Sunday, September 29, 2019

It Feels Like Fall

A chill in the evening air, pumpkin stands along country roads, early evening sunsets, and reaching for your favourite cozy sweater - all tell-tale signs of the arrival of fall! While it can be sad to say good-bye to the summer, the good news is that fall-decorating season is officially upon us. It’s a season that centres around nature and whimsy, and is quite possibly the most fun you will have decorating all year, so let your fall-decor-loving-self run free!

With so many fall decor items available in local shops, it can be overwhelming to choose what suits both your personal style, and the style of your home. You might be drawn to tiny gourds, leaf garlands, and pumpkins galore, but these can easily become 'clutter' around your home if not added strategically. We’ve put together our best tips for getting your home fall-ready in no time!

1) Beware of Pumpkin Overload - Our first handy tip is not to buy every single pumpkin in sight. We know, it's hard! However, having a combination of textures, colours, and shapes is one way to ensure your fall decorating is adding interest and variety to your spaces. Consider creating a centrepiece using a well-sized large pumpkin, a candle lantern, and a small pumpkin or gourd, then add some loose leaves to fill in the space. Wood planks, logs, and branches can also add a natural touch.

2) Repurpose Existing Pieces for Spunky Vignettes – Take a look at some of your everyday décor, and consider simply adding some seasonal touches. It can be a lot of work to pack up your standard décor items for the season, and will also allow you to keep some of the more functional pieces within the space, while still sporting a fall look. Items such as pillar candleholders, geometrical metal shapes or spheres, trays, baskets, and decorative orbs are all great examples of neutral items that can be used in tandem with your seasonal decor! Take the tray that currently sits on your ottoman hosting candles and coasters and add a couple of mini pumpkins, and a touch of greenery for a fresh look.  This can be changed with each season, creating visually appealing seasonal vignettes around your home.

3) Pack Away Some Every Day Décor Items – Once you have determined which items will remain, you will want to edit some of the spaces to avoid décor overwhelm. Fall is a time for layers, so don’t be afraid to embellish your current décor a bit, but some standard decorating rules still apply. Choose groupings in odd numbers, vary heights, and remove the excess. Pack away the excess items, and with winter decorating around the corner, consider that you may not see those items for a few months yet!

4) Try a Monochrome Look - If you're tired of oranges, burgundies, yellows, and golds - try white! Nothing looks more crisp than some monochrome white pumpkins, paired with soft linens, white candles, and black and wood accents.  White pumpkins lend easily to a 'modern farmhouse' vibe, and also pair well with silver, if this is more of your preference. White will typically allow you to utilize more of your existing decor pieces, as well.

5) Distinguish between 'Fall' and 'Halloween' Decorating – To gain the most longevity of the season, start with fall décor, and avoid the witch hats, owls, and black cats until midway through October (of course, if the black cats are your furbabies, then they can stay put). It can be so tempting to scoop up a mix of traditional fall decor and witch hats - just be mindful of how long you would like to keep your decor out. Neutral fall items will be able to stay displayed longer in the season than jack-o-lanterns and bats!

6) Don't forget the outside! - There may be no easier season to decorate the outside of your home for, than fall! Check out your local farms and greenhouses to gather some hay bales, cornstalks, pumpkins and mums! Utilize your existing urns, and arrange small grouping of seasonal items around your door or porch to have a welcoming, cozy feel to greet your guests.  Remember to pick items of varying shapes and sizes to create a nice visual balance!

Above photos courtesy of Crawford's Garden Centre

Monday, July 1, 2019

How Selling Your Home is Like Modern-Day Dating

Traditionally, most dating experiences began with a first date, but in today’s dating era, getting that first date can be harder than ever. In fact, your first experience begins online, and it’s all about how you position yourself, and the marketing techniques that you use. Having a great headshot is a really good start. As much as we all like to believe that we do not judge a book by it’s cover, our initial impressions need to start somewhere. Understanding the principles of marketing will help you to get your first date, through the online photos, the bio, and using the right words to create an initial connection.
Of course, with all of the options out there today, once you get that first date you then need to show all that you’ve got in order to get that second date with your future potential spouse!
When it comes to selling your home, this same practice applies, which is why many turn to home staging as an effective part of their marketing strategy, to help them to highlight their home’s features, and to make a lasting first impression.
If you are looking to sell your home, here are a few of our tips to help you to get that first date and beyond:

People have options, so they don’t just “settle” 

Just as with looking for a significant other, homebuyers have a “list” of their wants and their needs, and with the easy access to other homes on the market, your home will be compared to several others.
According to a joint survey between the National Association of Realtors® and Google:
-       90% of homebuyers searched online during their home buying process.
-       Buyers will perform an average of 11 searches prior to taking action on a real estate site.
This means that 90% of buyers will see your listing along with 10 others, prior to contacting you to view the listings.

