Seeing an email of four little words brought a smile to my face: "your order has shipped" means I can continue the course as planned! The plan isn't for me, but for a doctor's office makeover & update project I'm working on - my first here in Arizona! Happy and grateful for it. The project had first started out as helping to pick out a replacement sofa... and then some chairs... then the office space... and grew to include updating the adjoining reception area. For the reception area, I picked out a pair of stripe slipper chairs from the Angelo Surmelis Bradstreet collection I spotted on Before purchasing them, I wanted to see a swatch of the actual colors - but at the site, none were available. Not a problem though: I occasionally tweet with Angelo, so I sent him a DM (Direct Message) to ask if a swatch was available, and he gave me the email of a contact. About two weeks later, I received a postcard image of the chair (as a settee - looks great!) with a swatch. When I went to my second meeting for the office makeover, I was able to share the image and swatch with my client - and she loved it. After firming up a few other selections for the makeover, I placed the order and it's shipping! Now I need to brave the cold temps outside to re-organize the garage to make space for this Wayfair order... plus a few other items I picked up locally and the pieces I'm having shipped here for the makeover. Here's a peek at the process...

Sample from Angelo...

Love the look for the space - Just may need to stain the legs a little darker: more black - less red. 

Using Olioboard, I was able to create these info pages, making it easier to make selections during my second meeting with the client. Keeping all project info (samples, Olioboards, sources) together in a binder makes it SO easy to show during meet-ups and when shopping locally.

I actually got these for a really good price. When I first saw them online in December, they were on sale then back to regular price, then on sale again PLUS an extra 10% off!

Having extra samples of paint swatches makes it much easier to carry into store to match VS the entire color deck. I also picked up the two wall color paint samples at my local Benjamin Moore (Desert Green for main office area and Jack In The Beanstalk for the reception area). Since the green changes color with lighting and other items in the space, I also picked up a color I found online called "Unusual Grey" (and oh is it!) from Sherwin Williams. I'm painting these onto foamcore panels as samples rather than mess up her walls (she still needs to see clients).

Above is wall art for the reception area I spotted online at ZGallerie. When we went on a shopping trip two weeks ago, I showed it to my client and she REALLY liked it - but it's $300. We're not totally removing it from the plan - it depends on other expenses. I spotted an option for less the other day when I popped into World Market, and it's on sale...

 Going vertical in the small space may actually work better...
And it will still have the same feel from mixing the graphic stripe chair with the organic abstract wall art...

(existing reception area space)

After spending a day together shopping, I observed more about my client to make me revise my plan. Above is my original concept for the reception area + counseling area. The counseling area is a little too contrasting with the B&W pattern. To sooth & calm the space, but still have pattern, I opted for more grey & white pattern with touches of black. To give more light to the space (gets very dark in the late evening when she is still seeing clients) I'm going for white drum shades...

Original counseling area concept (above)
Revised counseling area concept (below) 

I really wanted to have used these window panels (below) in the counseling area, but the actual pair in the store (JCP) has a more warm-taupe background VS the more icy-cool image shown online. Since there is a taupe stripe in the  slipper chairs, I'll use them in the reception area.

Although these panels are on back-order online, they are available at the store.

The sofa was ordered too, but that will take a little longer to ship out because the grey fabric selected wasn't a stock fabric - The sofa is scheduled to arrive in LA by early March, and be delivered the following week, which is when the space will be painted, and new light fixtures will be installed. Although I was hesitant on the fabric selection (only available in velvet) the classic style & tufting are great for the space - but more importantly the SIZE is perfect. This was the first sofa choice I had shown my client, and any other option just didn't measure-up. Seriously: many sofas are 80+ inches and love seats are too small. This is an apartment size sofa at 76" which will fit perfectly to replace the existing sofa.

 Ordering the screen today - The organic print will give balance to the graphic prints in the space plus relate to the existing (and sentimental) wall art: a trio of signed Tao prints.

I'm still hunting for a pair of (reasonably priced) oval back chairs - preferably in an ebony finish with a grey & white pattern. I'm not opposed to thrifting & refinishing them myself, but haven't found them here yet. Maybe today will be my lucky day :) 

Wish me luck
Thanks for stopping by!


