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Need help with front entryway
Dawn
February 16, 2013 in Design Dilemma
Please tell me honestly if our front door with the way the steps our with the rail if that is going to hurt us with our "curb-appeal"? We bought the house before it was finished from out of state and feel like the builder should have made this look better.
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Dawn
We are about to put this on the market and want any ideas anyone has to make this look better
1 Like   February 16, 2013 at 7:39PM
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mdamron61
Beautiful home! I would go with white railing. White would match the trims on your house and "pop" out more. Go with a cottage style railing.
7 Likes   February 16, 2013 at 7:47PM
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Dawn
Thanks for your comment! Should I just paint the rails white? Or put new ones in? What about the door? It is black? Should we paint that too?
0 Likes   February 16, 2013 at 7:51PM
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Danielle B
I think the builder had no choice but to build the stair sideways, otherwise, the stairs would end in front of the garage door, and you would not be able to drive a car inside. But you are right, the railing being build sideways slightly reduces curb appeal. I guess using wrought iron for the railing was meant to downplay the closed in effect, but it is not consistent with the look for the rest of the house, which is otherwise very beautiful. Perhaps another type of railing or painting the railing white would help. Consider painting shutters and door in an accent color, such as red, to make the house more inviting.
4 Likes   February 16, 2013 at 7:52PM
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Dawn
The shutters are black so not sure what to do!! The rails make it look like a ramp! Not that there is anything wrong with that, I just don't want to scare could be buyers!
1 Like   February 16, 2013 at 7:53PM
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mdamron61
You can certainly give it a try and see what you think. Paint is cheap. The railing looks frail. I had in mind thicker spindles. It looks like railing returns along the brick wall on the right. That is odd. It isn't needed there. I would remove that section. Paint the black door white to match the sidelight. Good idea.
1 Like   February 16, 2013 at 7:56PM
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Keitha
I think the railing should remain black. Also paint the sidelight black to make it and the door look like one cohesive unit. If you have room on the porch install a bench or a big potted fern. Get rid of basketball goal.
4 Likes   February 16, 2013 at 8:01PM
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Dawn
That return on the right is a shadow, yes the builder had no choice but should have made the house wider, we had no idea until it was too late! I m bummed because when u walk in the door it is beautiful!
1 Like   February 16, 2013 at 8:01PM
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Dawn
We will get rid of basketball goal and will put plants there just not sure what to do if anything eith the railing! Wish we didn't close on house till it was finished! Never thought we would move and it looks weird!
0 Likes   February 16, 2013 at 8:04PM
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JWinteriors
Since you are selling it, an inexpensive improvement would be to soften the edges. Add a potted tree to the top landing. Add a flower box to the top railing with red geraniums and greens cascading over the side. Add several potted flowers along the stairwell on driveway. Remove basketball hoop. Make sure driveway is clean and mailbox has hostas or geraniums planted around it. People like to see life in the form of plantings when they pull up. Good luck on the sale!
3 Likes   February 16, 2013 at 8:05PM
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Dawn
Wow! That is a great idea!!! Love this place!!! Anymore ideas!
0 Likes   February 16, 2013 at 8:07PM
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mdamron61
A high backed country style bench would look nice on the left side of the patio. All good ideas from everyone.
4 Likes   February 16, 2013 at 8:10PM
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Danielle B
It isn't that bad... I am sure your house will sell because it is beautiful. I wasn't aware that your intention was to sell when I wrote my comment. JWInteriors is right, do small inexpensive changes to make your house feel like a well-loved home.
1 Like   February 16, 2013 at 8:11PM
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Mary Poulos Interior and Exterior Design
Whenever I prepare a home for sale that has problems, I just divert the attention from them - and every home has problems.

The black railing is a problem. If it was a beautiful scrolling wrought iron, that would be different. So, what I would do is go down to the nursery and select two tall narrow eugenias or something like that and put them in those pots. You could even give those pots a black stain or paint. Now the eyes are going past the railing to the pots and the plants.

Also, you could do something with the square on the ground that is created by the garage and the side of your upper walk, and the entrance to your stairs. Have someone do a simple geometric, french style or english style flourish in black. This is to divert from the railing and set up the importance of the stairs. Next i would paint the railings the color of the mid ranged stone. Then the railings will become less hard, harsh and cold. You could even get into this english look by putting some type of concrete garden sculpture ie dog with a basket at the far right end of the upper lever of landing.

Charming sells. This makes you home look quaint and wonderful and the return will far exceed the cost to do this little bit.

Just remember that your entrance is the first and last impression for every potential buyer, and also the one they know their friends will see, and the one they will be driving by will they are thinking over whether to buy your home or another one. ( sold real estate for over 15 years, I know how they think, it is not as logical as you think, it is a lot emotinal)

Good luck!
4 Likes   February 16, 2013 at 8:19PM
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Dawn
Wow again! Will do that! Need to sell this house quickly. We want to move to the beach! We are lucky in that we are the least expensive house on the street. But I know the railing is weird! Need to minimize! Anything else will be greatly appreciated! We are also thinking of doing a FSBO to save money. I wonder if I should get my RE License to save on the listing or if we can use a national company to just put a sign out and then promise to use them when we buy in Florida. We live in Chattanooga, tn right now.
0 Likes   February 16, 2013 at 8:29PM
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Mary Poulos Interior and Exterior Design
My experience, is that what happens when you FSBO, agents do not want to show your home, it does not get the exposure it needs to get top dollar and the kinds of buyers you attract are thinking THEY are going to save the commission money by buying from you. Also, there are so many legalities and disclosures etc. Also, even for professionals, it is very difficult to negotiate face to face with a potential buyer. I wouldn't sell by owner, it would be penny wise and pound foolish.

