Kiki Interiors - Decor and Staging

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Hooray for Hardware!!

So one of my favourite and easy fixes for a kitchen, bathroom and an outdated piece of furniture is new hardware.  This is a great way to update a piece or just give it a new 'style spin' .  This is a very easy and inexpensive way to make a big impact!  This is a great tip if you are looking to sell your home and what some easy ideas to update the space.

In my last home, we had a very plain faced kitchen cabinet door - we purchased a very modern looking handle and it made our kitchen look so new and current - it really changed the look of the whole space.  In our current home, we changed out our old brass very 1980's cabinet pulls and opted for a more current one in a brushed chrome. 

Sometimes the pulls and knobs can be the show stopper of the space.  Last year, we renovated a turn of the century home into a real estate office.  In the kitchens and bathrooms we used crystal knobs which added so much sparkle to the rooms and also worked well with the age of the home.

The installation of knobs and pulls is so easy and takes next to no time at all!  What a little fix for a big impact!!

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Monday, February 25, 2013

Do NOT Try This At home!! 8 Biggest Home Staging Mistakes

Love your home but it's time to move on? Listen to these 8 mistakes home owners make before putting their homes on the market. A staged home spends less time on the market so take this advice and although some tips may seem expensive or time consuming, it won't be too long and it will be worth your while.

1 --Just because you love it does not mean that everyone else will too. Ensure your property appeals to a broad market of buyers. In other words, keep it neutral, a bright colour reflects your personality and style which can be too much for buyers to get past.

***dark feature wall

2 --Edit your storage places too. Buyers will poke around, opening kitchen and bathroom cabinets and closets spaces too. Be sure to spend some time organizing those area too. A cramped spaces sends the message to buyers that there is a lack of storage.

3 --Be sure that items such as furniture, plants and other decor pieces are in proportion with the room. You are selling the house (the space) not the items in it. even if the rooms look somewhat empty, that is way better than over stuffed rooms. Story your larger pieces in a temporary storage locker or ask friends and family if they ave some storage space you could borrow.

4 -- Clean, clean, clean. I know this means something different to everyone so keep your self and your home on a regular cleaning schedule - if you have to contact a professional to help you out - do it, it will be worth the extra cost. Be sure your home is in 'showing condition' at all times. You may receive a call from your realtor about a showing while you are at work and your dishes from breakfast are still in the sink - that leaves a very bad impression.

5 -- Your pet may be your best friends but he isn't every one's. Some buyers are immediately turned off by any signs of animals in a home so keep pet hair to a minimum by vacuuming everyday, crating your furry friends or keeping them outside of the home while it is up for sale. When we were selling our home a few years ago, I went as far as paying my younger brother to "babysit" them during my open house.

6 -- Don't hide your flaws , either repair them before you go on market or have your price reflect that there is some work to be done. It is tough for a realtor to justify selling a house for top dollar when it is not in top condition.

7 -- Upgrade periodically. Change up your light fixtures, hardware, taps, faucets and drapery. You will likely get a better reaction from buyers plus it shows that the house has been maintained and cared for.

8 -- Don't rush. Get your house on the market once it is ready. Meaning get the little jobs done, listen to your realtor and home stager to help you get top dollar, an incomplete house is exactly that and buyers will not respond in a positive way. Any time of year is a good time to sell, but when there is a lot of competition on the market (such as the spring season) you must be in peak performance.

golden hues

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Sunday, February 24, 2013

Picture Perfect Kitchens and Bathrooms

So kitchens and bathrooms are always the hot spots when selling a home and even while we are living in our home those rooms are high traffic areas, so you definitely want them to look their best.  So how can this be done? Where does one find find their inspiration for these rooms?

Anything you love can be inspiration for colour … a piece of artwork, a flower, a picture. If you want to feel a certain way in a room, think of other things that make you feel that way, and then think about what they look like in your mind. A luxury hotel? A spa? A hip restaurant? The beach?

Next, look around the room. Is there a colour you can pull from your back splash tile or counter top? Are there accessories in the room that you love? 

