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.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

BTSH Founder Wins RESA Kathy Nielsen Spirit Award in Las Vegas



Honoured, shocked, and incredibly humbled – these are the words that best describe Shauna Lynn Simon’s reaction when she learned she was this year’s recipient of the RESA Kathy Nielsen Spirit Award at the 2018 Real Estate Staging Association’s Annual Convention and Awards Gala in Las Vegas. Kathy Nielsen dedicated much of her life to furthering the home staging industry through her work at the Real Estate Staging Association® (RESA). She was not only a leader within RESA; she was a mentor to so many home stagers. She was always willing to take the time to talk with someone, to give sage advice, and to brainstorm the next new idea for our industry. Kathy Nielsen passed away 3 years ago, and the award was created in her honour, as a tribute to her unwavering spirit, and as a way to recognize those that embody her true spirit and the values she upheld.

Candidates are nominated by the RESA membership, based on their willingness to mentor others, their commitment to professionalism, and their role in leadership within the organization.


Shauna Lynn has held the role of the Canadian Representative of the National Board of Directors for the Real Estate Staging Association® for almost two (2) years, and previously held positions within her local RESA chapter. In her role with the National Board of Directors, she has travelled throughout Ontario to meet with Canadian RESA chapters to learn of the needs of Canadian real estate staging professionals. She was instrumental in forming and heading the RESA Canadian Strategic Planning Committee, and has been tasked with furthering the education of homeowners and real estate professionals with the benefits of home staging and communicating what the industry stands for. She is the Ontario Instructor for RESA’s Professional Development Course, “Staging to Sell – What Every Agent Should Know”, and taught the first course in Canada at the Kitchener-Waterloo Association of Realtors®. She was voted as one of the Top 100 Most Influential People in Real Estate Staging for 2018, and continues to elevate the industry’s standards through her Real Estate Staging Professional Certification and Continuing Education training programs.


About The Real Estate Staging Association®

The Real Estate Staging Association® (RESA®) is the trade association for professional real estate stagers and redesigners For more information on the real estate staging and the convention visit www.RESAConvention.com. For more information about the awards please visit www.HomeStagingIndustryAwards.com. For more information about real estate staging, or to find a professional stager or redesigner call 800-201-8687 and speak with Shell Brodnax, or visit the RESA® Web site at www.RealEstateStagingAssociation.com



Thursday, July 12, 2018

How to Transform Your Backyard and be the Envy of Your Neighbours


Canadians love to entertain all year round, and nothing can keep Canadian’s inside during the summer months! With summer weather now in full swing, we are not only enjoying the gorgeous weather but are entertaining our friends and family in our outdoor living spaces. We continue to see the trend of bringing the indoors outside, but outdoor entertainers also crave convenience. This means that they want to have everything that they need at their fingertips – for serving food, storing drinks, and whatever else they need. This means that portability, durability, and weather resistance are a must. Not only that, we want these items to be attractive, and really make a statement.




There is no better product for achieving all of this than the CANVAS Vik Outdoor Fire Table. This stunning table creates a warm and comforting atmosphere in the form of a very versatile, and functional, statement piece. Featuring a unique design to help to keep beverages cool in the pull out ice bucket drawer, this piece provides additional table top space as well as the warmth and ambiance of a fire as night falls. It screams function, convenience and style!

When it comes to outdoor furniture, the trend is much sleeker and more elegant looking than ever before with lighter coloured furniture really making its mark. The CANVAS Clarkson Teak Dining Table is classic and chic, and pairs perfectly with the comfortable rounded back and tapered legs of the CANVAS Seabrooke Wicker Patio Dining Chairs. Not only does this table provide seating for up to 8 people, but it adds a unique and stylish touch to any outdoor dining space.


We just can’t get enough of this year’s on-trend outdoor décor colour of blue, whether it’s with a pop of navy, Mediterranean, or Cobalt, accent any outdoor space through your accessories and linens. The striking patterns on these accent pillows, like the CANVAS Porto Toss Cushion with Tripel and CANVAS Indigo Toss Cushion, really elevate the space and bring in the comfort of indoor living with a durable fabric and with high quality fill that holds its shape.



Anchor your outside space with a durable outdoor carpet that has loads of style. The CANVAS Melita Outdoor Rug boasts a contemporary design that adds texture, colour, and personality to your outdoor space.

