Want to know how a home truly lives? Take a staging class and put your best foot forward next time you list. That is exactly what agent Genna Banta did for this University Terrace home, and now she’s watching the interest pour in!

Genna, a listing agent and current owner of this Midcentury beauty on Lehigh Drive, found her way into the class of our very own resident staging expert, Karen Eubank. And by using Karen’s tips, Genna was able to highlight the very best features of this week’s three-bedroom, two-full-bathroom pick.

A Cosmetic Rehab To Turn Heads

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organizing is her passion

Melanie Fowler has a knack for removing and sorting clutter in Fort Worth homes with Sort + Space. (photos: Joy Joseph Photography)

Let’s face it: we like to accumulate things.  Whether we want to admit it or not, it’s not in our DNA to be minimalists. Sure, some might think they live a clutter-free life, but in all reality, we need help organizing our clutter.

We need Sort + Space.

Sort + Space is the brainchild of Melanie Fowler, a member of the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals, who has a unique talent for organizing messes across the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex.

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Real Estate Story

Selling Your House Infographic Header

So you’re thinking of selling? Now’s certainly a great time, and with buyers snapping up houses fast and furious. Think you don’t have to do much before you list, right?

Wrong. If you want top dollar for your house or condo, you need to create a love affair between your home and prospective buyers. Buyers may be eager, but they’ve still got options and you want to entice them.

We’ve talked to some of the very best Realtors in town to find out how they tell clients to prepare their listing, and created a handy infographic for you, too. So check out their home selling tips below!

1. CREATE CLASSIC CURB APPEAL

Dave Perry-Miller, owner of Dave Perry-Miller Real Estate, says curb appeal is like a first date.

“Would someone go on a first date with a stained shirt?” he asked. “Make your first impression one of excitement and fun anticipation!”

In fact, Perry-Miller says the front door should be the focus of your efforts.

“Start from the front door and move out from that. The further a buyer gets from the front door, the less impact,” he said. “If a buyer doesn’t like how a house looks when they drive up, it’s an uphill battle.”

Christy Berry, Executive Vice President at Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty, agrees.

“Drive-up appeal is crucial and first impressions are everything,” Berry said. “Be sure your landscaping is groomed and there is a pop of color. Remove the wreaths from the doors, too.”

Curb appeal gets buyers in the door, so even if you don’t have a lot of money to spend, make sure you get your front looking fresh and clean. Simple things, like power washing the driveway and sidewalk, replacing bulbs in outdoor fixtures, and repainting the front door can make a big impact.

“Have trees trimmed and the lawn manicured and free of weeds, and do landscape improvements, like fresh mulch in beds, seasonal color in beds or pots of flowers,” said Jacqui Bloomquist, Realtor and Marketing Specialist at Coldwell Banker, Apex. “Add sod in bare spots and keep your lawn watered and maintained at all times.”

For condo sellers, the common area needs the same level of attention.

“If you live in a condo, make sure the corridor to the unit is cleaned and refreshed before showings,” said Kyle Crews, a realtor with Allie Beth Allman & Associates Urban. “My Urban team knows I keep a bottle of diluted Fabuloso that I spray in condo corridors and in vacant units to eliminate odors.”

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The Rojo Collection from Azulina Ceramics. All photos: Melissa Moriarty

The Rojo Collection from Azulina Ceramics. All photos: Melissa Moriarty

Creating beautiful tablescapes is an art that combines functionality, flow, and style. Dinnerware is often relegated to a neutral backdrop and other elements take center stage.

Not so with Azulina Ceramics, dinnerware and servingware hand-painted by artisan women in Colombia and bursting with bright, happy colors and designs. Their craft  dates back over 100 years, and about three-and-a-half years ago, Houston-native Melissa Moriarty became enchanted with the style.

Moriarty moved to Medellín, Colombia, in the fall of 2011 and while living there, a friend told her about a small town known for its hand-painted ceramics, about 90 minutes outside the city.

“One day, when I was on the hunt for the perfect wedding gift, I drove out to the town, El Carmen de Viboral, and found a treasure trove of gorgeous blue and white ceramics,” Moriarty said. “The light bulb went off and I almost immediately came up with the idea to setup a business to sell the pottery in the U.S. I just knew that I couldn’t be the only one who would fall in love with the ceramics.”

Melissa Moriarty

Azulina Ceramics owner and founder Melissa Moriarty

She was right on, and Azulina Ceramics is for sale online and in over 35 stores in the U.S., including 11 in Texas and two in North Texas, P.S. The Letter and the Kimbell Art Museum gift shop.

I asked Moriarty about creating the perfect tablescape and to tell us the story of these lovely ceramics. She’s got great tips and a fascinating story!

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Selling Your House Infographic Header

So you’re thinking of selling? Now’s certainly a great time, and with buyers snapping up houses fast and furious, and sales prices up 12 percent in January! Think you don’t have to do much before you list, right?

Wrong. If you want top dollar for your house or condo, you need to create a love affair between your home and prospective buyers. Buyers may be eager, but they’ve still got options and you want to entice them.

We’ve talked to some of the very best Realtors in town to find out how they tell clients to prepare their listing, and created a handy infographic for you, too. So check out their home selling tips below!

