would know, and behave better.
Trust requires open and authentic communications, so LISTENING is important. To be trusted, you need to know what is important to the other side.
Implied is a suspension of belief, so there is also RISK in Trust. It is taking LOGIC as far as you can, then letting go. Ernest Hemmingway once said the only way to know if you can trust someone, is to trust them.
Little known fact: Regan’s famous ‘Trust, but verify’ comment to his Soviet counterpart actually came from a Russian parable that Lenin himself used to quote.
I have a number of random thoughts about TRUST, but one thing I know for sure, TRUST cannot occupy the same space where HURT, ANGER or FEAR exists.
I have been wrestling with how the very word “Staging” resonates…with buyers, sellers and agents…and just yesterday I wrote about choosing to use PREPARING as the verb of choice to describe what I do.
Then today a Realtor I respect writes about his buyers’ noticing-then becoming pre-occupied with the ‘faked’ elements in a Staged property, instead of the property itself, and asks if a property could be Over-Staged?
Boy, people give this word a lot of power! But I get it, I really do. Here are some thoughts I’d like to share from 30 years of working with people, in their space and with their stuff.
First, it can not be underestimated how intimidating it can be to have a stranger in your house, touching your stuff, and asking you questions about all you hold near and dear: your family, your stuff, money, your values/goals/etc. For people who care about how their house looks, it’s hard to care only a little, easier to care a lot…. and even maybe too much.
Second, Staging is not a new word or concept. There are probably as many ways to stage as there are practitioners, which is not necessarily a bad thing. However, during the almost 40 year history of Staging, there have been many changes in the world around us. Staging, I would suggest, is on at least it’s third version. Sadly, many people-agents, sellers, and other ummm, preparers stopped paying attention after the first. So to clear the air for us all, here are how I would explain the genesis of Staging.
n the beginning, there were breakfast trays…and pastel bath salts, and candles. LOTS of candles. Furniture was trucked into empty trophy houses, and made to look pretty. It was an up market, procurement was big. Buyers wanted to dream about how they might live in their new home. Baths suitable for Roman nobility became the norm, and manufacturers of all said accouterments leapt for joy. It was the 1.0 version of Staging, and it was good…at the time.
hen a pall was cast over the land. The pendulum swung all the way over, and excess was a testimony to bad decisions. While there was still a passion for domicile-feathering, now every coin was squeezed as hard as possible. DIY shows, pros and tips proliferated like dandelions on a sunny May weekend, and finished projects reminded us of a kinder, gentler time…like when we were in Ye Olde Shop, or Home Ec class… or had a dorm mate. Many agents, already beaten badly, railed against bath salts and candles, or shrunk from insisting on any proper preparation of properties. It was the 2.0 version of Staging, and it was BAD.
Finally, balance and sensibility returned. While budget mattered, everyone saw that quality work attracted a quality buyers…and generally sold the castle quicker, for more coinage. Savvy sellers and agents look to start conversations with clever preparers of properties, to see how they, too, could comfortably speak of such things. Afore-mentioned clever preparers found their voice, and made managing the peoples’ needs and expectations, as well as their stuff -just as important as creating an engaging visual. People just chilled. They decided it was time to make decisions and move on with their life. It is the 3.0 version of Staging, and IT IS GOOD.
Moral of the story: Do not miss the carriage. Stop thy whining and gnashing of teeth, forsake living in the past. Before all craziness of the buying season hits hard, open thy mind, and get thee to your communication device of choice, and get to know a good preparer of properties.
One of my goals this new year was to reach out and connect with local agents I know in a meaningful way…find out how their business was going, see if they had any thoughts to share…and you know, a number of those I’ve already reached had the same thoughts I have recently had about Staging, so I’m re-evaluating.
Not the process or the need or the business, but the word.
The word ‘Staging’ does not seem to be a word for our time. By nature, it’s fluid and varied, so there is no real baseline. BUT! Everyone seems to know what is is…kinda…besides too expensive, that is.
But it’s also little forced and pretentious-sounding. Even now, as our economy is showing some real improvement, agents tell me their sellers still hear ‘ca-ching’ when the topic is brought up.
In our area, even 6 or 7 years ago, homeowners would think nothing of moving out of their first home before it was sold, and into their new home, as getting the first home sold was just a formality. I remember this, yet it seems so. ..quaint. Today, many need to live in the house right up til the closing, and the process of getting a property ready for sale involves managing the people, the process and their expectations, as well as their stuff.
So here is where I’m going with this in the new year: I am PREPARING properties for sale.
