MORE Outdated Decor That Will Sink Your Westchester County Listing

December 6th, 2014

free_2491598Selling? Three numbers this Westchester County Home Stager tells sellers to remember:  

  • 6-8 seconds (max) for a potential buyer to assess your listing photos then decide to find out more or CLICK! go on   to the next
  • 90-120 seconds from the time their house is in eyesight potential buyers will know if it’s on their short list (or not)
  • 30 days on the market, after that it’s old, potential buyers conclude something is wrong, that no one else picked it

“Outdated” decor  will deter traffic, invite even more scrutiny on the costly/infrastructure things, and ring the dinner bell for low-ballers who’ll think you have to sell. Here are more of the worst offenders The Refreshed Home has found, and remedied.  Do yourself a favor, fix any that apply so your listing photos engage, and make the most of your time with buyers and agents.

Old, Droopy Bedding  Threadbare sheets, flat pillows, mis-matched pillowcases-YUK!  Gross, (an no pics necessary) but SO sad, because $200 at Home Goods could get you a total bed makeover. Just do it, you’ll like yourself better in the morning!

Peach anything  Besides perms and leg warmers, few things scream 1980s like the color peach. Shown with blue it howls (usually in French Provincial-ese);  mixed with aqua, pink and blue you get Miami condo or Southwestern. Pastels in general read as  “cute” and diminutive in photos-qualities that do not put money in your pocket.

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Never noticed the marble surround on the fireplace first time I saw thing LR. YES it was done very well…in its day. The sellers were extremely resistant, but wanted to sell, and 6 months on the market doing it their way did not work. Two coats of HC-81 Manchester Tan got them multiple offers the first weekend, all over ask. REALLY.

Highly decorated rooms, overly coordinated patterns and highly structured window treatments Yes I know you paid a lot of money for it at the time. And yes your sellers can guess that as well. But they don’t like it/don’t care/are not going to pay you a pro-rated share of it.

We all crave sanctuary and calm these days; solid contrasting colors with texture to break it up photographs as polished, warm and interesting.

White, or Linen White Walls  Nothing says Nanna’s house (or, frankly, ‘Estate Sale’) faster than white, or off-white walls. Even a fresh coat of linen white does not read as anything in pictures. Saturated neutrals will engage the eye, warm and define the space, while highlighting the detail in any trimwork, like panel doors, cove mouldings, and such.

Wall to wall carpet  Carpet holds the debris of life: pets, dust, dirt, spills, odors.  Allergies and asthma are epidemic, BIG red flag. Pre 1970s houses often  have wood floors under, after that it could go either way. If there’s wood, pull it all up. You may just win the floor lottery and get by with a damp mop, but either way, no what-ifs, you and buyers will know right away what is.

Builders’ Basics This 60’s split level was in a Hudson Rivertown known for its Tudors and Colonials. Nice wood floor, but that painted, swirly builders’ basic wrought iron railing was a bummer.



Simple turned wood spindles and an oak handrail to match the floors took about a week to install, and cost about $3000. It was the first thing buyers saw. Multiple offers the first week, highest and best netted the client almost $20K over list. REALLY.

Thinking of selling your Westchester County house?  Old, listless listing? Before you go on the market…before you consider a(nother) price reduction, talk to me today about getting your house noticed, and SOLD!

The Reindeer are Back at McArdles in Greenwich!

December 5th, 2014

Department stores might have their decorations up by Halloween, the catalogs start arriving shortly thereafter, but for me, Christmas gets real when the reindeer come to town.  2013-12-06 15.16.11

Back for their annual gig, the reindeer have returned to McArdles Florist and Garden Center in Greenwich!

Presumably to rest up for their big night-and to stay out of the way of the elves!- the visiting reindeer have been a holiday tradition at McArdles since 2008.

The Reindeer Festival is the centerpiece of this weekends’  Greenwich Holiday Weekend Stroll, but they’re ready for your visit every day from now until, well, YOU KNOW, click above links for hours and other events.

Their Reindeer Stable is right out front, so it’s very easy to just walk up right up and say hello from the sidewalk.

