Our Thoughts on All Things Home

When We Say Modern...

What do we mean when we say our staging style is Modern? Clean lines, contemporary flair, strong colors, mixed metals and more.

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Designing a Business around a Marketplace

The current real estate climate in the Arlington/Somerville/Winchester/Lexington/Cambridge/Belmont area in which we generally work has really compelled us to expand our Home Staging offerings--based on repeated requests from realtors. 

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Working Within Creative Constraints

The principle of establishing creative constraints is fundamental to our success in giving clients functional, beautiful rooms. Before we begin any "creative" work, we figure out the boundaries of the project. We want to know every limit of the job and have learned over the years that the more there are, the more creative we can and must be.

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More on Colors!

We had the opportunity to provide a color consultation on several rooms in a townhouse west of Boston. The homeowner had moved into her unit that was already painted in neutrals, such as beige and yellow. While some of her color palette was in the earth tones, many of her furnishings and art had a modern feel and a citrus-bright color story. Here's what we decided to do...

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We just love to unify the color scheme!

When we talk to sellers and realtors about our staging strategy, and when we work in clients' interiors, at some point the conversation always gets around to "unifying the color scheme." This is our way of saying: pick 3 or 4 main colors and use them throughout every room.

With interior redecorating and decorating, frequently our clients have a cohesive color scheme buried deep within many, many colors at use in their home. To figure out which 3 or 4 colors will become the main scheme, we do some investigating. Which piece of art do they just love? Is there a pillowcase, napkin, or even a shirt, they're drawn to? Are any of their wall colors painted in a color they chose and like?

Usually a theme starts to emerge. There are a handful of main color schemes we run across again and again: sea colors (green/blue/white/grey/tan), neutrals (beige, white, grey, black, silver), earth tones (red, brown, yellow, orange) and brights (pink, yellow, lime, purple, teal, red). Do you know which group makes you feel great? This is YOUR color scheme!

So, down to the work of "unifying" it within your home. First, edit out the items that do not reinforce your color scheme. If you are squarely in the earth tones, take the aqua and the purple quilted pillow off your sofa! The fun thing about working in a client's house (versus staging, where we often bring in the color scheme through our own accessories) is the process of discovering everything that comes out of closets and basements in support of the color scheme. And every time, we hear "I'm so glad to have this [insert name of treasured item here] out--I just love this and never knew what to do with it!"

Weaving the colors throughout your house will give you a cohesive look. If there are 3 or 4 main colors we're working with, we "up the levels" of each color in a different way in each room. For instance, if we're working with a sea palette of green, white, blue and tan, we might accessories intensively with blue in the kitchen, then work with both blue and green in the dining room, and combine all the colors in the living room. This gives each room a unique character, while keeping the color scheme consistent and easy to look at throughout the house. (See photos below for example of how to alter color levels within different rooms of the same home.)

This strategy is effective with paint colors, as well. If you are someone who is drawn to color on the walls, restrict yourself to a range of complimentary colors within your palette and thread them throughout your house. It's about commitment and faith in the fabulousness of the end result--as much as you may love red, if you want a serene interior and you are working with sea tones, resist the urge to paint your half-bath red!

Also, choose which way to go with wall colors--either use your walls to express your color scheme, and keep furnishings and accessories neutral (white, off white, brown, black) or paint walls in light, neutral tones that support the furnishings and accessories in your color scheme.

Happy "unification"!

Getting the hang of hanging art

One of the things we've found that makes a huge difference to the look of a room is its artwork. Well-selected artwork can announce the color scheme of your room and reflect your personal style. Because its selection and placement is so important, we always hang or re-hang client artwork as our final step. We want to get all other room elements in place, then get the art in the best spot.

Two common missteps we've encountered are: artw hung in the wrong orientation, and art hung at the wrong height. Our rule of thumb is to fill as much of a horizontal space as possible with a piece of art, thus making it a focal point. Unless you are hanging art above furniture, the middle of the art (or grouping of art) should be at eye level of a 5'6" person.

Speaking of groupings, we love to group art. It's a fun way to get more bang from your pieces, and make a color or thematic statement. The space between each piece should be the same. When arranging a group, hang the middle piece and work out from there. Keys to a successful grouping, or any piece of art hung on a wall, is staying mindful of the colors and how they interact with your room (this includes frame color). A fun website that simplifies the process of hanging groups of art is http://www.thepicturewallcompany.com/.

For families with kid art, hanging them together, gallery style, can look great in a hallway or on an ENTIRE wall of the main living space. We've also had fun using non-traditional items as "artwork"-in one instance, tribal masks and woven food rolling mats. In another, pottery and a piece of hammered metal.

(Credit to Country Living Oct 2009 for this beautiful photo.)