Remodeling !!

September 17, 2019

I haven’t posted much about my house in ages, because, well… I haven’t posted at all in ages. Long story short, I had a baby (yes, that’s my excuse) and was trying to work full time, and act like a normal person on zero sleep, so really couldn’t find the time to post or brush my teeth on a regular basis. Now that we’re back up and brushing – I figured it was time for a little update!

We completely redid the outside, new porch, siding and windows (will post photos of that later) and then decided to gut the entire house inside (am I crazy? YES… but it is what it is). I’m super excited for the plans our architect put together, we changed a few things around but here is the plan so far. You know you’ve got kids and are over 30 when you’re MOST EXCITED about having a mud room… I literally asked for a new vacuum for my 34th birthday… hello loserville, it’s me your new pal Hillary.

Anyway… Check these out.

Super excited to see it all come together. We had this huge fireplace in the middle of the house that was so dated – we went back and forth on removing it or not because it was a big expense but ended up taking it out. It really opened up the space and gave us more options for the living room and allowed us to grab a bit more space for the kitchen.

The middle of the house was sagging so had to be lifted up.
Bye chimney!
This was our kitchen, but the kitchen is moving so this will be kid living room where I’ll shove all the toys and pretend I’m one of those people that has a clean house.

So…pro tip:

What’s the most important thing I’ve learned from remodeling houses and doing construction projects?

Whatever your budget is… double it. Legit, this is not a joke.

Whatever you think it will cost… it’ll cost double – for sure. And once you take something down or move something it inevitably leads to something else being wrong that you have to fix. So just plan on it being a shit show and break out the wine while you contemplate how to turn your tears into dollar bills.

And I forgot to mention, I’m living at my parents house while this all takes place. I know that I should be super grateful that they live close enough and will take me and my gaggle of children in but… I’m living at my parents house with a gaggle of children… know what I’m saying?!!!

Staging vs. not? Is it worth the money?

September 12, 2019

A lot of clients ask me to come view their property and give them advice on getting their property ready for showings and the open house. Generally we go through the process of picking and choosing how to best stage and declutter their home. After years of living in a house, things tend to pile up – and we all are attached to our favorite random items that might not mean anything to someone else.

Many times however, a seller has already emptied the home in order to move into their next property. This leaves the property vacant which can be hit or miss for photography and showings. 85% of Potential Buyers report that photos are the most important reason for them deciding to visit a home. Many sellers opt to stage a property via a professional staging company which is not only an additional out of pocket expense, but can run thousands of dollars for the seller. I am a huge fan of staging and think it is certainly worth the money if the seller is capable of spending the additional cash to get their home looking its best. Creating the right feel for buyers is so important and staging can bring new life to a home.

But what does a seller do if they don’t have thousands of dollars to spend on professional staging?

A cost effective alternative for traditional staging is virtual staging! We cover the cost of virtual staging for all of our sellers as an additional bonus to listing with us. Virtual staging can really provide that perfect FIRST IMPRESSION to buyers who are browsing photos in order to choose which open houses they will attend.

Here are some examples of virtual staging:

Virtually Staged Living room
Virtually Staged Kitchen

Brimfield Antique Show!!

June 12, 2016

I’ve always wanted to go to the Brimfield Antique Show and this year I finally made it. I packed up the whole gang, my mom, a cooler of sandwiches and snacks and hit the road! I wasn’t really sure what to expect so I threw a couple hundos in my pocket and was hoping for something cool I could buy.

Side note, it took a while to get there – the actual ride was fine, but once you pull into Brimfield you sit in one lane of traffic for an hour plus, which was the real torture. We all ended up peeing on the side of the road, except my mom who refused (no shame in my game) because we couldn’t lose our place in line!! So if you ever go, there is a small back road that runs sort of parallel to route 20 which is the main road. TAKE THE BACK ROAD and save yourself a ton of time, I google mapped an alternate route on the way out and saved us from the return torture. There are still 2 more dates this summer for the Antique Fair : July 12-17  Sept 6-11, so Check it out!

