The Most Important Measurement in Updating Your Kitchen

DECLUTTERED THOUGHTS OF A HOME STAGER by Sue Proud, ASP®, IAHSP®, GCIRC

Kitchens. They sell houses. With the flood of HGTV shows, blogs and design magazines showing how ‘easy kitchen improvements are, buyers EXPECT updated kitchens.

When our clients ask us to come in to improve their kitchen, we often are able to make simple changes such as replacing appliances, lighting, countertops, back splashes and cabinet hardware.

However, sometimes the simple changes just don’t get it. If anything, adding updates to existing old, ugly cabinets makes them look worse. That’s just “putting lipstick on a pig!”

DSC_1096

“Lipstick on a pig!” New granite countertops installed on old cabinets.

Many times we are confronted with an older kitchen with classic cabinets that still look nice, but the layout does not make sense or it needs to be larger. Is this your situation?

What are your options? Gut the kitchen? That’s generally not in the budget. Add a few new cabinets and use as many of the old cabinets as possible? Yes!

Okay, now look down at your cabinets. Do you see that gap between the floor and the bottom of your cabinets? That’s the toe kick. The dimension of your toe kick is the most important measurement in your kitchen if you are thinking of incorporating new cabinets. It is the kicker (pun intended) to your successful redesign.

When we update kitchens, we are usually dealing with older cabinets in which the toe kicks are smaller than those on new cabinets produced today. Are you saying, “But what’s the big deal? If the new cabinet is too tall, just trim some off the bottom and if it’s too short, just elevate the cabinet or countertop.” Well, not so fast…

Take a look at the graphic. In either case, the doors and drawers won’t line up with your existing cabinets if you adjust the height up or down. If you elevate the countertop and try to cover the gap with trim, the trim pieces usually interfere with the doors or drawers when you extend the trim onto the cabinets without the gap.

Toe Kicks of Cabinets

Two Different Cabinet Toe Kicks

Instead, you’ll need to redesign the kitchen so the old base cabinets are in one area and new ones in another. You don’t want to have them side by side or the two different toe kick heights will be noticeable and will scream DIY. Not what you want a prospective buyer to think and a good way to have your investment dollars vanish before your eyes.

What has been your kitchen redesign experience? Would love to hear any helpful hints you would like to pass along!

250X52

I’m Sue Proud, Owner of PROUD HOME Staging, LLC and an Accredited Staging Professional® in St. Charles, IL. I appreciate you taking the time to read this post.

We would love to hear from you… please leave your comments and questions below or Contact Us directly about your Home Staging and Design needs.
Related Resources:

The NEW Bronze Faucets; Easy Money in Your Pocket?

DECLUTTERED THOUGHTS OF A HOME STAGER by Sue Proud, ASP®, IAHSP®, GCIRC

What’s one of the newest trends for 2014? Faucets with warm finishes. They’re not the shiny brass of the 80’s, but instead have a warm, sophisticated, satin glow.

brass-kitchen-faucet

Source: Centsationl Girl

With the gray trend in fabrics and paint becoming so prevalent, the introduction of warm metals as a way to bring some noticeable bling to a room seems like a natural.

Trend setters have tried to get warm metals back into the mainstream time and again, but when kitchen faucet companies start to expand their options in a particular finish, you know it’s getting serious. They understand most consumers won’t spend hundreds on their products unless they have confidence that this new trend will last.


Take a look at this latest Delta commercial and see how many warm metal faucets you see.

To get consumers to embrace these new finishes, the smart marketers of faucets are not calling them brass; the fixture finish we’ve been trying to get rid of forever. Instead they are calling them (some sexy adjectives +) bronze.

faucet-delta champagne bronze

Source: Delta

For example, there’s Champagne Bronze from Delta and Vibrant Brushed Bronze from Kohler.

But what does this have to do with you getting your property ready to sell? Will installing the new bronze faucets put easy money in your pocket?

Imagine this scenario. You’re thinking you want to change your fixtures to make your house appealing and look updated. So, installing the latest and greatest in faucets is a sure winner. Right?

Armed with this savvy design knowledge, you go to the big box store and search for one of the new bronze faucets. You spy the perfect one and head to the register to make your purchase. Please hear me screaming, “STOP! DON’T DO IT!” This is a disastrous decision which could cost you thousands!

