Ready, Stage, Sell?

Living Room Before

Living room before.

Recently I’ve noticed an increased interest in Home Staging. While there are no real guarantees with staging, a staged home is easier to show and leaves a more positive impression with buyers. So as a seller, how much effort and cost should you put into staging? My answer is simple, consider the condition of the house first and foremost. You can decorate all you want, but if the paint is peeling, appliances are old, bathrooms and kitchens are dated, decluttering and rearranging furniture won’t change much. Your first step in this case would be cleaning, updating and repairing. If that’s not the case, then take a look at the big retailers of home design, Rooms to Go, Pottery Barn, IKEA, West Elm, Ethan Allen and so on. View their catalogs or design showrooms and use them as a guide. To save money work with your existing furniture as much as possible, depersonalize and declutter. Think foundation pieces with minimal and neutral accessories and arrange furniture to highlight the features in each room. For example, if you have a beautiful fireplace, cozy up some seating around it. Beautiful view from a window? Make sure the glass is spotless and find a way to place furniture to enjoy the view. Likewise, if furniture placement is awkward or off centered, try floating the pieces away from the wall or window, to draw the interest away from the negative. Think of your rooms as a marketing brochure, highlight all their features and benefits. If you still can’t wrap your head around the idea of staging, talk to your Realtor and remember anything you do now will help when you’re actually ready to move out.

Living room after.

Living room after.


Baby it’s cold outside, so warm up by the fire.

If you’re lucky enough to have a fireplace in your kitchen or dining room, winter is the perfect time to light that fire and get cozy. I love to serve candlelight dinners by the fire. No need to wait for dinner guests, give yourself and your family a treat. It’s a great way to make everyday meals special and encourage family togetherness. If you need a little inspiration, take a look at this Houzz article from last winter, then go ahead and light that fire!

My Latest Find

ImageRecently I had a chance to go to the Elephant’s Trunk Flea Market in New Milford, CT. It’s a great place to find that treasure you’ve been hunting for and it has recently been gaining a lot of popularity from the HGTV show Flea Market Flip. In fact when I arrived, I wasn’t surprised to see Lara Spencer and the crew filming on location that very morning. After a little distraction, my hunt began as my daughter and I worked our way through the aisles. When I go to a flea market I always like to have something in mind to keep me focused. So with my mental list I scan each vendor space and then move in on anything that catches my eye to take a closer look. 

During this particular visit, I was thinking lawn art, signs and vintage fabric/linens. I ran across a few items of interest, but didn’t purchase anything until I saw this sign. It’s perfect for my outdoor patio bar and since the space is not well lit, it functions to improve lighting as well. Flea markets and antique shows like Brimfield Antique Show are a great place to find unique pieces to add to your decor or repurpose to suit your needs.  So if you decide to venture out to a flea market in your area, keep these few tips in mind:

1. Wear comfortable shoes and clothing (layers are great).

2. Bring a bag and/or a cart to store your finds.

3. Have a mental list, at the very least, of what you’re looking for.

4. Stay hydrated.

5. Bring some cash and checks. (credit cards may be accepted but cash is good for bargaining)

6. Don’t be a bully on price, politely ask what is their best price, or offer your best price.

7. Arrive early for the best finds.

With these few tips, an open mind and a positive attitude your hunt for treasure is bound to be a success. Happy hunting!


Handcrafted Classic American Furniture Never Goes Out of Style

A traditional classic.

A traditional classic.

Have you ever walked into a room and been drawn to a beautiful piece of furniture? Maybe that sounds a little silly, but quality furniture can really pull me in. The craftsmanship, finish and detail are something to be admired. Which is why I recently became the manager for Eldred Wheeler’s factory showroom in Wilton, CT.  The pieces in my store are timeless and as far as I’m concerned have no design boundaries. A well crafted piece of furniture looks beautiful in both traditional and modern design. Placed as a functional piece of furniture it enhances the total look of a room or as a focal point it serves as a piece of art. If you shop for traditional furniture, keep an eye out for Eldred Wheeler pieces. They are well crafted and tend to hold their value at resale. Check them out online or find the Wilton Store on Facebook.

How to Visualize, Search, Find and Save Money on Furniture

As you can probably tell from my previous posts…I HATE PAYING FULL PRICE…and I almost never do.  Recently I had a major success with some dining chairs. In my mind upholstered chairs would be the perfect look for a dining room off an open kitchen, with a look of casual elegance, so the search was on.  Consignment shops, flea markets, furniture stores and tag sales were scoured for just the right set at the right price. Occasionally I would stumble upon a chair I liked for the room, but pricing or fabric was often the issue.  So I’d say for more than a year my search continued on and off when the opportunity presented itself.

