Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Home Stager's Tools of the Trade

When preparing, the first step is to have the appropriate supplies to complete the job. The following is an itemized list of the basic supplies one needs to Home Stage like a professional. These supplies are essential in the success of one’s staging job. There are many other tools we believe you should eventually get but these are the basics.

Business Cards
Thank you cards
Staging Post Cards
Redesign Post cards
Presentation folders
Quotation folders
Bumper stickers
Blank invoices
Helpful tools
Furniture moving set
Carpet Sliders
Hard floor sliders
Discount offers (Pods)
3 ft and 6 foot ladder
Uniform: Pants, polo shirt, socks, comfortable shoes
Rubber gloves
Paint can key
Visual Aid tools
Consultation Guides
Staging Portfolio
Stager’s Yard Signs
Shirts for give
Working Aprons


A 16-oz. curved-claw nail hammer is your best bet. A rubber grip handle is more comfortable to use for long periods of time.
A cross-cut hand saw will handle most things. There are some short ones that will fit in the average tool box.
A small, stapler that will also hold small brads can be very handy.
A small basic set that contains both standard flat blades as well as Phillips heads will tackle most jobs. There are some pretty neat combination drivers that include a variety of blades that all fit on one main handle.
Don't forget the incredible duct tape, which can hold anything together. Electrical tape is handy too.
Either cordless or electrical will do. You will also need a variety of bits.
Even a small, inexpensive level can help your work come out straight. 24 to 36 inch
These will hold lots of things you are trying to put back together.
A good, basic pair of slip-joint pliers can tighten, loosen and hold all sorts of things for you.
An adjustable wrench or a "Crescent" wrench can give you lots of extra muscle to tighten and loosen a variety of nuts and bolts.
A retracting flexible tape rule is compact, accurate and very useful.
Utility Knife
Get one with replaceable blades.
Household cement will tackle most things.
Buy a couple of inexpensive variety packs and you'll probably have what you need.
A basic variety pack should have what you will need for the average project.
WD-40 is amazing stuff.
A small, rechargeable flashlight is important for all sorts of emergencies.
Tool Box
A lightweight, plastic model will hold most of this stuff plus a few of your own favorites. There are some nifty models that have some great features like a place to sit down!
A plumber's friend can also be your friend, especially if your toilet is overflowing!
A measuring tape 25 to 30 feet long

Feng Shui: Basic Bacua Fundamental Quiz

1.      What does Feng Shui mean?
      2.      What does it promote, and where? Give four examples.
3.      Explain what the five Elements are, and how do they reflect in Feng Shui? 
4.      What do the five elements give you?
5.      Explain the eight directions and how you would use them to enrich your chi, ying/yang, and balance? 
6.      To maximize  one of your eight directions in your space, please fill in the box that you feel you need to focus for your success in balance and calming your chi?

            Place the eight directions in the space above
1.      Creativity                                                     5.  Self -Motivation
             2.      Communication, water                             6.  Ambition, attention to detail
             3.      Savings, Motherhood                                7.  Leadership, wisdom
             4.      Public Recognition, Fame                         8.  Romance, entertainment
       7.      What is an arrow or corner, and what can it do to your chi?
8.      How do you break an arrow so it is harmless?
9.      Why should you not use mirrors in your bedroom where you sleep, or should you?
10.  What are some favorable locations in your home, and how is it designed so that it can you enhance the room’s potency? 
11.  At your age and time of life (vitality), what direction should the foot of your bed point to maximize your chi and/or balance?
12.  Where should your feet never point while you are sleeping? 
13.  Why should you never have reflective items and pictures of people in your bedroom? 
14.  Give three remedies for increasing wealth and success? (Hints: Desk, Pot, Bed)
a.      ____________________________________________
b.      ____________________________________________
c.       ____________________________________________
15.  Give three remedies for increasing calmness and enhance energy in the home?
a.      _____________________________________________ 
                    b.      _____________________________________________
                    c.       _____________________________________________ 
(Hints: Colorful, alive, fluid) 
Good Luck!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Don't Trip Over Charges