Not much else will change in how I run my business, but PREPARE is more in line with the nature of the job. People understand ‘PREPARE’ It is familiar; not intimidating, or created. It is also something associated with stuff we kind of have to do…we prepare dinner, taxes, presentations.
What do you think? Does PREPARING a house for sale sound more reasonable, even palatable? More to the point, doesn’t (insert whatever you resisted or chafed at before) now seem like part of PREPARING the house for sale??
Welcome back to Give Yourself A Gift For 2012- where good ideas and smart people who know what they are doing could help make 2012 your best year ever.
Finally deciding to move forward on something you’ve been holding off on can be a huge relief. While this is time of great opportunity, the paths are rarely clear or direct, well-lit, or even reasonably level.
Knowing the questions to ask is just as important as knowing the answers. Unless you less you truly know what you are doing, you could end up seeing your dreams up in smoke if your try to go it alone. Our world is not simple to start with , but in these turbulent times, the need for an advocate has become a necessity, not a luxury.
Transactional law specializes in laws governing transactions between businesses and/or individuals. If selling or purchasing a property or business in New York State is in your future, I recommend a conversation with Phyllis Knight-Marcus be on the top of your list.
Phyllis is a transactional attorney who you always want to be sitting on your side of the table. Meet her once and you will know why. I have known Phyllis for years, she is knowledgeable, dedicated and experienced, and extremely tenacious when protecting the best interests and assets of her buyers and sellers.
Let’s say you’re a homeowner who has come to the painful realization that a short sale is in your future. Did you know the amount that forgiven by the banks (the difference between what is owed, and what selling price is) is considered income to the seller? Or that many short sale lenders reserve the right to go after the sellers for the difference after the closing?
A good transactional attorney will discuss the tax consequences with you beforehand in the former scenerio-perhaps you qualify for the IRS expemtion? They will also negotiate with lenders, and advise you of options in the latter.
Thinking of purchasing a short sale property? On average, purchase contracts bind the buyer for an average of 90 to 180 days, while the seller gets approval. This length of time is dishearteneing, but it can also require buyers to incur fees to extend the mortgage commitment or interest rate.
A good transactional attorney will limit that time, or include an ‘escape clause’ in the contract.
Even in a regular sale, buyers and sellers both need to know if the deck, addition, or basement on a property is legal, and has a CO.
Reviewing building and tax department records and advising you what to do about any problems will protect you before a contract is signed.
Looking to start, sell, or buy a business? How do you know what is an accurate price? And beyond price, are the terms like conditions of lease, and whether to buy business assets, or company stock-in your best interest? And flippers-how’s your cash flow, really?
The world can be a complicated place. The take-away for anyone contemplating making a move is to protect yourself, your rights, your money and your future: You need an advocate, before you start signing things and committing yourself financially. Just start a conversation, and get on with your life!!
Welcome back to Word Of The Week, where an image, and a new take on an known word has given pause for thought, and in this case, action. This weeks’ word is PIONEER, and comes to us all courtesy of Santa Fe Realtor, and online pal Emily Medvec.
We had a short online back and forth at the end of the year…the topic was new things for the new year, and I had a few things I wanted to bounce off her.
Was describing the collective consciousness of Staging in this area as ‘toddler’ , meaning a known entity, and with some motion, but not really defined or able to stand on it’s own. Emily-who came to Santa Fe a long time ago, by way of Connecticut-took it out of the juvenile, and said I had pioneer spirit to make what I wanted to happen.
OK-I didn’t CONCIOUSLY visualize myself in a ten-gallon hat or boots (I’m neither a hat or a boot person…but maybe I just never had the right boots…), or think- PUSH FORWARD TO NEW HORIZONS!!- but this word was rattling around in my subconscious.
The very next day there was a story on a local newscast that-TO ME-screamed opportunity for one of the things I wanted to accomplish…and immediately I trotted upstairs to shoot an email to the producers. What-if anything-will come from it-who knows? My point is that pioneer today is a state of mind. Further, we also each have our un-explored territories, just Google ‘images of pioneers’ to see what I mean.
Pioneer is basic and impactful. It feels more physical than it’s seemingly more intellectual cousin innovative. But it’s not in-you-face-forceful and proud of it like the modifier ‘guerilla’. It’s more solitary. In my mind it’s not getting by taking; it’s more proactive, getting by doing, or going where you want to, even if that means you need to make up the plan as you go along.
It is simultaneously curious, confident and humble. There is also uncertainty, so some bravery is involved… but it’s not putting your life in danger type of bravery. Because pioneer does not push up against anyone else: it’s you, challenging you to grow.