Dawn - keep in touch and show me how your stairs come out.

Here is a true story:

One time I staged a vacant condo when the market was slow and I bought a nice looking patio set, it was inexpensive, with a firepit/table that went into the center and then I bought large containers from home depot, or something and put tall something like eugenias, could have been ficus,around the edges of the patio and of course did some wonderful simple things in side. It sold in four days, higher than all the rest. The owner was a realtor. She was thrilled and amazed.
3 Likes   February 16, 2013 at 8:56PM
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Dawn
I agree with you! Is there any real estate firms that will make a deal with us if we list with them and then use them to buy our new house in another state? We live in Chattanooga, TN And are moving to N Florida?
0 Likes   February 16, 2013 at 9:00PM
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mdamron61
A agree with Mary. As a buyer I would be turned off and feel uncomfortable. Your exposure to sellers would be so much smaller than with what realtors have.
1 Like   February 16, 2013 at 9:00PM
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Dawn
I will use your ideas and will keep you posted. We have to pay for this move which we really can't afford but want to do it soooo badly!
0 Likes   February 16, 2013 at 9:01PM
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Dawn
I just want to see if there is anyway to not pay the full 6%. I know when we moved locally, if we used the same agent we only paid 3%.
0 Likes   February 16, 2013 at 9:03PM
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mdamron61
My experience is you get what you pay for.
3 Likes   February 16, 2013 at 9:05PM
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Darzy
I think the rails are fine black. One of the things I noticed about the house was the shutters at the windows look too narrow. And, I think the side window at the front door window should be black also. The shrubs in the front are "sculpted" which makes a house look 'dated" to me. I would remove those shrubs and plant new updated plantings for a natural and updated look (with colorful flowers surrounding the shrubs). Remove the basketball hoop and add a bench with a colorful tall pot with flowers next to the bench in the corner. Your house has really nice appeal so just a few minor tweeks will be super. Here's a small bench idea, but I was thinking a pop of color in a flower pot with flowers flowing down.

10 Likes   February 16, 2013 at 9:09PM
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Ironwood Builders
a good realtor is worth every penny.
3 Likes   February 16, 2013 at 11:58PM
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Keitha
Dawn , I live in Tennessee as well and my husband and I have sold 2 homes on our own over the years. We had good interest in both and they sold quickly. We had been diligent about keeping these homes updated and that was very helpful. Neither of us had a real estate background but we "did our research" before the homes went on the market and had no problems. So, I guess my advice would be that if you feel comfortable going the FSBO route.. Go for it!
1 Like   February 17, 2013 at 1:32PM
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Dawn
Unfortunately we can't move the stairs because the garage is there on the left where we pull in and out. It is a 3 car garage. The builder should have done this differently and we were out of town and we really should have had him fix it! I am so mad now that we didn't!!! Thx for your comment and the lovely porches u shared!
0 Likes   February 17, 2013 at 1:54PM
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Dawn
Keitha, do u mind telling me what area of tn that u live in? I would love to talk to u regarding FSBO. I can give u my email address if you want or are willing to talk to me!
0 Likes   February 17, 2013 at 2:02PM
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Darzy
Dawn, go to www.realtor.com and see what has sold recently in your neighborhood and also what is available. Many show inside photos of recent sales. BTW...I do not recommend FSBO for too many reasons to list! You could ask your realtor for 5% instead of 6% commission. :) I would also suggest hiring a staging consultant (a lot less expensive than someone who actually stages for you) to tell you what you need to do inside the home to sell fast as well. It's worth it.
1 Like   February 17, 2013 at 2:15PM
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Keitha
Dawn, I live in Middle Tn and will be glad to talk to you. Just send your e-mail address or there may be another way to send a private message on houzz but I'm not sure? Darzy is right, there are options when negotiating your listing with a realtor and FSBO is a lot of work and commitment of YOUR time and effort. Just take all these things into consideration.
1 Like   February 17, 2013 at 2:31PM
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Dawn
I agree, I have a friend who does that and I will be moving furniture around, borrowing furniture for the kids bedrooms to make them look better. We did have some real estate agents come about 4 years ago and they gave us some ideas, not anything we didn't know. I am going beyond what anyone has told us. We did have a professional stager at our house before this one in Colorado, so we know that we need to take furniture out of here and move around, de-clutter, etc. I have looked on realtor.com and our house is less expensive and just as nice as the others. We did use an interior designer when we moved here 5 years ago. It was a brand new house then. I was thinking of getting my re license so I could list and we could pay the agent who sells the house.
0 Likes   February 17, 2013 at 2:35PM
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joannpb
Before you do anything else, paint the front door white to match the garage door. I think you'll find it transforms the entire front of the house. The railings are almost visually neutral from a distance. it's that slash of black door that cuts into the image. Then put something tall in the other corner of the porch, to balance the door. It doesn't need to be as big as the door, just something there.
1 Like   February 17, 2013 at 2:37PM
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Dawn
Should we paint the door white even though the shutters are black? Maybe a light gray color and then paint the railings the same color as well as putting flower boxes and live plants up there along the railings and porch. I might be able to find a small bench to go there. I also realize that our bushes are overgrown in the front. We are planning on adding lots of plants and color right before we list the house.
1 Like   February 17, 2013 at 2:46PM
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sqrlzrus
Agree with above - paint the shutters and the front door white. And I like the idea of a white high-backed bench left of the door - to add a white element in the blank space.
0 Likes   February 17, 2013 at 2:49PM
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joannpb
Although light gray might look nice, I think white would cover more people's taste. Don't paint the shutters till you have painted the door and see if that does what you need. A high back bench would look nice, I agree. Be sparing with the flower boxes on the porch, It's easy to get a cluttered look in a small space. Gray isn;t a particularly complimentary color on wrought iron, keep it black or paint it white if you want it lighter. Great idea taming the foliage and adding some landscape accents,