Installing the latest in kitchen faucets is risky if you are trying to sell your house, even if it will become popular in the near future. Instead, you want your house to feel comfortable to most buyers and not represent the front edge of design. How do you do this? By providing elements in your home that are familiar and mainstream now.

When many people won’t buy a house simply because they don’t like the paint colors, how do you think they will feel about buying a property with new fixture finishes that they may not believe are here to stay?


So, push away your inner Nate Berkus or Candice Olson. Reach for the brushed stainless, oiled rubbed bronze or chrome. These choices are safe, current and what prospective buyers are looking for. After all, we want to give them what they want!

What’s the take away here? If you love the new bronze faucets, purchase them for your new home. There you can love and admire them for years to come. Then let the rest of us catch up.

What do you think about the new warm metal faucets? We’d love to hear your thoughts. Please leave a comment below.

250X52

I’m Sue Proud, Owner of PROUD HOME Staging, LLC and an Accredited Staging Professional® in St. Charles, IL. I appreciate you taking the time to read this post.

We would love to hear from you… please leave your comments and questions below or Contact Us directly about your Home Staging and Design needs.

Related Resources:

How To Make Fearless Design Decisions – A Cheat Sheet for Home Decor

The Shocking Truth About Granite

5 Home Staging Tips for Front Entries to Make Buyers Fall in Love with Your House

The Shocking Truth About Granite

DECLUTTERED THOUGHTS OF A HOME STAGER by Sue Proud, ASP®, IAHSP®, GCIRC

Granite. It’s the word realtors and buyers love to see in the description of any house. It’s the current buzz word in real estate that is immediately associated with quality properties that are updated. It’s the material my design clients ask me to help them select time and again. After all, who wants to invest thousands in a countertop and not get it right?

The shocking truth is that if you choose granite as an upgrade to help sell your home, you might automatically turn off the very people you want to attract; home buyers. Why? Because a granite choice is extremely personal. As a home stager, granite can be an ugly word. No amount of staging can convince a buyer to purchase a home if it has very taste specific granite, unless that one in a million buyer loves it too.

Homeowners continue to install it though, because they’ve been told by professionals, design magazines and TV decorating shows that it is the right choice; the choice that will be a great return on investment. This is exactly why I installed it in my own home years ago. And because of all the hype the last 10-15 years, granite has been elevated to “king of the countertop mountain,” so to speak.

But the reality is, most prospective buyers aren’t aware of the advantages of various countertop materials, so they continue to ask for granite as a safe choice. They can walk into any property and easily identify this upgrade as a good investment. It’s costly and everybody wants it, so it must be good, right?

If we weren’t all drinking the Kool-Aid, would we still select granite if we truly wanted an investment that would attract buyers not only today, but in the future? I don’t think so.

Yes, granite is a natural product that has unique qualities; inherent beauty and depth of color that can only be generated through thousands of years of heat and compression within the earth’s crust. But it has drawbacks that make it less than perfect:

  1. Maintenance – Most granite needs to be periodically sealed due to the porosity of the stone. This porosity can also trap bacteria; not good for kitchens where the bacteria of raw meat can rear its ugly head.
  2. Durability – I’ve heard clients say, “I can cut right on my granite and take hot pots off the stove and put them directly on it.” Well, yes you can if you want to dull your knives and run the risk of having your granite crack. Since granite is a natural, igneous rock, it can have fissures within the slab. These weak areas can cause cracking if the expansion and contraction is too fast due to extreme temperature changes.
  3. Cost – since granite has been around for a while and new alternative materials are becoming available, the cost is starting to go down a bit, but it is still a hefty investment for most homeowners.
  4. Movement – This is the kicker; the characteristic of granite that makes it sooooo taste specific. Either you love all the movement created by the veining of each type of granite or you don’t. There doesn’t seem to be a middle ground with most people. And because buyers are either in one camp or the other, home sellers automatically alienate a large group of buyers just by the granite selection they make.

So you can see, granite has issues. If we’re going to invest bookoo bucks in home improvement knowing that we want to attract buyers now or in the future, why aren’t we selecting products that have no maintenance and will appeal to most people?

