Posts Tagged ‘ask kate’

Reader Design Dilemma: Paint the Hutch?

Monday, May 21st, 2012

I get a lot of emails asking for quick tips or advice on DIY projects or design dilemmas and when I get a chance, I like to answer some of them here instead of with an email reply.  This latest one is from CC, and she writes,

Dear Kate,

“I have a 1960’s Thomasville china hutch that originally belonged to my grandparents.  I will never part with it for sentimental reasons. It is solid pecan wood and in great shape.  With that said, I would love to paint it but I feel horrible guilt, crazy, I know!  I am a grown woman with children of my own and yet I still worry about my mother’s opinion.  Please share with me your thoughts on what to do with my hutch.

Thank you, CC”

 

ccs hutch

 

CC also shared a picture of the room where the hutch sits, and she’s converting her formal dining room into a sitting room for reading and visiting with friends.  The space is 10 ½’ wide (shown) x 13 ½’ long and she will be adding some additional seating. 

cc living room

 

Answer:  Hi CC!  First let me say what a nice solid piece that is, lucky for you!  My first piece of advice is to remove the spindles on the side doors which make the piece feel dated.  Consider replacing the spindles with a single glass pane or even removing the side doors entirely. 

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Ten Tips for Selling Your Home

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

It seems it’s “tips” week here at CG and today we’re talking about some general suggestions for selling your home.  When I say “we” I mean I’ve invited my mister to share some tips with you since he’s the guy with all the knowledge on this subject – he’s a real estate appraiser and broker (yep both!) with over 25 years experience.  I asked him to contribute some of his knowledge so he was kind enough to write up this article for you today.

And after three years, it’s time I stop referring to him as just “mister” so allow me to introduce my husband to you by his actual name – it’s Matthew, or Matt as most people call him.  There I feel much better now that you finally know his name too!  Matt’s taking the helm here to share his ten best suggestions for selling your home quickly and achieving top dollar at the same time.  Here he is:

“Kate asked me to share some of my suggestions for maximizing the value of your home when you decide to put it on the market (and she’s going to add some pictures to illustrate too.)  First know that these recommendations depend on a variety of factors such as price range, time of year, region, and location, and this list is by no means all inclusive.

For first timers, the process of selling a home can be stressful, but there are a few things you can do to reduce the anxiety of the sale and secure the best sales price too. Most people buy the home they feel the most emotionally connected with – the one they can envision living in. Your goal as the seller is to give that feeling to the best of your ability to any potential buyer that comes through your door.

Ten Tips for Selling Your Home

1. First Impressions Matter.  The exterior of your home gives potential buyers the first impression and you want it to be looking its very best.  Start by power washing your home to get rid of any cobwebs, dirt, or grime. Rid your driveway of any oil stains and move any old cars off the property. Focus attention on an attractive and inviting entry with a new welcome mat, potted plants, and flowers. If your front porch light is old and/or broken spend $30 and give it a facelift with a new fixture. Spruce up the landscaping, mow the grass, prune the trees and shrubs, and replace or replant where needed.

inviting front entry

2. Inspect the Exterior and Make Obvious Repairs.  Repair any peeling exterior paint or damaged siding, especially in the front of the home.  Make sure the front door hinges and hardware work perfectly, and the doorbell too since one of the worst first impressions is a non-working doorbell.  If for some reason you can’t get it to work, place a note over the doorbell that reads “Please Knock”.  Sliders and doors all need to be oiled and working smoothly including the sliding screen doors too.  You want that smooth transition from room to room and from indoor to outdoor living.

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Ten Basics for Better Home Photography

Thursday, December 8th, 2011

I’ve had a few emails recently requesting I write up a post offering tips for taking better pictures of interiors. I really don’t consider myself an expert by any means in the field, but I have learned over the years how to take a pretty good picture of a DIY project, vignette, or room reveal.    

I wrote an article last year about better blog images, and it was mostly about moving out of automatic settings and into manual mode. It’s a good read, and today’s post really piggybacks off what I wrote last year.  

As decorators and home bloggers, we are constantly surrounded by gorgeous interiors, whether it comes from shelter magazines, other blogs, or the newest sensation, Pinterest.  The bar continues to be set higher when it comes to photographing our projects and our homes. Don’t be discouraged by this, feel the opposite. Any novice can improve his or her ability to take great images of homes, projects, or spaces with patience and practice.  I know. I’m proof.  

I look back at my pictures from a few years ago and I cringe.  Just take a look at this and you’ll see what I mean. Back then I knew nothing about photography beyond the simple point and shoot. But I realized that I had to better my ability to take decent  pictures if I was going to grow as a blogger and have my work recognized and featured. I’ve been blogging for almost three years and along the way I’ve taught myself a few of the basics of better photography.     

So to answer the questions of a few readers, I’ve narrowed what I’ve learned to these ten very basic tips for taking better images of your interiors or projects.   

 ten basics for better home photography

 

1. Invest in a Good Camera

I’ve read a few posts here and there from bloggers who use a regular point-and-shoot camera, and yes, I do believe a more basic model has the ability to take a really good picture.  So does my iPhone.  However, a good SLR digital camera with variable settings (F-stop, shutter speed, ISO sensitivity, white balance, etc.) is the best ticket to high quality interior photography simply because it allows the user to manipulate the amount of light that enters the lens.  And if one thing is true, a great interior shot is all about proper light.     

Both Nikon and Canon offer excellent choices, personally I use a Nikon D90 and I stick mostly with two lenses, my 18-55 mm lens (the standard one that came with the camera) for close ups and a Tamron 10-24 mm lens for larger room shots.  A great camera will do most of the work for you, so I consider it a worthy investment. 

 

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