Design Advice: Lisa’s Landscaping

When Lisa signed up for a design board she felt like her cute home near the beach could use a little sprucing up.  She had dreams of a pergola and a few pops of color, all while maintaining that beachy vibe that we all long for.

The main goal of the plans that I came up with is to make Lisa’s home feel more balanced and a little less boxy while incorporating beach-inspired hues and a pergola.

Pergola.  In this design, a linear pergola in white reaches from the left side of the front door to the right side of the large window.  Use a minimal number of slats across the top of the pergola to let in lots of light.

Patio.  Underneath the pergola, a curved patio created out of pavers like these will give you a place to enjoy your front yard.  The curved design {curving from the path to the door towards the house} will help break up all of the flat planes of the front of the house.  Remove the boxwood hedge under the large window for a spacious patio.  {If the budget allows, natural flagstone could be used instead of the pavers.}

Adirondack chairs.  Two Adirondack chairs painted white and placed under the pergola will be a great place to relax and unwind.

Climbing roses.  Adding climbing roses to the tall fence on the left-hand side of the house will add color and help incorporate that side of the lot into the rest of the landscape.

Pergola.  Instead of running along the front of the house, the pergola in this design covers the garden to the left of the driveway.  {The garden will be replaced with grass.}  The purpose of locating the pergola in this area is to bring balance to the lot which is weighted very heavily on the right-hand side.

Front door.  This design plan calls for painting the front door this beachy shade of greenish blue.

Adirondack chairs.  Two Adirondack chairs, painted in the same dusty green/blue as the front door, will be placed under the pergola.

Climbing roses.  Since the tall fence is now partially covered by the pergola, the climbing roses have been moved over to the garage where they will add some life and color to the left-hand side of the house.

Pergola.  Option 3 is very similar to Option 1 except that the pergola is now arched {instead of flat} to add an extra curve to the front of the house.

Patio.  Underneath the pergola, a curved patio created out of pavers like these will give you a place to enjoy your front yard.  The curved design {curving from the path to the door towards the house} will help break up all of the flat planes of the front of the house.  Remove the boxwood hedge under the large window for a spacious patio.

Front door.  This design plan calls for painting the front door this beachy shade of greenish blue.

Adirondack chairs.  Two Adirondack chairs, painted in the same dusty green/blue as the front door, will be placed under the pergola.

Wisteria.  Climbing wisteria will add a softness to the tall fence and the garage, and the pale lavender color will be a beautiful complement to this color palette.

Each of the design plans also addressed these elements {that I left off the mood boards to keep them from being too cluttered}:

~  The bushes along the front of the house all need to be trimmed so that they are below the bottom of the window frames.  This will make the house appear taller and let more light inside!

~  Mulching around the Japanese maples will highlight them in the yard without making them appear separated from the rest of the landscape {a client request}.

~  Painting the short fence to the left of the house will make the house feel longer and incorporate that side yard so that it doesn’t feel disconnected from the rest of the lot.

~  When Lisa re-shingles the roof {a plan for the near future}, a medium gray will give the house some definition {try not to go too dark or else the house will feel squatty and heavy}.

~  House numbers would look great on the top riser of the stairs leading to the front door.

~  Lisa was considering adding pavers or pea gravel to the side garden to the left of the driveway.  Unless she is in dire need of extra parking I would think about removing the plants and adding sod {and removing the concrete edging} for a soft look that’s easy to maintain – that side of the lot already has a lot of asphalt going on and I think that adding more hardscape will make the lot feel more lopsided.

~  Paint the chimney stack in the same gray tone as the siding to make everything feel a bit more cohesive.

~  Edge the bed in front of the house with colorful flowers in white and pink – this will define the beds and add some needed color.

~  Add simple white or black flower boxes below the two smaller windows on the right-hand side of the house – they will look great filled with pink flowers.  As an added bonus, they will make the windows appear larger and more balanced next to the larger window on the left.

~  Add a large planter on either side of the garage door {maybe something like this painted the same color as the Adirondack chairs discussed above}.  Plant caladiums or something similar to add a little color that works with the overall design scheme.

So there you have it!  One beach cottage, whipped into shape.

Click on the following link to snag a little design advice of your very own – Interior Design Services.

A Little Bit Of Staging Goes A Long Way

Have you ever toured a vacant home, one without a stick of furniture or artwork on the walls?  While I know that you and I are visionaries when it comes to imagining the potential of a home {wink wink}, let’s face it – the average home buyer just sees a sad, empty house.

