When Selling Your Home, What do you need to know?

When selling your home do you understand the needs of prospective buyers?

Who is likely to buy your house?


Is it going to appeal to an empty-nester, who want to downsize? or a first time buyer, a professional couple ready to set down roots, a young family relocating.

We don’t always know for certain who will buy your property, but it is very important that you appeal to the right market. This is a conversation to have with your Real Estate agent who will do the research buyer demographics – it is a science and can be complex, but, could make all the difference.

Once you can narrow it down somewhat you can also the define what potential buyers are looking for in their search. Why? So you can appeal to the right category of buyer.

Look at the comparables that your Realtor can provide you with. Visit open houses for ideas. Ask your Realtor to refer you to a Home Stager too.

Hiring a Home Stager can help you with creating a vision in your home for potential buyers using home staging techniques.

A Home Stager will focus on the good points in your home and enhance them while playing down the negative factors.


Statistics show that properly staged homes sell for as much as 17% above market value of a comparable unstaged property. A home valued at $250.000 would make an extra profit of around $42.000! That’s is huge.

It is a myth that Home Staging is expensive. A Home Stager can add value.

Hiring a Home Stager helps create that vision for the potential buyer.  Isn’t it worth finding out?

Home Staging

Did you know that home staging fees and associated expenses are also tax deductible?

When Selling Your Home, What do you need to know?





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Selling Your Home? Before the For Sale Sign Goes Up, Here Are Some “Must Do’s”

Those of us who have moved house know how stressful it can be.

Selling and buying another property simultaneously can push your stress levels literally through the roof.

You maybe be contemplating a house move for a variety of reasons.

  • Grown out of your present home
  • Downsizing
  • Divorce
  • Change of Job
  • Retirement
  • To be nearer family
  • Just want a change

Where do you start?

Home for sale Real estate sign in front of new house

I work best from lists, this is a simple way to start, just keep adding to the list starting with the priorities.

Crossing something off your list means its been dealt with or its no longer a problem, therefore, progress has been made.

Engaging a Realtor that you trust and who understands you and where you are at is vital to begin with, interview them, ask questions.
Do you work full or part-time as a real estate agent?
How many homes have you sold in my neighborhood in the past year or two?
What aspects of the transaction will you personally handle and which will be delegated to others?
Can you give me a written CMA (Comparative Market Analysis) of homes for sale in this area?
Are your fees negotiable?
What is your advertising and marketing plan for my house?
Do you provide Home Staging Services? http://www.HabitatMuse.com

You must start thinking like a seller. CMA’s in your area will give you a good idea of the condition and price range of similar properties in your area. It may reveal that their are certain changes you will need to address in your property before that For Sale sign goes up.

Look objectively at your home, detach from it, that means de-personalize.
What are you required to do to make your home market ready?

Make a list of what it will cost to repair, paint, refresh, re-plant etc.
Go visit “Open Houses” for inspiration and ideas.
You may even consider undertaking a Home Inspection on your property. Laws, rules, codes and regulations change, address them before a buyer finds issues later when their Home Inspection is completed.
Do your due diligence.
Start work!

Exterior – First Impressions count!

  1. Sort out your yard/gardens – View from the curbside, what you see potential buyers will see.
  2. Cut  the grass and tidy the edges, cut down unruly shrubs, pull out the weeds, tidy the driveway.
  3. Pressure wash the outside of the house and garage, including windows and the back of the property.
  4. Repair and refresh outdoor paintwork including a coat of paint on the front door if it is looking dated.
  5. Repair guttering, a leaky roof, damp patches, cracked or damaged windows.
  6. Add a colorful planter to the front porch, if you have a larger area consider adding outdoor furniture (proportional to the size of the porch)
  7. Also consider smartening up a deck area – potential buyer are looking for outdoor spaces.

Giving house keys


Remember the golden rule “First Impressions count!

Follow my next post for tips on Selling Your Home – Must Do’s – Interiors

Selling Your Home? Before the For Sale Sign Goes Up, Here Are Some “Must Do’s”













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A Home Stagers Toolbox.

A Home Stagers Toolbox.
What Do I Have in My Tool Box?

Being a Home Stager I keep a basic toolbox in my car 24/7.