Times are changing. We are starting to wake up. We are educating ourselves as to the benefits of alternative materials to create interiors that will stand the test of time and give us the biggest bang for our investment dollars.

Let’s make our selections as timeless as possible so a buyer doesn’t walk in a house and immediately know the year the home improvement took place.

Quartz countertops, anyone?

What do you think about granite?

250X52

I’m Sue Proud, Owner of PROUD HOME Staging, LLC and an Accredited Staging Professional® in St. Charles, IL. I appreciate you taking the time to read this post.

We would love to hear from you… please leave your comments and questions below or Contact Us directly about your Home Staging and Design needs.

 

Related Resources:

The Smells that Sell: What Really Works – Home Staging in Elgin, IL

How To Make Fearless Design Decisions – A Cheat Sheet for Home Decor

Home Staging in St. Charles, IL – 4 Easy Steps to Find the Money Hidden in Your Linen Closet

5 Home Staging Tips for Front Entries to Make Buyers Fall in Love with Your House

DECLUTTERED THOUGHTS OF A HOME STAGER by Sue Proud, ASP®, IAHSP®, GCIRC

Source

Source

“You had me at hello.” Dorothy uttered those five, simple words to Jerry in the movie, Jerry Maguire. She was hooked. She was connected. She was in love.

Do you think your house connects with prospective buyers at their first “hello”? Does your outside entry immediately hook buyers so they feel it is their home? From the minute they view the exterior, either on-line or in person, you want to make them fall in love with your house in Geneva, IL.

Source

Source

To evaluate your entry, you need to be objective. You need to have a fresh perspective about the product you are trying to sell.  Most people rarely go through their own front entry, so take a photo of yours and view it as if you were seeing it for the first time. What do you notice? You can bet that prospective buyers will notice every detail and will decide within seconds whether to explore more of your property or move on.

There are 5 home staging tips for outside front entries that will make buyers fall in love with your Geneva, IL house:

1. Create a Focal Point with Color

125a4478cfc3893830Curb appeal with color

Source

  • Paint or re-stain your front door a color that compliments the architecture, exterior color(s) and location of your house. Select a color that reflects current exterior color palettes without being too trendy or personal. 

Need ideas? Look at Pinterest boards (Sherwin-Williams, Benjamin Moore, Curb Appeal, Inviting Front Doors, Exterior Paint Combos), paint websites or other homes in your neighborhood for color combinations with similar exterior colors. TIP: If your exterior has stone or brick that is multicolored, select one of those colors for your front door to give a pulled together look.

  • Use pots filled with colorful plants that repeat the same colors found in your yard or on your front door. Repeat no more than three colors or it will make your entry look busy and distracting. Select the number of pots needed to create balance for the entry without blocking the front door or making it seem like a jungle. You want to have plenty of room for buyers and Realtors to easliy get into your house.

Need ideas for winter? There are winter exterior home staging ideas on Pinterest.

2. Make Buyers Feel Welcome

  • Purchase a doormat that is, at a minimum, the width of your door frame, including any screen or storm doors.
Source

Source

Select a doormat that compliments the architecture/color of your house and preferably one that says “Welcome.” Stay away from anything too personal, such as monograms, team affiliations and sayings.

Select a mat thickness that allows the screen or storm door to move freely across it when opened.

  • If space allows, add a bench, a couple of chairs or a bistro set and accent them with colorful outdoor pillows in one of the colors you’ve selected to repeat.

3. Update Your Entry Hardware

  • Your front door hardware should be the same color and finish as is found in the rest of your house and in excellent condition.
  • Does your doorbell work? Are your house numbers and mailbox worn or dated? Replace broken items and repaint worn hardware to instantly convey your house is a well maintained property.

4. Examine Your Light Fixtures

Source

  • Are your light fixtures the right scale? A good rule of thumb for the front door fixture is for it to be 1/3 the height of the door if there is only one and 1/4 the height of the door if there are two (one on each side of the door).  Fixtures that are too small make buyers wonder what else you have skimped on in your house. NO WIMPY LIGHT FIXTURES!
  • Do you have the correct bulbs? Use bulbs with a warm white light and the correct wattage for the fixture. Incandescent light, 60-75 watts total, is ideal for most decorative exterior wall fixtures and post lanterns. With that being said, make sure you have plenty of light to highlight your entry at night. Check the fixture label so the maximum safe wattage is not exceeded.

