Sunday, February 23, 2014

A Stormy Staging Experience!

Recently, North Carolina was hammered with an unusually heavy snowstorm that left most of us snowbound for a few days!  Rare snow events of this magnitude happen here in central North Carolina only once or twice each decade, so I relished every moment of this one!  I thoroughly enjoyed spending that first snow day relaxing on my sofa and watching the snow fall for an entire afternoon, into the evening hours!  The following day, my son and I sledded with our good friends for most of the day and again, by candlelight, that night!  What fun!

However, today's blog is about a storm of a different kind that I experienced just a few days prior to that beautiful snowstorm.  It began on a Friday afternoon, when I received word that my proposal to stage a home in our town had been accepted, and I would be expected to have the home ready for photographing by the following Friday.  I spent most of Saturday feverishly shopping for furniture, art, accessories, and rugs. Then, on Sunday morning, rumors of a big snowstorm moving in on Thursday began to circulate, and I felt a little uneasy about finishing the job in just four days, but I remained fairly confident that I could finish on time!  By Sunday evening, however, the forecast was changed to snow on Wednesday, and suddenly, I had two short days to finish shopping for furniture, moving everything in, and setting up the house! To say I was more than a little nervous about how I was going to pull this one off, is a gross understatement!

I am certain that, under these snowy circumstances, the realtor and the homeowners would have understood if I had postponed the staging until the following week, but I wanted to be able to enjoy this rare snow event!  I did not want to have even one thought concerning the how-to and the what-if challenges that are part of every installation that I complete.  I felt if I put my nose to the grindstone, I could get this job done in time to enjoy the impending snow days with my young son!  So, for the next two long days, I shopped, painted, arranged, rearranged, hammered, and drove many miles back and forth between Raleigh and Greensboro, determined to get the job done! And at 10:00 pm on Tuesday night, I put the finishing touches on the house and vacuumed my way out the front door, feeling completely exhausted, yet relieved and satisfied that I had given my very best effort to finish the job.  After a quick trip to the grocery store, I made it home just in time to savor every beautiful moment of the next two snow days!

Here are the before and after photos from that stormy staging experience:

Master Bedroom

 Master Bedroom Before
The headboard, nightstands, lamps, bench, and framed art were
consignment store finds.

Master Bedroom After
The Bachelor's Chest was a nice Craigslist find.
I purchased this lamp from Target.

The Dining Room

Dining Room Before
Dining Room After

My friend helped me paint these dining chairs and reupholster their seats.  I got them for a great deal at my favorite consignment store.
The table was from a wholesaler in High Point, NC.  Tuesday Morning had just received a shipment of rugs on Tuesday morning, and I snatched this navy trellis pattern one for a song!

The Family Room

Family Room Before

Family Room After

The chairs, the table, and the lamp are great consignment finds!

The sofa and the framed art were more great consignment finds!  The coffee table
and the side table were purchased from a High Point wholesaler.

The Sunroom

Sunroom Before

Sunroom After

The Reading Room
 Reading Room/Office Before

Looking back through the window as I headed home!
Reading Room After
The chairs and oval table were purchased
from the consignment store.  Baskets were a fun Tuesday Morning find.
The console table was from High Point.
  Hobby Lobby had a half-price sale on
their posters, making nice, inexpensive artwork!

Saturday, October 26, 2013


Staging a home to sell is the process of preparing a real estate property to go on the market so that it will appeal to the most home buyers.  Statistics show that a staged house sells more quickly than a home that has not been staged, and actually increases the value of the property. My goal when staging any property is to transform an ordinary property into a warm and inviting space that buyers can imagine themselves coming home to every day.

I have staged several properties over the last couple of months that sold very quickly after being on the market for many months prior to staging.  One property that had been on the market for over a year, went under contract nine days after we staged it.  Homeowners and Real Estate agents alike are very happy with the results after staging their properties.  The cost involved in staging a property is very low compared to the return that homeowners recoup when the house is sold.  According to, sellers who spent $500.00 on staging recovered over 343% of the cost when they sold their home.  

