Kiki Interiors - Decor and Staging

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Gardening on a dime

The outdoor space is the new indoor space. Outdoor design is more popular than ever before, with so many downsizers and first time buyers moving into the condo market, the outdoor space has become an essential part of their lifestyle.

Outdoor furniture has come along way with a variety of chairs, tables, benches, loungers and even fireplaces! But for those purchasers who have downsized from their large family home or for the first time buyer who loves the outdoors, the lack of yard can be an issue, gardening is a popular pass time and is not one that has to be given up just because you live in a condo. Gardening is a great way to get fresh air, to learn something new and to decorate your space!

But gardening can also be a big expense, so how can it be more affordable? Check out these tips for DIY gardening projects that can make any patio look polished.

1 -- Large plants are the most expensive so instead of spending a lot of money on a large tree or bush consider going fake (I know a lot of people think this is tacky but it can look rich, please read on...) By purchasing large boxwood or ivy topiary that are already in planters, you eliminate a big price tag and to avoid looking too fake add other planters with real flowers, look for ones that stay in bloom all summer. Place your planters in groups (odd numbers are best such as 3 or 5). You have spent very little on the small plants and your large fake one you will reuse every year or update it with each season by adding white lights or some fall foliage.
A lot of people have a real concern with using fake plants, because they tend to look fake but if used sparingly and in the right spot that can add a real feel of luxury.

2 -- Planters come in all shapes, looks and sizes. If you plan on reusing yours each planting season consider fiberglass planters and not clay. the fiberglass is much lighter to carry and tends not to crack (in the winter they must be brought inside or at least in a storage area of some kind). They are easy to find and come in a variety of price points. But if you want a designer look here are a few ideas to try:

a) Take your basic terra cotta pot and purchased chalkboard paint (in now comes in a spray). Spray the pot, it takes about 2-3 coats and do this outdoors for ventilation purposes. Once the paint is dry, using chalk you can write an inspirational quote or word or label the plant. This is a great idea for an herb garden or for a simple Mother's day gift ('s right around the corner)

b) Use your recyclables. Take metal cans in various sizes and using a metal spray paint in high gloss, paint the cans (again it takes about 2-3 coats and do this outside). Once the paint is dry you can add some decorative twine (a very nautical look) or add some ribbon to complete the look. Plant your plants and/or flowers inside.

c) Using a basic terra cotta planter, spray paint the planter in bright, fun colours to add punch and interest to your patio space and plant your plants and/or flowers inside.

3 -- Don't have a green thumb? Check out the By Ward Market in Ottawa and purchase flower baskets or pre-made planters there, whether for ideas of what looks good with what or to purchase. Talk to the merchants and explain your gardening conditions to them (shade, sun, both etc...) You can bring these home and maintain them over the summer. It's not cheating, you are taking steps to learning about gardening.

4 -- Want a no maintenance garden? Decorate your outdoor space with branches and stones in a tall plastic vase. Even though they are not living, it does add life to your space. They are natural and organic materials and they are also no maintenance.

You don't need a large space to have a beautiful garden, just an imagination and a passion!

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Monday, April 27, 2009

One man's trash is another man's treasure...

The spring is a perfect time to reflect and rejuvenate on one's life. The spring should be a lead up to a fun filled summer, so why not eliminate sources of stress during those grey and rainy spring days. Disorganization can be a huge cause of stress in any one's life. By getting organized you can do a lot of good for yourself and believe it or not others. Here's how...

Tackle the areas where clutter seems to gravitate to - the home office, junk drawer, spare bedroom and the garage. Start with one space at a time. Start small if you have to, the junk drawer is a good jumping off point.

With the larger spaces you need to organize your stuff. Make 5 piles or areas and sort them like this - keep, trash, donate, sell and swap. Go through the space and put each item into a category, it's a good idea to do this with your husband/wife, communication is important when tackling a huge task.

The items you keep will go back in your home but they must serve a purpose and have a place in the home.

The items you trash go in the garbage, if collection day is too far away call a junk removal service such as 1-800-GOT-JUNK. They will come to your home, remove the items and bring them to the dump for you.