 

1. CREATE CLASSIC CURB APPEAL

Dave Perry-Miller, owner of Dave Perry-Miller Real Estate, says curb appeal is like a first date.

“Would someone go on a first date with a stained shirt?” he asked. “Make your first impression one of excitement and fun anticipation!”

In fact, Perry-Miller says the front door should be the focus of your efforts.

“Start from the front door and move out from that. The further a buyer gets from the front door, the less impact,” he said. “If a buyer doesn’t like how a house looks when they drive up, it’s an uphill battle.”

Christy Berry, Executive Vice President at Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty, agrees.

“Drive-up appeal is crucial and first impressions are everything,” Berry said. “Be sure your landscaping is groomed and there is a pop of color. Remove the wreaths from the doors, too.”

Curb appeal gets buyers in the door, so even if you don’t have a lot of money to spend, make sure you get your front looking fresh and clean. Simple things, like power washing the driveway and sidewalk, replacing bulbs in outdoor fixtures, and repainting the front door can make a big impact.

“Have trees trimmed and the lawn manicured and free of weeds, and do landscape improvements, like fresh mulch in beds, seasonal color in beds or pots of flowers,” said Jacqui Bloomquist, Realtor and Marketing Specialist at Coldwell Banker, Apex. “Add sod in bare spots and keep your lawn watered and maintained at all times.”

For condo sellers, the common area needs the same level of attention.

“If you live in a condo, make sure the corridor to the unit is cleaned and refreshed before showings,” said Kyle Crews, a realtor with Allie Beth Allman & Associates Urban. “My Urban team knows I keep a bottle of diluted Fabuloso that I spray in condo corridors and in vacant units to eliminate odors.”

Jump to read more and see the infographic!

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Undecorate by Christiane Lemeux

In case you have not noticed it, interior design seems to be awfully sleepy these days. Robb & Stucky is in Chapter 11. The “biggest recession since the Great Depression” killed off¬† at least a dozen shelter magazines, the survivors suffering along on rations of 30 percent fewer advertising pages these last three years, according to the Media Industry Newsletter. Interior designers who do not have a steady clientele of the wealthy at hand are hurting.¬† Now there’s a book to chronicle it all, Undecorate. What we have today is a cultural expression or outcry against coordinated interiors, (Pottery Barn?), with even those who could afford $131,000 for area rugs, a $68,000 antique credenza, guest chairs costing $87,000, a $35,000 commode, and a $1,400 wastebasket like John Thain abstaining. Instead, we have

“a new breed of self-curating, design-smart amateurs spurred to resourcefulness by the recession and assisted by the Internet in finding materials and furnishings at deep discounts. The result is an outpouring of homegrown inventiveness ‚Äî sofas upholstered with burlap coffee sacks, stereo speakers made from Ikea salad bowls, party decorations conscripted as permanent ornamentation.”

Translation: there’s a new freedom to do whatever the doo-doo you wish:

“There’s no longer any good or bad,” said Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan, a founder of Apartment Therapy, a home design blog. “That new openness is the story. We’re all swirling around together.”

But how do you “swirl” and still sell your home? Can you really sell a loft with an airsteam inside, as one Chicago couple lives? That may explain why the Chicago real estate market is having such a tough time. If “the central tenet of the undecorate movement is that personal expression matters more than professional polish,” I will say this: no wonder your undecorated house is not selling, and the last time we insisted that personal expression trump discipline, we produced a generation of hot-housed, spoiled children who are having a tough time surviving on their own and cutting the apron strings. Something like 40% of all 2008 grads still live with their parents today.

Maybe what we need is a follow up book to show us how to toughen up design standards: “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Designer”. I called on home stager Karen Eubankto tell me what she thinks about this, um, un-trend:

“It’s not so much that personal expression will hamper the sale. Stagers want your house to have some style and personality. It’s not about painting everything beige, it’s about making the home appeal to the target demographic. If you are selling a University Park home, you are not appealing to someone who wants to be in Lake Highlands. Different demographics require different solutions. A professional stager knows the neighborhood, the buying audience, the lifestyle. While, yes, we are going to take those family photos down, we are not necessarily going to ask you to store the art collection, well unless it’s really depressing. I had to convince a home owner to take down some Hurricane Katrina art. ¬†Yes it was beautiful and ¬†It was moving but so depressing potential buyers would have wanted to slit their wrists.”

We certainly don’t want buyers to slit their wrists! Today’s home seller, says Karen, wants more of a “creative partner” and cost effective solutions — makes sense.

A lot of people are afraid of the term “Interior Designer”. It makes them think they will spend a lot of money and most of their possessions will be kicked to the curb. The largest home buying segment has grown up on HGTV. They want to be involved. They have style , taste and ideas.They just don’t have the time to execute their ideas or the resources. They also like their possessions and want to work them into the new design. Of course they are extremely budget conscious. Enter the new”Interior Stylist” or Re Designer or the Stage to Sell stager. There are a lot of terms so it can get confusing. We are coming from the photography , t.v. and film industries and the staging industry. The whole idea of Interior Design has been updated ¬†and the way of working with clients has changed. Of course there are loads of fantastic Interior Designers who got with the program years ago and those are the ones with thriving business models today.”