Rustic cabin fever – When it comes to interior design, the term rustic has as many meanings as there are experts elaborating on it. For designer Helene Bonello-Strauss rustic means the implementation of some rough unfinished surfaces and materials in the design. Case and point: The two story 3 bedroom home on 930 Lexington Road in Deland, Florida just an hour northeast of Orlando. The rustic elements are the coral stone fireplace and rough cedar elements that are original to the house. In her design these elements play a vital role in the re-design of the house. She wanted to retain the integrity of the dramatic architecture and enhance those original features with a more modern take. The kitchen had been opened to allow for a more open flow and created a more spacious appeal of the living area. Gone are the days where the kitchen was tucked away behind closed doors to not been seen. In today’s world kitchens have evolved to social hubs in the house and the center of the party. This house with its dramatic whitewashed cedar ceiling and updated features offers a lot for its modest $ 260k asking price. Fantastic 70s architecture does not have to rely on shag carpet for a stylish look. The property is available for private showings upon request.
Stunning Central Florida lake front home without the large price tag, Open to the public for viewing for the first time on Saturday, August 10th between 12 noon and 3 pm. This property went through a full renovation with a brand new roof, new kitchen with stainless steel appliances, new floors and new paint inside and out. Recent upgrades include newer AC and tankless gas water heater. Its located in the Twin Lakes gated community in Deltona between Orlando and Daytona Beach. This property features a custom birchwood wall treatment with a 3 sided gas fireplace in the living areas. High ceilings and an open floorplan offer the feeling of a spacious living area that allows plenty of room to entertain a sizable crowd. This pool home has the style one might expect from a luxury mansion without the hefty acquisition cost or the upkeep. The address is 613 Copper Beech Blvd, Deltona, FL 32725 and the MLS number is O5804475. Call for access Helen 407-314-5468 or Malte 407-416-9659. This property is owned by the listing agents.
Apopka Preview open Sunday July 15 from 1-4pm – This house in the Apopka Sheeler Oaks subdivision just underwent a full transformation. The house features a new white shaker style kitchen with granite counters and white wood trim features around the larger pass through opening to the family room. The old popcorn ceiling made way to a tong and groove wood treatment and high gloss paint job to reflect light onto the space. The same treatment wall pulled onto the accent wall for an electric fireplace and TV. Contrasting colors in warm grey tones make the wall stand out. Off course all light fixtures were selected to give the space a warm illumination. The floor plan was quite functional so it did not need any drastic modification. The sofa now floats the room and allows for a good traffic space to the master and secondary bedrooms. The master received a new dual sink vanity with matching mirror cabinet to maximize storage there. The glass shower door provides a high end look. This property is a great example how a smart budget oriented renovation can provide a tremendous equity boost. The house is available for preview and offered at $ 199,800. For questions or and appointment please call Realtor (R) Malte Strauss at 407-416-9659.
When it comes to Central Florida waterfront locations Windermere is one of the prime luxury spots to be. This gorgeous waterfront estate is being sold completely furnished turn key with everything that one might desire. From the stunning vistas to 4 bedrooms, 4.5 baths, a heated pool and spa, boat dock, movie theater and beautiful but comfortable appointments. There are even two supercharged jetski in the garage that could convey with the property. Below is a video for a first look. For your private showing call your Realtor or contact the listing Broker Malte Strauss 407-416-9659.
Callaway Court re-deisign – This house in the beautiful golf course community Victoria Park in Deland Florida underwent a re-design with cosmetic changes. The main thing was a change in color and the addition of a lot of trim and finishes. The formal living area received a wall treatment with birch plywood panels and the addition of a built in fireplace.
We changed all the light fixtures and overhauled the kitchen with the existing cabinets and new leather finish granite counters and glass tile back splash. We also changed the bar top counter and lowered it to counter height. The center island was swapped to a larger one with contrasting cabinetry and the kitchen received all new black stainless steel appliances. The design scheme is a contemporary approach with updated traditional elements.
The master bedroom features a large grey winged headboard with nail-head trim and mirrored nightstands framed by a grey/silver wallpaper. On the opposite wall of the headboard we used the same wallpaper on a floating panel to house the TV and a fireplace. The nice tray ceiling was accented by a large medallion application. We chose a round crystal chandelier to repeat the concentric theme on the ceiling. The intention was to calm the room with a color palette of neutrals like grey, silver and white.