The items you donate could go to various charities. Cocktail and prom dresses to Fairy Godmother Ottawa, you can drop off donations to any Browns Cleaners in the city. These dresses go to girls who could not afford a prom dress on their own. Any toys (in good condition)could be donated to CHEO or Women's shelters, many women who leave abusive situations have their children with them and very few personal belongings. First Rate Movers is a local Ottawa moving company that offers a service to their customers to bring items to local Women's shelters. Many school libraries are looking for books, appropriate for children.

The items that you sell can be sold in many different venues such as craigslist, kijiji or ebay. Selling online gives your item(s) more exposure and you are likely to receive 4 to 5 times more than if you sold the item at a yard sale. Items that are worth selling online are designer clothes/shoes, collectibles, electronics and sporting goods. Other options are consignments stores such as Hush located in Westboro, Boomerang Kids in Old Ottawa South, Clothes encounters in New Edinburgh, and Total Home Consignment on Bank St. There is also the good old fashion yard sale but if you want to increase your exposure, take a look in your personal address book and see if you know anyone in the Glebe or Old Ottawa South and see if that friend would be willing to have you bring you items to their community yard sale. The Great Glebe Garage Sale is a huge event and takes place in the month of May. The Old Ottawa South Porch Sale takes place on the first Saturday in September.
The items in the swap pile will take some planning but it could be a fun community event but for the first time maybe just start with a few neighbours, it will catch on. Ask your neighbours if they would like to have a swap meet one Saturday or Sunday. The way it works is items you are willing to part with should be placed on your drive way and you will all scope out each other's stuff and take what you like. For the first time a smaller meet is best and a theme is a good idea too. For example say the theme is home funishings and decor - that way everyone will be more or less swaping similar things. This is a great way to get to know your neighbours better and is an inexpensive way to re-decorate your space.

Once you remove the junk and stress form your life you will feel better, your space will look better and hopefully you have been able to do some good for others.

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Sunday, April 26, 2009

Home Decor FAQ

My kitchen is boring and ugly is there anything I can do short of spending thousands of dollars renovating it?

The kitchen is the hub of activity in any home so we should feel like it is a warm and fun place to be. Here are some simple and inexpensive solutions to update your space - change up the hardware, in Ottawa we are lucky to have a Lee Valley tools, they probably have the best and most varied selection of kitchen pulls and knobs. Another quick fix, paint! If the kitchen is a bit lifeless or dull add a splash of colour!

I would love to work with an interior designer but I don't have the money, what are my options to get a designer look without the cost?

Go window-shopping!! Walk around and browse in your favourite furniture shops and take a look at the displays. Take a look at what is out there and ask your sales professional for some advice - it won't cost you anything. Some of my favuorite places to browse in Ottawa are Blueprint Home located at 1301 Wellington, Rhubarb Home 279 Richmond Road and EQ3 located in the ByWard market.

What is the single least expensive thing I can do to transform my space?

Paint. Don't be afraid of colour - it can completely transform the mood of any room and don't worry about choosing the wrong one - you can always paint over it! In Ottawa we have some excellent paint professionals who can help you select your colour. Farrow & Ball located at 343 Richmond Road Ottawa, (613) 722-9891, has true professionals in their shop and they can help you with any paint or decor need.

How can I get inexpensive mood lighting?

First thing get rid of any fluorescent lighting it has a blue tint and makes everything look ugly. Instead use halogen or incandescent lighting. Also use dimmers and use them everywhere. They are easy to install, just ask at any home improvement store, I prefer Rona (you can collect air miles). Dimmers can change the mood in any room in an instant. The more light sources you have the better - overhead, task lighting, reading lamps and candles depending on which combination you use can really alter the feeling in any space. Some of my favourite lighting stores in Ottawa are: MultiLuminaire 1872 Merivale Road and Zone 471 Sussex Dr.
For dramatic touches, candles can add a romantic feel.

Can I clean my moldy plastic shower curtain liner?

No you cannot and why would you want to? Your bathroom should not only be stylish but also clean, a shower curtain liner can collect all kinds of body oils, bacterias and mildew, it's best to replace the liner when you can see any collection of mold or mildew. Just purchase an inexpensive liner and spend on the curtain itself. Some stores that have great and unique curtains are Zone, 471 Sussex Dr, Home Outfitters and even Loblaws - the prices all vary and so does the selection but these stores have something for everyone and every taste.

Do dark colours always make a small space look even smaller?