Why? Because you never know what you might come across or need when staging a home.

I just keep it very basic

Measuring Tape – The essential tool for all Stagers. Why? A Stager needs to know the size of every area or room to place the right furnishings, therefore, maintaining a sense of proportion.
A small hammer and picture hooks to hang or re-position wall art. You may require the owner to have some touch up paint also.
Furniture gliders, they make moving furniture so much easier and less strain on the mover too.
Scissors, screwdrivers, a leveler, a Stanley knife, sanding blocks, tape, plastic ties, disposable gloves, shoe guards and a magic eraser (to remove scuff marks) are also additional items I carry.

Other essentials are a notebook and pen/pencil to jot down measurements, suggestions, must haves or general notes.

tool box
For an initial Consultation I would generally need writing materials, a colour palette or colour wheel and an open mind.

Color palette guide for printing industry isolated
There are software packages out there too, but this can be costly and distracting.
You want to develop a relationship with the seller, one of trust while remaining objective and supportive.  Sometimes comprehensive computer based tools can be distracting and impersonal.
Maybe I am old fashioned?
There is a place for technology certainly, but don’t forget first impressions count so keep it simple.

All set to go?
A Home Stagers Toolbox.
What Do I Have in My Tool Box?
Habitat Muse – Home Staging and Décor “Let your home stand out from the crowd”

home staging


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Current Home Decor Colour Trends 2018

Interior Fashion – Home Décor
There is no doubt that the fashion world and the catwalk influence home décor and design, from colour, prints, patterns and textures. Each season there is something that translates from the clothes rails of London, Paris, New York and Milan into our homes. Even paint manufacturers research globally for inspiration to bring to the table new trends.
Paint Colours for 2018
The word for 2018 is POWER.
Black, Red & Blue
These are the colours of POWER adopted by the major paint manufacturers.
Glidden Onyx – Black Ink. We are taking back the power of privacy and intimacy. Black is also the colour of sophistication. Think little black dress or a sexy tuxedo. 2018 is Powerful, Badass and Confident.
Imagine an accent wall or even a ceiling , dramatic, making a statement, bold.
Benjamin Moore chose Caliente as their colour for 2018. Red is another POWER colour. Red affects us on a physical level, increasing our heart rate and appetite. It’s the colour of passion and love. Think accent walls, accessories, wall art.
Sherwin Williams chose Oceanside Blue as their colour of 2018.A deep rich blue/green, innovative and full of energy whilst healing and tranquil. Rich Jewel tones. Picture ocean scenes, velvet drapes, throws and glassware.
Colour is back in a big way.

Glidden-Paint-2018-Color-of-the-Year-is-Deep-Onyx-1Benjamin Moore colour 2018 red


Take back the power of colour!

What is your style?

Current Home Decor Colour Trends 2018





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Habitat Muse: Home Staging & Decor Staging your home to sell? Tips on how to Dress a Bedroom?

Home Staging Colour Consultation & Décor
When it comes time to sell your home, first impressions count.
Your goal is to sell your property quickly at the best possible price. The goal of the potential buyer is to visualize living in your property with their own belongings around them.
Home staging is all about making the best of the space you have by enhancing its good points.

1. Start at the highest point first, that maybe the attic or the bedrooms.

2. Be ruthless, those heavy drapes that you have had in years, need to be boxed up, windows should allow natural light into the bedroom so clean them. Add sheers instead of drapes.

3. Clean thoroughly and vacuum the carpet or wipe over hardwoods.

4. Remove personal objects from the walls and night stands.

5. Repainting is an option if it hasn’t been refreshed in a while.

6. Identify the focal point of a room, it is usually the bed, although a master bedroom may have 2 focal points such as a fireplace and a bed or even a picture window. The eye should be drawn to the focal point in the room.

7. The bedroom should be clean, fresh and inviting.

You don’t have to invest a lot of money on a new bed set. Use plain white sheets and tuck over a duvet or comforter. Add a throw and a couple of pillows. These lamps were Ikea and very inexpensive. Repurpose from another room. Remember less is more. Accessorize a dresser or drawers with a table runner, a vase with fresh flowers.