Located at 49 Arch Street, McArdles is easy to get to, moments off exit 3 of  I-95. Predictably weekends are busy, but 2 blocks past McArdles is Greenwich Ave, with lots of parking and so many other things to see and enjoy!

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Outdated Decor That WILL Sink Your Westchester County Listing

November 28th, 2014

The word ‘outdated’ is so…judgmental. Coming off a rather frugal few years, it sounds flip and cavalier. If it’s perf2014-07-10 20.38.06ectly fine, still usable, maybe we even still like it, why change it?  Well, if you’re staying, and are happy with your house, no reason at all-   keep  it and enjoy.

But if you’re selling, trust this Westchester County Home Stager:  outdated aesthetics will hurt you.

Fresh and reasonably current decor tends to draw better qualified buyers, while soothing and settling the skittish ones. The flip side is they’re both likely to draw the same, semi-logical conclusion that old decor =old other things, like appliances, and other expensive elements of infrastructure. Things that will be due for big-ticket repair or replacements in very short order.

LOOK>I’m not saying it’s a correct conclusion, but like it or not, it’s the takeaway buyers have from the 5-8 seconds they will invest in scrutinizing your online listing photos before deciding to stick around, or CLICK! move on.

Your house has mere seconds in the spotlight when buyers are looking at listings online: remember, they’re looking on their phones while waiting at the deli counter, sneaking peeks at work, or at home at night in their bunny slippers after a long day.

Getting your house sold is a high-stakes game, and The Refreshed Home plays to win. Here in two parts are the most dating elements, and how to fix them

Wallpaper Walls are the biggest surface area in any room, and make the most statement. Wallpaper does not age well, it’s your personality, glued to the wall. Powder rooms, because they’re small, singular and private spaces are really the only rooms I let stand with wallpaper.

Paneling Wood tone or painted, veneer or real, in this market wood on the wall will hurt you. It reads cute or rustic, and again leads the viewer to question what else is old. Either remove it, or sheet rock over it; your contractor can advise you of your best option.

Big honking “decorator” ceiling fans are bad enough, but if they are the main source of light in a room, you are shooting yourself in both feet. An over-sized fan will overwhelm the room, and skew the proportions of photos. Ceiling light tends to be glaring, and creates hot spots in photos. Lighted fans hang about 18″ into the room,  so in a room with eight foot ceilings, they’d be six and a half feet off the floor, dominating the room/photos even more.

If you must have a fan, get a close to the ceiling (low-profile) sleek white fan to disappear into the ceiling. And buy lamps for your lighting needs.

Wide grout lines usually go hand in hand with white tile and cabinetry, with black counter tops. Simple fix: snap your kitchen/bath out of the 80’s mausoleum look into this millennium with big bold color on the walls.  Consider a granny smith green….pomegranate red….school bus yellow. The white and black will pop, and since there’s usually little wall space in these rooms to start with, the risk is low and the impact is BIG!

NEXT: Dated color schemes, and replacing the builders’ basics.


Decorating FAQs: What Comes First-the Sofa or Rug?

October 25th, 2014

0…or the wall color, or the window treatment,  or …?

Welcome back to FAQs, the series where everyone is treated to quick and specific answers to their questions about their space and their things, The Refreshed Home-style!

Indeed, what comes first?- even decorators wrestle with that age-old question!

Many decorating projects start with a “given”or two. But  thanks to the improving economy, have been seeing a wave of new clients who renovating or just nuking an existing room, or moving into another space with room they never had before. In other words, a blank canvas. ISO a starting point, their question usually sounds something like this:

 “My (insert title of well-meaning, usually female relative) told me to always choose (insert favorite decor element of said well-meaning, usually female relative) first-is that right?”

Experience taught me clients are really looking for an anchor, something on which to shape, and build their own understanding and comfort level. The Refreshed Home was created for just that reason:

  • believing the decision-making process is just as personal as the decision itself
  • to help a client discover their own style, and increase their confidence in decision making while transforming their space

That means acknowledging/respecting clients’ relationship with said well-meaning, usually female relative, BUT setting up a strategy that works for them.  “What comes first?” This Westchester County Decorator’s counsel it to start by defining/finding  the major element that speaks to them the most, often where they see the most color or pattern. 

