Wednesday, October 19, 2011


After working with The Esplanade House, I got an up close and personal look at what they go through for their clients.  People come in with nothing and a whole lot of problems.  The staff takes care of EVERYTHING - shelter, all home furnishings, food, clothes, not to mention, food & nutrition classes, parenting classes, group therapy, and more.  No doubt The Esplanade House is full of miracle workers.

They are very involved with the community, and vice versa, the community gives back to them.  If you'd like to help keep The Esplanade House going strong, help where you can by donating any items listed below -

  • Non-perishable Foods
  • Mops, Brooms, & Dust Pans
  • Cleaning Supplies
  • Laundry Soap
  • Toiletries
  • Toilet Paper
  • Linens
  • Pillows
  • Crib Sheets
  • Art Supplies for Child Development Center
  • Socks
  • House-hold garbage cans
  • Small Furniture
Donations can be made directly at The Esplanade House, Monday - Friday, 8-5pm.  The address is 181 East Shasta Ave, Chico, CA, 95973.  If you have any questions regarding donations, call them at (530)891-2977.

Thank you!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

WWSSW: After

Taaaaaaaaaaaa - Daaaaaaaaaaaa!!

View: Doorway
The Esplanade House is a facility that only built what they needed.  They have every square inch accounted for and is used daily.  This room in particular, is used for EVERYTHING!  Potlucks, parenting classes, staff meetings, girl scout meetings, CPR/First Aid Training, holiday parties, memorial services,  group therapy sessions, and whatever else you can think of ... a real multi-purpose room.

In the before shots, furniture was scattered all over, plus, the storage of all extra chairs where stacked in the corner.  In doing this make-over, we helped get the ACTUAL storage area organized, so we could use it for what should be in there - all those extra chairs!

Also, this project came at a great time because they were due for their annual carpet cleaning, as well as, a fresh coat of paint on the walls.  So our volunteering motivated their own "to-do list" of projects, and working together make the impact even greater!

Because of the intimate and private meetings that often happen here, our team decided to set up the room in a more "living room" layout.  Its much more of a circle than before, where everyone can see everyone.  In the before shots, the sofas were lined up against the walls.  It seems you'd have to shout in order to be heard.
The other issue that needed to be addressed is the amount of seating; this is for the events that are not so private.  We added tables behind the sofas for 3-4 extra seats each.  And if there were still more people, we added larger pillows which could easily be used as floor pillows.

Kids Corner
In the back we put together this Kids Corner.  This is a family facility, and all of us parents know that if the kids are bored, they will find something to get into.  Better they have some toys!  Here we have puzzles, books, floor pillows, cars, paper & pencils.  

Kid's Corner
AND OH MY GOODNESS Look at this tree!!  My friend Nicole painted this "Tree of Life,"  Didn't it turn out great?!  She took our inspiration picture and copied it almost identically.  If you're in NorCal and need a painter, this is the gal you call!  Contact me for more information.

Tree of Life

Tree of Life
Throughout the tree, she stamped words of hope and inspiration.  You will find words like: LOVE, TRUST, HOPE, FORGIVE, LAUGH, and PEACE.  This tree does speak words of life over everyone that enters.

View: From Kids Corner
From this angle you can see the "teaching center."  In the BEFORE shots, the projector screen and the dry erase board were on 2 different walls.  So in order for this circular seating arrangement to work, it had to be centered to 1 focus.  We added a credenza with storage baskets for the teachers to utilize, and then moved the bookcase close by for extra storage and reference.

Here's the best part -
We did not spend 1 penny!  Everyone involved volunteered their time.  We found many items just sitting in storage.  The facility has an on-site donation center and we were allowed to utilize that.  We recruited and received donations from local businesses, along with local friends & family.  Not 1 penny!!

A BIG THANK YOU to The Esplanade House for allowing us to come in!  We do hope you love this new space, and can use it for even more activities.  Congratulations on 20 years!
ANOTHER BIG THANK YOU to the team who put this together!  IAHSP NorCal Chapter ROCKS!

Thursday, September 15, 2011


Here are more BEFORE pictures of our project.  Hmmmmmm, not sure what to say about it.  Clearly, it needs help!
View: Doorway
The very first request from the Director herself was "GET RID OF THAT SOFA!"  OK, we promise!

