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RESA 2016: Home Staging Industry Awards

It’s hard to believe that 2016 marks Tweak Home Staging and Redesigns 5th year in business!

We have been so fortunate to have worked with such amazing clients over the years, and were thrilled to be awarded as one of RESA’s 2016 Top 10 Professional Stagers of the Year – Occupied Category – Canada!! What’s even more exciting is that in this category, we are among the Top Three Home Staging Companies in Vancouver!

We approach every project with enthusiasm and new creativity, and appreciate all of our colleagues for making this recognition possible.

Thank you as well, to all of our clients for their support and recommendations - we love what we do and look forward to working with more realtors and home owners in 2016!

Below are samples of some of the staging projects we submitted to earn this award:
















HOW STAGING WAS ABLE TO OVERCOME "PERCEIVED" BUYER DEAL BREAKERS

Recently Tweak Home Staging and Redesign had the privilege of staging a beautiful new home in the very desirable Edgemont Village Area on the North Shore. In my staging career, I have seen A LOT of homes and I have to admit that this was MY dream home!! And it wasn’t my dream home because of the beautiful modern finishes, or the large entertainment deck and fenced in yard for my dogs, or the gourmet kitchen and the spa-like bathrooms, although the builder had definitely checked all those boxes! The reason it was my dream home was because of the floor plan.

This home had three levels, with the entire top floor dedicated as adult space. This floor held the master bedroom, walk in closet, spa bathroom, and an extra living room for relaxing, watching TV, having a glass of wine – whatever! From this room there was a lovely view and a large deck space to enjoy those views with your significant other – no kids allowed!

This may sound harsh, but as a mother of two teenagers, trust me – they don’t want to hang out with us that much either! Besides, there was a lovely open concept family space on the main floor with another large deck that left plenty of opportunity for some family bonding. The main level boasted the kitchen, dining area, living room, office, and three bedrooms.

The lower level had two additional bedrooms, a recreational room and a media room.

So you might be saying “What’s the problem?! This house sounds fabulous!!” Well, as it turns out, what I considered to be the perfect floorplan, potential buyers did not! The house had sat on the market for a year, and the home owners were anxious to get it sold.

Admittedly, this floorplan would appeal to a very specific buyer, and therefore it needed to reflect the “lifestyle” of that buyer. This is where staging came in!

We will show you in the pictures below, how we were able to create practical and luxurious spaces within this home that we knew would resonate with that perfect buyer and get the house SOLD!

ISSUE #1

SPACES FURNISHED IN A WAY THAT DOES NOT REFLECT THEIR INTENDED PURPOSE

One of the concerns for potential buyers was the separate adult living space on the third level. Admittedly, this is not for everyone. So it was important to zone in on the desires of that specific buyer who would find this feature appealing, and conjure up those emotion that that lifestyle would create. Originally, this sitting room had a sectional, which to us screamed “family time” not “romance”. The whole point of creating this space was to give the adult couple of the home some private adult time together. Tweak Home Staging and Redesign instead chose to bring in "his & her" matching occasional chairs for those intimate conversations, and a lounger for that quiet moment with a cup of tea and a good book!

ADULT LIVING SPACE BEFORE:












ADULT LIVING SPACE AFTER:












ISSUE #2

CREATING UNNECESSARY "PROBLEMS" THROUGH FURNITURE CHOICES

Another concern for buyers was the three children’s bedrooms on the main floor and only one bathroom with a double sink. Furnishing all the rooms as bedrooms didn’t make sense in this case. It left potential buyers feeling like they were short a bathroom for the third bedroom. And because there was already an office on this floor, the option of turning the third bedroom into an office space seemed redundant.

Tweak Home Staging and Redesign solved this problem by furnishing the third room as a children’s study/homework room, a common area if you will, for the two children to use. Now the rooms made sense and the bathroom was no longer a problem!

STUDY SPACE BEFORE:










STUDY SPACE AFTER:










ISSUE #3

TOO MUCH HOUSE!

Typically this is not a problem, but potential buyers were having a hard time imagining if they could use all the rooms this house provided.

On the lower level, in addition to a recreational/TV room there was also what had been originally intended to be a media room. Unfortunately it had never been set up as that, and the cost to do so to sell the house was not an expense the home seller was willing to incur.

Tweak Home Staging and Redesign chose to stage the media room as an in home gym, and then create zones in the recreational room for playing games and watching TV. This gave all the rooms a purpose, and it no longer felt like too much house! And if the new home owner later decided to use the media room as that, the option still remained open to them!

LOWER LEVEL BEFORE:










LOWER LEVEL AFTER:












In this staging, Tweak Home Staging and Redesign was able to make most of the changes using furniture the home owner already owned, saving money on furniture rental costs! It was just a matter of furniture placement!

After sitting on the market for a year, this house SOLD in 6 weeks after staging!






NEW CONSTRUCTION STAGING PROJECTS

At Tweak Home Staging and Redesign we get the opportunity to stage so many beautiful homes! We are so appreciative to our clients who have the faith in us to provide exceptional home staging services - ensuring that their property investment sells quickly and for the best price possible!

Over the past three years we have had the privilege of staging four new construction properties for Marble Construction (www.marblebc.ca). Marble Construction specializes in high end residential construction. Their homes are spectacular, as you will see by the popularity they have gained most recently on the North Shore.

We would like to share some of the beautiful pictures of past staging projects Tweak Home Staging and Redesign has had the pleasure of completing with Marble Construction. We hope you enjoy viewing them as much as we enjoyed creating them!












































THREE TIPS FOR DECORATING WITH COLOUR THIS SPRING!

Since our last newsletter, several properties staged by Tweak Home Staging and Redesign have SOLD!

However there is one property that stood out in our minds, and that is the staging we would like to share with you this month! It was a two bedroom condo in East Vancouver, and what made it different from the vast majority of condos out there, is that the home owner had used several different colours on the walls to jazz the place up! With Spring in the air, the colours were so inspiring! We couldn’t wait to break away from the typical builders beige condo and start staging!

Once you check out the pictures of this condo, you too might be inspired to freshen up the walls in your home with a new colour choice this spring!

Below is a picture of the vibrant green living room before staging. You also can see a glimpse of the yellow hallways in the background.

LIVING ROOM BEFORE:












1) It is important to draw the wall colour in, using accent pieces like the rug, pillows, and accessories, but keep the larger furniture pieces neutral.

In this case we chose a white sectional and white coffee table with black accent chairs. The choice of metal is consistent throughout the room, as seen in the coffee table, side tables and accent chairs. The home owner already had the adorable curtains with the bird motif so we ran with it, continuing the theme in the accent pillows and the artwork!

LIVING ROOM AFTER:














We applied the same rule in the dining room, keeping the home owners existing white and wood dining table, bringing in solid light grey chairs, and opting for white artwork. The only colour in this adjoining dining area is the wall and the vase on the table.

DINING ROOM BEFORE:










DINING ROOM AFTER:












The tiny flex space was turned into a work space.

2) Rather than using white again, we furnished the office with a glass and chrome desk, and an acrylic "ghost" chair. Using glass and acrylic pieces are another great trick when working with bright coloured walls!

FLEX SPACE BEFORE:










FLEX SPACE AFTER:












The master bedroom was painted a softer blue than the dining room and office so we opted for a subtle white and grey palate, still picking up the light blue walls with the accent pillows and artwork.

MASTER BEDROOM BEFORE:










MASTER BEDROOM AFTER:










In the second bedroom we had a little more fun!

3) A third way to work with colour is to bring in a large dose of another bold colour to compliment and balance the existing bold colour already on the walls!

We chose a dark blue as seen in the bedding, artwork, accent chair and headboard. This works because both colours equally dominate the space!

SECOND BEDROOM BEFORE:










SECOND BEDROOM AFTER:












Choosing wall colour can be a frightening thing! You can imagine that a potential buyer walking through this VACANT condo might have been scared off by the colour choices of the previous owner.

By having the condo STAGED, the wall colour no longer takes centre stage, but becomes a pleasing accent instead. The overall feeling is one of warmth, energy and FUN! This condo received three offers and SOLD in one week!!

Do you have a home that needs a little help to get it ready to sell? We can bring in furniture rentals, artwork and accessories, or work with your own furniture to create an amazing, desirable, and most importantly sellable property!






WHAT CHALLENGE DOES YOUR HOME FACE?

Recently Tweak Home Staging and Redesign had the opportunity to stage a lovely condo in the Kerrisdale area.

This condo had more than a fabulous location going for it! A full time concierge on duty, in-suite laundry, a massive 850 sq. ft. private deck, two bedrooms, two bathrooms and a large flex space not easily found in condo living! Yet, still this condo wasn’t selling, sitting on the market for 3 months with no interest!

One of the issues was that the condo was vacant. We have mentioned many times before, that vacant spaces don’t show well as they look small, & uninviting. Potential buyers more often than not, have a hard time visualizing how their furniture might fit into the space. This was particularly true in this case. Rather than the large open area just inside the front entrance being the great selling feature the home owner had hoped for, the realtor was hearing from viewers of the property that they felt the space was awkward and they weren’t sure what to do with it!! What should have been an asset was instead a liability when it came to selling this condo!

