As I wrap up my design topic 'Vintage' for the month of May, I wanted to share my top tips for buying vintage furniture because let's face it, it can be a bit overwhelming because you don’t know which pieces to buy and which to avoid.
1. Avoid Pieces That Are Unstable
This seems like a given. If the piece has been exposed to water and/or extreme temperatures. These conditions cause wood to swell and shrink as well as loosening glue in joints and destroying paints and finishes. These pieces will not be functional again without a lot of repair.
2. Make Sure The Piece Fits In Your Space
If you are like me it is easy to get distracted by the beauty in a piece of furniture, but that doesn't mean it is going to be the right piece for your space. Prepare before shopping by making a list and taking measurements (height, width and depth) of the space you’re hoping to fill.
3. Avoid Pieces That Are Stained, Stinky, and Potentially Infested
As a matter of fact, burn them. Okay, obviously I'm not promoting arson here, but always give a piece of furniture the “sniff test”. Mustiness can be aired out, but strong pet or smoke odors are next to impossible to remove from all the layers of foam and batting.
4. Timeless Pieces Are Always A Win
The best thing about buying vintage or antique furniture is the timeless quality they give your space. If the style of a piece looked good 50 or 100 years ago and it still looks good today, it’s a purchase that’s likely to look good in another 50 to 100 years.
5. Just Because It's Cheap, Doesn't Mean You Should Buy It
When making a buying decision, take the price out of the equation. Even if it’s $5, would you pay more for it? Do you love it that much? Do you have the perfect spot for it? If the answer to those questions is yes, go for it! If you wouldn’t pay good money for it, it’s not worth buying.
These tips are based on years of experience shopping for, fixing up, and reselling antique and vintage furniture. I made all of the mistakes, so you won’t have to.
Never in a million years would I have thought I would ever be staging homes during a pandemic. But here I am, almost three months into it. I can tell you it has been a very interesting three months, and houses are still selling in our thriving City.
This week's blog post addresses this crazy topic, and is courtesy of guest blog writer Shirley Martin, with Tidy Life Today.
The coronavirus pandemic has put home sellers in a tough spot. How can you show your home off to potential buyers if you’re supposed to practice social distancing? With open houses and in-person showings off the table, you will have to get a little creative. Fortunately, the real estate market has adopted certain tech tools that enable sellers and buyers to complete a home sale with minimal contact. Keep reading to learn more about navigating this new and unfamiliar home-selling process!
Prep Your Home for the Market
Although buyers may not be touring your home in person, they will still want to see pictures and videos of your space. To get your home ready, TurnKeyHomeLoan recommends giving it a good top-to-bottom deep clean and tackling some major decluttering. Clutter will make your rooms appear cramped, unclean, and uninviting, especially in your real estate photos. You don’t want anything to distract your buyers from seeing your home’s best features!
Once your home is sparkling clean, consider making a few impactful upgrades to really hook those buyers. If you want to keep it simple, a fresh coat of paint will have a huge effect on the overall feel of your home—go with a neutral shade to please everyone. You could also touch up the exterior paint, especially if it’s peeling, cracking, or otherwise looking unkempt. When you’re finally happy with the state of your home, stage some elegant vignettes around your home to help your potential buyers imagine living in your space. For best results, try to incorporate the color blue. Blue works great with many different color schemes and stands out in photos, so invest in some blue accents to help your listing pop!
Skip the Open House
Even if open houses are still permitted in your area, it’s best to play it safe and skip this social gathering. Research suggests that open houses aren’t that effective anyway and tend to benefit the real estate agent more than the seller. Instead, focus on your virtual presence! Take stunning listing photos, create a 3D walkthrough, and offer video tours to interested buyers.
Showing off your home's features is even easier online because you can shoot your photos and videos from the angles that make your rooms look their best. To create the most engaging and attractive listing photos, Home Advisor recommends working with high-quality camera equipment and shooting during the day to take advantage of the natural light. When making videos walkthroughs of your home, try to follow a natural path through your home so your online viewers can get a more accurate feel for the flow and layout of your house.
Clean Every Day
One plus side of the coronavirus lockdown is that you won’t have to deal with buyers coming by to view your home on short notice. However, you will still need to keep the place clean! Your real estate agent might be giving live video-chat tours to potential buyers while your home sits on the market, and you want it to look its best every time.
