Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

I am very, very seriously considering selling my house next spring. I have been looking around with the eyes of a potential buyer, so as to be able to get top dollar when I am ready to sell.

I see that I have three main tasks to get this house to “appeal to 90% of the people 90% of the time.”

1) A few of the rooms need new, neutral paint.

2) The upstairs bath needs a new floor and sink, paint and new light fixtures.

3) I need to add decorative items in to give it a more homey feel. [I find this incredibly amusing. Usually when a house is being staged, it needs to be de-cluttered. This is truly a minimalist-only problem.]

While I have been working hard on some of the more labor intensive parts of this months long task, I needed a quick pick-me-up for motivation. So, I staged the living room. Here’s the photos.

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The couch. It’s twelve years old. I don’t think I’ll take it with me when I move. It used to have a twin, but the rough-housing Improv troupe broke it and this summer I replaced the broken couch with these two chairs.

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The small table replaces the coffee table. The cat is an attention hound, he shows up whenever I pull out the camera. The bookcase in the background I pulled out of my daughter’s room, as it has too much furniture.

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The books are borrowed. I clearly need to find some more stuff for the shelves. In a pinch, I can borrow from friends. The horse head in the window is a family piece. He used to be on top of a iron post and was planted in the front of my great-grandfather’s yard for people to tie the reins of their horses when visiting, so the horses would not wander off. He’s a hitching post. Or was.

Close up of his sweet face.

Close up of his sweet face.

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So, the count in my living room has gone from seven to sixteen. But I plan to only take three items to my new home: the two red chairs and the table. Oh, and the cat.

16 thoughts on “Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

  1. Diane says:

    Re: “1) A few of the rooms need new, neutral paint. 2) The upstairs bath needs a new floor and sink, paint and new light fixtures.”

    I’ve moved 23 times in 57 years so here’s my humble opinion.

    1) I’ve never cared what colour was on the walls when I looked for a new residence because I always had them repainted anyway. I know the real estate agents want everything painted in neutral tones and I’m assuming so they can tell their clients “Look, it’s been freshly painted so you save money there!” I know of no one who kept the walls the same even when they were freshly painted.

    2) Is the floor sink and light fixtures just old or are they in really bad shape (e.g. rusted, falling apart, cracked)? If old, I woudn’t bother. The new owner will want to change the floor and everything else to her liking (I say “her” because I’ve never met a man who cared about how things looked — just if they worked). If they are in bad shape, then opt for the least expensive flooring (because most people will change it anyway or carpet it) as well the least expensive sink and light fixtures (perhaps a neighbour could help you put in the sink/light fixtures saving you having to hire someone). These are very personal items and what are the odds the new owner will even like them.

    Just a suggestion. I wish you all the best and I would love to see a before and after picture (if there are any changes) of the bathroom!


  2. Fawn says:

    1) There are people with vision and people who don’t have it. You obviously do. My mom was a real estate broker for 45 years, as was my grandma. They both say/said that you need to neutralize the space. The weirder it is, the fewer people can see through to the “good bones.” So there really is something to all that beige paint.
    2) The bathroom: chipped cheap tile floors, moldy wallpaper (seriously, who puts wallpaper in a bath with a shower???), cheap light fixtures. For $200-$300 in expenses, I can make it look like a “Master Ensuite Retreat.”
    3) I plan to show you all before and afters for all the projects.


    • Diane says:

      Sorry, I didn’t mean it to sound like I was insulting real estate agents — just trying to save you money! The bathroom definately needs to be redone (you’re right about the wallpaper — I guess people don’t connect water with mold). I’m assuming your mom told you that when people come to visit the house, to have something in the oven baking or just a cookie sheet with some water and cinnamon sprinkled on it. My friend did that and boy did the house smell great 🙂


  3. sally says:

    I may have missed why you are selling; are you planning to buy something smaller or in an area you like better? Or renting? I like the red chairs.


    • Fawn says:

      I’m selling for a combinations of reasons: to access the equity in the house now, while I need it most, as the kids are in college (university for my non-USA readers,) reduce the time/amount of work needed on my dwelling, begin phase one of The Next Big Adventure, which is to travel around in a RV for a couple of years. Then, I will relocate.


  4. chmeld says:

    I really admire your light touch and am constantly working to reduce my stuff and yet keep a balance (I do like cosy!). That horse head is great! May I suggest you supplement what you’ve already done by using fruit/veg in bowls, and perhaps some flowers to give a warm feel – especially easy at this time of year! Also simple things from nature – twigs, leaves etc mean you wouldn’t even need to spend any money for your efforts ;).


  5. becky says:

    Fawn, It might be helpful to look at the posts on rv’s and the costs of that lifestyle over at livingstingyblogspot. He recommends the casita trailer instead of an rv.


  6. Patricia says:

    I really love your home and the ideas you have incorporated. I personally dislike an overly decorated home. I look forward to reading about the next phase of your journey.


  7. karen says:

    I’d suggest to borrow items from friends. Most of my friends have more in their home than they can store, amd that would save you the trouble of purging the stuff you never wanted to begin with when you do move.

    Have you ever considered a tiny home? I heard they can be built on a trailer and towed until you permanently relocate.


    • Fawn says:

      I love the tiny homes. Unfortunately, while they can be towed, they are not meant for regular travel. For one, they are heavy and have high fuel costs to move. I plan to gut an older RV, and redesign/rebuild the inside to suit me. I plan to use many of the design elements of the tiny home/sailboat/RV type dwelling.


  8. Erin says:

    I think borrowing a few items from friends to stage your home is a great idea. I think your living room staging looks nice 🙂

    You could also stand the books upright on the bookcase shelf and use the horse head as a book end.

    I look forward to more before/after posts in the future!


  9. Sue Eckel says:

    Hi Fawn, im Sue, from the US, and im right there with you! My total of items shared with hubby is 205, and personal items is 130…but I still have some decluttering to do on the personal front lol. And that means each plate, cup, etc counts as one…although I did count silverware as one item. I count hairbrushes and toothbrushes but not food or consumables. I dont count dh’s personal stuff like his musical instruments, snowblower, or tools since I dont and will never use them 😀. Great to find a kindred spirit! Maybe we can compare lists someday!


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