This week has a lot of Elvis history to it. Earlier in the week was the 55th anniversary of Elvis’ purchase of the mansion in 1957.
Built in 1939 on what was originally farmland owned by a prominant Memphis businessman, it was just over 10,000 square feet when Elvis bought it for $102,500.00. Constructed of tan limestone, it’s now just over 17,500 square feet, and includes 8 bedrooms and bathrooms.
Opened to the public as a museum in June 1982, it is one of the most-visited public houses in the US, almost tied with the White House, and behind the Biltmore Estate in Ashville, NC. Listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1991, it was declared a National Historic Landmark this week in 2006.
And lastly, for the movie “Blue Hawaii”, Elvis recorded his classic ‘Can’t Help Falling In Love With You’ FIFTY ONE years ago this week, in 1961.
And now-the story behind the story…
When Elvis Presley performed live concerts, the crowd inevitably demanded as many encores from him as they could get.
Finally, when he at last left the building, it was announced to the crowd so they would harbor no further hopes of his returning to the stage.
Simply, the announcement “Elvis has left the building,” would effectively get the audience to finally go home.
People seem to remember more of what you say, and are even more interested in it. I love the sense of novelty, and the power words like this add, and this week’s word is FOLLY.
Heard at a to-the-trade forum at last week’s Architectural Digest Home Design Show; it came from Miles Redd, an NYC Interior Designer by way of Atlanta. The topic was the influence travel has on design, and since his most memorable trips were to England, it was a perfect word-I was immediatley transported.
Almost impossible to mumble or butcher the pronunciation, there is a crisp, yet light-hearted bounce to it.
As entertainment (Ice Follies, Folies Bergere) it’s a wink and a nod to the theatrical: the glamorous, the over the top, the silly and ridiculous-this was where Miles was coming from.
But it’s also an offhand disapproval; a dispassionate dismissal. A civilized, genteel-sounding put down, you’re humoring someone’s fantasy. It’s a noun, and defined as both silliness and foolishness, a lack of sense, understanding or foresight, even madness.
In mid-evil times, a Folly was an allegorical character in plays and artwork, a young man, usually looking like a Jester on tarot cards.
BONUS! It’s also a useless but showy, over-designed, highly decorative structure. Quite common in 18th century English gardens, on the grounds of many castles in Europe…and Westchester McMansions of the 1980s-HA!
What I really like about this word is that it’s a great way to register your opinion without it being a body-blow…in fact, it’d be a great choice when you have to disagree, and need to de-sensitize the situation as well. As in, it’d be pure folly to expect top dollar for your property without doing all you can to properly prepare it for sale.
Experience Matters, and Kindess Counts: Meet the Staff of Bond Animal Hospital, WHite Plains NY 10606
A few weeks ago I was doing some long-overdue updates of online profiles in my various media outlets. Time to take it a step further, and more succinctly put what I, and my business stand for, black and white. One statement I came up with was Experience Matters, and Kindness Counts.
My business is much more about people than it is about stuff. Often, people who are in pain of some sort. A change or loss, there is confusion, stress and sadness. I consider alleviating distress to be a big part of my solutions. It’s not how all Stagers or Decorators work, but it’s what I do. So while it was accurate, it sounded…well, I wasn’t sure the tone was quite right-maybe too ponderous? too prissy? too indulgent? I wondered if anyone ( besides me) really cares about this kind of stuff, but went with it anyway.
Then suddenly this past week the tables turned, I became a confused, scared and sad client in need of experienced care, and kindness. Regular readers will know our dog Bella Blue is near and quite dear to my husband and myself. She had become very ill very quickly, Doug and I were beside ourselves, heartsick and sleep deprived. The happy ending is that she is fine.
As every pet-owner knows, good regular pet care is vital, yet even under the best of circumstances things can happen. And THIS is why you want to know about Bond Animal Hospital. Because experience does matter, and kindness does count.
I’m definitely a love my dog, love me kind of gal, and have been a client for over 20 years. First with Maggie Mae, a lab mix; also a shelter rescue, she was my friend for 9 years.
