Archive for August, 2010

Seasonal Home Staging: Yes or No

Posted on August 26, 2010. Filed under: decorating, home staging |

I am frequently asked about seasonal home decor when staging a home for sale. This can be a tricky area. On the one hand, you want to reflect what is going on outside. You wouldn’t want the house to feel out of sync with the seasons. An example of this is too many beach references in the Winter or holiday lights in Spring. On the other hand, you don’t want to choose seasonal decor that is too religious or in a great quantity.  

Small festive arrangement at the front door

A few seasonal items at the front door is cheerful without being over-powering


You always want the decor to highlight the features and assets of the property. Frequently, when people have seasonal decor, they are adding it to what they already display. This can easily lead to an over-decorated, crowded feeling that hides rather than highlights the homes best features.  

Simple berry wreaths on wood doors

Adding simple wreaths to interior doors is festive and warm and highlights the beautiful wood doors


If the homeowner is living in the staged house and feels a strong need to have seasonal decor, my advice is to replace out of season items with ones that are seasonally appropriate. I would not use seasonal decor that reflects any particular religion, and it can not detract attention from the home’s features.  

Christams Tree in fornt of bookcases

Although I love the look and aroma of a Christmas tree, if your house is for sale you might choose a small table-top version or skip it entirely if possible


Staging an occupied home for sale presents many challenges. It is a balancing act between doing what is best to get your property sold and keeping things livable while your family is waiting for a buyer. The holidays will usually complicate matters but keep in mind that your ultimate goal is to be able to sell your home as quickly as possible and for the best possible price. Some sacrifices may be necessary.  

“til Next Time,   

Make Yours a   

Welcome Home   

If you are interested in a home staging or decorating consultation, please e-mail me for rates and more information or go to I am available for on-site and virtual consultations.

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Home Staging Bedrooms: How much is enough?

Posted on August 19, 2010. Filed under: decorating, home staging |

When home staging a vacant home there are some rooms you obviously need to furnish completely. Usually it’s the living room, dining room and family room. These public spaces set the tone for the house and are usually the first impressions a buyer will have. This means that you need to have enough furniture to make the rooms feel complete and inviting. It will include accessories and artwork. 

But what about bedrooms? I was working with a client to stage their vacant home in Baltimore. They weren’t sure how much they wanted to invest in staging so I provided them with some options. The first option is one I most often recommend. I quoted a price to furninsh only the master bedroom and only with a queen sized bed and a nightstand. The reason is that the bed offers the buyer a sense of scale. Once people understand how the bed fits in the room, they can imagine how their other pieces (like one or two dressers) might fit. Most people can’t visualize a completed room in an empty space. 

Master bedroom staged in a vacant home

Staged master bedroom with dresser, mirror and curtains


The second scenario was to add a twin bed and nightstand to each of the smaller bedrooms. Again, this provides the buyer with a sense of scale. One of the bedrooms could easily accommodate a full-sized bed. I chose a twin to emphasize the space in the larger room. 

Staged child's bedroom in vacant home

Staged child's bedroom in vacant home


large child's bedroom staged in vacant home

large child's bedroom staged in vacant home


The third scenario is one I don’t typically recommend simply because it costs a little more. This scenario added a dresser to the master bedroom as well as furnishings and accessories for the sun room. 

Staged sunroom

Staged sunroom with curtains, furniture and accessories


This was at the client’s request. He had invested a lot of money in renovations and really wanted the property to feel complete. The additional cost was relatively minor and he is in a competitive market so he really wanted the home to shine. 

The way to determine how much staging is enough is based on a few factors. Budget is the most significant factor but so is the competition and the recommendations of your Realtor. You want to spend enough to get the house sold in the shortest time frame and for the most money. 

I strongly recommend that you work with a professional stager who is willing to offer you several options, who works with your Realtor to make sure the home will appeal to your target audience, and who can explain to you why they recommend a particular course of action. 

“til Next Time, 

Make Yours a 

Welcome Home 

If you are interested in a home staging or decorating consultation, please e-mail me for rates and more information or go to I am available for on-site and virtual consultations.

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An Interview with Meg from PigTown Design

Posted on August 5, 2010. Filed under: decorating |

I am please to bring you a brief interview with local blogger Meg Fairfax Fielding, author of PigTown Design.

Q1:Have you always been interested in interior design? I grew up in a big old house where the design never changed, but it was classic. We painted sometimes, but the paper on the dining room walls was a hand-printed Chinese pattern that had probably been there for 40 or 50 years. My sisters and I were allowed to paint our spaces and we did a bathroom in taxi-cab yellow and lime green.

Q2:I know that by day you are in fundraising. How does your interest in design relate to your professional life?
Since I also do all of the communications and publications for Woodbourne where I work, I am always looking at different publications, like magazines and catalogues, to see what I can learn from them, and use in my design work. I look at trends in typefaces and layout as well as colour.

Q3:What is your personal style?
There’s a style called Rough Luxe, which is very good pieces along with some pieces which aren’t so posh. For example, I have a beautiful Ethan Allan sofa and two lovely yellow ottomans in my living room, but then I also have a steel card file with 30 drawers, which I use for shoes. Since I have an old yellow Labrador, I have to have pieces which can take a hit.
I use my Royal Copenhagen dinner plates along with my cheapie thrift shop Blue Willow ware and my William Yeoward glasses with straws! It’s not unusual to see the dog drinking from an old silver bowl.

Q4:What are your 3 favorite Baltimore design resources?

Halcyon House in Greenspring Valley is tops on my list. There is NOTHING in that store that I don’t love! I could move right in and live there. Halcyon carries John Robshaw bedding, which is just gorgeous (as is John!). Stiles Colwill, the owner, has an unerring sense of taste that I’ve admired since we were young.
Gore-Dean in Mount Washington is a close second. Deborah’s taste is superb. I work there every so often, and love to wander around the store looking closely at every single thing she’s got in there. Deb also has a shop in Georgetown in DC.

Those are the luxe stores, and the rough is Housewerks, an architectural antiques shop. It’s located in a fabulous old gas pumping station down by the stadiums. The two owners have the most amazing eye for fantastic things – they just got a shipment of big green glass balls which were floats from Japanese fishing nets.

Q5: What was your favorite (or most recent) project?  That’s a great question! I was 24-hours away from closing on a house, and then I backed out because of some unforeseen structural issues. I had the entire house planned out, with schematics and layouts. I had the whole place decorated in my mind, and then had to give it up. It practically killed me! So I am house hunting now, and have my eye on a very vanilla place that I can put my imprimatur on and make my own.
One of the things that is very important to me is to have a large workspace, and to have room for a six-foot long commercial kitchen counter I have. It was the only piece of furniture that I kept when I moved abroad! So any house that I buy has to have room for this piece!

Thanks Meg. We all enjoyed getting to know the person behind PigTown Design.

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