Guest BedroomMaster Bedprod_1741810112

Habitat Muse – Home Staging and Decor

How to stage a bedroom.


website coming soon

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The Markay Gallery – Marietta Square. Home of Art & Design. Part Two

Luminaires of Art & Design. The Markay Gallery in Marietta arranged a Discussion panel to talk about Interior and Home Design, influences and trends. The panelists shared their perspective on each of their industries, how they connect and how we can use these concepts to LIVE SIMPLY IN 2018.

Expert Tips for Simplifying, Beautifying and Redefining at Home

Panel Amber Markay Byrd – Gallerist

Chris Lafaive -Rezide Properties

Cassandra Buckalew – Interior Designer

Lori May – Interior Designer

Stacy Milburn – Artist

Mary Jane Huegel – Artist

Lets take a look at the  artists and their unique creations.

First Stacy Milburn

She gravitates towards using mirror as her canvas. Stacy has mastered the art of using color within a mirror to ground a space and complement any interior. Designers and millwork artisans have also incorporated her works as paneling and backsplash elements. She also collaborates with photographers to create layers of silver over black and white abstract portraiture and architectural elements that etches the present over an image taken from the past. The effect is unexpected and timeless. She calls her pieces Mirrored Art.




Absolutely stunning .   The process is so intricate – removing the back of the mirror there are 3 layers of silver, copper and tin finer than a stand of hair! using etching, watermarking and complimenting patterns found in marble.

True statement pieces that bring light and weight into a room.

Mary Jane Huegel

Mary Jane pours her passion for beauty into her peaceful and colorful creations. She spent her childhood exploring the beautiful mountain scenery of Eastern Kentucky and her summers on the marshlands and seasides of Amelia Island, Florida. Her paintings reflect her vivid memories and impressions of how her mind made emotional connections to these wonderful precious memories. Mary Jane is continually captivated by the beauty of nature before her. Electrifying terrains, with such warm and vibrant colors, became the inspiration for her artistic expressions.

Her Portfolio of works include

  • Landscapes
  • Waterfalls
  • Still Life
  • Abstract
  • Figurative
  • Giclee Prints


Huegel shows her art work exclusively at Markay Gallery in Marietta, GA. and High Country Art and Antiques in Blue Ridge, GA. and Fern and Dina’s in Fernandina Beach/ Amelia Island, Florida.

“I find myself dancing between two worlds: a desire to show what I see … and or an emotional response to what could be in the spirit!”

MJ. Huegel

Amber Markay Byrd -Gallerist – Functional art for the home. Thinking off the wall.

Markay Gallery is the uptown gallery of Historic Marietta Square. This cozy corner has been energized by artistic variety.
A new gallery experience awaits, with a masterful mix of original fine art, functional art and luxe gifts for the home.

Markay Gallery

Stop by, its worth a visit.

Look out for Markay Masterclass, a series of workshops led by Markay Gallery artists. Learn different techniques with a variety of mediums. All experience are welcome.

The Markay Gallery – Marietta Square. Home of Art & Design. Part Two






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The Markay Gallery – Marietta Square. Home of Art & Design. Part One

Luminaries of Art & Design

Last weekend I had the pleasure to accompany my lovely friend Kathy Phillips of Project Style Interior Design to A panel Discussion at the newly opened Markay Gallery.

The topic. ‘Expert Tips for Simplifying, Beautifying & Redefining at Home”

The expert panelists shared their perspective on each of their respective industries to include; How they connect and how the concepts discussed can help us all to “Live Simply in the New Year.”

Panelists and Topics for Discussion:-

Chris Lafaive – Rezide Properties, (Home Builder)

Innovative home design. Fresh home trends with lasting power. How interior design & home design work together.

He explained about how new constructions were changing to “zero lot line”

Definition: A residential property built with at least wall of the structure adjoining the property line. In doing so, builders are able to create more livable space, either inside the house or in a patio area outside. Found in developments where neighborhoods clustered around larger common areas that replace the need for larger yard space. Also called narrow-lot homes. Creating the illusion of more space by using simple design and maximizing space without clutter and importantly keeping the cost down.