For a house you're staging for sale, you need to make it stand out without going too far into a specific taste - It's a balancing act.
0 Likes   February 17, 2013 at 3:01PM
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Dawn
Thanks so much! Definitely going to paint the door white! Then go from there!
0 Likes   February 17, 2013 at 3:25PM
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Mary Poulos Interior and Exterior Design
Black Shutters, Black Door, White Trim. Keep the shrubs and put in all of the flowers.
2 Likes   February 17, 2013 at 3:29PM
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joannpb
Mary P. I don't mean to question your taste, but this is my reasoning on the white door. If there were double side lights, I'd agree with you, but take another look at the long view from the street - the black door makes the white trim look like a framing square hanging over the edge.

I do agree with you about the black shutters, though. While white might stand out more, I think white would look a bit crowded on that large window on the gable end.
3 Likes   February 17, 2013 at 3:41PM
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Dawn
Mary, first thanks so much for all your feedback, I really appreciate it. I do have a question regarding your previous comment about painting the rails the color of the mid range stone to blend in? I liked that idea,. I also like the idea of putting those plants in the pots on the porch so people look up and putting a black finish on the pots. I actually love the black shutters and black door. Maybe even paint the side window at the door black? Not sure about the comment regarding painting the driveway in front of the door the geometric shapes. I am not opposed to that, just not sure what it would look like.
0 Likes   February 17, 2013 at 3:41PM
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joannpb
Who confused you, me? Sorry, how did I do that? Do you have one too many "expert opinions" going here? I'll creep quietlly out the back door, if you like.

8-)
0 Likes   February 17, 2013 at 3:48PM
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bluenan
I agree with jwinteriors, the red geraniums would look classic and inviting. You might want to add a black Lutyens bench that you could take to your new home. With the right touches you won't need to spend the money to change something that might not make much of a difference to a buyer.

2 Likes   February 17, 2013 at 4:09PM
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Dawn
Joannpb, NO, NOT U! It is me and all the great ideas! Please, u had some great ones!!!! Maybe I should delete my post!
1 Like   February 17, 2013 at 4:34PM
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odessalight
Your house looks fine just needs a little work before putting on the market. You can sell yourself we have done it 2 times, but we were in a highly desirable area and the market was moving quickly. It is a lot of work and you have to keep it spic and span!! And be ready to show it at a minutes notice. List it in MLS etc., offer agents a selling fee and have open house and invite agents. Price it right and do your research.

Highly recommend getting a storage locker and storing all your stuff that you don't need for a while and make it look like a show home. Go visit some before you do this.
Also agree with whoever wrote about painting the sidelight black. Not the trim around it just the flat part. Or just leave it.
You could buy a tall bush and have it next to the door....Some people might not like black....so maybe a different color door to brighten the space..???

Also I would take these photos to your local nursery and ask if they have a design center that can help you with some potted plants outside bench etc. it might not cost very much just depends on who you use. And if you think it is too much then consider it being sold to having it sit on the market for months because you didn't take the time to make sure your home was appealing to a large majority of buyers who drive by and look at the outside of the house without their realtor before they even make an appointment. I can't tell you how many times we have driven past a house and said no way because of the way it looked from the street. Also check houzz for entry way ideas. Make it warm and inviting. Buy a new entry mat and make sure your lighting is clean etc., and remember if something bugs you then it will probably bug a potential home buyer.
Good Luck! ;)
0 Likes   February 17, 2013 at 4:36PM
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Mary Poulos Interior and Exterior Design
Hi Dawn, I don't like to say this because it sounds so pompous, but I have done these things so many times, and I can tell you when you paint the railings the way I said it will definitely soften the whole entry. Look very fresh and classy. And welcoming. In regards to the geometric thing on the entry, I would be happy to explain that better as I know that was confusing. With all my clients I give the project a description. This one is London town home. Because in London there are very high scale homes with entries very close to the street. In your case, the driveway. The brick, the railing, the shutters and the Stone. My idea is to follow that little theme. Everyone wants something they didn't think they could have. A little bit of London is perfect here. Not overly cluttered, tight looking. Classic. Get the concrete dog with the basket in his mouth.

I don't feel offended when someone questions my taste. There are many ways to do things, and different points of views. By the way, just for fun, please look at my San Clemente Project as it has before and afters and you will understand where I come from.

My interest here is just to teach you how to achieve your goal.

Sincerely,

Mary "Peggy" Poulos
0 Likes   February 17, 2013 at 4:41PM
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tasia2596
I say it looks very pretty,but not colourful enough I would say add some colourful ,but not TOO colourful, flowers.
0 Likes   February 17, 2013 at 4:51PM
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Dawn
Wow! Thanks! I liked the comment, "everyone wants something they didn't think they could have". So true!
1 Like   February 17, 2013 at 4:53PM
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Keitha
Dawn , I agree with Mary... freshly painted black door and leave the shutters black. White would be a nightmare for shutters in my opinion. Personally I think you should leave the rail black and add only a few plants.... That could be overdone too!
2 Likes   February 17, 2013 at 5:02PM
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Kathryn Peltier Design
Dawn, this may be more than you want to do, but....is there ANY room to cut back the cement in front of the stairs? I mean, even 12" or so? I think that it would soften everything so much if you could continue the planting bed in front of the windows to the front of the stairs. I would plant a euonymous or something that will grow up - and that you can buy large enough to train up and fill it in a bit right away.

