Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Roger's Winter Project

Lately Roger has used most of his spare time to work on the large project of refinishing all the natural wood in our house, including doors and casings, windows and casings, fireplace mantles, stairs, baseboards, cabinets, etc. The house is only ten years old and very well-built, but as happens so often, the finishing work wasn't done properly. We found many areas that had stain, but no varnish, and drips, sags and missed sections in other places. The beautiful wood didn't look nearly as good as it could, so Roger decided to refinish it, all of it...

My contribution has been to keep him well supplied with soup and encouragement, and to make sure our three cats aren't being too helpful. Because of the cold weather, Roger can't do anything that has to be opened, like the exterior doors and the window sills, but what he's finished so far looks wonderful.

I often consult with people who are coping with poor quality finishing work in their home. The most common problems are boring or clashing colors, accenting the wrong things or failing to accent the right ones, little or no cosmetic preparation and improper application of materials. Often the work is so bad that even the nicest houses look a little shabby and poorly constructed. That's bad for property values and makes living there much less enjoyable.

I know how lucky I am that Roger is so skilled, and that he wants to take on the job of making our home look its best. Although he can only work on the project sporadically as our business and the weather allow, he's made a great start. I owe him a batch of cookies.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Our New Course at BRCC

Today my Smart Selling co-writer Mary Stephens and I signed up to teach a three week course for home sellers at the Flat Rock Campus of Blue Ridge Community College next March, "Why Your House Isn't Selling and What You Can Do".

Each class is an hour and a half, and you can choose the Tuesday afternoon section that runs from 2-3:30 pm beginning March 2, 2010, or the section on Thursday evening from 7-8:30pm that begins March 4, 2010.

Details to follow...

Thursday, November 5, 2009

We're thinking about doing a painted finish on the backsplash in our kitchen, a faux subway tile. Using automotive masking tape to create a 1/4 inch grout line, Roger carefully created a sample board of tiles that are 3x5 inches, so I could test paint colors and texture. I worked with five colors of Modern Masters metallic paints, including teal, copper, green, pale gold and taupe, and applied them in a random strie so that every tile is different. After they dried, I overglazed half the sample board with taupe, wanting to keep the overall effect very subtle. I like the results, but I'm not sold on the color of the overglaze, so the project has stalled while I decide what to try next.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Yesterday I walked through our garden to visit the Japanese maples. Most of the leaves are gone, brown or the colors are muted, but there were a few that were beautiful. I gathered some of the best and brought them inside to flatten in a phonebook over night. Just now I peeked at them: Maiku Jaku, Koto No Ito, Waterfall, Red Select, Villa Tarranto, Orangeola, Osakazuki and more. The colors of the leaves, their beautiful and very different shapes always amaze and delight me.

We lost nearly twenty maples in a late Spring freeze a couple of years ago. Last Spring a freeze caused the branches on the Maiku Jaku to grow inward toward the trunk, and I'm still not sure why it happened or what to do about it. I worry about our maples as we go in to Winter. The mountain climate is much harder on them than I expected, and our efforts to protect them haven't made a difference.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Earlier this afternoon I went to a client's house to install some plants and accessories. The house is vacant, and even with new carpet and fresh paint in a spiffy color scheme, it lacked "life". Then I put a fall flower arrangement on the mantle and added plants in a few other places. Suddenly this lonesome house looked much more cheerful. Even without furniture, it looked like a home.

This house has been on the market for nearly two years, but has just now been revamped and staged. It's never too late for staging to help, but I wish the call had come sooner - for the sake of the sellers. Just think of the opportunities that were lost...