The tree on the bulletin board is our inspiration ... hint hint.

This last picture shows the room finally emptied with freshly cleaned carpets, a new coat of paint on the walls, and the beginnings of a mural on the wall.  Hmmmmm, what could it be?  Stay tuned!

Saturday, August 27, 2011


World Wide Staging Service Week is coming up next month.  The NorCal IAHSP Chapter I belong to has decided to participate this year, and we'll be working with The Esplanade House here in Chico, CA.

The Esplanade House has been helping people get back to clean and sober living for nearly 20 years!  People from all walks of life who get caught up into drugs, lose their kids, no job, no money (or worse) sometimes just coming in with only a backpack of items.  The Esplanade House is dedicated to getting lives turned around and help create some stability.  They are miracle workers.

They have a large room that is used for everything!  Although the space we will be working with needs to remain as a multi-purpose room, the theme is directed for the group therapy sessions that happen here, and that is HEALING.  People need a safe & friendly place to open up and share deep dark wounds of life; this is where my team and I will come in.

Looking at the picture below, anyone can tell just rearranging this furniture could make it more peaceful in there.  Its  chaotic and almost hard to look at, isn't it?
This is a little different than a staging project, more of a makeover really, but we are still the right people to do it.  With our attention to the details, all the various uses of the space will still be readily available and look good doing it.  Therapy is a sensitive process, and although the "patients"don't see anything wrong now, I bet they (and you) will tell a huge difference when its all said and done.

Here is a sneak peek of a before shot:

We will need a TV area, an exercise corner, group therapy area, and keep it kid-friendly.
What would you do in here?

If you'd like to contribute, please email me for more information.  Any donation is very appreciated and will most definitely be put to good use here.
If you are outside of northern CA, check into your local IAHSP chapter and discover how you can help.

Stay tuned for more before and after pictures!

Monday, July 25, 2011

"I can do it myself"

Good news -
Yes, you CAN do most of it yourself ... but some questions to ask yourself are:
Do you have time to do it yourself among all the chaos of moving?
Do you know exactly what to do?
Are you willing to do what needs to be done?
Do you really want to do it all yourself?

I know there are a lot of you DIY-ers out there!
A good start for you would be to get Barbara Schwarz's book all about Home Staging, (She is the ASP creator after all!), in fact, she breaks it down to the detail on what you need to do.  How easy is that?!

When you have to answer NO to any of those questions, you need an ASP!!

Notice I said "most" and not all?  It's true.
An ASP is not just trained on what to do, because honestly, that is what you'd be doing if you bought Barbara's book.  Anyone can do that.
An ASP has an eye for it, with a great attention to the details, who most likely has a background in interior design and/or real estate, who KNOWS what they're looking at ... learning about something and living something out are 2 totally different things.  We ASP's live this way; its a blessing and a curse we practice everyday in our own homes!  We are the organizing type; everything has a place and a purpose.  We are creative, finding new uses for things around the house.

Moving is a crazy time.
Yard Sales.  Donations.  Boxes, Tape, Bubble Wrap.  Packing it ALL up.  Canceling Services.  Change of Address forms.  Cleaning.  Saying Goodbye to Friends and Neighbors.  Your phone WILL NOT stop ringing!  Dealing with your Agent.  Paperwork.  ... and on and on and on and on ...

Yes you CAN do it, but do you have the time, the patience, or the supplies to do it right?

In this case, the following rings true -
You only have 1 chance to make a 1st impression.
Not you of course, your home.  Make it stand out from the rest; your ASP will know what to do.

Check out, read the testimonials and look at all the before and after pictures.  What you see will surprise you and get you excited about this process!!

If you have worked with an ASP in the past, leave me a comment about your experience.  Thanks!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Attn: ERA Agents

ASP's love ERA Agents ... and sellers working with an ERA Agent.
So much so you get a DISCOUNT!!  Using ERA's Gold Star Program, you will receive 10% all staging services.

* go ahead and shout an loud WHOO HOO now *

Sadly there is no ERA Real Estate Office in my smallish Northern CA town ... but maybe that means we need one?  hint hint.

BUT JUST IN CASE there is an ERA Agent (or a seller using an ERA Agent) reading,
and JUST IN CASE you don't realize,
this is awesome news.

There are 2 ways to find an ASP near you.