There was some really good junk and some not so good junk, and there were A TON of people. Having two kids in tow was both fun and exhausting because A. it’s not the place to loose a kid, there are so many people and it’s a FAIR, who wants to lose their kid at a fair?!!! So I spent most of the day making sure Lucy (5) didn’t wander more than 3 feet from my side. B. There is SO MUCH STUFF, I think you would have to spend a week there just to see it all, I mean there is A LOT OF STUFF. And naturally all the things I wanted were over budget. I snapped a few pics of cool items.

* Insider tip: HAND SANITIZER, Bring it, use it, love it. The place is one giant dirt pile of fun and porta potties.

Gallery, you can click on to enlarge:

 

Rugs, rugs, rugs…

April 27, 2016

Whelp, winter is finally over… Thank Fu*king god. Although who can really complain, it barely snowed at all and was really pretty mild. And since global warming is just some made up thing that has no scientific proof (cough, cough…Not) we can all just assume we are being rewarded for surviving last winter. With all of the non-snow weather we had I feel as if it rained way more than necessary, maybe not, but this is my blog so what I FEEL is obviously 100% factual and not up for discussion. And since it basically rained every day for 3 months there was an insane amount of mud in my yard, which in turn became an insane amount of mud on my carpet. So RIP carpet, I should have never bought you in cream.

Who else out there always buys super nice things in cream and white and really modern light grays only to realize they spill spaghetti sauce down their shirt on a daily basis and should really walk around with a post-it note on their forehead that reads “I CAN’T HAVE NICE THINGS.” Anyone? Anyone? Also, I forget sometimes when I’m shopping that I live with kids because I get caught up in all the shiny pretty things, (one mosaic glass bowl and I forget who I am for a while)…ohhhh glitter… and well, don’t get a cream carpet with kids anywhere within a 30 mile radius. It’s all fun and games until chocolate ice cream meets a beige couch…

So I am now on the hunt for a NEW carpet, but alas carpets are EXPENSIVE as _________. Which is totally _________ up and I hate people who make all the things I want so expensive. But I have an alternative for all the people out there that want nice carpets but can’t spend a million dollars on the perfect geometric pattern rug at some fab boutique.

ENTER RugsUSA.com  !!! In what appears to be the most creative rug website name on earth, you can find some super cool rugs at prices that don’t make you want to overdose on Malbec if your kid spills an entire bag of Doritos on your white carpet, and then rolls around on top of said crushed Doritos for 45 minutes before you notice (that has never happened to me, it happened to a friend of mine… that friend is me).

The other amazing thing about this website (aside from the fact that you will NEVER forget it’s name) is that they have a SALE literally every day… Flag day? Earth Day? Thomas Jefferson’s Birthday?… 70% off… try me, check it out…today is a Wednesday in spring, they are having a sale…You’re welcome!!!!! Here are the ones I am contemplating buying:

Paris is my heaven

February 25, 2016

Was just recently in France and Italy for a couple weeks, exploring, shopping and mostly eating, lots of eating. Europe as you probably know is amazing for many reasons, with so many countries so close to each other there is such a unique melding of culture, food and fashion. Europe also features some of the most jaw dropping architecture you could ever want to see. My creative vibes were flowing at an all time high while in Paris. I literally would LOVE to move to Paris, but really what would that cost me??? Well naturally I had to find out:

After a solid research session I found that in 2015 prices in Paris were on average: €7,880 (US$ 8,868) per sq.m. So If you calculate that out into feet, it’s approximately $824 sqft. Compared with Boston which has a Median price of $533 sqft. It looks like I’ll be living in a miniature apartment in Paris! But that’s ok because Tiny houses are in! It is important to also consider that all cities cover a large area and a multitude of neighborhoods – so it really depends on what neighborhood you want to live in.

I want to live in the Latin Quarter of Paris which is where ALL the food is (well it’s everywhere) but I love this area, bars, restaurants, shops, and food, food, food.  Yeah well there is NOTHING in that entire area for less than $1,000,000.00 Soooo Moving a long.  Here are some of my Paris Photos!

 

Eiffel Tower

I love all these little doors and store fronts.

Inside the Notre Dame de Paris

Random alley way shopping area, I'm obsessed with black/white tile.

luxembourg gardens

Exposed post and beam structural elements left visible

I love Carbs!!

I’ll post some Italy photos soon. Paris is the best!!!