Check out the Before & After photos below to see how Tweak Home Staging and Redesign showed the true potential of this space, and got the condo sold in under 30 days!!

Front Entrance BEFORE:










Because this condo already had a formal living and dining room space, viewers weren’t sure what to do with this open area just inside the front entrance.

Front Entrance AFTER:










Tweak Home Staging and Redesign created a true entrance, complete with a front hall table to drop your keys when arriving home at the end of the day!

Flex Space BEFORE:












Adding a portable screen, the space is now visually divided into a welcoming front entrance and a new T.V. lounging space!

Flex Space AFTER Tweak Home Staging and Redesign staged the space










Of course the entire condo benefitted from adding cozy furnishings that helped viewers picture themselves living there, with plenty of space to entertain their friends and family!

Dining Room BEFORE:










Dining Room AFTER Tweak Home Staging and Redesign staged the space










Living Room BEFORE:












Living Room AFTER Tweak Home Staging and Redesign staged the space












Do you have a challenging room in your home? We can help! For living or for selling, Tweak Home Staging and Redesign has creative solutions for your home!






CAN'T DETERMINE IF YOU SHOULD HIRE A PROFESSIONAL STAGER? TAKE THE QUIZ AND DECIDE!

At Tweak Home Staging and Redesign 2015 has started off with a bang! It seems more and more people are realizing the benefits of staging their home before selling! In fact 35% of homes on the market have been professionally staged (Real Estate Staging Statistics by RESA 2010 and National Association of Realtors and Home Gain’s, 2012)

You may think that you are more than capable of staging your home yourself. However, there are many reasons why hiring a professional stager is a better idea.

A professional home stager will view your property from the point of view of a perspective buyer and give priceless feedback. Recommendations on paint colours, what should stay and what should go, furniture placement to improve traffic flow, ways to highlight positive features of the home, and how to make rooms look more spacious and welcoming, are just a few things a professional stager can help with. Through experience, a professional stager will be able to advise where to invest your dollars for the best return, so you don’t waste your money, time and energy where it’s not needed.

If you still aren’t sure if you need to hire a professional, below is a great quiz put out by RESA (Real Estate Staging Association_2014) that might help you to decide if staging is right for you!

DIY vs. PRO Quiz
Yes or No Are you able to do heavy lifting?
Yes or No Do you like physical work?
Yes or No Do you have the time to be able to complete the project on schedule?
Yes or No Do you have the skill set to complete all the tasks?
Yes or No Do your family members work well together during times of stress?
Yes or No Do you understand all of the areas that need to be addressed and how to address them?
Yes or No If you run into problems do you have time to call in professionals for assistance?
Yes or No Will you be able to obtain the materials you need at affordable pricing? Example, lamps, accessories, artwork, etc.
Yes or No Have you considered all of your costs, including the cost of materials, your time, and the tools you need to purchase?
Yes or No Can you afford to pay a professional to correct mistakes?
Yes or No Do you understand current market conditions?
Yes or No Do you understand how color and lighting affects buyers?
Yes or No Do you understand how furniture placement affects buyers?

If you answered “YES” to 9 or more of these questions, you might attempt a DIY staging. But first review the questions you marked “No” and take into consideration the potential complications you will likely encounter. Hiring a professional will most likely be your best choice (RESA_2014).

If you are thinking about selling your property this year, Tweak Home Staging and Redesign can help get it SOLD quickly and for the highest price! Don’t hesitate to call us for a complimentary quote!








THE VIGNETTE

The topic of vignettes came to mind this month because this time of year, during the holiday season, people create lovely vignettes and may not even realize that is what they are doing. Fireplace mantles are decorated, using Christmas related items such as evergreen branches and ornamental balls, and table tops are adorned with poinsettias and nutcrackers. We can all relate to the feeling we get when we see presents under a beautifully decorated Christmas tree or a display of twinkling Christmas lights on a crisp winter night! In this same way, vignettes can be a wonderful way to evoke different feelings all through the year.

So what is a vignette? A vignette could refer to various things depending on its context, but in the world of interior design and decorating, a vignette is a display of objects that is presented in a pleasing manner within your home.

It is an arrangement of smaller within a larger context that captures your attention, and gives you a certain feeling. It should give an impression of what the rest of the home may look and feel like. – it’s “character” if you will.

How wonderful to walk into a home and see beautiful objects displayed throughout the rooms that speak to a certain lifestyle and evoke the emotions of living that lifestyle. This is truly what we, at Tweak Home Staging and Redesign, above all strive to achieve!

There are no hard and fast rules when creating a vignette. So long as the items you are grouping together have some reason to be together, some commonality, then really anything goes. Below are some helpful tips to guide you.

Group items by theme: Typically vignettes have a theme, and that is why it’s important to make sure that your vignette “makes sense” as far as the style of the rest of your home. Putting a country themed display in a modern home would feel out of place. Creating a vignette can be as simple as grouping together a collection of items you love, so long as when displaying your collection it’s in an area that it complements.














Group items according to colour: This may be one of the easiest ways to create a vignette. A great example of this would be someone who collects white dishes. In this case the background for the vignette could be a sideboard with all of the different white dishes displayed.










Decide on the “look” of your vignette. Just as we all like to create our own unique holiday displays (some of us decorating in traditional colours from our childhood, and some of us thinking outside the box and using colors not typical of the season for a more modern look), so should be the case when forming any vignette. Let the arrangement speak to who you are and what you like. Symmetrical displays tend to create a more "formal" look in a room where as an asymmetrical display creates a more "casual feel".

SYMMETRICAL:










ASYMMETRICAL:












Vary the height, pattern, texture and color of your vignette. This will add interest. Placing an object on a stack of books for example, can draw attention to the item, as well as vary the height.










Use three’s and five’s: The golden rule in decorating is to display items in odd numbers because objects that appear in threes are more appealing, memorable, and effective than other numbers of objects.










Nestle items closely together: Objects spaced evenly over the whole surface lose their connection to one another. Bringing them close together, even letting some touch, will add cohesiveness. If the grouping still feels like it is “floating”, corralling collections on a tray can ground them within a vignette.










Lastly, when you are happy with your vignette, take a photo. Looking at a display through the eyes of a camera lens gives a different perspective that may lead you to make a few final tweaks.

When it comes to creating vignettes, the goal is to create something that will catch your eye and hold your attention because of its beauty. It will draw you in. It may be a restful place for your eyes to land, giving a feeling of calm or tranquility, or it might be an energizing display of objects that inspires and stimulates conversation. One thing for sure is that vignettes will always tell a story.

To see some of the vignettes Tweak Home Staging and Redesign have created, click on the "Gallery" tab at the top of this page and scroll down to “Winter” photos for some seasonal ideas, and “Vignette” photos for year-round ideas.






MAKING AN ENTRANCE – Design Ideas for Your Front Entrance

As winter approaches, the instinct to “batten down the hatches” and spend more time cocooned in our homes emerges. Rather than organizing big summer BBQs, we start planning cozy dinner parties for an intimate few. We plan the dinner menu and the table setting – lighting candles and setting the right mood. But what about the initial welcome into your home? Is your front entrance a place that welcomes guests into the rest of your home? Does the décor of your front entrance depict the style of the rest of your home, acting as an introduction to what’s to come?

Often the front entrance is a forgotten “room” that we neglect to decorate. But it is one of the most important parts of the home when it comes to selling – and that is precisely because of the reasons listed above. The front entrance makes the first impression upon entering a home and suggests hints of what lies ahead – good or bad! Let’s make your home’s first impression a good one!

The purpose of the front entrance is to give you and your guests a place to take off your shoes, remove your coat, and perhaps set down a few bags before settling in. As a result, often the front entrance becomes a dumping zone for shoes, coats, and items coming into, and leaving, the home. The following tips will help your front entrance do its job in style!

Tip #1 – Provide a place for coats, shoes, scarves and gloves

Even in very small front entrances, it is possible to create a place to put shoes and coats neatly. If there isn’t a closet, a free standing coat rack is one option. Or equally as functional is screwing a few coat hooks to the wall. A shelf stocked with storage boxes or baskets is a great place to coral hats, mitts and scarves. If there is room, a bench can also serve double duty for storage and a place to sit and put on shoes.

And when it comes to shoe racks, one of my favorites is the Hemnes Ikea shoe rack (see image below), as it is compact and does a great job of hiding the clutter! It even provides a small shelf for decorative items such as a bowl for keys and mail. Which brings me to tip #2!










Tip #2 – Provide a place for keys and mail

Never lose your keys again! Getting into the habit of placing your keys in a bowl, on a small table near the front entrance will ensure that you never have to hunt for those missing keys again!












Tweak Home Staging and Redesign - North Vancouver Project








Tip #3 – Keep it clean

In the summer sand and grass get dragged in. In the winter it’s wet shoes and dirt! It’s a good idea to put down a floor mat to collect the bulk of the dirt that comes in the door, and will otherwise be transported into the rest of your home. Choose something attractive (and durable – preferably washable) in the style and colour scheme of your home’s decor.