Get in the habit of cleaning up after yourself as you go about your day. Pick up laundry, put dirty dishes straight into the dishwasher, and wipe down countertops when you're done cooking—these simple actions will reduce the amount of cleaning you have to do before a virtual tour. If your kids are home from school, distribute your workload by giving them some daily chores. Try to keep your storage areas clean as well. Potential buyers might ask your agent to film inside cupboards, drawers, and closets so they can check out your home’s storage solutions, so make sure these spaces look neat and organized.
Selling a home is always a stressful experience, but the coronavirus pandemic has made things much more complicated. Take steps to prepare for your sale so you can sail through the process with minimal issues. Declutter, clean, and stage your home, work with your real estate agent to create great online listings, and keep up with the daily cleaning so you’re always ready for virtual showings!
Danielle and I are got to meet up this week, for my relaunch of my Podcast 'Lifestyle By Design' not too mention one of my most favorite photographers Brett Neilsen was there to film it all...as this special Podcast has a video! So a big shout out to him for helping collaborate on this project!
With the two of us getting in person time, I started thinking about what it means to find your tribe. This woman is so much more than a friend. She is a support, encourager and empowers me. For me, she is a bad ass professional woman who has collectively seen and done it all. And when I struggle with issues in my personal or professional life, I know asking her for advice means I’m getting thoughtful and compassionate advice.
So what? Everyone has friends, right? The difference for me is that I’m not going to her for friendship (or just friendship). I go to her for criticism, for improvement and for a road map through murky professional circumstances. And she gets me. No judgement.
In case you missed my interview, you can check it out here. Here are some other questions I asked Danielle before we met up for the Podcast.
C: How would your friends and family describe what you do for a living?
D: My son thinks I'm famous, but he's only 9 sooooooo. My husband thinks I'm running a non-profit because every time he turns around I'm doing something exciting for free or giving something away! But seriously... I'm not sure. I've never asked what anybody thought about what I'm doing. That's a good question though! I might learn something about myself if I asked!
C: If I could remove all barriers and constraints what project would you do and would you want to be known only by that project?
D: Well...let's look at my barriers! The only thing that seems to hold me back is myself. I think. If I had an assistant that kept me on task and handled my media I'd be a rock star! I'm my own worst enemy in a since. So many ideas so little time! I typically have to weigh my options being booked out as far as I am. Focus on work or focus on public relations! You can always tell when I'm lacking in one or the other. I'll probably never settle on one project! Everything is too exciting! I do have a little something in the works! Something that's not related to interior design, but the cards haven't fallen right for that one just yet! I'd love to share more of my life and if I were to make an impact I'd be satisfied!
C: What are you most excited about with your work right now? What keeps you up at night
D: I sleep really well....I recently set goals for myself and met all but one so now it would appear the only thing I dream about....the next step for me would be having someone that knows me well enough to call my next move or help me make my project more public! I guess you could say creating more of a buzz excites me!
Of course she answers a lot more questions on the Podcast, so be sure to check it out!
A big thank you to Danielle for being my guest host and a big thank you to Brett Neilsen, with Brett Neilsen Photography, for the audio/video and for sponsoring my Podcast!
Would you like to be a guest host on my Podcast? Message me today! firstname.lastname@example.org For more information about Danielle and her services, visit
So you are sadly looking all around the Internet for a way to make your small space look so much more than it is. It’s not that you want to make it appear like you live like Donald Trump, you don’t. Right? It’s just that you are really trying to live within your means now and you’ve scaled down appropriately, but you can’t figure out how to make it look nice and big. Big without looking like you have just squished a Hummer into a compact space. I got ya.
Show a little leg. You know how there are some couches where you can’t see the legs? Yes, they still do have legs under there. Really. They aren’t held up by some really strong dude. All day long. Sheesh. Come on.
So, find yourself a sofa or a chair, whatever you’re in the market for, and go for the ones that don’t have those cute little skirts. Yes, you will have to make sure you keep your floors from looking like the wild west of dust bunny tumbleweeds, but you can do it. It’s called a Roomba.
