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Lessons From Listing Photos: This South Carolina Mansion Went From Traditional to Trendy

December 12, 2019

It doesn’t matter how perfect your home is—if your listing photos don’t stand out, potential buyers won’t come by to take a look. In our series “Lessons From Listing Photos,” we dissect the smart updates sellers have made to their homes, and how their listing pictures highlight the home’s best assets.

There was nothing wrong with this Sullivans Island, SC, home when the sellers purchased it. It was built in 2005, so it hadn’t acquired decades of wear quite yet, but the decor did display furniture trends and colors that were hot in the early 2000s.

Before they put it on the market once again, the sellers decided to update a few of the home’s interior details, embracing many of the hottest trends of the moment. It’s a great example of how small touches can make a big difference—and how you can stir up more interest in your home without a major renovation project.

Below, our design experts highlight the stylish changes that the sellers made, how they likely affected the sale of the home, and (most importantly) how you can make the same thing happen in your home.

Before: Bedroom

south carolina before and after
The old bedroom looked crowded with too much furniture.

After: Bedroom

south carolina before and after
Now, the bedroom has a strong design point of view.

south carolina before and after
A smaller dresser makes the room appear more spacious.

There’s no denying that this is a comfy bedroom, but the design in the after photo is a lot more on-trend than the other—and our experts were quick to point out why.

“The before image is very matchy-matchy, which is slowly going out, while the layered, textured, and eclectic design in the after photo is in,” says Katie Stix, partner and design director at Anderson Design Studio. “The antique-looking bed mixed with more modern bedside tables and area rug is very trendy. All-white walls is also something you see a lot these days.”

Nisha MacNeil, design manager at Kerr Construction & Design, says the white room allows a few colorful features to pop.

“This is a huge trend and really allows you versatility in the space,” she says.

Before: Kitchen

south carolina before and after
The kitchen was perfectly functional, but needed a design refresh.

After: Kitchen

south carolina before and after
Small touches make the kitchen look more polished.

You have to look pretty closely to see the changes in the kitchen, but once you do, you won’t be sure how you missed them.

“This kitchen had great bones; I would die for this space,” says MacNeil. “Shiplap walls, artisan subway tile, exposed beams, and great natural light. Who could ask for more?”

But despite the architectural quality of the kitchen, there was still room to update the decor, brighten up the space, and bring it into this decade.

“By opting for clear-glass pendants over the island and sink and removing that piece of art over the range, the whole space now breathes and feels so warm and inviting,” says MacNeil.

“The bar stools have a lot more personality, and are very trendy,” says Stix. “The woven vinyl look with curved wood frame play off the other wood tones and add more visual interest. They fill the space a lot better and are more comfortable than backless stools.”

Paul Trudel-Payne, founder and creative designer of Casa Consult+Design, says the simple changes in the light fixtures and bar stools really updated the space and infused true style into the kitchen.

“While this update is not major at all, I really feel like buyers will resonate with the attention to detail,” he says.

Before: Living room

south carolina before and after
Before, the living room decor was basic as can be.

After: Living room

south carolina before and after
New furniture and a fresh coat of paint give this space a new vibe.

This gorgeous living room is where the biggest decor changes were made.

“It almost looks like an actual renovation took place” says Tiffany Fasone, owner and CEO of Voila Design Home. “Previously, the living room felt very dated and heavy: the white slipcovers, all of the different wood tones in the floors and furniture, and the dark bricks on the fireplace. … The new style feels more current.”

Fresh white paint helps the room feel open, airy, and modern.

“They also did a clever trick by simply whitewashing the brick to tone down the red of the original brick. This really softens the space, but still leaves the history and texture intact,” MacNeil says.

The white walls also leave room for the new colorful furniture and artwork to take center stage.

“I love that they contrasted the blue sofas with the citron geometric rug,” says Stix.

“The luxe vibe created with the royal blue velvet sofas is everything,” adds Trudel-Payne.

Before: Porch

The old porch was a cozy place to hang out.

After: Porch

Now, it’s a chic lounge.