If you don't want to go to this trouble, I would at least stain that part of the concrete, as well as that at the base of the stairs. Probably a deeper brick color would work the best. While I think that the stair is a bit awkward, but I think the concrete coming right up to the brick is a large part of it.

I agree with painting the front door - either all white (more inviting, I think) or all black - but the two-tone paint job with only the one sidelight makes it appear lopsided.

Definitely add very large planters with trees on the porch (4'-5' height in the pot, with 2-3 smaller pots of flowers around it) as well as a black bench. Put a couple of black and white striped pillows on it and maybe hang a good looking welcome sign. You know - stage it!

I think you can actually make this into a selling point - just soften the hard edges!
0 Likes   February 17, 2013 at 5:07PM
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Keitha
Sorry, but this is " mind boggling" to me!! You are simply trying to stage your home for sale in Tennessee !! I don't think major changes to the structure of your front steps will affect the sale of your home and you would not recoup the money invested in such things. Work with what you have, making it neat and inviting!
4 Likes   February 17, 2013 at 5:23PM
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Lkristine
Honestly, IMO, it would look better with something else that has more weight to it and combines the beauty of the home. But, that being said, I would personally leave it for selling purposes. I don't think it is enough of an impact to detract a buyer from your home. In the even you decide that you think it is necessary, here is an example that would look nice. http://www.deckspecialists.com/Rails.htm
1 Like   February 17, 2013 at 5:28PM
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Dawn
I appreciate the ideas, I think I am going to keep it simple. I do agree that it looks lopsided so painting the whole door black would be easy, so would adding a black bench that i could take with us. I like the idea of the cascading red geraniums on the rail. I will put some tall plants on the porch to draw your eye up and to add life. I m also going to look into the London thing with the dog and maybe the simple design in front. I could probably find someone to do that. I will post a picture when I m done. Thanks so much!!!!! I won't do all if those things, that would b too much. I m going to start with simple and go from there!
4 Likes   February 17, 2013 at 6:42PM
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Keitha
Good luck. You have a very attractive home and I'm sure there's someone just waiting to find it for their own.
2 Likes   February 17, 2013 at 6:59PM
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Sue Ann Stevens
What about adding larger potted arborvitaes with some trailing ivy in between the steps and the driveway area? Something to prevent the steps from looking like a wall of brick. Or add a bench flanked with plants/flowers in front of those steps. If it could be placed at a slight angle toward the right side drawing the attention away from the "wall of brick" entry.

I would also paint the door white to match the sidelight.

Best wishes on selling your home.
1 Like   February 17, 2013 at 7:00PM
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bumbles12
What about a couple of nice big ceramic pot plants with tall plants in them?
1 Like   February 17, 2013 at 7:03PM
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joannpb
I think you're cookin' now, Dawn.

I didn't mean to stir up a hornet's nest. I've been retired for over four years, after 28 as a designer, so my ideas may not be as up to date as they could be. Keep it as simple as possible and I'm sure you'll do well.
4 Likes   February 17, 2013 at 7:05PM
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Dawn
Can't put any potted plants in front of stairs, there is no room. The car backs up right there. I will find a flower pot to put on that rail that has cascading greens, that will cover up the brick. Put in a black bench with striped pillows, a geometric design on the driveway and an English dog with basket on the right. All of this I can take with me. Also put a potted plant up there if it all fits. We shall see, will do in stages to see what I need to do, don't want to go crazy but also know that it is a very important first impression. I will take a picture of he house once you open the door to see if anyone has any ideas.
0 Likes   February 17, 2013 at 7:10PM
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Joy
I have not read everyone else's comments so apologies in advanced. I would add a flower box to the top railing with some plants that will hang down. Also, I would try to add something to the space to the left of the door. From the picture if looks like that wall a totally different stone from the rest of the house. Between the three different materials (brick, stone, iron) you need to tie them all together. I would also suggest putting a potted tree or plant in the corner before you walk up the steps to add warmth to the space and it will draw your eye up instead of focusing on the railing. Without doing any of the suggestions your house still looks beautiful - good luck in your sale!
1 Like   February 17, 2013 at 7:16PM
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Dawn
When u say, tie all the materials together, what is that suggestion?
0 Likes   February 17, 2013 at 7:22PM
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Mary Poulos Interior and Exterior Design
joannpb I think you have a valid point. What if you put a nice wider trim around the entire outside of door including windows. Make the trim a little wider at the top and add a small crown molding and paint this new molding white, and then paint all of the existing door, window and trims black like the shutters? From the street it will have a grander view?
2 Likes   February 17, 2013 at 7:22PM
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bumbles12
Hi Dawn, I'm talking about on the side landing near your front door. I think you have a couple of little pots there? But you could possibly make a bit of a statement with a bigger pot and taller plant. I rather like your entrance.
0 Likes   February 17, 2013 at 7:23PM
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Dawn
Not sure what Mary and Joannpb mean about the trim job...
0 Likes   February 17, 2013 at 7:33PM
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Joy
It could be a clock, sundial, star, flag, tree, butterfly, etc. Just suggestions as I am sure you don't want to spend the money. In the end just a flower box on the railing and a tall potted tree (either to the left of the front door, in the corner where the brick and stone meets, or to the left of the steps) could do the trick.
0 Likes   February 17, 2013 at 7:46PM
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Kathryn Peltier Design
Additional trim might be tricky to add because of the stone. The door and existing trim are recessed.
0 Likes   February 17, 2013 at 7:47PM
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joannpb
Dawn, I think you had a good, simple path laid out, it sounded good. Paint your door all one color, whatever color you choose. I think what Mary meant (correct me if I'm wrong, M) is if you paint the door and sidelight black, you might want to add an additional layer of trim around the whole present door/sidelight and paint that white. That would keep it looking balanced from the road.