See-‐thru tops. I know you like to be modest most of the time, except when you’re shaking your moneymaker. This is one of those times where I need you to get a little loose. Glass top coffee and side tables are gonna help you out. While you’re at it, order up some glass shelves for the bookcases. What? Yeah, it will cost money, but you want your place to look light and airy like some waify super model right? Well, put up or shut up.
Lighten Up. You may be the depressive type and go for dark colors to get you thru your Nirvana phase. He’s dead and you’re not. Let’s pick lighter colors. Which just so happen to be my February Freebie right now- my top neutral paint colors! Things that would remind you of pretty fantasyland with birds and nice china. Not like Alice Cooper’s your personal stylist.
Skip the Hokey Pokey. Think of patterns like a hokey pokey. Nobody likes to do that stupid dance and you don’t have the space for it. Really, they don’t like doing it, stop asking. Hokey pokey is intrusive like patterns in a small place. Put your left eye here, put your left eye there, put your left eye here and swirl it all about. Jesus! You’re gonna poke an eye out with that kind of patterned nonsense. It’s too much. We need our eyes to swirl around your room like a smooth wave of bliss.
And before I forget, since February's topic of the month is Artwork- how do you incorporate it in your small space? You don't, you burn it. Okay, I'm kidding. But really, if space is not your friend but you have some fancy smancy artwork you want to show off, a bold piece of wall decor is all you need to bring character and visual interest to a room. Remember that less is more.
March is almost here, and we will switch focus...don't miss out on my February freebie! Sign up with your email when that obnoxious box pops up on your screen again!
I always have the feeling Valentine’s Day comes so suddenly, almost not giving me the time to prepare a cool gift for my husband. However, to be fully honest, even if I started to think about the potential gift 3 months in advance, it would still be so difficult to find something! Although some guys might say they don’t want any gifts for Valentine’s Day, I still think it is nice to give them something as a ‘thank you’ for their daily support and love! A nice cologne, a classy watch, hipster socks? Yes, he will tell you he loves it, but that forced smile on his face betrays him a bit. Husband's are after all not so demanding, but it just seems very hard to find something unique every time! Then there's my kids. They of course have all the fun with their classmates from school- classroom Valentine's Day parties (that was my favorite when I was young) but my kid's are a little more demanding than my husband, and do expect a little Valentine's Day love from Mom too.
Because I have faced this problem for so long, I have started creating DIY gifts, and I absolutely love it! They are more personal and unforgettable, and you can have a lot of fun while creating them!
Here I have compiled a list of my suggestions:
Idea for couples who love food, but hate gifts, Valentine's Day Breakfast
Trust me, when guys say they are of a simple nature, they are, indeed, telling you the truth! Most of the guys love to eat, so why wouldn’t you cook something delicious in the shape of hearts or X's and O's? In this way, it won’t just be an every-day meal but will also have a nice romantic touch. If cozy breakfasts are your thing, get up a bit earlier and cook a nice breakfast in the shape of hearts! Who could resist heart-shaped pancakes with Sugar Bob's Smokey Syrup, chocolate chips, and of course champagne? Not for the kids...sparkling cider works for them.
Host A Valentines Day Movie Night
Simply choose one of the Valentine’s Day movies for kids that the whole family can enjoy together (check out my list of movie ideas below) and gather your family for a night of cuddling and watching together.
You can serve fun snacks like:
* Microwave popcorn sprinkled with Valentine’s Day candies
* Heart shaped sugar cookies
* Pink milkshakes
Give the family a "heart attack"
Make the whole month of February fun for your family by doing a “heart attack” on their bedroom door. Each day you write a little note on heart doilies telling them something you love about them, or why they are special. You can write them all yourself, or make it a family event and have everyone write a heart each day. I actually did this for my family last year, and they all saved the heart notes.
Make a Special Valentine’s Day Dinner Together
There are so many fun heart shaped foods to make and enjoy and this is always my kid’s favorite part of the day.
Here are a few of our favorite Valentine’s Day dinner ideas:
Aren’t these ideas so cute! I can’t wait to spoil my family and surprise them with these fun activities we can enjoy together.
I would love to hear from you! What are your favorite ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day as a family? Please comment below!
Author, Candance Toscano
"You can design the life of your dreams and acquire that luxurious, fulfilled and empowered lifestyle you know you have always wanted."