marge and talley

quiltgloJuly 13, 2006

talley, how's the selling going?

marge--much progress on the castle and the moat?


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thanks for asking!
selling is really not going well--the market just froze up right about the time we entered it; we're n ot the only apt. sitting and sitting. We lose our option on the place next door at the end of the month. I think we'll ask him if he'd be willing to extend it, but that costs us $1,000 a month (of course, that's how much more money we'll pay once we own it, but...)

we've started talking to real estate agents. One of them has listed us now on her site, without having an exclusve listing agreement w/ us; if she brings us a buyer, she wants 4%. Apparently she has a couple of buyers looking in our price range; she's going to bring them by on Saturday.

She *also* says we should get rid of the tablecloth--what is it about that tablecloth? It doesn't strike me as unusually ugly--it's just a tablecloth. I understand about decluttering, little repairs, a relatively neutral paint. but who would reject a house because of the tablecloth? Oh, and she says, "put some flowers in here." I have a hard time believing that'll create a sale that would otherwise not happen.

Everybody says the condition of the floors won't affect a sale, but the tablecloth and a missing vase of flowers will?

And I'm getting crabby about all these people w/ their staging advice, and their actual staging, bcs it's raising the bar, and frankly I don't want to have to jump over it.

This has gone on so long, we're starting to miss stuff that's in storage. Not most of it, but odd bits here and there. We needed the kids' "animals" drawer last night.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2006 at 9:38AM
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Funny you should inquire, I was thinking about you in the land of the midnight sun. The prince and I were at the castle just today having dinner at a table in front of a new balcony door open to the breeze. That is a bedroom but the walls are in, the ceiling is in and compared to our little apartment which is cluttered with everything we own thats not in storage or a garage, ---it seems like a castle.
He and his crew put in the front doors today. A major accomplishment in a remodel, and we fired the non-performing FAU guy and a new one showed up, & worked hard.
How are you and the family doing?
Talley sue, hope you get that sold. When the market turns its like an ungrateful child.
The reason they sometimes suggest no tablecloth is they are thinking --lovely wood table, candlestix, romance, etc. because the sizzle sells it, not necessarily the steak. My lord --I sound like a cliche festival. sorry

    Bookmark   July 14, 2006 at 1:57AM
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talley, the staging stuff is getting to a lot of people. This idea that it shouldn't look like a family lives in the place is hard. From reading the Buying and Selling board, you know you aren't the only one feeling the stress. We moved frequently when I was a kid. Of course, we cleaned really well and my mom did all of her little projects she should have done so we could have enjoyed them and not the new owner. I am so glad we weren't living in the house while we were trying to sell. It still felt like it too forever. I thought all of your pictures looked just fine.

Ah marge, it must be nice to be married to someone who can get things done. I've had a call in to an electrician for over a week. The plumber has put me off twice, was suppose to show up on Monday and I'm still waiting. We have last things to finish up around here and one contractor I've worked with before is suppose to come next week. We'll see if anyone makes it because the King salmon are running and none of them care about making money when they can be fishing!!

We've been having 80 degree days. Hot for us and dry. Water is super cheap here, so I've been running the hose for the trees almost constantly. It's midnight and just now qualifies as dark on the streets. The sky is still light, but it's too dark to work in the yard. I called my best bud back in MO and the heat index there was 105 today. I don't miss it.

I picked up a featherweight on ebay this week. DH wants to know why I need another machine. Well, I just do, says I. I have a Bernette and a great old Neechi for sewing but they are both so heavy. I've also been restoring a Singer Red Eye that I got on Freecycle. The decals were perfect and now I just need to find a case. It looks like this.

My mom (age 88) and a cousin are coming up Aug. 3rd. I've been making myself a list for room by room so that I don't end up with much to do before they show. With all of the kids running in and out all day, I'm beginning to wonder if there is any dirt left outside.

So, how much longer will you have to be in the apartment?


Here is a link that might be useful: featherweight

    Bookmark   July 14, 2006 at 4:11AM
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Talley, I hope you're able to sell soon. We were soooo lucky to be able to sell to my dad. We'd probably still be waiting if not. The real estate market in our former small town is practically nonexistant.

