Posts Tagged ‘The Decorating and Staging Academy’

Is Your Mantel Crying for a Seasonal Update?

Monday, June 15th, 2015

Finally the weather is changing and my overall attitude is better. You creative ones know what this means…it’s time for a redesign! I enjoyed the white elements my mantel had during the winter; it reflected the snow outside my window. Now, my mantel is crying for something fresh and vibrant. As interior re-designers, we approach a small project just like we approach a larger space.



The Process:

1.) Remove all items from the mantel: No cheating, even the heavy items have to come down.

2.) Group all your options by color, texture and type of item. (Candles, antlers, etc)

3.) Create the focal point or the largest piece was placed first. Keep in mind, you need to fill 2/3 of the space of the mantel or it will be wimpy and we can’t have wimpy. (Try an asymmetrical arrangement by placing the item off-center.)

4.) Follow your color story. In this case, the colors in the artwork told the color story. Balance your color on each side. Even in asymmetrical arrangements there needs to be color balance.

5.) Give a variety of textures. Wood, glass, greenery, horns, shine, metals and bark are all examples of ways to add interest to the design.

6.) Force your eye to move. How are you going to do that? With the elements you have used throughout the arrangement. Not even sure why thats important? When your eye moves around the mantel or the room it creates, space, depth and interest. By placing items high, low, forward and set back you demand attention and interest.

7.) Stand back and elevate the design as you go along.

8.) Shop for missing elements. Don’t have the right item for the next layer? Go shop your home, your yard and even your closet. I have used belts, scarfs and jewelry to alter the color, texture or to and interest.

9.) Snap a photo. Inspire yourself. I keep an album with ideas just for my mantel.

Secrets from a Decorator: Finials add the Finishing Touch

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

Rotated-3What is a finial?  It’s the decorative topper of a lamp with the purpose of holding the lamp shade to the lamp harp with the harp connecting to the base.  That’s the function of the finial but the creative part of the finial is totally in your control.  Most lamps are purchased with its coordinating basic finial. Let’s take it up a notch.

Let’s face it.  We place the lamp, we plug it in and then we forget it. As long as we can see to read or find our pathways we don’t revisit or update our lamps.  This last week I needed a lamp finial for a client so the search began.  Online to specialty lamp stores and then I just happened to check out the lighting section in Pier One…Bingo.  The finials ranged in price from the on sale $3.50 – $19.00.  I purchase the perfect one for my client Rotated-1and then of course I added one for me.  I admit I had lost a finial in our recent move and completely forgot about it.  It’s the extra attention to detail that will set your room apart.  I went right back to Pier One and bought a few more just to update and increase the value of a few more of my lamps and to have on hand for my clients.

What can be more economical than $3.50?  Attach an object of interest (rock, beach glass, pine cone, antique jewelry or any unique object) to the basic finial that came with the lamp.  This small element can take an ordinary lamp to the unique, “Where did you get that?” level.

It’s quick, economical and dramatic.



A First Timer Deco-Zone Experience

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

IMG_0661I am not a high end designer with years of experience and I stay pretty safe within the realm of neutral colors that I know can match.   Sandra Racz told me about The DECO-Zone, an event held during Atlanta’s AmericasMart with speakers sharing information on Trends, Drapes, Florals,…the list went on and on.  I thought this could be fun learning from top designers, meeting new people and shopping the Mart.  It wasn’t great timing with my family’s summer schedule and I was nervous about my level of expertise but I made the decision to sign up.  The first day of The DECO-Zone, toss in the fact I got lost, I walked in frazzled but I sat with some awesome Ladies ( all at different levels of experience and fields of interest).  One of the first speakers, JoAnne Lenart-Weary was engaging and funny before I realized it I was relaxed and learning which colors I should add to my own home and the colors weren’t neutral.  During breaks I mingled with smart women who ran businesses and wanted to gather as much knowledge I did. There were Vendors and products I had never heard of and a step-by-step guide to shopping the largest wholesale market.   Let me tell you, AmericasMart is three huge buildings with 20+ floors and it can be overwhelming.  The tips of how and where to shop made it easier.

I had a wonderful time and most of all, I learned, meet wonderful people and gained mentors for life!  All the design elements that I learned I brought back to my own home and made it pop. I would recommend The DECO-Zone to anyone no matter your business type or skill level.  Check out

– Kate Brackeen

Are you Part of a Staging Team?

Wednesday, May 14th, 2014

BrackeenMasterAfterDSC_0696Teamwork is Powerful!  Studies show that working as a team to accomplish a goal results in a higher success rate. Creating your team of like-minded professionals will increase sales, encourage creativity and allow for more productivity resulting in achieved goals and benchmarks for your business.

My current team shares several goals: Assist homeowners to stage their property, create an emotional connection with potential buyers, and generate the best offer in the shortest amount of time.  As a certified Home Stager, my role is to educate agents, homeowners and vendors.  When homeowners understand the importance of staging suggestions, they take action to prepare their home for maximum appeal. The homeowner is part of the team too.  Anyone can create a long list of items for the homeowner to change, remove and update, but creating the practical list with priorities and solutions not only ensures a show-ready home it de-stresses the process of selling.

During the listing appointment, the Agent presents a market analysis and a marketing plan that showcases their team:  Their Company and Themselves.  Now add the certified Home Stager providing a non-biased report with proven steps that sell homes faster then that team is even more impressive.

I work with many agents in Summit County, by creating a team approach for their clients they excel at getting their properties sold quicker and more seamlessly.  A real estate agents job is selling, marketing, working with home owners and prospecting adding  staging will increase your efficiency in getting properties sold and increase the likelihood of more listings.

Results are motivating, so focus on creating a team. One that is educated and like minded in their approach.


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Sandra Racz – Park City, UT – Phone: 435.901.1205