The foundation stones for a balanced success are honesty, character, integrity, faith, love and loyalty.-Zig Ziglar
When asked how to determine a trip charge or a flat rate to see a customer, usually one should research the standard costs current in the market or the like services. Many times it should be in the approximate costs of $19, $29, $39, $49, $59, $69, $79 or $89. I usually charge $75 an hour. I determine this cost by taking the break even-point, my business overhead, the direct costs, which are attributed to the production of goods and services specific to my business. These costs are based on materials, labor, and the expenses for my product. Last, I take marketing statistics from social media or advertisements in effect when determining my contracting services. At this point my trip charge regulates my service charge.
As a business owner I have to consider two classes of contractors. These two classes are (1) the contractor’s that have the business he or she need, and (2) the contractor who is desperate for work. If I were a contractor with all the work I can handle, I would charge a higher trip charge. This trip charge would consist of $69 to $89 to come out to offer a bid of services. This charge would dishearten the frugal consumer, which is the point of doing this. This process will ease the demand of the schedule and services rendered. Try not to be insensitive to the client; they may need the company’s services in the future.
If the business cannot afford to lose customers, one should regulate the trip charge to $39 to $49. If the business owner remembers to reduce his or her trip charge, there are fewer losses in business, negative responses, and the more business he or she will acquire. If one is desperate for work, the price should reduce in scale once again to $19 or $29.
The only caveat is that there is a reason they might charge this price. The quality of work, ethics, or credentials may be a factor and that will be a bad decision. One way to look at it is this. There is a reason one restaurant has a line around the corner and the other across the street does not have a line. Even though both restaurants are popular, one has poor service, bad food, and terrible drinks. There is a reason the customer waits and pays a premium; better overall product he or she is looking for in the meal.
There are many names one should call his or her trip charge. The other names to pick from are service charge, service call fee, or minimum charge.
At times, I will waive the trip charge if the customer agrees to use my company for the complete service or if I do the work while I am there in the home. If that happens, I will charge the customer my hourly fee for the scope of business rendered and I will mention this waiver as a marketing tool after he or she have agreed to the work. Another method in explaining this waiver of trip fees is by explaining how I will apply the minimum charge to the work. Either one of these explanations will work, but the business owner should practice and see which method is easier to use in one’s sales pitch. Often, the discussions regarding minimum charges go away when one is agreeable to waive the trip charge. This may create more sales and services. This is especially beneficial if the associate answering the phones is not a proficient closer. Waiving a trip charge can rationalize pricing easier.
In summary, as I mentioned previously, a trip charge is the regulator for people to take an incoming call, give uncomplicated answers to straightforward questions. If one requires more calls, moderate the price. If the business has too many calls, increase the charge some. Use the edict of supply and demand to benefit the businesses control over the work schedule.

Patrick Tremblay is the Principal designer of Tremblay House of Design Services and the Professional Business Practices instructor for community colleges in Santa Clarita and Lancaster, California. For additional articles on interior services, pricing, and business procedures visit

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

How to Manage your Spending

This is just wrong!
All the ads seen on television are so attractive. That is what product marketing does, it attracts you to want what you do not need. This dilemma feeds a spending habit and can contribute to debt quickly if one is not careful about his or her spending. Here are methods in regulating a spending frenzy and helps the buyer spend only on needs and not the wants.

Resist it first: Many times the person will see an item and buy it without thinking of the needs over wants. This is called impulse buying and the shopper in not thinking of long-term as much as he or she is thinking of an item as a have to own fad. Contemplate your last few purchases before jumping into another. Ask yourself, “Do I really need this or is it just something I want?” Walk away and think about whether you will regret spending the money or where will it go after it loses the charm creating the want. Consider this time as a cool off phase.

Avoid spending to alter your temper: Are you down? Do you need a pick-me-up? Well, do not waste your money on a purchase you will regret later when you are happier. Later, this hasty purchase may cause another crash in one’s mood after realizing what he or she has done. Ask a mature and supportive family member or friend, go workout at the gym, or walk on the beach. A nice alone time with a camera may be all one needs to get over a situation. This allows you to overcome the mood that spurs on crazy spending.

