Chic without the shabby – How to include the rustic elements. This newly renovated home is an example how one can marry traditional elements with some rustic features and still arrive at a coherent design. This house in the gated lakefront community Lake Sheen Reserve has access to the Windermere Chain of Lakes and offers a boat ramp and a boat dock as well as a private beach. It just went on the market for $ 530k and is open for showings. The house just underwent a cosmetic renovation in which mostly the kitchen and bathrooms received a visual overhaul. It had nice crown molding and wainscoting, some windows features plantation shutters. These were nice features the designer Helen Bonello-Strauss wanted to preserve while infusing some rustic elements to add texture and interest to the place. The family room had an outdated entertainment center built in, which was perfect for one of those old boxy TVs. Unfortunately for the entertainment center, due to technological innovation it became obsolete and had to make room for a new feature wall made of grey stained ship lap pine boards. To blend the feature wall with the existing trim we wrapped the existing crown molding around it and trimmed the edges in white. The beautiful wood is a vibrant backdrop to a 65 inch TV and a recessed mounted electric fireplace. The existing kitchen was worn and tired. The kitchen contractor simply swapped out the cabinetry with white solid wood shaker style cabinets and a vibrant exotic granite. The bar top was eliminated to give a larger work and prep space in counter height. The odd island shape was changed to a larger and more functional rectangle and now offers more storage space. Instead of the regular drywall surface below the counter a stained ship lap had been installed. It corresponds with the TV wall on the opposite side of the family room and helps to pull the space together. The wall color in the Kitchen shows a dark accent color in the same family of grey as the wood siding used for accent. This house is an example how different elements like formal and traditional looking plantation shutters and rustic elements can form a symbiotic relationship and create a balanced and calm atmosphere. The contrasting colors help to give some visual interest and create impact in the space. Since all chosen colors are pulled from a neutral palette of taupe and grey the contrast does not feel busy or loud. This house is proof that you don’t always have to rip everything apart in order to refresh your surrounding. Some elements from its former life can find purpose is its newly designed appearance. Even when your entertainment center is obsolete, it does not mean you have to gut the rest. Find the classic elements that will yield to a new language and elevate your design.
Victoria Park Re-design – The beautiful Victoria Park neighborhood in Deland offers a golf course, club house, tennis courts and a whole array of activities for its diverse clientele of residents. This beautiful 4 bedroom 2.5 baths home just completed a full cosmetic remodel and now shows better than it ever did. There is a lot of detail that had been added, a larger kitchen with a huge Island that even houses a beverage cooler. Granite counters, stainless steel appliances and Designer Tile round up the centrally located kitchen. We also added custom built ins and trim work in various spots throughout. Last not least the house received a gorgeous staging job to finish it off. This beauty is going on the market with a very competitive asking price of $ 274,800. Call Agent Malte Strauss 407-416-9659 for a showing.
Sold in a weekend! This staged home received 4 showings during the first weekend on the market while generating 3 offers before going under contract. None of the buyers offers were below asking price. The house must have been cheap, one might argue. But that is far from the truth, so much as a record pricing for any recent sale for a house of that size in the neighborhood. The house sold just a few month ago for $ 192,000 and underwent a cosmetic renovation to now fetch a stunning $ 241,500 a mere 3 months later. Designer Helene Bonello-Strauss was responsible for the sensitive re-design of the property. The most drastic change was a new kitchen with white shaker style cabinetry, floors and a lot of paint and some tile work to update it and make it appear fresh and current. The professional staging just rounded it off. “You have to give the buyer a vision of what the house will look like.” So the design expert. “When I do design consultation for Flippers I develop a coherent vision for the whole house, while taking existing features into account.” The success proves her right. While updating a property there are sometimes existing design features that can be incorporated in the design, that will bring value to the finished product. In this case the somewhat dated floor to ceiling mirrors in the formal living room received a custom frame. Now the mirrors appear current and stylish and create depth to the space. A nice way to make use of a feature and a fantastic opportunity to reflect style. Design and staging by www.idesigntosell.com
If you are planning a kitchen remodel in order to boost the sales price of your house, you are on the right track. Kitchen and bathroom remodels bring the highest return on the cost if done correctly. And herein lies the problem. What should you do and how should the remodel look? I have some advise stemming from years of experience in the real estate field.