I’m sure by now you’ve heard that staging sells houses – and never is that more true than in the case of a vacant home.  Staging is a quick and easy way to help the home buyer imagine the house full of life and potential – and it’s not as expensive or hard to do as you might think.

I know what you’re probably thinking – “Um, I live in my home – this post has nothing to do with me because I’ll never be selling a vacant house.”  That may be true, but there are a number of scenarios that could leave you with a vacant home to sell – you were relocated, you’re selling the home from your parents’ estate, you bought a new home before you sold this one, etc.  So, if you’re ever caught in that situation here are some tips to help your home fly off the market {and you can also use a few of these hints to help you sell a home that you’re still living in}.

1.  Just stage the first room(s) that you see when you walk in the door. With real estate, it’s all about first impressions.  If a buyer walks into your home and feels warm and cozy, your chances of actually selling the home go through the roof.  See the pictures of “unstaged v. staged” above?  Those are pictures from a house that we recently sold.  Before we came along, the homeowners had the house on the market, sitting vacant and looking sad, and they didn’t get any offers.  Once we were hired, we suggested that they stage the room that greets potential buyers – with their open floor plan, that meant staging the living room and the adjoining dining room.  They took our advice and had 3 offers on their home within 2 weeks, including a full price offer.  You can see for yourself the difference that staging can make!  {FYI – in addition to the staging, we suggested a small price drop.  That combo did the trick!}

Yes, it would be nice to stage the entire house – but in the real world that gets really expensive, really fast.  Staging just the first room works for a few reasons: (1) buyers get that warm and fuzzy feeling right off the bat, and it will follow them through the rest of the house, (2) the first room is typically the living room where it can be tricky to visualize furniture arrangement, and (3) living rooms are where families spend most of their time so if they can envision themselves in this important space then they can envision themselves in the house as a whole.  Basically, it gives you the biggest bang for your buck – make sense?

Of course, if you can afford to do more than one room then do it.  When prioritizing between rooms, choose to stage the ones that are the trickiest – choose living rooms, family rooms and awkward spaces over rooms that are pretty straightforward like bedrooms and traditional dining spaces.  In an open floor plan, it can be particularly important to delineate between different areas.

2. Keep it neutral. I know, people get tired of hearing this, but it’s true!  Neutral carpet and neutral walls are something that every home buyer on the planet can work with – you don’t want them thinking about climbing ladders to paint trim, dripping paint on the floor, and spending their weekends rolling paint over brightly colored walls.  People don’t like to spend money to take on chores and they can easily be overwhelmed by color.

I’m not saying that your home should be devoid of color – to the contrary, in fact.  Color is essential in making a home feel inviting, but you’d be best-served to try to limit bold colors to accent pillows, curtains, accessories and other things that you can take with you.  Try to keep the big pieces of furniture in neutral, solid colors as well.  Apartment Therapy said it well – “With bursts of color dotting the interior landscape, it’s nice to have a neutral backdrop to keep the whole room from shouting.”

Here are a few excellent neutral paint choices from Benjamin Moore:

And of course there’s always Pittsburgh Paint’s Toasted Almond, which we used in our home and in the flip.

3.  Decide whether to rent, buy or use what you have on hand. Chances are that you’ll have a few pieces of furniture already on hand that you can use to partially furnish that front room.  If the pieces work together, go ahead and use them to save yourself some money.  Once you’ve laid out everything that you already own, make a list of pieces that you need and then decide on your budget for filling in the bare spots.  Then hit up garage sales, Ikea, Target, Rent-A-Center, and friends’ basements to complete the room.  Remember to keep things simple and minimize the amount of furniture – you’re not going to be living there, so do you really need to add a La-Z-Boy recliner?  Just add enough furniture to show how the room should be laid out and then call it a day – a minimal room shows off square footage while a cluttered room feels smaller and makes some buyers feel uncomfortable.

4.  Accessorize. Just like when you’re living in a home, a vacant home will come to life with accessories.  Keep decoration minimal, but be sure to have a piece of art above the sofa, a few accent pillows and maybe a vase or two.  And of course, the artwork doesn’t have to be anything fancy – framed fabric or an inexpensive print will be just perfect.  But please – no personal photos!  Your house is on the market so that someone else can move in and make memories – your personal snapshots will only distract the buyer and remind them that it’s really someone else’s home.

