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As we ring in the new year we celebrate new trends. Trends tend to typically be a reflection of the world around us in present time, but can also overlap with past years. Today we share a wood preservation technique that is so on-trend but dates back to the 18th century!

Shou Sugi Ban (焼杉板) or Yakisugi is an ancient Japanese wood preservation technique most commonly used to protect a home’s exterior. This process not only preserves the wood but it also provides extreme resistance and protection from weather, insects, rot, and even accidental fires. Even more, Shou Sugi Ban combines aesthetic and strength for a stunning charcoal look that can be used both indoors and out.

The Technique

Char, cool, clean, finish.

Wait what, fire and wood? That’s right, Shou Sugi Ban involves charring or burning a wood’s surface to accomplish a distinct charcoal finish without any paint or harsh chemicals. The process is so eco-friendly all you basically need is a blowtorch, water, and a brush. The wood can either be left in its natural state or can be sealed with boiled linseed oil or tung oil providing a lustrous finish with prolonged preservation.

To give you more of a visual, we met up with contractor Shawn Collard, owner of Shawn Collard Construction for an inside look at the process.

(Note: Shawn used a 100-year-old longleaf pine wood, which is really difficult to burn. For this method, it is highly recommended to use cedar or “sugi” in Japanese.)

The Trend

Aside from its durability features, Shou Sugi Ban is totally gorgeous! This technique really brings out the unique attributes that wood contains, highlighting its imperfections. It’s a natural way to give any piece of wood a makeover while conserving its integrity.

(Take a moment to admire this light fixture! Can you believe it, Shawn revamped this beam from reclaimed wood, applying the Shou Sugi Ban method and these very cool lights.)

Shou Sugi Ban is truly versatile, notice below how the wood can merely burn on the surface to fairly bring out the texture or char completely to give it a dark alligator skin complexion.

(Image via DIYMatrix.com)

As Shawn demonstrated, the technique can really enhance a home’s interior. However, it is not limited to a feature wall and can also be achieved on furniture or even reclaimed lumber beams such as the ones below. Shou Sugi Ban is limitless and we simply love the way it adds to a home and creates a new twist on shiplap.

That’s all for now! We’d love to know your thoughts and which application of Shou Sugi Ban is your fave.

For more insight on the latest trends, check out our 2018 Design Trends Course!

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Introducing Kristy Craig Anderson with Dwell Home Staging serving the Tampa Bay, Florida area.

How long have you been in business?

We have been in business for 3 and half years.

Are you solo or have a team?

We have a team of 8 wonderful staging professionals!

Describe any specific challenges you are facing.

We recently moved into a much larger warehouse and brought our moving and logistics in-house with our own 26 ft truck. We are struggling a bit with perfecting processes and procedures for storage, moving, and inventory tracking. It’s a lot of trial and error…..It is a work in progress!

What got you into staging in the first place?

Growing up my amazing mom – who was very young and put herself through college while working full time and raising me – pushed me to work hard, be independent, and follow my own path. We moved from one small apartment to another – sometimes once or twice a year – and she allowed me to decorate each so they would feel like home to us. I used blankets as curtains, painted shoe box tops for artwork… I learned first-hand how the aesthetics of a space creates an impactful emotional experience and determines how “at home” we feel there. As an adult I began interior decorating as a hobby and then as a small side business, and then in 2014 tried my hand at home staging as the Tampa real estate market was so hot. It grew so quickly that within 6 months I left my amazing former career in education and started staging full time.

What was your previous career?

I was a middle school teacher and Assistant Principal for 12 years. Staging is quite different!

What do you know now that you wished you knew on your first day of business?

That screwing up royally is how you become a business owner rockstar. I’ve learned the most about how to be a better designer, leader, and entrepreneur through many painful and sometimes hysterical mistakes.

What has been your biggest business challenge and how did you overcome it?

My biggest challenge was growing very quickly. It sounds ridiculous (like, “Oh, poor her…. the business grew too quickly…waaaaah”), but the pace of the first couple of years was tough…. a team of 2, multiple vacant stages a week, renting furniture from a vendor and traipsing back and forth to our warehouse with a trailer for decor…working through the night and still not being able to take all the business coming our way. For me, the solution was partnering with a group of business owners/investors. They brought much-needed strategic insight and capital to the business, and we were able to expand our team and resources so we can keep up with demand. Partnering is not for everyone, but for me it has been fantastic.

What objection have you heard from a client and how did you overcome it?