Why don't you go ahead and paint the door and look at it for a couple of days, and if you think it needs something else, go from there. And remember, a small area of paint can easily be redone. If it doesn't work, get rid of it.
1 Like   February 17, 2013 at 7:47PM
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Dawn
R u talking about painting it white? I think that may be the way to o. Then should I look for a white bench or black one?
0 Likes   February 17, 2013 at 7:58PM
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ann
I would put a deacons bench on the porch with lots of plants, leave rail as it is, black iron is so rich looking, use some red out there, Geraniums, lots of them, have some plants go up every other step too, and ferns
1 Like   February 17, 2013 at 7:58PM
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Dawn
Ann, What color deacons bench? Would u paint the door white?
0 Likes   February 17, 2013 at 8:03PM
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Mary Poulos Interior and Exterior Design
joannpb you understood me exactly. Joann, did you read my first suggestion for the front porch? I am concerned that we are all wanting to help this rather small space and soon it will be way too busy. I think simple strong statements are the best. I am directing this to you, not because I feel you aren't doing that, but because I get that you are understanding what I am saying and I value your opinion on this.

Also, in reading your last comment, I am thinking all of the wood elements within the new exterior door trim, should be painted black. And, I wanted to know how does that sound to you?
0 Likes   February 17, 2013 at 8:06PM
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ann
I would use black, high gloss, it looks so good with Red plants, and ferns, I used that on my porch, and it looked Old South, you can also put a planter/window box under the window if you wanted to go to the trouble, and put ivy trailing out of with some red in it
0 Likes   February 17, 2013 at 8:10PM
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ann
You could also hang a big grapevine wreath over the deacons bench
0 Likes   February 17, 2013 at 8:13PM
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Dawn
However, if I put a tall plant on the right it will detract from the lopsided-ness of the door. I think I m going to paint it white. Also put a black bench on the left with cushions and even a tall plant on far right of porch and the flower pot of red geraniums with green cascading down will distract enough for what we want. If we keep getting feedback that our front entry is messed up we will have to do something else!
1 Like   February 17, 2013 at 8:18PM
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ann
I would not paint the door, leave as is I would put some brass house numbers on the door, if possible to give it some pop
0 Likes   February 17, 2013 at 8:24PM
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ann
put the brass house numbers left to right under the glass, black gloss deacons bench, wreath over the bench, and some pops of red out there, move basket ball goal, it is a very beautiful house
0 Likes   February 17, 2013 at 8:25PM
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OHANA INTERIORS
I would keep it simple. A small table or chair to the left of the door and remove the pots so it feels larger. I also like the wreath idea.
0 Likes   February 17, 2013 at 8:30PM
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joannpb
I'm awfully concerned about tossing too much at you Dawn. I have an idea - pull up a picture of your house, on your computer and use whatever program you have (even "Paint" will work in a simple way) and sketch over the trim in the picturs, with various colors. If you can't do that, print out several copies and paint right on the paper printouts. That may give you a clearer path.

Try an all black door - if you like that, try black garage doors to go with it.
Then try an all white door to go with the garage doors.
When one looks better, try changing the shutters.
If you have paper copies, cut out elements to try.
You get the idea.

Mary, I do understand what you are saying and I agree - it's all too easy to turn staging into clutter.
1 Like   February 17, 2013 at 8:31PM
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Keitha
Good advice joannpd! .... Dawn, pretty soon we'll have some green grass here in Tennessee and that goes a long way to help curb appeal.
1 Like   February 17, 2013 at 8:42PM
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Dawn
I m going to keep colors the same because I realize that will have to go to committee. I think by simply putting a tall potted tree on the right will balance it out. I will put a flower box on railing and also under the window with greens flowing down and put a bench in there with a wreath and be done with it. I really appreciate everyone's advice and wish we had the time to do some of these things. The stone in front and the black door is what sold me. When u walk in we have a fireplace with the same stone and then another on our back porch with the same stone. I will take quick picture to show you!
1 Like   February 18, 2013 at 8:05AM
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Arlene Warda, Architecture+Interior Design
Hi Dawn, you have a lovely home, with potential for a welcoming front entry.

Here is what I came up with:

1. you have a potential with the bottom landing. Add two front steps in brick
old masonry, extension of the last two at the bottom. You then have a turn-a-round
landing.

2. at the top, at flower boxes on the railing. I added 3.

3. also at the wall, you might add potted plants,wall plants. You can get the hangers
at a local nursery.

These small things can be done inexpensively and in a day's work.

Thanks again!
1 Like   February 18, 2013 at 2:21PM
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Dawn
Good idea! I found the perfect bench to put on porch, but even that does not fit! No room! So potted plants up there. Not sure about how to do turn around, I took a picture of steps and bench that I have to take back! Mary P., did u mean to put English/French flourish in the square to the left of steps? I think that is a great idea. Before I thought u meant where the car would back up. I took a picture of something tall next to door, I know it isn't green and I will buy a live tree but I also realize it needs to be tall and narrow. Arlene! Thanks so much for the visual! Great program! Is that custom or can anyone buy? I have an iPad if that makes a difference.
1 Like   February 18, 2013 at 2:52PM
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ann
Can u find a piece of decorative iron to go on the wall next to door, tj maxx had some nice pieces here, to be honest dawn, you home is beautiful, the front just needs a little color with plants I think
1 Like   February 18, 2013 at 3:45PM
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Kathryn Peltier Design
Wow! What a cool bench - I actually think it looks really nice right there :-) If a bench won't fit, how about a traditional wrought iron garden chair? Or a single wicker chair? Or rustic chair? Of how about just a very small wood bench? Each has a very different feel, but with some plants and color, any could work.
Lake Superior Residence
Salvaged Wood Bench by Wayne's Woodworking
0 Likes   February 18, 2013 at 3:45PM
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Arlene Warda, Architecture+Interior Design
Hi Dawn, Thanks.