Not necessarily. It depends on the amount of light that reflects into the room. If the room has a window you have a lot more freedom to choose any colour you like. For example many bathrooms look chic and elegant when painted in a bold and dramatic colour. Painting walls a dark shade helps them recede, giving the room a sense of depth. Adding lighter touches to a dark room gives drama and balance, for example an eggplant or charcoal powder room with cream or white towels and fixtures and some black and white photography make the space seem rich and luxurious.

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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Edible and beautiful - herbs!

Herbs are considered the oldest cultivated plants and are used today as they were hundreds of years ago. Herbs are extremely versatile and a great starter plant for a beginner gardener. Herbs can be grown in many different ways - in a garden bed or pots either inside or outside of your home. Fresh herbs can add a beautiful aroma to any dish and your home.

Throughout the summer months you can expect a generous and plentiful harvest from your herb plants. You can bring in your potted herbs in the cooler months or pick the leaves before the cool weather hits and freeze them in a resealable plastic bag. Fresh herbs are great in salads, teas or alcoholic beverages. Another use for herbs is to take a few mint or basil leaves and place them in your ice cube tray when you are making ice cubes. They freeze in the cubes and are a special touch to summer beverages and add a unique touch to a summer get together.

Herb plants can be annual such as basil, dill, savory and coriander. Some herb plants are biennial (they live for two seasons only blooming during the second season) such as parsley and caraway. Perennial herbs live through the winter and bloom each season once established, such as mint, oregano, sage, thyme, chives, rosemary and fennel. Some herbs are prone to spreading and taking over, such as mint. So be sure to control it in a pot or some kind of netting, if planted in a garden bed. My husband loves to have a lot of mint in our home so he can make drinks such as mojitos and spring flings, which are refreshing and clean drinks for hot summer nights.
Mojito Recipe
1 teaspoon powdered sugar
Juice from 1 lime (2 ounces)
4 mint leaves
1 sprig of mint
White Rum (2 ounces)
2 ounces club soda
Place the mint leaves into a long mojito glass (often called a "Collins" glass) and squeeze the juice from a cut lime over it. You'll want about two ounces of lime juice, so it may not require all of the juice from a single lime. Add the powdered sugar, then gently smash the mint into the lime juice and sugar with a muddler(a long wooden device pictured below, though you can also use the back of a fork or spoon if one isn't available). Add ice (preferably crushed) then add the rum and stir, and top off with the club soda (you can also stir the club soda in as per your taste). Garnish with a mint sprig.
Spring Fling
1 1/3 cups of white sugar
1 cup of fresh mint leaves
fresh juice from 10 lemons
2 lemons sliced
1 cucumber sliced
2 cups of vodka
2 cups of club soda
This recipe serves 8 and is perfect for parties! In a large pitcher, mix the sugar, the mint leaves add the vodka and fresh lemon juice, let stand for 30 minutes. Stir to dissolve sugar. Chill for 30 minutes. Add the club soda, serve over ice in rocks glasses, garnish with lemon and cucumber slices and mint leaves.

These plants are both edible, beautiful and inexpensive. The By Ward market in Ottawa has an amazing array of herbs and they are usually sold in bundle deals. My favourite way to plant an herb garden is to plant a variety of herbs (and really pack them in there, so once they grow the planters become full and lush) in a large planter and place my planters near the front entrance of my home. Be sure to plant herbs with like growing conditions together, for example mint does extremely well in the shade whereas sage and thyme prefer warmer, dryer conditions. By placing the planters where my guests arrive, they inhale the fantastic perfume of fresh herbs, just another inviting element to any home!

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Sunday, April 19, 2009

Let there be light!

Lighting creates ambiance and makes a space welcoming. Good lighting can also encourage activity, enhance colour and most importantly give life to any room! Light fixtures are dual purpose - providing functionality and fashion. One key idea to creating an inviting space is to layer the lighting. By using a mix of ambient, task and accent lighting.

Ambient lighting is your room's overall light wash, it could be sunlight beaming through your windows or overhead light(s) casting a warm glow throughout the room. Ambient light is the basic lighting layer, illuminating walls, open areas and main pieces of furniture. A dimmer switch can allow you to control the level of ambient light you wish to have in a room and suit different moods and occasions.