If Donald Trump is elected President of the US, I am moving to Paris and going to overdose on pastry and coffee, you heard it here first!

What is Feng Shui?

October 21, 2015

I’m sure (unless you’re living under a rock in a dark cave) you’ve heard the term “Feng Shui” thrown around in regards to interior design. But you may be asking yourself, what really is “Feng Shui”? I come across this term on a very frequent basis due to my location (working in Quincy, which has a large Chinese population), and with many of my clients who are concerned with making sure a property they are buying has the right mix of Feng Shui elements. I’ve had deals fall apart solely based on a door placement, or which direction the structure is facing – so understanding Feng Shui, and what makes it so important can come in handy for anyone.

Feng Shui in short is a way to harmonize people with their environment. It has to do with the spatial arrangement of items in order to help with the flow of energy. The theory is that if the Feng Shui in your home is done properly, it effects the energy flow in your life, which helps your personal harmony and in turn helps you achieve life goals and a better life. Feng Shui is all about placement and position to create harmony in a persons space, which transcends into their life.

Feng (wind) and Shui (Water) are the two natural elements that humans need to live, they are the cornerstone of life and therefore the essence of life – which is their “Chi”, their life force. Your “Chi” is really your life force, it is the essence of you, and there for the Feng Shui of your space effects your Chi, and your life as a whole.

Now before you go thinking to yourself, what is all this new age zen junk that I’m reading ??? – consider this; 28,000 years ago Neanderthal cave men chose their caves and living habitats based on the direction the cave faced, the elevation, and the access to water. As early as humans have existed, there has been a connection to location and living environments based on the flow of water, wind, and life.

So what does this mean for you? And how can you incorporate elements of Feng Shui into your everyday living environment?

* First and foremost you need to Clear out your clutter! Clutter and mess is an all consuming problem that whether you know it or not can really effect your Chi. You have to get rid of those extra clothes, papers, junk on tables, unnecessary furniture. Clear the space, to clear your mind.

* Good quality Air and light is essential to good Feng Shui. Open up those old shutters, clean your windows, let natural light and air flow through your home bringing positive energy your way and letting you breathe easy.

* The front door or entry way into your home is a key factor in Feng Shui, it is where all energy enters and exits the home. Make sure you don’t have cracked front doors, or squeaky hinges, make sure the entrance to your home is tranquil and welcoming. This will effect the Chi that enters and exists your home.

* Live plants are an important part of this as well. Having plants in the house to catch and rejuvenate energy and oxygen is a great part of embracing the Chi.

* Let water flow towards the center of your home because water carries prosperity in towards the house. Many people chose to have a water element or fountain at the entrance to their home facing inwards. Also check leaky faucets, and where water drains – you don’t want prosperity draining out of your life.

* Fix broken items around the house which create added frustration. Have a broken door, closets aren’t opening or closing, handles are missing, windows are broken, outlets don’t work, etc etc. fix these small items. They may not seem like a big deal but they are small irritations that contribute to the demise of healthy Chi.

* Feng Shui in your bedroom is the most important space in the home to pay careful attention to. Because we spend so much time in our rooms sleeping it is imperative that your bedroom have good Feng Shui to it. Your bed should be up against a solid wall with no windows behind your head, this give you a safe surface behind you. If you have a head board try to have it made of solid wood which will help promote good Chi by providing additional support behind your head. Foot boards however are considered bad for Chi because they block forward progress. And NEVER have your feet facing the door as this as seen as a ‘death position’ as the dead are always carried out feet first, so this is seen as a potential way to drain your life force. Your bedroom is a place to relax and turn off the stress of every day life, it is important to not have loud music, or TV’s blaring in your room, you need to invite tranquility into your space. If possible, avoid having your cell phone on your night stand, and the TV at your feet on all night, work towards tranquil colors and peaceful lighting. Another surprising No-NO when it comes to bedroom Feng Shui – King size beds are bad for Feng Shui, I’ve always agreed with this but the principle behind this is that it creates too large of a space between you and your partner. Also, many King size beds are on a box spring that is split or has a line down the middle, which acts to separate the two halves, this is very bad for intimacy and good bedroom Chi. The goal of bedroom Feng Shui is to create a safe haven of comfort and tranquility, think soft sheets, nice lighting, flowers and candles, natural woods, calm and quiet with very little clutter to create a relaxation zone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grecian inspiration

February 25, 2015

 

I recently took a trip to Greece – Athens, Mykonos, and Santorini and it was TO DIE FOR. We’re talking totally amazing, knock your socks off gorgeous. The architecture is so unique and bright when juxtaposed against the dry desert like climate and geology. 