Did I cover it all?  Feel free to ask questions in the comments if you think I missed anything, and throw in some of your own tips as well!

Links may contain affiliates.

Our Flip: Before & After

Now that our flip has been fully renovated from head to toe and put on the market, wanna take a peak at all the finishing touches?  Grab a cup of coffee and get ready for an all-access home tour that will knock your socks off!

Here’s what our flip looked like when we first saw it way back in April.  Dreary, dated, and totally hidden are a few of the descriptors that come to mind.  The drab peachy brick and the baby blue shutters were doing absolutely nothing for this diamond in the rough – not that you could even see the house due to the low-hanging magnolias that blocked out so much sun that grass refused to grow over most of the yard.

We're Flipping Out

And here’s how the flip greets you today!!  As you can see, new landscaping (more on that soon!) and a snazzy paint job instantly yanked this house out of the 1960s and into this century.  We also removed the outdoor carpeting, ripped out the old ironwork on the porch and replaced it with a simple wood pillar, which immediately shaved about 3 decades off the appearance of the house.  Now, the light cream paint really pops against the lush lawn, and the cheery red door welcomes you right in.  The simple black accents on the shutters and pillar ground the color scheme, while the nickel finishes on the hardware, mailbox and lighting add a much-needed update to the front porch.

Pick The Perfect Exterior Paint Colors In A Snap

Through the front door, you walk immediately into the entryway.  From that point, you can turn left down a hallway to reach three of the bedrooms and the jack ‘n jill bath, you could go to the right to enter the formal living and dining rooms, or you could continue straight into the den (which leads to the study, kitchen, and guest bedroom and bath).

Forgive me for these next few pictures – I know they leave a little something to be desired!  Here’s how the entryway used to look.  The tacky wallpaper and elaborately swagged crystal chandelier just weren’t working for me.  The standard doorway into the den also left a little something to be desired, as it made the entryway feel cramped and closed off.

Our Flip: Day 1

By simply removing the dated elements and expanding the doorways to the den and the formal living/dining, the entryway became a light, airy and beautiful way to welcome visitors into the home.  (And do you recognize that capiz ceiling light from the hallway in our home??)

Our Flip: Before & After

Our Flip: Before & After

Immediately to the right of the entryway was the dingy formal living and dining rooms, complete with a metallic focal wall – what’s not to love, right?

Our Flip: Before & After Our Flip: Day 1

By replacing the dirty carpeting with gleaming hardwoods, switching out the chandelier, and ripping down the curtains to let in the sunlight, the living and dining rooms now feel current and rich, just as they should.

Our Flip: Before & After

Through those double doors at the end of the dining room, you immediately walk into what used to be a dark relic from the 60s:

Our Flip: Day 1

With clean new custom cabinetry, granite countertops, hardwood floors and a functional new layout, the new kitchen is practically unrecognizable:

Our Flip: Before & After

Like most homes built in the 60s, our flip used to have a closed-in galley kitchen that removed the kitchen from the rest of the house.

Our Flip: Day 1 Our Flip: Some Serious Progress!!

By removing half of the wall between the kitchen and the den, the kitchen is instantly open and airy, perfect for entertaining or feeding the kids meals at the new breakfast bar.  And best of all, now that stunning glass and marble backsplash can be seen throughout the house!

After - Open Kitchen

A great feature of this house is the breakfast nook at the end of the kitchen – who couldn’t use another place to hang out and enjoy a meal?  Unfortunately, the original breakfast nook was . . . um . . . a bit dated.

Our Flip: Before & After

We simply removed the floral chandelier and replaced the existing hutch with a floor-to-ceiling custom pantry, which added ridiculous amounts of storage and upped the attractiveness factor of this little nook.  And check out that snazzy hardware!!

Our Flip: Before & After

And I can’t resist pointing out a few fun features of the new kitchen – check out the trash pullout, the recess for an undercounter microwave, and the vertical base cabinet (on the far right) for cookie sheets!  Ooh, and here’s a little tip for those of you that are having new countertops installed – ask the fabricator to make you a custom cutting board out of the countertop remnants, like the portions cut out for the stove and sink.  You’ll have a gorgeous (and indestructible) cutting board that will blend in so perfectly with your countertops that you can leave it out all the time!

Our Flip: Before & After Our Flip: Before & After

So you may be wondering what was on the other side of that galley kitchen.  Well, here it is.