1: Make the remodel appropriate for the house. If you have a high end luxury home, a kitchen remodel with a cheap laminate kitchen will sink you sale quicker than an iceberg the Titanic. Buyers expecting a custom kitchen with high end finishes and anything less will end in disaster. You can be somewhat frugal in the cabinet brand as long as it has the same quality and appeal. You might go bargain shopping for model year sale of discontinued versions of the high end appliances and you don’t have to pick the very most expensive granite for the countertops. But you have to pick a quality and style that is appropriate for the type of house.
2: Pick the right style. In Kitchens there are trends that come and go. No one likes the plain cheap white laminate kitchen cabinets of the 70’s. Almost no one prefers the raised panel oak cabinets of the 80’s. While a few people still pick them, they have gone out of fashion a while ago. If you prefer traditional style there are a few choices of designs. some like the classic shaker style which is a good choice for older bungalow style homes as well as for new construction, others like the Mediterranean look that was so prevalent in new construction in the south during the 90’s. Those type of homes will have more ornate door panels often with painted doors and a glaze treatment to mimic wear and tear of old kitchen cabinets.
3: How much to invest. This is a crucial question that every homeowner will ask. Will I get my money back? The goal is to invest enough to generate a sale and to maximize the sales price. Buyers are happy to pay a hefty premium for a great kitchen. They will even pay more than you might spend on the renovation if you shop wisely. In the average house it does not make much difference which brand of cabinets you choose. Imported hand crafted custom cabinets from Italy will not yield you a dime over nice high quality cabinets manufactured in China and custom installed by a skilled tradesman. Sad as it is, it only counts what is there, not where it comes from. Buyer look for good quality like solid plywood construction boxes versus cheap pressboard. Solid wood doors in attractive finishes and wood selections like cherry wood or Maple. Buyers like dovetail finishes on the drawer and soft close hinges and drawer rails. So go comparison shopping with different vendors. The nicer the showroom the larger the upcharge. The best deal comes from smaller shops that do their own installation and have a limited selection of product lines. Ask around which vendors local homebuilders use or check with your real estate agent who have home flippers as clients. They typically have figured out where to find good value. Don’t buy the name brand. Don’t buy because of the vendors impressive showroom. Buy quality at a good price and you are in a good shape
4: Which countertops to choose. I have three words: Granite, Granite, Granite. Yes, There is Corean or some other version of it. But in some sense that is just another word for plastic. Solid surface counters were the hit in the 90s and a great improvement over the laminate. Granite has long become the ultimate favorite. Your average house does not need to get an exotic 200$ per sq ft granite that hand cut from a remote mountain in the Himalaya. Standard builders grade qualities as Baltic brown, Ubatuba or Venetian Gold range in the 20 to 30 $ per sq ft and can be cost effective choices that will be a hit with your buyers. And no, your idea of putting glossy tile on your counters will not work well for your sale. It will let your buyers scatter quickly. Also if you cabinets are old and worn the expense of putting granite counters up will just irritate the hell out of many people. Now they feel they have to pay a premium price for granite that will be ripped out when they have to redo the kitchen anyhow. Make sure the cabinets are in tip top shape before putting up granite. There are quartz countertops the are very popular but the mostly are more expensive than basic granite choices. In many cased these additional cost will not translate in more profit in a sale. So be cautious.
5: Which appliances to pick. Stainless steel appliances are the single most wanted feature in average real estate sales in the United States. Yes they might show fingerprints and require frequent cleaning, yes they are a bit more expensive, and yes they might have a black double door refrigerator on sale at your home improvement store, the buyers still want Stainless Steel. It is best if they are new. Some vendors offer packages at discount pricing offering double door Refrigerator, Diswasher, Microwave hood and glas top stove for around $ 2000 to 2500. For a bit more money you can upgrade to a French door refrigerator with a freezer drawer underneath. See that your fridge has water and ice dispenser in the door. If we have a larger kitchen to redesign we add a under the counter beverage cooler. That adds some sparkle in buyers eyes. Remember these are things that can not be added later without extensive efforts and cost. If your house is the only one offering such added feature and they like it, you just jumped in front of all your competition.