Many of the faces at Bond have stayed the same over the years. Partners Dr. Douglas Aspros and Dr. Geoffrey McKenzie have built a professional staff who know what they are doing, and love your pet like you do, because as pet owners themselves, they get what you go through. The doctors are all highly accredited, and my experiences have proven them all to be thorough and skillful diagnosticians, as well as compassionate advisors.
If you are new to the area, a new pet owner, have an exotic pet, or just feeling your current veterinary experience is lacking, you want to know the people at Bond Animal Hospital. Their practice includes the care of avians, reptiles, and small mammals.
Very conveniently located at the very northern end of Central Avenue in White Plains, they are moments off the Bronx River Parkway, as well as I-287. GO! STAY! You and your pet will be really glad you did.
In a decision process-most* thought processes consider previous data gathered: What were the actions taken, what were the results, and what did we learn?
*While these probing questions and their revelence might be brushed aside when one is considering, oh-say another slice of pizza…another ‘new and fun’ hairstyle…or re-connecting with an ‘ex’… it arises mightly when it’s time to re-think a previous decorating decision that went badly.
Yes, indeed-Ghosts of Living Rooms Past come flooding back with a vengence!
DISCLAIMER: Trendy does have a useful lifespan, so if ‘trendy’ was at the top of your list, by definition it will look cool and wonderful for a while, then it will look old, and you need to know that going in.
But what about paint colors on the wall that looked nothing like the 0.25″ square in the paint store, that ivory damask sofa you vowed to keep up, the dining room table or sectional that engulfed the room, the canopy poster bed with while lace your little-league loving daughter hates…the ‘whatever’ because it was the ‘newest and latest’, or that ‘everyone was doing it’.
I had a client once who even channeled her mothers, her mother-in-laws’ and her neighbors’ past decorating misdeeds!
Decorating is about fufilling dreams…but it involves dollars as well. Dreams not met will often involve introspection of some degree, but when dollars are lost in the process it stings doubly.
When ready to make new decisions after a bad experience, hesitation and self-doubt is natural, but not productive. Here are my suggestions for what is valuable in this process, what to toss, and why:
An open mind.
The opinion of A trusted friend. Ask 10 people, you will get probably that many different opinions, not so helpful. A friend who is trusted will answer your fears and thoughts with stuff that is relevent to you and your life, and not look at this as a ‘test run’ for their own space.
What you need/want TODAY in the forefront of the process. Chances are your life-needs-tastes are all different now. Give yourself that. The past is the past, move on.
Perspective.Surely SOMETHING good came from your alleged horrible, horrible lapse! Maybe a great story, a new ‘inside joke’….or just maybe with that monster Dining Room table you got to host the most amazing Thanksgiving dinner ever.
The negative emotions you’ve put on this bad decision. Look-no one died, and trying to re-write history just because you can will get you outdated solutions to problems you no longer have.
The notion this room is a personal challenge. Decorating is about making good plans and wise decisions so you can get on with your life, and fully enjoy your space. Focusing on the past keeps you from making decisions, and living your life.
The sense that second-, third-, even fourth-guessing yourself will guarantee the result you want. Trust me, it will not. It WILL make you unhappy, nervous and unsure of yourself…not how to make good decisions.
The idea that you must find all the answers at once. For most rooms, it’s the shortcut to not getting anything done, or making bad decisions.If you are doing a kitchen or bathroom over, yes, you will need to decide on many of the elements prior to the start of the work. But maybe not all, like the backspash, a wall color or a ceiling fixture. In a bedroom, what you put on the bed makes a big statement, but is not critical to the room’s function.
Michelangelo had a unique take on his calling. In a nutshell, he believed the vision-the creation- was in the block of stone all the time, his gift was finding it, and knowing what to chisel away, to free it.
As a sculptor creates a fine and detailed piece of art from a block of stone, building The Refreshed Home has been a process. Starting with a mass of raw material (a.k.a an idea and a purpose) , it’s an ongoing process of defining and refining, taking action and re-evaluating.
Like Michelangelo, I have been chiseling away whatever doesn’t look like my business. One of the elements I have been more finely chiseling away in recent months are people with the wrong attitudes.
