Boars, Bucks and Hoppin’ John!!
January 3, 2013

Hope your holiday season was like mine…fairly peaceful, lots of good food and wine, family, laughs, interspersed with, ummm…disagreements, about what would and would NOT fit into a car as we headed south . I may have mentioned before that I travel in the non-light fashion. I carry my house with me…it’s sad, I know, but there are things I just NEED for Christmas!

And the seat in the picture is the front passenger seat….the rest of the car: fully packed. What’s in the white bakery box?

Yep…even a buche de noel made it down. And it arrived, miraculously, in one chocolatey, yummy piece.  It is the season of miracles after all.

See? This was from Sugarbaker’s in Catonsville…it was soooo good…..chocolate and raspberry….

Let’s face it….things that go pop and have people wearing funny hats at dinner, is just plain old fun.

Found a great furniture store in Ashville(such a cool town)…called Dwellings.

I could literally have spent all day here..happily.

Fell in love with a vintage dresser there….the orange is adorable!

NO, this did not come home with me…it wouldn’t fit in the car. Alas.

Also really loved this lamp….very tall. No, it’s still at the store too! I think)….

But this little guy did come home with me…Jonathon Seagull!

Love this little guy…..

I must have liked this a lot…took a picture of it…..

And this…..snap. Can one have too many mirrors?

Saw this handsome fellow outside an antique shop in Cashiers, NC….great little town with some amazing shops!

I realized that, once again, I packed badly when it came to my own clothing…these I found at a shop in Highlands NC…they saved the day, and my ears!

My fav ornament this year…Harry the hedgehog. Isn’t he a cutie?

I could see the Christmas tree from my bedroom window…. it was a nice feeling.

Hung out at a coffee shop in Cashiers called Buck’s Coffee…actually I could move in there and be pretty doggone happy.

Never get tired of a mountain view like that….

Made a killer batch of pimiento cheese(and by killer, I don’t mean people got sick after they ate it!)….

And this was a new recipe I tried…Hoppin’John Risotto with greens, sausage and Parm…..it was truly….amazing.

I want some right now!  And how was your holiday??

All the world’s a stage….getting a house ready for sale!
March 29, 2011

House stager Lisa Bond, with all the things that have to go....

It must be said…this past weekend was a total schlog. By schlog, I mean something you just get through…there is really no fun involved, ’cause it is simply work that must be done. And that work was the beginning of getting my father-in-law’s townhouse in Birmingham….cleaned out of lots of stuff, and deciding how best to sell the place.

Don't we all wish our rooms looked like this?

The former was a lot of wrapping of old china and knicknacks and antique bric-a-brac by a group of us, for consignment or Goodwill, and the latter involved something I’ve often seen on tv, but never used personally…a house stager. Lisa Bond from The Stage Hand redesigning service(website herein Birmingham, came by on Saturday, and in the hour and a half she was there…whirled our little brains around with ideas about what to do and what not to do.

"Powerwash the boards, and ditch the doodads"

After the powerwashing...what a difference!

The first pronouncement was at the entrance patio area…”Powerwash all the weathered fencing around the patio and clean the siding too…you won’t believe the difference it will make! And get rid of  all the hangy things!”  A power washer was rented and while there was sweat equity involved here(not mine though)…as Lisa said… if you’re willing to do it yourself, you can save $$$$.

Some things stay(the sofa and secretary) and others go...

Then she toured the house…”keep this…that goes…save this, but use it over there…too much furniture in here, get rid of that, that and that….that’s a nice piece.. definitely keep”…and so on.

Silk flower spray...bye-bye... same for wallpaper...

Lisa(that’s her on the left in the picture, looking, not in an admiring way, at the silk flower thing-I jokingly said to her, “I know you’re gonna want that to stay!”) helped us with the new interior color(a coffee with cream light brown, white woodwork).

The new color looks like this...

..and she noticed things that we would have never seen(old looking light switch plates..dead easy replacement, dated ceiling fixtures…found new contemporary ones at Lowe’s for $13).

Lovely old wardrobe is headed for consignment....

 She helped us get our minds around our new vision for the place….and not so we can make a fortune on it… just so it will sell faster than the 6 other townhouses also for sale there! At least that’s what we all hope. 

Here are Lisa’s top five pieces of advice for people trying to sell a home…  1.  Make sure that all deferred maintenance is completed before your home goes on the market.  Thoroughly examine the roof, siding,  exterior and interior paint  for evidence of peeling paint, water damage or general repair

2. Have an electrical and plumbing inspection.  A good home inspector will identify the mechanicals so there are no surprises to you or the buyer once a contract is on your home.

3.  Updating your appliances is an excellent investment since they will convey with the home. The kitchen is a major attraction for most buyers.

4.  Inspect  flooring for any signs of damage or wear or stains and replace it if necessary. (We are putting inhardwood downstairs and new carpet up stairs) The rate of return on these investments is substantial.  The same goes for paint colors.  A neutral shade can be more appealing to buyers especially if they know they won’t have to repaint the walls and it will appeal to both male and female buyers.(Hello carob brown)

5.  Clean and declutter all rooms, closet and cabinet areas.  Buyers need to feel the space is worth the price they are paying. Consider hiring a professional stager to help convey room flow and  help define the rooms for your buyers.  Often times, buyers will pass on the home, if they can’t see the placement of their furniture within the home or if it feels odd to them.  Make it easy for your buyers to put an offer on the home. Think about your home through the buyer’s eyes.