I often get asked by clients and readers, to share my favourite places, products and things that keep me inspired. Here are some of the things I love.
Why the Pineapple? For those out there who know me, you are aware of my love of pineapples. For those of you who don't know me or, weren't aware of this facination, I love the symbolisim, the graphic nature and the fruit itself - but not ALL the time - I do like lots of other things too.
I chose the pineapple as my brand symbol because a) it is an appropriate representation of me: happy (sometimes prickley), sweet to the core, unlike it's (fruit) peers, lol. No seriously though, it is the universal symbol of welcome - which is how I always want my clients to feel - It is a historic symbol of affluence - which is what I want my clients to achieve - It makes me happy and happy is contagious - which makes everything way more fun.
Daily Indulgence: Ok, I don't go there everyday, but I do love a good Starbucks Americano and discovered many moons ago that you can "misto" (thick steamed milk) just about any beverage. Starbucks is my go-to because I love the cofee - yep I like it strong- and more than that I love the atmosphere. They've really got that part of their brand nailed down. I know, I know, most of you reading this are probably Timmies fans. For me, I just don't like it. But, whatever makes you happy is awesome.
Fusion® Mineral Paint: If you've never tried it, I highly recommend it! I get so excited talking about it because I know how incredible it is. It's the easiest, hassle free (no sanding or priming withmost surfaces), durable, pleasingly colourful, low/ no odour paint I've tried - and I've triedthem all! I love that you can transform something ordinary into something extraordinary, change the entire mood of a room with a newcolour and a few strokes. Just ask any of my clients what a little Fusion® did for their spaces. It's inexpensive and effective when staging a property for sale, and it's equally great for helping you pull together old or repurposed pieces in your new home too. My favourite place to pick it up is at Penney & Co in Whitby. Michael Penney's perfect little shop is always so inspiring and you'll get so many ideas with his assortment of painted Fusion® finds too.
Local, Local, Local: It's kind of a no brainer, right? If you shop, eat, spend, experience and support local then the small businesses and sometimes not so small businesses around you will do well. When businesses thrive, communities thrive and become more vibrant. Vibrant communities are in higher demand - who doesn't want to live in an awesome community? - Demand causes increased property values, which improves school quality, ammenities improve, access improves... and that's just good all around.
Use More Lamps: I love, love, love lamps, actually good lighting in general. One of the things I often notice when visiting clients is their shortage of lamps. To create an inviting mood, especially at night, it is as important as colour and style, but is often overlooked. Lighting is extremely essential for function and well being, especially when selling your home. You want to be able to enjoy your spaces at all times of day. Lamps evoke a quiet welcoming that a task light (pot light, ceiling light, etc.) cannot evoke. If you are short on lamps due to budget, one tip I share with clients is to visit Habitat for Humanity and pick up whatever lamps they have that day. Buy a can of flat black or white spray paint (because they are usually hideous) and spray the entire lamp, which creates an amazing, cheap, entirely new piece. You can hunt for great shades at various places like Value Village or other thrift stores, or you can go to HomeSense like I do and grab a new shade for your bargin lamp. Trust me you will wonder why you didn't do it sooner!
Seller Tip - 6 Seconds: First impressions are everything, so if you are prepping for sale don't forget about the exterior details a Buyer will notice from the curb. Even before the curb, ensure that the thumnail image they see when surfing the web is one which perfectly represents your home. I always use a professional photographer and advise that you choose a Realtor® who does the same. Don't forget to clean the windows, light fixtures and wipe the door handles. You only have 6 seconds to make that great first impression, so every detail is extremely important. Of course grass, leaves, etc. should all be maintained and sealing an older asphalt driveway with a satin not a gloss sealer is always a good idea.
Buyer Tip - No "Perfect" House: I hear it all the time from Buyers "We will wait for the "perfect" house to become available". My answer to that is always, there is no "perfect house", just perfect opportunities to find the perfect house for you. If you wait for one with the right colours, style, bells and whistles, in the location and for the price of your dreams, you may be waiting forever. In the meantime the market will change and your purchase window may close. Let your Realtor® guide and advise of the pros, cons and value of each property so that you can start creating your perfect home!
Best Landscape Element: If you are looking for something simple, quick and well behaved to add to your landscape, whether you are planning to sell or stay, Boxwoods are a great choice no matter what way your property faces. They are tidy, require little to no maintenance (except water!!), slow growing and green all year. They are not toxic to animals the way some evergreens are, so even pet owners can plant these worry free. Adding some white Hydrangeas in behind and a beautiful show stopping Japanese Maple, is a tried and true combination I have suggested and used hundreds of times with my clients. Choose dwarf varieties whenever possible and never worry about overgown shrubs that will require constant grooming in the future. Here is a list of my faves:
Sun or Shade
Green Gem Boxwood - mature size 2' x 2', great for edging with a tight round shape
Green Mound Boxwood - mature size 4' x 4', great for adding structure in a landscape but are small when new.
Sun/ Part Sun
Bobo hydrangea - mature size 3' x 3', beautiful white triangular blooms in summer changing to pink in fall.
Incrediball hydrangea - mature size 5' x 5', huge round white blooms the size of soccer balls on stiff stems.
Fire Glow Japanese Maple - Mature size 12' x 10'w, dark red leaves turning to fire engine red in fall. Hardy
Moonrise Japanese Maple mature size 8' x 8', bright green leaves with an orange flush turning red gold in fall.
Best Impulse Buy: Whenever I stop in at The House And Garden Co. on Kingston Rd. in Birchcliffe Village just east of the Beach in Toronto, I always find something unique that I must have. On my last visit, I found a gorgeous preserved fungus wreath that is so incredible it needs no adornment at all. I love to find unusual things that someone else has seen beauty in and then created something new. The simplicity of my new wreath, juxtaposed with the up close complexity of the fungus is so beautiful to me. I wonder what you'll find? If you haven't been to that inspired little shop you must and if you have been then you must go again ;)
What I want you to know: Happiness is contagious. Pass it on!