Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Staging our house and putting it on the market

It's hard to believe, but the time has finally come to put my current house on the market.  Although I am excited about the new house that we are building (due to be finished this summer) I love my current house and it feels a bit strange to start letting go of it - and putting it on the market is really the first stage of letting go.  It is the house that my husband and I purchased 14 years ago when he was about the graduate from business school, the only home my three children have known. In 1997, my husband and I saw the house on a weekend trip to Atlanta, fell in love with it, and put in an offer that same day.  The first weekend it was on the market (back in 1997), there were five offers by the end of the weekend! It was a different real estate market back then, but illustrates the appeal of the house and the floorplan.

The house was designed by the nationally known architects Spitzmiller & Norris; it was one of the early projects of the firm, which was established in 1985 (my house was built in 1988).  Visitors to my home can't believe that it is almost 23 years old, because it has such a fresh feel to it, with an open and flowing plan, rooms that are defined and beautifully proportioned, yet also flow well into one another for optimal living and entertaining spaces.  Of course, those of you who read my blog won't be surprised to learn that my husband and I are meticulous about maintenance of the home, and it has never looked better!

My house is filled with light, and looks over a 15+ acre nature preserve, giving it a great feeling of privacy despite the fact that it is on a small (no maintenance) lot.  There are so many aspects of the house I will miss, and so many things that are familiar - the lovely curve of the railing on the stairs, which I hold the same way every time I walk downstairs; the patterns of sunlight that are different at the various times of day; the amazing floorplan of the house, which worked great for us before we had children, and just as well now that we have three children; my wonderfully spacious master bedroom, which is truly a tranquil sanctuary; the screened porch, which expands the living spaces and is a great place to enjoy the outdoors; the renovated master bathroom, which has an incredible view to the back yard;  the stunning beauty of the back yard, which changes character through the seasons, and is like a nature preserve with the dozens of birds that I see every day.

To prepare for the real estate photos, and for listing the house, my realtor enlisted the help of two wonderful stagers to get things in shape - Abigail Cancelliere and Blair Anderson of RSG Interiors (to contact them, email Readysetgo@bellsouth.net).  I am a big fan of the staging shows on HGTV, so was thrilled to have the opportunity to see what kind of changes they would implement!  Privately, I thought my house was in pretty good shape from a decor perspective, and I had spent months decluttering and packing to prepare for listing the house.  However, Abigail and Blair came in and 'swirled things around' - they moved furniture, art, and paintings from one room to another, started a collection of items that I needed to pack away in order to give the spaces breathing room, and with some easy updates, completely reinvigorated the look and feel of the house.  I am a firm believer in the art of staging, and highly recommend it to anyone who is thinking about listing their home!

Here is a case study in staging.  This little table was in my family room, but was never really at ease there.  Abigail and Blair moved it up to the upstairs hall (which was empty), leaned one of my architectural renderings against the wall (carried in the Quatrefoil Design store), added a view items found around the house, and voila!  I wish I had done this years ago. Source: my images.

I bought a few items to freshen up the rooms, but not many.  For staging projects. Abigail and Blair like to work first and foremost with the items that the client already owns, so we looked around my home and attic for items that would work for our purposes.  There were a few easy things that Abigail and Blair asked me to update - for example, my kitchen chandelier shades.  I had some cute shades from Pierre Deux (left) that were cheerful and green - my favorite color - but Abigail and Blair recommended that I change them out for neutral shades that have a more modern shape.   A small change, but it has a big impact in the room. (Source: my images)

Here are a few of the real estate photos; I think they came out so well, and they really capture the fresh and light feel of the home.

The front hall remained the same.  I think this picture beautifully reflects the light and airy feel of the house - it gets really beautiful light all day long. Real estate photo.

The books that I had on my dining room buffet were cleared, in order to make the space less cluttered. I also tend to use my dining room as my office, so I cleared out all of the paperwork and put it away. Real estate photo.

The living room was fluffed a bit - mainly some of the knick-knacks were removed, and the mantel was cleared of the candlesticks and accessories that were previously there. This room gets a lot of use because of the piano, so the kids are trying to keep their piano books neat and tidy.  Real estate photo.

I love this view from the family room to the living room - it is one of my favorite views in the house.  It also shows how well the rooms relate to one another. We truly use every room of our house, which is a wonderful thing about our floor plan. Real estate photo.

I really enjoy my master bedroom - it is such has such a peaceful place to retreat at the end of a long day.  Abigail and Blair didn't need to do too much in this room - and they loved the Amanda Talley painting above the fireplace! Real estate photo.

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  1. Holly.....you described the house so well that when I finally got down to the pictures, I felt like I knew it already:) It is beautiful, light, airy calm and serene feeling....nothing like a sunlit house..adds so much "happy" to a space. Your bedroom reminds me so much of my own, very light and airy and a true "calgon take me away" sanctuary! Like you, saying goodbye to a house that had been so good to us for 8 years and that was the vessel of so many amazing memories was bittersweet, moving onto something even better but letting go of something that was might good. I wish you luck in this turbulent market...a well preserved home such as yours stands the best chance of all to go fast...and it probably will. Good luck and take lots of pictures...thats the only thing I wish I had done a little more of....taken even more pictures....they are all you have at the end of the day. Hope you can try and enjoy the process:-) It is an exciting time......