Avoid recreational spending: Do not entertain yourself with a trip to the mall or car dealership. Many people surf the web or see what is available and that is all one needs to satisfy the hunger. Going to the mall needs planning. This planning will ensure a successful visit without a costly mistake. I like to make a list of essentials or create a plan of action before visiting the stores. This is the best medicine for a recreational shopping virus. One should take the time to figure out what he or she needs sometimes that can be just as fun without the headache.

Be selective with associations: Desires are fueled by friends and lifestyles. Do not try to keep up with the Joneses; just be the influence that others are attracted to. So you say to yourself, “I don’t want to be the leader!” But the moment one makes a decision, he or she is a leader. Largely because people look at what you do and try to follow the same behavior. If you emphasis what you will be smart within your spending, your friends, and family will follow your lead. This is not a bad thing, so do not overspend to keep tempo with others, be selective on what you buy, and others will follow the same path.

Use credit only as an emergency: Cards are to gain credit scores not for ignoring your spending habits. The consequence for thoughtless credit card charging is spending more than one can repay comfortably. This thoughtless act creates animosity among couples and can drive a wedge between even the best of us. Only charge for emergencies, and only spend what you can payoff within that month. This will increase your credit without damaging your pocketbooks or your relationship. If you do spend for fun, realize you are paying up to 25% over what you purchased that item for as you are charged interest over the initial cost. Ask yourself” Is it worth it if you cannot afford the item in the first place?” 

Recognize your financials: Knowing what you have to spend is easier than spending too much and later realizing you made a mistake. Balance your checkbook, but if this is too much to ask, make a point to round up your purchase amounts and know what you have in the bank as a ballpark figure. This will help in developing a record of purchases and leftover funds. Develop a list what you need and what you have in the bank to spend. If you get a manila folder or envelope, and write your spending totals on the cover, it is easy to add up your spending as you go. You also have the information on your spending in one area so you do not have missing costs surprise you later. Again, ask a mature and trusted individual for financial matters that you may not be familiar within your accounting.

There you have it; methods in regulating a spending dilemma. This should help the buyer manage his or her spending habits for the needs and not the wants in the home. On another note, if the individual does a good job, and he or she saves some money in the process than by all means buy that something special if you want, but only after a success as a reward for a job well spent.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Aqua Dissection

When one looks at a photo from a client, it would be smart to dissect the photo before selecting a color to recommend. Many designers will find a color that looks good with the photo, but the light reflective value (LRV) or the value (brightness) of the colors are not taken into consideration. In this photo of a diver swimming in the ocean, look at the 60-30-10 rule in design.

60% of the space should take on a lighter tone to accentuate other pieces without clashing.
30% of the space should reflect a medium tone to show accent and rhythm in contrast.
10% of the space should be darkest and show a variety or striking accent to the design.

With this rule in mind, look at the colors that are in the photo. These examples come from the color charts at Sherwin-Williams Paints. The following paint colors are listed clockwise from the light blue to the off white block. The Blue block by itself is named (Splashy SW6942) for you as a sample.This color would be an excellent color for a medium tone as this would make the space look smaller by visual reduction.

Colors taken from the Photo:

First row
Synergy SW6938
Country Squire SW6475
Outrageous Green SW6922
Larchmere SW6752

Second row
Splashy SW6942
Raindrop SW6485
Biscay SW6940
High Reflective White SW7757

Each color can be used within this room, but using the colors correctly is important. When looking at the overall photo, take the darkest and the lightest color and find a medium value. In this case, I took the color Larchmere SW6752 and made a decision to paint 60% of the space with this tone. This has a soft aqua tone that is not too bright in value, which causes eye strain, and it is not too dull in chroma.

For 30% of the space I chose a medium tone that is reflected throughout the photo. By using Outrageous Green SW6922, I brought an accent that will give character to the space. This color does not need to be large in samples but frequent within the space. This green is perfect when the designer is trying to bring in the color and the reflective value of the tone.

Finally, I wanted to bring in a dark color as an accent to the space. The color Country Squire SW6475 has just enough of a shade to it, but still reflects the green sea-life that lives in the ocean. The colors are stunning with the art, and the furnishings will not be difficult to find. This is a bold design, but if it is executed properly, the design will not suffer from the color choices.

