Sage advice for your home

There are people you meet that keep popping up into your life. There are no coincidences and sometimes you just have to acknowledge and appreciate the connection. Stephanie Uszenski is one of those people.

We first met when I was selling a kitchen hutch on craigslist and she purchased the hutch. Years later she attended a “Fall Back In Love with Your Home” presentation I did at the Hudson Valley Builders & Remodelers Association. Thanks to Facebook, we became friends. A short time later she was having difficulty selling her house, I asked to see the listing, made suggestions, her house sold.

Last month Stephanie took a day off from her job at Millspaugh Furniture in Walden to attend my “House-Life Connection” at the Desmond Campus of Mount Saint Mary College. That is one of my fun classes where we discuss Feng-Shui and how to clear the energy of your home by burning sage, also called smudging. She mentioned how she was always hesitant about doing it but after taking the class she was willing to give it a try.

Here is a link to instructions on how smudge:

Stephanie’s smudging experience:

“I had a negative association of the concept of saging but I am open to new ideas. Your presentation was so clear, and made sense. I did each room from corner to corner. Although I didn’t experience some of the changes in smoke intensity where there are pockets of negativity described in your class, as the fourth owner of this house I was glad to remove any “unknowns”! My house felt ‘dark’ from neglect. The previous owner did not take good care of it.

Later that day

“No one was aware of what I did. When we arrived home, we had our typical chaotic day immediately running to soccer practice which I also coach, rushing back home to finish homework, make dinner and get ready for bed & the next day! It went very, VERY well even with four teen and tween girls!”

Walking into the house the next day, she reported that the house did feel ‘brighter’, like she washed the windows and the walls. “It definitely feels ‘clearer’ in some way and things seem to flow more smoothly. Thank you for the encouragement to try something outside my comfort zone. “

My story

Without sharing too much detail, this had been a rough year for me. Through our friendship, Stephanie made the following observation, “You can be a spokesmodel for the tagline, “never let them see you sweat”. Whatever you went through, you handled it with grace and poise. It’s admirable”.

My secret

When the going gets tough, I get saging. I personally do not do it all the time, just when I feel I need it and for the New Year. It is a reassuring feeling to know, at any point of your life, no matter what comes your way; you can have a fresh start. You just have to clear the air.

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Applying ‘The Four Agreements ®” to your Business & Life

We have all heard this phrase “Everything happens for a reason”. Sometimes we have no control over certain situations. There is only one thing we can control and that is ourselves. In the business world, as service providers, we work with many people with many different personalities and moods. And yes sometimes the different moods and personalities can be packaged into just one person!

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Uncover those Hardwood Floors

Real Estate Home Staging Tip: Uncover your Hardwood Floors

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A great selling feature of a home for sale are beautiful hardwood floors. Many beautiful hardwood floors end up being covered with area rugs which hide the floors.

Take a look at this before and after photo of a bedroom. While walking through this home during a staging consultation I suggested removing the area rug in the room for the listing photos. The seller told me how much she likes the rug. Although it is a very nice rug, we are not decorating the room but staging it. Once the rug was removed the hardwood floors shine for the photos which can be an online attention grabber for the potential buyer.

The Not-so-Glamorous Side of Staging Homes

“You’re a stager. That must be so much fun!”

Fun? Not usually. Don’t get me wrong — I love what I do, but fun is not the appropriate descriptive. There is a lot of physical labor involved in staging, including transporting accessories and furniture: loading, unloading, staging.

It can get dirty when moving and rearranging furniture. It can also get very personal when it comes to addressing some difficult topics of problems in the home.

Read Claudia’s entire article online on Times Herald Record 

How to Reduce the Clutter in your home!

Spring is finally trying to spring and sometimes it feels like it has sprung. And then it doesn’t. So have my spring-cleaning efforts. Like the weather, I start and stop…sometimes within the same hour.

It is just so overwhelming. Somewhere between motivation and inspiration to purge is the stress of having to deal with all the stuff. Then there is the issue of what to do with all the unwanted stuff.

