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The Story of Rosie, Part 2. The Living room, Dining room and Kitchen

Posted by [email protected] on December 21, 2016 at 12:15 AM Comments comments (0)


From the minute I walked into Rosie, I felt that the interior of this home could be amazing.  Yes there were potential issues to deal with, as with any abandoned home, but I knew there was nothing that we couldn't over come, even with our budget.  The living room was great.  Lots of light, lots of space.  The walls and floor were in good shape, they just needed cosmetic work.  A fresh coat of paint and sand/stain the floor.  Oh, and that God awful fire guard would have to come out!


The house had an amazing flow to it and was so much deeper than it appeared from the outside.  Yet I wanted to open up the wall between the dining room and the kitchen to give the space a more modern, open concept design.


While I do love open concept homes, I'm still a huge fan of individual rooms.  So even though I was opening up this wall, I still wanted to frame out the space between the rooms, just to give them their own unique feel.  I taped out what I envisioned the opening would look like, just to see if I would like it.


Beyond the dining room lay the kitchen, very cramped and horribly laid out.


It was also wildly outdated with these '80's style cabinets.  I remember having these cabinets in the Brooklyn apartment my wife and I moved into way back when...and they were outdated then!


I didn't think that the kitchen needed to be reinvented.  It just needed breathing room, and the appliances had to be placed in the space properly.


This stove, jammed into a dark corner, was just too depressing and symptomatic of the whole overall feel of the house.  While it was winter, the house was actually colder on the inside than it was outside.  It just felt so lifeless, so abandoned.  It had no purpose, no one to love it and no one it could give shelter to.  It was a dead house.  But it was time to change that...


First up, demo.  All the old appliances were removed and a good portion of the cabinetry was repurposed as storage in the basement laundry room.


To move the refrigerator across the room to where it needed to be, I stole the back portion of a very deep linen closet that was in the hallway outside the guest bathroom.


Taking the wall down was really transforming the space.


Once the new header was in, the place felt huge!


I decided not to build the walls back out as much as I had originally intended.


I kept a jam that would distinguish the space and also give me a natural break point for the paint.  I intended to paint the dining room and the kitchen two different colors.  I actually used 3 different paints colors for the walls, unusal in an investment house.  Most Flippers indiscriminately buy a 10 gallon drum of paint and use it in every room.  Thus missing an opportunity to give a room a little personality.  This creates a "souless" feel to the property.

While all the construction was going on, I was at work on the design finishes.  The house was a modern take on an English cottage, so I wanted a mix of old and new.  Classic touches in a modern setting. 

I choose white shaker cabinets for their timeless feel and charming character. 


The Mrs. on Q.C. duty....


Painting prep work.  I knew I wanted a lighter color in the Living Room.

But here in the dining room I knew I wanted to go dark.




Once the walls were primed and given their first coat of paint, the floors were sanded, then stained.


I love how the stain color turned out on the floors.  It also matched the paint colors really well.  In the dining room I went with Benjamin Moore's Winter Gates.  I also had my painter use the same color, only in a high gloss finish, on all the trim.  This is actually quite old fashion, but at the same time it seems very modern to me - exactly what this house called for.

The newly installed appliances are KitchenAid.

Whenever we travel my wife and I love to shop.  We especially like to visit antique stores, flea markets and our fav, ReStores.  This one is in North Carolina where my mother-in-law lives.  We happened to be down there just after we started work on Rosie and I picked up a bunch of cool tile.... just to have.


As it turned out the original tile I had picked out for the backsplash was on back order for 7 weeks!  But lucky for me I had my ReStore find sitting in my garage.

The tile worked perfectly!  The colors fit right into the paint scheme and they were a fabulous compliment to the counter top.


The counter tops are quartz with a marble look.  The veining in this piece has soft flecks of gold in it, which plays off the accents in the room.


I'm a lighting geek!  I love lights and I especially wanted to get it right in Rosie.  I love this pendant from West Elm.  It too has that perfect blend of old world feel, yet it comes off as being very modern.


Once all the work was done we staged the house for resale. 


It took a couple of tries and a couple of different paint colors, but I finally found the right look for the fireplace mantle.


A great flow made better.


Love the open concept layout.  This space is now amazing for entertaining!




One last detail, the small school house light above the sink.  I had my electrician put that light together from parts I had in my garage.  I wanted a little something traditional to play off the more modern looking lights.




Now light, bright, spacious and warm, this house is back to life and ready to welcome its new family.


