Tips for staging a model home

Most of my staging projects are occupied stagings, which means I am working with the seller’s existing furniture and accessories. There may be a few items from my inventory that enter the stage to refresh the space.

Vacant staging is on the rise in this area. This requires bringing in furniture and accessories to stage an empty house on the market. In most situations, only key rooms are staged, which could be the living/family room, dining room, kitchen and master bedroom. Whether occupied or vacant, staging along with professional listing photos are the best ways to market a house for sale. Read more

Peel & Stick Wood Panels Provide An Instant Reclaimed Look

The showstopper for me at this year’s Architectural Digest Home Design Show in New York was Stikwood, ultrathin wood planks that have an adhesive backing that sticks to just about any surface, creating the look of what would ordinarily be a costly piece of décor.

“I love the smell of wood, the feel of wood. I love everything about wood,” owner and founder Jerry McCall says. “But I’ve always been a bit upset about how wasteful it can be.” The master woodworker came up with a product that would give consumers the look of rustic, reclaimed wall paneling, using as little of the natural resource as possible. Read more

Mom’s got talent

If you need a reminder, Mother’s Day is next Sunday, May 10th. Moms tend to focus on their family and others, sometimes putting themselves on the bottom of a very long list. One cannot associate motherhood without thinking of ‘home’. There is a quote, “Home is where your mom is”.

Norma
Norma

Norma Panelli Halahan is an avid artist and an author of two books. She has three children, Mark Halahan, Maureen Halahan Pooley and Jean Halahan and is an inspiration to her entire family.

Her daughter Jean says, “My mother has been painting for about seventeen years. She started with a local art class and really took off with it.”

Norma wrote two books; Jagged Destinies and If This House Could Talk- The Victorian, which was published in 2014. She also had several short stories published in publications such as: Mature Years, The New York Chronicle, USTA Tennis Magazine.

“Mom is 84 years old and still drives. She walks daily and paint and writes. Painting and writing are her passion. Our house is filled with her beautiful artwork. She is vivacious and very family oriented. I have watched her work take on form over the years. We are a family that supports each other and when we have company her artwork and her writing is a source of lengthy conversation. She is still involved in charity work with the local church, Our Lady of the Assumption. My mother sets an example of all those around her. She is positive and always looks to improve herself”, says Jean.

Over the years, we accumulate items that are passed through the family from generation to generation. There is something very special about art, which emerges from the deepest part of the artist’s soul. Surrounding yourself with items that you love is what makes a house a home, especially when created by a loved one.

As a parent, we can’t help but be proud of our children and their accomplishments. It is very special when our children realize how accomplished their parents are. I can’t think of a better way to pass on the legacy of motherhood than being an inspiration to your children, at any age. Remember, it is never too late to find your passion.

To all the moms out there, I wish you a Happy Mother’s Day.

Mothers hold their children’s hands for a short while, but their hearts forever. ~Author Unknown

Marsala is the Color of the Year for 2015. Why all the hate?

Pantone, the global color authority, announced PANTONE® 18-1438 Marsala, a naturally robust and earthy wine red, as the Color of the Year for 2015.

“While PANTONE 18-3224 Radiant Orchid, the captivating 2014 color of the year, encouraged creativity and innovation, Marsala enriches our mind, body and soul, exuding confidence and stability,” said Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute®.

From the reaction I saw in my Facebook newsfeed to commentary on various posts, you would think the color world is going to crash around us leaving wine stained marks on our rugs and upholstery. Seriously? Why all the hate?

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Vases in varying heights in Marsala (Rossu Bottle Vases, from $49.95 at Crate & Barrel).

Every year I share the color of the year in my “Claudia’s Corner” column in the Times Herald Record. And every year I share this advice, ignore the trends, especially if you don’t like them. But if you do like the color trend, stock up while it is available.

No one says you MUST use a color. No one says you MUST follow a trend. Classics neutrals are always in. Shades of Gray continue to be popular. But guess what, not everyone likes gray, which is a neutral. And not everyone wants to live in a tone on tone creamy blend of whites and grays. Some find that look very cold. After awhile it all start looking the same. Pops of color are a way of adding a bit of flair and personality to a space, whether it is on the walls or in decorative accessories.

One of the best comments I read on a blog regarding Marsala:

“I am so over all the GREY everywhere. Yes, it’s mod, clean, and STERILE. Every white subway tile with grey marble counter room I see makes me feel like I am about to enter the morgue and be embalmed! Bring on Marsala! “

There was even a comparison of Marsala to the color Mauve. Mauve? Really? I lived through the 80’s and remember mauve. This color is definitely not mauve.

Dramatic and at the same time grounding, the rich and full-bodied red-brown Marsala brings color warmth into home interiors. Whether in a flat or textured material, or with a matte or gloss finish, this highly varietal shade combines dramatically with neutrals, including warmer taupes and grays. Because of its burnished undertones, sultry Marsala is highly compatible with amber, umber and golden yellows, greens in both turquoise and teal, and blues in the more vibrant range.

Marsala for Interiors

Complex and full-bodied without overpowering, Marsala provides a unifying element for interior spaces. Add elegance to any room by incorporating this rich and welcoming hue in accent pieces, accessories and paint. Marsala’s plush characteristics are enhanced when the color is applied to textured surfaces, making it an ideal choice for rugs and upholstered living room furniture.

Nurturing and fulfilling, Marsala is a natural fit for the kitchen and dining room – making it ideal for tabletop, small appliances and linens throughout the home. The hue will be especially prominent in striping and floral patterns found in printed placemats, dinnerware, bedding and throws.

Let’s look at the past decades and their colors of the year…

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If we can survive Honeysuckle (a Barbie like pink) and danced our way through the year of Tangerine Tango, this Marsala color is a refreshingly warm and cozy change. It is probably the most realistic color in the above list. I know I will not only be eating it (I make a mean chicken marsala) but wearing it as well (I don’t mean by spilling food on me!). This color is sure to make its way into my closet and home. Let’s all take a deep breath and get over it.

 

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!

Read more

Inspiring inspiration

For the past year I was told I could not do something. As frustrating as it was, I was too busy to do anything about it.  My goal for the new year was to make a big change.  I found someone who told me I can do it. It was a lot of work but the beauty of this change is now I can do what I wanted to do all along. When I got to the point when the end was near and the change was going to take place, it was exhilarating!

Frustrating situations can lead to growth, strength and inspiration. I put the following quote on Facebook…

Original artwork by Julie Saltzberg inspired by Claudia Jacobs's quote.
Art by xo Julissie  inspired by Claudia Jacobs’ quote.

“When someone keeps telling you you can’t do it, find someone who believes you can & shows you how.”

Later that day I had a lovely surprise appear on my Facebook wall. Artist xo Julisse was inspired by my quote and created an art piece and turned me into a winged caricature.

Always listen to your inner voice instead of someone else’s limited point of view. Magical things can happen, including a winged messenger showing up to lead the way.