High End Staging Secrets by Sharon Blaustein

Whether you are a real estate broker or a homeowner who has sold your own home, you probably have heard about home staging services. Whether or not you're a believer in the magical results some stagers may promise, here are a few of our favorite tips and insider tricks to help you understand the strategy behind staging your home! 

While there are plenty of great articles about the benefits of staging your home, the main objective is simply to make your home appealing to as broad of an audience as possible. A home is a very personal space by definition, so not everybody might be amused by your novelty mug collection or wacky taste in wallpaper. The right home staging can transform a stale or empty listing into a modern, serene space that potential buyers will fall in love with.

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The Secret

The number one trick for success is not to make the space look “staged”. Our job is to make the prospective purchasers feel immediately at home and to help them imagine themselves living there. So it's all about selling a life style!

In our interior design portfolio, we prefer to use a toned-down palette, and this is especially the case with staging projects. We use shades of greys, taupes and natural woods to create an atmosphere that is elegant and impressive but still feels warm. We bring in pops of color through the curated accessories and art.

Books books books!

Books add a lot of warmth and character to a home without feeling overly personal, and they can make a great decoration tool. We love using them in a bookcase, obvious as that may seem, but they also are a finishing touch on a coffee or bedside table. Occasionally, we source them by their color for an aesthetically pleasing effect. There are some vendors who sell by shape, color or size such as Books By The Foot, which is a great resource if you're selecting texts to fit a specific look.

These books were selected and organized in a way that would convey a sense of the personality of the fictional owner that was the inspiration for this building.

These books were selected and organized in a way that would convey a sense of the personality of the fictional owner that was the inspiration for this building.

The Very Important Bar Cart!

A stylish modern bar cart fully equipped with actual bottles, wine glasses, a crystal decanter and bar accessories is a great addition to any dining or living room. It's that subtle hint towards things to come; indulging in a fantasy of entertaining in your beautiful new home with your loved ones. 

It's a great way to tie together a room in a way that looks believable, and bar carts can come in such a variety of styles, it won't be difficult to find one that complements the rest of your decor or makes a bold eclectic statement. Not to mention, if you keep it stocked with the good stuff, you'll be fully prepared to enjoy a celebratory toast once your sale is finalized! 

 

While all of the elements in this Hudson Square Penthouse call to mind elegant living, the bar cart is an opportunity to include lifelike details to complete the scene. this bar cart from RH is one of our favorites!

While all of the elements in this Hudson Square Penthouse call to mind elegant living, the bar cart is an opportunity to include lifelike details to complete the scene. this bar cart from RH is one of our favorites!

A Bed That's Just Right

To create the perfect bedroom, we like to use modern upholstered beds with a low headboard. Selecting soft luxurious bedding is also an important step to creating the perfect layered look that invites you to unwind in. Materials and thread count matter, don't use anything that you wouldn't feel comfortable sleeping on yourself!  We then add lighting and accessories next to the bed to personalize the space. Books, candles and a beautiful framed picture will make the buyer feel right at home.

Using the right neutral color palette can contribute to a warm atmosphere, which is especially important in a bedroom.

Using the right neutral color palette can contribute to a warm atmosphere, which is especially important in a bedroom.

Bathrooms

Easy to overlook, these spaces need to get attention as well. While there is usually less space for personal touches than in other rooms, the details all make a difference for the overall perception of a home. Soft towels, luxurious soaps and scent diffusers will all appeal to the buyers. Candles and a loofah can be placed on a ledge of the tub to complete the spa-like experience. And of course, absolute cleanliness is a necessity! 

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Outdoor Space is Not to be Taken Lightly! 

If your home or apartment has a rooftop, terrace or a garden you should celebrate it! It will be an important factor in anybody's biggest purchase and has the potential to be a very attractive feature that will differentiate your property. Landscaping is important, being sure to keep in mind what will work with your climate and not be too much regular upkeep while your home is on the market. We always prefer the clean lines of modern outdoor furniture, RH Modern makes the chairs pictured below, and then we add throw pillows in vibrant prints to brighten everything up. Don't forget the finishing touches, such as a colorful tray with a pitcher and glasses, and you've curated the perfect outdoor experience just begging for its next inhabitants to enjoy!

You can go a little more wild selecting colors for an outdoor space, but always be sure to keep in mind the local weather, and select materials accordingly.

You can go a little more wild selecting colors for an outdoor space, but always be sure to keep in mind the local weather, and select materials accordingly.

Purchasing a home is oftentimes the largest investment a person or family will make. While there are many opinions and personal stories out there, both good and bad, about using staging services for your home, creating a space that people can visualize themselves living in undeniably important. We wish you all the best with your sale, and we hope that these tips have helped! If you'd like to learn more about our staging services please feel free to contact us!

Picking the Perfect Accent Chair by Sharon Blaustein

Feeling ready to refresh your space, but don’t have the time or desire to commit to a full redesign or renovation? Never fear, there are lots of design tips that you can use to energize your home in the meantime! One of our favorite (and fastest) ways to bring some new life into a room is to add a fun accent chair!

