Monthly Archives: January 2015

Yes, We Can Complete Staging for Your Deadline…






So often we are asked if we can meet a staging deadline for an open house or a photo date. If we can do so, I will always tell the client up front. If we are booked I will also tell you we simply cannot make that deadline, but will always give you the next available date when we can do so. In all my years staging, I have never had to re-schedule a stage date because we could not meet the agreed deadline. We have, however, been re-scheduled by the client from time to time who was simply not ready to list/stage just yet. There is a booking process we must follow to ensure jobs proceed smoothly.

We are often contacted by the Realtor on behalf of the homeowner for a staging estimate. We always determine who will be paying for the staging, the Realtor or the Homeowner? We need to know who our client is. We do not charge to provide an estimate. An estimate consists only of a proposal for staging a property. We will not give any advice on improvements, furniture placement, paint colors, etc…. that is part of a staging consult and we do charge for our professional consultations, which last anywhere from 1 to 2 hours on average. 

We always provide a firm written staging estimate with a contract detailing the scope of the project, the furniture to be rented, the rooms to be staged, the length of the contract, the full staging cost and the monthly rental cost. Before we can proceed, we require a signed contract along with a deposit. Once we have this in place, we proceed with the booking, confirm with our movers, and arrange any furniture or stock rentals required for the project. When we complete our proposal we know what furniture we will bring in and how we will set up the large pieces and accent pieces. The décor and color scheme is determined after the job is confirmed. We confirm the fine details of the design after a contract is signed and we have received a deposit. It is at this time that we will actually finalize the design and begin to set aside décor and furniture pieces specifically for this project. 

Unfortunately we cannot confirm a booking or proceed with a job with only a verbal confirmation without anything in writing from the Homeowner. If the Homeowner is paying for the job, we need to ensure the Homeowner is fully aware and in agreement with our contract terms. I have actually had cases where I am asked to proceed without the names or any contact information for the Homeowners, even though they are “supposed” to be paying for the service. No business would deliver thousands of dollars of furniture or equipment to any home without a signed agreement and payment terms up front. It shocks me how often I am “asked” to complete a project without even the Homeowner’s names/contact information. Sorry, not possible….

Approximately 50-60% of the work is completed before we ever arrive on a job site on staging day. It takes time to plan a design, arrange for or book the right size, color and style of furniture for the space. Then to complete the design with décor and accessories that go well with the furniture color and style that was available for the job. Then we need to coordinate movers, pack, and load all furniture and accessories. Once we arrive on site we simply unload, unpack and set up. We already know where everything goes! Set up is a relatively quick process compared to the rest. This is similar to obtaining a listing and marketing it vs. negotiating a solid offer. Most of the “work” has been done well in advance of the offer. Weeks or months preparing a property for listing, finally obtaining a listing agreement, all marketing required to generate the showings to finally receive an offer. I have yet to meet a Realtor who would market a property, at their own expense, without a firm listing agreement in place. So, why would you expect your Stager to move in ten or fifteen thousand dollars of furniture and décor with no signed agreement?

There are rare cases where someone will “confirm” with us verbally, and actually try to “book” a date without a contract. I simply will not do so, we just do not work for free. We are quite happy for our staff or a courier to pick up a signed contract and deposit if need be. I have had situations in the past where we have given clients the benefit of the doubt, only to have them cancel at the last minute. Sometimes they receive an offer, and are unsure if they wish to proceed with the offer or staging. Now we wait until the client is certain and we have a signed contract and deposit. The last thing we want is to have a cancellation, after we have put in all that time in design and planning, and packing. Everyone should be paid for the time spent.

We have learned, it is simply not in our benefit to move on to this planning stage without a signed agreement. We have a number of full time staff and we are always busy with one project or another. The beauty is that some projects have firm deadlines and others do not. I have the benefit of fitting staged jobs in between my time spent on design projects, when deadlines require. This ensures all work gets completed but we never seem to have “down” time. However, with multiple projects always on the go, I do have to be careful how I spend my time. I have clients waiting for my time so I cannot be spending my time on clients who are not certain they wish to proceed, just yet! Whenever you are ready, I will be more than happy to look after you to the very best of my creative skills!  Until then, we have work to do!