Task lighting is designed to help you perform specific activities in close range. It is more location specific layer of lighting. Wall sconces behind a couch allow for a reading area or a pendant lamp over a table or kitchen island can create a focus for a game table or a cooking space. When selecting task lighting think about brightness, beam direction and the proximity of the light fixture to the task area.

Accent lighting provides drama where you want it. This is the lighting layer which allows you to change a room's mood and style most easily. Accent light allow you to direct the eye to those objects and areas of a space that you find most attractive. A spotlight on a favourite piece of art or candles on a dining table create a warm, natural atmosphere.

A gathering of friends and family in your home will only be complimented by the welcoming radiance of warm light. Lighting is the best way to create a mood in your home. Don't forget about lamp shades, they are also an important factor to creating your setting - they are any easy way to update a lamp's and a room's look and they can also change the colour of light reflected in the room and this adds another layer of light to your room's lighting scheme.

Let there be light!

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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Safety first!

When decorating your home, there is a lot to think about - budget, style, shapes, scale and colour but if you have little ones living in your home you really need to think about safety. Everyday, 60 kids in Canada go to the hospital due to injuries that occur in the home.
Here is a handy guide to childproofing your home like a pro, courtesy of the Bennett Real Estate Pros (

1 -- Organize your kitchen cupboards so that the items that peak your child's interest (cookies for example) are the ones that are farthest from the stove.

2 -- The 6 inch rule: keep sharp knives, the bottles of vitamins, your hot cup of coffee and anything else you do not want your child to reach, at least 6 inches from the edge of the counter top or table.

3 -- You do not have to lock up all of your cupboards, just the ones that contain breakable, sharp and poisonous items. Consider using magnetic locks rather than a latching system.

4 -- When you are cooking, use the back burners and turn all pot handles toward the back of the stove.

1 -- Keep all medicines, cleaning products and personal care products locked up in a high place out of your child's reach. The toddler years are the peak time for accidental poisoning and medications are the leading cause. "Child resistant" caps are not childproof!

2 -- Use a rubber faucet guard to protect your little ones head from bumping and bruising. This product is dual purpose as it also creates a more gentle water flow.

3 -- A padded full length bathmat is the safest way to prevent your toddler from slipping in the bathtub. Those cute decals are just that, cute!

4 -- Make sure any door with a lock can be unlocked from the outside too, in case your little one accidentally locks himself or herself in the bathroom. Placing a towel over the top of the door will also prevent anyone from locking the door too.

5 -- Install a latch on the outside of the door at adult height so your curious little tot can't get into the bathroom without adult supervision.

6 -- Get in the habit of closing the lid on the toilet. This serves two purposes. By closing the lid before you flush prevents the spread of germs when you flush and keeps you curious little monkey from falling in! Consider investing in a lid lock, if your little one loves the water!

7 -- Lock the garbage can under the sink or choose one with a child resistant cover, so discarded razor blades and plastic bags do not become juniors new favourite play toys.

8 -- When washing hands, teach your child to turn the cold water on first and slowly add the warm water, as straight hot water can burn delicate skin.

1 -- Keep furniture including cribs or beds, away from the windows, curtains and blinds. Your best bet is to use cordless window coverings. Check out this link to the Window Coverings Safety council (

2 -- Install window guards to prevent curious little ones from falling out. Window stops prevent windows from opening more than 10 cm are a good option.

3 -- Size of toys. How small is too small? If it fits in an empty toilet paper roll, it's too small for a child under the age of 3 yrs old.

4 -- Don't allow a child younger than 6 yrs. old to sleep in the top bunk. At that age they do not have the proper coordination needed to safely climb up or out.

5 -- Choose a toy box with a lightweight lid and a hinge that will stop it from slamming shut or find a lidless toy box. Not only would a lidless option keep tiny fingers safe but it also allows toys to air out.

6 -- Once your baby is able to pull himself or herself up to stand (usually around 8 months) it is best to remove items such as bumper pads, pillows, stuffed toys as these decor items can be used as their "escape" tools.

1 -- Check your couch cushions regularly for loose change, buttons and other choking hazards.

2 -- Put up a barrier around your fireplace to prevent your children from searing their skin. It can take the window of a gas fireplace 45 minutes to cool down to a safe temperature. When the fireplace is not in use, turn it off completely including the pilot light.