When selecting a chair, don't be afraid to add in a pop of color, a funky shape, and some cool materiality. A chair has the opportunity to bring style and personality into a room, without being a huge undertaking or investment like other pieces of furniture. Keep reading to see how we've used seating to switch up some of our spaces! 

We love the deep blue color that you just want to dive into after a long day. and the enveloping design gives off an approachable modern vibe. The Ventura Lounge chair is one of our personal favorites! 

We love the deep blue color that you just want to dive into after a long day. and the enveloping design gives off an approachable modern vibe. The Ventura Lounge chair is one of our personal favorites! 

 

When searching for the perfect chair; comfort is key. Make a design statement that also serves a practical function. We believe comfort should never be sacrificed for style, especially in your home or workplace. A good chair should feel like it's welcoming you with open arms at the end of a long day.

Upholstery Selection

Choosing a nontraditional fabric is a great option for a lounge chair, but it's also important to keep the traffic and use of that room in mind. A stark white linen chair might make an elegant statement, but the first time somebody spills red wine at a party, it's a heartbreak! 

The sumptuous velvet of these lounge chairs provide a surface that's just begging to be sat upon. They also juxtapose with the vintage rug that we chose for this room, you can also read more on our tips for selecting the perfect rug!

The sumptuous velvet of these lounge chairs provide a surface that's just begging to be sat upon. They also juxtapose with the vintage rug that we chose for this room, you can also read more on our tips for selecting the perfect rug!

Choosing the Perfect Print

You can also mix things up with by selecting a fun pattern! You can think of your chair like your own personal throne, it's an opportunity to have a physical reflection of your style.

This cowhide lounger is definitely making a statement in a living room or office. Organic textiles like a cowhide always give a one-of-a-kind feel, we also love to use these as unique floor coverings

This cowhide lounger is definitely making a statement in a living room or office. Organic textiles like a cowhide always give a one-of-a-kind feel, we also love to use these as unique floor coverings

Mixing Materials

In contemporary design, selecting materials and shapes that complement one another is very important to the overall flow of the room. Another of our favorite chairs is the Ipanema Armchair designed by Jean-Marie Massaud. Named for one of Brazil's most famous beaches, its design does remind you of reclining under the sun, but the clean lines and dark walnut finish blend perfectly in a modern living room.

Dark colors and a structural design come together perfectly in this modern living area. 

Dark colors and a structural design come together perfectly in this modern living area. 

Take a Risk!

A chair is a great time to go all out and have some fun! You may have read our previous post about selecting the perfect stools for your home, having seating options that works for your home and your personality is very important. Chairs are typically not as expensive as some of the larger pieces of furniture that will define your space, not as permanent as a coat of paint or wallpaper, and they truly can tie a room together. Below are a few of the crazier seating options that we've seen over the years, hopefully you will now feel inspired to go out and find a new chair to transform your home! 

The Spanish Chair by Børge Mogensen is made with solid oak and saddle leather.

The Spanish Chair by Børge Mogensen is made with solid oak and saddle leather.

The Tropicana Chair by Patricia Urquiola made using wrapped threads on a tubular steel frame.

The Tropicana Chair by Patricia Urquiola made using wrapped threads on a tubular steel frame.

How to Design Your Dream Kitchen by Sharon Blaustein

There is no place like home! And there is no place in the home like the kitchen!

A kitchen is the heart of the house. It’s where loved ones gather at the end of the day for a family dinner and it's a place where friends can relax and drink a glass of wine while the food simmers on the stove. Since it is such a vital part of any home, and there are so many components, we believe it's a room that needs to be comfortable and reflect the personality of the homeowners. 

There are a few key ingredients to creating a dream kitchen:

Kitchen designed by ODA Architecture

Kitchen designed by ODA Architecture

Space planning:

Space planning is the secret sauce for a functional kitchen. A thoughtful plan is important for the right flow within the kitchen whether you are working or entertaining (and more often than not, both!). The main component to consider is the kitchen's work triangle – the path that you make when moving from the refrigerator, to the sink, to the oven while you're preparing a meal. Make sure all three of these areas are in close proximity or easily accessible to one another.

Classic work triangle.

Classic work triangle.

 

Another important component to consider is the kitchen island, which acts as the centerpiece of the kitchen. It can function as additional counterspace as well as an eating area for when you're on the go. If you plan on placing seating around it make sure you have an overhang of 10” or more to allow for comfortable space underneath. You can read more on our favorite bar stool options here

Kitchen designed Stefano Pasqualetti

Kitchen designed Stefano Pasqualetti

 

Countertop material:

We love natural stones! They are rich, warm and have so much character with their natural veining. However, it's important to keep in mind that most natural stones stain easily, scratch and need regular maintenance. If you like to cook, have a busy household with young kids or just don’t like to worry every time you use the kitchen, we would suggest to avoid natural stone (or stainless steel counters that scratch easily). Quartz is our go to. Brands like CaesarStone offer a huge variety of finishes ranging from stone replicas to cool, concrete-like finishes. They are super durable and need no maintenance. If you're curious about learning more about different countertops, you can read more here.