Your Welcome.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Practice Stage

This Master Bedroom is nicely done in its present state; pretty color, nice furniture, and is tastefully decorated.  However to help sell your home, each space NEEDS to be depersonalized, and this is what I do as a stager.
This bedroom offers some good examples.  Here are the before pictures -

The entry to the bedroom has its own hallway (of sorts) and suddenly everything is to your right.  The entry follows the angled ceiling (yes, same house as the last post).  As you enter, eyes are watching.  Can you say creepy?

Here is a frontal shot of the eyes, which are of Michaelangleo's David.  Here is a great example of a piece that personalizes a space.  To me (stager or not) they are creepy.  Sorry Mom!
But you do have to take into consideration what the potential buyer will want to see.  Just because you love it and think its tasteful doesn't mean everyone else will.
"Buyers cannot see the way its GOING to be" Barbara Schwarz, ASPM
In other words, change it!

(ps. I insisted my parents leave the room as is and not clean up at all.  The before/after pictures are more dramatic that way.)

Another great example of how this space is personalized; family photos.
Even if you were to leave just a couple, a potential buyer will still feel like they are walking into someone else's home ... which technically they are.
However, the goal of staging is for the buyer to walk into a house and mentally move in themselves, imagining THEIR furniture, THEIR family photos, THEIR strange eye sculpture.  (Sorry Mom, had to!)  If you walk into a staged home and you feel like you're in someone else's home, you will also feel like its not really available to sell.  FEELING IS VITAL!  ASP Home Stagers create the environment to feel right.

Here is the opposing wall and you can see, its very lived in.
Clutter on the dresser, the open armoir, exercise machine on the floor ... get rid of it!

Taking pictures at night time is tricky.  I have yet to get any of them to turn out just right.
(Tips on that?  Other than not to take them at night!)
Beautiful plantation shutters leads to a back patio area.

After pictures -

MUCH better than those eyes.  MUCH.
This print of San Francisco was "borrowed" from another room in the house.  If I were to do this whole house, it turns into a Staging AND a Redesign project.  Choosing what stays and what goes is crucial.

Yay for natural lighting!  Always open them and let in the light.
Cleaned up both nightstands to just the lamps.
Made the bed and added colorful pillows, a throw, and a tray with tea for 2.

Although this picture does not show the room entirely, this is the best one that shows of the amount of space this room offers.  This is a king sized bed, with decent sized nightstands.  Also remember, the opposing wall has a large armoire and large dresser.  Its BIG.

If I were really staging this home, I'd have to strongly encourage the vinyl wall lettering be removed.  Its so darn cute and I love it, but again, everyone might not think as much of it as I do.
WHAT IF a single person was looking at this?
WHAT IF that person was recently widowed?
WHAT IF its not their style?
WHAT IF its not their native language?
All these what if's need to be considered.  If any one of these were true, this minor detail could stir up some real negative feelings and in turn, the home could experience less offers.  It is important to make sure you appeal to the majority.

Another thing I would do if I were really staging this home, is take down the shelving and replace it with wall decor of some kind.  Deep shelving is nice to have, giving a decorator a lot of options, however, without them would let your eye see more space available.  Yes the room is a good size already, but it is something to emphasize as a feature of this home.

I have stripped the shelving down to almost nothing.  If they have to stay, then all the family photos have to go, that way the amount of space they offer is highlighted.
Often times people will load it up to show off what it can hold, rather than, clearing it off to show the empty space.  Again, buyers will mentally move in with THEIR belongings.

The opposing wall is cleaned up; TV hidden, exercise machine put away, dresser is cleaned up with minimal accessories.
Another possibility if I were really staging this, is to take that armoir out altogether.  Yes the room can hold it, but try to imagine the dresser and mirror centered on that wall.  It would show off more floorspace ... and buyers love lots of space (but not all of it) to get THEIR creative juices flowing!

Another potential issue to consider is the paint color.  To me, this sage-green color is neutral enough.  Green seems to automatically bring nature indoors, which is always a good thing.  And because its a bedroom where you normally want to create a calm and a peaceful environment, I'd probably just leave it.
TECHNICALLY, all those beige/off white/tan colors are best.  It leaves such a generic, neutral palette which in turns helps with that mental move in buyers do.

What do you think?
Better?  Worse?
Tips?  Questions?