Who wouldn’t want to spend a Sunday morning sipping coffee on this redesigned back porch? The space itself is idyllic, but the previous design—which included turquoise sofas and pillows that looked more suited for a child’s room—left much to be desired. But brand-new furniture and a revamp of the fireplace make this space just as tasteful as the interiors.

“This porch is now a design lesson in how to do white on white properly. You need texture, and lots of it,” explains MacNeil. “The ceiling joists, which are exposed, and shiplap walls are part of this texture. In the furnishings they made selections that had texture, like the woven armchairs and the rug all in tone-on-tone white and off-white.”

Fasone agrees that going all white was a good move, and sees another benefit to the redesign: “The porch feels more like part of the exterior now that they used outdoor woven patio furniture instead of the oversized aqua matching love seats,” she says.

Before: Sitting room

sitting room_before
Not everyone is a fan of turquoise walls.

After: Sitting room

sitting room_after
White paint on the walls elevates the design of this room.

The sitting room was probably the most outdated space in the whole house, and our experts say the sellers embraced all the right trends to bring it into the present.

“This room felt so stuffy before with the furniture choices and wall sconces. Now it has a perfectly curated, eclectic feel,” says MacNeil. “The key here is the rug has an aged look, and matches so well with the floors so it blends together and creates the perfect base. The traditional turned-leg desk feels so sweet, but juxtaposed with the black and white artwork it gives it a real kick. Throw in the Eames chair, and it’s the perfect balance of traditional, modern, and rock and roll.”

“Getting rid of that robin’s-egg blue wall is long overdue. That, plus the removal of ornate gold art, bulky furniture, and dated sconces really brings the space into this decade,” says Trudel-Payne. “Although my favorite new detail is the refinished original hardwood floors that were sitting beneath the carpet.”

The post Lessons From Listing Photos: This South Carolina Mansion Went From Traditional to Trendy appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights |®.

Lessons From Listing Photos: A Minimalist Home in Portland With Major Scandinavian Vibes

November 20, 2019

It doesn’t matter how perfect your home is—if your listing photos don’t stand out, potential buyers won’t come by to take a look. In our series “Lessons From Listing Photos,” we dissect the smart updates sellers have made to their homes, and how their listing pictures highlight the home’s best assets.

This spacious Portland home has an innate cool factor, thanks to its high ceilings and midcentury architecture. When the sellers purchased it for $548,000 in 2012, it was already a unique home—but the dark, outdated interiors were badly in need of a refresh. It’s a good thing this place had so much potential!

A total redesign with a Scandinavian minimalist twist turned things around, and in 2019, it sold for $920,000.

So how did embracing less result in a home value that nearly doubled? We went straight to our experts to find out what the best design moves were from the sellers—and how you can make it happen in your own space.

Staircase (before)

This room has floor-to-ceiling windows but is still noticeably dark.

Staircase (after)

A new coat of paint brightens this room up.

If you ever doubted how much power white paint can have on a space, look no farther than this room.

“So simple, yet so effective. It completely changes the staircase and makes it feel more architectural and modern,” says Katie Stix, partner and design director at Anderson Design Studio. “Yay for keeping the pendants—they’re so classic and add to the ‘white on white’ layering and texture.”

One of the main architectural features in this room is the staircase, which now blends into the design instead of standing out.

“Not only does it make the room seem twice as big, but—true to Scandinavian design—it provides the perfect backdrop for decor to shine,” says Paul Trudel-Payne, founder and creative designer of Casa Consult+Design. The color palette is now neutral and natural, which makes the house feel cozy.

Kitchen (before)

The old kitchen was minimal and mismatched.

Kitchen (after)

A clean, white kitchen is often attractive to buyers.

We know that retro kitchens are trendy, but (as you can see in the “before” photo) this one just wasn’t cutting it. The sellers did keep one key element that our experts say enhances the new additions.

“I’m glad they kept the stainless-steel countertops,” says Stix. “It looks amazing with the marble and white.”

Nisha MacNeil, design manager at Kerr Construction & Design, appreciates the new slab doors on the upper cabinets. They hide clutter and give the kitchen that streamlined feel that the sellers were obviously searching for.