It starts online, with a photo 

That first impression is EVERYTHING. When a photo catches a buyer’s eye, they will click on it to learn more, but if the photo doesn’t pop, then they will pass it by. Today’s attention spans are lower than they have ever been, and it’s all too easy to move on (or swipe left).
How much time do you have to capture your buyer’s attention?
According to Google, “2 seconds is the threshold…” Maile Ohye, from Google
That’s right – 2 seconds! That’s barely the blink of an eye!

The photo needs to match the experience

No one likes a bait and switch. Once buyers are in the door, they want to develop a connection to your home immediately, and what they see first-hand should reflect what they saw in the photos. Home staging helps to ensure that your home captures their attention from the moment that they walk in, and helps to draw them in, selling them on the full experience of living in your home.
According to a Microsoft study in 2016, the average human being now has an attention span of only 8 seconds, less than that of a goldfish, and the lowest that has ever been seen.
Always ensure that your online listing photos are kept current. If you stage your property after listing it for sale, be sure to have your online photos updated to reflect this, and keep the property staged until you have successfully completed the sale.

Increased expectations and endless wish list

With so many options available, today’s daters set their sights high, and they have a long list of qualities that they are looking for in the perfect mate. They want the fantasy, the romantic fairy-tale ending, and they want it all with very little work and effort. They are not willing to compromise on most of their “list”, but for the right person, they just might make a compromise or two if they feel a connection.
Today’s homebuyers are very much the same. They want a move-in ready home that they can enjoy right away, and entertain friends and family. Big or small, they do not want to have to take on any home update/repair projects right away, even for the right price. Today’s technology has made us all busier than ever before, so our home is our oasis, a place where we can enjoy time with loved ones. A move-in ready home refers to a home that the new owners can enjoy immediately, and while there may be some long-term updates needed, the basic repairs are done, and the home is aesthetically pleasing overall. As a part of your home staging plan, your home stager will address all areas that might put off potential buyers, allowing you the opportunity to address these before your home hits the market, helping you maximize your sale.
Is your home’s profile ready to go live on the MLS dating site, or does it need a fresh headshot and maybe a new outfit or two first? To get your home date-worthy, contact the experts at Beyond The Stage Homes, and book your comprehensive home staging consultation today!

Friday, December 28, 2018

Reflections of 2018, from Beyond The Stage Homes

The holidays are a very special time of year, and as our team enjoys some much-deserved time with their families, we want to take a moment to reflect on the past 12 months. Now in our 10th year of business, we have much to be thankful for. We appreciate every one of our clients throughout the years that have helped us to get to where we are today. As with every business, we continue to grow and continue to learn new ways to service our clients better, and we look forward to continuing this for years to come. Beyond The Stage Homes was founded by a passion for helping others, combined with a love of home décor and creative solutions, and we continue to let this mission guide us still.
So what made 2018 our best year yet?
While it’s difficult to pick one moment in time this year, we will share with you the highlights of some of our favourite moments.
Perhaps one of the most notable milestones of 2018 was the celebration of our 10 year anniversary. In honour of this momentous occasion, we hosted a Client Appreciation at Pin-up Arcade Bar in Waterloo – our way of saying thanks to everyone that has supported us throughout our years. It was an evening of fun, entertainment, and good cheer, with some of our favourite people.
BTSH continues to be a proud sponsor of the KW MS Walk by raising funds at our hosted home sellers workshops, providing TeamMS prizes at the walk, and volunteering our time before, during, and following the event. This event helps to raise much-needed funds for the MS Society’s Grand River chapter. As an animal-loving team, it was only natural that we continued our support for the Kitchener-Waterloo Humane Society, through collected donations throughout the year as well. Cleaning out your closets (likely on the advice of our home staging team)? Donate your unwanted linens to your local humane society – these are put to great use by their furry residents!
The BTSH staging team, consisting of Jennifer Roth, Martha Wallace, and BTSH founder Shauna Lynn Simon, attended RESACON Vegas in July. As the biggest home staging industry event in North America they fine-tuned their skills, and built lasting relationships with fellow colleagues, as well as new suppliers. In addition, Beyond The Stage Homes’ sister company, SLS Academy, sponsored the renowned event, bringing certification and continuing education products to the home staging industry.
Continuing her efforts to advance the home staging industry in Canada, in terms of strength and stability, as well as awareness, Shauna Lynn completed her 2-year term as the Canadian Representative on the National Board of Directors for the Real Estate Staging Association (RESA), and took up the role as Ontario Provincial President of RESA, where she will serve until the end of 2019.
At the RESACON Awards gala on July 27, 2018, Shauna Lynn Simon was awarded the prestigious Kathy Nielsen Spirit Award in recognition of her industry commitment. You can read the full story on our blog here.  As well, Shauna Lynn was also honoured with the Top 100 Most Influential People in Real Estate Staging for 2018.
As an industry influencer, Shauna Lynn has had the privilege of speaking at numerous live events, podcasts, and television appearances. This year, she represented the National Canadian Tire CANVAS brand on CTV, providing inspiring design trends and backyard party hosting tips, while showcasing these on-trend products. She was also featured on the new Rogers Television show, #trending, featuring local BTSH partners with the show’s fun new host Aleia Ally.
It is also worth mentioning that BTSH’s team continues to grow, and with our increased expansion, we took up residence in a new warehouse, allowing us to streamline the home staging project preparation process to accommodate our increased volume of clients. As well, we have strengthened our team, and will continue to do so throughout 2019 as well. This year, we welcomed Martha Wallace, Professional Home Stager (RESP®), and Frances Hahn, Interior Designer. We are currently in the final selection process of an additional Professional Home Stager, and will begin the orientation for our newest member in the dawn of the New Year. Each home staging professional on the BTSH team is put through an extensive and comprehensive training, including SLS Academy’s RESP® Certification program, as well as our unique job-shadowing program, to ensure consistency of service and knowledge.
Our 2018 growth also included new staging assistants, and LOTS of fresh and new home staging rental items. We continue to be Waterloo Region’s #1 choice for vacant home staging, and in 2018 we far-exceeded our own expectations, and worked in some of the region’s most beautiful homes.