The Story of Rosie, A Whole House Renovation Part 1 The Exterior

Posted by [email protected] on November 24, 2016 at 11:45 AM

This house was an abandoned bank owned property when I first came across it. And It was love at first sight! I pictured her as an English rose cottage, surrounded by rose bushes and white picket trellises.  I instantly named her Rosie.



As a Realtor, I helped my investor clients purchase the property. After I shared my vision of what the house could become, I was hired as the Designer/Project Manager and was given a limited budget and short timeline to get her fixed up and back on the market.



The front porch had been enclosed in plexiglass panels by a previous owner.  They were now old and cloudy and had to go.  The space screamed to be opened back up.


Once the front porch was liberated and the scraggly shrubs and bushes removed, the whole house was prepped for painting.



Since we were going to be relaying the stones, I thought it would be a fun detail to add the house number to the head of the walkway.


 

To me doors and doorways are a great place to make a statement.  But this front door was tired looking and very uninspiring. I knew I had to do something to make it fabulous.



I saw this amazing lion head door knocker at the Architectural Digest Show just after we started working.  I knew right away this would be perfect for the front door of Rosie.  Only hitch, this one cost $1,500.00!  Way too much considering my tight budget.



For weeks and weeks I hunted for a lion head door knocker.  It became something of an obsession I'll admit.  Then one rainy afternoon I stumbled across the Summit Antiques store.  On a lark I went in and within minutes I found this amazing piece.  Best part, it was extremely budget friendly and rumor has it that it was a big help in getting the property sold....



The trim was painted in my favorite white.  It stays soft and creamy as opposed to the white that most contractors and painters use.  Their super white tends to go blue and feel ice cold, which to me doesn't look good at all, especially against a stone facade.


As the weather got warmer it was time to focus on landscaping.  One of my Real Estate clients, now turned friend, is a landscape architect who I hired to help us out.



Everything was starting to take shape as we laid out the plantings before my landscaper began digging.


With my fierce lion head in hand, I knew I needed the right color background for it.  But it also had to match the colors we picked for the house and shutters.  Jade Green from Benjamin Moore worked perfectly!  I love the way the brass pops against the green,


Now THIS is a doorway that makes a statement!  It won't be easliy forgotten by anyone who visits this house.


The porch is so inviting now. The color for the shutters was pulled from a stone in the walkway for continuity.  And I love how the landscaping turned out.  I can't wait to see it in a couple of seasons, once the bushes and shrubs have matured.



The house is so beautiful now.  The curb appeal is just awesome.  Confession time: My investors, my wife, and I would sit up on that porch and have a glass a wine as evening would fall.  What a marvelous spot to end a long hard day.  As far as the outside was concerned there was nothing left to do but.....


SELL IT!!!


The Condo Renovation Part 2

Posted by [email protected] on April 22, 2016 at 8:55 AM Comments comments (0)

Once I had the condo emptied of all it's contents, it took 3 truck loads, it was time to make it beautiful.


I had the carpet steam cleaned.  Then the painters came in and gave the entire place a fresh coat of paint. I picked one of my favorite colors, Wickham Gray.  With it's soft gray/blue tones, it makes you feel as if you're up in the clouds.  After the painting new windows were installed.


Next, it was time to tackle the kitchen. 


The appliances were removed and the cabinets demolished.


Since the space was small, I wanted to keep it as light and bright as possible.  I had white shaker cabinets made by Wolf installed.

 

I also had a new wood-look laminate floor put down, as well as replacing the broken pantry doors.


A quartz counter that had the look of marble was a perfect match for the cabinets.


Next, I picked out a gorgeous KitchenAid appliance package.  I love the satin textured handles on these pieces!

Here's the kitchen BEFORE:

Here's the kitchen AFTER:


Once all the work was done and the whole place scrubbed clean, I took photographs for the Multiple Listing Service. The condo went on the market on a Friday.  The property showed all weekend and I had a packed open house on Sunday.  We received multiple offers and on Wednesday my client accepted an offer that was well over our asking price!  We're now under contract. 

Another successful outcome...

ARE YOU LOOKING TO DOWNSIZE?

Posted by [email protected] on February 9, 2016 at 7:00 PM Comments comments (1)

I've been asked by an Estate Executor to sell a condo located a half block from the heart of downtown Maplewood.  This is a fabulous property for anyone looking to sell their large family home, downsize, and stay in the area.  This 2 bedroom, 1.5 bath, is easily maintained, yet still big enough for visitors and sleepover guests.  Situated at 14 Highland Place, you're within walking distance to shops, restaurants and the train to NYC. 


