Monday, February 24, 2014

Size Does Matter

I am horrible at capturing Before & After photos of our projects and today's post is further proof of that fact. Despite my difficulties with obtaining gorgeous Before & After photos, I thought you'd enjoy a glimpse at one of our recent projects illustrating how much size really matters.

The subject of these Before & Afters is a home that was previously on the market, but did not sell. The home is fabulous. It's large, fairly new all-brick construction, located in a gorgeous golf community, and has tons of potential. The agent and homeowner were understandably stumped as to why it sat on the market, so our first order of business was to figure out what factors prohibited a sale last time.

It wasn't amenities, size, cleanliness, nor location that kept a sold sign from the yard. This home has all of those qualities in spades. What struck us was that the home was not showing as spectacularly as buyers in that price point expect. In general, the home lacked a "WOW!" factor.

Here is what we had to work with . . .

Living Room - BEFORE   (Source: Bradford House Consulting)
In the Before photo of the living room, you can really see the size and scale of the room. Just look at those windows. They're amazing! Did you notice anything else in the room? Not really, right? Everything else is kind of underwhelming. The room is crying out for more light, more art, and much larger accessories.

Living Room - BEFORE   (Source: Bradford House Consulting)
Here's another angle. Again, everything is undersized -- the rug, ottoman, the topiaries on the hearth, and the tiny little flowers on the mantle. Over by the window, that little tray table is practically invisible because of its petite size and washed-out finish. And what about those bright red throws and pillows? They do nothing to complement the rest of the furnishings.

Now -- here's where I prove to you the true horribleness of my abilities to capture great Before & After photos. I forgot to bring my camera the night we staged this house, so the "After" photos you see were either taken with my phone or pulled from the realtors' website. C'est la vie!

Living Room - AFTER  (Source: Bradford House Consulting)
Despite the blurry phone photo, you can see we pumped up the size of accessories to match the scale of the room. The small black & white framed photos were removed from the sofa table and replaced with a large sailboat (about 30" tall) and the topiaries from the hearth. Two apothocary floor lamps were placed beside the sofa for additional light. And if you look closely, you can see that a larger rug was also added. See how it's edges are wider than the sofa? Using a bigger rug and pushing the furniture out from the center of the room instantly made the room seem larger.

Living Room - AFTER   (Source:
From a different angle you can see we changed out the harsh burgundy accents. Pops of color now come from soft blues, greens, and creamy yellows on the pillows and throws, as well as a the coffee table trunk. We also dressed up the built-ins with larger accessories and lamps. Then we added bigger topiary frames to the hearth and removed the unnecessary little flowers from the mantle. Finally, we brought in a big round table to sit between the two accent chairs; topped off with a huge lamp and chunky accessories. Everything we added was bigger!

Most importantly though, we increased the rug size, pushed the furniture out JUST FOUR INCHES, and swapped the accent chairs so that the light colored chaise was no longer lost against the white built in shelves. By fixing the scale and light issue in this main room, we increased the overall grandeur of the home. Remember -- just four inches is all we moved the sofa and chairs out from the center of the room.

In the dining room we ran into similar issues of scale and color. Notice how the dark square table and bright red chairs fight with the pale, beachy tones of the home. Plus, the small art arrangement on the wall did nothing but accentuate the poor scale. The small grouping was swallowed up by the big space and hidden by the chandelier.

Dining Room - BEFORE   (Source: Bradford House Consulting)
To remedy the issues of scale, we added two chairs to the table. Although the table is square and not really suited for the shape of the room, we fooled the eye with the additional chairs and then we pulled the end chairs out just a bit-- about FOUR INCHES. Suddenly it looked as though we had a long, rectangular table that fit the size of the large room.

We also replaced the small grouping of shell pictures with a very large mirror. By doing so, we dramatically improved the room's scale and lighting.

Dining Room - AFTER    (Source:
To combat the problem of harsh, space-consuming color, we had the homeowner cover the parsons chairs with simple linen slipcovers. Then we removed the busy table scape; replacing it with a simple runner and a pair of lanterns. Now the space shows in a very open and well-coordinated fashion.

Another room that I'm particularly proud of when I look at the Before & Afters of this home is the Master Bedroom. In the Before photo, the room seems smallish and bland -- it lacked pizazz and drama. It also suffered from poor scale. The bed and side tables are extremely large; barely fitting the space. Adding to the scale troubles is that the lamps were really small, the pillows didn't fit the bed properly, and the art was hung about FOUR INCHES too low. The overall look just was not working.

Master Bedroom - BEFORE   (Source: Bradford House Consulting)

Take a look at it now. . .

Master Bedroom - AFTER   (Souce:
The room looks larger and less crammed, yet we did not move one stick of furniture. Instead, we increased the feeling of space by making use of the room's incredible height. Just as we did in the living room, we added accessories to complement the tall ceilings and windows.

We started with two silver-leafed mirrors hung above the large bedside chests. Not only did they add to the feeling of space, but they added much needed drama. Next, we added some bling with a large pair of mercury glass lamps with linen shades to the center of the tables. We softened the chaos of the bedding set by using a light blue coverlet and folding the busy quilt back as a small accent. Then we added king-sized pillows to properly complete the bedding ensemble.

Finally, we hung the art at the appropriate height. Do those four pictures look familiar? They are the framed shell sketches from the dining room. They really work well in this room.

We tell people all the time -- fix the scale and fix the lighting. Those issues are key to whether or not your home shows in grand fashion; regardless of its size. I hope from my pitiful attempt at Before & After photos you can get a sense of how much scale and lighting really affect your home's "Wow! factor." Moving or increasing the size of an item as little as FOUR INCHES can make a dramatic difference in the way your home appears to others. More than anything, I hope I've proven to you that size does matter!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Go From Pinner to Doer Today!

I am an avid Pinterest user. Hardly a day goes by that I don't pin something. I use it to remember just about everything that inspires me - great tips, recipes, things I find beautiful, things I'd like to do in my home, items that I think our clients would like, etc.

Most of my friends are Pinterest users too. Some of them are even pinning machines like me. I've found, though, that much of the Pinterest Nation seems to be comprised of pinners rather than doers. I see lots of people's inspirational pins, but never their finished projects. So today I'd like to buck that trend by sharing one of my own Pinterest-inspired projects.

If you've spent any time on Pinterest in the past few months, you've probably seen this vignette or something very similar.

Source: Decorating Ideas Made Easy
It's simple, yet super tasteful. It adds a compact punch to a very monochromatic kitchen. It also neatly corrals accessories; keeping them from being scattered about the perimeter of the kitchen, consuming visual space.

Last week we had a client who needed us to do key-area staging in a vacant home. The kitchen was fairly monochromatic and petite. It needed compact punches of color to grab buyers' attention. It was also imperative that we contain accessories in just a few groups to create spaciousness in the galley kitchen. That vignette inspiration photo I'd pinned just a few weeks earlier was the perfect solution.

We gathered supplies -- a tray, fruit under glass, green plant, and a decorative item. Here's how ours turned out:

Source: Bradford House Consulting
Of course our items aren't exactly like the inspiration photo, but the overall aesthetic is the same. Our vignette offers a very compact punch of color and beauty without overpowering the small space.

If you're starting to feel as though you're hopelessly lost in the land of pinners instead of doers, start with something easy like an accessories vignette. It literally took just five minutes to gather  accessories and arrange them on a tray, but the sense of accomplishment gained from completing the project is immeasurable. That sense of accomplishment will also carry you onto the next bigger project on your inspiration list.

So now's the time, y'all. Go find yourself an inspiration photo and make it a reality in your home today!