Archive for July, 2009

Re-Energize Outdoor Living Spaces

Summer time is here and outdoor living spaces are a big part of enjoying family and friends. Often times when homeowners are selling there home they focus on the interior only, but don’t forget the outdoors sell homes too.

Any yard or patio can be spruced up with a few planters, outdoor area rugs, wall art and small quaint seating arrangement. Check these items out from Grandineroad and Home Decorators for ideas call the Shaping Spaces Group, we’ll be happy to help.


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For an instant makeover add a throw pillow or two. A unique pillow could be your bold splash of color, and texture to liven up an otherwise basic sofa, bed or chair, both indoors and out. Don’t be afraid to mix and match sizes, patterns and textures as long as they complement the overall color theme of the space and they make you feel good about the design.

 sofa no pillow  Boring before pillows

 sofa with pillows  Brought to life with pillows

 – A few large pillows look cleaner than a jumble of smaller ones.

– Mix and match and layer patterns and sizes to give depth to the design as long as they have a common color

 bed pillows  

 Living Room

dwnstr bdrm

 – Spruce up simple chairs, these pillows tie into the art work above the chairs.

 chair pillows

Anything goes when it comes to selecting fabrics. You can buy beautiful decorative pillows in a myriad of stores and boutiques like Kirkland’s or get creative and make your own. If your handy with a sewing machine try visiting your local upholstery house and ask for scrap fabrics, they will usually sell it for pennies if not give it to you to make your own or recover your old ones.

Live Green – Design Well

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10 Tips On Making Your Home More Eco Friendly

(from better Homes and Gardens: Real Estate)

Tip #1 – Turn off the lights when not needed, even as you go from room to room in the course of your day (or evening)
According to ENERGY STAR, as much as 20 percent of a home’s energy use comes from light bulbs. Using a compact fluorescent light bulb (CFL) requires about 75 percent less energy than incandescent, but lights that are turned off save the most energy of all.

Tip #2 – Wash clothes in cold water (and honestly, the new cold-water detergents do the job just fine)
According to the US Department of Energy, a washing machine uses up to 90 percent of its energy to simply heat the water in a laundry load, and the higher the temperature, the greater the cost to you and the environment. Keeping your cool will save energy and make your clothes last longer, by using cold water.
Tip #3 – Clean the lint filter in your gas or electric clothes dryer, to realize big savings.
Tests have shown that keeping the lint trap clean may provide savings of up to $34 in energy costs each year (ENERGY STAR).
Tip #4 – Better yet, use a clothesline or clothes ‘tree’ and keep the dryer shut off.
An outdoor clothesline costs only a few dollars. You might also want to consider buying an indoor drying rack, so you can keep up your energy efficient ways even when it’s raining.
Tip #5 – Some local utilities now have low-impact hydro-electric windmills and solar farms contributing ‘green energy’ to their grid.
Find out if your local utility has such a program and ask if they give a discount for purchasing power from these ‘green’ generators. Tied with this is doing your laundry and other energy-intensive activity in mid-day or late evening, when demands on the grid are less.
Tip #6 – Isolate your fridge, for its own good
If your fridge is beside a vent, stove or dishwasher (which give off a lot of heat) your fridge will have to work hard and use more energy to keep its cool. If possible, keep the fridge isolated and reap the financial rewards.
Tip #7 – Forgo cleaning products for plain old hot water and white vinegar – the ultimate green living product. If you need something more powerful, most department stores now carry lines of easily identifiable environmentally friendly cleaning products that are less toxic and come in recyclable packaging.
Tip #8 – Make the green grass of home a hardy perennial
Perennial ryegrass and drought-tolerant fescue are grass types that need less watering and chemical care. Use a healthy layer of mulch to reduce weed growth, retain moisture in the soil and keep roots cool, which again lessens the strain on the community’s water supplies. And don’t mind the beneficial bugs, birds, frogs and toads that might make your backyard their home as a result.
Tip #9 – Buy biodegradable pots for your home and garden
Buying plants already potted in bridgeable materials, like bamboo, coconut, rice or wheat fiber, rather than plastic, will eliminate another step in the recycling process.
Tip #10 – Whether it’s bedding, furniture, flooring or wall and window coverings, shop green and leave the plastics behind.
Draperies, window blinds, and shades are all now available in natural fibers such as cotton, hemp, linen, wood, reeds, silk or bamboo. Upholstered furniture containing silk, wool, latex or natural rubber are emerging, as are sofas and chairs stuffed with a foam product made from soybeans. In this manner, we can eliminate the need for petroleum-based foam stuffing in our houses, saving thousands of barrels of crude oil in the process.
Additionally, ask for ‘reclaimed wood’ in new flooring or furniture. Reclaimed and recycled wood from salvaged timbers found in old barns, homes, bridges and even sunk at the bottom of our creeks and rivers can also be used to reduce chemically-treated wood for floors, furniture and construction supports.