Welcome to the Kitchen, Bath and Renovation Show! Planning your Kitchen or Bathroom Reno!

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Hard to believe we are already in full swing with the New Year! Nothing like hitting the ground running! Here is wishing everyone a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous 2015!! What better way to start the New Year than to get some wonderful Inspiration for your home at the 2015 Kitchen Bath and Renovation Show!

Kat Reno and Maximum Impact Plus will be there to answer all your renovation and design questions. The Show hours run Friday 12 noon – 9:00 pm, Saturday 10:00 am – 8:00pm, and Sunday 12:00 noon – 5:00pm. We are offering 2 stage presentations, Friday at 5:00pm and Sunday at 3:00 pm. If you are thinking about a kitchen or bath renovation, it’s an excellent way to get some free advice!

One of the biggest mistakes people make is not planning out the details well in advance. So you want new cabinets? That’s great, but do you need them or can you save money and still have the new kitchen you dream of? Are you reconfiguring your kitchen space or floor plan? Potentially removing walls? Changing lighting or adding lighting? Switching from a free standing range to a cooktop and built in oven? Updating your fridge – should it be counter depth? These are just some of the common renovations and changes people make. 

Depending on where you go and who you speak to, you may or may not have a salesperson who will take functional design decisions into account. I had one client who had a “Professional” design her kitchen with the fridge facing the island in a bank of wall cabinetry. She was reusing her existing fridge she had recently purchased, however, there was simply not adequate space for her to actually stand in front of the fridge and open the fridge without having to sit on top of the island to do so! In terms of space planning (making sure everything will fit in the space) must also include functional use of the space. If you are dealing with someone who does not take this into consideration you can run into a multitude of problems. Considering this client was opening walls and completing updating the space with some beautiful custom cabinetry functional use of the space is critical in the planning and design stages. The last thing you want is to have the cabinetry delivered and then discover you need modifications because of an oversight! This can be quite costly!!

You would be surprised by how many people rip out old cabinets just to replace them with the exact same configuration. Then because they have a limited budget, they go with a laminate countertop when they really want granite! Cabinet re-facing may be a better and more economical option, allowing you to stretch the budget for those granite countertops or other little luxuries. They have a wide range of colors and can add things like pull out drawers or shelves to make your kitchen more functional. Explore all the options available to you before running down to the store in excitement and committing to a salesperson.

You’ve decided to go with pot lights, under counter lighting, maybe some task lighting, and of course a new cooktop and built in double range – have you checked your electrical panel? Do you have adequate space on your panel for the additional requirements? Do you need to budget for a new electrical panel upgrade? This cost can come as a shock to the homeowner after the fact and impact the final project cost significantly! It’s so much easier to find this out before your have run out and bought a bunch of custom goodies in your initial excitement!

Removing walls or expanding a room by moving a wall over must be done properly by someone who knows what they are doing. Is it a support wall? You need to ensure what you are doing is going to work without creating structural problems down the road. Your contractor must be familiar with the building codes and requirements. I cannot count the number of houses I’ve seen that had support walls removed without the proper procedure and evidence of stress cracks and bows in the ceiling structure are clearly evident! There are ways to accomplish most open concept designs. However, planning and design must take into account the correct procedure and corresponding costs! This is one the main reasons choosing a contractor with the lowest quote (who may or may not be in business 5 years from now) is a bad idea! Once you see evidence of problems – they can no longer be located! Now all costly repairs have to be covered by the home owner!

At the end of the day, there are many little details that need to be considered in the initial planning stages of any renovation. From which direction to run the hardwood flooring, to structural changes to final details for appropriate appliances for your space and required use. Having everything planned out in advance, prevents unwelcome surprises. It also allows you to order products well in advance so you can start a project on time knowing all products are in and ready for installation! No unforeseen delays, no hassles and no additional costs! Come out and learn the step by step process for planning your next kitchen or bath renovation. Presentation Times again are Friday January 9th at 5:00 pm and Sunday January 11th at 3:00 pm. Hope you enjoy the show and get some inspirational ideas!!!!