  2. Love the little changes they suggested. Your home is so beautiful, I'm sure it'll be snatched up quickly even in today's crummy market. As quickly as I'm sure your home will sell, will you be renting while your new home is being finished? It would be fun to see how you make a transitory space feel like home.

  3. I love the way you talk about your house Holly, at once down to earth and full of affection.
    I now have a new thing on the very top of my wish list - professional stagers! Do you think they'd consider reorganising my whole life?! - anything for that poised, calm and elegant feel that shines through your pictures!!

  4. Your house looks stunning! Seeing these beautiful pictures makes me want to hire a stager to give my house a fresh look.

  5. It is beautiful, Holly! I understand your heartache - change can be difficult but you will love your new home! Good luck with the realtors, today.

  6. Your home is stunning and i have no doubt that it will be sold in a heartbeat!

  7. Holly, Every single room is beautiful! We are in the process of selling our home also. It can be trying in this market but I wish you the best of luck.

  8. Holly,
    This was such a fun tour and I totally enjoyed it. I think staging is such a valuable tool and most people can not do it effectively on their own.

    The house is beautiful and the light is amazing!!! I imagine it will be hard to leave. I feel the same way about our home, but it doesn't mean I don't dream about other possibilities.

    Your next home will provide you with more cherished memories in an even more beautiful setting...one that you poured your heart and soul into and personally helped create.

  9. everything looks beautiful! good luck!!!!!!!!!!! :)

  10. Your home looks beautiful, Holly. I was hoping to catch a glimpse of the outside. I moved out of Atlanta in 1997... loved the architecture of so many of the homes there. Best of luck for a smooth, speedy sale!

  11. Oh my gosh... If I had the money, I would buy your house. I live in ATL! It is gorgeous! I am completely convinced that it will sell fast! Good luck!

  12. SOLD!!!!! :-)

    I'm in love with your house... does it come furnished? :-) Wow... you did an amazing job in every room.

    It will sell fast. I hope you're ready for that. :-)

    Have a great day, Holly!


    Luciane at HomeBunch.com

  13. Oh the thought of getting my house ready to be on the market is dizzying. We're not at that point yet, but may be in the near future! I love how calm and serene your house looks...just beautiful!
    Good luck!

  14. Holly, best wishes for a quick sale and an exciting move into your new home! - T

  15. What a beautiful home. Love how the light hits every room. So peaceful and serene and happy. Sure you'll sell it in a flash!! Good Luck!!

  16. Holly, What a beautiful home. It will sell to someone who falls in love with it as you did. Best wishes on your new adventure. I am sure your new home will be stunning!

    P.S. Wow. Could I use some help with staging!! I am the queen of collections and stuff!You have inspired me. We have just put our house back on the market. Keeping fingers crossed for both of us!

  17. Fanstatic Ms. TTI. Stagers are so unsentimental. I enjoy how our stager friend will allow no hall nor stair to go bare.

  18. Absolutely stunning! What a beautiful home. I would be sad to leave too. :)

  19. Such a beautiful home. I know it won't be on the market long. I love all of the light.

  20. Your beautiful home touched my soul. I'm in the process of putting my 17 year old home on the market, a home where I've nurtured every nook and cranny, a place I've grown to love. The best to you!

  21. I would certainly buy your house if I lived in Atlanta! No doubt it will sell right away. You have staged it beautifully. It is such a gorgeous house, you will probably miss it. Always hard to let go.

  22. Holly, I saw your listing and these photos last week and commented then that this lovely home will sell quickly. It is obvious that you have cared for it and that always makes an impact on a potential buyer. I love your soft colors. The house is very soothing indeed. Keep us posted on the sale.

  23. Holly, your home will sell quickly I am sure. I know the market is different right now, but you have a jewel and anyone would be lucky to own it. Your home is amazing!!! Kathysue

  24. That home looks like a dream home!!! I imagine someday owning a light-filled, airy, high beautiful ceilings, quaint home. I have my decor tucked into the reccesses of my heart, and now I am waiting for my home to find me! Until then, I rent my sweet little cottage home.

    Much luck on the sale, I can't imagine people resisting the opportunity to call it theirs!

  25. Beautiful!
    Good luck with the caravan. They are always fun.
    I'm off now to vote for you!!

  26. I'm a relatively new blogger and this is the first time I've seen your home. I must say, it's stunning! My jaw is hanging open. The stagers did a wonderful job but I'm sure your home was a dream for them, too. Good luck!

  27. Looks great Holly - I'll bet you sell very quickly. My favorite view is the same as yours - from the family room into the living room. I know it will be hard to leave but you will be moving into such a stunning space!

  28. Holly I adore your home, it did not need much staging..it makes a difference though...

    It will sell quickly which I know will be a mixed blessing for you.