6: How to coordinate colors When picking kitchen colors you have to think about how it photographs. We like to choose items the give some sort of contrast that will read great on photo and video. Your first goal is to get buyers in the door. The photos have to be stunning. So when we pick dark walnut cabinets we go for a lighter “Venetian Gold” or “Fantasy” granite. This is a lighter beige color with sprinkles of grey and brown but an overall golden light hue. Popular are also white painted cabinets which are well accented with dark “Ubatuba” or “True Black” countertops. If you have questions about the best choices consult with your designer.
7: Don’t forget the backsplash. It will cost you a few hundred dollars to install a glass mosaic backsplash but it sure will impress a lot of buyers. We pick something that has some of the corresponding colors of the cabinets and look well with both the cabinets and the countertops. In California’s high end design the glass mosaic has already passed its prime. But in mainstream markets the frenzy with the glass mosaic has just started. So unless you are selling a posh abode in Beverly Hills, go for the glass. It creates a wow factor well worth the money. Shop around and look for bargains. You only need 30 to 4o sq ft for average kitchen size. So you can splurge a bit and you may find the perfect one on sale.
8: Labor can be costly. Consider the labor cost of your remodel. With old floor plans you can create tremendous value when opening walls and creating larger spaces. Consult with a contractor on those cost. If you want to change the kitchen floor plan you have to be careful. While an improved layout can be greatly beneficial it can get very costly if you moving plumbing lines or electrical wiring. So the cost and benefits have to be weight here. It is advised to consult the professionals about such changes. You can quickly overspend on your project if you are not careful.
If you keep these aspects in mind you are bound to make some additional money when renovating for sale. Your house will sell quicker and appraise at the top of the market. It truly creates value. Your pocketbook will be thankful you did it.
This beautiful modern home sold after its full remodel. This true mid century modern home is proof that design can sell a house. The goal was to take the modern lines and transform it into a current version of itself. With a more open floor plan this house had become a 21st version of itself, catering to the needs of todays home buyers. We congratulate the new owners to a posh abode and look forward to our next completion.
I have beautiful floors – why using a rug? Well you have spend a small fortune to put in those gorgeous wood floors and now your designer wants you to put down an area rug. That sounds like a waste of money you just spent on the wood floor. If you are fitting your own room, do what you like personally. Don’t listen to anyone, if you are sure of what you want.
If you are going for something other people like too, you may want to listen to the professional. The area rug has other functions too. If your space has different usages, the area rug can help to define the different sections of the room. It can anchor the dining area and separate it from the sofa and chairs that can be defined by a separate area rug. Think of different vignettes that the rugs create. They pull the sofa and chair together to a real living area. It creates some balance rather than having disconnected furniture pieces cluttering a room. The other quality rugs have, is to change the acoustics of a room. Have you ever been in a large empty room and hear that weird echoing sound the room has. Well your area rugs help to improve the acoustics and make the room more comfortable. It also warms up the space and gives a feeling of balance and simply completes the design a bit more. The area rug is an additional opportunity to introduce texture, pattern and color. The great things about rugs is also they can be fairly inexpensive. So if you grow tired of it you can very easy replace it without problems. Try that with your hardwood or tile floor. There are some home decoration stores who carry a great selection of area rugs at reasonable prices. Online store offer even greater bargains, if you are willing to take somewhat of a chance on the purchase. Colors sometimes come out a bit different than in the picture, and you can not touch the rug and feel its texture, but if you are looking for a bargain option the internet can offer great choices. Don’t think of covering the nice new floor. Think about protecting it from excessive wear and tear while softening your interior design with layered textures. It may lead you to take the shoes off and kick back. Not the worst of all side effects, don’t you think?
See how real estate is sold quick – during the slowest time of the year! After Thanksgiving the Orlando real estate market comes to a slowdown to be really quiet around Christmas. This property received plenty of showings and an accepted offer during the slowest time of the year. See what brought the buyers in and got the property pending in just a few weeks market time. Hint: It was not the price. It was listed at the very top end of all comparable sales in the neighborhood. The secret to the swift success is the way the house looked. The three bedroom 2 bath floor plan is one of the very common ones in the neighborhood but the house had undergone a cosmetic renovation and a full staging job. The house looked gorgeous with beautiful furniture. The offer came in at the sellers ambitious target price and the listing went in pending status after 28 days. When you ask the sellers about the affordability of the staging the answer is: “How can you afford not to stage it and leave money on the table.” Higher sales prices in combination with shorter market time make a compelling argument. Especially in this case where the property is an investment flip, and a quick turnaround is needed for the seller, to be able to get into the next project. If you are interested to learn more about maximizing renovation flip returns contact us or subscribe to our email notification of upcoming articles about interior design and staging. www.idesigntosell.com
The Top 5 renovation mistakes that will make you lose money in resale value. The old saying is that you have to spend money to make money. But what if you spend money on your house that will end up hurting your sale and will make you lose money. Here are some of the most common errors homeowners make when renovating their homes.