Have you ever had a thought, and when you started to look into it, it lead you to something related, but different? That's what happened to me when I was putting together my post for the January blog collaboration with Olioboard. Today I'm joining nine design bloggers and home stagers to discuss home staging! The point of view I was going to take was staging for the seasons, but then I remembered a post I had done called Lifestyling & Visualizing a Vacancy. I wrote the post in May 2010. I had only been blogging for six months -- and I had not yet learned about Olioboard. I wanted to demonstrate how I would stage a vacant home I had toured during an open house... but all I had were separate Realtor's photographs of the space, a rough hand drawn sketch of the layout I did, and a view inspirational images plus the items I was suggesting. I remember struggling to get the flow of words right so that the readers could see my vision. Two months later, I discovered Olioboard -- Two years later... OH THE POSSIBILITIES for Realtors and Stagers!

 Above: Olioboard Online Room Staging
Below: The naked listing - A space void of purpose & lifestyle.

Realtors and Stagers can really benefit from having professional or wide-angle lens photos taken of a listing - especially if the listing is vacant. We've all seen the shows on HGTV: Clear the clutter, open the windows, let light in - but to a buyer skimming through photo's online, they may not be able to imagine how an empty space would look with their furniture, or any furniture. 

That is why staging is so important for the sale of a house: Having furniture in place gives a room function & purpose. The furniture gives a point of reference to a buyer to know what will - or won't - fit into a space. 

And where do people go FIRST when they are deciding to buy a home or not? They shop online. All the more reason to create excitement in a vacant space with Online Room Staging!

When a house has historical value to add, you really want to enhance those attributes, charm and character. For example, the amazing mosaic tile work for the Hollywood (FL) home built in 1936 is a fantastic inspiration for not only interior colors, but the exterior as well. 

The french door here at the back of the house can be seen from from the front of the house when standing in the living room, and looking through the dining space: CALL THEM OUT with a simple coat of black paint for an INSTANT 'Focal Point' :)

The pitch in the roof creates a triangular effect on the wall: The best shape to place in a triangle is a circle. This also helps to draw the eye up and enjoy the volume in the space. Layering in tall plants, especially palms in Florida, here bring the outside in and also draw the eye up.

Speaking of looking up, the existing ceiling fans are a functional plus to a sunroom - no need to switch them. For ambient lighting, combine different light levels around the room from: floor lamps, table lamps and up lights in corners.

Windows need not only be framed or covered with panels alone: decorative screens can help diffuse light, give privacy, and add a touch of pattern, which here relates back to the Mosaic tile floor.

Using an ombre rug merges both the b&w in the space without it being a graphic pattern or solid. Going for a round rug vs. a rectangle helps anchor the flow of conversation by floating the chairs in the center of the room. Can be used with slipper chairs,  club chairs or if space (& budget) permit: go for four chair & a 1/2 from C&B.

Pulling together the look of before and after is as easy as uploading the vacant space to Olioboard, and using it as your board backdrop, sourcing product images, and even a few Pinterest images can help buyers see the potential of the living space.

 (my sketch from 2010)

Here's the (vacant) view from the back of the house (sunroom) through the dining space, just off the kitchen, and next to the door to the garage...

 No windows in the narrow dining space and no chandelier, but easy to remedy (in real life for design or for home staging):

1. Open up the narrow space with mirrors. Simple black frames will relate back through to the sunroom black painted french doors.

2. Have a certified electrician add a junction box & canopy in the ceiling, centered to the fabulous deco arch. Keep the feel natural & neutral with a double-drum woven chandy.

3. Not all details were meant to be salvaged: switch out the 1930's sconce for a little black + bling.

Add a simple touch of nature with green grasses for the centerpiece and floor basket.

The floor covering through the dining area and living room are all Cuban-Spanish tiles - a touch of Spanish heritage can work in the livingroom, but for the dining space, add a little Miami flare with a patterned woven rug and stud details on leather chairs. Go grand with grey linen slip cover hostess chairs...

See how the words yes can paint a picture? But having a board set with the described room can speak louder than the words And just think: No furniture to order - no back to break.  

Realtors would be able to print the staged space onto their property marketing brochures. For Stagers, online staging projects can help pick up where some staging projects may have dropped due to the economy, short sales and even foreclosures.

Now on to the living room...

Although the white ceiling fans can help circulate the sea air (this house was in Hollywood, off the Inter-coastal), I'd switch the ceiling fans for a pair of carriage chandelier's from Ballard Designs.