5. CLEAN EVERYTHING!

  • Windows, light fixtures and hardware need to sparkle. The door and trim need to be (or at least look) freshly painted or re-stained. Cobwebs and any insects need to be gone. Frequently sweep the entry to keep it looking spotless.

Are you ready to use these 5 home staging tips for front entries to make buyers fall in love with your house?

Related Resources:

The Smells that Sell: What Really Works – Home Staging in Elgin, IL

Home Staging in St. Charles, IL – 4 Easy Steps to Find the Money Hidden in Your Linen Closet

5 Tips to Help You Find a Home Stager in St. Charles, IL – “The Box of Chocolates Dilemma”

250X52I’m Sue Proud, Owner of PROUD HOME Staging, LLC and an Accredited Staging Professional® in St. Charles, IL. I appreciate you taking the time to read this post.

We would love to hear from you… please leave your comments and questions below or Contact Us directly about your Home Staging and Design needs.

Home Staging in Geneva, IL – 2 Secrets to Selling Your Home

DECLUTTERED THOUGHTS OF A HOME STAGER by Sue Proud, ASP®, IAHSP®, GCIRC

Via Flickr Creative Commons, user kaibara87.

Are you thinking that you need to be lucky to sell your home in today’s market?

Believe it or not, luck has nothing to do with it (Well, maybe finding a four-leaf clover in the yard wouldn’t hurt.)

The 2 secrets to selling your home in Geneva, Ilinois are:

  1. finding an Accredited Staging Professional® (ASP®) to make it stand out above all the other properties on the market.
  2. pricing it correctly as a Staged home.

First, there’s finding an Accredited Staging Professional®.

Finding an Accredited Staging Professional® (ASP®) in Geneva, Illinois who you feel comfortable with is critical. After all, this person will be sorting your possessions and looking in your closets and cabinets. They’ll be handling your memories.

Elvis collection

Via Flickr Creative Commons, user State Farm.

As ASPs®, we commonly hear:

“I’ve been collecting Elvis memorabilia since I was in the 4th grade and I love to show it off.”; “My mother gave me this dish and I have to display it.”; “This was my daughter’s favorite toy. It reminds me so much of her and I want to keep it out.”; “My husband can’t part with his trophies.” And the list goes on…

This past week, I was fortunate to stage the home of a woman who is an empty nester. She shared some of her feelings about her upcoming move…

“You know this move is just so much more stressful than any of our others. I think it’s because the kids aren’t here any more. Before we had to consider school districts and accessibility to the kid’s activities when thinking about our move. Now we don’t have anything. This house has all our memories in it.”

Do you think you can be objective about the things in your home that represent your memories? Most people can’t. They’re too caught up in the significance of each item. So you need to find a Home Stager in the Fox Valley Area to help you.

As Accredited Staging Professionals®, we can not only be objective, but we have the knowledge to know what works to highlight the best features of your home. We create spaces that invite buyers in and make them want to linger. The longer they are in your house, the more emotionally connected they become. The more connected they become, the more likely they will make an offer.

Second, there’s pricing it correctly as a Staged home.

Staging your home elevates your property above 80-90% of the listings in Geneva, Illinois. Buyers will be comparing your staged property to all the other unstaged properties they see. The online photos of your staged property will also shine far above those that are not staged.Your staged house will be setting the standard as to how much value buyers feel they are getting for the price.

As a result, buyers will be willing to offer the best possible price for your premier property. This impacts your listing price.

Interviewing three Realtors and asking for a Competitive Marketing Analysis (CMA) is a good step toward listing your staged property for the right price.

Related Resources:

5 Tips to Help You Find a Home Stager in St. Charles, Illinois – “The Box of Chocolates Dilemma”

The Smells that Sell: What Really Works – Home Staging in Elgin, IL

Home Staging in St. Charles, IL – 4 Easy Steps to Find the Money Hidden in Your Linen Closet

250X52

I’m Sue Proud, Owner of PROUD HOME Staging, LLC and an Accredited Staging Professional® in St. Charles, IL. I appreciate you taking the time to read this post.

We would love to hear from you… please leave your comments and questions below or Contact Us directly about your Home Staging and Design needs.