1 Investing in outdated features.
Carpets in the living room was all the rage in the 60’s and 70’s. In the early 80’s it was very fashionable to put wall to wall carpets in bathrooms. Those vast fields of carpet in residential properties pretty much disappeared from buyers wish lists these days. Buyers look for hard surface floors, like hardwood floors or good quality laminate which are very high in demand. Some buyers like tile floors if they look current and are in decent shape. Your expensive cat 5 wiring of the house is less of an attraction to the average buyers who might use new wireless devices. Even stereo systems are less and less in need of hard wiring connection for their speakers. The big build-in entertainment centers that housed the boxy DLP TV when you bought the house 20 years ago, is pretty much obsolete. A flat screen fits neatly on any wall with cable connetion. Don’t spend money to trim out this drywalled shelving unit but rather simplify it to accomodate modern electronics.
2 Kitchens that don’t cut it.
If you replace the counter tops don’t install laminate or plastic counters. Laminate was the affordable material of choice in decades past. However, with many granite qualities coming down in price and more competition in the industry, an entry level granite is often not much more expensive than the other cheaper solutions like laminate or tile counter tops. Buyers like real granite or quarz counters. Don’t go overboard for the rare exotic granite that is hand cut high in the Himalayan mountain and brought back from the quarry on a mules back. No one will pay a dime more on your real expensive quality. Go with common entry level grade for the average home. Reserve the more elaborate choices for your high end properties. Also, if your cabinets are falling apart or show wear and tear, the addition of new counter tops will not be well received by potential buyers either. They often have the feeling that now they have to pay a premium for the house because of the new counters, just to rip them out again and redo the whole kitchen. If your old trash compactor in the kitchen is broken, don’t think about finding a replacement unit for it. Invest in a small beverage cooler that will yield more money instead.
3 Chose outdated materials
It is true that travertine flooring was all the rage – 10 years ago. When renovating you want to make sure to update the house and rejuvenate it. So when you renovate with materials referencing some fashion of past decades don’t be surprised if buyers only want to pay yesterdays pricing. Your renovation might not even come across as recent and buyers might feel they have to update the property again very soon. Along the list of yesteryear favorites are oak cabinets, those bulky intercom systems, the 12x 12 white glossy floor tiles, venetian plaster walls, Faux painting in the fake Tuscan style and wallpaper borders, just to name a few of the top offenders. (I have shivers going down my back just thinking about those)
4 Creating functional obsolescence
The probably worse crimes in renovation history happen when the improvement makes the property impractical. For example: putting tile floors in the garage. It may look nice, but now essentially your garage becomes an official no-go zone for your car. Typical floor tile will crack under the weight of an automobile resulting in the need of an expensive tile demolition job and the result of a damaged garage floor, that might require further fixing. Also the garage conversion to a bonus room may yield additional living square footage, but will turn off many buyers who are looking for a house with covered parking. Questionable is also the project to combine two smaller bedrooms into one large bedroom. Unless you have a 6 or 7 bedroom house, that move might cost you tens of thousands in the resale value. Especially where values of 3 bedroom homes are much higher than 2 bedroom homes, the third bedroom might be a great selling feature to many buyers.
5 Bad workmanship and unfinished projects
Do things yourself can save quite a bit on labor cost. But you have to make sure you are capable to turn out a decent finish on your projects. Consider all aspects of the renovation including all materials, the trim and the overall fit and finish. Nothing turns off a potential buyer than obvious do-it yourself disasters, unfinished projects, and renovations that are done in violation of industry standards and building code. Not only can those projects turn out as visually off-putting, some can be outright dangerous; like makeshift wiring, improper plumbing and questionable structural changes. Be realistic about your experience and ability and if you are not sure about the full scope of the job consult with a professional. Many contractors will work with you when you want to pitch in labor on some part of the project, while keeping you in compliance with building codes and industry standards. When you sell your home you will be happy you did. You will pass inspections and avoid liability issues later on.
