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  • Writer's picture Lance Williams



WHEN I FIRST SPIED THE HOUSE FEATURED IN THIS BLOG, IT WAS SO BLANKETED IN BRANCHES, BUSHES AND SUNDRY VINES I COULDN'T REALLY TELL ANYTHING ABOUT IT; not much more than a concrete pumpkin hidden in its forest of flora. Inside the front door, the same story: Years of picking up this piece at Ikea, that piece in Europe, over there, something from Crate and Barrel; leaving the sum LESS than the whole of the individual parts; no common thread knitting the spaces together. It's a common theme for most of us.

So, what to do? The solution is NOT whipping out a check and hauling in a builder, a decorator, and a landscape consultant. Rather, it's about clever, wise use of ideas: tweaking, staging, freshening, editing; investments that are pennies on the dollar. Especially when you have great "bones" as this house does.

Enter Mimi Nieves, my real estate magician. She knows how to take color, furniture, art, and knick-knacks and create a cohesive, inviting whole that is GREATER than the sum of its parts. Her staging ledgerdemain, on all my listings, has turned homeley and ho-hum to Hallelujah!: Increasing the value of the houses exponentially more than the cost of staging, often even producing a bidding war.

Let's take this handsome listing of mine and use it for some DIY tips.

Outside: Instead of a full-blown haircut, the yard just needed a trim; tidying up the crazy-quilt of plants and branches that were muscling out the architecture; tailoring the scene to enhance, rather than obscure the house.

The tawny paint scheme was freshened with a new, more on-trend color, and everything pressure washed.

Inside, the large living room has a fresh new color and simple placement of seating and objects give it a subtle pop and sophistication; the same principle used throughout.

Anyone can do it: Edit out the "stuff" (pare down) and come up with a theme that sews all the individual parts together. Check out "Shelter" magazines (Traditional Home, Veranda, Architectural Digest), and DIY t.v. shows. In this house the result is a calm, inviting volume of spaces rather than a collection of helter skelter boxes stuffed with..... stuff!



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