Kitchen trends:

Modern kitchens, especially in a modern home layout where the kitchen is open, are often designed to look like furniture that you will find in a living space. The appliances are mostly hidden behind panels and the kitchen cabinets are made with rich wood finishes and seamless details such as grooves and reveals to open the cabinets rather than hardware. 

 

A modern kitchen in our Scarsdale Home project designed by B Interior

A modern kitchen in our Scarsdale Home project designed by B Interior

There are so many more ingredients to a perfect kitchen such as lighting, cabinets, drawings planning, fixtures, appliances and list goes on and on. We wanted to give you a taste of the perfect kitchen design and will go get back to you with more in our future blogs. Stay tuned!

 

Our Favorite Bar Stools by Sharon Blaustein

Finding the perfect stool is not an easy task! Whether you are looking to freshen up your seating options or you have just finished renovating your dream kitchen with that large beautiful island; you will inevitably arrive at the question of which bar stool will go best with your kitchen.

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Luckily, we're here to help! Here are a few parameters that you should keep in mind when selecting the best bar stool for you:

Height:

We will admit, we have made this mistake (and more than once…). We found the perfect bar stool at the perfect price, ordered it and waited (and waited some more) and finally the stool was there! We opened the box and… sure enough the stool was too high to fit under the counter (or too short). A typical counter height is 36” and will require a counter stool seat height will be around 25”. If your counter is high (usually 42”) you will need a bar stool with seat height around 30”. One thing to always remember is to measure your own counters and double check the dimensions! 

The Ventura from Poliform is one of our favorites. It has clean lines, it's modern and elegant.  

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Material:

Your stool should be functional just like the rest of your kitchen . When you are choosing a stool you need to consider who will be sitting on it. If you have young kids who love to smother their pancakes with Nutella, you should probably avoid fabric upholstered stools :) 

For a modern hip stool that is functional, easy to clean and comes in fun colors (you have ten to choose from!) check out the Nerd Bar Stool by Muuto.

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For a more luxe look, these steel, brass and leather bar stools by Gabriel Scott have an edgy, high-end feel.

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With or without back?

Backless stools are beautiful and sleek but can be less comfortable for young children and in instances where you will be spending a long time at the counter. We would recommend using a backless stool in rooms where space is limited since they can be tucked under the overhang and disappear when not in use.

The Gubi Beetle stool by the Future Perfect comes in all different configurations. It is a take on traditional Danish design with a modern twist.

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With back: 

 

 

 

 

 

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Without:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For this kitchen we chose a backless stool since there is only a small clearance between the island and the cabinets behind. When they are not in use, they are neatly tucked under.

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The most important thing to remember before you rush out to buy a stool is to make sure the height, shape and material works for your lifestyle and fit with your kitchen size and design. Good luck! 

Tips For Making a Small Space Look Bigger by Sharon Blaustein

So you finally found the home of your dreams in NYC! The location is great and the price was just right BUT the apartment is very small. So how do make your small space feel bigger?

Here are a few tips that will help you achieve just that:

Tip 1: Let there be light!

When decorating a small space, we always recommend using a light color palette. This applies to everything, from painting the walls and trims an off-white, to using light colored furniture and rugs. That will create a feeling of openness and will make the space appear bigger than it really is. We love the off whites from Benjamin Moore. They are soft whites that work well in every light. Try Calm OC-22 or White Wisp OC-54 , you can't go wrong with these subtle shades!

A white sofa and nesting coffee tables create a roomy and airy feel to the living room

A white sofa and nesting coffee tables create a roomy and airy feel to the living room

Tip 2: Use "apartment size" furniture

Make sure to use small scale furniture. You should measure the room and make sure the furniture you pick will fit comfortably in the room and will leave enough space to move around. Use a standard depth sofa rather than a deep one, for example.

Try to choose slim modern furniture rather than bulky heavy pieces. This will help keep your space to feel comfortable without being cramped. Vendors like CB2 offer a wide range of apartment size furniture.

 

Apartment size furniture and a light color palette makes add a spacious feel of this living room 

Apartment size furniture and a light color palette makes add a spacious feel of this living room 

Tip 3: Bring in oversized mirrors and art

An oversize mirror will reflect the light and create the illusion that the space is larger than it really is. Large wall art will create a visually clean look, and draw the eye around the space. Restoration Hardware has a great variety of oversize mirrors, or you can also take a look at Ballard Design .

 

Studios can present one of the biggest challenges for layouts. We maximized this Tribeca studio with brightly colored modern art and a mirror to give the space definition.

Studios can present one of the biggest challenges for layouts. We maximized this Tribeca studio with brightly colored modern art and a mirror to give the space definition.

Tip 4: Less is more!

To maintain a clean modern look of your apartment, consider saying goodbye to all the unnecessary tchotchkes and keep things minimal. It may seem like common sense, but small spaces fill up faster, and can feel even more claustrophobic when they are bursting with clutter. Keep surfaces clear of anything that isn't absolutely necessary and make the most of any closet space you have available(New Yorkers are masters of storage solutions!)

It's all about the views in this Park Ave apartment.

It's all about the views in this Park Ave apartment.

Hope that these tips will help make your apartment feel larger than life! Want to learn more? Read about how to transform your home with wallpaper or a great rug.