Setting your outdoor table with CANVAS Faux Marble plates and bowls add a modern elegance and, while marble is nothing new, the smooth textures and swirly natural designs in a durable outdoor place setting, looks as elegant as our best indoor place setting. The CANVAS Round Marble & Acacia Wood Board is ideal for serving everything from appetizers to desserts, pairs beautifully with this place setting.



As the sun sets, lighting extends our time outside and adds an elegant ambiance. This year, lanterns are the statement pieces that not only provide light but add a level of sophistication. Check out the detail of the CANVAS Souk Patio Lantern and whimsy of the CANVAS Black Rope Solar Powered Lantern, which as the name indicates, has the added convenience of being solar powered.

Most importantly, have fun with your outdoor spaces. This is a great way to bring in some edgy and fun décor, and let your personality shine through.


Click here to see Shauna Lynn discuss the CANVA line with Lindsay Morrison on CTV Kitchener.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Marketing A House That's For Sale


The key to top-sales is a solid marketing plan – this means identifying your target market, understanding their needs, creating an impactful marketing message, and presenting a quality product. You need to make the sale all about the person that you are trying to sell to.

So, what does this mean for selling your home?

Everything…

Home staging is an effective marketing technique that integrates decorating with marketing and creates an experience for home buyers. It’s about more than just furnishing a home – it’s about selling a lifestyle! In order to present a “product” that your potential buyers will want, invest in a home staging consultation, and if needed, hire a home stager for additional services, including furniture, artwork, and accessory rental, to complete the look. By working with a home stager, you can identify and address all buyer perceptions, positive or negative, and ensure the most positive experience possible.


Home staging alone is not what sells a house, though it is certainly a contributing factor! Regardless of how great the home shows to buyers, listing the home for the correct price for the market, the neighbourhood, and the quality of home is key to a successful sale. This will allow you to draw in buyers from the right target market, and get the best value out of your home. A qualified real estate agent is your best resource for pricing your home appropriately – avoid making a common mistake that many homeowners make when choosing an agent. Do not choose the agent solely based on providing you with the highest list price, or the lowest commission – a qualified agent will price your house based on what they feel will net the largest return, without discouraging buyers. As well, you want your agent to work hard for you. This means putting in the time and marketing efforts necessary to ensure a successful and profitable sale, and top agents will charge a fair commission based on industry standards.

Select an agent that will ensure your home receives the greatest amount of exposure to home buyers, and is marketed to showcase the best selling features of the home. Your qualified agent will also help to advise you on the best offers to consider, and ensure that you net the highest amount of money possible for your home while also working to get you the terms that you need. In choosing the right real estate agent for you, consider the following: 
  • How well do they understand the current market and trends? 
  • Ask around – if you know of someone that has recently sold a home, ask them about their experience and ask for recommendations. 
  • What type of negotiation skills do they have? 
  • What value-added services do they offer to ensure that you will receive top-dollar for your home? This may include a pre-listing home inspection, professional photography, home staging, and more. 
Review their marketing plan – what will they do to provide you and your home with the maximum exposure that it needs to ensure that you attract all potential buyers?


Once your home is staged and ready for market, and you have selected the real estate agent that will work to get your home sold, it’s time for you to share your home with the world. It’s time to make an impression, and that impression is first made through the photos that you show of your home online. This is where the skills and expertise of a professional photographer come in. With ever-changing technology, no matter how great of a photo your cell phone might take, it cannot compare to the tools, and the talent, that a professional photographer will bring to the table. To prove our point, we have taken some great photos with our iPhone 6S, and compared to those of our photographer, Ross Bennett at 3SixtyVideo.




So when it’s time to sell your home, remember to put all of your best marketing tools to work for you, and you will see the results in a quick sale, and maximum profit.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Get the Look! Master Bedroom Refresh


Is it time to upgrade your bedroom?

In our experience, the last room in your home to receive attention is usually the master bedroom, yet this is the one room that should be your relaxing oasis and escape from the daily stresses of life.

Good news! We’ve taken the first step for you by creating a vision board for an elegant and inviting bedroom.


In this look, the balance of colour and whimsy, and the serenity the calming blue tones throughout give this bedroom elegance combined with comfort.

The Valerie Oval Puff ottoman is a great place to hang out with a book and relax. It would look great centered in the room, or in a walk-in closet. It can also be used in place of the Salinger Bedroom Bench if space in the room is limited.

