Basic Black

Black and white is always right, in the home, as well as in fashion. Like the proverbial little black dress, these furniture pieces have more than enough understated chic to spare.

How to Realize Your Home’s Design Potential, Whether You’re Moving or Not

It’s an unfortunate fact that many homes never realize their design potential until the owners are ready to sell and forced to finally fix up and decorate. But the good news is that it’s never too late to improve the appearance and ambience of your home, whether it’s going on the market or not. We asked Sandra Long, principal of Sandra Long Interiors and an expert in home-staging, to give us the low-down on getting a home up to snuff quickly and well. Her tips apply equally well to homes whose occupants are happily staying put.

Why is staging important?

When people walk into a clean, tidy, beautifully updated home with well-appointed furnishings, they’re open to imaging their lifestyle in that particular home. When a home is cluttered and untidy with outdated décor, it impairs people’s vision and shuts them off emotionally from trying to connect with it.

Can staging make a home sell faster and command a higher price?

Absolutely. Buyers are very savvy. Competition is keen, and buyers are looking for an instant fit. They expect a lot for their dollar. They’re looking for a home that represents their generation—not their parent’s generation—and staging, done well, achieves this.

Give us an example.

I was asked to stage the home of a young family that needed to downsize from their luxury, custom-built dream home. They had only lived in their home a short time and hadn’t finished furnishing it. The realtor knew that in a down market, the home would languish and the desired asking price would be next-to-impossible to achieve. My goal was to come in and give the home a well-designed, well-appointed look that was suited a home of its stature. Highlighting the fantastic architecture was a must. The home received multiple contracts the first week it went on the market and sold for the asking price in 20 days.

What mistakes do most people make when evaluating their home?

Being shortsighted about the actual condition. Not looking at their competition. Not being able to detach themselves emotionally. Not using professionals. Overlooking the impact of curb appeal.

What are your top tips for maximizing the attractiveness of a home, whether it’s for sale or not?

De-clutter and organize all areas, including the garage. Clean every inch of the house. Freshen up with paint in keeping with today’s color trends. Replace worn-out carpeting and refinish badly worn hardwood flooring. Arrange furniture for good traffic flow thoughout the home.

What are some of the qualities that create a charming home?

Beautiful surfaces that make you want to touch them. Fresh scents that remind you of clean laundry. Well-lit rooms that welcome you. Furnishings that make you want to sit down. Well-appointed spaces where the buyer can imagine entertaining possibilities. A kitchen that inspires visions of Sunday morning breakfasts.

What are the biggest turn-offs?

Pet stains and odors. Dirty, worn-out flooring. Old wallpaper that overwhelms a room. Water-stained ceilings. Furnishings that have no style and are tired and worn.



Milo Baughman Classic Designs Showcased at the Interior Design Center of St. Louis

Mid-Century Modern furniture fans won’t want to miss the Thayer Coggin Road Show Tour at KDR Designer Showrooms and the Interior Design Center of St. Louis, July 22 through Aug. 2. The event features furniture by Milo Baughman, a pioneer in modern design and one of the leading furniture designers of the second half of the 20th century. He had a longstanding collaboration with furniture manufacturer Thayer Coggin; and his designs, engineering and manufacturing techniques came to define the Mid-Century Modern era of American residential furniture. Thayer Coggin continues to manufacture Baughman’s pieces according to their original specifications.


Directions in Design Goes Coastal

St. Louis’ own Directions in Design is going coastal. The group of 17 designing women, which is nationally known for designing interiors for state-of-the-art yachts and other seaworthy vessels, has completed work on the new 600-passenger Hornblower Hybrid, which provides sightseeing and dinner cruises in the New York Harbor. The most ecologically innovative vessel in use on the East Coast, the Hybrid is powered by hydrogen fuel cells, solar panels and wind turbines. Directions in Designs’ clean, minimalist interior design also is green, incorporating recycled and reclaimed materials such as flooring sourced from post-consumer content; counter tops made from recycled glass; and aluminum wallcoverings that create a modern visual backdrop, while eliminating the need for wallpaper, glue or high volatile organic compound (VOC) paints. Natural light is the source of illumination during the day, while dramatically colored, energy-efficient LEDs provide lighting during evening cruises. Senior designer Mia Mandel, who has been with Directions in Design for 22 years, was the project manager. Jane Ganz is the owner of the firm.


Habitat for Humanity St. Louis Opens Second ReStore in Des Peres

Habitat for Humanity Saint Louis’s second ReStore celebrates its grand opening July 20 at 2117 Sams Drive in Des Peres. ReStore provides financial support for Habitat for Humanity Saint Louis through the sale of building supplies, home remodeling materials and home décor at discounted prices, providing a lower-cost alternative to a traditional hardware store. Inventory includes doors, windows, lighting and electrical, plumbing, lawn and garden, roofing, lumber, tools, hardware, tile and flooring, masonry, cabinets, appliances, furniture and home decor.

ReStore also facilitates waste reduction by accepting donations of reusable materials. In 2012, ReStore diverted more than 93,000 pounds of building materials and other recyclables from donations, a waste diversion ratio of 87 percent. Key to that recycling effort is ReStore’s deconstruction service for homeowners and businesses planning a major remodel or demolition. A team of staff and volunteers is available to remove all reusable materials, such as appliances, plumbing fixtures, copper pipe and hardwood flooring. Homeowners receive a donation receipt for materials, which are then sold at ReStore or recycled.

Habitat for Humanity Saint Louis is a nonprofit working in partnership with individuals and communities to provide safe, decent and affordable housing in the St. Louis community. With more than 335 homes already built, Habitat is one of the leading housing developers in St. Louis. Each home buyer invests 350 hours of ‘sweat equity’ into their home and other projects. The St. Louis affiliate regularly ranks among the top Habitat affiliates in the country and is the largest producer of LEED Certified Platinum single-family detached homes in the United States.

Find Great Estates in Des Peres

Great Estates, owned by Maria Clifford and LN Design Editor Alan E. Brainerd, now has a retail storefront. Great Estates now shares space with A Light Above at 9849 Manchester Road in Des Peres. Great Estates specializes in high-end estate and consignment sales, and offers some of the finest of antiques and accessories in St. Louis.

Summer Reading: Houses with Charm: Simple Southern Style

A charming house is a disarming place. It immediately invites you to enter someone else’s world—which is the ultimate kind of hospitality and one for which Southerners are renowned.—Susan Sully

Whether you’re looking for design ideas for your own home or simply some easy summer reading, you’ll want to know about the newest book celebrating the warmth and easy elegance of traditional Southern architecture and interior design. Susan Sully’s Houses with Charm: Simple Southern Style showcases Southern homes that exude unpretentious, old-fashioned grace as well as the talents of the South’s top design professionals like Bobby McAlpine, Ken Tate, Ryan Gainey, Jackye Lanham and Amelia Handegan. The lavishly illustrated book features homes located in old Southern cities like Atlanta, Charleston, Savannah and New Orleans, as well as a few in seaside and mountain areas. Dating from the 18th century to the present, featured homes exemplify historic styles that have evolved with the times while integrating time-honored lessons of the past. You’ll discover many fresh design interpretations of romantic Southern style, such as a New Orleans double-shotgun with a modern all-white palette, a 19th-century summer cottage with updated coastal decor, and a Louisiana plantation house with handsome Creole antiques.

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