Check out some of my photos:

The colors, the light, the people – gahh I want to live there forever! It was an amazing trip with some really beautiful spots. The hotels we stayed in were so unique and had gorgeous design elements to them. I’m channeling my Grecian woman in all houses I look at from here on out.

Here are some Grecian inspired design ideas I’m feeling lately:

Wood rafters painted white, with royal blue accents.

Classy and modern all in one. Need these in my new room.

Everything about this bathroom ... I want.

For those winter days in Boston that you want to feel glam.

I'm dying over here. I need THIS, now.

Modern and gorgeous - GOLD is a must.

I’m really glad gold is coming back into fashion. The 90’s brassy/gold hardware really killed the look for quite some time, but fortunately people are moving back around and reusing true gold toned fixtures and hardware – PERFECT for my Grecian dreams. YES YES YES. I could sit here all day foaming at the mouth over how much I love Greece and it’s style.

 

Kanye & Kim’s “alleged” new house

May 20, 2013

Rumor has it Kanye West & Kim Kardashian just purchased this love nest for $11,000,000.00 in a gated Bel Air, California community. Condo fees are $903.00 per month, which considering the sale price is pretty cheap. I just sold a $285,000.00 condo with condo fees that were $300.00 per month, so in comparison, Kim is doing pretty good on the condo fees. Their condo fees also include the 24 hour ARMED GUARDS that patrol the gated community. It’s brand new construction  has 5 bedrooms, 6.5 baths, and rounds out at a pathetic 37,000 square feet (just for a point of reference, THE WHITE HOUSE is 55,000 square feet). This house is gargantuan, which is probably a good choice considering you’d have to live in it with Kanye West and a screaming child, which are basically one in the same. Here’s the address if you want to Google Map it :11790 SOUTHAMPTON Ct, Bel Air, CA 90077.  

What a dump.

back-of-house-Kimye-in-Bel-Air

Back of the house

Kim-Kardashian-and-Kanye-West-new-Bel-Air-house

front

Kim-Kardashians-new-kitchen-Bel-Air

Personally, I'd pick a lighter granite. But Personally, I don't have 11 million.

Kim-Kardashian-Kanye-West-new-house-listing-photos-1

My Grandma called she wants her kitchen vent back. Woof.

Kim-Kardashian-Kanye-West-Bel-Air-bedroom

Ok that head board is ridiculous.

Kim-Kardashian-and-Kanye-West-Bel-Air-house-hall

Beautiful floors

Kim-Kardashian-and-Kanye-West-Bel-Air-house-4

Living room

Kim-Kardashian-and-Kanye-West-Bel-Air-house-2

LOVE THIS ROOM!

Kim-Kardadshians-new-house-in-Bel-Air-aerial-view

For 11 million, you'd think you'd get a little more land and privacy from the neighbors.

 

Kim-Kardashian-and-Kanye-West-Bel-Air-house-3

Coffered Ceilings to DIE for

May 20, 2013

I have recently become insanely obsessed with Coffered ceilings. They are an element that really brings an entire room together. They’re a perfect mix of design esthetic and cozy home feel. Coffered ceilings can come in a series of patterns and have been around since the ancient Greeks and Romans (who made theirs with stone).  Today you can have jaw dropping ceilings in a contemporary or country home; I mean these things work ANYWHERE.

Kitchen-Coffered-Ceiling-design

Looking fabulous in the kitchen!

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Sexy Orange...MEOW!

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intricate

coffered-ceiling-st-louis

Sort of romantic/Gothic...I'm into

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I just sold this super cute house in Quincy, MA. Loving the living room!

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Beachy Fab!

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I AM MADLY IN LOVE!

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Rarr, very sexy.

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And I just stopped breathing.