Showing posts with label Curb Appeal. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Curb Appeal. Show all posts

Friday, February 27, 2015

Front Door: Before & After


Lovely home, below, builder-special landscaping.


Page Duke: Before the landscape design

What, below, happened?

Page Duke: A Strong Landscape Focal Point

Adjusting eyeballs back into sockets, the before/after leave only questions.  Did new owners move in?  How much property for the site, for the front yard?  What does the backyard look like, too small, slope, etc?  Who's brilliant idea to treat the front yard as a back yard?  Painting the brick, yes.
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Every penny of this hardscape goes into house value.  Wooooowzzzzzza.
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Views from inside the home changed.  Lifestyle of the home changed.
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Historic garden design, nothing new.  However, totally new here.
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Garden & Be Well,     XO Tara
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Pics Page/Duke.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Vision Quest: Landscape for a Barn

Vision questing a barn this month.  Construction was completed recently, and without intervention it is already perfect.  Anything done must appear not-done.
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Large, it will be used for family events, and professional.  Cars, people, caterers, ease of use for all, without hindrance to views..
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Maintenance must be insignificant.
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Knowns include, hiding hvac/septic/trash, gravel, stone, meadow, ease of flow for cars/walking, large groups/small groups, social events/educational events, exterior lighting, meals en plein air, an impromptu lair for the owners,

House in Blacksod Bay by  Tierney Haines Architects, Three sandstone wings protect an inner courtyard from fierce coastal winds at this seaside house in Ireland by Tierney Haines Architects.

An Irish landscape, above.  Stark, beautiful.

Historic Old Barn | Historic Barns

Simplicity, above, to the bone.  A bit of slope, perhaps add 'jewelry' with a stone wall, similar to the above using stones found on site.

Oxfordshire Barn Conversion by John Minshaw photo© Lucas Allen

At the doors, stone terraces, above, will keep most of the gravel off shoes, and interior vintage wood floors.
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Ina Garten uses hedges, below, at her barn.  I need to site the hedges to obscure the necessities, and allow 'flow'.  Must be deer proof & evergreen.



Need shade at the barn for outdoor meals.  Martha Stewart, used pin oaks at her barn, below.  Perhaps 2-4 oaks sited, just right, for a harvest table, and the tractor.


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Once the necessities are sited, gravel, stone, trees, hedge, flow, the barn is 'done'.  However, at that point, I'm open to adding a flourish, maybe a single espalier heirloom fruit tree, in the vein of Arne Maynard, below,
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 Image result for arne maynard
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Along with knowing lavender will be planted, and several types of self-seeding flowers into the meadows at the barn.
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This is the 1st salvo vision questing, next will be on site, alone for a couple of hours, then on site with the owner.  After that, we set it aside, let the left/right brain magic play.  Decisions made, then taken to the 'men' creating the literal landscape.  Their input, from a base of decades experience, filling out the full breadth of the team.  More changes.  Finally, a garden beyond measure, exceeding expectations.  Yes, exactly why I like working with a team.
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Garden & Be Well,     XO Tara
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All pics from my Pinterest board, here.    

Friday, February 20, 2015

Garden Design: How to Handle the Car/Driveway

Beloved accuses me of being too wildly appreciative of the simplest elements of life.  Therein lies my wealth, is my response.
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Since the chicken coop massacre, a month ago, the pair of profoundly wounded hens are healing well. But, cannot get to their roost at dark.  Every evening I lift my girls to their roost.  This task enriches my soul beyond measure.  Merely thinking, 'I need to go lift my girls', as the chiaroscuro of dusk goes entirely black, makes my day.
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I keep a journal of pairs of words, and have begun noticing pictures insert themselves as pairs.  The latter due to Pinterest, for sure.  Favorite Pinteresting spot?  Claw foot tub, glass of wine, Pinteresting on my large galaxy note, cat sleeping nearby.  Ridiculous, my bad, told myself when the tub was put in a few years ago, 'no technology - only books.'  Lost the battle, joined the winner.


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New landscape, above, with an old soul.  Adored, immediately, eyes locked/loaded, the car entry.  A lot of challenges in this landscape, myriad.  Each solution, a winner.  Why the car entry, so much?  Its location, scale, needs, necessities are each diminished, in abeyance to greater drama/importance, the front door.  Owner/designer got every layer right, including the 1st layer, William Morris's, "Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful."   "The true secret of happiness lies in the taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life."
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I must know who you are at the curb.  Want to see, above, their interiors, art, books on the shelves, colors....  Garden design, above, is as beautiful in winter as summer/spring/fall.  Low maintenance & eco.