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2009 is all bout embracing earth-inspired tones and elements. “Lots of colors are personally pleasing, like jeweled tones and dark chocolate brown walls,” but these strong colors might not be for everyone, It can be a real barrier to sales.Repaint the dark and dramatic walls in neutrals, muted earth tones, sandy taupes, grassy and yellow greens, light aqua is even hot this year…. A small kitchen can benefit from soft tones to make it feel larger, then use the bold colors as your accents to spark excitement.It’s all about capturing the buyers eye, and right now people are on edge and needing to feel more grounded, be more resourceful and Eco friendly. The new earth tones inspire that relaxed zen feeling.Check out Sherwin Willimas new color palettes for 2009 Lifestyle collection…
Remember chose paints that contains less solvents and zero-VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) so what is emitted into the air is more environmentally friendly

Happy Staging & Design
The Shaping Spaces Group


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If you’re anything like me you love a fresh, clean smelling home or office. I was shocked to learn the candles I was using to freshen my home and the homes I Staged with relaxing aromas were actually doing more harm to me and the environment. I was glad to learn that soy candles smelled even better and were Eco-Friendly. The Shaping Spaces Group always uses soy candles for their Staging now. http://www.theshapingspacesgroup.com/
A few reason to use Soy wax instead of Paraffin wax.
– Paraffin wax is a by product of petroleum (not good)
– Soy was is made using a renewable resource andlast up to 50-% longer (good)
– Paraffin was can cause a residue on walls and furniture called “ghosting” (not good)
– Soy was is Earth friendly (good)
a favorite of environmentally conscious people because it is not made from petroleum, like paraffin candles. Burning of soy candles does not increase the CO2 level in the atmosphere.
– Soy wax also cleans up with soap and water (as we all not regular candle wax does not)
SOI Candles are hand-poured using 100%, FDA approved, kosher soy oil and burn cleaner than paraffin-based candles. Available in a variety of sizes, our candles burn about 140 hours (about 40% longer than wax candles), are soot-free and do not emit any harmful toxins (like Benzene) into your home. Unlike wax, soy oil burns coolly at 106º into a reflective pool of soy that always remains warm to the touch and will not burn little hands.
Because SOI Candles are created from natural soy, the melt pool can also be used as a skin moisturizer that can be massaged into any dry or irritated areas. It can also be applied as a soothing remedy to sunburned skin, eczema, psoriasis, and poison oak!
SOI Candles are triple-fragranced with a variety of delightful aromas to match the décor and accentuate the feel of your home. Never overpowering, one SOI Candle can scent a 2500 square foot area.
Contact your local Los Angeles Eco-Consultant to learn more simple ways you can live a “Greener” life at home and the office. http://www.greenirene.com/griffinla Not sure what products are out there check out http://www.greenirene.com/1333

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Elements of a Well Staged Home


There are 4 elements that give any room a sense of style. Sometimes it seems as if what constitutes good design is purely subjective, but there are core principles of all good interior design and Home Staging that are timeless.

As a Home Stager I keep 4 basic design principles in mind when designing or re-designing a sellers space to optimize the homes potential and help buyers see a rooms potential.

1st every room must have Balance. Balance means using furniture and other objects to make each part of an arrangement roughly equal in visual weight so that one area complements the other. Balance can be symmetrical or asymmetrical.

2nd there needs to be Harmony. Harmony in a room occurs when all parts of a room combine to create a pleasing whole from the furniture, accessories and wall color. One way to achieve harmony is through repetition in color, texture or shape. Example: a red chair might be echoed by red in the draperies or red sofa pillows. Repetition does not necessarily mean duplication and repetition does not have to happen in every part of the room, then that can become boring or predictable.

3rd is Emphasis. Every well dressed room needs a focal point – a fireplace, a view or a powerful painting. A large space may need or have several points of emphasis. Without a focal point, there’s no place for the eye to rest and the interior seems uninteresting. In home staging no focal point or emphasis can also mean to connection to the buyer.

4th the Functionality of a space. “form follows function” should be the golden rule. A room where kids will play and families will gather needs durable fabrics, open layout with areas for conversation. As we tell our home sellers (everything in a given space should be appropriate to and support that experience of what will take place there) If it does not work remove it so there is no confusion as to the function of the space.


The Shaping Spaces Group

Home Staging-Design-Eco Consulting (323) 864.5433

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5 Simple things you can do to spruce up your home before putting it on the market. Potential Buyers will notice and want to buy.

Buyers don’t care if it’s a Rental, Foreclosure or Short Sale. Buyers want to see a well maintained home. There is too much inventory to leave room for negotiations. A little elbow grease means more $$ to all involved.

1. Remove odors caused by pets, smoking, baby diapers, etc….

2. Depersonalize, remember the goal it to sell! Let the buyer imagine their family in the home, not focus on your families stuff.

3. Neutralize paint colors, make them representative of the neighborhood (example: bold colors for historical homes, neutral tones for conservative buyers) Leave the color splashes to accessories
4. Spruce up bathrooms and kitchens with new cabinet hardware, remove all counter clutter. (remember, these rooms sell homes)
5. Show ample space in closets and rooms. If you have custom closets show them off. Remove all clutter even color coordinate, impress your buyer.

Don’t forget about Curb appeal. In order to get buyers inside they have to like the outside. Remove dust and dirt from around front door, add new plants up walkway or maybe planted urns besides the front door. People Buy with Emotion: Make That Connection!
Selling is an overwhelming process, The Shaping Spaces Group can make this an easy transition by alleviating the home preparation process. Consultations and Turn Key services available.
The Shaping Spaces Group
Home Staging-Design-Eco Consulting
(323) 864.5433

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