Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Skirted Roundtable chats with Christina Strutt "At Home with Country"

This week at The Skirted Roundtable Megan, Joni and I chatted with Christina Strutt, founder and creative mind behind the British lifestyle firm Cabbages and Roses and author of their latest book At Home With Country: Bringing the Comforts of Country Home (Cabbages & Roses)

The book is just filled with gorgeous images of homes in England and the US and how her quietly English country textiles work in many different settings.

Have a listen!

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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Tale of two condos: why staging pays

I've done some home staging for a few clients over the last few years, but more often in my area, sellers don't see the value and don't want to spend the money. And, honestly, it's always a bit of a crap shoot. I did one home a few years ago and it sold during the first weekend on the market in a bidding war. But another house I worked on, which was on the market for nearly $9M, is still on the market after several years and several price reductions. There are no guarantees.

Last week, I was condo shopping with a friend and client who is looking for a small pied a terre in Boston. He has a country house on the Cape and he's looking for a small city place so he doesn't have a long daily commute to and from work at Harvard.  One of the buildings we checked out is a full service concierge type new building - lots of amenities including valet parking (which I would love!) We saw two basically identical units on different floors and with different views. The first unit we saw was empty, the second fully staged. The difference was amazing and I wanted to share just what a difference staging can make.

Condo 1 Living room - unstaged

Condo 2 Living Room - staged

Condo 1 Kitchen - unstaged

Condo 2 Kitchen - staged

Condo 1 Bathroom - unstaged

Condo 2 Bathroom - staged

Condo 1 Bedroom - unstaged

Condo 2 Bedroom - staged

For 500 sq. ft. these are nice little spaces. Now, clearly, there is little difference between the two units. And the staging is pretty basic and not at all upscale. However, the difference between the two units was like night and day.  Both my client and I have pretty good imaginations when it comes to mentally placing furniture, but even for us, just seeing it laid out made all the difference. He even said the words "I could live here".  Music to a seller and realtor's ears.

Still, staging remains a pretty uncommon thing here in New England. Sometimes Yankee frugality gets in our way.

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Friday, July 23, 2010

Keeping a weather eye

I was recently doing a photos hoot on Charles Street in Boston for an upcoming project and we were in the Period Furniture and Hardware Company where they had this fun cricket weathervane in the window. I was reminded how fun they can be. Beautiful works of art that we rarely get to see up close. My father had put up a small shed in my parents backyard many years ago and he built what we liked to refer to as "Cape Cod's most expensive cupola" because of the tools he needed to buy to build it and on top he mounted a whale weathervane. It was new when purchased and family lore has it that he peed on it to get a good patina going.  Well, there were no witnesses, but it's a funny story.

I was doing a little drive-by shooting this week in my town and came across a great collection of weathervanes. 

This next pic is a little blurry, I was driving.  Remember, I'm a professional blogger. Kids, don't drive and shoot!

I love the big weathervane on the tiny garage. Funny looking. To bad they just plopped onto of their tiny cupola.

On the other end of the spectrum,last simmer I visited The Mount in Lenox, MA. Edith Wharton's majestic home boasts quite a petite weathervane.

I shot this pic of Chenonceau castle in France several years ago. It boasts two identical flag weathervanes.

Here's a roundup of some pretty fantastic weathervanes around the world:

Old Father Time weather vane atop the Lords Cricket Ground in London

Flying Fish at the Billingsgate Fishmarket, London, dates to the 1870's

The Dragon weathervane atop Mary LeBow is the oldest weathervane in London, dating from 1679

Sailing Ship weathevane atop the Tower of London

Dove of Peace weathervane atop Mt. Vernon

A fabulous weathervane atop a tv station somewhere, via here

A view of Boston engraved in 1770 by Paul Revere. It is just to the left of the New Brick Church (rooster weather vane) and a few blocks south of Christ Church (Old North), the town's tallest building.

Weathervanes have been around since at least 48 b.c. (the oldest documented weathervane which was in Greece) and so antiques and vintage pieces are pretty easy to come by.

Antique Gabriel weathervane at 1st Dibs

20th Century Horse and Rider weathervane at 1st Dibs

Vintage Farmer and Pig weathervane at 1st Dibs

Antique French  weathervane (or sign) at Village Antiques

And, of course, there are many new weathervanes of all shapes and sizes on the market:

Mermaid weathervane at Lakeside Ornamental

Easy Rider weathervane at Swen

Copper Sailboat weathervane at Target

What's your favorite weathervane style? For me, it's always about the mermaids!

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