As a variation, if the homeowner is nervous or absolutely does not like the outrageous green, a less dramatic color can be substituted to reflect a safe yet decorative theme. With this idea, I chose a safe color that reflects in the photo as well, but not as bold. This color is Composed SW6472. 

There are times when the homeowner cannot commit to change, but if you ease your design with some rational communication, you may talk him or her into a trial run. If you can do this, the homeowner usually likes it when they see it live instead of on paper.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Tones of Dandelions and Roses

When asked to find the correct decor for a piece of art, it can become very clear the homeowner buys what they like, not because he or she has a plan, but because the art appeals to them.

Dandelions and roses
This example was a find by a customer, and I was entrusted to find a decor for the space. First, I interviewed the client to determine what style the homeowner was looking for. This client profile assisted in the process. Second, I decided on a decor that was within the budget, and fit all the needs of the client's wants. Third, I offered the client three choices to pick from. The design is determined by the client, but either route it is a process of creation.

This painting was found while shopping at the furniture store. The painting appealed to the client, so they purchased it without knowing what they would do with the art when brought home.
Rustic Sofa Table
After the realization set in, the client called for help.

After the initial meeting, I made a trip to the local stores. I was first inspired by this sofa table we purchased. The rustic look of this table is perfect if one wants to add a contemporary flair to a rustic design. As an opposition, by the use of wrought iron braces on the bottom, and the natural wood creation, I believed that the combination would be great for the space and the art.

Modern Accessories
I decided to look for a few accent pieces to accessorize the table and add more inspiration. Here is a gradation of shapes that reflect the natural wood tones and the splash of silver creates more of a modern effect. I later decided to add an accent piece of furniture, as well as a rug to base the design in the room. In my search, I found this clearance (100% wool) rug with stripes that resemble the silver, and some metallic tones to blend with the art of dandelions and a rose. The rose was an accent
Hand-tufted Wool Rug  
of ivory white; and the rug had ivory stripes, but the room needed another piece of furniture to incorporate the tones better.

I looked for a chair to place in the space, and I found one with the perfect colors and tones. I had to follow the lines so I brought in another line that was going the same direction as the rug. Wanting a more contemporary chair, I chose to bring in a soft striped textile with very modern arms. The home owner  wished for the combination of modern and rustic design, so I tried to accommodate the owner's wishes by adding a larger chair in mass, yet have a sleek frame to keep the appearance of a modern piece.

Modern Chair with vertical stripes
By adding the chair, the colors coordinated with the piece of art, the silver-gray stripe brings in the carpet, brown and the metallic tones were perfect, but the owner decided to add more after the chair came in. The other side of the room was turned into a sitting area, but the owner wanted to bring blue into the space, so I found a modern piece of furniture with track arms and nail head trim. The nail heads were silver to transition the design from one wall to the next. After I brought in the sofa, I wanted to add other tones from one side of the room to the other; by bringing other art in that room was made to blend into the sofa, but had the browns and ivory from the art, the carpet, and accent pieces.

Blended tones 
Accessorizing the space was easy as the area needed a natural element like a plant. The natural element softens the modern design and brings the space together. After adding the art above the sofa, the space needed an element to balance the wall. I did want to include a pot for the plant that mirrored the area from silvery blue and ivory accents. After balancing the space I believed the sofa needed more variety. I added a pillow to the sofa to bring the eye up and down as well as side to side. Using a pillow that reflects the art brought the design together. Everything was an opposition with squares and circles, vertical and horizontal lines, gradation of accessories, and the mass was small or large.

Balanced Space
The overall presentation works as a comfortable space with modern tones, and a variety of elements to embody the space. The owner was happy to see that what he mentioned in his profile, I was able to present in a concept of principles to bring the owner's design around. I finished the space and met every point (and obstacle) the owner requested. The room was very comfortable and the tones were soft and contemporary for the area. With the artwork as a focal point on the wall to the other side of the room, a transition was created by using the original art as a rustic character to moving into a modern complement.

Rustic and Modern
The finished space included the homeowner's art piece, but the process took a complete turn as the level of design was based off of the metallic flair and the images of dandelions and roses.
The room was a success and the homeowner was happy.
Emphasis for the Space