Original chairs

Finally my efforts paid off when on a trip to a fabric store, Chintz and Prints (another story), I stumbled upon McGeorgi’s Antiques down the road. It was really a fluke that I ended up in this store, so when I walked in and found my chairs I was quite surprised. Eight upholstered dining chairs in, almost perfect condition. My only concern was the fabric, but at about $100 per chair, I could recover them and still be ahead. Well I didn’t buy them on the spot, I agonized for a few weeks, (which I don’t recommend) and finally returned to purchase them, hoping they would look good when I got them in the space.

How they looked at McGeorgi's Antiques

How they looked at McGeorgi’s Antiques

Now they are in the space and I think they look great as they are. No need to recover and similar new chairs can easily sell for $400 or more, most likely more! I’d love to hear what you think of my find and would love to hear about any great finds you’ve come across. Also if you are in the Newtown, CT area, be sure to check out McGeorgi’s Antiques, he’s got a wonderfully eclectic collection.

The chairs in the dining room.

Add Color and Character with Furniture Store Accessory or Flea Market Find

A recent trip to Elephant’s Trunk Flea Market in New Milford, CT yielded a non working vintage camera for about $5.00. I’ve noticed vintage photography items being used as decor in catalogs and magazines so I decided to pick one up and I grabbed a couple of old movie reels as well. Of course before I knew it I was seeing photography equipment everywhere, placed on a bookshelf, a side table, clusters of cameras, movie reels and more.  Non-working cameras found at a chain furniture store are selling for many times more than my flea market find. Just wondering if you can really see any difference? Do you like the look of vintage cameras in decorating?

Furniture Store Accessory

More Great News! Another Way to Make Photography into Art!

Along with great bargains, I am always looking for fun and creative ways to display my photos. I recently came across an old picture I took while on vacation with my family. It is a beautiful landscape that I wanted to show off in a unique way. I didn’t think just framing it would suffice. A recent trip to Lillian August gave me some inspiration, when I saw a triptych photo. Triptych photography is when one photo is broken into three separate panels to make easy and interesting wall art. This can be done with any kind of picture and it adds a designer’s touch to any room. I also like this idea because it’s a simple, personal accessory that adds impact. Check out  EZ Photo Design  if you want to create your own triptych art or try Canvas Art Designs for some ready made pieces. The triptych photography method is a great way to add art into any room, if you have other great photo display ideas  feel free to share them!

Sweeter Dreams When you Save!

I’m all about being creative and innovative, and if I can be self sufficient at the same time that’s just an added bonus. By that I mean, if I feel I can create something, or find a cheaper alternative to something such as an upholstered headboard, then I will. I’ve been looking around furniture stores with my interns and it never ceases to amaze us how expensive the upholstered headboards are. In some stores they are priced at over $1,000! After looking around Lillian August, I was determined to find inexpensive alternatives to their beautiful headboards. If you really love this look like I do, don’t settle for the expensive one in the store just because it’s convenient. Take this opportunity to express your creative side and make a work of art. But if that’s not your thing, shop around. I found this great, three piece upholstered headboard on  If there is one thing I’m adamant about, it is shopping around.


There is no need to break your bank for a stylish look that will fit your life. If you can find it cheaper somewhere else or make it yourself, then do so. In this case both are possible. To make it, you would just need to make a plywood frame, cover it in batting, then using a staple gun to cover it in the fabric of your choice. I would love to hear from you about headboard horror stories regarding over pricing, possibly a great piece that you got for a steal, or even a successful self-creation!Image

Great News! You Can Bring New Life to an Old Chair

Have any old chairs that need some repair?  No need to go to the stores that charge you fee on top of fee.  You can do it yourself!  With a little direction, my interns recovered some old dining room chairs, and now they look good as new.  It’s simple, easy, and a great way to bring new life to an old piece or a room.  With that in mind, we took a trip to the Barn in Bridgeport, CT, where we found a rooster print, that matched my existing decor perfectly.  The fabric was affordable, as was the entire process because we used the existing cushions, and fortunately I didn’t have to pay my interns for their labor.  This is a great alternative instead of getting new chair.  You can also purchase an inexpensive chair and easily revitalize it with a new print that you absolutely love. This is all about not settling for what you are presented with. You can always personalize anything you buy to fit your home and your life. Stay tuned for more ideas, and feel free to share your magical makeovers!



The Art of Signs

Signs add visual interest to this outdoor patio.

Signs, signs, everywhere signs… It’s true, everywhere I look I see signs being used as accessory art in the home and I’ll admit I’m a collector. I think it started when a friend of mine gave me a sign that reads “Don’t mess with my Feng Shui”. Now I’ve collected several and continue to look for more. In particular I like distressed looking signs, but I also choose them for the message.  For the most part signs are an inexpensive way to add art to a space. The right sign in the right place adds visual interest, can be inspiring and might even help strike up a conversation. If you like the idea of a custom sign you can try a site like Saltbox Signs or Etsy is great if you want more of a selection. Do you have any signs? If so do you have a favorite?