Three Steps to Picking the Right Paint Color

May 29th, 2016


Need a conversation starter at your next social event?  Mention you’re painting, talk about picking the right paint color.

As universal as the weather (but less snoozy),  as engaging as the political climate (just not as polarizing), picking the right paint color is a topic to break the ice and bond over!

Strangers approach and share war stories, HGTV junkies will sidle up, dropping paint vendor  and color names intimately, like ‘Ben’, or ‘Collingwood’; others will pass colors du jour along in a conspiratorial manner, like a brother-in-law with a hot stock tip.

Why does picking the right paint color inspires such hope, envy,and even fear in so many? Like Everest, it’s a challenge that’s there. And many try, most with varying degrees of success.

Thirty-five years of experience has shown me three distinct steps to picking the right paint color. For the paint-phobic The Refreshed Home first counsels:

Get Over the Fear

Author Dan Gookin had it right.  He saw apprehension, fear of making a mistake and looking foolish was the biggest impediment to learning, to making the right choice. His DOS for Dummies leveled the field.  It started the franchise targeting people secure in knowing what they don’t know, so they then COULD learn what they needed, AND get on with their life.

I see one of two things happen when the picker is unhappy with the results of what they choose. Most often they’ll slide into an abyss, paralyzed by indecision, fearful of making another bad choice… yet live with what they don’t love, as some sort of misguided penance.

OR,  unable to live with what they see as an error of the grandest scale, they run to the paint store before the paint is dry, and pick something else that swings the other way.

Don’t assume you can automatically visualize how something will look. Maybe you can, but probably you can’t. In fact, the huge majority can’t. It’s like any other skill.  It’s not a moral issue. and it doesn’t make you a better-or lesser-person. And I am speaking to all you uber-accomplished XX chromosome types… as well as those impatient, just-make-a decision-already XY types.

Realize you can be your own worst enemy, so lighten up, give yourself some slack.  Branding yourself with a Scarlet M for Myopic will not get it done.

  • Understand color is synergistic. Meaning all sorts of things will affect how it looks: what it’s shown with, how much of it there is, the natural and synthetic lighting.
  • Accept it may be a process, especially if you’re contemplating a big change. It’s a terrible burden to feel you have one roll of the dice to get it right.
  • Know you have options.

And yes, I can hear you fretting about cost and time. RELAX, just keep reading.

NEXT: The 2nd Step to Picking the Right Paint Color.

Why Your House is Still on the Market: Listing Photo Fails Part One

December 3rd, 2015

House still on the market…?  Little traffic, fewer offers? Listing photo fails could be why.2015-11-02 14.12.14

Two things engage buyers: price, and condition that are in sync. Price may be the first filter, but good listing photos seal the deal, they are what drive traffic to a property.

Tireless messengers working 24/7 on your behalf, have moments to engage buyers and demonstrate the value of your property. Our local MLS Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors  lets member agents showcase up to 30 images without cost.2015-11-04 09.48.48

With so much at stake, and such great opportunity, why oh why are there so many listing photo fails? Have written about the responsibility of good listing photos before, but here’s the first of a 4 part series on specific listing photo fails.

Leading off the list are underwhelming rooms. The price may be right on paper, but the viewer is not engaged, or doesn’t see the value from the photos. Buyers usually don’t know-or really even want to take the time to understand, they just move on.  Photo styling by The Refreshed Home can prevent listing photo fail.

The eye is always, immediately drawn to color and light; a few additions can catch a viewers’ attention, elevating, and adding character and value to a shot. Removing the red placemats, then adding valances, and a large striking piece of art brought the eye up to the wall and the windows, balancing the table and making the dining area feel bigger.

The room below needed drama and presence, color and contrast. I removed the tablecloth/china, and added in-stock drapery panels to frame the windows, adding height and definition.



Here are a few other common fails: 

  •  White walls, sparse, or oddly-furnished spaces can indicate an estate sale.  Believing selling is imperative, buyers may just wait to see how low the price drops.
  • Barbie and Ken-sized furniture in a life-sized room again could lead a buyer to believe the room(s) can’t handle average-sized  furniture, or again, the seller must sell.
  • Monochromatic rooms may be classic in person, but without contrasting colors or lines, it’s just a vanilla blur.

Is your house lingering on the market?  If you and your agent feel it’s priced right, maybe it’s time revisit those listing photos. Talk to me today  about getting your listing noticed, and SOLD!

NEXT: The peril of over-the-top rooms, and rooms with a past

Giving Thanks, and Being the Change

November 22nd, 2015

FOr Marie

There is lot going on the world these days.  Many hearts are ohso heavy, and the ongoing,  omnipresent ‘updates’ magnify the sorrow.

Dismiss the ‘there has always been great discord, social media just lets us see it more now’ argument-it doesn’t matter.

If being the change calls you, your energy is focused forward on what you can do now. And everyone can do something. 

This photo came from a clients’ house several years ago.  Save, Grow, Give, and Spend. They had several young children, and each child had a set of these jars in their room. I was profoundly moved, and share this at every opportunity.