Our commitment to our community remains unchanged. We are grateful for all that the Waterloo Region Small Business Centre does for local businesses and new entrepreneurs, and Shauna Lynn continues to provide leadership through their mentoring program.
We love being a part of a region that continues to support small businesses like ours, and we eagerly look forward to another year full of cheer, beautiful homes, and new and lasting connections. Thank you to all of our clients and partners for making 2018 our best year yet. We hope to continue to exceed your expectations throughout 2019 and beyond! Stay tuned for more exciting news to come, including the launch of co-authored book by Shauna Lynn Simon, new services, and new team members.
Wishing you a healthy and prosperous 2019!
All the best, from Shauna Lynn and the entire BTSH team

Sunday, August 26, 2018

4 Tips for Hosting an Epic End-of-Summer Party

With Labour Day approaching, so too comes the inevitable end of summer. If you are looking to throw an end of summer party, you’re your backyard is lacking a bit, the Canadian Tire CANVAS collection has you covered with affordable, durable, and inviting pieces.

Tip #1: Keep it Comfortable, and Keep it Conversational

Create a central gathering space for your guests – somewhere that they can eat, drink, and socialize comfortably. The CANVAS Dashley Patio Dining Table, with it’s sophisticated and sturdy pedestal base, makes a bold statement and provides the perfect place to congregate. Be sure to surround the table with chairs that are not only stylish, but inviting as well. The CANVAS Dashley Cast Patio Dining Chairs are a classic look with curved armrests and removable cushioning that provides an extra level of comfort.

Tip #2: Create an Ambient Atmosphere

With the days getting shorter, be sure to have some great outdoor lighting. When the sun goes down, you can keep the party going, and create an elegant atmosphere.

We love the CANVAS Brooklyn String lights, they have an industrial chic look that is on-trend, and are super durable. You can attach up to 7 strands for coverage throughout the yard. Adding lanterns throughout the yard are great for setting the mood as well. The CANVAS Chantilly Lantern is a favourite due to its weather resistance, and stylish design. It works easily with any décor and brightens the space beautifully.

Tip #3: Create a Warm Welcome

As the summer enters fall, we can expect cooler temperatures, and in Canada, we like to squeeze every last bit out of summer. Keep the party going into the night by ensuring your guests are comfy and warm with a fire table, such as the modern style CANVAS Granville Gas Fire Table. The stainless steel burner on this table protects it from Canadian weather with extra durability, and its 26,000 BTUs are sure to keep your guests toasty. For an extra layer of warmth, keep  some outdoor blankets on hand, such as the CANVAS Striped Outdoor Throw – these are great to cuddle up in and enjoy the evening.

Tip #4: Presentation is Everything

Have you ever attended that party that looked like it was taken right out of the magazine? I’m going to help you to achieve that with some finishing touches for your epic outdoor party. Whether serving your guests food or beverages, do it in style with the CANVAS Grappa Beverage Cart. This cart helps to complete the comfortable vibe you’ve created, with wheels to make it easy to move around the yard as needed. Complete with weather-resistant wicker baskets, keep everything that you need easily stored and at your fingertips. Easily chill your drinks in the CANVAS Oval Outdoor Party Tub, a unique flare to the standard drink cooler, and serve up your tasty treats from in the super durable Serving Bowl and Dip Bowl Set. No hospitality industry experience? No problem! Serve your guests like a pro with the CANVAS 3-piece Galvanized Tray Set, a great way to present your appetizers or desserts with flare. They can even be used for a decorative display such as candles, plants, and whatever else you want to use to elevate your party presentation to the next level.

What better way to say farewell to summer then to top it off in style with a fabulous backyard party with the help of the Canadian Tire CANVAS line. Host an epic end of summer party that will provide memories for your guests long after the snow begins to fly.

Click here to see Shauna Lynn talking about the CANVAS line and how to host an epic end-of-summer party on CTV Kitchener with Nancy Richards.