Also like a sculptor, I don’t ‘judge’ what is chiseled away… or make hasty decisions. I observe first, and if it is not part of what my vision, it’s gone and I move on, closer to what is part of my vision.
A long time ago I stopped courting agents who were always VERYBUSY (and yes, who were also VERYIMPRESSED by themselves!). Agents and sellers whose first question was HOW MUCH. And agents who were just grateful to get a listing, any listing, their MO was just handing the keys of the bus to the seller.
As I have worked with more and more agents, my vision has become clearer, sharper, stronger.
That vision now includes agents who are REALTORS, and FULL-TIME, thank you very much. Designations tell me they value education.
ZIP codes, or dollar amounts of their listed properties don’t interest me as much as the quality and quantity of their listing photos, and how long it has been on the market.
Since no two properties or seller circumstances are the same, REALTORS who ‘get’ that my detailed proposals are like their CMAs are a big part of my vision. I also look for REALTORS who DEMONSTRATE their commitment to service, and to managing the people as well as the process.
Because my focus is about getting things done, and results, those struggling to find a good way to make things work will always have me in their corner, if they desire. And ohyes, NICE still counts for a lot in my book…besides the obvious, I don’t have time to try to make things work if it’s a bad fit.
Success speaks louder than words…or pricey cars…or social media blitzes. If no one is looking at your properties, or you are getting no offers, there is a reason. But don’t take my word for it…call me today, let me put you in touch with some of these sellers and REALTORS who once were where you are…but have had their visions realized.
The right word makes me hear things differently, and remember them better. That’s why I started this series, to bring words already on our radar screens into better focus. (Click here to see the others)
I was at a community meeting earlier this week, and the speaker used this word several times in describing a process of gettinggood things done, and it really resonated….so Word Of The Week is ALIGN.
It’s a verb in the truest sense, and most of the definitions are just as short and straightforward as you’d hope any process would be.
Essentially, it’s putting/arranging things into their correct order. Parts (components, PEOPLE! thoughts) are adjusted so the proper and best orientation (position, RELATIONSHIP! result)- is achieved.
It’s PROACTIVE. It looks at and considers all the elements, and the focus is on how they can WORK TOGETHER. Big, loud, or “tradition” does not figure in here, BIG-PICTURE and BALANCE does.
It COORDINATES different elements, many working parts of some sort. It’s a STRATEGY TO SUCCEED.
There is NO JUDGEMENT, just OBJECTIVE ASSESSMENT so a pre-determined GOAL or IDEAL is met.
When teeth are aligned, they-to their roots-brought to CENTER, to establish a solid foundation for long-term oral health. When wheels are aligned, they maintain the best contact with the road, and ensure optimum performance from the vehicle.
When people are invloved, there is TIMING and TRUST to consider. ALIGN CALMS and DE-SENSITIZES. It changes the focus. Same-league baseball rivals UNITE for the All-Star Game every July…more immediately for bragging rights, but bigger prize is home field advantage for the winning leagues’ team in the post-season.
The Refreshed Homes’ solutions for staging clients ALIGNwith comps, the Realtor’s pricing and marketing plan, the local market, and the sellers’ needs, goals resources and expectations.
ALIGN, for the most part FINDs A MIDDLE… but it is not weak, or compromised. STREGNTH comes from a conciously balanced core, where all energy is directed FORWARD.
Lastly, I think ALIGN involves CHOICE. At the end of the day, nothing is taken; a decision is made to do what it takes to move to the GREATER GOOD.
I like this word so much I could not wait until Saturday to share it! Have a great week, and see you next Saturday for a NEW Word Of The Week!
The Word Of The Week series came about because sometimes it is just so effective to have a different or unexpected word to say, or to have a refreshed meaning breathed into an old favorite.
This week’s word is CONFIDENCE.
Regular readers know I’ve had a lot of changes going on in my life lately…some circumstances, some people, some thinking processes. It created some doubt and uncertainty.
Confidence is the result of experience. It is sure, but not boastful or arrogant. You own confidence. It is cellular, not topical. It is willing to ask, and to try.
