Monday, February 28, 2011

My Oscars: If I Had to Choose Just Three Blogs...

Maria Killam gets my vote for being the most helpful blogger when it comes to picking paint colors -- a crucial decision for someone staging a home for sale. Can you tell she's passionate about color? 
Photo: Jennifer Houghton

There's a ba-zillion decor blogs, and so many creative, inspiring, and instructive ones. You can't read them all. You have a house to stage!

These are my picks for the three blogs I would suggest to a homeowner putting her home on the market and wanting to stage it. If you think it was easy to narrow the field to three, you're crazy. My criteria focused on how seriously helpful the blog would be to someone relatively new to the design/decorating/staging process.

That meant it had to be practical in a nuts-and-bolts way.

It also had to be easy to read -- clear, concise, upbeat, and positive.

In no particular order, as they say on the Academy Awards...

Color Me Happy

Maria Killam personifies my idea of what a design blogger should be -- a teacher who is candid, intelligent and stylish. I always learn something from each post. And she doesn't dumb this stuff down. If you are one of her many devoted readers, you already know she's been blogging since 2008. That means there's an online archive you can use like a textbook for color selection when it comes to paint, furniture, textiles, accessories, tile, carpeting, appliances, or whatever.

Maria's talent is seeing colors and helping us see them, too.

She explains concepts like the importance of undertones, the difference between muddy and clear colors, the irrelevance of the color wheel, and the ambiguity of warm and cool color classifications.

She uses photos judiciously to illustrate complicated design decisions. Somehow, she's able to reduce puzzling dilemmas to solutions that work. She's Vancouver-based, but travels to do workshops and color consultations and to study. She's engrossed in the industry.

What else I like about the award-winning Color Me Happy is that Maria posts regularly, not sporadically. The site has a girly vibe to it, but she's never gushy or redundant. There are no typos or multiple exclamation point series here, like this!!!! Which drive me nuts.

Although she's light-hearted, she's very serious and ambitious about her career, and she shares that side of her life with us, admitting her own foibles along the way. So refreshing.

Although many of her color choices are bold for home staging, her love of color is contagious. Hang out with Maria and you're bound to get over your fear of choosing colors for your staged home.

Young House Love

You gotta love these guys. Maybe you already do.

They're devoted to doing it themselves, and although they're feeling their way, making it up as they go along, they have more creativity and energy between them than most of us have in our left big toe.

They've spent the past few years turning a simple ranch house in Virginia into a one-of-a-kind home anyone would want. Their house sold in two days after listing with MLS, at a price they liked.

Now they've moved and are feathering their new, bigger nest, and taking us all along for the ride. They make all the work they do look like fun.

What you'll learn from reading their blog is a confidence that "if they can do it, I can do it." It's that mindset that is necessary to the success of DIY home staging. Without it, you'll never begin.

From these two, you'll learn that there are no hard and fast rules about how to update a room, choose a rug, arrange bookshelves, organize a closet, or save on remodeling money.  

Although they can be wordy, all the details are there, and all the jokes and tangents and photos and links and videos as well.

Sherry and John give you all the nitty-gritty on each and every project -- where they bought the supplies, how long the project took, what mistakes they made and how they corrected them. Hey, over 9,000 Twitter followers can't be wrong.

Their site's won numerous awards. And Nate Berkus put them on his show, so they are officially DIY stars.

I regularly visit Young House Love, and always get my hit of imaginative decorating that doesn't break the bank.


Laura Casey Interiors

What I appreciate most about Laura Casey's blog is the eye candy she loads into it. But there's more than pretty pictures here.

An interior designer with impressive credentials, Laura seems to be at home in all kinds of circumstances -- doing budget remodels, hobnobbing with the design world honchos, tackling an extensive kitchen refit, updating a living room, sprucing up a foyer, or just kicking back in home base, Charlotte, North Carolina.

I also like that she doesn't waste a reader's time with superfluous writing.

Each post is centered around a single topic. Her writing is to the point. She doesn't spend words when a picture will do, and I like that. She's obviously knowledgeable about history, architecture, and gardening as well.

The best part is that Laura's generous in passing along her understanding of trends, history, art, and good design.

Her taste is impeccable, just the kind of person a beginner wants holding her hand.
   
But it's really the carefully chosen photographs that will be the most help to a home stager who's educating her eye about proportions, colors, styles, furniture placement, fabrics, window treatments, lighting, accessories, or floor coverings.

Some of these shots take my breath away!

Not all of Laura's selections will be appropriate to home staging. Remember that good style is good style no matter what era or budget. You'll just have to edit the rooms down to their stage-worthiness.

Let Laura sharpen your eye on your way to creating a marketable home. Thanks, Laura, for sharing so much of what you've learned and what you do.  Photo: Sean Busher Photography, Inc.

In my eBook, DIY Home Staging Tips to Sell Your Home Fast and For Top Dollar, I give you helpful  ideas and inspiration to stage your own home, including links to more professionals like the ones featured here. Download today and start today to make your home stand out from the competition.    

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