Archive for October, 2010
People have been asking us what we’ve been doing to “stage” our house. Short answer: not much.
Well, besides generally cleaning things within an inch of their life and stashing some items in the car a la this method. But we haven’t put any large furnishings in storage, repainted any walls or ceilings, removed any personal items like photos or wall art, or done any of the other tricks that we’ve heard through the HGTV grapevine (though I’m sure a professional stager would probably advise us to do some – if not all – of those things to some extent). We figure if people see a house that’s clean yet personalized and obviously well loved and lived in, it might be more interesting than a house that has been stripped of all personality and evidence that it has been enjoyed and appreciated. At least that’s our point of view at the moment. And thankfully we’ve had a few really promising showings so we’ll keep you posted if our approach ends up working out.
That being said, there is one pretty obvious change that we did end up making. We took a good hard look at the rug in the kitchen…
… and decided to nix it.
Even though that’s an old “before” photo from our old camera above, we realized the Company Store rug that graces our kitchen floor was doing us a disservice when it came to selling. It not only covered up the hardwood floors (hello selling point!) it also made the space feel less open in person (by creating a big definitive rectangle on the floor). Sure we loved it for the fun texture and softness underfoot, but because people aren’t buying a rug (they’re buying a house), we realized it was probably a smart call to roll it up and stuff it under our bed. Here’s what the room is looking like these days (this pic’s taken with the new camera, hence the longer shot, different lighting, slightly different angle, etc):
You’ll probably also notice that we removed some of the cute kitchen-y items on the counters to declutter things and show off another selling point in there- our granite counters. After all, we’re definitely not peddling a cutting board or a bowl of tomatoes, so we want to be sure the real features of the room are the ones that get noticed.
Oh, and our bathroom caught the rug-removal bug too. Gotta show off that marble tile, right? (Don’t worry, we bring out our rug friend when we shower so we don’t bite it on the aforementioned marble tile).
Maybe if none of our upcoming showings work out we’ll decide to try a few other “staging” tricks. Do you guys have any house-selling tips (or superstitions) that you wholeheartedly believe in? Or anything that you don’t think is worth the trouble?
We’ve been passively house hunting for a few weeks now (driving around different neighborhoods, checking out pics on MLS, and popping into a few of them every now and then) and are finally getting around to writing about it. It’s amazing how frantically cleaning your own house and scheduling showings can distract you from actually blogging about the thrill of the hunt for a new place.
Part of our delay has also been deciding the best way to share this house hunting journey with you guys. We’d love to show every nook and cranny of each place, but at the same time we want to respect the privacy of each home’s seller (after all, unlike HGTV’s House Hunters these folks haven’t signed up to have their homes pluses and minuses publicly dissected for all to see).
So after much debate we decided to only share a (slightly doctored) exterior photo along with a description of the house’s pros and cons with thoughts on whether it’s a good fit for us. With that said, let’s start with the place we started calling “The Cottage In The Woods” that we recently toured. We found this one driving around getting lost in a nearby neighborhood and got crazy excited about it before knowing anything about it. Almost “we don’t even need to see in inside” excited. It really was that charming from the outside.
- Age: 1953
- House size: 1,905 square feet
- Lot size: 1.4 acres of land
- Bedrooms: 3
- Bathrooms: 2
- Old, modest and in need of some TLC
- Amazingly private lot that’s bursting with charm (you drive about 150 feet through the woods before you even see the house)
- Great neighborhood and schools
- Nice open living and dining room
- No master bathroom
- Cramped kitchen (about half the size of our current one) with no room to expand
- 2 bedrooms on the main floor, one in the basement
- Low ceiling in basement (like I-had-to-duck low)
So despite having been won over by the exterior, the interior left lots to be desired for our open-and-airy loving hearts (and our I-don’t-like-to-touch-basement-ceilings heads). We’re all about taking a small compartmentalized house and blowing out some walls, but this specific layout didn’t seem very conducive to those kinds of changes as all. And the fact that one of the bedrooms was in the low-ceilinged basement complete with a dehumidifier (while we’d prefer to keep all the bedrooms close together and above grade so we can be near Clara and future kiddo(s) in their earlier years of life) left us feeling like this house would be “settling.” Thus our dream of living in this secluded little cottage in the woods came crumbling down. Oh well, on to the next one!
Altered exterior photo taken by us and edited thanks to our friend Photoshop.
Psst- Don’t forget about our big nerve-wracking appearance on The Nate Show this coming Monday the 25th (more details here). Fingers crossed that we don’t look like big starstruck geeks.
This morning, while Clara was doing this:
I attempted to tackle this:
A few days ago I slapped some spackle on the walls in the bathroom (we like Dap Crackshot), because as happy as we were with the big bathroom overhaul, you could tell it was definitely our first rodeo when it came to drywalling. And in our hurry to get paint on the walls we were a wee bit less careful with the mudding and taping than we could have been. But thanks to Operation Sell This House we’re making all those never-got-around-to-them tweaks to get things looking as close to perfect as possible. You know, tackling all of those projects that we’ll never get to enjoy ourselves but that we hope will woo someone else into moving right in (story of a seller’s life, right?).
Anyway, so after the spackle was applied to those cracked and uneven areas of the wall a few days back and I was 100% confident it was totally dry (trust me, semi-dry spackle is not what you want to work with) I finally decided to sand things down. Here are the tools you’ll need for this project:
- Dap Crackshot Spackle (as we mentioned)
- 100 grit sandpaper or a sanding block if that’s your thing
- A bra and underwear (or just underwear if you’re male or anti-bra)
- A post baby body (well, this one’s optional)
Did I lose you somewhere along the way? It’s actually quite simple. I learned a long time ago that sanding down spackle is a messy undertaking. So if you’re wearing a ton of clothes they all get caked in chalky dust, which flies everywhere when you remove them. So the fewer clothes the better. In fact, if you’re particularly brave or into nudism you can totally tackle this project on in the buff. It’s not like there are sharp tools that you’re using, and heck, you are in the bathroom (or another private room in your own home).
So all this quick fix entails is smoothing on some spackle with a putty knife (I like one with a bit of flex), giving it a while to dry (ideally a few days), sanding it down with 100 grit sandpaper so it looks as smooth and flat as possible, cleaning up all that dust that flies everywhere (we prefer to vacuum it all up while it’s dry so it doesn’t smear all over the floors and fixtures – which it can do when it’s wet), and then hopping in the shower and tossing your undergarments in the wash.
Next up I have to roll some primer and a bit of paint over that sanded down spackle for a cross-your-fingers-that-it-looks-good result (using the same type of roller that we used to paint the whole room should help match the texture for a less obviously “patched” look that a brush can leave). Can you guys handle the excitement? Here’s hoping it works out.
And speaking of works out, here’s an update on that asparagus plant that the dudes at Home Depot swore I couldn’t kill.
Things aren’t looking too promising for him (see what he originally looked like here). Eh, you win some, you lose kill some.