The blended patterns of the Montrose Geometric Room Darkening Grommet Curtain Panels, Shonta Comforter Set, and the 'Down the River' abstract canvas art provides texture and interest, and the patterned Penelope Pillow Cover and solid yellow accent pillows along with the Nader Tweed Knitted Yellow Throw provide a pop of cheerful colour to brighten the room.

The glitz and glam to the room is brought in by the Plutarch 35” Table Lamp, Hester 2-Drawer Nightstand, and the Gittan Upholstered Panel Bed, and the Oakdene Ivory Area Rug provides a soft comfort to the room.

Not quite the right look for you? Get inspired with more great styles curated by our BTSH Design Team here.

Want a chance to win a $500 shopping spree at Wayfair.ca? Find out how here.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

How Much Does It Cost to Stage Your Vacant Home?



If you have ever lived in a home for sale, you can appreciate how challenging it can be to maintain a show-ready home for the duration of the listing. Of course, this is made especially difficult if you happen to have pets, kids, or any other type of life. While it is much less stressful for you as a homeowner to sell a home that you are not living in, an empty home puts a great deal of additional stress onto your buyer. 

The number rule of selling (anything) is that it’s not about you. In order to set yourself up for sales success, you will need to understand your buyer‘s needs, put those needs before your own, and clearly outline how you can help to deliver on those needs. What problem do you solve? Your buyer will have a list of wants and needs when looking at a home, but ultimately they will want and need something that fits their daily lifestyle. 

This is where home staging comes in. Homes that have been professionally staged spend 90% less time on the market (source: Real Estate Staging Association). Buyers view professionally staged listings as “well-maintained”, and are willing to pay more for a move-in ready home. In fact, a staged home will sell, on average, for 6.5% higher than an unstaged home, according to the Real Estate Staging Association. Despite these great statistics, we understand that it doesn’t make it any easier to open your wallet and spend money on a home that you are selling. Let’s face it – it’s not as though you are decorating a home that you are going to live in, so the joy in home staging, as a seller, comes upon the sale of the home, and the extra money in your pocket as a result. But what if it doesn’t sell? What guarantees do you have? And how much is the initial investment going to be?

Before we can tell you what it will cost to stage your vacant property, there are a few things that we need to consider. There are a number of factors that contribute towards a positive sale of a house, including the price, positioning in the market, and advertising. Home staging will help a home to sell for more money, but it is still subject to market restrictions, and will only sell for what someone is willing to pay for it. Think of home staging a part of your marketing strategy. It is not about decorating a home, but instead it is about showcasing the features of the home, and selling buyers on the lifestyle and experience of living there. 


Why are vacant homes difficult to sell?
  • 90% of buyers do not have the ability to visualize a space beyond what they see – vacant homes rely on their buyers to possess this skill in order to ensure that the house sells
  • Vacant rooms have no where to hide – buyers will easily scrutinize every aspect of the home
  • Buyers struggle to connect emotionally to a vacant home
  • Empty rooms appear smaller than they are – home staging not only helps to show the scale of the room and the furniture that will fit, but it helps to clearly define the purpose of a room, and the optimal furniture placement 
What is involved in the home staging process?
Most professional home stagers will begin with a home staging consultation, where they will visit the property to evaluate it and create a custom staging plan. In most cases, there will be a fee for this consultation (generally ranging from $100-$300 – BTSH Home Staging Consultations start at $150 + tax). In some cases, this fee may be refunded, in part or in full, if the staging company is hired for the full-service vacant home staging. In this consultation, you will receive some recommendations for updates or repairs, as well as some details about the staging that they will do (this may include a basic home staging plan, rooms to be staged, pricing, etc.).

Partial home staging vs full home staging
You may choose to stage only the main rooms of the home, however we strongly recommend staging the full house to maximize your home staging investment. Home staging helps to eliminate distractions, and create an experience for your buyers, and empty rooms will create a disconnect. As well, if any rooms are small or unusually shaped, buyers will find these rooms especially difficult to envision, and will usually underestimate their potential. Full home staging will always provide the greatest return on your investment, however if your budget will not allow for this, you can review options with your qualified home stager.


Weighing your options
It is not unusual to get a couple of bids for your home staging project, however the decision should be made on a variety of factors, and pricing should be the least of these. Remember that not all home stagers and home staging companies are created equal. Choose the company that you feel will best represent your home, and result in the best outcome. While there are a number of home staging techniques that most home stagers will follow, it is still a very subjective service, and different home stagers will create a different plan. When reviewing the home stager that you wish to work with, be sure to qualify their portfolio, experience, inventory quality, awards and accolades, certification training and continuing education, association affiliations, insurance coverage, etc. 