3 -- Move furniture with sharp edges out of high traffic areas, especially if your toddler is just beginning to walk. You can also invest in edge protectors that stick onto furniture, just make sure they stay put as they could become a choking hazard.

4 -- Attach bookcases, tall dressers and other unsteady furniture securely to the wall with safety brackets.

5 -- Keep the TV in low sturdy furniture and push it as far back as possible (see the 6 inch rule). More than 100 kids visit the emergency room each year when TV sets fall on them. Many larger TVs come with safety brackets or braces, which is a good preventative measure.

If you are looking for more childproofing tips, check out these websites.
International Association for Child Safety

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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

What's the difference??

Recently, I met with a client who was putting his home up for sale. His family had already made the move into their new home so the current house was vacant. He had already met with an Interior decorator thinking that staging and interior decor were the same thing. I explained the differences and why a stager was what he needed in order to sell his home. Here is what I said to him.

Home staging and interior decoration have become a very lucrative businesses today. Many schools are offering programs in the field, more and more magazines with a focus on design and decor are on the shelves and there are TV stations completely dedicated to home improvement. With the boom in the real estate industry, more and more people are taking up these fields as their career of choice. There are a large number of people who want to know that whether there is any difference between them or not.

Well, the basic difference between home staging and interior decoration lies in the design principles, like how they are applied and what it results into. Interior decoration is more of furnishing and fitting in things in a way that suits one’s lifestyle and preferences and ading that perosnal and unique touch.Home staging on the other hand is a type of marketing strategy. It is a process by which a house is decorated so as to make it appealing to a large audience who are looking for their new home. This brings out only the positive features of a home - the true selling points. In home staging, there won’t be as much of furniture as you might use in your day to day life but that is done so that the property looks spacious. A home stagger will also remove personal items such as family photos, trophies and reglious items so the buyers can visualize themselves in the home.

Only the required furniture should be used so that the potential buyers can feel the comfort of home. A good home staging can help a lot in selling the property (staged homes sell faster and usually for the asking price or more). It creates an emotional connection between the potential buyer and the property. It also hilights certain features as well - home staging is a sales tool.

In case of home staging, you have to keep in mind about the likes and dislikes of the general population, the home is staged for the purpose of selling it.

There are professional home stagers who can be hired for staging a property. Some real estate agents work with stagers to improve the salability of their lisitings. In Ottawa, for example, the Bennett Real Estate Pros ( work exclusively with the KIKI Interiors team. They know the right way to present a home in it's best light.

Remember an Interior decorator is taking your taste and style into account. They are there to truly personalize your space. When you hire an interior decorator, you can instruct the decorator to arrange things according to your choice. This may take into account the paint on the walls, the furniture, the architectural style, etc.

To make a great deal from a real estate investment, the seller should be clear about the differences between home staging and interior decoration. To sell a property at a good profit, the home should be nicely staged. To make a home look like home, the interior should be properly decorated. One is for the sale of the home and the other is to create the space you want. Do you know which is which?

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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Living with clutter?

Clutter can completely take over your life. Once it starts, it's hard to stop and control. But if you are even considering putting your home on the market, de-cluttering is a must! Working exclusively with the Bennett Real Estate Pros ( has put me in touch with various homeowners and the number one tip I give all of them to present their home in the best light possible is to - get rid of the junk!

Clutter not only makes a home look messy but it makes any space seem smaller and closed in. Clutter also makes potential buyers think that the space does not have enough storage (a big negative when it comes to selling your home).

Here are some easy de-clutter tips courtesy of the Bennett Real Estate Pros:

1 -- Declutter for 15 minutes every day. It’s amazing how much you can get through if you just do it in small increments like this.

2 --Don’t allow things into the house in the first place. Whether you have begun de-cluttering the living space, or you have just completed it, stop bringing in new stuff NOW. Even if that’s ALL you do and don’t start de-cluttering immediately, if you can only establish one habit at a time, establish the no-more-stuff habit first. This way, when you do get to de-cluttering the existing stuff, you have already stopped making it worse. Think of bailing out a boat with a hole in it. You can bail and bail, but it won’t do anything for the leak.

3 --Donate stuff you’re decluttering, so you don’t feel bad about wasting it.

4 -- Create a goals chart with de-cluttering on it — either daily, or 3 times a week. Check off the days when you de-clutter, and you’ll feel a great sense of accomplishment.