But before I could put this property on the market there was the matter of getting it "market ready".  My plan is simple.  Clear it out, clean it up, paint, replace windows, and redo the kitchen entirely.


First up, the clear out.  Three, full, Got Junk truck loads later, and this is what I was left to work with.


Next on the schedule, carpet cleaning and painting.


MAPLEWOOD SUCCESS STORY

Posted by [email protected] on December 4, 2015 at 1:40 PM Comments comments (0)


I sold this house to really fun couple a few years back.  When circumstances came up and they needed to relocate, they asked me to sell their house for them.  This house is a fabulous house to entertain in.  I had been to a number of Brazilian barbecues, Halloween parties and social gatherings at the house and always had an amazing time.  I was sad to see them leave the neighborhood.

Time, and weather, had taken a bit of toll on the property so they asked me if I could spruce it up first.  With a very small budget, I went to work.  First up was the front walk way which needed to be fixed.  Many of the blue stone pavers were loose, the cement holding them had cracked and was deteriorating.  The walkway was also over grown with bushes and was a bit of an eyesore.  The bushes were pulled, the stones cemented  properly and I planted colorful mums along side.


The dining room, which held many fond memories, felt a little dated to me.  I wanted to give it a sophistacated look that would appeal to the many buyers coming from NYC to our area.


First up, find a sexy, elegant chandelier.  I went to my favorite lighting store and found this one.  It fit my budget so well that I was able to buy the light behind it to use in the entrance foyer!


Next was choosing the right paint color.  I'm not very good a holding up a 1" x 1" square chip and imaging how it will look on an entire wall, or an entire room.  I like to get tester cans and really see the color in the space.


I finally settled on Charcoal Slate.  It really complimented the natural wood that was already in the room.  I also decided to remove the white chair rail molding.


I love how it all came together.


I loved the color so much that I carried it over to living room.  It works so well with all the white trim and batten board.


A new coat of paint is a great way to freshen up a home before putting it on the market.  But using the right colors and having a great design scheme in mind, can add tremendous value to the house.  In this case the house sold in 5 days with multiple offers and went for well over it's asking price! 

HOW TO BUY "SMART" IN A HOT SELLERS MARKET

Posted by [email protected] on March 31, 2015 at 3:45 PM Comments comments (0)

The Spring buying season came early this year as Buyers rushed to grab the best homes off the market just after the Holidays. My gorgeous renovation on Tichenor in South Orange, which got a lot of love and attention but no offers for 6 six weeks, suddenly had multi-offers! A good part of that is because the inventory for houses is extremely low compared to past years. Even as a steady stream of homes have been coming onto the market every week, every week sees most of them quickly go Under Contract. Many of these homes end up in bidding wars with as many as 13 offers on one house! One of them just sold for $70K over the list price!


But some homes don’t get multiple offers. In fact they don’t get any offers at all. Why? Because they’re not updated. They look tired and old… and well, they sort of remind Buyers of Grandma’s house. And aside from the fact that the kitchen is from the 80’s and the bathroom’s from the 30’s, the flow is all wrong. Or the kitchen is this far away tiny room that was originally meant as work station, not the heart of the home, not the life of the party.


These homes sit.


This is where you come in and make an amazing decision. You leave the bidding wars to others. Let them push up the prices, overpay for their house. You don’t need that. You look at the homes that the others don’t want. Why? Because you can buy it below market value, renovate it to the way you’d like and have it designed to your lifestyle and tastes. Not only do you have a house that you’ll love, but you should end up with instant equity in the property. In other words after you buy and fix it up the home it should be worth MORE than what you’ve spent.


Most Buyers don’t have the cash on hand that they would need to use as a down payment for the purchase of the house, plus the costs of updating a property. This is a time to consider financing through a rehab loan. I found this video online. It was created by AmeriFirst Home Mortgage and it explains what a HomeStyle Renovation Loan is.

 

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Yes the process of buying a fixer upper takes more effort.  But isn't the reward worth it? You can pay $70,000.00 over the list price to buy a "nothing to do but unpack" house, only to realize months later that you actually don't like the walls painted that color and the funky backsplash makes you cringe.  Or you can get right the first time.  Pick the finishes that make YOU happy... not the previous owner. Want more information?  I'm a phone call or email away.  Get in touch with me.  I'd be happy to explain the process.