Musings from a life of chances and changes
We all have our passions. I come by one of mine honestly. My mother and grandmother were decorators. They used their coveted Chicago Merchandise Mart card to enter the Kennedy owned mecca for all things interior design to score wonderful furniture and furnishings for clients, friends, and family. As a child, I took the long trip from Skokie into the City, made longer because my mother never drove on the highway, and once inside the Mart, we walked the massive corridors filled with showrooms of every imaginable type and style. Not feeling overwhelmed in that environment was a challenge. But after years of "don't touch that", graduating to "what do you think of this fabric on that chair?" I felt comfortable as an "apprentice" and looked forward to using my own Mart card one day. Even though my career path resulted in my becoming an attorney and later a realtor, I continued to be obsessed with design. I'd scour over every Architectural Digest, House Beautiful and a multitude of other design magazines; I continued to visit showrooms and stores: and I believed I was connected to the latest trends and products. It's now twenty-three years since my home addition and renovation. Trends, like most things, come and go. Although I still think I know quality decorating when I see it, I recently felt like the old proverb about shoemaker's child going barefoot. A new dinner guest remarked that she would change out my brass kitchen hardware for stainless. I'm thinking..."my decorating is so...1993." How can I advise clients how to present their home for sale in the best light if I'm in the dark? Staging is an incredibly important aspect of a real estate sale transaction. Wondering how I could let myself go and in an effort to seem less out of touch I turned to some of the experts in design...I give you my first installment of BergerBroker Doing Design.Now is the time to focus on what is hip, (if that's even cool anymore), as reported by numerous sources. Incredibly my outdated, worn, brass hardware is in vogue. But before I feel all smug and content I need to back this up. Thankfully an article in House Beautiful from 2015 did my job for me when looking at this major trend.
"Keep a sharp eye out for brass to become one of the major players when choosing finishes for lighting, drapery hardware, and kitchen/bath hardware. We've suffered through a long drought of only polished or brushed chrome/nickel for long enough." I'm thinking that suffering from polished or brushed chrome/nickel is a bit extreme, but my brass hardware is not ideal. It is not supposed to be brassy. "This new brass is also a decidedly old one - it's not a highly lacquered brass of the late 1980s. This new option tends to be more of a worn, unpolished brass of the 1880s! Much less Brady Bunch and more Downton Abbey." So I get it...but now I have to make my shiny brass look like it's 23 years old if it doesn't look like that already. Writer Heidi Potter makes sure I understand that it's not my grandmother's brassy style. She suggests that I have to adjust my perspective on what brass needs to look like and that is understated and elegant, not a trip down memory lane.
For many of us, giving up stainless, brushed chrome and nickel would be like me giving up Starbucks. So, if you want to just take it slow and not dive into the brass revival, designer Lee
Robbinsson suggests you use it as an accessory.
Ofcourse not to be outdone Martha Stewart knows the importance of updating tired kitchens and finds brass hardware and a coat of paint a terrific solution.
It not difficult to find beautiful accessories. So who creates metallic metals better than Michael Aram? His handcrafted artistry is fabulous and much of his newest collection in furniture and accessories focuses on golden hues. michaelaram.
As you get more comfortable with the concept, Elle Decor illustrates bringing brass into your scheme without going reflective overload.
It is remarkable that my blast from the past hardware resulted in an exploration of this design rewind. What do you think of replacing stainless with a 21st-century brass statement? Maybe I'll buy those shoes I've been eyeing instead and take another 23 years to think about it!
You're about to sell your home. You look around the house and see that you need to remodel or replace items in various rooms. You do your research and find the updates that will bring you the most return on your investment. But before you spend your budget on the interior, take a deep breath and go outside. The most important thing you need to take care of is your home's curb appeal. Try to see the exterior of the home through the eyes of a buyer. Without curb appeal, buyers tend to walk away. The first impression is critical. Here are some improvements that will entice buyers to leave the curb and walk inside.
1. Roofing. Buyers notice if your roof needs repair. They are already adding up the expense to repair or replace it. You may just need to do a simple cleaning, or the roof may require something more extensive. If you are going to replace the roof, look at the architectural details of your home. Savvy buyers know that a Mediterranean tile roof looks odd on a prairie style home. Likewise, the least expensive flat roof does nothing to enhance the beauty of your home, but it is easier on the budget. Think about the fact that you are trying to maximize your ability to sell. Buyers are not looking to see "personality" up there. It's more important to appeal to the masses than to take risks. So, if you decide to install a red roof, buyers may prefer an overnight motel stay than an investment property.
2. Cleaning. It seems like a no-brainer but most of us come in and out of our homes without looking at them critically. One of the least expensive ways to achieve curb appeal is to use a pressure washer on the walkways, garage, oil stains on the driveway and other dirty surfaces. Windows should sparkle and have no visible spider webs. Also, make sure the yard is free of the remnants of dog waste. Nothing kills curb appeal more than a buyer stepping on dog poop.
3. Painting. The best use of your exterior budget is to paint where needed. If you do a visual check around your house, you will notice areas that may need to be repaired. In an effort to take my own advice, I looked at the wood trim on my stone house. Seeing an area that a woodpecker attacked, I called the painter. Resist the urge to renovate the entire exterior. It isn't necessary and it will definitely bust your budget. It is best to take a chip from your existing paint and match it. In terms of color, do not go wild. It is better to blend in with your neighborhood. Appraisers have been known to decrease the value of a home with a wild paint color.
4. Landscaping. I have to admit that I am a sucker for beautiful landscaping. Keep the grass in top shape or repair some of the rough spots. Trim bushes and trees that hide your home. Even landscaping can be outdated and tired looking. Open up the look of your house and manicure or replace the old overgrown evergreens. Using simple dark mulch around the shrubs is a quick refresh to spruce up the yard. As with everything else it is smart not to overdo. Too many potted planters look busy and colors should be neutral. Limit the display of lawn ornaments to only those that enhance the look of your home.
5. Hardscaping. Some of the most attractive features in a home are its hardscapes. All sidewalks, driveways, patios, and decks, need to be in good repair. If you do not have a deck or patio, rest assured you will get an incredible return on your investment by building a good one. The National Association of Realtors found that a patio recoups 102% of its cost and a deck recoups 106%. You will also benefit from the outdoor living and entertaining spaces.
Selling your home is a difficult process. Make it easier by doing ongoing maintenance and upgrades while living in your home. When you follow these tips and are ready to sell, your improvements will translate into excellent curb appeal and the buyers will line up at your front door.