The staging stuff just amazes me. Our former house was a FSBO (friends of ours). The parents & two children under six were living in a 1200 sq. ft. house. Two bedrooms, one bath. It wasn't really cluttered, but it sure wasn't staged. When we went in, I looked around at what I'd do with the place, not at what they had. It wouldn't have mattered to me if the tablecloth had been the ugliest I'd seen, because it would be gone when I bought the house. I was getting concerned about staging myself until we finalized with my dad. We we trying to pack already & just didn't really have time or space to stage.

I do understand after looking for a home myself recently that staging does make a place look more inviting. But most of these were model homes in developments, not homes that families were living in. They were, of course, perfect. We did visit one that a family with small children lived in. It was uncluttered, but it was very obvious that someone lived there. It hadn't really been staged.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2006 at 8:50AM
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Gloria, you really have your hands full, but I bet the scenery is gorgeous.
TSue - as you may know from different posts I have been involved in real estate for a long time --I didn't exactly sell Abraham Lincoln that first log cabin--somebody else had the listing.
The reason we are seeing "staging" is because realtors noticed why identical listings near each other sold at different times. In an old tract of houses--40 or 50 years old they really are identical. The house with the fresh pot of blooming whatevers at the front door, the new carpet, new blinds, paint and minimal furniture would sell first and for more money than it took to do that stuff. You would think people would buy the one without the fixed stuff, beat down the price, and do the stuff themselves. But often they don't have a nickel extra after doing the down payment, closing costs, moving, etc. and unlike you probably don't have a clue what it costs, or how to do it.
With expensive houses --the people work long hours and its not so easy to do little things around the house. When you pay 2 million dollars for a house it better look immaculate.
People want to make a profit when they sell, and they do whats a good idea. Good luck Talley --the basic idea is to make the place look inviting--and not like working on it would become a fulltime hobby. It doesn't always mean new paint throughout and new carpet. Its called "staging" because somebody wants to teach classes on it and issue licenses. But the theory is an old one.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2006 at 11:04AM
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I could understand if someone is paying in the millions (which I know some areas are sky high) that the home has to really call to you. What I dislike is the pressure for the average family to feel like they can't leave a toothbrush on the counter, some clothing in the hamper or any other evidence of a normal family living in the space. I also think that staging is probably one results of so many homes being out of control with stuff. I know my memory is clouded with old age, but I really do remember friend's homes being clean and nicely decorated as I was growing up. They were typical ranches or splits, but they looked nice.

We are rather stubborn up here, although I've definately been seeing the decluttering taking place. It kind of misses the mark, though. The houses look oddly empty but you know people are living there. I'm sure as soon as the pictures were taken all of the stuff came out of the cabinets. Who could live without a coffee maker on the counter?


    Bookmark   July 14, 2006 at 10:19PM
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exactly, Gloria--when my LR is completely cleared of all stuff from the counters, corners, etc., I almost feel like it's a hotel or something.

and boy, it's hard--it's been since March that we've packed away stuff, and while most of it really shouldn't come back, some of it is missed.

And, I'm realizing I don't have that great of "hide it away" storage space. I have some loose papers on the piano w/ sheet music, but it looks messy--where do I put it for showings, that I won't lose it later when I need it?

It's just really hard. Especially since it's taking so long. it wouldn't be so hard for a month, but I'm getting really weary of it.

and the tablecloth? Gimme a break! it's just a tablecloth--it's not that ugly, etc. Will people overlook the big windows, bright light, white-marble fireplace, charming archway, and be dissuaded bcs of the tablecloth? And yet, nobody thinks I ought to worry about the FLOOR, which I think makes a bigger impact than the tablecloth.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2006 at 11:15PM
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Talley --sorry it is taking so long for your apt. to sell. That is a real pain.

I am going to weigh in on the tablecloth thing -- forgive me. It is sort of like sheets in a hotel. I can ignore the spotted rug if the bedding is fresh. Just a small detail but why not.

Could you go to Silk Surplus and get a length of pretty plain colored cotton for about $15.00 to $ 20.00 depending on how much overhang? I did. I haven't hemmed it yet but I still use it when my grandson comes for brunch and I want something bright and fresh on the table.

When my daughter's apt was on the market sale by owner, every time she showed it, she put a fresh quilt, different pilows and towels out. It helped. (On the other hand they sold 14 months ago and are not in their new place yet so a lot of good it did. She is in a perfectly ok rental but the tablecloth drives me bananas.)

