I'll Huff and I'll Puff and I'll Blow Your House Down (not)

Photos: Brett Weinstein/Realty Advocates

Why would someone build a house out of straw? Because if you are eco concious and looking for a sustainable product, straw is undeniably green! Packed tightly, straw in the walls helps to retain heat, keeping a home warm in the winter and cool in the summer, and minimizes the home's carbon footprint. Straw is also a sustainable material; it is the leftover stalks from grain that would otherwise be burnt. Aside from the environmental issue, if looking at the home above is any indication, straw homes can also be beautiful structures. It is a perfect reflection of the owner's respect and care for the environment. What a cozy and unique home this would be to stage or decorate!

Lisa Ryan owns Smart Move Design, a home staging and redesign company servicing Syracuse NY and the surrounding areas.

To flip or not to flip

As a home stager I work with several home "flippers" to stage their homes prior to going on the market. And with a great success rate. Hoping to flip a home myself one day, I've been compiling info on flipping. Here are a few general rules of thumb if you are thinking about entering into this business venture.

1. Have a Plan
Flipping is a business and requires a business plan. Do your research - research materials needed, housing market comparables, budget and carrying costs, and create a time line to stay on track.
2. Pick the right house in a familiar neighborhood.
Know your neighborhood, then don't buy the biggest house on the block. Start small - a little fixer upper that needs mostly cosmetic changes is a good beginner flip.
3. Get an inspection.
Do not overlook this step. An inspection will cover all major aspects of the home (plumbing, electrical, foundation). Not getting an inspection can be a budget breaker in the long run.
4. Find a good contractor.
A good contractor is gold in your pocket Get referrals, see the work the contractor has done, and then check references. A good contractor also knows what permits are needed. Not having the right permit can hold up work and cost you money.
5. Do what you can yourself.
Painting, swapping out light fixtures, new hardware in the bathroom , landscaping-these are areas where you may be able to do the work yourself and save some money.
6. Over estimate costs
Figure out your budget then add 10-20% on to it. This will help you deal with any surprises that may come up during your flip.
7. Hire a good realtor.
Find one that knows the area and is experienced. A good realtor will help sell your home faster. For a "flip" you want to do just that, sell fast. Which leads us to number 8.
8. Understand the value of home staging.
Home Staging is putting the icing on the cake. Home stagers pay attention to detail and create a warm and welcoming appeal for your buyers. They can help with paint color, interior finishes, and give creative suggestions for space. They bring in the right furniture and accessories for the home style. The bottom line? Staged homes sell faster and for more money.

Smart Move Design is a Home Staging and Redesign company serving Central New York (syracuse, camillus, liverpool, fayetteville, and all other surrounding areas


Bumpers or not, it's something to get excited about...

Home Staging Question of the Week

This week's question comes from M.A. in San Diego, CA.

What is the best color to paint your front door to invite in more buyers?

Kevin Quinlan Architect LLC  Portfolio traditional entry
traditional entry design by new york architect Kevin Quinlan Architect LLC

Feldman Architecture modern entry
modern entry design by san francisco architect Feldman Architecture, Inc.

Take your lead from the landscape outside your front door. Bushes, trees, colorful flowers, brick, stone, and other natural materials can provide some great color options. You can coordinate with roof, trim, or shutter color as well. Take a look at your neighboring homes. Choose colors that set your house apart, without clashing with nearby buildings. Blend in, stand out, but don't clash!
Great curb appeal makes buyers take notice and gets them inside the front door.

Here are a few colors I personally like:

Benjamin Moore Moroccan Red 1309 is a great color especially if you have a south facing door. In feng shui a south facing red door welcomes in strong, yang energy.

Benjamin Moore Goldrush 2166-10 is a gorgeous pumpkin color. It is warm and welcoming and looks outstanding with many home colors.

Sherwin Williams Black Emerald 2936 is a green so dark it looks almost black. It is sophisticated and rich looking.

Smart Move Design is a Home Staging and Redesign company serving Central New York (syracuse, camillus, liverpool, fayetteville, and all other surrounding areas

Green Tip of the Week

Olive oil, not Popeye's goil, and not just for cooking and eating either.

Here are some surprising household uses for olive oil

Polish Furniture and Metal (and Condition Leather)
Silverware, copper and other metal items can be polished with ketchup or toothpaste. After you're done, rub a bit of olive oil on to prevent streaks, corrosion and tarnish.

To polish wood, use two parts olive oil mixed with one part lemon juice. Pour just a few drops on a soft cloth, wipe away the dust, scuffs and fingerprints, and make wood shine.

You can also condition and revitalize leather goods by rubbing in olive oil. Let set for 30 minutes, then wipe away any excess.

Fix Squeaky Doors
Olive oil can actually be used as a lubricant in many applications. It's safe to keep around the house, so you don’t have to worry about children or pets getting into it. Try it out on squeaky doors, hinges and any where else you might consider using WD-40 or another lubricant. While WD-40 may work well, it's also based on hydrocarbons, so any time we can use less of those we're taking a step toward a cleaner world

and olive oil for home staging? try a grouping of decorative bottles on the kitchen counter, behind glass cabinets, or on a shelf. Useful but oh so pretty too.

Read more: http://www.thedailygreen.com/green-homes/latest/olive-oil-benefits-uses-460609?click=main_sr#ixzz0fw8BNBCd

Smart Move Design is a Home Staging and Redesign company serving Central New York (syracuse, camillus, liverpool, fayetteville, and all other surrounding areas)


This is the rope on our backyard play structure...

Rusty Grommets

Maybe not everyones taste, but I'm all about the rusty and the grungy...


Yesterday, I braved the freezing - yes, freezing - weather and participated with 30 other photographers in a photo walk of downtown Nashville. In attendance were the owners of the IHeartFaces blog as well as photographer Michael Howard. Michael challenged us to get out of our photographic comfort zone. For me, that meant shooting at different angles and looking for ordinary things to make a little less ordinary through the use of my camera.

My favorite part of the walk was watching the other photographers and how they chose to shoot things - physically AND conceptually. Looking at their results compared to mine - not to see what's better, but to see what's different...taking those differences and allowing them to stretch me and grow me out of my comfort zone.

dirty bike

rusty lock

fire hydrant

gum on a wall

Staged and Sold in One Day.

The scenario: on the market for five months with very little traffic and no offers

The problem: faux paint and stenciling throughout gave the home a dated look. No furniture kept potential buyers focusing on negative details.

The solution: bring in neutral paint color and beautiful furnishings to accentuate the home's positive aspects.

The result: First buyer in the door after staging made an offer and the home has sold.

Smart Move Design is a home staging and redesign company located near Syracuse, NY. We serve central and northern ny.