Our Flip: Day 1

Kind of a letdown, right?  I mean, I love that it has a fireplace, but the room just looked sad – dark paneling, a peachy-pink fireplace, scalloped bookcases and dingy carpeting just weren’t awesome enough.

So we changed it.  A bunch.  New bookcases and hardwood floors, drywall instead of paneling, recessed lighting and a fresh coat of white paint on the fireplace suddenly transformed the cave-like den into a family room just begging for a family.

Our Flip: Before & After

And it has a rockin’ view of the kitchen, so nobody gets left out.

Our Flip: Before & After

Past the breakfast nook (on the way to the garage), is a bathroom and a fourth bedroom.  The bathroom originally housed a toilet, sink . . . and the washer and dryer.

Our Flip: Day 1

The first step was 2009’ing the bathroom with all the fixins from a new toilet to a classic pedestal sink.

Our Flip: Before & After

And then we desperately needed to address the laundry area.  It was just sad.

Our Flip: Before & After

So we got rid of it.  Or moved it, actually – more about that later.  In its place, we added a gorgeous tiled shower/bath – I think the glass diamond accents are my fave!  And it’s awesome that this is now a full bath because . . . the fourth bedroom is right across the hall!!  Now it’s the perfect little guest wing, and guests won’t have to trek across the entire house in their bathrobe – definitely a necessary change (and one that adds value to boot!).

Our Flip: Before & After

So now onto that fourth bedroom.  The built-in desk is a great feature, but the whole room just looked a little dated.

Our Flip: Before & After

A fresh coat of white paint on the built-ins and some new carpet instantly freshened this room into a space perfect for guests, a workspace, or whatev.

Our Flip: Before & After

Through the doorway to the right of the den was this sad little enclosed patio.  Luckily, it was heated and cooled so it added some awesome square footage to the home.  But it was kinda gross, with the original brick walls (and random paneling), creaky sliding doors, and funky blue carpeting.

Our Flip: Before & After

By floating a new floor over the existing slab, we were able to continue the gorgeous hardwoods straight into the study (formerly enclosed patio) for a seamless transition to the rest of the house, which totally increased the open feeling of the entire home.  We also drywalled over the brick walls, added recessed lighting, and replaced the sliding doors with updated French doors to take in the beautiful new view.

Our Flip: Before & After

But the view wasn’t always so lovely.  The slab patio used to be confined and depressing, with a plastic sheeting roof, tired outdoor carpeting, and a brick wall that closed off the patio from the rest of the backyard.

Our Flip: Before - Back Patio

So we tore it all down, all the way to the concrete slab.  Then we added a rustic flagstone patio (to match the new pool coping that you’ll see in a minute), and topped it off with a fun and functional cedar pergola that defines the space and adds a little shade from that Texas sun (and the new homeowners can easily increase the amount of shade if they want by adding canvas right over the top of the pergola, or weaving it in between the cedar slats for a unique effect).

Our Flip: Raise the Flag

The backyard used to be completely overrun by the swampy pool and cracked concrete decking.  And that lone palm tree was just weird.

Our Flip: Backyard Oasis

We totally revamped the pool by adding new 3M quartz plaster in an island blue, fun mosaic tiles in a cobalt blue and earthy brown, and awesome flagstone coping that perfectly coordinates with the new tile.  Chipping up the old concrete decking allowed us to add tropical plantings and lay a grassy lawn that gives the pool a pond-like effect, and will also give the new homeowners a place to play with their kids and pets.

Our Flip: They Can Take the Heat

Back inside, a jack ‘n jill bath is down a short hallway to the left of the entryway.  This bathroom is shared with the second bedroom, and was also intended to be used by guests.  While it was big and spacious with lots of storage and double sinks, in its original condition guests were sure to run screaming for the hills.

Our Flip: Before & After Our Flip: Day 1

We were able to totally transform the bathroom by simply switching out the flooring and adding a new countertop and fixtures.  The existing cabinetry looks amazing with a new coat of crisp white paint, and the new travertine flooring, laid in a brick pattern, is totally gorgeous and makes the bathroom feel even more spacious.

Our Flip: After - Jack 'n Jill Bath

Even though the second bedroom just off the jack ‘n jill bath was spacious, it was a little dingy.

Our Flip: Day 1

With new carpeting and paint, an efficient ceiling fan and lovely crown molding, the second bedroom is now totally inviting.