Building to a maximum of 2,400 sq ft. The use of glass, skylights, flooding the home with natural light, creating a small courtyard space, bringing the outdoors in including efficient under stairs storage.

Key Home Design Trends.

  • Smaller living spaces
  • Raised Ceiling height of around 10ft
  • The use of multiple textures – reclaimed wood, tile, stone, brick, open shelving, barn door
  • Colour of choice – White, Exterior & Interior.

How do Interior Design and Home Design work together? Start with an Interior Designer, then design the floor plan and furniture layout.

(obviously thirsty work presenting – bottles of water!)

Barn door



Cassandra Buckalew – Cassandra Buckalew Interiors, (Interior Designer)

Living with less to bring you more joy. Living with colour.

What needs to stay and what needs to go.

Recommended reading “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Maria Kondo. The Japanese art of decluttering and organizing. If it doesn’t create a space, get rid of it.

Elements and Principles of Design. Human factors and ergonomics. How are people viewing their environment?

Visual Volume Objects need space, less is more.

Create balance by object size, weight and colour, look for contrasting materials, their shapes and height. When it comes to redefining space in your home reimagine the rooms purpose, function and form.



Lori May. Lori May Interiors. (Interior Designer)

Redefining your space by reimagining its purpose. Fresh interior design trends with lasting power. Lori May is inspired by modern living, blending classic elements with modern elegance and chic style, she works hand in hand with Builders, and Contractors on new Construction as well as remodeling projects. Its all about the floor space, its function, form and purpose.





Chris and Lori have worked on many interior and home designs together, utilizing space effectively and creatively.

2018 is the year of colour but also space. redefining and refining.

The Markay Gallery – Marietta Square. Home of Art & Design. Part One

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A staple wardrobe piece. A Fashion Statement part 2

Fact: Every woman should have a few statement items in their wardrobe

Staple wardrobes pieces would include:-

The little black dress – so beautifully worn by Audrey Hepburn.


A mid heel Black patent court shoe

A tailored coat

A pair of black or pin striped tailored trousers

A crisp white blouse/shirt

A statement necklace or Pearls

A beautiful scarf, that can be worn with many outfits

A Black Leather handbag/shoulder bag.

A pair of Black Leather gloves

Timeless pieces that will work whether a casual outfit or dressed to impress.

What is missing?

How about A Kilt?

Subtle tartans or bold plaids. A perfect partner to add to your list that will fit in so well with other pieces described above.

Shopping for a kilt.

On a recent visit to Windsor, just opposite Windsor Castle (The Queen was not in residence), we found The Edinburgh Woollen Mill Shop

I had already looked online for a kilt, but decided that I really needed to try one on. Plus, there are so many variations in colours from the bold and vivid to the soft and warm.

I chose a below knee kilt that I can wear with a variety of tops and accessories. An added bonus – a reduced price.

Whether worn with flats, Heels, ankle boots or riding boots. Kilts are so stylish


Dress Shirt Style.

Shirt TK Maxx. Double side zip Boots – Vince Camuto


Smart and Sassy Style.

Boots as above. Shirt White House Black Market

dress up

Hunting bling Style.

Sweater with back tie detail, Banana Republic. Black Suede and Leather Riding Boots Anne Klein


Highland Fling style.

White shirt Marks and Spencer online, Shoes Clarks. Handbag Aspinal of London. Necklace Park Lane Jewelry. Velvet scarf/shawl vintage!


Fashion Statement Style.

Jacket Ann Taylor, Shoulder bag ASOS, Ladies Tweeds cap Edinburgh Woollen Mill. Suede Mink Boots Marks and Spencer

I chose this colour kilt as I was drawn to the muted colours. What could I pair it with that I already had in my closet?.

Lavender, grey/green, black and white are very sophisticated and warm colours that suit my style. So versatile and very appealing on the eye.

The clothes mentioned above that I paired in these photographs I have had in my closet a long time. Classic pieces that don’t date if treated with respect.

Which is your favourite outfit?

A staple wardrobe piece. A Fashion Statement part 2





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Tartans and Kilts. A Fashion Statement? Part 1

How do you view a kilt?

What comes to mind when you think of a kilt?

Is it the tradition, the clans, the history? or a vision of Sean Connery (below in full dress) or Mel Gibson in Braveheart to send your heart fluttering?

