Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Design House Week: The Charlottesville Design House

It's design house season in our region and I thought I'd profile a few of my favorite houses around the region.

In many cities around the country, design or show houses are used to raise money for charity. Designers sign on to decorate one room in a large home and the public buys tickets to see the results. Without clients to please, the designers are often free to take risks and let their creativity come out and play a little bit.

When I lived up north, show houses were often put on by the local Junior League. When I moved here, I was surprised that ours didn't have one and missed having one in my backyard. So, I wound up driving to DC or Richmond to see them (hence a week of profile my favorite design houses...there are lots of them!).



In 2010, I saw a poster for a Charlottesville design house and was so excited. I emailed the coordinating charity, the Shelter for Help in Emergency to volunteer at the house right away. By the end of my stint at the house, I had signed on to be part of the marketing committee the next year and a friend had bought the house (I probably spent more time in her house before she bought it than she did!).  The next year, I juggled my busy season at work with preparing for the 2011 design house. It was extremely rewarding, but I knew I couldn't be as heavily involved in the future. So, I've been a spectator instead of a volunteer since then.

The 2013 Charlottesville Design House is right around the corner and I can't wait to see it! This year's home is in the lovely Farmington neighborhood. The house opens on May 4th. There are several talks scheduled that are free to attend.

In past years, I was able to get some good sneak peek pictures out of the house...I'll see what I can do this year. As in past years, photographer Robert Radifera will take photos of the finished project.




Bonus: you can see how U-Fab's space in the 2013 Charlottesville Design House has come together on their blog!
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Monday, April 29, 2013

Runway to Real Way, the Home Edition

My friend Senem sent this picture to me by text one day saying "what do you think?"





I thought she wanted me to fawn over the cute dog on the steps, but she was actually thinking of painting the risers on the stairs at her house and was looking for inspiration. The picture above is from Real Simple magazine.

The stairs at Senem's house are a little dark and she thought they could use some cheerful paint. I thought painting the risers was a solid idea, but I wasn't sure teal was the right hue for the space.


After poring over sample strips at the paint store, Senem narrowed the color options down to three: pink, kelly green, and purple. Ultimately, she selected five shades of pink to use so that there'd be a color change on every fourth step. She just picked a paint strip that she liked and eliminated the second deepest shade from the group.


A day later, she sent another picture by text, this one including her papillon, Lucky.






Senem's three girls love the colors and she's thrilled that the quick project adds a little cheer to a space that was a little dark before.


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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Not Today

I have some things to share, but haven't felt like the timing was right. After the events in Boston yesterday, it seems so silly and frivolous to post about furniture and paint colors.

To be honest, I found myself a bit ticked off that my blog reader was full of posts about stuff that just doesn't matter today. Maybe those bloggers are trying to provide a distraction. Maybe they are from far away and don't feel affected by what happened. I've let go of that ticked off feeling and am trying to be a little understanding.


For Boston, for Boston,
For Thee and Thine alone.
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Friday, April 12, 2013

A Home Buyer's Take on Real Estate Photography

I'll be the first to say that my photography skills are lacking. I have a nice camera, but need to spend a lot more time with it before I can confidently produce consistently good photos. For now, I click, peer at the image on the screen, tweak settings, and click again. I'm not a photography genius, but I know what works and doesn't work when looking at a home listed on the MLS.

Throughout our home search, I encountered listing after listing full of cartoon-like pictures. When I asked a local real estate photographer, Stephen Barling of Barling Photography, what the deal with those images was, he told me that the photographers were being heavy handed with a technique called high-dynamic-range imaging, or HDR.

When I googled HDR, I found some cool looking pictures with interesting contrasts in the sky, but a few looked a bit like Thomas Kincaid paintings. Which is great if you like Thomas Kincaid paintings. I do not like Thomas Kincaid paintings.



In my area, I've noticed that some of the most beautiful homes on the market have gotten the HDR treatment. These are places that don't need any "help" looking beautiful in a real estate listing, so I wonder why it's being used.

Here are a few images from the listing for a $1.7 million dollar home in my area. The home is stunning and it would have looked absolutely gorgeous without the enhancing. The treatment is almost distracting, don't you think?



To contrast, here are a few images taken by that real estate photographer I mentioned above, Stephen Barling.



There's definitely a little something happening in the picture above and the one below (I can see it if I look at the sofa pillows), but the editing isn't nearly as obvious as the first set of images I shared.





I love this last image because it shows a bathroom that isn't the fanciest in the world still looking great without cartoon-like photoshopping.


Aren't those much better than the HDR images?

Even Barbara Corcoran couldn't resist a jab at the overuse of HDR in this clip from The Today Show (Stephen shot the Charlottesville house that shows up in this clip at the end).




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