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This garden, above, honors the car gods, and slab-of-concrete-god.  Parking court reigns supreme.  Front door?  Welcome, ye car.  Welcome, people?  When the annuals die, shrubs stop blooming, what's left?  
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There is power in awakening to,  "...genuine interest in all the details of daily life."  Aside from increasing property value, decreasing HVAC costs, above, this homeowner will have less stress/frustration with caretaking their landscape and increased pleasure/calm/peace/atonement once the epiphany arrives, my garden needs to be ME.
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An afternoon Garden Design class, using only these two pics, is enough.
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Garden & Be Well,    XO Tara
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Top pic, Cote de Texas.  Bottom pic, here.
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Bottom pic is common USA landscape story.  House built, builder landscape, keep for decades, done.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Zillow For-Sale-By-Owner: Success using Narrative

At the start of Downton Abbey, Ralph Lauren's ad, has a voiceover with a description about his design process.  First, he creates a story.
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Joy, I'm not odd, Ralphie does it too.  My garden designs each begin with narrative, a story.
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Story, for the life you want, not the life you have.  Jung's idea of having our outer life match our interior life.
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Cabin, below, I sold on Zillow, for-sale-by-owner, for a friend, last week.



(Lead photo, above, for vacation rental sites/Zillow for sale by owner.  Added this photo to Zillow Diggs for further exposure.  'BEFORE', pics at bottom of this post.)



('Eat-in Kitchen', above, is an asset in your listing, and 'life'.  Staged the drop-leaf table/chairs/cushions, cook books, wood cutting boards, small lamp, rolled the valence smaller at window over sink, gaining 10" extra views into the woodland.  Removed plastic cooking spoons & their plastic holder.  Wood cooking spoons & white ironstone canister from junk shops.  Added felt bottoms to all chairs/tables sited on wood floors.)

Before the internet, at a client's home, I gathered my stack of glossy 4x6 pics, the ones best matching her new story, aka garden design.  Before I could pull her story of pics she had walked into another room saying, "People would not get divorced if they......"
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Returning, she plopped down a scrapbook.  Continuing, "People get divorced because they don't honor what they have, keep no memories of their times together, awards they've won, note the milestones of love, honor what the other provides, pay tribute to losses, dwell in the successes of each other......."  (No, I don't remember her words in a quote but I do remember their intent, deeply.)


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She began 'showing' a Creative Memories scrapbook, above.  She was one of the first Creative Memories scrapbook sales associates in Atlanta, and its most successful, at that time.  Her home had been extensively renovated recently, and the new garden was being payed for with her Creative Memories income.
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Before leaving her appointment I bought a scrapbook & extra pages.  Within a month my portfolio was ensconced.  Until the internet, I brought that Creative Memories portfolio to each Garden Design appointment for years.  The start of my blog was solely for pictures to be available for clients.  Instead, it's more, bringing design & lecture work.  Who knew?
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(Fake Canadian spruce was on the mantel, above, staged it downstairs and placed native dried flowers on the mantel with art, a Cole Weston print from my mother-in-law.  Staging isn't about buying everything 'new'.)

The Cabin was for sale with 3 realtor companies, spanning 5 years, before I met the owner.  On his way to winterize, I asked to see pics.  Crime scene bad.  (Again, those pics at bottom of post.)
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A used mop, rotted firewood at the front door, every room arranged to  honor a TV god, not relationships.  Mountain views spanning 2 states ignored, no sign of love-laughter, nor interactions amongst generations, grandparent-parent-child-grandchild.  A guest book was in the living room for friends to sign, and the cabin had no scrapbook of pictures.  (Mounting metaphors, Jane Austen now has a cheshire cat smile.  A really good post soon, with Jane Austen's teachings, and a client's project.)
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No welcome at the front door, a narrative following into the bowels of the cabin.  Cheap extended-stay motels do more to say welcome.  "Selfishness must always be forgiven you know, because there is no hope of a cure."  Jane Austen.
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Lucky me, these egregious problems were easy to fix.
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From those first pics, I knew the narrative to create for selling the cabin.  And, bringing in money with vacation rentals until then.