5 --Start at the corner by the door and move your way around the room, doing the superficial stuff first - surfaces, empty the bin etc. Repeat, but do more the second time around - for example. open the cupboards.

6 -- Whenever you’re boiling the kettle for tea, tidy up the kitchen. If the kitchen is tidy, tidy up the next room - it’s only 3 minutes but it keeps you on top of everything (helps if you have an Englishman’s obsession with Tea as well!)

7 -- Use the “one in, two out” rule. The rule: whenever you bring in an item, you have to throw away two other items. First you cheat, by throwing out two pieces of paper, but soon you will have to move to big stuff.

8 -- Make your storage space smaller and more minimal. If you have lots of storage, you’ll fill it with stuff.

9 -- Clothing rule: If you haven’t worn an item in 6 months, sell or donate it.

10 -- The One-Year Box. Take all your items that you unsure about getting rid of (e.g. “I might need this someday…”), put them in a box, seal it and date it for 1 year in the future. When the date comes, and you still did not need to open it to get anything, donate the box WITHOUT OPENING IT. You probably won’t even remember what there was in the box.

11 -- De-clutter one room (including any closets, desks, cabinets, etc.) before starting on the next one. Spending time in that room will feel so good, and it will be so easy to keep clean, that it will motivate you to do more!

12 -- Keep a list in your planner labeled “Don’t Need It - Don’t Want It.” When you’re out shopping and run across some kind of gadget or other item you crave, note it down on the list. This will slow you down long enough to reconsider. Also, seeing the other things on the list that you nearly bought on impulse really helps.

13 -- Internalize that your value is not in your “stuff”. It is just “stuff”. And realize that your value grows when you share your “stuff”. Hoarding is a selfish act.

14 -- Have someone else (who you trust!) help you go through things. They don’t have the (sometime’s irrational) emotional attachment that you might have, but can still recognize if something should be kept.

15 --Gift everything. Books you have read immediately get recycled among friends, family or local libraries. If you buy a new gaming system, donate your old one – and all the games.

Once you have started to de-clutter your home, not only will it look better but you will feel better too. The feedback from your showings will be very positive and your home will be on the market for less time. So get started, the spring is the perfect time to refresh and rejuvenate!

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Sunday, April 5, 2009

Bringing sexy back into the bathroom

The idea of moving into a new home that the builder has outfitted with your wish list of upgrades can be hard to resist. But builder upgrades can be very costly. Even relatively simple items, such as a few pot lights that would normally cost a homeowner a few hundred dollars, can spike by a couple of hundred per cent when you ask your builder to install them. At the same time, it can be difficult to know what’s best for your new home until you have lived in it for a while. Does it need three pot lights or four? Where should the lighting be placed? What colour of tile would work best? Why not wait until you havemoved in to decide. Then you can make the upgrades yourself, and keep the money in your pocket rather than fill your builder’s.
Ready to turn your basic, boring bathroom into a swank, sexy space?

1 -- Replace the shower head. The most basic of upgrades but one that can make a big difference in your morning shower, the three-outlet upgraded shower head is pure luxury but without a high price tag. Even a somewhat handy person can make this change.

2 -- Replace the basic mirror. All builders use a very simple basic mirror that is usually quite plain or if you are really unlucky, very dated. But this is a simple fix, go to any home furnishings store and find the mirror section (make sure you have measured your space). Replace your boring builder mirror with a more current one. If you can find one with a unique frame this can really make your space a special one.

3 -- Replace the vanity. This change is bit more costly and recommended in a resale home as opposed to a new build. The existing vanity was classic builder’s basic or perhaps original to the home—functional but boring. A new dark-wood vanity, bought off the shelf at Home Depot or Rona, can come complete with marble top and vessel-style sink, which can give any bathroom a modern flair at a reasonable price point.

4 -- Replace the light fixture. A single fixture over the vanity and one over the bathtub is the builder basic but it leaves the room unevenly lit and dim. Adding two pot lights in the middle of the ceiling makes the room bigger, cleaner and brighter. Adding inexpensive upgraded light fixture above your mirror completes the lighting modification needed to create an expensive looking bathroom.