STEPS:

1. it is easy to do. Just have your contractor and mason extend the bottom two steps to create a small landing. You may need to compact the soil, pour a 4" min. concrete slab, then brick. Depending on your area, you may need a 'reinforced' concrete slab with reinf. bars. Let some local professional help you. Then you lay brick on top to create stairs. This is only a 3'x3' project or more, so it should be easy! only a day or so project. the bottom last step if it fits should be 10" or 12" check with local codes. Such a small project! so easy!.. too!..

2. I love the bench!.. so beautiful..... it would fit if you decide to do the steps, landing!.. perfect.

3. You can buy the pot holders at a nursery or online!...

4. The program I had is free, to most. It is ms paint (microsoft paint)... it takes awhile to get used to. You can cut and paste, do drawings on there. Then save it in JPG.... Icon is at bottom of JPG files, click on mspaint.... write me a line at my e-mail: awarda@aol.com if you have questions on how to use it!....

Your house is going to be so cute!....adorable!... ok can't wait to see pictures and talk to some home contractors to get help on installing those stairs, the landing at bottom!
0 Likes   February 18, 2013 at 4:26PM
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Mary Poulos Interior and Exterior Design
Hi Dawn,

The picture you took at the bottom of the stairs is exactly the spot I was referring to. Think of it like a medallion people put on the floor in their entries.

I think extending the brick as Arlena said is actually a very creative idea that I can see lots of applications for.

In this case I would not suggest if you are going to sell as I don't think you need to do that and you have an expense and the question of making it blend in, in a natural way with the existing as you look at it from the side.

Not to beat a dead horse...is it dead? The reason I suggest the columner ( plants that grow up and can be kept tightly maintained like a green column) is that it adds softness, verticalness, architectualness, and they do not look messy and they do not gobble up you cute little landing when you place them agains the wall.

I never really felt your doorway was a real problem just the way it is. I think it look attractive. I think a bench will take too much room and draw attention to the idea that this landing is too narrow to sit on, which was not an issue until you brought it up to them.

The green of the potted columns accentuates the formal nature and extends your garden to the hardscape of your stairs and front porch.

As to the little concrete dog. The concrete is substanitive, art that becomes that focal point at the end of the landing, just waiting for it's owner to come "HOME" each day. You can google concrete dog with basket and you will find many. It also repeats the concrete of your driveway in a very artful way.

Keep your potted columns right up agains the stone, so that you can see the little dog at the end that is greeting your guests.

No baskets on the railing of geraniums as it will start to be too busy. If you want geraniums plant them at the base of the black pots. But the essential is to keep it neat and tight.

So , I am apologizing if I push, but I have the experience in undrestanding the reality of the dreams as I have been fortunate enough to execute them over and over and I can tell, if you are not careful, your front porch is going to look like a busy catch all.

In my professional opinion... M.P.
0 Likes   February 18, 2013 at 5:39PM
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Mary Poulos Interior and Exterior Design
0 Likes   February 18, 2013 at 5:43PM
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Mary Poulos Interior and Exterior Design



In just a quick search, for a picture, here is the value of the green columns, playing against the height of the stone on the front of your porch.
0 Likes   February 18, 2013 at 5:51PM
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Keitha
Dawn , maybe a simple tall topiary by the front door and that's it!!
0 Likes   February 18, 2013 at 7:02PM
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Dawn
Thanks so much! Mary P, do I put the dog to the right of the door or left? Or at top of the stairs where people will see as they are walking up?
2. Do I paint whole door frame black?
3. Do I put the tall columnar plants to the left of the door
4. What do u think of keeping that bench right where I put it to take a picture? I love it and want to keep it but it might shout that the porch is too small for it to fit. I think I am answering my own ?!
5. I love your ideas and am going to do them. Need to start looking for the stamp for the concrete, the plants, and the dog Andy I am done! Now for the rest of the house!
0 Likes   February 18, 2013 at 9:06PM
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Mary Poulos Interior and Exterior Design
Yes! :o) Dawn I will try to do a quick sketch and see if I can scan it in to my computer. My scanner has been a little touchy.
0 Likes   February 18, 2013 at 10:54PM
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snowy64
Paint the pots a nice red . Put plants in as suggested. Perhaps some potted colour around the shrubs under the window. It would have been helpful to see a photo by day ...nice property that needs a minor makeover..... The stairs re ok . There was no other choice building wise . Good Luck .
0 Likes   February 18, 2013 at 11:06PM
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Mary Poulos Interior and Exterior Design
0 Likes   February 18, 2013 at 11:15PM
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hparks74
@darzy I too live in Tn and Real estate commissions are rarely negotiable. Only if you are using one of those companies that do little or no marketing beyond MLS. Fortunately TN has not felt the housing crunch that many other states have. My husband and I sold our home before it even hit the market. As for staging, that is an invaluable tool but I would hope one would not have to hire someone to help them live minimally until the house is moved.
0 Likes   February 18, 2013 at 11:17PM
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Mary Poulos Interior and Exterior Design
http://www.monstermarketplace.com/lawn-ornaments-and-fountains/lawn-ornaments-dog-statue-solid-concrete-retriever-with-basket-planter-left-32-5in-h-x-15in-w-x-26-5in-l-shown-in-classic-amber-75-call-f

I know nothing of these vendors, I am showing you these so you can get an idea. Any good statuary dealer in your area probably has or can direct you to one.
0 Likes   February 18, 2013 at 11:23PM
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Mary Poulos Interior and Exterior Design
http://www.cuttingedgestencils.com/classical-stencils-for-walls.html