So-pardner-wishing you HAPPY TRAILS this week, and may the pioneer spirit be with you as you face whatever lies before you, and continue your journey to make 2012 your best year EVER!
Got some creative ya-yas you need to work out? This Saturday, January 7th, from 1:30 to 4:00, explore your talents, and shake off some winter yuks-all for a good cause-at the 12th Annual “Make A Bowl Day” at Clay Art Center in Port Chester.
Since 2000 the Clay Art Center has partnered with Rye Presbyterian Church Youth Group to sponsor the Empty Bowls program, which raises money-and awareness- to support local interfaith soup kitchens; over $55,000.00 has been raised since the program first began.
Eleven months of the year, the Clay Art Center is a vibrant, totally self-contained clay-centric community where artists and students of all ages bring their inner child to explore creating in clay.
During the month of January, the entire community has one purpose: make-glaze-fire bowls for this event. Going into this weekend they are at over 200 bowls.
Simply, Clay Art Center provides the materials and facilities, and the community provides talent and imagination. The public is invited to come to the studio, free of charge, to create a special bowl to donate. It’s glazed and fired by the staff and artists of Clay Art Center, then brought to the church.
At the Empty Bowls event (to be held 1/29/12) bowls are purchased, then new owners are treated to a simple meal of delicious soup-in their new bowl- from Corner Stone Catering, served with fresh bread from The Kneaded Bread. The next post will go into more detail about the event (but here is the link for Empty Bowls info, if you absolutely can’t wait).
After the event, the bowls are taken home, a tangible reminder that even with all that we have, there is always someone with an empty bowl.
The Clay Art Center is located in the heart of Port Chester, at 40 Beech Street, in a complex adjacent to St. Don Bosco Church.
The event is free, and open to the public, including children 8 and over are welcomed with a supervising parent. Participants should wear casual clothes that they will not mind getting dirty. You can bring an apron if you’d like, or purchase one from CAC.
Reservations are not needed, but if you’d like further info, please contact Leigh Taylor Mickelson at email@example.com, or 914.937.2047
Ossining Cape Cod style houses-just like any other type of property-have history and character that makes them unique. In this series, we discuss specific types of properties, and develop a selling strategy based on understanding what is appealing to who, and why-and how to use that to get that type of property noticed and SOLD.
In this market, funky or cute will not get a Cape Cod house sold. Safe, traditional, and expected will. Being true to the authentic style, showing what is appropriate is what will put more dollars in your pocket.
Cape Cod style houses started as cottages in England in the mid-1600s, but were only named as such here in the early 1800s. Every element was designed to withstand and protect a family from harsh and stormy weather: low, but wide-framed buildings, usually 1-1/2 stories tall, and for maximum natural light, were often built facing south.
Steep roofs kept snow from accumulating, low ceilings kept the heat in, and shutters were functional. Mirroring the lifestyle and resources of it’s inhabitants, they were practical, without a lot of ornamentation, and the rooms were utilitarian. Originally built in areas of natural wildlife, they were designed to blend into the landscape.
Seen as less desirable in the late 1800s, they became popular again post-depression when affordable housing was in great demand, and when updates were made, like adding dormers and garages, and opening up the stairway, to visually enlarge the LR. Having spent the first 18 years of my life in an Ossining Cape Cod style house-Susquehanna Road, in Indian Village, to be precise!-I can speak confidently about this style house.
These were houses built not knowing about sectionals, or flat-screen TVs, Master Suites, home offices or exercise rooms. In a crowded buyers’ market, it does not seem there is a lot that matches up with what today’s buyers are looking for.
SO-without undertaking a major renovation, how do you attract buyers to your Cape house, and get it sold? Know your audience, and play to the houses’ inherent strengths.
Historically Cape Cod style homes have thrived durning economic downturns. They are great starter houses, show it as a younger couple would use it: Make the Master BR on the first floor the best it can be, and then the upstairs-children’s-bedrooms-simple: neat, clean, cheerful and bright.
Emphasize the positive: Fireplace, crown/other mouldings, hardwood floors, natural light.
Painting mouldings white make what they are framing-windows, fireplaces-bigger and more important.
Get rid of wall to wall, show off those hardwood floors
Wash the windows, including the screens. Take down heavy or fussy window treatments.
Add interest outside: There are few house styles where it is easier to bump up the charm than Capes…just keep it real, don’t muck it up:
Add a fence: split-rail or white picket, maybe even an arbor over the walkway. Windowboxes are big, too.