There is no doubt in my opinion that a kilt on a man is sexy, it exudes rebellion, masculinity all the while being somewhat feminine, it is a skirt after all. Add to it other components such as the sporran and a dagger, well who wouldn’t swoon at the thought?


According to Wikipedia

The history of the kilt stretches back to at least the end of the 16th century. The kilt first appeared as the belted plaid or great kilt, a full length garment whose upper half could be worn as a cloak draped over the shoulder, or brought up over the head as a hood. The small kilt or walking kilt (similar to the ‘modern’ kilt) did not develop until the late 17th or early 18th century, and is essentially the bottom half of the great kilt.
The word kilt comes from the Scots word meaning to tuck up the clothes around the body.

Vivien Westwood was one of the architects of the punk fashion phenomenon of the 1970s. Essential design elements include the adoption of traditional Scottish design such as tartan fabric. Queen Elizabeth II’s Royal Stewart Tartan was appropriated by the punk movement in the form of ripped layers and shredded shirts. The look was famously intended to give the fabric, associated with the monarchy, an anarchic spin. Spurred by the cultural phenomenon, Vivienne Westwood began to popularize her famously punk-inspired plaid on the coattails of the movement. Plaid was about to become a symbol of rebellion once more.

Tartan is as popular as ever, Look at the catwalk year in year out for inspiration.

Designers can’t get enough of tartan whether on belted coats or structured dresses. Plaid shirts aren’t just the uniform of a Lumber Jack. Whether, hats scarves, skirts, shirts, trousers, tee shirts. It is clear Tartans and Plaids are here to stay.

The epitome of fashion Princess Diana added numerous pieces by different designers to her vast wardrobe.

I am in love with Tartan, whether worn with style, grace, elegance, or oversized and outrageous, it certainly wears the label “Attention Seeker”

We haven’t even touched on Interior Fashion – Home Décor.

More to come in Part 2. My recent purchase whilst in Windsor

Tartans and Kilts. A Fashion Statement? 




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Out With the Old, In with the New

The Christmas decorations have been packed away. The glitter, tinsel and fairy lights are no longer adding a little sparkle to our homes.

Its still very cold outside, too cold to be tidying up the last of the fallen leaves and debris from the recent winter storms.

What next?

January and February are generally seen as cold, dismal post Christmas months. Did you start your detox,? make any New Years resolutions? I have to say I did neither! And I don’t feel the slightest bit guilty. You see I would rather make a daily list of things to do or take time out in front of a log fire, cozying up, reading, writing, planning, new ideas, birthday celebrations, (yes, both of our birthdays are in February – 2 Aquarians under the same roof). Looking forward to a couple of short break vacations, even binge watching a couple of TV series we never caught up with.

Time out to enjoy some much needed R & R, after my recent health issues.

One thing I am not very good at is balancing my day. Taking time out is important as there will always be a job to do, a meeting to go to, connections to be made, the list is endless.

Today, is the first day I have sat in my office, catching up on emails etc.  as I look around my space, its become cluttered again, in fact its a bit of a bomb site! Time to have a bit of a clear out I am thinking.

This may lead on to other tasks no doubt, it’s easy to get distracted. A priority is to address storage and sort out our ever growing closets, which are bursting to capacity before the rails collapse.

In my defense, some of my clothes and accessories I have had for years and they are still in good condition. My problem is that I am not very good and throwing out clothes I haven’t worn in a while or that cost too much to give away. I start off well and then doubt creeps in. Clothes I bought and hardly worn, clothes that I shouldn’t have bought in the first place.

However, I must be more ruthless, that dress that hasn’t been worn in 3 years. that blouse that you never really took to, those trousers that don’t fit properly, I saved them just in case…. the time has come to purge.

I feel an early spring clean coming on. How about you?

I can now sit at my desk and be more creative and not surrounded by clutter.

One mans clutter may be another mans treasure, so next stop Goodwill.



The Victorian Lady lamp was left to me by my grandmother. A special piece and a memento.

Creating space, makes it a pleasure to sit, work and enjoy.

So which room or cupboard needs my attention next?

Out with the old and in with the new.





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