If you are not sure which renovations, materials and choices will add the most to your property value, consult with your real estate professional and interior designer. These are the people on the forefront of the industry. The real estate professionals know what is in demand right now and what will keep the house attractive for a potential future buyer. Your designer will help you to make the right choices in color, texture and material. That way you spend your money where it will create equity.
The color overkill – When using color you can create harmony or chaos. You can set a calming mood or put your senses on high alert. There is a reason that fire engines are mostly painted red. Most people appreciate color in their lives but done know how to use it successfully. When designing a space think about the impact a color has. Whatever the color is on your small sample swatch, it will be ten times stronger when it is applied to a whole wall. Look at your kids crayon box. The colors you see there are pure colors, mostly bright and… well, very colorful. They have an extreme impact on your space if you have those colors at any large space. Designers take often more subdued colors that are lightened up by whites or muted by a bit of black tint in them. The pigment will be less prevalent and allow other things in the room to shine. The wall color should be the undertone, the complimentary chorus to your design features in the room. Occasionally you can use a strong wall color to make a statement, but that device is to be used with caution and great care. It may be left best to the professionals. For staged homes we always use wall colors in range of neutrals. Neutral tones are the ones that will compliment many colors and not take center stage in the visual field. We have many colors than can read as neutrals between of different shades of whites, beige and greys. Light blues and greens with a portion of black tint can be great choices for neutrals. They are all soft toned with a hint of color. We want to leave the option to place different items in the room and not to dictate too much of what the new owner will need to do or force him to repaint the house right away. Matter of fact, the color of the wall can be easily a deal killer. Ask any Realtor about their experience. They all can tell stories of buyers who rejected an otherwise perfect home because they did not like the color of one wall. It can be distracting to many homebuyers so color choice is key. At the same time a design wants to stay out of the boring beige realm and have a visual interest. An easy way to achieve that is by using accent colors. We use accent walls in some rooms. That means we can paint one wall in a room in a different color to add visual interest and create more drama. You have to consider the use of the room and the corresponding items in your design. A very easy way to add color is with your window treatments which can add texture and color. Your other fabrics can do the same thing. If you have hard floor surfaces like wood or tile floors the addition of area rugs give you great opportunity for color and contrast. Throw pillows are a save way to add a pop of color without overwhelming the room. Consider one or two accent colors for a room and see if you can repeat them with a bit of consistency. You can use color in your sofa cushions, your decorative items like glass objects, dinnerware, and for example a lamp shade. There are plenty of opportunities to introduce color but you want to use care and restraint for a great look. When you use it strategically you can create great visual interest while keeping your design streamlined. It will help to create a coherent look and allow you to pull together an eclectic design. With the right color choices your design will shine in style. And you visitors may not even need to use protective eyewear.
How to sell mortar and stone real estate with fabric – When decorating a room consider other aspects than just the major furniture pieces. When homeowners describe their ideal house you hear descriptions like comfortable, warm, inviting. While the house is built mostly out of wood, stone, glass and occasional metal, the soft touch is something that has to be implemented after the last building contractor leaves the space. I am talking about your textiles in a room. In the example above the Interior Designer Helene Bonello-Strauss wanted to preserve the nice architecture of the house. She had the old wood ceiling painted in a glossy white finish for a polished look. Now the ceiling reflects light and makes the room open and airy. The fireplace wall was accentuated in an inexpensive dark paint treatment to create some needed contrast. The plush area rugs define the different vignettes and soften the room and they pay homage on the materials used in the sixties and seventies. The floor to ceiling curtains add drama and balance the light coming in from the corner windows. They provide some clean line structure that is conducive to the mid century look while offering a fresh clean backdrop to the more modern appeal of the interior. The bamboo hardwood floor offers a great hard wearing surface for years to come while creating some rich looking warm texture. This house had offers within hours of going on the market. We are not so surprised; there are many people that love mid century architecture if it is presented in the right way. Here the balance of clean lines with the use of softening texture made this space comfortable and stylish at the same time. When it comes to modern design, this room is proof of the fact that clean lines and a truly modern design language does not have to be cold and uninviting. Who would not want to lounge in this timeless space.