That’s a lot of stuff.

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Millspaugh Furniture and Claudia Jacobs Share ideas for Better Rest!

Local designer & award winning stager (Voted 2011 RESA Professional Stager of the Year) Claudia Jacobs shares some ideas for better rest!

The most important room of the house is often the most neglected. If you’re thinking it’s the kitchen, the heart of the home, you are close. The kitchen nourishes the home but the master bedroom serves the home. Think about how you feel after a night of restless sleep. It really can affect every aspect of our lives including our health.

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We have very busy, stressful lives. Your bedroom should be your safe haven, your escape from the rest of the world. By creating a comfortable space for sleep and relaxation, every night has the potential to be a chance for a well deserved respite from the day. Let’s face it, even a great day can be draining and what better way to recharge than with a good night’s sleep.
Here is a step by step plan to get started. This transformation may not happen overnight but the sooner you start, the sooner you will reap the rewards.

Stand by the entrance of your bedroom and really look at it. If you are pleased, great, if not, analyze the problem. This is what I do on a decorating consultation. It is difficult to be objective with your own space but try to view it as if it wasn’t your place. Consider these typical problem issues:

Clutter: Whether it’s on the floor, your walls or your furniture. Eliminate anything you don’t need or want in your space, including your closet.

Clean: Once you free up surface areas, clean your room from top to bottom. Dust and allergens are not good for sleeping. Consider new pillows and wash your bedspread.

Bed location: This is important and there are many theories about where the bed should be position. It’s best to be able to see the doorway while in bed.

Mattress: If you invest in anything in your home, invest in a good quality mattress. It can change your life.

Sheets: Splurge! Shop around and looks for a high thread count. Your body will be ever so grateful and you will be surprised the selection at various price points.

Style: This is your private space and should reflect your personality. If you live alone, this is easy. If you are a couple, figure out what you both like by discussing it. Go through catalogs and home magazines to see what appeals to both of you and compromise on something you both can live with and love. Once you decide the style, you will be inspired and focused to put it all together. It is interesting to see a very feminine bedroom and there is no sign a male even dwells in the house.

Bedding: Shop for a comforter set or bedspread. This is usually the most difficult item to find it will set the tone for your room. Again, there are many styles and prices to choose from.

Color: Find inspiration in your bedding for window treatments and paint. I love the effect of painting the wall behind the bed an accent color.

Change: Personal preference should change as you or your situation changes. My bedroom has evolved over the last ten years. I went from a very feminine shabby chic look with lots of lavender and cream to the exact opposite. Now it is a warm room of dark wood contemporary furniture surrounded by earth tones and a spicy cinnamon color with a dramatic accent wall.

Sweet dreams!

Before and After Home Staging

Before and After Home Staging

“After being on the market for 2 years, why isn’t my house selling?”

While on the phone sensing the frustration in her voice, I listened and knew before asking for the address to view the listing what the problem was. The online photos.

The sellers have a lovely home that is well maintained and immaculate. There is nothing ‘wrong’ with the home. The problem is that is there is a disconnection between who is living in the home now and who the target market is.

When this home was purchased about 25 years ago, it was to create a home to raise a family. The current owners are about to retire and relocate South. This home needs to be marketed to who they were 25 years ago.

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Kitchen Staging, Before and After, View 1
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Kitchen Staging Before and After, View 2
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Before and After Basement

WHAT I DID:
Staged it and took new listing photos. This did not need a major overhaul.

Edit a few items with in each room.
Rearrange the furniture in the basement.
Bring in 2 parsons chairs for the kitchen to replace the bulky existing chairs.
Car filled with decorative accessories to set the stage for new photos to appeal to the target market.
Take and edit new listing photos.

HOW MUCH DID IT COST?
2 hours on site
1 hour to edit photos & send to Realtor & homeowner
$300

The cost of staging is less than the first price reduction.

If you have a listless listing, call for staging help. Staging bridges the generation gap