October 14th, 2011
What A Red Door Means In Scotland
Months ago I had come across this great post..sent myself a link to the page, marked it with purple flag (meaning urgent follow-up, HA!), then it slid right off my radar. Until this past week, when talk of door-painting suddenly seemed to become a very hot topic.
What Does Your Front Door Say About You is a broad look at some of the colors that front doors are painted, and what they mean. Went back, re-read the post, then trolled around Susan’s own site, and it was absolutely delightful.
Between Naps on the Porch is a blog Susan Herin created out of love for all things home: Decorating, tablescapes, recipes-you name it.
I like it for several reasons-it’s professional, detailed, creative and tasteful. Like M*****, without the whole smug-thing. And this was before we had even e-connected, she is just as delightful. live and in person!
Visit, enjoy, even bookmark, and may a red door be in your future, too!
July 5th, 2011
Reality Check: Listing Photos Westchester Buyers Are Seeing 7.5.11
It would appear the pendulum has swung all the way over for some Westchester sellers regarding the need for walls to have color. YES< all the way over.
Using 2 or more different colors on the walls in a space is a highly personal decision. It could work to add value in a Staging situation…here is a job from a few years ago…$$$ condo in a big building with lots of competition. The owners never painted, it was one big vanilla room.
These photos taken from the LR, looking towards the entry(where painter started cutting in) and the kitchen, on the right side of the room.
Two gender-friendly, complimentary colors added value by defining separate areas-BM # HC 95 Sag Harbor Gray in entry and common space, HC# 113 Louisberg Green in kitchen; they also made the testosterone-infused black leather upholstery seem more manageable.
Color, when used well, guides, directs and influences us. Decisions on which wall and what colors should address a larger issue-like echoing a floor plan, or bringing balance to an unbalanced or over-furnished space. Chosen badly, the result is…well, these rooms.
Doors and surrounding trim make up about 20 square feet of a wall, so that’s significant. These sellers are loosing dollars because vibrant yellow doors against sky blue walls chop up and visually reduce a space substantially.
It’s very hard to see this room as anything other than a nursery, which means SMALL and cute to most people.
How many colors do you count here? Gotta wonder, what was the intent? It’s very disruptive, like being in a kindergarten class with all the kids screaming LOOK AT ME!!
As we spoke of last week, the sky blue is outdated and should go anyway, but a better decision would have been to have the far right wall and the adjacent wall going up the stairs be the same, so it’s a more gentle transition.
The coice of walls and the sharp contrast of colors contradict what you want to establish in this room.
The impact of big bright windows is lost, and by using different colors in back of 2 pieces of furniture that match, a generous space holding the main conversation area is trivialized, and value is lost.
Neutral colors that complimented the furniture would have been a better choice.
Sellers and Agents: Walls are a room’s biggest surface area, and present the most opportunity to set the tone. They are the canvas buyers see in listing photos.
I am in the business of helping Sellers and Agents getting their properties sold. To that end, my offer stands: if you claim any of these properties as your own, I will spend up to a half-day Staging your property, for free. REALLY.
June 24th, 2011
Reality Check: Listing Photos Westchester Buyers Are Seeing 6.24.11
Right now there are just under 7600 single residential properties on the market in Westchester County: 4742 single family houses, 1859 coops, and 996 condos.
There are also over 200 planned Open Houses scheduled for this weekend. While the efficacy of Open Houses continues to be a hot topic, listing photos are a constant. Photos that untold pairs of buyers eyes will scour, photos that will be the 24/7 advertisement for your house.
With so much to choose from, potential buyers might give your photos mere seconds before deciding to find out more, or move on.
Being able to see your property through the eyes of a buyer is the first step to successfully preparing your house for the market. SO-as part of a continuing series, let’s look at some of the things Westchester buyers will be seeing this week:
Bubble-gum pink in a Master BR (SERIOUSLY-pastels are out of date, period, and a warmer tone would have softened the contrast of all the wood)…
Leftover nursery color paint in the Master Bath (again, a warm neutral would be more sophisticated, while increasing the perceived value of this bathroom upgrade)
Institutional white in a basement…kiss of death in photos. Seems all that’s missing are some bars on the window. Are you thinking ‘gee, what an inviting bonus living space for the kids!’ ?
More nursery blue. And this is NOT the same house.
Blue is a cool (some would say cold) color. EXTTREMELY bad choice for rooms you want to feel warm and inviting. It is also unappetizing-food does not look good around this non-stop blue.
QUICK-CLOSE YOUR EYES!
OK< now you can look again. Is there anything else you remember about this room? Nope, me neither. That’s a BIG problem, when that’s what you’re trying to sell.
The sellers probably wanted to brighten up a dark space, but they went overboard.
Efffects are hard, garish, and unflattering to most any skin tone. Subconsciously, we stay out of rooms we don’t feel our best in.
It’s always easier to see the mis-steps of someone else’s property, and the spirit of these posts is one of illumination. My job is to help you sell your house, more quickly, and for the best price. Bad, extreme or overly personal choices of paint color not only turn buyers off, they date, and devalue a property.
TO THAT END-I repeat my offer: Claim any of these photos as your own, and I will do up to a half-day of Staging, free of charge. REALLY.
March 19th, 2011
My client was expanding into a new territory, and wanted the building to match his vision.