    Your new home is a dream come true though!

    Art by Karena

  29. You've done a fantastic job staging! Good thinking on really depersonalizing the space... it truly looks like any buyer could feel at home there.

  30. unbelievably beautiful!! wish i was moving to atlanta so i could buy it :)

  31. Hi Holly...I am your latest Follower:) I love your blog it is inspiring since I recently started my own blog!
    Your home looks unbelievable, whoever get's to buy that is a very lucky person.
    if you have any interest in natural stone pls check out my blog:)

  32. Wow, your home is truly beautiful! It looks so calming, serene, and crisp yet still homey. The home looks so new, thanks no doubt to the excelent hands it has been in for the past 14 years. Good luck selling the home in this market, though judging by the beautiful images it shouldn't be too difficult.
    Best wishes on creating many fond memories in your (soon to be) new home,

  33. Your home is amazing, I'd buy it in a heartbeat if I could! The rooms really does flow perfectly, and I love the staging work. Good luck Holly!

    xo Linda

  34. Good luck on your new venture, I'm sure you won't have a problem selling your home though, it's beautiful!

  35. Love it - so bright and fresh. I always thought it looked amazing from the photos you showed me, but now even more polished! It is hard to move away from a home that has met our needs to well. I hope you don't look back unless it is with fond memories and that the new house brings you everything you dreamed.

    Love that architectural print in the staged shot of the table...I may have to go shopping at TTI store..

    xo Terri

  36. I sold my first house awhile ago and it wasnt even as GORGEOUS as yours. The pictures will help a lot...and the staging is perfection. :))) good luck!!

  37. Your home is beautiful and I can't imagine it need much staging at all. I'm sure it will sell quickly.

  38. every room is beautiful! all my best for a quick sale!

  39. lovely, holly. can't wait to see the new house, if the old one looks this great.

  40. what a wonderful post!

    I love your blog always......and I find you selling your house fascinating. It is especially fascinating to me.....and English Lit major. "House" and"home" mean different things to me. We live in a "house" We go "home' Most of the time in your post.......you refer to your "house"; (feels right to me....)
    a couple of times you call it "the home" and I wonder why.

    I keep bringing this up in the blogosphere....... ; and anonymous blog followers get really mad at me....I wonder why?

    I say we live in a "house" and we come "home".
    Calling a house a home......is a different thing. It sounds like "real estate speak." which I think has become a different language entirely.

    "Real estate speak" has overtaken the language. It bothers me. I read that kitchens "boast Viking stoves"....HUH? Kitchens boast?

    It makes sense to me when you describe your house as your house.......

    And it looks charming and lovely!


  41. Such a gorgeous home Holly...I'm sure it will sell very quickly! Good luck! Tracey xx

  42. What a beautiful light filled home it looks perfect...I love the entry. Good Luck!

  43. Your home is so beautiful - I can't even imagine leaving it! We've sold 7 homes and I know how you feel about detaching yourself from it. Once you list, it really becomes less of your own home. Despite the market, it will be snapped up! :)

  44. I love this interiors!! simple and attractive!

    visit www.designgallerist.com

  45. So beautiful! I'm sure it will sell very quickly.

  46. Holly, your current home is absolutely gorgeous. I know it will fly off the market and bidding wars will ensue!

    Always love to see how others live...giving me ideas of how to arrange things. Thank you for the peek inside.

    Pack up all those memories....you'll be taking them with you!!
    xoxo Elizabeth

  47. Your home is absolutely beautiful.

    I'm sure your new home will be equally as lovely and you will have many new memories to create there.

  48. What a beautiful home..this must be so bittersweet. At least you will always have these lovely images and all the memories...I just can not wait to see the next home. THE home!:)

  49. Holly,
    Not surprisingly, your home is beautiful. I'm sure the stagers' job was easy this time!

  50. Apricot drapes in the dining room! Who Knew?
    Love your home, and so will someone else.
    Best of luck.
    xo xo

  51. INCREDIBLE! Your house is going to fly off the market!

    Any chance you would mind telling us the paint colors in each room? Your choices are perfection!!

    Good luck with everything!

  52. It looks wonderful, Holly. Hoping you sell it quickly!!

  53. your home looks lovely! I'm sure it will sell in no time...

    this quote gave me much comfort when selling our Dallas home...

    You have to churn somewhat when the roof covering your head is at stake, since to sell is to walk away from a cluster of memories and to buy is to choose where the future will take place.
    -Under the Tuscan Sun-

    wishing you a wonderful and easy sell!

  54. I can't believe this, but my husband and I looked at your home. It was absolutely beautiful! Unfortunately, it was too far away from my husband's office (west of Douglasville). As we were going through your home, I not only commented on your home, but your great furniture and accessories. I really love the chest you had in the entry. Beautiful!

    I am definitely going to follow your blog! I just started my own blog (it is still a big work in progress ; itjustneedspaint.wordpress.com), but you can follow our project of taking a 1970s traditional, completely renovating it, and turning it into something as beautiful as your last home (fingers crossed). :)


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