Confidence knows what it can do, but keeps its eyes open as well. There is an element of peace and self-acceptance in confidence. It’s very personal, it knows it is the best it can be. Often I ‘discover’ I have become confident about something in my life after the fact, when I speak or act differently than I have in the past.
Furthermore, confidence cannot occupy the same space as fear or anxiety.
In recent weeks have found confidence is a lot quieter than I used to think it was.
In fact, I think the more you have it, the less you have to talk about it.
We know that buyers typically know in less than a minute if a property is going to be on their short list or not.
And here in Westchester, there have been anywhere from 41 to 65 newly listed single-family homes each day this week. That’s a lot of homes to sort through and preview, for both agents and buyers.
Not ‘new’, but forgotten, or ignored; this week I want to share something with you that will shine in your listing photos, and boost both quality and quantity of traffic at your Open Houses this weekend.
That will set the tone as buyers drive up.
That will elevate their mood, and most oimportantly, embed this property firmly in their mind.
That will cost you $30.00, maybe less.
Are you ready??
Forget the insipid bunch of mixed flowers on the kitchen counter.
Little things can stand out in the eyes of a buyer. Finding fresh, memorable and reasonable ways to grab their attention and engage them is one of specialties of the refreshed home.
Here in the NE, most of us crave the change of seasons. Even though it’s been a very mild winter, this week, it’s all about yellow pansies.
Yellow is the color of change and optimism.
It also has fabulous visibility, especially against the brown, bare landscapes we see now.
Pansies are happy, vibrant, resilliant flowers-they survive snow!
Place a few in a pot where you want buyers’ eyes to linger, like on a deck, to encourage thoughts of summer BBQs.
Frame the front door, or walkway; a few in a pot at the edge of the driveway, out by the mailbox or plant them in a bowl on the kitchen table.
Be the first house on the block to have these spring beauties out, you won’t be disappointed.
I love the power of the right word.This series came about because time and time again I noticed how well the ’right’ word conveyed an economy of thought, while saving your from a bunch of wrong, and mediocre words. People seemed to ‘hear’ things differently-BETTER! It also clarifies and elevates things in my own mind.
The Word Of The Week is RE-CALIBRATE. From the verb CALIBRATE, it’s a powerful, and extraordinarily scientific word. It’s goal is PRECISION and ACCURACY. It is MEASURED and SPECIFIC; there is nothing casual or fleeting about it.
One web definition is ‘to make fine adjustments’, another is ‘ the act of checking or adjusting the accuracy of a measuring instrument’. My favorite-and most compelling is ‘ adjust (experimental results) to take external factors** into account or to allow comparison with other data’.
CALIBRATING involves HONEST APPRAISAL, then A GOAL. It looks at and evaluates all the elements, conscious that their WORKING TOGETHER , each at their peak, is critical to the SUCCESS of the whole.
All in all, you are acknowledging the need for change, and the desire to be the best. It is about moving forward, towards something bigger and better. By extension, RE-CALIBRATE means you are doing it again; it also signals your commitment to it being part of your long-term plan.
Usually there is a time-out involved. In the late 70′s and through a good part of the 80′s, the GM plant here in Tarrytown was pretty much round-the-clock, save for the occasional…well, they called it re-tooling. Things wore out. Changes and improvements were implemented to keep up with market demand and expectations. See where I’m going here?
Our brains are the new assembly lines.
My brain is the most valuable commodity I have access to. My business is not ‘small’. My thought process is every bit as precise, even mechanical as that assembly line.
Success in these times-for both my clients and my business-depend on the components of my business being just as finely attuned to each other as any well-made, manufactured, tangible product.
In the last few months, as the refreshed home entered it’s fifth year, I became increasingly enamored of this word. Encouraged by feedback and results, I am making changes to take me to the next level, everything from a new business vehicle, to updated marketing and websites and improvements.
I remind myself, as well as my clients that re-visiting, and further defining/refining is always uncharted territory, it can feel vague and uncertain. Factor in the afore-mentioned **external factors of this market, and OHYES, you’ve got real stomach-acid potential. BUT-with RE-CALIBRATION on our side, be reassured it is part of the process, and we will all be better for it.