Thursday, 26 January 2012

Tips for staging your home for sale

Today is a great day, full of sunshine and good news. I have a big smile on my face and have probably drunk too much coffee so am pretty hyper with it!
Anyway, enough about that and onto business! My column in this weeks Express and Echo out today provides readers with handy tips to increase your chances of selling your home, once a potential buyer steps inside it. So, if you've got your house on the market and would like some ideas and helpful tips here are some that should get your home sale-ready.

In a market such as this, where the buyer tends to have the upper hand, it is vital to make your home stand out above the rest. You need to create a home that a potential buyer can envisage themselves living in, making them want to place that all important offer. However, once a home has been created, it can be hard to view it from another person’s perspective. What you think is the only layout for the furniture in your home, may in fact be holding back it’s potential. 

So to see your home through a fresh pair of eyes, consider these few steps, which will help you give your home a fresh look and more importantly stage it ready for viewings.

·         De-clutter - have a major de-cluttering session; think about each item in your home and decide whether to keep or get rid of it or if it just needs to be tidied away. Clear surfaces, put small items away in baskets or boxes and keep it that way.

Pretty storage baskets are a great way to keep 'bits' tidy

·         De-personalise - remove from view anything that is personal to you and your family. Having photographs on display can be distracting for potential buyers as they want to imagine themselves living in your home with their pictures on the wall.

You could use empty frames to create impact on a wall instead

·         DIY - get on and fix all those niggling jobs that you keep putting off; fill holes, fix cracks, replace dead light bulbs and replace things that look worn. Small changes can have a big impact, especially when buyers are looking for any excuse to knock down the price.

·         Design - scrutinise how your furniture is arranged and move it around until the layout makes the most of the space in order to maximise it. Replace bold colour schemes with neutrals and make sure windows are dressed with curtains or blinds.

Fresh, light & welcoming bedroom

·         Dress - a beautiful, desirable home is one that is clean, well presented and welcoming. Fill vases with flowers and make sure it smells clean and fresh. Also be sure that exterior of your house has curb appeal by mowing the lawn, tidying planted areas and making sure the pathway is clear. At the end of the day you want the outside gives the first impression and should reflect how clean and well looked after the interior is.

Simple displays of flowers bring rooms to life

When trying to sell your home the key is to emotionally disconnect from it and consider how to maximise its marketability. Simply following these few important steps will prep it ready for sale, creating a perfect home for any potential buyer. Good luck!

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Fabulous floors

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Morning! It's one of those grey, drizzly days and I feel like curling up with my coffee on the sofa and eating a fresh baked stem ginger muffin...instead I'm working hard on my latest project (an exciting retail fit out...more info to follow in due course!) and whilst searching for flooring I find harveymaria.... seriously fabulous flooring. Wow. Why haven't I come across this before? I obviously just haven't been paying enough attention!

So to stick to my promise to share all wonderful home decoration things I come across, today I present to you the most brilliant and unique range of flooring I've yet to discover.

Meadow £39.95 per sqm

 A fantastically realistic 'Meadow' design, which would be perfect for an entrance hallway to keep muddy boots feeling at home.

Petals £39.95 per sqm
A carpet of rose petals, hopelessly romantic - the perfect floor for a dreamy bathroom or romantic bedroom.

Cath Kidston Rose Sprig £39.95 per sqm
For all you Cath Kidston lovers out there, now not only can you drape yourself in the fabric and buy just about every accessory in your favourite CK print, but you can walk all over it too! Perfect for a shabby chic country cottage look.

Claret leather look £49.90 per sqm
You could even get the look of real leather with all the practical benefits of a modern resilient floor covering. available in six colourways. Available in a stunning choice of colours, it's the ultimate in luxury floor design.

Colours by LSI £39.95 per sqm
Or you could go outright colour crazy and be bold with one of 13 colours from LSI. Fantastic.

I just love the fact that there is SO much choice out there. The hardest thing is how to choose... I think I need that muffin first *smile*.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Little tricks for big impact

Not many of us feel particularly flush at this time of year, however a lot of us do want to mark the new year by making changes to our home. So today I would like to share with you some creative, personal and practically free ideas for creating something new from not very much.

Create your own displays by merchandising objects that you have collected over the years. Add a few vintage find ornaments and new candles and stand back and admire. I like to group things in threes for maximum effect but the options are endless. I love this imaginative way of displaying photos by photographer Monica Rich Kosann from her book 'Living With What You Love'. 

Customise wooden chairs by re-painting them, tying funky bows around the backs of them or recovering seat pads with inexpensive fabric remnants.