The exterior needed a classic look, one that complimented the stone base and it’s architecture.
We painted the columns and trim bright white, this brought attention to the graceful and generous windows as well.
Wall color was a deep taupe that picked up and worked with the base color of many of the individual stones, and the existing roof color, giving it a smoother line.
An accent color typically covers about 10% of the total space, but adds 100% more interest.
Classic black was used here to give a more tailored feel, add a richer contrast against the stone and new wall color, while highlighting the different tones of the stonework.
We used this color on the existing green metal railings, as well as the signage and lighting, to complete the look.
NEXT: Creating a serene and welcoming interior
January 22nd, 2011
Here in the lower Hudson Valley, we are snow-weary. That giddy “snow day!” excitement we all had is long gone. Instead we are re-calibrating our schedules everyday, and there is salt residue, clunky books and bulky outer garments everywhere.
What a great time to look at houses…and I mean really look AT them.
With most of the foliage gone, or buried under the white stuff, you have a clean palette. There is very little to distract the eye, you can see every detail…which, in the end, is a good thing.
If you are staying in your home and thinking about painting or updating, drive around and check out color combinations and trim, and other details. Shutters? New front door? Hmmm maybe that slate blue color you love isn’t the best choice for your southern-exposure house…
Less than 5% of the population can comfortably visualize anything other than what’s in front of them, and you’ll see things now that would not be as visible the rest of the year.
Some you’ll love, some maybe not so much, but guaranteed: you’ll develop your style, and your confidence to make decisions when the springtime rolls around.
If 2011 is the year you are going to sell your house, same principle, same idea, different focus. Take a long, hard look at your house, then drive around and look at other homes…which ones would you want to buy?
All this snow is a great filter that will help you see your house through the eyes of a buyer; very easy to see the difference between the houses that have been maintained, and those that have deferred the maintenance.
Dirt/mildew on any of the surfaces- missing spindles on decks- peeling, faded or outdated paint- gutters in need of repair-overgrown landscaping-even old mailboxes or undersize house numbers-buyers will see it all.
Talk it over with your Realtor, make a list, and start interviewing contractors-you want to be ready to roll when the weather permits. (And if you need further encouragement, have your accountant confirm how much of your list is a deductible expense!)
Again, same idea if you’ve decided to buy in 2011. Looking at lots of houses will develop your eye, and give you insight into what you like and why; excellent time to get a good sense of specific houses and the property; how it has been cared for, and what might need to be done.
For all of us, really ‘seeing’ something is a call to action. Whatever decision you might be contemplating, this is a good first step.
July 22nd, 2010
Summer into fall is one of the most popular times to paint your home. The hottest color story continues to be the use of saturated colors-colors that can range from light to dark, but have a lot of pigment and have a dense and mellow feel.
No frothy pastels, brights, or hard edges; they are complex colors with depth and nuance. Benjamin Moore Affinity and Historical Colors as well as the spare, but well-edited Farrow and Ball palette are great examples.
Those who will be making choices, but with an eye toward getting their house ready to go on the market might feel some apprehension, but warm neutrals have universal appeal.
1. Color sellls! The tan/khaki/muted greens/soft golds are very livable, and read well in listing photos. They are warm and sophisticated, and appeal to men and women alike, and will snag the buyer’s attention as they click their way thru all the online listings.
2. White walls do not make your space look bigger. Instead, they make it look cold and uninviting. Under even the very best of circumstances, the nuances of Linen White or Cameo White do not come across in pictures, either in print or online; instead it reads as old and dirty.
3. Color on the walls actually can make big furniture appear smaller. When we see furniture against white walls, it looks enormous, because of the contrast. Because the eye registers less contrast when there is color on the walls, the furniture seems to recede into the walls, and it’s a smoother look.
4. Keeping doors/ceilings/trim work in a white, with color on the wall, you will now see the architectural details.
White on white, this was one big vanilla space. On the left is a condo that is just starting to be painted, on the right, about 4 hours later.
In the photo on the right, you now can see the beveling detail on the doors, the crown and baseboard moldings. Using different but complimentary colors, we have slso created separate spaces.
5. Color on the walls bring the eye up, and adds stature to a room. It commands your attention, and your respect-you can’t not look at it.
And yes, these really are the same room.
July 5th, 2010
Decorating is about making your space work better for you, while Staging your space is about making it work better for everyone else. In either case, re-evaluating your space/needs, and coming up with a plan can feel like a daunting prospect.
Current market conditions have created hybrid projects; in the last year more than half have had one goal, but keep an eye to the other.
Decisions that would shine the best light on a property and engage buyers-like new bed linens, lamps (pun semi-intended), or a new area rug, are totally transferable, can reflect a simpler/updated version of the homeowners’ taste, and are a good investment.
Saturated colors on walls have been hot for some time now. Many read as warm and light in person, and will, by contrast point up to architectural trim details, but in the end, will also add a vibrancy and interest to listing photos. (Trust me, off-white, looks old, and dirty white in photos-don’t go there).
To quote Oliver Wendall Holmes, ‘it’s not so much where we stand, but in what direction we are facing. This is the mindset of a successful project. Key is facing forward, take one step at a time, and just keep the conversation going-you’ll get to wherever you want to be.
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