(Custom made local mountain laurel, above, rails were hidden behind a sofa.  Easy staging change.  The cabin had no books or magazines, I made sure new magazines were always updated, and created a library for all ages, and sexes.  A vacation rental comment included appreciation for the good 'library'.  Perhaps my favorite complement during this process.  Another comment included disdain for the Scott single ply toilet paper !  Fine, we upgraded to the new softer Scott.  That was my favorite funny comment. Drink coasters were added to every side table, dresser, beside table.)
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Listed for-sale-by-owner on Zillow, the cabin sold in a year, go me.  Disclaimer, this was time consuming, hard work, and took every professional/life skill learned.  Along with a Tinkerbell attitude carried since before memory began.
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(Adirondack chairs, above, removed from porch, brought to newly created stone fire ring & placed facing mountain views.  Owner received a call from potential renter asking if there was a fire ring.  My bad, why didn't I think of it?  Owner had the fire ring within 24hrs.  She rented.  Stones, in the background, were brought from the owner's Athens acreage to contain new plantings. )



(Master bedroom, above, had dated brass lamps and bare walls.  Lamps & art staged.)
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The morning of closing on the cabin I awakened thinking about the new owners.  How the narrative of staging the cabin, shooting/listing, wrote them into existence.  Literally.  
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At closing I mentioned this to the new matriarch of the cabin, and asked what attracted her to the cabin from Zillow.  She said, "The pictures, especially the one from the bed in the master.", above.


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(All bedrooms have French doors with views into mountains or woodlands.  Bedroom #2, above, another king size bed.)


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(Bedroom #3, above/below, I chose a childhood theme with all the art, and added children's books to the dresser top.   Lamps were placed at every bedside in every room.   Final bedroom pic, above, showing French doors in each bedroom.  Dated brass lamps were brought to this bedroom, from the master.)



Underwater, however, closing the cabin wasn't too painful financially.  Vacation rentals carried the 'underwater' financial load, and with my Zillow for-sale-by-owner listing, zero realtor fee.



(Half way up the drive, above, welcome to the cabin.)

Several trips to the cabin removing staging items, and helping my friend.
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A bittersweet surprise.  His deep sadness, and some tears, at a cabin he thought would nurture his family for decades.  Time passes, children reach an age when 'the cabin' is not a desirable destination for more than a year at a time.  Expenses mount, an investment turns into a loss with 2008, workloads increase, and his times at the cabin become caretaking trips.



We mentioned these tears to the new owners.  They shared their own story of tears selling their family home, to buy the cabin, their full- time retirement home.
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Before closing last week, the evening of signing the first contract, my friend gave deeply from within, including in the prayer before supper, the new owners happiness in starting a new chapter of their lives, purchasing his cabin, may it bring every joy to them, their family and friends.  His eyes moist.
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Zillow is easy to use, for-sale-by-owner.  You'll especially like the weekly email metrics sent about people visiting your listing, in comparison to similar listings.  My cabin metrics, every week, were out of the ball park.  Which is horrible to a personality like mine, Tinkerbell.  Only 1 metric matters, 'sold'.
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Vacation rentals were easy, and successful, with the cabin, how I did it with AirBnb, VRBO, FlipKey, Craigslist, HomeAway, here.
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My friend saved an impressive amount of money with  skills learned on the job with garden design, curb appeal, interior design, writing books, lecturing across the country, working with clients.  He was a horrible client !  He was sure, "little ideas about moving furniture......", would not work.
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Back hand down the line winner.  A metric I adore.  Especially when a title is involved.
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Garden & Be Well,    XO Tara
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I have 2 friends locally, Atlanta, GA, successful realtors, in the business for decades.  (Connie Morelle, Dave Wagner.)  If either had been within the first group of sellers for the cabin, it would not have needed me, for sure.  Lake Burton, where the cabin is, has a strange economy after 2008.  Multi-million $$$ homes sell, anything less struggles, and is underwater.
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Owner of the cabin has a realtor friend, Athens, GA, still working in her 80's, wildly successful, and could have sold the cabin too.  Alas, our trinity of friends did not work the Lake Burton zone.  (Will update with her link soon.)
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 Metrics, for the cabin, from the local Lake Burton realtors were as low as the local Lake Burton vacation rental company.  Why?  In metaphor, those professionals learned of Creative Memories, without partaking.  They learned of the internet, without paying heed.  Those local realtors decided to kick & scream about the new economy & technology & etc.  Me?  I decided to have FUN staging & listing the cabin.