The property is available for sell with an asking price of $ 499,800 and held open for previews Sunday May 6th between 1 and 4 pm.
Previously unsalable – Sold after 4 days – Realtor Don Harkins with Keller Williams took on a listing that sat on the market with another Realtor and did not sell. The location on Hillcrest Avenue in Winter Park could not be the culprit.
His strategy to shake things up was to revamp the property with mostly minor renovations and a gorgeous staging by I design to Sell. As it played out this strategy worked great. The previously unsalable house sold within 4 days and received multiple offers in the process. Stager Helen Bonello-Strauss pointed to a few areas of improvement that made a big difference. One was that one of the rooms was used as an office. The stager recommended to remove the built in desk to make room for a bed. Since the house had already another office space plus a flex space behind the master suite, there was no need for a third office in the house. Marketing the house as a 4 bedroom gave the listing already quite a competitive edge. Also there were a few rooms with bold colors that needed a bit of neutralizing. The owner completed an overdue roof replacement, removed wallpaper in the powder room and did a few minor fixes to make the house market ready. The response was great. Real estate agents submitted multiple offers within a few days and the property closed quickly in less than a month. The team of I design to sell says THANKS to Don Harkins for the opportunity to be of service.
Ready to saddle the horses? Go mid-western – The Midwestern style was quite popular in the 90’s and produced a plethora of native Indian artwork, pueblo inspired architecture and the occasional imitation artifact to complete a Mid-Western themed design. If you have a space that lend itself to a more rustic look, you can revive the style and take liberty with your vision of the mid western style. Think ranch, horses, the big sky. In this example of a Midwestern inspired room the designer Helene Bonello Strauss combined a cowhide with another rug for more depth of a layered look and some feel of an urban and conventional styling. You don’t have to go too much overboard with your barn look. Just take a few elements and play around with it. Make sure that you keep it simple and light enough. You want the feel of it without a myriad of small items cluttering the space. Instead of the dated 90’s artwork use photographs of horses or western landscapes for a contemporary aspect of the style. Take items that speak to you and incorporate them in your space. Create a simple color palette composed of neutrals and earth tones, and you will like the outcome. Don’t be afraid to use contemporary items like the modern leather sofa in the picture. The antique barrel takes up enough of the theme without making it look forced. The skull is a replica from the Homegoods decoration store. A fresh twist on your grandpas trophy. This room is proof that you don’t have to own a farm in New Mexico to pull of a mid western theme. So saddle up and ride in the sunset. Even if the destination is no further than your own backyard.
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
When you are thinking to convert the empty bonus room into a nice hangout space or man cave you might want to consider everyone’s needs and create something that will be a great hit for all of your family and friends. For many men a large TV, a comfy sofa, and a mini fridge will create the ultimate hangout space. But that would be quite one sided and limit the use quite a bit. You may consider furnishing the place so that it has many uses. In this case the place is a converted garage that was decorated as a family hangout room. The far right end had a closet that was converted to a desk area for homework and crafts. The TV was set in a space with nice built ins to give the room a more finished look. The sofa is comfortable and can function as a guest bed. So if the room is needed this space has more than just one function. The set up is colorful and vibrant and probably one of the most inviting spaces in the house. Due to its various uses it is a hit with everyone and will not leave any family member out. The fact that this space used to be a garage does not come to mind right away. It does not have to cost a fortune to create a space that can function well and look great. If you think of selling a house with a bonus room make sure it does not only show one side. The more sensible use you can put in a space the more value perceive potential buyers. Just make sure the design looks coherent and gives a clear enough message about its potential. If a prospective buyer takes the time to sit down, there is opportunity to sell the house. You are not selling brick and mortar. You are selling a space the buyers can use, you are selling to the emotion that they have when thinking about the next Superball party, entertaining with friends, or the rainy afternoon watching a movie. It is not about the 4 walls that is important for a buyer. It is how they are using the space. It is all about the memories they are creating and how they can give the time they spend in their new home some meaning. If you paint a vivid picture of their future, your are on the right track. The bonus room might make the difference.
See what generated multiple offers on this house the first day. Sellers typically want to sell fast for a high price. Take a look what it took to make this quick sale happen. This house located in the crossings of Lake Mary was like most other homes in the neighborhood until stager and interior designer Helene Bonello-Strauss got her hands on this property. See what difference some cosmetic changes and a great staging can make. The property received multiple offers within the first day and went under contract swiftly.