Tweak Home Staging and Redesign - Tsawwassen Project








Tip #4 – Touch up chipped paint on walls and baseboards

If you have kids and pets, you will know exactly what I am talking about here! Animals tend to rub up against walls on their way outside to the dog park, and kids will lean on the walls for support while putting on shoes and boots. Make a point of washing down the walls and door as part of your weekly cleaning routine, and add a fresh coat of paint when needed. This is a high traffic area and will require some extra TLC.










Tweak Home Staging and Redesign - Esplanade Project








Tip #5 – Provide task lighting and ambiance lighting

It is important to provide bright task lighting for you and your guests so you can see clearly to find your shoes and coat, especially during the dark winter months. Make sure there is overhead light and that the bulbs are all working.

When not using the front entrance, rather than looking into a dark space, it is a nice welcoming touch to have a small lamp or battery operated candle lit on the front hall table.










Tweak Home Staging and Redesign - North Vancouver Project








Tip #6 – Introduce your home’s style

I have touched on this already, but the front entrance is the perfect place to give your guests a glimpse into what to expect within your home. Therefore the paint color, artwork, and accessories should reflect the interior style of the home, be it modern country, traditional, or contemporary.

Below are some additional photos of past Tweak Home Staging and Redesign projects to inspire you!

Give us a call if you need help tweaking your front entrance!












TEDx & Tweak!

For a second year in a row, Tweak Home Staging and Redesign was honored to provide the stage set for the TEDx West VancouverED event at Kay Meek Theatre in West Vancouver!

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TED has created a program called TEDx - where x means an independently organized TED event. TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. The TED conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events, like TEDx West VancouverED, are self-organized. "ED" stands for education. The theme is rethinking education - encouraging participants to rethink their perceptions around learning.

We were so excited to be involved again this year after last year being such a success!! If you would like to hear the speakers from that event click on the link below:

http://www.tedxwestvancouvered.com/#!videos/ccre

Tweak will be sure to post when the speaker’s videos from this year’s event are posted on line. But in the meantime below are some photos of the beautiful stage set organized by Tweak Home Staging and Redesign, provided by Fluff Furniture Rentals, and delivered by Ferguson Moving and Storage. Thank you to everyone for their support!!
















TSAWWASSEN HOME STAGING PROJECT

In this month’s Newsletter, Tweak Home Staging and Redesign wanted to share with you a Tsawwassen Home Staging project we recently worked on.

As soon as we pulled up in front of this property, we could see that this home had beautiful curb appeal, featuring updated outdoor lighting, and modern plantings and accents. What was once a basic bungalow was now a fresh and inviting home. When selling your home, it is important not to forget to fix up the exterior. If potential buyers do not like what they see on the outside, they may never bother to come in to view the inside of the home at all!










When Tweak Home Staging and Redesign was hired to stage, we wanted to continue the style of the exterior of the home into the interior of the home. In the front entrance, we chose a contemporary color combination in shades of yellow and grey – hints to the colour pallet that would continue throughout the main living space.










We were able to combine our client’s lovely belongings with a few key rental furniture pieces and accessories, to create this amazing space.

LIVING ROOM BEFORE










LIVING ROOM AFTER










Once in the living room, the eye is immediately drawn to one of the many unique selling features of this home. The custom one-of-a-kind feature wall (made from reclaimed wood) in the living room instantly became the focal point. To play off the natural texture of the feature wall, we brought in accessories with a natural element. The sticks in the vases, and the bamboo bowl with polished bamboo stones, play off the rustic texture of the wall.

DINING ROOM BEFORE










DINING ROOM AFTER










Our goal is always to showcase the property in its best light with rooms that many buyers would be able to picture themselves living in.

The open loft was being used by the current homeowners as the master bedroom – perfect for their lifestyle. However, buyers need to see each room as usable space for themselves.

LOFT BEFORE










Here is where we felt we could have some fun, using hits of orange to inject energy into the space! Who wouldn’t want to hang our here and watch T.V., play video games, or enjoy a glass of wine?

LOFT AFTER










To take advantage of this somewhat awkward “bonus space” that a potential buyer may have a hard time imagining a use for, we decided to produce a “his-and-hers” work space, using two desks the client already had in their spare bedrooms.

BONUS SPACE BEFORE










BONUS SPACE AFTER










Formerly, the clients chose to utilize the master bedroom as a dressing room, storing their cloths out in the open on metal racks. (Remember, they were using the loft as a master bedroom, and therefore didn’t have any closet space).

MASTER BEDROOM BEFORE












This arrangement worked well for them, but for selling it is always best to showcase rooms functioning in the way in which the builder had intended, and in a way that the majority of buyers would probably use the space. This will give the home the broadest buyer appeal, resulting in a quicker sale!

MASTER BEDROOM AFTER












Making the bed the focal point, gives this guest suite a comfy and inviting feeling.

GUEST SUITE BEFORE










GUEST SUITE AFTER










Functional rooms are often neglected when it comes to decorating, but a few pretty accessories can even make doing laundry appealing!

LAUNDRY ROOM BEFORE










LAUNDRY ROOM AFTER










We can’t take credit for the outdoor space, as that was created by the homeowner’s who truly had an incredible vision. But we had to show it to you, as it is too gorgeous not to share!










It was a pleasure working with this couple who were so accommodating and open to our staging recommendations! We are happy to report that the house sold in 30 days!






SELLING OR RENTING – HOME STAGING CAN HELP!

Recently TWEAK Home Staging had the opportunity to stage an adorable 750 sq. foot condo in the desirable Lower Lonsdale area on the North Shore.

Originally the seller had opted to try to sell the two bedroom/two bathroom condo vacant. However, the feedback the real estate agent was receiving was that buyers were having a difficult time imagining how they would fit their furniture into the space.

After the first month on the market and no interest from potential buyers, the seller decided to hire TWEAK Home Staging to stage the condo.

Dining Room Before










Dining Room After Home Staging










Within a week of staging, the seller received two offers - buyers were NOW showing interest!

Living Room After Home Staging














Unfortunately, however, neither offer was at a price the seller was willing to accept. As the seller was quite determined to receive a certain price for the condo, they had made up their mind to rent the condo if it didn’t sell at the end of the second month.

As it turned out, in the final week they received two offers and a bidding war was on! After only 4 weeks of staging, the seller ended up selling for a price they were very happy with!

Kitchen Before Home Staging










Kitchen After Home Staging










Often sellers are torn between renting a property or selling a property, and it is important to realize that even if this condo had not sold, the seller was in a much better position to ask for a higher rent by having it staged so it showed beautifully!

In fact the seller was already searching for a suitable renter (just in case!), and everyone who viewed the condo wanted to know if they could rent it furnished! What a great compliment! (By the way – home staging inventory is always available for sale if a buyer is interested).

Who wouldn't want to climb into this inviting bed?!










Or unwind on this relaxing patio?!










If you are considering selling your property or renting your investment property, give us a call! We can help ensure that you get the best price possible!!






10 AWESOME IDEAS FOR YOUR BACKYARD

Are you tired of the typical lawn-and-patio backyard? Then maybe it’s time to add some fun to your outdoor living space. Here are some great ideas to help make your home's garden a one-of-a-kind oasis that you will love spending time in this summer!

1. CREATE A SENSE OF MYSTERY. One of the best ways to create a backyard that everyone will enjoy spending time in is to create a garden with many different destination points. Make the journey through your backyard an enjoyable one by laying a natural stone path that leads to several “outdoor rooms”.










2. A TRELLIS OR PERGOLA is a perfect way to draw visitors to an area of your yard that might otherwise sit empty. Train climbing vines over the trellis and string up rows of lights. Or if you want to get really adventurous, paint the trellis in bright colors instead of the usual wood stain. Add a couple of chairs and you have a beautiful destination spot to relax in the shade.










3. ADD A WATER FEATURE. A fountain or pond is a great way to create a destination point in a backyard, especially if it is stocked with fish and there is a bench to sit and enjoy the tranquility only a water feature can offer. Keep the water from stagnating by adding a pump, and ensure there is some shade over the area to minimize algae growth. Ponds are also a great added feature if you should ever decide to sell your property.










4. PLAN A SECRET SEATING AREA. Creating a winding path lined with plants, to a hidden seating area, will be sure to draw in curious adults and children alike!

5. BIRD AND BEE HOUSES. Grouping 3 – 4 bird/bee houses atop wooden bases will not only be beautiful to look at, but will be beneficial to the garden as well.










6. ADD A BENCH. This is one of the easiest ways to entice people into your garden! They can either be permanent built-in structures, or free standing - just be sure to consider both what you will see from the bench, and what views you will have of the bench from elsewhere in the yard.

7. BOULDERS AND OTHER FORMS OF "ART". Adding large boulders or statues of a natural element (stay away from the garden gnomes!), such as large cement/glass/ceramic spheres will add interest to any backyard.










8. ARRANGE FURNITURE ON THE LAWN. Why place your furniture only on the patio or deck? Positioning your dining table on the grass will be sure to encourage the family to dine al fresco.