Working on-site, with resources in hand, we figuratively put that one idea/item on the table-a wall color, the patterned rug, a specific sofa fabric. Together we discuss and fill in the other major elements, so the client is comfortable ‘seeing’ how that  would play out in a complete room.

They may come to realize that say, that red sectional isn’t the way to go for them….but maybe a red wall is!  AND they’ll feel darn confident in their choice of that perfect, magnificent smoky red!!

Other times, we’ll dislodge old ideas/misconceptions that are not relevant anymore: YES, there is a difference between drapes and window treatments.  Linen White is NOT a good default choice for wall color, and NO durable fabrics do not have to  look industrial.

Looking to snazz up your space? Super Bowl party, an upcoming family wedding, or “it’s just time”-The Refreshed Home can help! Bringing a thoughtful approach to the creative process, talk to me today about how we can untangle your thinking, prioritize your thoughts and resources, and help you make your best decisions so you can get on with enjoying your space-and your life!



Coloring Your World: ORANGE You Glad??

October 18th, 2014

imagesCAKXRKVEBesides being a punchline to a child’s’ knock-knock joke (‘ORANGE you glad I didn’t say banana?’)  and knowing there is no word that rhymes with it, The Refreshed Home asks-what do we really know about “ORANGE”?

YES!  The series Coloring Your World is back-some history, psychology and tidbits about the colors that surround us.

Orange is a secondary color, what happens when the primary colors red and yellow are mixed.  It lies in between the two, on the color wheel, on the light spectrum, and IMO on the emotional spectrum as well. 

Orange is bouncier than yellow, but not as intense as red.  It’s yellow’s cheerfulness, but not quite as light-hearted. Substantive like red, but not as edgy. Not as innocent as yellow, or as sexy as red.

Orange is joy and excitement. It is fun times and adventure. It’s heat and warmth,  it’s amusement, and life. 

High energy, after red and blue  it’s the most popular color used on MLB uniforms.

It has strong spiritual meaning, representing transformation to Hindus, and illumination, the highest level of perfection to Buddhists.

The fruit was first known as naranga in Sanskrit, and the color orange was simple referred to as yellow-red, until the early 1500s.

Monet_grainstacks_W1273 In the late 15th C. Spanish and Portuguese merchants brought these fruit trees to Europe from Asia. They later flourished in special greenhouses called orangeries.

Impressionistic painters became big fans of orange/ochre/saffron family.  As shown in Monets’ Haystacks at left, the blues they were all so fond of were crisper, blue-er when shown against orange tones.

Orange and blue are called complementary colors: opposites on the color wheel, they contrast and bring out the best in each other. Tangerine Tango was Pantone’s 2012 Color of the Yearalthough I think a lot of people were done with it by February. 

  Highly visible, orange is a good choice for safety, to be seen and be found. It’s worn by athletes and astronauts, and often prisoners in jail.  Used for traffic cones and construction signs, also the real color of an airplanes’ “black box”.  One reason the Golden Gate Bridge is painted that vivid “international orange” is to be more visible in fog.

Buddha wore orange to signify his signing off on his old life and his commitment to being a monk. It is the national color of the Netherlands> why the official flag of NYC has an orange stripe, a nod to the Dutch settlers.

  • It’s a happy color and could work well in a creative space. Great for a child’s’ playroom, but you’ll have a hard time getting them to nap in an orange bedroom.
  • Truer oranges, through the red tones could all be a good choice for a restaurant, as they stimulate the appetite, and are associated with things that taste good.
  • Even if you strive for calm in your surroundings, orange is a potent pop of color and energy against opposites like blues and greys,  or neutrals like creams and khakis. Start small, with a few pillows or a piece of art; you can always turn it up more if you like.

Now-ORANGE you glad you know more about this color?!