Kicking and screaming (vs. singing and dancing)

"Unfair things happen. You might be diagnosed with a disease, demoted for a mistake you didn't make, convicted of a crime you didn't commit. The ref might make a bad call, an agreement might be abrogated, a partner might let you down.
Our instinct is to fight these unfairnesses, to succumb if there's no choice, but to go down kicking and screaming. We want to make it clear that we won't accept injustice easily, we want to teach the system a lesson, we want them to know that we're not a pushover.
But will it change the situation? Will the diagnosis be changed, the outcome of the call be any different?
What if, instead, we went at it singing and dancing? What if we walked into our four-year prison sentence determined to learn more, do more and contribute more than anyone had ever dreamed? What if we saw the derailment of one path as the opportunity to grow or to invent or to find another path?
This is incredibly difficult work, but it seems far better than the alternative."  Seth Godin

The best story here?  Find success selling your home on Zillow, for sale by owner, creating a story.  No worries about the real story, create a better story.  I did.  SOLD.
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Before pics, crime scene photos, below.
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(Valence, above, was rolled tightly to expose more views into the North Carolina mountains.  Amazing fail, this shot.  Easily staged and became the lead shot for selling/renting the cabin.)


 (No story, above, this shot could be in a subdivision instead of 3+ acres with views of mountains spanning 2 states, and a winding wooded drive.  We asked the new owners, at closing, if they put shutters on the cabin, 'Please send us pics !' )


(Acres of woodland views, above, from the French doors behind those curtains.  No lamp at the bedside?  Who can sleep like that? Bare walls? )


(French doors with woodland views, above, and another wall of windows in this bedroom.  Again, no lamp at a bedside.  Really?  What was the professional realtor selling?  Warning, don't buy this house?  Met their goal.)

                                         
(Bedroom #2, above, has a wall of windows with woodland views, and another wall with French doors and woodland views.  This photo is a dereliction of duty. )

                                            

(Master bedroom, above, with a TV god.  No art.)


(Famous dirty mop, above, with rotted wood at the front door.  Adirondack chairs crowd the space, and when seated you have views of the parking court.  Easy fix.)


(Sofa, above, hiding miles of custom local mountain laurel rails.)


 (Kitchen, above, was a dark lonely place before it became an, Eat In Kitchen, for staging/selling.)

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Topiary: Levens Hall & Arne Maynard


Levens Hall, The Lake District, Cumbria, was the first European study garden I visited.  I was on my way to Scotland to study historic gardens.
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Levens Hall is known for many things, especially topiary, below.
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Topiary was not off my radar, entirely, for decades.  I didn't like it. 
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Now, I get topiary.  Better late than 'nevah'.  Proof, my mistakes are never small.
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Large properties, especially, find topiary useful.  Small properties too.
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Accent, focal point, all year effect, easy to maintain, design uses are many.
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Across USA millions of homes retain their PSO's planted by the builder to satisfy mortgage loan requirements with new construction.
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PSO?  Plant Shape Only.
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Plenty of mature USA hollies are ready for topiary.
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From Levens Hall, below, a chart of some of their topiary.  What's not to like?  You get to put your mark on topiary.


Discovered the work of Arne Maynard via the internet.  Have never been to his garden, nor those he has designed.  Soon, soon...
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Knew immediately he was already where I was headed.  Deep simplicity, Nature, house architecture, wit, intelligence, deeper simplicity.  Of course, Levens Hall runs thru the fragrance of Maynard's work.


Garden & Be Well,    XO Tara
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Top pic Levens Hall, bottom pic Arne Maynard.
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The famous topiary garden at Levens Hall was laid out on axis from a bank of windows inside the home, the middle lead.   Not written anywhere, discovered during my tour.  Levens Hall has had a head gardener entering in the garden journal for almost 4 centuries.
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Life is good, have been to Levens Hall 3 times, and Arne Maynard's gardens await.  Oddly, have zero inclination to travel to international gardens at present.  Too important to design gardens and get them in the ground.  