Finally, look to the adjacent rooms. The colours in each room should flow together and work nicely side-by-side.

If you’re still stuck, flip through magazines or look at pictures online. There are lots of amazing photos of kitchens and bathrooms out there to inspire you.

Small bathroom makeover. Love the colours.
Tip: Do not choose your paint colour in the store. Because the lighting in the store is different than the lighting in your home colours will look different in each location. Bring the swatches home and hold them up vertically against the wall to get the truest sense of what the colour will look like. Better yet, buy a small sample and paint some test swatches.

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Monday, February 18, 2013

Home staging: what it is and what it isn't...

As a home stager, I get all sorts of questions and sometimes demands from clients and I always feel the need to explain to clients what home staging is and more importantly, what it isn't.

You see these beautiful before and after shots on TV and in magazines of homes before staging and once they have been staged and the end results are always amazing!  But what you are seeing in the media isn't always what you should do with your home.  What you see in these shows and magazine articles can be a bit deceiving...
Kitchen color scheme
In my opinion, a lot of these shows tend to make these homes more into interior decorating projects than staged homes. A lot of times, the homes are stuffed (every corner and every wall) with art, furniture, accessories etc...and that can be very overwhelming for a buyer entering a home.  it is so important to have some room (certainly 'paths') so that the buyers can move freely without worry of knocking something over.  Also too much stuff (even beautiful furniture pieces and art) can still make a home feel crowded and cluttered, which is what we don't want!

You also see the odd show where they have used bright wall colours, usually just as an accent but still even a small section of bright colour can turn off a buyer! It is always best to stay neutral.  the future home owners can make any changes they like to the space...
Benjamin Moore Colors.
As a home stager, I usually like to only deal with the realtor and some sellers think that I am unfriendly but that's not the case.  My role is to work with the agent to get your home sold.  Home staging is a selling tool to get you the most money in the least amount of time.  When a seller want to meet me and my team, they usually want to tell us how they see the home being staged or how they used to have their home set up.  Although it is hard to do, sellers need to emotional detach from the home (and unless you are being forced out - it shouldn't be that hard you've found a place that better suits you anyway).  I always recommend that sellers focus their energies and ideas on decorating their next home!  a home stager, isn't emotionally attached to the space so they can objectively see the positives and negatives and present the features of this home and help you get it sold!

Home staging is all about presenting the home in the best light, highlighting the positives and getting it sold for the most amount of money in the least amount of time.  This happens when we work with your real estate agent to market the home for the target buying group for the property.  Will it a family? Will it be a young couple without children? Will it be a single person? How we stage your property will really depend on that target group.
Absolutely, positively gorgeous living room by Steven Gambrel.
We sometimes have clients say to us that they like ' white leather furniture and glass' and they 'don't like colour just black and white' .  Well, that's fine! But in your next home.  We want to stage the home so that it appeals to buyers when they view the property online (that's where most people start their search) in photographs.  We know which colour combinations to use and what not to use.  What looks fresh and clean and what looks tired and old.  It has to have good traffic flow. Enough furniture so it feels inviting but not too much so it feels crowded.  Again, we also need to appeal to broad group of buyers, so we can't get too specific with the style in the property.

Remember, the home stagers are working with your agent to help you sell your home, they are not your personal decorators catering to your taste and style.  They are there to help make the sales process as pain-free as possible!

DIY Home Staging

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Sunday, February 17, 2013


I love books and I also love the look of bookcases.  I have had bookcases in every home I have lived in.  They have a sophistication about them but if you aren't careful they can look very junky and cluttered! They are functional but if used in the right way, they can be an integral part of your decor.

There are so many ways you can use your bookcases to showcase precious pieces along with your favourite reads.  So think beyond lining up your books side-by-side and check out some of these ideas...