5 -- Accessorize! By adding some decor pieces that work with your theme (beach, spa etc...) can be the finishing touch to setting the tone to your new bathroom. Look for a small plant, guest soaps or a unique soap dispenser, pieces such as beach glass, shells or starfish, some art to hang on the walls. Don't forget the towels - look for a colour that works with the space right now crisp white towels with a touch of chocolate are really popular but whatever you choose make it consistent. The Dora the Explorer towels might be on sale and would work in a child's bathroom but they should not be used for your adult guests. Buy in bulk and look for sales, most department stores run a promo sale on towels a few times a year.

Even though it is just a bathroom remember this is part of your home to, and your guests will want to feel welcome in all areas of your home. If you are looking at selling now or in the near future, the bathroom space(s) are very important on the resale market. After speaking with members of the Bennett Real Estate pros ( their agents mentioned that the bathrooms were an important factor in selling any home. Potential buyers are looking for clean, well-maintained and current bathroom spaces. When showing your home make sure any repairs have been fixed, the bathroom is spotless, all personal items are stored away to show off counter space and adding some decor such as a plant and clean towels, goes a long way. A bathroom can make an impact on your guests (or potential buyers) and your ensuite should be a place to escape and enjoy!

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Friday, April 3, 2009

The benefits of staging your home

The spring real estate market is here and real estate agents are on the move!
The spring market is also very competitive, so how can you set your home apart from others?
By staging it. Staging is a process that includes cleaning, eliminate clutter, removing, re-purposing and presenting.

A professional stager will see your home the way a buyer would want to. When you stage you should be featuring the selling points of your home such as high ceilings, large living space, beautiful neighbourhood, natural light etc... Stagers will simplify or streamline the furniture in a room for better traffic flow and to enhance its spaciousness. They may neutralize a too-personal color scheme or add touches of color or accessories where needed. Staging helps exhausted buyers "mentally move in" and feel that when they move in for real, they'll be able to kick back for awhile and relax.

Staging helps your buyer fall in love with your home. Certain personal objects, pictures,and furnishing layouts can confuse and deter buyers; having a stager will help avoid common pitfalls sellers make. Selling at the best price involves more than hiring an agent and placing a sign on the lawn. Statistics are showing that staged homes can sell up to 50% faster and for an average price increase of 7%. Staging your home prior to listing is the best way to ensure the highest return on your valuable investment.

When a potential home buyer enters your home you really only get one chance to make that all-important first impression; many buyers actually make up their minds about whether or not they like a house within the first 10 seconds. Home staging is a simple and cost effective way to “present” your home for the buying audience so you create a great first impression, stand out from other listings, and linger in the mind of the buyer. Real Estate Agents will make some suggestions on how to present your home but a real estate team such as The Bennett Real Estate Pros ( work exclusively with a staging company to help their clients present their home in the best possible light and maximize on their most important asset. Set yourself apart from the competition and get ready to sell!

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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Easy fixes to update your space

Everyone LOVES a great deal! Everyone also LOVES having beautiful things whether its jewellery, clothing, artwork - everyone loves to have that special piece that makes one ask "where did you get that?" If you want to make your space beautiful without spending a lot of money, here are some simple tips to update your space and make it beautiful!

1. Paint-on architecture. Purchase a blank canvas and paint it in a high impact colour and hang it in an area that will bring attention to your space or if you have high ceilings. You don't need any artistic talent to produce an eye-popping piece of art.

2. Now that spring is here, fill up a vase with natural items - flowers, pussy willows etc... Bring the outside in! Your space will feel more alive.

3. Add a dimmer switch to your existing lighting. You can play with the different levels of brightness in your space and create the mood you want.

4. Change out your existing drawer pulls or knobs for new ones. This simple and inexpensive step can transform a kitchen or a piece of furniture.

5. Re-purpose your artwork. Try moving your art pieces around. Guests will take notice and likely remark on pieces that seem new and how different your space looks.

6. Change your pop up colour. Spring is here and your home should reflect it. Many home improvement stores have easy ways to add some spring into your home. Purchase some decor pillows in a fresh colour, add some candles with a lighter scent (or no scent at all), make a wreath for the front door with some spring colours.

Small changes can really make a big impact and they do not have to cost a lot (or anything at all). Take a walk around your home and see if there are any pieces in your space that you would like your guests to notice - items that you purchased while travelling are great because they are beautiful, they have meaning and a great to story which can be an excellent conversation starter at any party.


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