And you can’t move on from the kitchen without talking about that new island.

“It updates the space and allows for an ideal kitchen flow, with optimal prep room,” says Trudel-Payne. Plus, few buyers can resist a marble countertop.

Fireplace (before)

The floor-to-ceiling bricks weren’t doing a lot for the room.

Fireplace (after)

Now the room looks modern and fresh.

Many buyers still have an affinity for the industrial-style look with exposed brick, but the floor-to-ceiling design was a little much, and didn’t fit in well with the rest of the home. Thankfully, the sellers had a solution.

“What I love about the Scandinavian aesthetic is that it allows for you to work with what you have,” says Trudel-Payne.

“Making everything white, and building out that ledge below the fireplace is all that was needed to completely transform this dated area. It’s such an adaptable aesthetic that helps transform a dated space into something modern, without losing any of the personality.”

MacNeil notes that this part of the house now feels defined, whereas before, it felt wasted.

“Now it allows the fireplace to be the focal point,” she says. “And by simply placing a seating area around the fire, it allowed the space to be more functional.”

“Drywalling the brick fireplace and adding the marble ledge across the entire wall was a very nice choice,” adds Stix. “It makes the room feel more luxurious and usable. Someone could sit there and enjoy the fire. I know I would!”

Den (before)

There’s plenty of room to socialize in this den, but the decor could use an upgrade.

Den (after)

The new owners probably won’t miss the old fireplace.

The den was once the most dated room in the house, but now, it’s the place where families would probably be most likely to hang out.

“This room previously felt like a dated log cabin, but now it feels like a bright modern space to entertain in,” says Tiffany Fasone, owner and CEO of Voila Design Home.

Trudel-Payne says he sees a lot of Scandinavian inspiration in this room. “Keeping the rustic element of exposed wood ceiling, but adding a white treatment to everything, really speaks to that Scandinavian style,” says Trudel-Payne.

He also notes the smart use of angular furniture and eclectic accessories, such as the gold drum table and the simple but comfortable accent chairs.

“I want to curl up on this cozy sofa with a tea and enjoy the beautiful view outside,” adds MacNeil. “Before, the room felt busy and cluttered, but now you can truly enjoy the setting outside and feel wrapped in warm layers of textures inside.”

Bathroom (before)

bathroom before
Such a luxurious bathroom deserves a more glamorous look.

Bathroom (after)

Scandinavian simplicity at its finest

Such a striking transformation in this room was likely made with very little effort. Here, the sellers used a paint change on the ceiling to lighten up the bathroom and make it feel like an oasis of calm.

“I love that they did a rustic white finish to the redwood ceiling that previously was so aggressive in the space,” says Trudel-Payne.

Stix agrees, saying that painting the wood ceiling keeps texture and interest in the space but makes the room feel bigger.

“That simple change makes everything else seem very modern,” she says.

“I love how spalike this room now feels,” adds MacNeil. “The focal point now is the luscious vanity and the flora and fauna, inside and out.”

The post Lessons From Listing Photos: A Minimalist Home in Portland With Major Scandinavian Vibes appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights |®.

Home Sellers Spill: ‘The Home Upgrade I Wish I’d Done Sooner’

May 9, 2019


If you’re like most homeowners, your house is a host of tiny irritations you keep meaning to fix but never do. Maybe it’s a light fixture you constantly bang your head on, or wallpaper you’ve always despised. And then one day you decide it’s time to sell the house. And what do you do? You replace the light fixture. You strip the wallpaper. And then you stand back and think, “Why didn’t I do that sooner?”

We feel your pain—and, in an effort to spur you to act now, we decided to ask fellow homeowners what little inconvenience they had put up with for far too long, and regretted waiting to improve until it was time to sell the house.

Let this inspire you to carpe diem and finally get rid of that @*#$&% low-hanging light fixture. And then you can be the one saying, “I’m so glad I did that” sooner rather than later!