What does it cost?
Depending on the home (size, number of rooms, outdoor spaces to be staged, style of home, etc.), home staging services can cost you anywhere from $2,500 - $10,000 to stage properly. As well, the access to your property or the distance from the company’s service area can also affect the pricing. While condominium apartments are generally low square footage, the moving process can take much longer and therefore increase the staging fees. 

The investment for your home staging project includes more than just a few pieces of furniture. It covers the expertise of the home stager, and the time required to create and execute a successful home staging plan. This means creating the concept, selecting, prepping, and packing the home staging items, delivery (and pick-up upon sale of house), and of course the time required for the home staging team to install the selected items. The home staging process takes several hours, from start to finish, and involves several team members to execute effectively.


That said, how much can you expect to spend on staging your home? While this will vary from one staging company to another, here is a bit of a guideline based on our experience:
  • Pricing for vacant home staging projects begin at $2,500 + tax (this usually includes approximately 3 staged major rooms, plus bathrooms, hallways, and entrance)
  • Average vacant home staging pricing is $5,000 + tax
  • Smaller houses tend to cost more “per room” due to labour/moving fees – these tend to stay relatively the same as in larger projects
  • Houses with 5 major* rooms or more average approximately $750 - $800 / major room (+ tax)
  • Houses with 4 major* rooms or less average approximately = $850 - $900 / major room (+ tax)

*Major room refers to a room that requires notable furniture, such as a bedroom, living room, dining room, etc. Pricing provided includes the staging of all bathrooms, entry, hallways, etc. as a part of the estimated fee. If kitchen does not include a dinette, it is not included as a major room.


Tips for Setting Yourself Up for a Successful Sale
Give yourself the time needed to properly prepare your home for market. It’s cliché, but you really only do get one chance to make a first impression – make it count! Plan for home staging from the start of your project – it is never too early to call in a home stager for a consultation. A professional home stager can provide guidance and expertise to ensure that you are focusing your investment in the areas that will provide you with the greatest return. If you are flipping a property, it’s important to plan for home staging from the beginning. Consider meeting with your home stager BEFORE beginning any renovations. A qualified and experienced stager will be your best resource for understanding the best finishes and design choices for the home, which areas to improve, and how to best appeal to the target demographic of the home. 
Most of all, remember to stay calm, and call a professional home stager!


Saturday, February 3, 2018

Selling Your Home with Kids

I get it – you all have to live in your home while it's listed for sale...
The home-selling process can be very disruptive, and often stressful, on kids. You may want to recommend that they play a part in preparing their rooms for sale themselves, to help them with the transition. If you have any knowledge of their next home, you can also help to get them excited about getting their new home ready.
-       Engage your kids in the process – get them involved with deciding what will stay, and what will be packed for the new house.
-       Kid’s toys should be limited to their bedrooms and play area (if available). Remove all additional toys from the living room, kitchen, dining room, and other adult entertaining areas.
  -       If you need to have some toys in an adult area, considering investing in a wicker or canvas basket - fill with toys, and place a blanket over the top to cover. This will cleverly disguise your toy basket as a simple “blanket basket”!
-       Kid’s play areas are a great selling feature, in the right neighbourhood, if there is space available for them. Adding baskets to these areas will help to keep the toys contained, and somewhat organized.
-       Kid’s Rooms – Kids will be kids, but when selling a house, it’s important that to check their rooms each morning to ensure that the beds are made and toys put away.
-       Limit the toys to a maximum of 2 toy bins, and unless these are considered decorative, such as a storage bench, keep these bins stored away in the closet or under the bed.
-       Take advantage of your “free” storage areas – these are areas that prospective buyers will not be looking in and includes under beds, dresser drawers, and inside any other furniture that you own. Remember, if it is sold with the house, they will look inside, so avoid over-filling any built-in cabinets or closet spaces.
-       Tone down any accessories and wall coverings – since it’s a kid’s room, some toys or other fun items should be on display, but be sure that these are kept to a minimum as well, and aim for a few select larger items rather than multiple small items.

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While parents have often joked about shipping their kids off for the time that the house is for sale, some clients have actually make arrangements for the kids to be out of town, or have an extended stay at grandparent’s house for the first week or two. This helps to minimize stress on everyone, and allow them to be more flexible with available showing times – this can result in a faster sale, and return to normal life.