We sometimes get push back on pricing when prospects get other staging quotes that are cheaper. We need to consistently sell our value and illustrate to prospective clients that comparing a $900 vacant quote and a $2000 vacant quote is not comparing apples to apples. We are more expensive because we have a higher quality product.

See more of Kristy’s work on her Facebook page and Instagram page.

We love seeing all your beautiful work, so remember to tag #stagingstudiofav on Instagram for a chance to be featured!

If you want to learn more tips and staging strategies, our Staging Design Professional course includes everything you need to be a BOSS Stager!

We also created a free video series for you, to help you become more profitable in your staging business.

If you are a realtor and would like to earn your Staging Design Agent designation, you can learn more here.

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Love this infographic by our friends at ABL1.net! Here is what they had to say about these mistakes: New House Flipper Mistake #1: Not Assembling Your Team

You might be a superstar, but flipping a property is a team sport. At the very least you’ll need a real estate agent to help you sell the finished product, a real estate attorney to protect you and ensure the transactions go smoothly, and of course a source of funding to allow you to leverage your capital. As we mentioned before, if your flip includes any rehabilitation to the property your team will also need a trusted general contractor who can do the work on time and on budget. Many real estate investors also benefit from having a trusted CPA on their team to advise them on the complex accounting sometimes involved in these deals, as well as an insurance agent that can guide them through the world of liability protection.

New House Flipper Mistake #2: Not Vetting The General Contractor

Unfortunately, sometimes things go wrong during the course of a property flip. After over 700 deals, what we’ve found is that the majority of issues new investors have during their first flip are the result of contractor issues. Delays, underestimation of costs, and generally unprofessional behavior are the most common source of headaches for new flippers. In order to counter this, we ask our borrowers to thoroughly vet their contractor and follow some best practices for selecting the right one to do the job.

  • Local real estate investor associations are a great place to find referrals for companies that others in your situation have already vetted.
  • Always see their work for yourself by physically visiting at least two of their projects in your area.
  • Get bids from a few contractors. This will not only give you a better opportunity to find the right fit, but give you a better idea of what your proposed scope of work should actually cost. Make sure to ask for an itemized scope of work.
New House Flipper Mistake #3: Not Staging The Home

Yes, hiring a professional service to stage your home increases your out of pocket expenses by around $1500 to $1800. However, like everything else about your deal – staging the home is an investment. On the surface, potential home buyers can more easily relate to a professionally staged home because it is not only clean, but decorated in a way that allows the buyer to imagine themselves living there.

The National Association Of Realtors polled their members and found that an incredible 96% of Realtors believe that staging has a positive impact on a potential buyer’s perception of the home. Additionally, studies prove that staged homes sell up to 2.5 times quicker than non-stages homes and for about 17% more. When you consider the costs saved from flipping the property quicker plus the higher sale price thanks to the improved perception of the property, home staging is an easy decision.

New House Flipper Mistake #4: Holding On Too Long

You probably do great work, and the value you’ve added to the property is incredible. However, this sense of pride and accomplishment new investors have regarding their first finished flip can sometimes cause unrealistic expectations for how much money they’ll sell it for. The truth is, the quicker you flip the property the better off you’ll be. Holding on to the property in hopes of a higher offer leads to an increase in soft costs; everything from interest expenses to taxes and utilities that will ultimately eat into the deal’s profit. Additionally, the quicker you flip the property the quicker you’re able to re-invest your money into the next deal.

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Join us as we take an in-depth look at the Interior Design Trends for 2018. You will learn not just what the current trends are, but the background on why they are hot right now. See the ‘runway’ look and then learn how to incorporate it appropriately into your staging and design work.

Find out what is the latest in paint colors, inspiration, art installations, wood finishes, accessories, and so much more. Get the inside scoop on what is hot and what is not.

Buyers want a fresh, updated home as they begin a new chapter in their lives. It is our job as stagers to create that feel for them. Make sure your staging is on target for your market through this fun and enlightening mini-course.

You will learn:

-The new direction in paint colors

-New words and phrases to add to your design vocabulary

-Tips for affordably incorporating trends into your staging

-On-trend wood finish techniques

-Current interior design style

-The latest animal muse of design

-History and trend cycles behind the current styles

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Hey everyone!  I’m Andress, the newest member of My Staging Studio’s team, and I’m taking over the blog today to tell you about my new home that we are renovating.  We are calling it the “Providence House” and it is a beautiful, historic home in New England.  Built in 1852, the home has gorgeous hardwood floors, lots of space, and an amazing walkable location.  But when my husband and I were looking for a house in the area (we moved from the U.K. for his job), we didn’t even consider this one because the floorpan was so bad.  The kitchen is at the very back of the house, isolated from all living areas, with no clear path to get to it!