Solar panels

“We installed solar panels one year before we sold, so not only did we not get to reap the full benefits of the solar itself, but we had to cut a big check out of escrow to pay off the installation loan. We wish we’d done them earlier, but we’re still glad we did—it absolutely was a selling point for the buyer and made for a quick listing.” – Carey Madill, Clements, CA

A walk-in closet

“I recently sold a home, and I decided to build a walk-in closet in the master bedroom to add a little cachet. All of a sudden, we had tons of room for all of our clothes and shoes—and the whole room felt more orderly! Now that I’ve moved, I’ve already made a few changes to my house, because I realized there is no reason to wait.” – Alex Tran, Seattle, WA

Gas-powered fireplaces

“Before moving out of my home of 23 years, I had great gas logs professionally installed in my two fireplaces. They had remote-control starters and dimmers that set the mood and broadcast the heat nicely. Wow! I can’t even describe the ambiance and coziness of an instant, clean, controlled, roaring fire. I hope the new owners enjoy them as much as I briefly did.” – Nancy Cramer, Dallas, TX

Tile instead of carpet

“We updated the master bathroom right before we left. While most of it was beautiful, it had this grungy old carpet on the floor, and carpet is terrible when it gets wet. We updated it to an attractive tile. I just loved that new tile floor and couldn’t believe I only enjoyed it for less than a year.” – Amanda Ponzar, Alexandria, VA

An outdoor dining area

“The main thing I regret not doing sooner was cleaning up the backyard. A few months before we moved out, I decided to make our overgrown patio hospitable—and honestly it wasn’t even that hard. I pressure-washed the tiles and installed a new barbecue, along with a table with six seats. I can tell you that was the best summer our family ever had, spending it mostly outside in the fresh air.” – Bryan Stoddard, Jersey City, NJ

Bye-bye, pink bathroom

“It took me seven years to finally deal with our hideous, ’80s-esque pink master bathroom. We kept putting it off because we thought, ‘Hey, nobody can see it, so who cares?’ But we knew we had to update it before putting our house on the market. We refinished the painted pink tile to a bright white and swapped out pink floor tile with plank flooring. I seriously couldn’t believe how much happier we were waking up to that.” – Laura Burton, Los Angeles, CA

We painted wood white

“My washing machine and dryer are located in my back entranceway, and about 15 years ago, we added wainscoting to the hall area and painted it white. All the doors were wood and even though I wanted to paint the doors white as well, I kept thinking of all the prep work hassle, so I put it off. Fast forward to this past December: Knowing we are going to be selling soon, I finally painted all the doors white to match the wainscoting—and what a difference! It opened up the space, making it feel brighter and more spacious. I wish I could have enjoyed it all along!” – Karen GrayPlaisted, Warwick, NY

A ton of tiny repairs

We’ve been busily fixing a ton of stuff in our house as we get ready to sell: The bathroom fixtures have been broken this whole time so we replaced them; I repaired a kitchen cabinet shelf that was constantly falling down due to a broken center support; I replaced a window door shade that wasn’t properly installed, so it would always blow off during storms; and we added a bunch more lights. I think because these things were always ‘good enough,’ we never bothered to get around to doing anything about them. My wife was like, ‘We should have done these the first week,’ and she’s right.” – Derek Hales, Phoenix, AZ

It’s the little things

“When we were getting ready to sell our house, we took care of all those little things that I didn’t even realize had been bugging me. We had the garage doors painted, porch columns repaired and painted, touched up the doors and baseboards, and painted this ceiling patch where it had been repaired but never repainted. It didn’t take a lot of time or cost a ton, and it really made such a difference.” – Rhonda McRae, Seattle, WA

The post Home Sellers Spill: ‘The Home Upgrade I Wish I’d Done Sooner’ appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights |®.

The Single Best Way to Sell Your Home This Fall, Revealed

September 21, 2018

You may have heard that spring and summer are the top home-selling seasons, and that fall is as dead as those leaves piling up on your lawn. But don’t be fooled.

“Fall is actually a great time to sell your home,” says real estate agent Carola Encarnacion of DJK Residential in New York City. “There’s less competition, and the market is still very active.”

So if your house is on the market right now, take heart! And heed what many experts say is the one best thing you can do to reel in buyers: Give your home an autumn upgrade with some staging.