9. ADD A FIRE PIT. An outdoor fireplace or fire pit is the perfect spot for gathering around! Just make sure you check with the fire regulations in your neighbourhood.










10. APPEAL TO ALL OF THE SENSES. Your backyard is looking beautiful – the pond water is trickling, the birds are singing, your boulders look fantastic and you are relaxing in a comfy Adirondack chair. What’s left? Fragrance! Plantings of herbs such as rosemary or lavender, or a rose garden will ensure that lovely scents will linger in your backyard as long as you do!






Bringing the Indoors Out and the Outdoors In

Warm weather is finally upon us!! Time to throw open the windows and doors and set up the patio furniture! As the days get warmer, the lines between indoors and outdoors will begin to blur as we choose to eat meals outdoors, socialize on the patio, or maybe even get some work done on our laptops while soaking up some rays!

Below are some great ideas that can help your home shift from winter to summer and from indoors to out!
These ideas are also a perfect way to stage your home if you should happen to be in the midst of selling your property. After all, buyers will pay for added square footage, and that is what these outdoor "rooms" become!

BRING THE INDOORS OUT

More and more these days, people are choosing to decorate their outdoor spaces just like they would their indoor rooms, installing full outdoor kitchen’s and creating conversational gathering areas that feel like living rooms. Here is a list of fun ideas to bring your backyard up to today’s standards!

 CREATE AN OUTDOOR KITCHEN If it’s in the budget, having an outdoor kitchen installed is a great way to bring backyard living to new heights! If not, you can create a similar feeling by adding a bar height table and chairs close to your BBQ area, where friends and family can hang out and have a cold beverage while you grill some steaks! Set up a cocktail bar with glasses, ice, and refreshments, just as you would in your dining room if you were having guests over.












 CREATE A COMFORTABLE OUTDOOR SEATING AREA Resin furniture is sold just about everywhere now, at very affordable prices (think Ikea!). Most of these sets are sold with a couch, chairs, and a coffee table (cushions included!). Remember to locate the main outdoor entertaining areas in close proximity to the house to encourage people to venture outside.

 ADD AN OUTDOOR AREA RUG Adding an outdoor rug to the above seating arrangement can help to ground the space as a destination spot that beckons your friends to come sit, relax, and chill out. These rugs can be left outside all summer long, and are sold in most home improvement stores (Canadian Tire, Home Depot, and even Walmart).












 PROVIDE SHADY AREAS Make sure there is somewhere in your outdoor space to take refuge from the heat. If it doesn’t exist naturally, freestanding umbrellas are a great way to provide shade anywhere it’s needed!

 RESTRICT THE COLOUR PALATE For a seamless flow to the outdoors, use materials that have the same look and feel as the inside of your home, and carry through the same colour palate.

 DON'T FORGET THE MUSIC! With wireless technology, it’s easy to bring your choice of melodies to set the right tone for any event!

 ADD LIGHT AND HEAT FOR AFTER HOURS To prolong the hours spent outside long after it’s dark, add a source of lighting and heat. Placing lanterns throughout the yard, stringing outdoor patio lights, or even lighting a few candles will create a beautiful ambience after the sun has gone down. Freestanding outdoor heaters or a fire pit will ensure that you stay toasty warm. Or alternately toss a few throw blankets on your outdoor chairs. Not only will they keep your guests warm, they will also add colour and style to the space!










BRINGING THE OUTDOORS IN

Below are some great ways to ensure that the inside of your home transitions seamlessly to the outdoors during the warm summer months ahead.

 REARRANGE YOUR FURNITURE In the winter months, your furniture is probably placed to face the fireplace and perhaps the TV. Now that summer is here, why not arrange the furniture so that it takes in the view of the outdoors?

 PULL UP THE HEAVY AREA RUGS AND TAKE DOWN THE CURTAINS Removing carpets in favour of bare floors, and hanging lighter, more airy curtains (or none at all!) is a sure way to make your home feel summery and casual. If the glare of the sun or heat is an issue, sunscreen window shades are a popular option.

 UPDATE YOUR ACCESSORIES Put the dark oil paintings and furry accent cushions in storage! With artwork being so readily available at reasonable prices (Home Sense, Ikea), it’s easy to switch out dark artwork for lighter colored/summer -themed pieces (use the summer garden as your colour inspiration). Add some accent cushions that pick up on the colors in the artwork. Switch out dark lampshades for white ones to brighten up the space, and finish the room off with a few accessories that speak of summer (shells, sea glass, fresh flowers/decorative branches).










 LASTLY - DON'T FORGET THE BEDROOM Tuck away the heavy, flannel comforter and pull out crisp linens with a decorative floral bedspread and bright colored accent cushions for added luxury.

All of these seasonal decorating ideas should be considered when selling your property as well. If you need help with home staging, give us a call!










Top 10 Spring Cleaning Tips to Prepare for the Amazing Summer Months Ahead!

Often times when Tweak Home Staging arrives to stage a home for selling, we find that the home owner has not made arrangements for the professional cleaners to come in until after we have staged. In fact this has happened enough times that we now advise in our contract that cleaning be completed before we stage the home. Imagine placing a lovely bowl of fresh apples on a kitchen sink covered in crumbs, or a beautiful orchid on a dirty bathroom counter – not very pleasing to say the least!

The reason I bring this up, is because I have some great newsletters coming up, like “Tips on Bringing the Outdoors In (And the Indoors Out!)” and “Cool Things To Do With Your Backyard”. But before we can begin to create a summer haven for ourselves, our family and our friends, we (unfortunately) have to take care of the practicalities – cleaning!! There are a few people out there that enjoy spring cleaning (I’m not one of them!). But for the majority of us who really wish we could skip this whole process, here are a few tips to make spring cleaning quick and easy so you can move on to the fun part – decorating!!

Tip #1:
Do one room at a time to avoid unfinished jobs. The satisfaction of seeing one room sparkle will help to motivate you to forge ahead.










Tip #2:
Dust off light fixtures, artwork, and all of those shelves and surfaces that you have been ignoring all winter, as your neglect will show when the sun starts pouring in your windows! I find using a damp, natural, micro-fibre cloth works best for these jobs.

Tip #3:
Before placing all those books and knick-knacks back on the shelves, take this opportunity to purge any items you no longer need or get enjoyment from. Certain items could even be stored away until the autumn, allowing space to bring in brighter, summery accessories, such as fresh flowers.










Tip #4:
Take down curtains & sheers to run them through the wash or send them out to be dry cleaned. Just be sure to hang them to dry so that they don’t shrink in the dryer. While the window treatments are being cleaned, take the opportunity to wash the window screens and wipe down the window sills and windows themselves. For a more natural clean, try using vinegar and water for a streak free shine.

Tip #5:
Don’t forget to wipe down your doors, door frames & door handles as well as all the switch plates in your home.










Tip #6:
Remove any area rugs and vacuum and wash the floor beneath them. Wash floor registers and other vent covers, and be sure to vacuum both sides of the rugs thoroughly before replacing them. Another option is to consider storing your area rugs away until the fall, to give your home a fresh, airy feel for summer!










Tip #7:
Make use of all those little attachments that came with your vacuum cleaner to dust/clean lampshades, sofas, and fabric bed frames. This is a great time to launder all those throw pillows and blankets.

Tip #8:
Make small repairs, that have been on your “to do” list all winter. If you’re not handy, ask a friend for help, or hire a handyman.










Tip #9:
If your spring cleaning budget includes painting this year, this is a great way to freshen up your space! Consider purchasing paint with low VOC (Volatile organic compound) content as a healthier, more environmentally friendly option.

Tip #10:
Create a pretty spring vignette on the dining or coffee table by adding a little greenery with fresh flowers, blooming branches, or a low maintenance terrarium!










Outdoors:
Don’t forget to clean outside in preparation of our upcoming article on “Bringing the Outside In (And the Inside Out)”!

i. Sweep porches and walkways
ii. Wash thresholds, mailboxes, and address numbers
iii. Wash exteriors doors and apply a fresh coat of paint if necessary
iv. Clean or replace the welcome mat

These tips will help you prepare your home for all of the exciting summer decorating ideas Tweak will be sharing with you in our upcoming newsletters! Happy Cleaning!!






Vancouver West End Home Staging

Recently Tweak Home Staging and Redesign had the opportunity to stage a beautiful West End Condo and we are excited to share the 'before and after' photos with you! The condo sold in 2 weeks, for close to full asking price! There were even enquiries to purchase the contents of the condo - what better compliment than that!!

This condo is an excellent example of how a little “tweaking” can make all the difference to ensure that the home owner sold quickly and received the price he was after!!

Living Room Before Home Staging












Living Room After Home Staging - Because the space was quite small, it was important to create a common colour scheme throughout. In this case we chose yellows and greys.










Dining Room Before Home Staging










Dining Room After Home Staging - Creating a space that a potential buyer can imagine themselves entertaining friends and family in is important when it comes to selling your property.










Master Bedroom Before Home Staging










Master Bedroom After Home Staging - Now this room is warm and inviting. The perfect retreat at the end of the day!