Holly and other plantings that add year-round color; hydrangeas and rosebushes are expected, and all soften the austere lines of the house.
Bird feeder, birdbath yes: statuary-no.
Most Capes have an unpainted shingle or clapboard exterior. If yours is painted, or has a brick face (popular updates in the 70′s) bring it back to its’ roots: get rid of the vivid blues, pastel greens, vibrant golds or flat heavy browns, take down aluminum awnings.
Taking the roof color into consideration, think white, cream, or some of the historic colors like grey, barn red or a slate blue , and consider painting the brick.
Clutter is out: It eats up visual space, making a small room feel even smaller.
Keep hotizontal surfaces clear
Use a minimum of wall decor
Keep scale of furniture in line with rest of space. Store-sell-donate anything oversize.
Think CHARM, not CUTE: In a buyer’s mind, “cute” = “small”. Buyers don’t want to pay money for ”small”. “Charming”, on the other hand, has a much-more grown up feel…and is called “cozy”.
Anything pink and blue, with flowers or other mini-prints, folksy or diminutive, like ducks or bunnies must go.
Take down wallpaper, and instead paint in warmer, historic colors-with white mouldings and trims for a cleaner, updated, more sophisticated feel.
Edit out anything harsh, striking, new/shiny/glossy. Instead think fine detail, simple, even primitive, natural or organic for aesthetic updates
It’s important that sellers are committed to doing the best they can. No matter the price point, this Westchester County Home Stager maintains that buying should be a step up.Keeping the focus onhelping buyers realizing their new dream is one of the best ways to get your Ossining Cape Cod style house noticed, and SOLD!
95% of the time I see cooking as a necessary evil.
I like to eat, and I’m not a bad cook…love to do things for holidays and other group occasions, but stopping what I’m doing to fix a meal is annoying.
Whatever else I’m doing is almost always more interesting-more rewarding-more important that cooking. And much of my cooking is by look, and by instinct…which can make some people crazy (but he’s learning to see the error of his ways!).
This ’gift’ is it’s easy and flexible: you make it to your own taste; it’s inexpensive and nutritious, and you won’t be driving all over town to track down a source for any expensive or esoteric ingredients (‘…yes, I’m looking for fresh honey from juvenile, Argentinean honey bees…’). Chances are you can make this from what you have in the house. Double bonus: it keeps well and re-heats beautifully.
Today I call this New Years’s Soup-because it is filled with GOOD THINGS, and GOOD INTENTIONS-but bottom line, it is the best vegetable soup EVER, feel free to make it your own, and call it what you will.
The beauty of this formula revolves around the lowly crockpot. You probably could do something on the stovetop, but with a crockpot you just assemble, and let it go. Doesn’t have to be fancy, mine is a 2-temperature, 5 quart model that’s almost 20 years old.
I like this to feel like a meal, so I prefer it to be be substantial: chunky and with a robust taste, so I start by browning meat.
Use a deep pot on the stove, about 1 to 1.5 lbs of meat with a good sized chopped onion, minced garlic, cumin and pepper….I use ground turkey-and season meat with Bell’s turkey seasoning, but ground or cubed beef and your favorite seasonings are all fine. Just keep the cumin, it really adds to the flavor.
Once browned, add tomatoes to the meat. Use up to 3-28 oz cans of tomatoes, and/or some fresh if you have them. I use two cans whole and one crushed, but again your call. Simmer the tomatoes, meat/onion/garlic for about an hour.
You want the whole tomatoes to get soft, so you can start breaking them apart. When whole tomatoes cook, they break down and the fibers make for a nice, thick soup body. You don’t have to crush them into oblivion, but once sauce is bubbling, about every 10 or 15 minutes smoosh them up a bit with a potato masher.
Now is the time you will be cutting up the veggies. Fill your crockpot about 1/2 full of chopped hard/crunchy vegetables of choice. Carrots, peppers, squash/zucchini, celery and potatoes; string beans, or peas in pods work well too.
If you’re skipping the meat, throw in some sliced okra for a great smoky taste. Add a semi-drained can of beans (I like dark red kidneys). Add meat/tomato mixtures, set on low and pretty much forget for the next 10-15 hours, except for the occasional stirring.
It’d be really hard to overcook this, but the first time you make this you will have to play around withthe mix, the quantities, and the timimg til you find what works best for you.
It’s perfect for those days where everyone is coming/going/eating at different times, and a great alternative for game-day knoshes (meat and beans lets you sneak lots of veggies into everyone!)-just get it going Saturday night, so it’s ready for kick-off. YUM! And did I mention, EASY??