This is a perfect example of how to add a funky bow, made by Done Over Girl, USA

Hang out in second hand shops, where you can bag bargains from house clearances. A bit of a clean and a lick of paint to an old side table will totally transform it.

Amazing what a clean, some Annie Sloan paint & some TLC can do!

Paint a selection of empty photo frames in a stand out colour, leave them empty and display them on an empty wall. The designs and styles you can create are endless and whatever creation you end up making will be entirely your own, creating impact and interest without the need for art or photographs - the frames themselves become the art.

A unique creation by Serge Van Lian for StyleWhipped

Instead of buying a new floor lamp, buy a second hand lamp base from a charity shop or car boot sale and add an inexpensive new lampshade. Why not get a custom made one to co-ordinate with the rest of your soft furnishings?

This June Song lampshade made by Quincy Lampshades is perfect for  making
over a second hand find

Get creative with chalkboard paint, not just in black but a wide number of colours (try Pebeo for a selection of colours, available on Paint your fridge door, tables, labels, backs of doors, plant pots... cut out shapes of mdf, paint them with chalkboard paint and hang them on the wall, you could even paint a whole wall. Once it’s dry you and the family can have fun drawing pictures and messages with chalk. Or for a more practical use check out this dresser below, I love it!

Dresser makeover by Elka Karl

Frame beautiful pieces of wrapping paper or page pull-outs from coffee table magazines and hang on the wall. Cheap, unique and if you get bored of it, simply change it! I have just fallen in love with the Paperchase Ava range, new for spring 2012. Frame the giftwrap, pile up the gift boxes (so pretty and so useful for storing bits and bobs), curl up on the sofa with the matching mug and write down your thoughts and dreams in the fabric notebook. My stationery obsession continues..! 

Graphic, funky bright birds and neutral grey...perfect for spring

Last but not least, treat yourself to some fresh flowers and display them in a vase. Gorgeous!

Quick, simple and inexpensive ideas to add a personal touch of style to your home...and Home Restyler has plenty more ideas, which I will keep on sharing with you. I hope you like them and that they give you inspiration and ideas for your home.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Ready...and action!

I have had great joy over the past week getting my house ready for a magazine photoshoot. Colin and Annabelle from PhotoWord Ltd have spent the day with me at home taking lots of pictures for a magazine article, which is due out later this year. Although I can't share the final shots with you until the magazine is published, I thought you might like to see some behind the scenes shots of the living room to get a feel for what we've been up to today.

  Setting up the equipment
Colin positioning his gear

The dining area all ready for its close up

Styled for the shoot

Not often the photographer gets snapped!

Colin at work

Me having a profile picture taken
It has been a great day and Annabelle took a long time interviewing me so I'm looking forward to seeing what she writes and how she describes my house...! I'll let you know when the article is out in print and share some more photos here on the blog. Hmm, now I'd like to kick back with a glass of wine and more cleaning and styling for me for a while ;)

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Wonderful wonderwall

When it seems like there couldn't possibly be anything new to add to an already incredibly diverse and cram packed full selection of wallpapers, some incredibly talented designer dreams up something to turn heads. Whilst on the hunt for a deliciously interesting wallpaper for a client, I came across the following wallpapers, which I just have to share with you. I am sure you will agree they really are something else...

So real, you want to reach out and stroke them. Now your walls can be wrapped up in elegant hues of grey cable knit. Nuttall also sells linen and and herringbone look wallpaper.
Lyart, Mist & Pepper grey cable knit wallpapers, Nuttall £140 per 10m roll

If you dream of having a library full of books but can't stretch to the real thing, then check out Mineheart's Vintage Bookshelf wallpaper. The wallpaper features shelves of old books to create a vintage library look and would suit feature walls or a whole room. Incredible.

Vintage looking wallpaper in a contemporary space, Mineheart £70 per roll

How about a woodland walk in Springtime? No, still winter? Too cold outside? Then bring the spring indoors and cover your wall with this stunning, bright and light Hide & Seek WallPiece by the brilliant Scandinavian Surface design team.

Peek-a-boo! Available from

I hope you like the designs I have shared with you. Why not check out their websites, there are so many designs available, goodness knows how you'll ever choose!

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Looks designer dahling!

Some of us have it, some of us don't.
I'm not talking that 'je ne sais quoi', I mean money... you know the stuff that gives us access to all things material. Well if you're one of those who can only dream of buying designer furniture then today may be your lucky day! Whilst researching designer chairs for one of my current clients, I came across this website.