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Rental Success: FlipKey, AirBnB, HomeAway, VRBO, Craigslist

After dinner she said, "....Craigslist too."
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They rented their cabin successfully with several vacation rental sites.
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Living a good retirement, aka good judgement involved, I paid attention.  Perhaps their rental success could be copied?
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For sale 6 years, and listed with a local vacation rental company (with little/no success) my friend's cabin was ripe for a little fun, "I'll stage your cabin & list it."
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Staging was approached with a full quiver of collateral career tools.  A week later I presented a staging plan, and he was not-on-board. 
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Without proper staging why waste time uploading?  Finally, "You let me do 100%  or I walk."  Got my 100%.
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What do vacation renters want?  Easy.  Vacation rental sites guide you through listing necessities of bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchen, dining tables & how many they seat, eat in kitchen, separate dining room, amenities of your home, and nearby activities.
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Pictures.  The more pictures you include the better your rental chances.
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Choose your lead picture, below, with seduction.  

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Study listings and see which pictures most reflect what you are trying to offer.
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This cabin had the good fortune of being near the Appalachian Trail, Tallulah River, Lake Burton, a marina, wineries, golfing, antiquing, several good restaurants, wedding venues, camping & camps.
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Narrative.
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Staging DIY?  Look clinically at what you have, no ego.  Remember, this is about making money.  Real, serious, money.  List  negatives, confront each with positives and write a list.
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I studied the local 'professional' rental listing.  Why wasn't it renting?  Crime scene photos, zero narrative,  Told the owner my thoughts, he said there wasn't a market for rentals near his cabin.  He was not making enough rental income to pay a single month's mortgage. 
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For decades I enjoyed a family lake house, below, aside from innate beauty of setting & architecture & garden the house welcomed/nurtured all who entered.  Every age group.  The kitchen, a great gathering place while chef/s performed magic.  The audience content with cocktails & conversation.  Labradors in/out, wet from the lake.  Books in every room, chairs arranged for views & conversation throughout the house.  No TV.  Always a new person to meet/enjoy invited by someone else.  

  

Staging the cabin meant adding a place in the kitchen for chef/audience, it had no table/seating.  Creating a library, there were no books.  Creating a 'grandchild' zone, there was zero for children.  Giving Nature its proper role by taking away the power of the TV's in every seating arrangement.  Placing garden chairs outside facing the myriad mountain views, there were none. Honoring the architecture of the cabin, local craftsman, moving furniture that was hiding it, and lifting valences that hid entire mountain views. 




Valences, above/below, tucked atop blinds, showing off mountain views instead of hiding them.
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A basket with coffee filters, and coffee saved from a zillion vacation hotels, was in a basket on the counter by the coffee pot.  Shampoo/soap from those hotels was put into the bathrooms.  New'ish magazines/catalogs were regularly refreshed in the family room.
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Another basket had plenty of mustard, ketchup, mayo, packages, not used from too many lunches eaten out.




Every kitchen counter item had been plastic.  Added cookbooks, wood cutting boards, ironstone canister for wooden cooking spoons, local pottery tea pot & antique Italian tea canister filled with array of teas.  Table is a drop leaf and the chairs are local Appalachian vernacular.  Basket on the table is full of brochures for local activities & restaurants.  Lighting was limited to overhead, small lamp added.
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Owner provided dishwashing liquid, dishwasher powder, clothes washing soap, and garbage bags.


Show off the charm of your rental.  Most renters did ask about a fireplace, did it work, wood available, etc.  Again, only overhead lighting, small lamp added.  Wood not provided, but matches were always on the mantel.


Every piece of furniture faced the TV.  Now all the views can be seen too, and the local craftsman made mountain laurel rails, below.
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TV and internet are expected by most renters.  No internet at the cabin, but cell phone internet is not a problem.  No renter has backed out after discovering no internet.  


A choice was made, no dogs or smoking.  Rental sites make it obvious/easy to list what is not allowed.





A potential renter asked about a fire ring.  There was not one.  The owner told her he would have it by her rental date, and he did.  My bad, not thinking about it first.



Renters want to know bed specifics.  Tell them AND show them, below.  Listing sites are generous in number of pics you can post, and it's easy to add captions.
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Master bedroom, below, was simple to stage.  It had no art on the walls, and the brass lamps were ca. 1982, they went downstairs to a guest room.  Lead bedroom pics with the showiest.



French doors from every bedroom to a deck with fabulous views.  Again, show AND tell.



Those brass lamps, below.  Bedspread, below, exchanged later for a 'lighter' version that will dry faster.  A request from the housekeeper.
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The owner was fortunate to have someone honest, hardworking, cheerful, helpful, and pro-active as housekeeper.  Housekeeping with the local rental company, finally, had to be denied services.  A drama, yes, but easily resolved.
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C.S. Lewis, below, on the bed table.