Office Space Before Home Staging












Office Space After Home Staging - Because the walls were painted a dramatic charcoal colour, we added brightly coloured wall art, again continuing the "yellow & grey" colour scheme from the living area. Replacing the personal photos on the wall with abstract art and adding wall decor over the desk, brings this whole room together.










This was such a fun project as the home-owner had beautiful furniture pieces for us to build upon. It truly did just need a little "tweaking"!






Valentine’s Day Inspired Decor - February 2014

With Valentine’s Day on its way, I thought it might be fun to celebrate decorating with “RED”!

I have always enjoyed decorating my home for special occasions. I guess you could say that you can give me any excuse to change up my decor and I will happily oblige! Most of us decorate at Christmas/Hanukkah and Halloween; and some of us enjoy adding festive touches to our décor at Easter, and Thanksgiving. But I am probably part of a handful of folks that takes delight, even in a small way, in decorating to acknowledge occasions like Valentine’s Day (and of course the welcoming of Spring and Autumn - but that’s a topic for another newsletter).

When I say “decorate for Valentine’s Day, I don’t mean hanging paper hearts in the window and filling your house with stuffed red teddy bears!! Beautifying can be as subtle as adding a little bit of “red” to your décor to give your home a welcoming and festive feel. For example, you could add a red throw and some red cushions to your couch. Or perhaps place a few red candles on your mantle. In addition, red is a wonderfully warm color that can carry you through those cold winter days until spring arrives.

Below is a picture of my fireplace mantle, as well as a few photos of past "Tweak Home Staging" projects that used “red” as our theme color. I hope you find the images inspirational and decide to have some fun with your Valentine’s Décor!




















Does Home Staging Work? You Decide!

Recently we had the opportunity to stage a home that had been sitting on the market for 7 months without selling. The home-owners decided to hire Tweak Home Staging and Redesign, and their home SOLD at the first showing after staging!

This was a lovely family home in a great area, and priced very competitively. So why wasn’t it selling?! The Challenge: The home-owners had moved out of the house 7 months prior and had left behind a substantial amount of furniture that they no longer wanted. Let’s face it, if they no longer liked the look of their furniture, chances are neither would a potential buyer coming in to view the home. The fact was, the furniture that was left was outdated, and the house felt a little “abandoned”; evoking feelings that are not likely to start a bidding war!

Living Room Challenge: Much of the furniture had been removed, leaving an empty bay window and tired artwork.

LIVING ROOM BEFORE HOME STAGING










Living Room Solution: Bay windows are a lovely selling feature, so Tweak Home Staging made this area the focal point by adding two beautiful occasional chairs and creating a conversation area. As the existing sectional already offered plenty of seating, all that was required was an area rug and a coffee table to make the space more welcoming. Updated artwork and accessories completed the look!

LIVING ROOM AFTER HOME STAGING












Kitchen Challenge: Although this updated kitchen had large windows and a skylight, it was feeling small and dark due to the choice of paint colour and too much furniture.

KITCHEN BEFORE HOME STAGING










Kitchen Solution: The home-owner did not want the extra work of repainting, but Tweak Home Staging was still able to brighten up the kitchen by adding artwork. Removing the table in the corner and replacing the four small barstools at the island with two more substantial stools, allowed the kitchen to feel more spacious while still showing functionality.

KITCHEN AFTER HOME STAGING












Family Room Challenge: An armoire that was too large for the space was blocking a beautiful working fireplace, and the room felt dark and unwelcoming. The potential of this bonus room located directly off the kitchen, was not being showcased.

FAMILY ROOM BEFORE HOME STAGING












Family Room Solution: Tweak Home Staging wanted to show what a wonderful gathering space this could be for the future home owner to spend time with their family and friends by the fire. We achieved this by removing the armoire, and bringing in cheerful colours, and extra lighting.

FAMILY ROOM AFTER HOME STAGING












Bedroom Challenge: This south facing master bedroom was bright and spacious. However too much furniture in the room was taking up square footage and blocking natural light.

MASTER BEDROOM BEFORE HOME STAGING












Bedroom Solution: We removed the extra dresser which left room to shift the wardrobe from in front of the window, allowing more natural light into the room. Adding lamps for soft lighting, artwork, and pretty bedding gives the room a romantic feel!

MASTER BEDROOM AFTER HOME STAGING












Dining room Challenge: The dining room was beautifully situated overlooking the living area and really just needed an update from the existing Santa Fe style of the previous owner.

DINING ROOM BEFORE HOME STAGING










Dining room Solution: By replacing the existing dining chairs with more current parson-style chairs, updating the light fixture, and changing out the artwork, Tweak Home Staging was able to give this dining room a more current look that would appeal to a young potential buyer.

DINING ROOM AFTER HOME STAGING










Child’s Bedroom Challenge: Although this pink little girl’s room is an adorable look for “living” in your home, it is not the best choice for “selling” your home.

CHILD'S BEDROOM BEFORE HOME STAGING










Child’s Bedroom Solution: It is still possible to showcase a bedroom as a child’s room, but in a more neutral colour pallet. That way a potential buyer can put their own “style footprint” on the room after they have bought your home!!

CHILD’S BEDROOM AFTER HOME STAGING










After carrying two homes for seven months, the home-owners where thrilled to accept an offer that they received at the first showing after Tweak Home Staging and Redesign staged their home!

If you, or someone you know, is having trouble selling their home, give us a call! We would be happy to come by and provide a free staging quote.






SOLD - IN 3 WEEKS!

Below is an example of what Tweak Home Staging and Redesign can do to prepare a home for selling.

It was a few weeks before Christmas, and the home owner had already moved out, leaving only a few pieces of furniture in the house. The Challenge: The real estate market is typically slow during the month of December, but the homeowner was desperate to sell to avoid the carrying costs of two homes. Without furnishings, the home felt unwelcoming and abandoned, with small rooms that made it difficult to imagine possible furniture arrangements.

Living Room Challenge: All furniture had been removed with only random shelves from the previous owners left behind

LIVING ROOM BEFORE HOME STAGING










Living Room Solution: We made the large picture window to the right in the photo, the focal point, anchoring a lovely conversation area with an area rug and plenty of seating. Artwork and accessories complete the look!

LIVING ROOM AFTER HOME STAGING










Family Room Challenge: A sectional that felt too large for the space was the only piece left behind. The potential of this bonus room, located directly off the kitchen, was not being showcased.

FAMILY ROOM BEFORE HOME STAGING










Family Room Solution: Tweak Home Staging and Redesign wanted to show what a wonderful gathering space this could be for the future home owner to spend time with their family and friends by the fire. We brought in warm colors, extra lighting, and comfortable seating.

FAMILY ROOM AFTER HOME STAGING










Bedroom Challenge: Situating the bed under the window did not show off the square footage of this spacious master suite, not to mention it is poor Feng Shui!

MASTER BEDROOM BEFORE HOME STAGING










Bedroom Solution: We made the bed the room’s focal point by repositioning it against the main wall. Adding lamps for soft lighting ,artwork, and an accent chair finishes off the room!

MASTER BEDROOM AFTER HOME STAGING










Spare Room Challenge: The location of this "extra" bedroom, on the main floor just off the kitchen & family room, felt awkward.

SPARE ROOM BEFORE HOME STAGING










Bonus Room Solution: There were already 4 good sized bedrooms upstairs, so it made more sense to re-create this room as an office space, as many families these days are looking for a home office.

BONUS ROOM AFTER HOME STAGING








Ten Tips to Creating an Amazing Outdoor Space!

Well if the unusually high temperatures we experienced recently weren’t enough to tip you off – SUMMER IS ON ITS WAY!! Time to dust off the patio furniture, spark up the barbeque and invite friends and family over to enjoy the sun! What a fantastic time of year!

If you’re looking for some ideas to create the perfect outdoor space, here are 10 tips that will guarantee that your patio will be THE PLACE to hang out this summer!

1. Invest in Outdoor Furniture: Fortunately, today you can choose from a vast variety of outdoor furniture, from small bistro sets to large resin couches and chairs with cushy seating. So don’t let the size of your outdoor space discourage you! Decide on what function you would like your outdoor space to perform and work from there.

2. Create Zones: If you do have the space, consider creating zones. For example, you could have a dining zone, a lounging zone and a kid’s play zone. Just make sure that you create areas that fit your needs and the needs of your family. No point having an entertaining area if the main purpose of your patio is to escape the rat race and have quite time. In this case you would want perhaps to have a hammock to snooze away the summer afternoons, or a comfortable Adirondack chair to read.

3. Style is just as important outdoors as it is indoors. Remember that you should try to carry the same style from your indoors, to your outdoor space. If your indoor space is traditional - go more traditional outside. If your indoor space is modern/contemporary - carry this theme out to your patio. Metal furnishings with clean lines are more modern, while metal furnishings with scrolls are more traditional. Wood pieces lean more towards the rustic. Similarly, use complementary colors to decorate your patio that will transition easily from the décor indoors.