    Bookmark   July 15, 2006 at 5:50PM
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Do you believe this---we remodeled the bedrooms that faced the view, put in gorgeous balcony doors and a small wrought iron balcony in each. We don't even have the floors in yet, and our neighbor to the West just let us know he sold to a builder. That means that the view we had is going to become a McMansion.You could probably hear me scream in Alaska, Gloria.
Thank God we didn't listen to the architect who wanted us to do some major changes so our dining room would be there instead of the guest room and my craft room. There is an alley between us and the proposed McMansion so we still get the ocean breeze; the living room view at least will still be intact. We are 8 blocks away from the water, but its nice to be able to look out and make sure a tsunami isn't coming up the street.
Talley, just goes to show you --anything can happen. If his place sold quietly, maybe yours will too. He has a tiny lot and not much of a view even with two stories.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2006 at 2:30AM
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Oh man, oh man. I would be heartsick. We live in an older neighborhood built to replace homes which slid into the Cook Inlet in the 9.3 earthquake in the early 60's. In the two years we've been here, there have been four teardowns. Since the people really, really want the neighborhood and how it feels, they have been building tastful homes which fit in well. It's the kind of neighborhood which new people to the area don't understand. Good thing for us.

We lived on the waterfront in a condo my DH had when we first were married. No nice ocean breezes for us, darn it! Cook Inlet has tides up to 30 feet and as soon as that tide begins coming in and starts moving that air, watch out!! 50 MPH isn't uncommon and even less would knock you over. Started around 6 every evening, so we headed for cover. We were two blocks from the Inlet for 10 years and I didn't even realize how that wind dictated my day until we moved farther into the core of the city and we have no wind here. So lovely to sit in the yard and not get blown away.

Hopefully, the builder will do something nice . I don't even want to think about what that new house will cost there.


    Bookmark   July 16, 2006 at 5:31AM
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Gloria--Cook inlet sounds like the wind coming off Lake Michigan that gave Chicago its name "windy city" thats where I amfrom originally. Your stories about Alaska sound great. I couldn't find Cook Inlet on the map--what city are you near?
Talley-for your loose papers--I went to Ross and got a small chest for loose stuff. Also I got two wicker baskets with fabric linings and put them on a high shelf on the bookcase, they are filled with loose papers, in folders.
I have a digital camera--I finally learned how to get the pictures into the computer--and I can Email them. Some day I will be able to weave them into my posts so I could photograph my wicker baskets, etc. stand back world!

    Bookmark   July 17, 2006 at 1:46AM
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marge, we are in Anchorage, so if you locate Anchorage the body of water to the west is Cook Inlet. It has ocean tides (2nd highest in North America) from the Gulf of Alaska keeping in "warm" in winter and while it has chunks of ice, it doesn't freeze. It's 20 degrees colder in the winter on the other side of town which is at the base of the mountains. Strangely, we don't have the wind in the winter. It stays up on the mountains. When you get just a few blocks away from the water--no wind.

When you look at a map of Alaska, things don't seem right. What appears to be a river, is actually a very large body of water. Here's a good link with Alaska over the lower 48 to show it's actual size.

My husband is from Chicago, too! We were there three years ago in Feb. and I thought I would freeze to death in that wind. We were close to the Midway area, not even close to the lake in my opinion and it was awful. I wore my usual coat that I wear here and I was so cold. His family just would not believe that it's much more comfortable here. Those visions of igloos, I guess.

Have fun with that camera. We haven't gone digital because most of our family doesn't do email and I had to send photos anyway. Luckily, we have a scanner and can just put in items as needed.


Here is a link that might be useful: slideshow of my neck of the woods (20 pic and a bit slow, so wait for them to change)

    Bookmark   July 17, 2006 at 8:42PM
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Gloria, thank you for posting those pictures. I live in a valley in Montana in the middle of the Rocky Mountains and it can be spectacular at times. But nothing like your photos.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2006 at 9:13PM
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Talley Sue,

As one of the pople who recommended you lose the tablecloth, perhaps I should try to exlain why?