The staging process begins for me when the real estate agent contacts me about a property that they have recently listed that needs a little (or sometime a lot) of TLC.  I contact the homeowner and set up an appointment to meet with them.  The real estate agent usually pays me for that first, one-hour consultation, as a service to their client.  

During the meeting with the homeowner, I offer some ideas to them as we are touring the property. However, most of my advice to the homeowner is written in a room-by-room checklist that I email to them within 48 hours of our consultation.  The homeowner then has the option of implementing the changes on their own, or they call me to come back in and stage the home for them either by working with items they already own, or bringing in my own furniture, lighting, rugs, and accessories.

The following photos are from some of the properties I have staged over the last couple of months:

If you are thinking about putting your NC home on the market, and you are interested in staging your home, please feel free to contact Lee Ann Burkhart Interiors @ (336) 263-7424.  I will be happy to help you.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Design on a Dime!

I recently installed the fourth model home for a group of home developers out of Winston-Salem, NC.  Now that we have worked on several projects together, these clients are very familiar with my style and they trust me enough to let me design whatever I like as long as I stay within their budget.  However, I don't mind a budget at all; in fact, I like the challenge of making a room feel warm and inviting without spending a fortune.  My favorite type of room is one that appears the items have been collected over time rather than one that looks like someone went into a big- box store and bought everything to match, without much thought behind their selections.  When you are decorating on a budget, you often have to shop around for the best deals resulting in a finished room with that collected feel I like so much!

For this Master bedroom, I found great bargains at places like Tuesday Morning, TJ Maxx, HomeGoods, Ikea, Hobby Lobby, Marshalls, and some local consignment shops!

The sunburst mirror and framed marsh prints were ordered from my to-the-trade art vendors.  The Euro shams and sheets were TJ Maxx.  The duvet and insert were from Ikea.  
The upholstered headboard, mercury glass lamps, mirrored nightstands, and chevron pillows were all great Tuesday Morning finds.  The coverlet folded at the foot of the bed was from HomeGoods.

The midcentury modern dresser and the framed photo was from Ikea.  The large, round, beaded mirror was a great consignment store find.  The lamp and accessories were all TJ Maxx and Marshalls.

The midcentury modern chest of drawers was from Ikea.  The framed photo from Hobby Lobby.
 In the end, the room felt warm and cozy while staying well within the budget, making my clients and me very happy!

Friday, July 5, 2013

A Charming Cottage Before and After

One of my favorite home styles is a charming bungalow from the early twentieth century.  I was given the opportunity to stage one of these charming bungalows recently and I thought you might enjoy seeing some of the before and after shots from the project.  

The Living Room

The living room before.

Slipcovered sofa and chairs grounded by a navy and white striped rug give the room a comfortable, cottage feel.

The Entry

The first thing you see when you enter the home is this small fireplace that is in desperate need of some attention.

We used the homeowner's antique mirror along with some other accessories to bring this mantel to life.
The Dining Room

This antique sideboard belonged to the homeowner, and was a great starting point for the dining room.

All it needed was a few accessories, and a beautiful art piece to hang over the piece.

The Master Bath

The bathroom just needed a few accessories to add some color and personality to the space.

The Master Bedroom

The Master Bedroom had beautiful hardwood floors, but needed a few basic pieces to dress it up.

We added a wicker headboard, Pottery Barn bedding, and some simple accessories to turn this Master into a soothing restful, retreat.

                                                          The Office / TV Room

The Office/TV room needed a complete makeover, beginning with refinishing the floors.

One last shot of that small fireplace that would become the focal point of the room, but it started out as a real diamond in the rough.

We used the homeowner's mirror, books and art, filling in with a few of my own accessories.

The sweet homeowner is excited that her home looks so nice (even mentioning that she would like to move back in), and is finally ready to go on the market!  I have a feeling that this charming little cottage in Mebane, NC is going to sell fast!  If you are interested in living in the Mebane area, contact Keller Williams Realty to learn more about this charming bungalow!