4. Plant Flowers: No outdoor space is complete without flowers. Annuals are a quick way to add color and can easily brighten up any corner. Ever been frustrated by the umbrella pole that runs smack down the middle of your dining table? Here’s a fun idea to use some household items and put that centre space to good use! Use the hole of a Bundt pan or gelatin mould to create a floral centerpiece that the pole will slip through. (You may want to spray-paint the outside of the pan with exterior high-gloss enamel) Then use floral foam to keep the flower arrangement in place.

5. Area Rugs, pillows and throws are making their way to the outdoors as well! Just as in interior spaces, area rugs can help define a seating area on your deck, and pillows and throws can help you to carry through your chosen color scheme and make chilly nights more comfortable.

6. Create a Focal Point: Consider adding a focal point for more interest, such as an original piece of art, a fountain, or a warm fire pit. These are great ways to bring nature into your space.

7. Lighting: There is something about fire that makes us want to linger a little longer in the warm night air. If you can’t manage a fire pit, candle light is a beautiful alternative. It’s safe, easy and cost effective to use jam jars as tea light holders. Placing sand or salt in the bottom of the jar will prevent the tea-candle from sliding around. The jars can either be scattered around the table, or hung from your patio umbrella using wire.

8. Entertaining: If you like to entertain, consider creating your own garden- inspired ice bucket using two ceramic flowerpots. Flip one flower pot upside down, and top it with the other flower pot in the upright position. The top pot can then be filled with ice and beverages. Because these pots come with a drainage hole, melting ice water can easily drain out the bottom.

9. Creative Side Table: Using a tree stump or log as a rustic table to place a bowl of nuts and your drink on, is a fun way to add casual character to your outside design.

10. Music: Finally, nothing brings an outdoor space alive like music! And with today’s technology, music can follow us anywhere! The sky if the limit – just ensure you choose music that suites the mood of the event.

For more inspirational ideas, visit Tweak Home Staging and Redesign's Seasonal Section of our gallery page.








GET YOUR BEST LIST PRICE

If you were selling your home, would you want to receive the most money possible, or just some of the money possible? I think it would be safe to assume that you would definitely want to receive the most money possible - after all, your home is likely your biggest investment!

Sometimes when I look at the amount of effort (or lack of) a homeowner has put into preparing their home for the market, I wonder. I’ve seen houses that are dark and dingy, filthy dirty (laundry on the floor, un-flushed toilets, unmade beds, and dirty dishes in the kitchen sink), cluttered and uncared for, and showcasing way to many personal items! This may be the extreme, but that is precisely the point I want to make; because at the other extreme end of the spectrum lies the staged home. This home is move in ready, clean & de-cluttered, welcoming, more spacious, warm and inviting, and therefore easy for a buyer to envision living there.

Of course there are many homes on the market that will fall in between these two examples. The question is, where do you want your home to lie?

When you move on to purchase your new home, which home from the examples of the pictures below, will you be willing to pay more for? This is the difference between List Price vs. Staged List Price, as defined by Jennie Norris, ASP Master, IAHSP-Premier, SRS, REO and owner of Sensational Home Staging in Denver Colorado.

What is List Price?
This is the price the listing agent believes is a fair price for the house based on a comparative or competitive market analysis (CMA). They take a look at recent solds in the neighborhood that are comparable to the current house being listed for sale, and then they factor in the market. Is it going up? Is it a declining market? And they come up with a price RANGE for the house.

What is the STAGED List Price?
That is the price the listing agent believes the house will sell based on the CMA, the marketed competition AND the fact that the house outshines 85-90% of the other listings. In a hot market, it is often a higher starting point that just the list price. Because the house outshines the competition, it becomes the “benchmark” for all other properties the buyer is looking at, and ultimately becomes the one they must have. Because Staged houses sell faster than their un-Staged competition, in a slower market they are less likely to experience a price reduction therefore they do sell at a better price than their competition.

This does not mean that by staging your home a seller can demand ANY price for their house – they must still be reasonable, and with their realtor’s guidance, price the house within the range of where it will sell. It does mean however that they can be towards the top of the range, which in many markets means thousands of dollars more for the sale of the house.

The alternative is to NOT stage and just price your house where you hope it sells, and then reduce the price if there is no activity. But be aware that the first price reduction is typically 10-20 times the staging investment! You will not save money by not staging – you either invest it up front or lose it on the back end with a lower starting point or a price reduction. It all comes down to the fact that staging your home is the best investment you can make to secure your equity.










BOOST YOUR HOME'S CURB APPEAL WITH THESE GREAT TIPS!

March 2013

I’m sure there has been a time when you have driven by or visited a house that grabbed your attention the moment you saw it. I’m not talking about the actual house per se, but the overall good feeling you experienced as you took in the view. What you were experiencing is “curb appeal” The reaction is sometimes difficult to put into words, but definitely a feeling that you want to evoke in potential buyers coming to view your home. In fact, a large percentage of home buyers decide whether or not to look inside a house based on its curb appeal! Just remember, the outside should reflect what the home’s interior style is, so make sure that there is a connection between the two.

So whether you’re planning on selling your house this spring, or happy where you are and just want to spruce up your curb appeal, here are the top tips to ensure you make a great first impression.
1. Your front door is the focal point of its curb appeal. An easy way to make a statement is by giving your front door a blast of color with a fresh coat of paint. Be sure to choose a color that suits your house and complements the other tones and architecture present on your home’s exterior.

2. Replace old hardware if need be. House numbers, the entry door lock-set, the mailbox, and the light fixture should all match and be consistent with the style of your home. If you think they are in good condition, perhaps all that is needed is a good cleaning with metal polish. Oiled-bronze finishes suit traditional homes, while brushed nickel suits more contemporary ones.

3. Front-door accents such as pots of flowers and a clean welcome mat do just that – make visitors (or potential buyers) feel welcome! Any garden centre has ready-made containers that you can purchase – no talent required! Just be sure to keep them looking beautiful by watering and deadheading regularly. If your home has window boxes, make sure they are not left empty as this implies that the home is neglected - and definitely no plastic plants!!

4. Installing outdoor lighting can make a huge impact on your home's curb appeal while also providing safety and security. If you are on a budget, install solar fixtures rather than lights that require wiring, but understand that their light levels are not as bright or as reliable. Also make sure that there are no burnt out light bulbs in any of your porch lights or street lamps.

5. Clean out planter beds and landscaping. There are times that adding elements to your landscaping can improve curb appeal, but there are other times when removing something is even more effective. Prune overgrown trees and bushes, and pull weeds. How can someone buy your house if they can’t see it for all the overgrowth?!!

6. Give the exterior of your house a facelift. New paint, windows, siding, or trim details automatically transforms the look of a home. Any obvious defects, such as cracked or rotting material, can downgrade the aesthetic and quickly turn away potential homebuyers.

7. Repair damaged stonework. If stones or bricks border your bed, consider cleaning and resetting any pieces that are soiled or dislodged. If your border is old or tired-looking, perhaps it’s worth the investment to upgrade.

8. Arbors, garden gates, fences and decks will all enhance your garden and add value to your home, but only if they are in good repair. Replace any rotting boards if needed and power wash the surface. A coat of paint will do wonders! For best results, paint or stain with colors that are already on your house.

9. Replace gutters and downspouts. If your home has an older gutter system, odds are it's also suffering from peeling paint, rust spots, or other problems that can convey a sense of neglect. Old gutters can be replaced in a weekend with snap-fit vinyl gutter systems that go together with few tools and require no painting.

10. Repair the driveway and walkways If your driveway or walkway shows mold or mildew give it a good power washing. If it is cracked or stained or has weeds sprouting from it, you can still upgrade it without doing a complete redo. First repair the cracks and stains, and kill the weeds, then dress it up by staining the concrete

11. Upgrade porch and deck railings if for no other reason that for safety. If your railings are past their prime, look for quality wood or metal components to replace the existing material.

12. Then there are the basics! Mow the lawn, wash the windows, de-clutter the yard of garbage pails and building material, clean the cobwebs and sweep the porch and walkways!

Taking care of your home's curb appeal will guarantee envious looks from the neighbours, and ensure a quick sale when the time comes to sell your home!

Photos compliments of Creative Lighting.com, The Star.com, Zillowblog.com, & Designcaller.blogspot.com














HOME SELLERS FACED WITH A DIFFICULT MARKET

February 2013

The number of property sales in most Canadian markets is down, and this holds true for the Greater Vancouver area. This is because without an increase in interest rates and no rapid influx of external buyers, pre-approved buyers are sitting tight and waiting for prices to come down. As a result, homeowners are being faced with the choice of either lowering their asking price or taking their property off the market.

According to Eugen Klein, president of the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV), it appears that many sellers are taking the second option. But even with sellers often choosing to take their home off the market, the sales-to-active-listings ratio is at 10.2 percent, (meaning only 1 in 10 homes listed will sell within a month), keeping the region in a buyer's market. Since June, this ratio has ranged between 8 and 11 per cent.

If you are planning to put your home up for sale this year, what will this mean for you? How will you ensure that your property will not be added to the ever growing list of stale property listings? What can you do to make sure that your home stands out amongst the competition? How can you guarantee that your home will be perceived as well cared for and desirable in the eyes of the prospective buyer, ensuring you will receive an offer that you are happy with?

