Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Shopping in Your Own House

I've been helping my 26-year-old son Alex renovate his grandparents' 1950s brick ranch house so that it can be put on the market, as they are now in assisted living.

We've gone through close to 20 gallons of paint, torn up old carpet, and filled a Dumpster with junk.  There is still lots to do, including getting rid of several large pieces of furniture that no one seems to want.

But this weekend, I got a chance to start doing some of the staging needed so that the house looks good when it goes up for sale.

First, I found an old wooden bookcase out on the porch.  It had some mid-century-modern looking legs on it that were wobbly and not too attractive, so we unscrewed them and moved the bookcase into the den.  My former father-in-law was an avid reader, and there was a barrel full of his old books on the porch as well.  I sorted through, looking for nice hardbacks and passing up dog-eared paperbacks and spiral-bound community-organization cookbooks.

Then I "shopped" through the house for some things to make the setup look more interesting.  I found a vintage slide viewer, a 1950s wind-up alarm clock from Westclox, some blue mason jars, an old Coke bottle, a green carafe, and a well-used dart board.  Here it is, all arranged in the freshly painted den with its newly exposed hardwood floors:

We also made up the beds in the two bedrooms, using bedding that I already had.  In the master, we're using my Pottery Barn white quilted bedspread and shams with some plaid L. L. Bean pillowcases, a blue plaid quilt, a plaid bedskirt, and a striped afghan that my former mother-in-law crocheted. I also brought the round braided rug--it went into our surplus plus pile when we found all-wool L. L. Bean braided rugs at Goodwill a few months ago:

We staged the smaller bedroom as a kids' room.  I washed the beige bedskirts that were already on the beds, used two of the T-shirt quilts I made for Christine, brought two denim bolsters that go with our futon, and found two brand-new white pillow shams and two vintage crocheted throw pillows in the basement. I grabbed the blue fleece blankets out of the trunk of my car. I still need to add another folded blanket to the end of the bed on the right (to complement the red one):

Alex is keeping the desk once the house is sold, so we moved that in, and next time I come, I'll bring a wooden stool from our house to put with the it.  We topped the desk with a Charlie Brown corkboard that we found in the basement. We also found the Oriental rug runner in the basement.  In between the beds, I put an old accordian in a battered suitcase and a knitting basket, both found in closets in the house. 

It's amazing what you can find if you just look through what you already have.

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