Milan Direct
Milan Direct first launched in Australia and following it's UK launch in 2009, is now one of the largest online designer furniture retailers. BUT before you think "oh great, designer = expensive" don't! Their philosophy is all about providing products that are premium-end reproductions of modern-retro classics...

...think Arne Jacobsen Swan chair

Design classic - Swan chair copy, a mere snap at £189

...think Tolomeo Desk Lamp by Michele De Lucchi, which won the Compasso d'Oro design prize in 1989

available for an amazing £39!

...think Eames lounge chair and ottoman

what a way to sit back & relax at only £699

So whether you have it or you don't have it...who will ever know? It's all about making the most of what you've got...dahling!

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Empty jam jar?

What a pretty idea! Not all of us have time to make our own jam or have time to think about what to do with empty jam jars other than toss them in the recycling box, so how about this for a quick, pretty and inexpensive way to make a little something from nothing.

Scarlett Willow sells this cute set of three paper table lanterns that are available in a contemporary tree design. The Shine Lanterns set comes in a mix and match range of reversible patterns and styles, in funky hues of coral, teal, yellow and turquoise. Simply wrap around an empty jam jar, pop in a tealight and watch the gentle flicker of candlelight patterns across the room. I agree with Scarlett Willow "simple but beautiful". Best of all they are on sale - they were £9.25, now £7.40 for a set of 3.  
(Size: 15cm, lanterns come flat-packed).

Scarlett Willow also sells a beautiful selection of tableware and kitchenware, lots of which can be personalised, bringing style and design to your table.  

I think the "placemap" personalised map placemats are brilliant for sparking conversation at the dinner table, don't you...

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

The search is over

Uh oh, this could be dangerous...

I came across this website today and I am hooked. It is brilliant. The perfect one stop website to help you find the development property / plot of your dreams. The website's founders, Julian Bryson and Richard Bartlett, started as a solution to the persistent problem of finding unmodernised property easily online. The site is  fully searchable, agent-supplied, unmodernised-only property database that is maintained and updated in real time.

As well as helping you find your ideal plot, you can also;
  • ask experts for feedback and help with your property development questions
  • use developer tools for quick, easy financial appraisals of potential projects.
  • access sophisticated project management software to help you manage your property project
  • keep up to date with the all the latest developments in the property community
It's an easy to use website, that provides you with all the relevant details about any property that takes your fancy...good bye trawling the internet and signing up for numerous alerts and newsletters, this website does it all.

Hmm, now how's about that plot overlooking the sea..!

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Time to get fresh!

Gosh, I'm back at my desk following a fab Christmas and there's already so much to's all so exciting! I have all sorts planned that I look forward to sharing with you over the coming months...

Happy New Year!
I love the start to a new year. As much as I love decorating for the festive period, I also get so much satisfaction from taking it all down, having a readlly good clean and sort out ready to 're-merchandise' the whole house. Trouble is I'm always so tempted to redecorate the whole house and try out new colour schemes...So this year I'm focusing my attention on making the most of what I already have whilst trying to whittle down my wish list of all things homey that I'm obsessing about currently.

My top tips for curbing the desire to rip-out and start over;

1. Find a project within the home that you keep putting off and GET ON WITH IT! 

A beautiful colour co-ordinated walk-in wardobe...a girl can dream, right?!
For me, this is transforming what the previous owners of my house made into a master bedroom en-suite into a walk-in wardrobe. Seeing as the house is on the market I'm trying to do this on a tight budget but to make-it look complete, perfectly formed and desirable for both me and any potential buyer. This is the last room in the house that needs to a total overhaul since we bought it and gutted it 1 and 1/2 years ago. Time to crack on with it...I'll keep you posted!

2. Re-merchandise what you already own

When I decorate for Christmas I put away a lot of my objects and home accessories, so when it comes to the NewYear, I take it all out again and look at it with a fresh perspective. Why not gather all (or if you have rather a lot) some of yours and take a look at them with a fresh pair of eyes. Re-jig your furniture and you'll achieve a whole new look for a room. Move cushions, pictures and objects around and you'll be surprised how different your home will look.

3. Buy some fresh flowers

Yellow blooms will brighten any room
Putting a bunch of fresh flowers in a vase in your home at the start of the new year, somehow breathes new light and energy into the house. It adds colour, lifts the mood and doesn't cost much. It's my wedding anniversary today so you never know, I may not even have to buy my own hee hee!

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and New Years celebration and I look forward to sharing all things wonderfully homey with you throughout 2012!