An "L" shaped sofa floating in the center works for lounging by the fire, drinks and convos with friends or watching TV. The fireplace surround is a deco relief. Although it still has some of it's color, it could be painted cloud white.

White works well in this space and is a huge part of the South Florida lifestyle. The white stucco walls, some curved, work, or all the spaces could be painted shades of pale grey or sage green...

Not just for Designers, but for homeowners, buyers, sellers, Realtor's and Home Stagers...
Using Olioboard ROCKS for presentations! 

I saw the listing in May 2010, but it was originally listed in 2009. While writing this post I learned the place had sold in 2011. It was interesting to see the images - with furniture - from the new owners, who had listed it (or the bank did) again in 2012...

The Real Estate listing photos I used were by
When I saw the house, Joan had said the house was 'just' freshly painted (SMH) I said (to myself - the wrong color: a better choice would have been calmer)... Maybe even a lighter value of the green from the fireplace or grey with white trim...

So I was SO HAPPY to see the new owners REpainted the house... 

BUT... I wasn't happy to see they converted the deco arch  to a square....

And I guess the owners took their own pictures for the listing... and you can see a HUGE difference: The place doesn't show as large as it is... plus: too much clutter for selling (too many personal pictures, candle holders and I don't know what on the fireplace)

Doing your own staging to sell is great when tackling some of projects for updating:

  • Refresh dated existing furniture "sets" with a new finish & hardware.
  • Update 80's yellow brass finishes with Rustomleum's oil-rubbed bronze.
  • Lighted up heavy brick fireplaces with a new fitting or paint.
  • Update tired & dated oak cabinets in white, grey, espresso or black + remove some door to help lighten the look.

Here's a few additional DIY posts to help with staging + my own experience staging and selling our townhome in Florida...

Thank you so much for stopping by today! This was a (mini) blast from the past, to revisit an existing project and do it in a new way. I hope it was helpful!

 Online Staging can be a lead to styling the house after the buyers move in.

For TONS more staging help, fun & tips, head over to these fabulous ladies to take in their perspective on Home Staging for today's Home Staging - Before & After OlioHop!

January 2013 OlioHop Banner created by Frances Newman.

Marilyn G. Russell

Ronique Gibson 

Linda Merrill 

Roslyn Ashford 

Frances Newman

Stephanie Weeks

Kristie Barnett 
BONUS: Also see Kristie's post at HOUZZ: 

Staging vs. Decorating: What's the Difference?


and the corporate blog of 

Connect with Olioboard + its creative community members on

Thanks again for stopping by!


FRIDAY FINDS: Chair Hunting at HomeGoods

I really miss the HomeGoods back in Florida: I had six close by to shop and the selection was phenomenal! Here in AZ, I only have two nearby; but be that as it may, I have still found some pretty good deals. Most recently while out hunting for chairs for a doctor's office update I'm doing, I came across some pretty cool chairs at Marshalls and HomeGoods. Not all are quite the right fit for this project, but still good chairs nonetheless. And some of the brands can also be found at Overstock, for basically the same price.

My FAVORITE chairs are probably these replica black wishbone chairs at Marshalls... 
and they were only $99 each...

so cool!

LOVE it!

Another FAVE also at Marshalls was this pair of French arm chairs - LOVE the stud detail! 
Looks like something I'd see at Sweet Salvage here in Phoenix.

The wingback dining chair is very popular - Loved the subtle color. A great updated look for traditional style.

Almost had a winner for the project with this pair, but too blue....

Adored this paisley pair, but again, not the right colors for the project.
However, the brand tag gave a good clue to find similar chairs - and I did on Overstock. 

Even more importantly - Sole Designs Furniture is MADE in the USA!

See website at: Sole Designs Furniture

Take a tip from thrifting - Even though the color or pattern isn't right, who says you can't buy new and still redo? If priced right, it's worth it. These chairs at Homegoods were on clearance - The ones below were at only $49 each!

For only $49 at HomeGoods, it's worth it to recover, and maybe even add a bit of nail-head trim detail.

Originally, I was looking for slipper chairs, and sourced quite a few online - but a pair is actually too large for the space they need to fit in. Since the sofa is ordered (Chloe 76" swoop arm with tufted back in granite from Macy's) I'm really looking for an oval back dining chair pair. Ideally, I'd love to find them already 'done', but I may need to check out a few thrift or antique shops in Phoenix ;)

Thanks for stopping by!


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