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.
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?
Finding your audience – how to design for a client you don’t even know yet. Great staging has a lot to do with anticipating the wishes and dreams of a client you have not met yet. In a sense you have to imagine who you are catering to. So who is the person or who are the people who should respond positive to your design. When staging a house for sale, I always think of the potential buyers for the space. Will my audience will be a family with children or will we sell to a retired couple? Will a single person feel drawn to the house or do we think a younger newlywed couple will start a future here in Orlando. The neighborhood statistics play a role here and if I have access to the statistics, I look at those to find out who will be most likely attracted to the neighborhood. Will it be a young professional that is draw to the Downtown Orlando area, will it be a couple looking for a College Park home in walking distance to restaurants. Will the house in a desirable school district in Lake Mary, Winter Springs or Longwood attract a family with children? Once I have a rough idea about the audience we will be catering to, I can start making plans on how to design for them. It will be easier to determine if I need to decorate for a home office or kids room. I can make design and material choices that will be more appealing to my core target group. Off course it is important to keep it universal enough that you don’t alienate other potential buyers. So in any case the house has to be attractive to all potential groups of buyers. However, we can focus a bit for a group that will be most prevalent in the mix. We anticipate that we have a buyer that has seen design shows on TV, and perhaps browsed occasionally through a design magazine. That way we can showcase current trends and a great appeal for maximum effect. We want the buyer to pay todays prices. We have to show them a fresh design vision. For buyers less inclined with decorative trends the house appears as a refreshing novelty, for the ones this represents what they are looking for in an ideal world. It is creating a sort of competitiveness. Not all living quarters are created equal. Lets tip the scale in our favor with a bit of icing on the cake. If you are planning to do some cosmetic renovations, consider a consultation with your design professional ahead of your work. That is a sure way to put your money where it counts. You can focus on the key factors that will help to bring your property into the new millennium and to create a current design that will include paint colors, fixtures and flooring choices. It can be quite devastating to find out that your expensive renovation set your property back into the 90’s. While nostalgic flash back parties are a lot of fun, your house should not hang on to the past too much. Your clients typically want to live in the moment and not relive someone’s past.
Why you should not buy a whole room at once – Furniture stores want to make shopping easy. They often advertise a whole room for sale. “8 Pieces for the price of 5”, says the ad. The designer sees this like the screeching sound of chalk on a blackboard. A bedroom set with its big four poster king bed, matching night stands, dresser, a highboy and all in the same shape, wood and color. Your room will look exactly like the furniture catalog and that is a look that can be very boring and predictable. Just because the furniture manufacturer offers any possible type of furniture piece with the same design, no one dictates you have to have them all. Designers almost never take a so called “bedroom suite” and stuff it in a room. They mostly take time and judgment and select single pieces that they combine for a visual interesting look. The reason those professionally designed rooms look so great is that the designer takes inspiration from a myriad of shapes, colors and textures and select the pieces that tell a story and set a mood. Consider a basic rule. The items you pair should unite in either of the following ways. Select them by color or material choice. You also can combine items by similar shape. If you go with something wooden, see if you can find another piece with a similar color and texture of the wood grain. If your elements have metal, seek similar metals. So if your bed has chrome feet you may want to find similar metals and perhaps don’t use nightstands with aged bronze hardware. Or you can group a number of vases that are made of different materials but show a similar shape. The elements in the space have to reference each other enough to form a somewhat coherent design without being matchy matchy. Even your nightstands can be of different shape if they are made of the same material or vice versa. It is a bit tricky and if you are not sure consult a designer to assist you with the choices. Last not least, keep in mind that if you think of buying all of the available matching options from the store, you have to have a bedroom the size of the furniture showroom. Chances are your space is not all that big. If the room is overstuffed with a huge bed, enormous nightstands and three large dressers and you live in a tiny apartment, your bedroom will be so full that there is hardly any space left to feel relaxed and welcome. Make sure you leave room to live your life. This is the space that you and your loved ones will occupy. Your house is not a museum, but a space that surrounds you and that should cater to your very own needs. One of the most important things to consider in your interior design is the room you leave open. It is essential and it is easily overlooked. No one likes a room that does not leave enough space for their own being.