As we all know, targeting a lifestyle is a well established design niche for both retailers and designers -from big box stores to model home designers, lifestyle design is all about knowing how your ideal client lives. Today, it's about fine tuning the enjoyment of your home. The most expensive thing we own, the one place in this unsure world we can feel safe - Home, now more than ever is where the heart is.
Take a stroll through the Home & Garden department at your local Wal-Mart, Target or Costco. That area no longer just houses pots, towels and trowels - Now, there are whole tempting outdoor rooms presented to you, eye candy equipped with beautiful planters, outdoor chandeliers and matching Melamine tableware. Catalogs like Grandin Road, Napa Style, or Smith & Hawken are totally focused on lifestyle design.
Old school homemaking is now big business. From going organic, brewing beer, to planting your own kitchen garden - the urban "Homestead" is hot! Last year I staged a very high-end home that had a Porsche in the garage, but rain barrels and a kitchen garden in the back yard. This month's Martha Stewart Living has a full feature on an upscale home planned around a garden. This past Sunday's Chicago Tribune had an article on kitchen gardens titled " Food for the Soul." Even the home party plan arena has gone from selling Tupperware to Wine Accessories and Green Cleaning Products.
Why? After 9-11, our safe haven became our home and the rise of using our home as the main entertaining zone. We were staying in, instead of going out and the movement has stayed "in-trend" since then.
We even staycation rather than vacation...
With the downward dip our economy has taken, we're using and valuing our entire home more than ever and looking for economical solutions too. From garages, carved out backyard rooms to kitchen gardens - From curbside to back fence everyone is celebrating every inch of their home.
So when it comes to Home Staging and packaging that home for sale, it's important to keep lifestyle design as one of your basic home staging strategies. As an example, I conducted a Home Staging consultation yesterday for a young couple relocating back to their Michigan roots. The home is in a cute suburb, with a boutique downtown that attracts their age group. In their 30's, this young couple with two toddlers in tow, are heavy entertainers, shop their town and dabble in gardening and yes - the garage is dapper too. As part of our staging plan, we incorporated those lifestyle choices - Since the predictable buyer will be someone just like them! Here are a few of my home staging tips and ideas for the seller -
•· Make sure the public areas of the home have a great open flow plan and are conducive to family & friends for casual living and entertaining. Make sure to establish rooms for their particular purpose and lifestyle - From a great cozy conversational seating areas in the living room, a TV viewing basement family room - to staging the built-in hutch in the kitchen with key entertaining pieces - Every space should read "This room is great for..."
•· Fresh. Take the extra effort and use real instead of fake. From a big bowl of real lemons, fragrant Key limes to a lovely orchid or tulip bouquet - Real speaks to the 5 senses and gives the home the essence of life.
•· Breeze Way is staged from floor to with bulletin board with great places to shop, dine and go, from Yoga class down to the "Whole Food" bags.
•· Backyard is "decked" out with furniture, vibrant container gardens, situated man grill, all to beckon the buyers to see the back half of this commodity.
•· Stage the garden - Budding gardeners, the kitchen garden that went in last year will be planted and maintained and featured as part of the home.
Since 1999, interior stylist Julea Joseph has owned Chicago area based interior design and home staging business - Reinventing Space. Your can see her work on HGTV or in the news giving homeowners expert insight on how to refresh, style and celebrate their space -Whether prepping their home to go on the market, just settling in, or just in need of a change.
Julea also offers her expertise with certification training and mentoring offerings to Realtors, Home Stagers and Interior Redesigners in the industry. Visit her site, JULEA.com or Interior Stylist Program for more information or email her at Julea@Julea.com.