Our Flip: Before & After

The third bedroom was almost as spacious, but the bright blue carpeting was a huge distraction from its potential.

Our Flip: Day 1

It got the same treatment as the second bedroom, and was spiffed up in a jiffy.

Our Flip: Before & After

This house was simply brimming with storage, like the two large closets on the right-hand side of this hallway that connects three of the bedrooms.

Our Flip: Before & After

Turns out those two closets were the perfect place to add a laundry area for a full-size washer and dryer (and with room left over for a separate linen closet!).  Now the new homeowners will be able to easily wash and dry their clothes without hauling their dirty laundry across the entire house – score!

Our Flip: Before & After

Just past the new laundry area is the master bedroom.  But there was nothing masterful about it in the beginning.

Our Flip: Day 1

So we swanked it up by continuing the beautiful hardwood floors right into the master bedroom.  And as an added bonus, it has a killer view of the pool and all of the gorgeous landscaping.

Our Flip: After - Master Bedroom

Perhaps the biggest eyesore in the entire house was the master bathroom.  It had blinding wallpaper, scallops, paneling, formica, and just about the worst shower I’ve ever seen.  It was going to be a huge challenge.

Our Flip: Day 1

Luckily, we conquered it!!  We ripped out the old cabinets to make room for dual sinks, doubled the visual space of the room with a fab beveled mirror, and added custom cabinets with tons of storage.

Our Flip: After - Master Bath

Like I said before, the shower was pitiful – I’ll spare you a view of the inside, but it felt cramped and was definitely not a place that you’d want to stand around in naked.  I’m just saying.

Homebody Query: Big Bath or Closet Space? Homebody Query: Big Bath or Closet Space?

But with the addition of a frameless glass shower enclosure and oodles of marble tile, the shower is now the showpiece of the master bathroom!  Bright and airy, the glass enclosure adds to the spacious feeling of this gorgeous shower.

Our Flip: Showered with Awesomeness

Our Flip: Before & After

So there you have it!!  How’d you like poking around our flip?  Got any questions about what we did or how we did it?  Ask away!!

For even more behind-the-scenes peeks into our flip, just click here.

This post is shared with Hooked on Houses.

A Sticky Situation

I was checking on things over at the flip the other day when I noticed a new subcontractor driving down the street.  His car was crawling at a snail’s pace as he craned his neck to check out the house numbers, looking for our flip.  As I was watching, he drove right by the flip (I found this a bit strange since the house was literally buzzing with activity and had a huge contractor’s sign out front, but whatever).

It suddenly dawned on me – the flip doesn’t have any house numbers!!  Oh, for shame!  How on earth are we going to sell this puppy if no one can figure out which house it is?

A day later, our flip proudly displays its numbers for all to see:

Our Flip: A Sticky Situation

Nobody will be whizzing past this house anymore!  Here’s how it all went down:

First, I bought a mountable plaque from Home Depot in a nickel-plated finish to coordinate with the new hardware, mailbox and exterior light at the flip.  I also found matching peel ‘n stick numbers in a matching finish – all of these goodies were in the same aisle as the mailboxes and driveway signs.

Our Flip: A Sticky Situation

The plaque came with a template that you can see below – I found that to be pretty much worthless since the numbers were bigger than the template.

Our Flip: A Sticky Situation

So, I tossed the template and eyeballed the placement of the numbers.  Once I got them where I wanted them, I just peeled off the backing and stuck those little babies in place!  Ridiculously easy.  Apparently the sticky stuff on the back is the same adhesive that they use to attach emblems to cars – I take that to mean that these numbers aren’t going anywhere.

Our Flip: A Sticky Situation

The plaque came complete with anchors and screws, so you don’t need to worry about fishing around for supplies.

Here’s our newly-identified flip – looking pretty snazzy, if I do say so myself!!

Our Flip: A Sticky Situation

What’s the house number situation at your house?  Mounted on a post, a plaque on a stake (that’s what we have at our house), painted on the front door, or are you going naked?

Flip #1

(Summer 2009 – Sold)

We're Flipping Out

Pick The Perfect Exterior Paint Colors In A Snap

Flipping your first house is definitely a leap of faith!  Lucky for us it all worked out and we lived to flip another day.  :)

We bought our first flip in the summer of 2009 and sold it in the fall of 2009.  Check out what went down during all those days between the purchase and sale.

Related Posts with Thumbnails