"The Art of LIving," Originally posted October 13, 2014
"Design." I have written about it time and again: inside, outside, landscape, tablescape, architectural, etc. How it influences ones's emotions and feelings, how it is an expression of ourselves. I love design and designing just about anything. Laying out plants in a garden, setting a table, putting particular architectural features in a space and "staging" a house for sale for it's next owner.
If you are not in the real estate market, you may not be familiar with the concept of "staging." Strictly speaking it is resetting the home as if it were a stage set, so potential owners can see what it "could look like." But I think of it sightly differently and therefore, approach it differently. Many stagers make the home look fairly sterile, devoid of anything that could suggest that someone lives there right now. I, on the other hand, want buyers to see it as a home, not as a house. I want them to "feel the love," to use of 60"s phrase --(I am dating myself-- I was only a child then!) Twenty years ago buyers were advised to bake cookies before a house was shown, and I think there is something to be said for that.
How do you react when you smell freshly baked chocolate chip cookies? Do you get excited like you did when you would come home after school to find your mother had baked them while you were gone. i don't know about you, but I could smell them as i walked across the lawn. But maybe that delicious aroma were coming from the neighbors! As I would open the back door to come in, I would know for a certainty that I was right...all was right with the world! It didn't have to be chocolate chip cookies, it could be banana bread or apple crisp, the point was that there was living going on there. Why do you think the candles we buy today have those very same aromas? They evoke home.
When I walk into a potential new home, not only as a realtor, but as the eyes for my potential buyer, I want to see the home's personality. That is not to say that I want to see disorder, someone else's messes or things that are extreme. But I do want to see a family nest, a space for entertaining one's friends, and a place of charm, whatever the design. That means the 'staging" should not look like I am walking into a furniture store. I can do that at one of many furniture stores I know! I want to see what the loving hand of the owner has wrought and envision how my client might live in that home, elicit from them what changes they might make to feel it is theirs. I believe a pallet to work from is better than a blank pallet.
Those chocolate chips cookies are an emblem, they are a starting place. They are the stamp of the current owner. Maybe you don't like chocolate chip, you prefer a more complex cookie like molasses or simpler sugar cookies. Those are the aromas, the changes you would make to the home. Maybe you don't care for the burgundy in the dining room, but would prefer a simpler, neutral pallet like the sugar cookies. Can you envision the walls in a lovely neutral shade, a dove gray or a beige bisque?
Deep down the way one reacts to a home doesn't really have to do with the existing decor, it has to do with how one connects with the home on an emotional level, how it feels to you. I, for one, love to show my clients how that can happen.