1 -- Focus on interesting details like lining the books up by colour and group things together based on similar hues.  This creates interesting depth and different focal points in a bookshelf.

by Carol Vaughan-Davis

2 -- Separate the books that have truly unique or special covers and use them as displays.  Instead of hiding a beautiful cover, turn it outward so they can be seen. This adds character to your shelves (and the room) plus it is another artistic element.  It doesn't necessarily have to be a big beautiful book, it could be a favourite book like Dr. Seuss' 'Oh, the places you'll go'

3-- Get creative. I know your school librarian taught us that books had to be stacked side-by-side.  Try something new, pile them up horizontally, use bookends, lean them diagonally - it's more interesting to look at and it makes the unit more than just a bookshelf.

4 --Beyond Books.  You you have a special vase or a piece of art that doesn't have it's own space in the other rooms in your place? Why not display it on your bookcase? By using the shelving piece for more than just books you are creating a beautiful visual element in the room.  when a bookcase is just full of books, it can look too functional and too cluttered.  A bookcase is also a great spot for displaying collectibles.

traditional living room by Tim Barber LTD Architecture & Interior Design

5-- Think custom.  Add some personality to the bookcase by painting the backing part of the bookcase in a bright fun colour like a yellow or turquoise.  It's unexpected, one of a kind and will really add pop to the room. Or, paint the whole bookcase in a bright fresh colour.  another idea would be to look for an old bookcase with some real wear and tear which has so much character even in a cool and modern space.

6-- Old and new, in fact nothing is off limits!  Combine books, vases, cool collectibles your bookcase again this adds so mush visual interest, creates easy conversation and it's a great way to show off your personality and personal style.

at home with seashells

The other great thing about bookcases is that really than can work just about anywhere from the family room to the kitchen, to the office to the living room.  It's a great way to be practical and fashionable in your home!

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Sunday, February 10, 2013

Dining Room on a Budget

So my husband and I moved into a much bigger home about 1 year ago.  We needed the space for our two children and we had our third on the way.  We loved the main floor family room, large kitchen, the large laundry room with storage, the four (big) bedrooms and the big backyard!  We knew moving into a larger home meant buying new furniture. 

So after baby #3 arrived last spring we were just too busy balancing our lives to really focus on furnishing the 'extra' rooms in our home.  We decided that in 2013 we would put some focus on those rooms - we love to have friends and family over and we know they understand and don't mind crowding around our kitchen table but we both felt it was time to have a 'grown up dining room'.  After much discussion about the house hold budget and how we would fit this in, we knew what we wanted but knew we had to do this on a tight budget.

We had an empty room to tackle and we started with the light fixture.  I feel that really sets the tone for the direction you want to go in, plus it is easier to work in a space where there is light!

Because we were on a budget, I started asking around (mainly my sister and parents) to see if they had any 'left over' furniture that they wanted to get rid of or sell.  My parents had a storage locker with some old antiques and some art.  I was able to use an old sewing machine as a decorative piece and it was perfect for serving trays.  The art was great too, I just went to IKEA to purchase some contemporary black photo frames to re-frame the art which gives it a more current look.  My sister had 6 parson chairs covered in espresso leather that she was looking to unload, we were able to buy them off of her for a great price!

So the art, the chairs and the sewing machine gave the room a great start but now it's time to pull it all together.  My husband was worried the room was looking a little old fashioned, so we went for a rug that had a natural feel but also something kind of graphic and bold.  I found a great rug at a great price at Home Sense.

Now for some storage - which we really need for dishes and stemware.  Again, at HomeSense I found a great sideboard made of reclaimed wood.  I love reclaimed wood because it has so much character and warmth.

I also found some great drapes in cream and beige in a pattern for the window, the print is subtle so not to compete with the bold rug.  As for the hardware, I went to Bouclair Home and found a rod and finials in black to continue the hardware colour from the sideboard and the light fixture.

I also found a modern looking oversized landscape art piece with lots of neutral tones but also pops of blue.

As for accessories, I have been able to re-purpose items from around the house.  Like some great blue pottery piece that my husband and I bought on a trip to Greece.  I also had some driftwood, that I have put to use, an old bench in the corner under the antique art from my parents and some oversized ceramic vases in the corner.

The room is really coming together, now we need a table and we are ready to host....

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