Do something like this "Hermitage Acanthus Stencil" in all black at the base of your stair and seal it. You could find something different. You could have a local muralist paint a circle with classical florishes and the word HOME in a beautiful script. in black. This are just ideas of something you could do at th entry. Keeping in mind less is more...less will be more elegant in the end.
0 Likes   February 19, 2013 at 12:05AM
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Mary Poulos Interior and Exterior Design
Okay this is just a little fast sketch- conceptual only, not to scale. To give you an idea of the relative locations.
0 Likes   February 19, 2013 at 1:31AM
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auroraborealus
Back to your question. Save your money and time: KISS. You have too much texture happening here.
Unify the entire door, side light and brickmold trim in same colour.
Leave the rail black or dark grey as it is less noticeable from the street (1st Impression!) In this case less is more! Save your money
Add a huge (3-4Ft diameter) potted planter at the far end of patio and /or add a large stunning bench so people will feel welcome and come sit a while. Replace the stingy mailbox, it looks like a hole in the brick wall right now. Keep the planter, bench and mailbox in same shade of dark grey or black because you have too much stone and brick happening. You may even use the same gallon of paint to unify everything. When the paint is dry, sit on the bench and enjoy your yard and view: someone will drive by and want what you have. Cheers
1 Like   February 19, 2013 at 1:56AM
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Mary Poulos Interior and Exterior Design
Dawn, see if you can look at this discussion. He talks about using columnar plants, and he shows a picture of a brick wall, a black door with white trim and spiral columnar plant

http://www.houzz.com/discussions/352127/Columnar-Plants-Add-Interest-To-Any-Landscape
0 Likes   February 19, 2013 at 3:37PM
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someonehere
Just add some bushes and maybe even a bike rack.
0 Likes   February 19, 2013 at 6:14PM
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someonehere
Maybe even add a patio area with a small fire pit and some foldable chairs.
0 Likes   February 19, 2013 at 6:16PM
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Dawn
Yes Mary I saw that and I totally agree. Will do!
0 Likes   February 19, 2013 at 6:38PM
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Darzy
@hparks74. In my previous career, I've sold a lot of real estate under Coldwell Banker (in California) and also staged or consulted for my clients. Negotiating commissions is not uncommon here. Also, if Dawn offers her agent the opportunity to find them a realtor at their new location, he/she will get a referral fee and a portion of the new purchase commission. So, the realtor may accept a lower sales commission because of the future referral fee percentage. And, you'd be surprised how many sellers really, really need help staging their home, in varying degrees of need. I'd say 95%! What is obvious to you and me is totally oblivous to a homeowner who really has no "designed to sell" sense. Dawn has a lovely home but I would recommend she remove 80% of the items on the "plant shelf" above the french door.

Mary Poulos and others. I'm curious...do you think 95% of home sellers need some sort of staging advice or is that too high an estimate?
3 Likes   February 20, 2013 at 7:21AM
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Mary Poulos Interior and Exterior Design
Hi Darzy, I too worked for Coldwell Banker in California (small world). What you are saying in every way is absolutely correct. Just like you said, Potential Sellers like everyone, DO NOT KNOW WHAT THEY DO NOT KNOW. Sorry to capitalize, but this is an important point. Just because the seller can not visual or understand the potential of their home they are missing, or problems they don't believe exist, does not mean they do not exist.

And, sellers are not objective about their homes. "I like it", so they expect everyone else will as well. Or they make the the fatal mistake of "I'm not going to fix it up, I will leave that to the Buyer".

Here is the problem, and I am not saying this to Darzy, because she knows this well herself, and I believe she will back me up. I am saying this to those of you who haven't had the experience of walking through homes with Buyers and understanding how they look at things:

Seller: We will reduce the asking price and the Buyer can take care of this themselves.

Buyer: This house needs a lot work, we are going to take this off of our asking price. (Buyer disregards that your lower price takes into consideration all they plan to do.

This equals a double price cut. And then you, the seller, are going to be hit with the results of their inspection, which, had you addressed those items before it went on the market, perhaps would have resulted in a higher sales price, but now are just resulting in ANOTHER price cut in form of a repair. (Example an issue in the wall behind the outdated ugly tile. End result newer beautiful tile, perhaps the home would have attracted more enthusiastic offers when on the market had they been looking at the newer beautiful tile at that time.

Many designers are drawn to real estate at some time, because it naturally interests them. Because that is where the rooms are that they are constantly designing. And, I can bet you Darzy has flipped a home or two, or more. It is fun. We, as realtor/designers see potentials and problems others do not, and now how to make economically friendly changes that garner to us large returns on our investment and time.

If home staging and preparation did not work, there wouldn't be all the investors buying and flipping homes. They can, because unknowingly, sellers are leaving thousands of dollars on the table for someone else because they "can not afford" to stage, or "staging it myself" . At the very least it would be penny wise and pound foolish not to have a professional "stager", WITH real estate experience, in for a consultation, and then YOU do the work. You will be amazed how people like this can very quickly dissect the problems and give you great direction.

It is amazing the problems buyers will overlook if you can catch them emotionally.

Another good point you brought up is the referral fee. Darzy is correct. That is a possible point of savings for you. If instead of what is often a standard 6% commission, you have negotiated 5% commission, and your listing agents agrees that they will accept 5% of that while still offering the selling agent 3%. That would be good.

But, if they do what a lot of agents/agency do, and split the commission 50/50, now you are asking a buyer's agent, to take a deduction as well. If it is a seller's market that is probably okay. In a buyer's market, there could be agents who will show homes first that offered them their full 3% commission. It is a case maximizing the profitability of your client.