Here are a couple of things you can do!

1. Meeting with a professional Real Estate Stager who will view your home and give you the tips and strategies needed to prepare your home for the market is the first step in ensuring that your home has a competitive edge among similar listings in the area. A Home Stager will give you suggestions on what repairs will give you the best return, what items you can remove (either pre-pack or give away)to highlight your homes best features, and how you can ensure that your property shows at its best! If this is done before you call your real estate agent, you can be assured that your home will be listed by your agent at a fair market price!

2. According to Lea Bach and the 2013 Vancouver Real Estate Forecast, another thing smart sellers can do is to get an earlier start to the spring season and list their homes in February and March instead of waiting until after March. Houses will take longer to sell, and anyone waiting for the “spring market” will be looking at another general softening of price.”

If you or someone you know is selling their property, give Tweak Home Staging and Redesign a call and arrange for a free in home consultation. Your home is your biggest asset – make sure you walk away with the best price possible in this challenging market!






STAGING IS A MARKETING TOOL

January 2013

Here we are starting another year! What a better time than this to go over what it is we at TWEAK HOME STAGING AND REDESIGN do as a home staging company.

Because home staging is somewhat of a new industry in Canada, only having been mainstream for about the past 10 years, we still regularly come across those who have never even heard of the service that we offer. Even after explaining how Tweak Home Staging and Redesign can help home sellers put forward their best home, so they will receive the highest possible price and sell more quickly that similar homes on the market, we find that people are still unclear and believe we are an interior design business.

One of the best explanations I have come across was in a recent article in the North Shore News written by Barb Lunter. As she clarifies, “Home staging is not a decorator service as many would think, but rather a strategic service offering a perspective from a majority of buyers and what they would like to see inside the home in order for them to envision themselves living in the space.” In other words, we create a space that will appeal to the home sellers target market to increase the probability that they will sell their home more quickly and for a price they are satisfied with.

Here is what Tweak Home Staging and Redesign can offer. Upon contacting us, we will meet with you and do a free in-home consultation, offering suggestions as to what you can do to prepare your home for selling. This might include small repairs, furniture and art placement, paint colors, and suggestions on items to pre-pack to de-clutter and depersonalize the space. Once this step is completed, Tweak Home Staging and Redesign can offer to stage the home if required. This could involve renting furniture, accessories, and artwork on a monthly basis until the home is sold. Of course TWEAK staff would be responsible for placing these items in the home, to ensure that the best features of the property are highlighted - this typically takes one day to complete. Once the home has sold, TWEAK staff will return to de-stage the property.

Often times deciding to stage your home takes a leap of faith on the part of the homeowner; but guaranteed, we have never staged a home that the homeowner wasn’t completely thrilled to see the improvements we have been able to achieve to optimize the salability of their property!

If you are thinking of selling your home, or you know someone who is, give us a call! Tweak Home Staging and Redesign would be happy to help you take that first step towards selling your home quickly, and moving forward onto the next phase of your life!

Happy 2013!








ONE VIGNETTE - THREE LOOKS!

November 2012

So the holiday season is on its way! This is the one time of year that almost everyone celebrates and chooses to embellish their home!

For me, I decorate my house in different ways for all seasons – blues and white in the summer, oranges in the fall, and red and white in the winter. I decorate for Easter and Halloween and Christmas! I will pretty much use any excuse to switch up my décor! But with the festive season approaching, I know that everyone else jumps on board with me and gets enthusiastic about adorning their house with the traditional items that speak to them and bring back childhood memories.

So, I thought I would give you a peek at one of my favorite vignettes that I leave out on my coffee table all year around. I love it because it is so economical and always in season. You will see what I am referring to in the photos. This is such a simple project to create. I picked up the glass jars for pennies while garage sale shopping, but you can find similar ones at dollar stores, drug stores, or home décor stores.

Cluster the bottles and candle holders on a tray of your choice and voila! You have a beautiful centerpiece for your coffee or dining table! The addition of different colored and seasonally scented candles and stones (plus shells in the summer and small Christmas balls in the winter) instantly transforms this display from one season to the next.

I have used this arrangement for several years now and have never tired of the look - it is always fresh and beautiful.

Tweak Home Staging and Redesign would like to wish you all a joyful season shared with friends and family, and hope you all have fun decorating your homes in ways that warm your heart!












GO TEAM TWEAK!!

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada’s (LLSC) Light The Night Walk is the nation’s night to pay tribute and bring hope to all those affected by blood cancer. Last year was such an amazing event, that this fall, for my second year, I formed my own team! TEAM TWEAK joined thousands of people walking in twilight carrying illuminated balloons to benefit all 90,000 people affected by blood cancers in Canada.

Team Tweak is a group of enthusiastic members who believe in the power of community. We succeeded in raising $1200 in support of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Thank you for supporting us and the thousands of Canadians living with a blood cancer.








FALLING INTO AUTUMN

October 2012

Well it’s hard to believe that our beautiful summer has come to an end and we are now into shorter days, crisp nights, and hunkering down close to the fireplace with a blanket and hot beverage!

In preparation of the winter months that lie ahead, we are packing up our outdoor spaces, storing deck chairs and umbrellas, and moving life indoors.
As a home stager and re-designer, it is my job and my passion to evoke feelings of comfort and joy in homeowners and homeowners to be. Whether the home I have been hired to view is for living in or for selling, I want to make sure that it welcomes its visitors in from the cold and invites them to linger. Perhaps the kitchen will lure them in for a friendly glass of cider, or the living room will beckon them to relax on the couch near the fireplace.

No matter if you have invited your closest friends over, or are holding an open house for a potential buyer to view your home, you want your guest to feel like if they had the choice, they would never want to leave. Here are some tricks to creating seasonal atmosphere in your home:
- Bring the outdoors in by introducing fall colors into your decorating scheme. Mustard yellow and gun metal grey are in vogue this season - see photo below of the beautiful pillow and throw.
- Make use of every square inch by creating small nooks to cozy up in and read or work on your laptop
- Add cozy elements to your décor like area rugs, throw blankets and candles.
- Don’t forget about scent! Burn some scented candles or boil potpourri on the stove to create a lovely ambiance in your home. Check out this website for some great potpourri recipes: http://jandeecrafts.blogspot.ca/2010/12/11-homemade-simmer-potstove-potpourri.html
- Lastly, create beautiful ambiance with lighting! The rule of thumb is to have light in at least three corners of your entertaining space, and turn off the task lighting!! It goes without saying that if you have a fireplace – use it! Nothing is more welcoming on a cold fall day than a cozy fire and the glitter of a few candles dotted around the room!












BACK TO SCHOOL AND BACK TO WORK!

September 2012

I have always believed that there are two “beginnings” every year. The obvious one is the beginning of a new calendar year in January when everyone rethinks their current way of living, assesses their life, and possibly commits to a New Year’s resolution or two.

The second one I believe is in September. With the casual, lazy days of summer coming to an end and the kids moving ahead in school, September also feels like the start of new things. Not only do we return to a more regimented routine, but the weather begins to change, prompting us to spend more time indoors and perhaps get down to business after relaxing a little too much over the summer months. I always get the urge to get organize and set up new routines that will surely guarantee high grades for my children and increased efficiency for me!

The following are three suggestions from business coach, Carrie Green of Carrie Thru Coaching Services that will help set you up for success;

1)Decide on your marketing strategy;
2)Set up your office to be a haven of productivity, and
3)Create a schedule to support you as you work both IN and ON your business.

Of course being a home stager, my focus is on #2. I truly believe in the importance of having an office (or in the case of students, a study space) that feels comfortable, in order to be most productive.

Many offices, cubicles, work stations, home offices, and other working environments are totally depressing, completely void of any signs of life. When I started working from home, creating an office space that I could work comfortably in was one of the first things I did; I chose to invest in myself in this way. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but it does have to function and feel comfortable.

Take a look at the inspiring office spaces below, created by Tweak Home Staging and Redesign. If the atmosphere in your office makes you more productive, imagine how improving your space could positively affect your working relationships with your colleges and clients or affect your child’s grades! Brightening up your working environment won’t guarantee straight A’s, or that you will be highly successful in your business growth this year, but considering how much time you spend there, why not brighten it up even just a little? And if you don’t know where to start, give us a call! Tweak Home Staging and Redesign would love to help!












SPA NIGHT IN SUPPORT OF CANCER RESEARCH

BC/Yukon Chapter August 2012 Newsletter Issue 3


Spa Night in support of Cancer Research!

In 2011, Tamara MacDonald participated in her first Light The Night Walk in Vancouver. She was so touched by the walk that this year she has registered her own team - Team Tweak!

Committed, creative - and knowing that the summer months are busy for her friends and family - she quickly brainstormed a unique and fun fundraising event that they couldn’t turn down!

Tamara hosted a successful spa night, partnering with Arbonne Representative Diane Travis. Her friends came to support the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society through their Arbonne purchases and enjoyed a fun night with some good laughs and delicious food.