Another guest room, below, was chosen as a grandchild's room.  Again, there was no art on the walls, all the staged pieces related to childhood, in joy, nothing cute.
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Almost half of the renters have had children.




Once sterile of children, the cabin now has little child's toys left behind here/there, Better, a sweetness in seeing where an adult has set a children's book they had been reading aloud to their little one/s.



  Intuition for accepting rentals is needed.  New Year's Eve, over 30 requests came in from groups of 7, (maximum allowed) that reeked of alcohol, debauchery, sex, broken furniture, ruined rugs, in the request.  
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A damage deposit is on the rental sites for you to include.
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In a year's time, nothing has been stolen or damaged at the cabin.
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The majority of the cabin rentals have been due to love.  With the rental requests, a little story is commonly given from the renter.  Did not expect this, and have quite enjoyed them.  (Somehow I became stager & screener.)
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Not my cabin, every 'off' request, I let the owner know, for approval/disapproval.  On a Tuesday, someone offered to rent the cabin, at a discount, because they noticed it was not rented yet for the weekend.  Owner approved, bad move.  Renter never showed, and another renter offered full price on Thursday.  True story.
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Rental requests can be sent automatically to your cell phone.  And replied to via your phone.


Be aware, most counties do have a bed tax for vacation rentals.


One renter, coming for a car rally, had a high performance sports car.  He needed a pic of the driveway.  My bad, it was added soon after.


Renters want to get away, the entry gate is a perfect sign, without words, welcome/relax/enjoy, put your tires on our gravel.


Fireplace mantel, above, had fake Canadian spruce for decor with no art.  Local, dried hydrangea blossoms were staged with art/books.  The fake spruce was used on a chest in the downstairs hall.
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Staging is not about remaking a home, but making it more intensely its best self.
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One renter offered to not pay for the maid, and have a deep discount.  I thanked him for the opportunity & wished him the best in his search for a weekend home.  Saw in him, my college girl self, and laughed.  We've all been there. 
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98% of 2014 renters left the cabin showing their character/integrity and thoughtfulness towards others by leaving leftover firewood, charcoal & etc.
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That 2% renter?  They liked sex.  Loved that phone call from the housekeeper.
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Sites used for the cabin: FlipKey, HomeAway, AirBnB, VRBO, Craigslist.
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I set up a gmail address for the cabin.  And, keep a paper 'master' calendar of dates rented, with me at all times.
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Craigslist brought in renters, they were sent to HomeAway to rent instead of owner handling the transactions, easier.  None of the Craigslist renters balked at this method.  
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The various rental sites have various methods of paying for their services.  The cabin owner decided to do the 10% fee/rental.  After a year of experience, he knows the flat fee of $300/year is a cheaper deal for him.
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What did vacation rentals bring the owner?  Almost enough to pay for a year of his mortgage.  Considerable leap in success, over the local rental company.
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What did I get out of this?  Knew I could do it, successfully, now have proved it.  That little genie of 'competitiveness' got out of her bottle.  Love that genie but know she can take over, best to trust Providence, with action steps of course.
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Lecturing in Chicago last year I met an incredible woman.  We locked eyes, and bonded completely.  During our time she mentioned, without knowing of the cabin, her bucket list.  Walking the Appalachian Trail was on her list.  She flew to Atlanta, she wanted to see my house/garden, then off to the cabin.  The owner gave me time at his cabin.  Walking the Appalachian Trail, with her, well, I have no words for the richness.  It is a good story, the emotion still too raw, later it will be told.
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  Garden & Be Well,    XO Tara
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This is not a solicitation to rent the cabin, merely the how-to I used in staging & setting up the cabin on rental sites.  
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I spent $300 on staging accouterments, in addition to loaning much from my attic/garden/garage.  Hunting gathering staging materials was done over a month's time during my normal work days, stopping at nearby antique/junk shops.  Once at the cabin, to stage, I was alone, it took 4 hours to move furniture and accessorize.  Wish I could tell you what this 'service' should cost.  If you are a stager, and have a good guess, let me know.  Also, if you see staging mistakes/omissions, let me know.  Good money was made, but always willing to make more.  Oops, genie out of her bottle, it's not my money.  Favorite, not-my-money?  Laying in bed, checking email, answering rental request, getting $800 contract.....  
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The local vacation rental company offered the cabin owner, recently, for $300  & 35% rental fee, to upload his cabin to HomeAway.