Photo via www.residentialproperties.com

It is a seller’s market right now and we were getting a bit desperate to find a house, but one evening over drinks we happened to show my mom, Debbie Boggs from My Staging Studio, the options we had to choose from.  (There were only about 3 houses available in the area!)  And we got lucky!  She had VISION for this house that we just couldn’t see ourselves.  “Why not MOVE the KITCHEN??”  Brilliant!  With the idea of moving the existing kitchen to the dining room and knocking down the wall into the library to create one big kitchen/living space, we were SOLD on this house!

Photos via www.residentialproperties.com

We closed last week and we have been knocking down walls, refinishing the floors, and beginning the process of moving the kitchen cabinets to their new location.  The new kitchen/library is looking great as one big open space.

We’ve already hit a few snags though…

After ripping up the carpet on the stairs, we found that there are big cracks between the stairs.  What should we do?? Wood filler?  A molding? Carpet runner?

And then while taking the cabinets out so that we could paint them white and move them to the new location (what is currently the dining room), we found that the wood floor does not go all the way under the cabinets.  Big bummer.  So do we tile or try to match the wood?

And for our last puzzle… what stain color do we choose for the newly refinished floors?  Downstairs they are red oak, but upstairs we have a mixture of the same red oak and wide plank pine.  We are leaning toward Minwax’s Special Walnut (SW) or Provincial (P).  Remember, my cabinets will be painted white.  Which would you do?

Comment and let us know what you think we should do: runner or some other fix on stairs? tile or find wood to match? and pleeeeeeease help us pick a stain color asap!

If you are a realtor and would like to learn how to give your clients vision for homes like this, and earn your Staging Design Agent designation, you can learn more here.

If you want to learn more tips and staging strategies, our Staging Design Professional course includes everything you need to be a BOSS Stager!

We also created a free video series for you, to help you become more profitable in your staging business.

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Cook up the perfectly staged bed!

Watch the video to learn the secret ingredients in our special sauce that will save you time and money, and result in a fabulous look.

What staging ‘How To’ videos would you most like to see? Let us know in the comments below so we can give you the answers you are looking for.

If you want to learn more tips and staging strategies, our Staging Design Professional course includes everything you need to be a BOSS Stager!

We also created a free video series for you, to help you become more profitable in your staging business.

If you are a realtor and would like to earn your Staging Design Agent designation, you can learn more here.

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Introducing Leigh Newport with Staged by Design serving the Northern Virginia area.

How long have you been in business?

I have been in business 10 years.

Are you solo or have a team?

We have a team of three part-time employees and one full-time employee.

Describe any specific challenges you are facing.

We are currently working towards expanding to include in-house movers. Finding reliable, professional movers at an affordable rate has been an ongoing challenge.

What got you into staging in the first place?

Mine is a story similar to my peers. In 2005, we were living in Northern California, and placed our home on the market. Our Realtor included the services of a stager in her marketing and the stager asked, “Who designed my house”. When I responded that I did, she said, “well, if you did this, you can stage”. The seed was planted at that time, as I always loved interior design and was the one in my circle of friends that was asked to help with colors, or select furniture. When I was flying to Virginia from California, the article in the in-flight magazine featured Barb Schwarz and discussed staging and the industry as a whole. I took that as a sign, and made a decision to become a Home Stager. In 2007, I took the leap into opening my own business, despite the fact that my youngest was only two at the time.

What was your previous career?

Fifteen years of Hospitality Management and Corporate Training with Marriott International.

What do you know now that you wished you knew on your first day of business?

I wished I had known that you can run your business, not have the business run YOU. Ten years in, that seems simplistic and what should be considered common sense, but often is the opposite when you are first starting out. I wish I’d had the confidence to turn down a project or client that wasn’t a good fit much sooner. Learning to say “no” is just as empowering as your ability to say “yes” and allows you the freedom to find your ideal client/business partner and truly grow your business.

What has been your biggest business challenge and how did you overcome it?

Managing the Human Resources side of the business is perhaps the most difficult aspect of the business for me. Our staff is still small, and we operate as a tight-knit group, closer to family than co-workers. When someone leaves for any reason, there is an adjustment period, which is normal for any business, but it has greater impact in a small environment. It also forces me, as the business owner to redirect my time with elements of training that immerse me into working IN the business, instead of ON it.