This is how I see it Darzy, fun topic, what do you think?
1 Like   February 20, 2013 at 9:59AM
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Mary Poulos Interior and Exterior Design
Hi Darzy,

Yes I agree she has beautiful windows, stone, bookcases etc. But she needs to have someone come in and help her edit the the number and placement of items on shelves. You got it lady!
0 Likes   February 20, 2013 at 10:18AM
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Mary Poulos Interior and Exterior Design
Dawn are you going to shoot us pictures when your are done?
1 Like   February 20, 2013 at 10:20AM
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Darzy
Ditto Ditto Mary Poulos! You got it! I remember reading an article implying that realtors were only interested in "quick sales for commissions" for their clients because statistics had shown that realtors personal home sales and properties averaged higher sales price than non realtors. It's not that at all! Most realtors know HOW to get the best price and if clients trusted and follow the advice of their realtor, they would be better off. (Not in all cases of course!).
1 Like   February 20, 2013 at 10:50AM
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handymam
I still think the sidelight next to the door should be painted black like the door.
0 Likes   February 20, 2013 at 11:02AM
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hollyskog
I think if you are selling the house I would do the least you can do A burnt orange bench for a little color and maybe a flower box on railing with some of the same colors. Keep it dark like the railing so the bench and the flowers pop.. There is really nothing that wrong with the entrance. It wouldn't stop me from checking out the house?
0 Likes   February 20, 2013 at 11:24AM
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Dawn
No, I find it very interesting! Thanks! I was wondering too if you could send someone a private message. Thanks Darzy for the comment on the area above the French doors. I will definitely take some things down. We are planning on taking half the stuff out of here and also using different furniture. My neighbor has a huge basement we are going to use and she has some very nice twin trundle beds we are going to put in our kids bedrooms. Our bedroom is on the small side so we are going to put my sons queen sleigh bed in our bedroom and take all of the furniture out. Keep just a few pieces in. I bought some beautiful neutral bedding and will do the same for kids room. We are painting and de-cluttering big time. I totally believe that staging sells. We had that with our last house. I am meeting with realtors on Monday that have sold a lot in this area. We shall see what they say.
I definitely will take pictures when we are done. If we find that the market hasn't come back enough I m thinking that we might have to wait a year. That way we will not be in such a rush to sell so that our kids can start school at the beginning of the year. We could do the work ourselves AND I could get my real estate license now so next spring I can list the house. We can move anytime. We just want to go now but I also don't want to lose our shirts financially. We will have to pay for this move. We moved here from Colorado 5 1/2 yrs ago and everything was paid for. Now my husband works for a different company. His boss lives in the UK. His boss said, "I don't care where your home is as long as you are never in it!" So it will be interesting. I will keep you posted

Darzy that was exactly what I was getting at regarding the real estate commission. I thought if the broker gave us a deal and paid the agent who sells the house the 3% and then got something from the broker who represents us on the other side, that might work. We are probably going to spend at least $100,000 more down there since the rates are so low.
0 Likes   February 20, 2013 at 1:55PM
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Dawn
Darzy, I just read your comment again and I remember reading something about that to, that re agents sell their houses for more. I do believe that they are more apt to be designers, not all, but some. I have met some doozys in my time! I really want to get my license and take some design courses. I use to be a retirement planner for people in the public sector but have always been interested in real estate. So glad I found this site last week!
1 Like   February 20, 2013 at 2:16PM
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Keitha
Hrparks is right about the real estate market in Tn. I've never had real estate in Colorado or California but I watch House Hunters!!! LOL :-). I think the housing market is quite different here in the South and after being a Southerner for 5 yrs. I bet Dawn can " charm" those potential buyers y'all !
1 Like   February 20, 2013 at 8:22PM
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Dawn
It can be, I m betting that you live near Nashville, we live in a gated community in a golf/tennis/swim where the golf part is having financial problems. We bought our house in 2007 at the height of the market for $450 and will be lucky to get 400. So we have felt the crunch. This will be the first time we have lost money on a home. I have spoken to an agent already who said she would negotiate if she can get a fee on the other end. We shall see. I m willing to stay cuz our house is finally going up but my husband wants out now! Would be nice to sell before it hit the market. What did the agent do there? Would love to know!
0 Likes   February 20, 2013 at 8:32PM
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Keitha
Good guess Dawn! We've lived here for many years and are contemplating a move too! We built our home 14 yrs. ago and although we definitely won't make the profits that we've made in the past we will be downsizing and should recoup our investment. You are certainly willing to do everything within reason to make your home appealing to buyers.
1 Like   February 20, 2013 at 9:33PM
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cyn222
I would go with stairs that go straight down. This is far too distracting to your entry.
0 Likes   February 20, 2013 at 9:51PM
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Dawn
If I had to live in Tennessee, Nashville would be the place! Beautiful and much more progressive than the rest of the state!
0 Likes   February 21, 2013 at 6:20AM
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Mary Poulos Interior and Exterior Design
H Dawn, Just checking in to see how you are doing?
1 Like   February 24, 2013 at 3:27PM
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Dawn
Hi Mary, have been in NYC, a lot going in. Here us my email, don't want to post here! omalley.dawn.24@gmail.com.
Don't know any other way to do this!
0 Likes   February 28, 2013 at 7:26PM
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melanie8929
Where can you find tall(120 in)! Long drapes ?
0 Likes   February 28, 2013 at 8:11PM
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Dawn
I have no idea where u can get drapes!
0 Likes   February 28, 2013 at 8:45PM
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Mary Poulos Interior and Exterior Design
Hi Dawn, how are you and your new home coming? :o)
0 Likes   July 24, 2013 at 9:58AM
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