Tamara’s fundraising shows one of the many ways to raise awareness and dollars for the cause and it can be FUN!










IS IT NECESSARY TO STAGE A NEW BUILD?

August, 2012

When it comes to investing, many people shy away from the stock market and choose instead to invest their money in real estate. One way of doing this is to purchase a property and build, selling the finished product to make a substantial profit in a short period of time.

When the time comes to sell however, often the property owner does not see the value in staging before listing the house on the market. After all, everything is new and beautiful - why spend the money staging a brand new home? Can’t people use their imagination to envision what the home will look like furnished?

Well, statistics show that the answer is a resounding "NO". In fact, only 10% of the population is able to walk into a house for sale, see beyond what is presented before them, and imagine how the house could look.* Buyers only see what they see, not how a house could be. That means that 9 out of every 10 people viewing the home will not see past what is presented in front of them.
*Study done by the Real Estate Staging Association

Below are several scenarios that could prevent a potential buyer from purchasing an empty home.

- The space is viewed as too small to house all of their furniture. By staging the home, the potential buyer can see exactly what furniture the room can hold.
- The space is viewed as "awkward" leaving the buyer confused as to what purpose the space would serve. Staging that space will show one of many possible uses for the space once the home is purchased.
- Beautiful architectural detailing in the home is overlooked. Professional stagers know how to highlight special features in a home to show it at its best.
- Unfurnished rooms appear smaller. Potential home buyers will pay for square footage, and if your home "feels" small, then you will not get the best price possible for your property.

So as lovely as newly built homes are, if you want to get the best price for your investment, it is always recommended to have the property professionally staged.

LIVING/DINING ROOM BEFORE HOME STAGING










SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT
Empty spaces feel cold and unwelcoming. It is critical that a newly built home is furnished in a manner that appeals to any type of buyer while highlighting the features of the home.

LIVING/DINING ROOM AFTER HOME STAGING








WHY STAGE YOUR HOME IN A BUYER'S MARKET?

July, 2012

If you look at any real estate report, or have taken part in one of Vancouver’s favorite topics of conversation, besides the weather, you know that it is currently a buyers’ market in the Lower Mainland.
Anyone looking to buy has a lot of choice out there right now, and as a seller you need to put in more effort than just placing a “For Sale” sign on the front lawn.

Any real estate agent will tell you that at the very minimum you need to de-clutter and keep the house as clean as possible while it is on the market. But in these competitive times, if you are serious about selling, you need to step it up a notch or three!

Imagine yourself in the buyer’s shoes. If you had a choice between two homes in the same area, listed at a similar price, which photos below would draw you in and make you want to view the property? The BEFORE photo or the AFTER photo?

Most people would agree that buyers would prefer to purchase a home that looks well cared for, and move-in ready. That is what STAGING will do for your property.

If you are thinking of selling, or your home is already listed but you haven’t had much interest, consider calling Tweak Home Staging and Redesign - especially before making that first price reduction.

LIVING ROOM BEFORE HOME STAGING










LIVING ROOM AFTER HOME STAGING








Redesign With Summer Color

June, 2012

I love the changing of the seasons! Like most people, I will switch out my winter wardrobe of bulky sweaters and black and brown pant suits in exchange of for my summer wardrobe of floral skirts and brightly colored blouses. For the men out there, you probably go for light colored shirts and brighter ties!

But how many of you think of your home during the changing seasons?! Most of us only decorate our homes for Christmas, but summer and fall are also wonderful times to switch out some accessories, and bring in new seasonal colors. I am always eager to stow away my faux fur throws and pillows, and my brown and grey home accessories in favor of white and pale watery blues in the summer. (My favorite summer color for my living and dining room).

It is astonishing what a few changed accessories (pillows, throws, candle holders, vases and artwork to name a few) can do to make your home feel like new again!

Take a look at the photo above. Here we worked with orange as our accent color, choosing artwork, pillows and a small vase on the table. Why not head out to your local home décor store and pick up a few items to refresh your space? Start with one room, pick a color and purchase three to five accessories in this color, placing them throughout the room to create flow. With just a little "tweaking", you can get a fresh new look for your home on a small budget!

If you’d like some help with your redesign, give Tweak Home Staging and Redesign a call!








How Does Your Home Measure Up?

May 2012

Well the spring real estate market is in full swing! I don’t recall ever seeing “For Sale” signs on the front lawns of so many homes! And whether Vancouverites are just testing the waters to see if they can cash in on this amazing market, or serious about selling their home, it is clear that buyers currently have more selection to choose from as we enter into what is traditionally the busiest season of the year in our market.

So how do you think your home is measuring up against the competition? Below are some very important points to consider when selling your home that will set you apart from your competition and help to ensure that your home sells quickly and for your asking price!

1. First impressions are lasting, so ensure your house is MLS ready! 95% of buyers are looking for their new home on the MLS before coming to view it or contacting a realtor. If the MLS pictures don’t show well you could be in trouble! You only have one shot to make a lasting impression to your target market.

2. De-clutter – Sell, recycle, throw away and prepack as much as you can live without until you move. The less clutter the better, as clean uncluttered rooms translate into more square footage and that is what buyers pay for.

3. De-personalize - The key is to keep things simple! We all have different tastes, so a seller should not start to make a lot of major changes that might suit them, but not the new buyer. The buyer will make changes according to their own decorating preferences. Do however make minor repairs such as fixing leaky faucets, and replacing broken tiles and burnt out light bulbs, etc. By taking these steps you will ensure that your home will be viewed as well maintained and as having perceived value.

4. Landscaping can make a dramatic difference. Don’t go to any great expense - something as simple as a pot of flowers can make a more inviting entrance.

5. Furniture placement – ensure that rooms are set up to define their proper function. For example, dining rooms should be shown as dining rooms, not functioning as a home gym or home office.

6. Paint color - use a neutral and harmonious color scheme that will appeal to your target market.

In Summary, you want to create a turn-key home that will resonate with potential home buyers. Your home should tell the story of the lifestyle the buyer will have in the home. If you need help, hire the appropriate professionals to make the necessary enhancements to ensure that your home will show at its best!






Targeting the Right Demographic

April 2012

The spring home selling season is in full bloom in Vancouver's real estate market, and the strong housing market and high prices have not gone unnoticed among property owners as the selection of available homes on the market is rising.

If you are a home owner that has decided to list your property this Spring make sure you know who your target market is. What is the age of the target buyer? Are they single or married? What is their net worth? Answering questions like these, and then preparing your home to appeal to your target demographic, will ensure that you sell your home quickly and for top dollar.

Below is an example of how you may want to "stage" a spare bedroom depending on your target market:
- If your target demographic is a young, two income couple with no children you may want to turn that extra bedroom into a contemporary office space.
- If your target demographic is a young family, you will want to show those extra bedrooms as kid's rooms.
- If your target demographic is retirement couples, perhaps staging the once "kid's room" as a craft/hobby room, or guest bedroom for visiting family, is best.

The intention is to create a home that potential buyers can immediately picture themselves living in the minute they walk in the door. Your realtor should be able to help you determine your target demographic, and it is the Home Stagers job to identify the emotional triggers that resonate with the buyer, causing them to picture themselves living their dream lifestyle in your home!

What does this mean for the seller? It means they can sell quickly, and for more money, and move on to their dream lifestyle!






New Look for Spring

March 2012

I love the changing of the seasons! Just as we rotate our wardrobes, packing away the bulky sweaters and black and brown pant suits in exchange for floral skirts and brightly colored blouses, with Spring approaching I am eager to stow away my faux fur throws and pillows and my brown and grey home accessories in favor of white and pale watery blues (my favorite Spring color for my living and dining room).

It is astonishing what a few changed accessories (pillows, throws, candle holders and vases to name a few) can do to make your home feel like new again! Why not head out to Home Sense or Ikea and pick up a few items to refresh your space? Start with one room, pick a color and purchase three to five accessories in this color, placing them throughout the room to create flow. With just a little "tweaking", you can completely transform your home on a small budget!










Have Fun With Seasonal Decorating!

February, 2012

I don’t know about you, but every year at this time, I become incredibly antsy for spring to arrive. Maybe it’s the dreary Vancouver weather that makes the months from February – April seem like a “non-season” of browns and greys.

On the bright side, it gives me time to think about how I’m going to implement all of those projects I have on my to-do list that will transform my house from the cozy colors of winter to the light and refreshing shades of spring and summer.

As a professional home stager, my passion is to transform houses that are going on the real estate market, so that they sell quickly and for top dollar - but seasonal decorating is definitely a close second! I’ve been decorating my own home seasonally ever since I moved into my first apartment 20 years ago! How fun is it to give your home a whole new look, four times a year, without breaking the bank?!

Why not start thinking about how you would like your home to hatch out of its winter cocoon and into the warmer summer season. Take a look at the pictures below, and imaging how you might be able to make a few changes come spring that will make you home feel like new again. Start with just one room and envision how you would like it to function and “feel” come springtime.

And if you need help, contact Tweak Home Staging and Redesign . . . no job is too small and we’d be happy to share our "tricks of the trade" to giving your home a new look without spending a fortune!




















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