Kiki Interiors - Decor and Staging

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Celebrity style - Kim Raver

We all see the fashion magazines plastered with images of celebrity style but what about their homes? Your personal style should be reflected in not just your clothing but your surroundings too!

Kim Raver (Grey's Anatomy and 24) has two gorgeous homes - one on the west coast and the other on the east coast. Each home reflects a side of her style and of the area.

The west coast home is modern but with some coziness and colour (see second set of images). I love how she softens up the concrete floors with a plush area rug. She also makes the living room so personal by adding an eclectic gallery of family photos. The addition of the large kitchen island encourages conversation and working together. "It's great because then people pitch in. Every one's chopping vegetables!" - she says.

The east coast house is more of a cottage style (see top images). The kitchen in light creams and bead board is cozy, cottage chic. The living room boasts a 300 year old fireplace! Raver added naturalness and an organic feel by adding some wicker elements to the space. she included some more personal items in this home too, including a dollhouse in her master bedroom passed down from her grandmother. Raver although not as modern and sleek as her L.A home, she feels at home in the Hampton's too, "I love how old this house is and to think about all of the generations of families who have gone through here".

Embrace all of your different sides of style by carefully meshing them together or creating a different feel in certain rooms in your home!

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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Holiday tips and tricks....

I have asked friends and family for some of their favourite holiday tips and tricks to make the season smooth, merry and bright.

- use ice cubes to water your natural tree and/or Christmas plants (less mess)

- battery operated candles. they give you the look, they are great for home with kids, no hot wax spills and they can be used over and over again

- edible centerpieces like nuts and fruit - simple to make, they are organically beautiful and no waste

- reduce, reuse and recycle your holiday gift bags

- live in a condo with strict rules and regulations? put your wreaths (using wreath hangers) on interior doors

- use stocking hangers instead of damaging your fireplace mantel with nails. check out bed, bath and beyond for initial stocking hangers by harvey lewis.

- always buy a few extra gifts and keep them on hand - there is always an unexpected person who thinks to get you something lovely for the holiday, it's nice to give back to them too

- buy holiday cards when they are on sale and stock up for years to come

- display your family photos and Christmas cards on your tree! it makes for a great display area and now your counter space is clear of clutter.

- spritz your natural cedar wreaths and bows with water daily

- for napkins, chargers, coasters etc...stick with colours like red, white and/or gold in solids this way they can be used for other holidays such as Thanksgiving, New Year's and Valentine's day

- Do all of your baking at once and freeze it - cookies thaw out in no time!

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Sunday, December 5, 2010

Staging for your target market

I recently staged a one bedroom with my team and much to my surprise the seller was disappointed with the end result. I spoke with the listing agent and he told me that the seller found the staging to be masculine looking and very modern, she was hoping for more traditional and cozy decor because that is what she likes. I explained to the agent (so he could relay the message to his seller) why certain looks and styles are used in specific properties.

Staging is not personalized decor it is a tool to help sell a property. A good stager will meet with an agent and discuss who the target market is - simply who will likely be most interested in this property. In this case, this listing is a one bedroom one bathroom unit in a large condo building, the pricing is great for someone who wants a downtown condo look about cannot afford the price tag. We determined it would most likely be a younger, single male. So with my team we selected furniture pieces that would appeal to a male crowd. We chose leather furniture and some darker wood pieces too. We were also careful to select pieces that worked with the scale and size of the floor plan, apartment sized furniture fits in the room but does not over stuff the area. A smart stager will also work with colours that 'pop' on film. We chose a lot of fun and funky artwork with lots of colour - which displays energy and fun! We also accessorized the space with pieces that demonstrate a chic and luxurious lifestyle with plush towels in the bathroom and martini glasses and voss water bottles in the kitchen. We created a chic and contemporary living space that looked like a downtown hot spot!

It is tough when a seller has lived in their space in a certain way and it takes time for many people to adjust to change. I have heard people say "I would have never placed my sofa there - I always thought of having it here". The way we present a home to sell is not the same as we live in a space and many sellers have a hard time making that distinction. Many sellers ask me "Does anyone actually live like this?" The answer is "No" but we are selling a fantasy, a dream of a certain lifestyle. If a buyer sees photos of your property online and they like it they will want to see it so your photos must make an incredible first impression after all those photos is what will book a showing. It's like going on a first date - are you always so pressed and perfect, maybe not but you don't want your date to know different...

In the end, the seller was really surprised to hear what all was involved in staging a home to sell for more money. She thought we just moved furniture and artwork in a property and left. And many people do. Now that she realizes what when into staging her place she sees and understands that staging to sell is a process and not just a crab shoot. She is happy with the number of showings and the positive feedback. Her property has been receiving rave reviews from agents and should be receiving an offer soon...

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Friday, December 3, 2010

Giving back....

I have had dogs in my life for my entire life and I have loved them all and miss the we ones we lost...that is why I am a supporter of the Humane Society. I personally donate monthly to the Ottawa Humane Society because I feel that the work they do is important. This year alone they have helped more than 11,000 pets in dire need of medical treatment and TLC. There is a lot that you can do to help your local animal shelter but if you can't adopt , foster or volunteer the Humane Society welcomes donations of blankets and other pet supplies. Check out to find the most needed 'gifts' for our local animal shelter. Or you can donate as much or as little as you like, any funds are appreciated.

$36 provides an animal with a complete shelter package with lodging, food and care

$ 50 covers medical treatments and vaccinations

$150 helps to control the pet overpopulation problem through spaying and neutring

Your funds go to food, care, spaying and neutring, foster care programs, cruelty investigation, humane education programs, blankets and toys, lost and found, vaccinations and emergency medical treatment.

The Ottawa Humane Society is building a new 40,000 square foot Animal Shelter to help today's and tomorrow's animals...

Giving is better than receiving especially to those in need....

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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Stress-free holidays - yes they do exist!

The holidays are a wonderful time of year! Everything is so festive, you get to gather with friends and family, eat, drink and be merry! But the holidays can also be filled with hassles, stress and expense - those are some of the reasons why my family and I have started celebrating the Christmas holidays away on a resort somewhere warm and sunny where we do not have to cook or clean, what a treat! But since we do not all have that option, here are some great time and stress savers to make your holidays more enjoyable....

1-- Share. a cookie exchange is a great way to get lots of variety and new cookies too.

2 -- Plan. Buy gifts ahead of time. A few years ago I found a beautiful wooden cheese plate with a knife I knew it would be perfect for my in-laws does it really matter that I purchased it in August?

3 -- Simple. Keep decor items simple. That doesn't mean scrimp but you don't have to have every corner of every room decorated in order to look festive.

4 -- Prepare. Do the cooking you can ahead of time and freeze it. Most cookies, soups and some appetizers freeze very well.

5 -- Host. Share the hosting duties by teaming up with a friend or family member to host one big party in stead of numerous ones. this will work out for your guests too since the holidays are such a busy time.

6 -- Organize. Plan ahead, get your calendar and figure out when to host, when to shop and when to bake. This can really help with getting everything done on time!

7 -- Easy. Have your kids make decorations. It's fun! It's personal and they can do that while you bake.

8 -- Help. If you are the host get some help with cooking, baking, cleaning etc...don't be shy to ask, most people offer anyway...

9 -- Give. Do a gift exchange instead of a gift for everyone, or keep it simple and give to the children in your family only. Keep a limit or a theme can be fun and perfect for work parties too.

The days of formal holiday parties seem to have gone by the wayside, keep your party simple with great friends, good food and drinks for everyone. If anyone is focusing on your lack of designer decor...they might not be worth inviting to future events....

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