To the uninitiated: Staging is the technique sellers use to showcase their home at its best through upgrading furniture and decor. And celebrating all things autumnal is the way to do it successfully now.

To tap into the fall frenzy, here are some staging tips that will help your home exude a cozy ambiance that’ll get those offers rolling in.

Home staging all starts at your door

Photo by Rikki Snyder
Focusing on curb appeal is the perfect way to get off on the right fall foot, says Amber Harris, a real estate agent with Washington, DC–based Keller Williams Capital Properties and owner of At Home DC, an interior decorating firm.

“Place a few potted mums in seasonal colors near the door, and add a simple, natural wreath made of faux leaves or even wheat,” she recommends. A wheelbarrow piled with pumpkins is a nice accent, but, she warns, “make sure they aren’t being eaten by squirrels or starting to rot.”

Complete the vignette with a cute fall-themed doormat and shined-up light fixtures to greet guests, as the sun will soon be starting to make an early exit.

And while fall leaves are great to jump in, they are not so fantastic littering the lawn of the home you are trying to sell. So make sure that you take care of any errant foliage before potential buyers arrive.

Think autumn, not Halloween

Photo by Between Naps on the Porch 
It turns out that while autumn appears to be fairly universally loved, Halloween is not so much.

“Not everyone celebrates Halloween or will enjoy a scary Halloween-themed house,” Encarnacion says.

If you just can’t resist veering toward the holiday, at least choose cuter, friendlier Halloween décor, like decorated or carved pumpkins, candy corn, and friendly ghosts. (Cobwebs, however, are a no-go.)

Swap out summer hues with autumnal tones

Photo by moment design + productions, llc 
Changing leaves mean changing colors, Harris says. If summer is all about bright popsicle tones or beachy blues, autumn is associated with warmer neutrals—think the deep reds, burnt oranges, and golden yellows reminiscent of the shades of fallen leaves.

Sprinkle these warmer tones around your house in your table décor, bathroom and kitchen towels, accent rugs, and even art, but do make sure they complement any existing color palette, she notes.

Embrace cozy

Photo by Ann West Interiors 
Most folks love the shorter, crisp days of autumn, so have your house reflect that vibe, suggests Abra Landau, design expert at home stager Fashion Furniture in San Diego.

Warm up your couches and chairs with comfy throws, blankets, and pillows in autumnal tones and textured fabrics like chenille, herringbone, or corduroy. Swap out airy summer sheers for more substantial drapes or shutters, and trade a summer sisal or jute rug for a wool area carpet. Light a fire if possible, and make sure there are plenty of candles adorning the tables and counters. Finally, don’t forget to turn on extra lamps, as sunlight wanes earlier in the day.

Appeal to buyers’ sense of smell

Photo by Savvy Seasons 
Baking a pie in the oven might be an overused home-selling trick, but if you’re into it, there’s no better time to do so than fall. Scents of cinnamon, apple, and (let’s not forget the smell of the moment) pumpkin spice will all help potential buyers picture themselves baking up something luscious after an afternoon of apple picking.

If baking up a treat isn’t your style, add scents around the home through spiced-scented candles, oil sticks, or potpourri, suggests Landau.

Surprise your visitors with something sweet

Photo by Seaside Interiors
“It’s become standard to see pasta or beans in clear glass jars in the kitchen, but consider placing a simple cylinder filled with candy corns or other colorful fall candies on a buffet,” Harris says. And probably no one—even those who might not be big Halloween fans—will mind if you put out a bowl of fun-size candies, ready for trick-or-treaters as well as fatigued home buyers who need a sugar boost.

Set the table for a feast

Photo by Gerber’s Draperyland 
We know what’s right around the corner—Thanksgiving—and families will be thinking about gathering loved ones around, maybe even in the new home. Appeal to this dream by setting the table as though you were expecting a large group for a sumptuous feast. Go big with china and crystal and fall-hued place mats and chargers, Harris recommends. Dress the table with a runner, accented with a fall-themed centerpiece.

The post The Single Best Way to Sell Your Home This Fall, Revealed appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights |®.