No matter where you live, need does not go away because the calendar changes. Being the change is about taking action. Please take a moment, give thanks, and take stock: 

  •  Can you donate blood?
  • Have things you don’t need?  Sign up for, a free/safe/local kind of Craigslist. You will be stunned at the gratitude of your recipients.
  • Furniture Sharehouse is Westchester County’s furniture bank, but here’s a list of  sites in North America that could put your unwanted furniture into the right hands
  • There are coat and mitten drives everywhere now
  • Any Vets or seniors in your neighborhood that could use a hand raking leaves, cleaning out their gutters or other home-maintenance tasks?
  • Food pantries, soup kitchens, and organizations like Meals on Wheels operate year-round, not just on Thanksgiving
  • Languishing points or miles  on a rewards credit card? Many have ways to donate them to charity
  • If you have time or skills to donate, or a passion you want to further-google around to see who could benefit. The United Way runs a nationwide group of local organizations that function as clearing houses, matching people to opportunities. Here is link to ours in Westchester and lower Hudson Valley
  • Less dire, but still needed: Kids who need to be read to, or coached on nailing a free-throw. Parks that could use a hand staying clean, budding entrepreneurs who could benefit from your professional guidance.
  • And if donating funds is in your realm, check out the organization first with Charity Navigator.

YES. There are horrible things happening in our world right now. Prayers, good thoughts and giving thanks are all good, but actions matter. They matter to the recipients, and trust me, they will make a difference in your life too.

Much of our collective sorrow comes from feeling helpless. Instead of letting the latest news report, the most recent tweet or post define your day-take charge. Look around your neighborhood, or use technology and social media to your advantage: seach and share. Everyone can do something. What can you do to be the change?

Home Staging and Seasonal Decor: For Everything There is A Season

November 9th, 2015

Whether your frame of reference is Pete Seeger and The Byrds, or the decidedly more somber original, there is indeed a season for everything, including decor.p10007522

When you’re getting ready to sell, part of this Westchester County Home Stager’s job is to be sure ALL your property is in the right season. The Refreshed Home counsels clients: seasonal decor should be appropriate and current, if not even 2 steps ahead.

Appropriate is what makes sense, and resonates in your market. Appropriate considers the property, the geographic area, the buyer and their motivation. Here in Westchester County, appropriate might mean

  • A series of different sized pumpkins in that 5 BR house in the burbs, during the month of October
  • A fun snow sculpture with new-fallen snow
  • Gardening tools out back by the (empty) raised beds in March

Current is important because it’s seen as an outward  indication of the general state of your property. As the song says, for everything there is a season:

Weathered bunny figurines, folksy garden decor, empty bird feeders,  garden beds that are barren, overgrown or have dead things in them tell people waaay more than you might think. And “cute” does not put money in your pocket. 

I will admit to having a gnome weakness-one can be both cool and classic, but if his pointy red hat is all you see sticking out of the snow, that is just wrong.

Some examples of current

  • Replace Impatience and pastel Begonias by early September with marigolds, YELLOW mums or pansies. Decorative peppers or cabbages are good choices as well.
  • Pumpkins, or for that matter-anything should GO at the first sign of decay. Rubber-banding the spent tulip and daffodil leaves in April keeps it neat, and healthy for next year. Dead-head the petunias in June, pinch back the basil in August.
  • Leprechauns March 11th-18th, Easter bunnies and hanging eggs should be gone by sundown of that day.

Faarticle-2054719-0E93B94400000578-173_634x394ll Holiday Decorations seem particularly big this year-maybe because the last few Octobers have been wiped out by snow, and superstorms.  

Simply, your blowup goblins, cobwebs on shrubbery, and witches flying into trees should have been packed away last week.


Last, a new welcome mat, and a maintained, regulation US flag is ALWAYS in season

Patriotism: Military woman salutes American flag. Silhouette.

Veterans Day is Wednesday November 11th  

Thank you to all who served, as well as your families

Being Ready to Sell: Best Strategy for Westchester County Downsizers

November 6th, 2015

Longtime Westchester County homeowners imagesCA68GX0Icontemplating a downsize move already have a lot to think about. Yes, the economy, and our real estate market have been recovering, but it’s been uneven. Add in the chatter about the Feds’ upcoming meeting to discuss raising the interest rate-any angsting over which possessions get whittled down pales in comparison to the questions of “if”, and “when”.

Two thoughts to add perspective:

  • “IF” comes first. Simpy, all the other questions like when, how, and even how much are moot if you’re not ready, willing or able to sell.
  • Getting ready to sell, and being ready to sell are not the same thing as actually putting your house on the market.

The actual mechanics of a listing going live-signing papers, scheduling photos-can happen pretty quickly. Trust this Westchester County Home Stager-preparing your house for sale- editing and packing, and lining up any needed repairs or updates is what takes time

Once you realize selling is in your foreseeable future, there is no downside to starting the process of getting the property market-ready. You are more in control:

  • Emotionally, you acclimate yourself to the decision. You can work at your own pace, and ideally you’ll have fewer rushed decisions to make pre-listing (or regrets afterward!).
  • Financially, you’ll be in a better position to shop around and schedule any needed repairs or tradespeople.
  • If your house is market-ready, you’ll be able to act quickly should there be a significant change in the economy or your local market….but you’re still not committed to anything.

Home Staging-i.e. getting a property ready for sale- is much more pragmatic than many realize. The Refreshed Home defines Home Staging as whatever can be done to improve the market position of a property that supports your goals and price point, while easing your mind.

We know experience matters, and that kindness counts. And that a little help can make all the difference.

Our consults are interactive and fluid, exchanges of information, ideas and options. We break things into manageable segments, so homeowners and their families can think things through, and make their own best decisions.

Thinking about, maybe torn about selling? Having a plan, and getting ready could be your best strategy. Talk to me today about how easy it can be to get started!