Turnover is natural, and expected. Peoples lives and circumstances change, and the last thing you want is someone who is unhappy in their role. I have learned that creating the systems for training, expedites the process, and creates a more streamlined integration into our environment.

Above that, I have learned to be resilient. I have the faith that the next person who joins us will be even better than the staff that is moving on, and brings an opportunity to do more and grow.

What objection have you heard from a client and how did you overcome it?

We face the same objections as our peers. From lack of funds to an unwillingness to prepare a home for the next seller. I have started including the following into my consultation “introduction” when I first sit meet the client and am in the process of building rapport. “I am only here to make you money, and to make sure any funds you do direct towards improvements don’t cost you a penny more than they should”. Sometimes getting to the heart of the matter helps them to understand that you are on their side.

My biggest win in overcoming an objection from an agent was being “interviewed” by an agent looking to work with a stager. She hoped I would reduce my consultation fee by $50, given the amount of listings she has per year. I shared that I provide my best clients that utilize my services consistently and regularly with referrals and gave over 2 million dollars in referrals last year for sellers that were ready to list, and those had already paid the consultation fee. I said, “Instead of reducing my rate, I can give you at least one referral a year to offset the cost of my services to ALL your clients”. She was taken aback for just a second, then said, “I like that idea”.

See more of Leigh’s work on her Facebook page and Instagram page.

We love seeing all your beautiful work, so remember to tag #stagingstudiofav on Instagram for a chance to be featured weekly!

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You will love this super easy DIY trick for hanging pictures. For the full tutorial, watch the above video.

Start with the nail on one side.

Then use the DIY Art Stick made from a paint stick and screw (complete details in video).

Use the Art Stick and a level to mark the correct placement of the second nail.

What tricks do you use for hanging art? Share them in the comments below.

If you want to learn more tips and staging strategies for art, our Staging Design Professional™ course includes an entire module on ART, including scale, how high to hang, using art to direct the eye, selecting, and much more.

We also created a free video series for you, to help you become more profitable in your staging business.

If you are a realtor and would like to earn your Staging Design Agent™ designation, you can learn more here.

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There have been a lot of questions posted recently in the Facebook Staging groups about virtual staging. Many stagers have concerns that the photo-shopped fake will hurt their very real business. To quote Marvin Gaye, “So glad we got the real thing, Baby!”

Wish we could show you the virtually staged images of this home, but pretty sure that would break about 39 copyright laws. What we can do is tell you the story. With budgets tight, the investor opted for ‘Virtual Staging’ instead of the admittedly more expensive true staging.

3 months and over $100,000 in price reductions later (insert poop emoji here!), the builder decided it was time to bring in the Staging Design Professionals™.

Some virtual staging can be quite realistic and look beautiful. It can be useful in getting prospective buyers to come and view the property. Several problems here, though. First, I can’t say that I have personally seen any of that realistic and beautiful computer-generated work…and I have seen plenty of VS images.

Second, any buyer is still going to be sorely disappointed when they go to see the home in person. Big. Letdown.

They can put an image on an easel to give an idea of how the room could look, but how much more effective it is to experience first-hand how the space would function.

The purpose of staging is not just to make a space beautiful, but also to show how it can function. In this case, the virtual missed the boat in several ways.

This outdoor area looked pretty bleak, and I have toadmit that the virtually staged image was a big improvement. However, the patio seating area that they showed here would seem absurd to anyone who physically went to the home, as this is actually the driveway, and all of that pretty furniture would be plowed over when you tried to park in the garage.

This is the correct outdoor area to be staged.

There were a number of issues in this home that vacant staging was able to resolve, where VS couldn’t touch them.

The awkward placement of this toilet is all you have to think about when vacant. Let’s give them something else to talk about! Now attention is focused on that gorgeous tile work.

Without furniture defining the space, it was difficult to imagine where you would put a dining table.

Staging defined the area and created a natural flow.

The kitchen had a confusing blank spot.

Staging made its purpose clear.

Aside from the fact that the furniture in the loft picture was out of scale and couldn’t possibly fit into that space, the virtual image displayed on an easel wasn’t enough to draw your attention away from another awkward toilet waiting to greet you at the top of the stairs.

A strategically placed console provided the perfect distraction.

Bottom line, Staging Design Professionals™ have great job security! Stagers provide true value to their clients.

What about you? What has been your experience with virtual staging?

If you  want to learn how to become a Staging Design Professional™ , check out the courses we offer here.  We also created a free video series for you, to help you become more profitable in your staging business.

If you are a realtor and would like to earn your Staging Design Agent™ designation, you can learn more here.

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