First, I was commenting on the photographs in the online ad, not really the tablecloth in real life because it never occured to me it would be left on the dining table all the time. A tablecloth without place settings seems, to me, a little like those plastic covers on upholstered furniture. Maybe not quite that bad, but a sort of mild social/cultural shibboleth.

Somewhere in the recesses of my mind, where I stored early lessons about what was OK, and what wasn't, leaving a tablecloth on a dining table between meals is listed on the "not done" side. I think it has to do with a tablecloth not being appropriate for all meals: OK for some (very formal) breakfast services; not usually for lunch, but OK again for tea and dinner. And after a meal when it has been used, it often needs to be laundered; and conversely it should only be put on a table when it is very fresh, something that wouldn't be true if it is left on routinely. In a subtle way, leaving it on all the time is like leaving a bed unmade because you are going to get back into the next night.

When I saw the photograph, I just thought you hadn't removed it from the last meal, and thought the picture would look better if that piece of housekeeping was done before the room was photographed.

Does that make more sense, now? It hasn't anything to do with the color, or decor, really.

In fact, of course, I do remember that you specifically DIDN'T ask for suggestions, and then we all chimed in, anyway! I am sorry if it made it harder to stand waiting for a good buyer to come along. One will, I am quite sure. I have been checking back on the buying and selling forum hoping to see good news from you, so I am grateful to have stumbled on this thread as it brought me up to date. I was hoping that one of the last burst of buyers would have come up to scratch. Is the scaffolding work done, yet?


    Bookmark   July 19, 2006 at 2:14AM
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Talley Sue, I don't know how often you are advertising but I had heard recently that if a house is on the market for a while, the best thing to do is to stop advertising for a short while. People who see the same ad over and over again just assume that there's something wrong with the house. By taking it off the market, people then can assume that an offer was given. Then you can advertise as back on market, must sell now sort of thing.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2006 at 10:50AM
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Molly, what an interesting perspective! Way different from the way I was raised. We had dress tablecloths for the holiday dinners in the formal dining area and those were taken off the table and not used for another few months. We had a wood table for everyday use and tablecloths were viewed as a utility item, just like kitchen towels, etc. I don't agree that it's the same as an unmade bed and it wouldn't occur to me that someone would think I wasn't finished with the kitchen clean-up because the tablecoth is on the table. There is almost always one on the kitchen table unless we are doing some messy art project.

I never saw my grandmother's kitchen table without a pretty tablecloth. I can't image a meal which isn't appropriate for a tablecloth since we aren't talking linen or damask. Just plain cotton or cotton/poly blend. I do use a silencer cloth to help cut down on the clattering and help soak up any spills. With a houseful of kids, it's much easier to shake the cumbs out the door or let the washing machine clean up the major spills. I enjoy vintage cloths and while I know I should iron them, I don't.

It sounds like our families are very different. I've never met anyone who did a tea. The women in my family all worked from the time they were children and changing out a tablecloth and having different rules for different meals would have just been too much work. I have a feeling my grandmothers probably didn't have nice wood tables and the tablecloth was also a way to bring color and niceness into their kitchens. It was easier to have a stash of tablecloths than worry about some old finish which wouldn't hold up well to constant use.

I know for myself, it cuts down on the constant wiping and crumbs falling all over the place. I'm not talking about spills, but even the condensation from glasses and bowls. I've got a couple of friends who have starting using tablecloths and they agree that the table just looks prettier and is easier to maintain. We've even started wear aprons to cut down on the clothing stains while cooking.

I love the Internet. It's so interesting to peek into lives so different from my own. LOL.


    Bookmark   July 19, 2006 at 5:41PM
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I can certainly see routinely keeping a cloth (I think oil cloth or checkerboard/gingham is often a traditional choice) on a kitchen table, but not for a formal dining room table.

Since that is what I think Talley Sue has, that may be why so many people (besides me) suggested she remove the cloth in her pictures of the apartment - to emphasize, in a subtle way, the formal dining room aspect.

We don't eat in the kitchen, but if we did, I think I would use placements instead of a tablecloth, since they are simpler to launder and keep fresh looking. As it is, we use placements for breakfast, lunch and some dinners. I have my tea on a tray, not at a table, as I am usually far too busy to stop and sit down at that time of day!


    Bookmark   July 20, 2006 at 2:14AM
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Molly, I think Talley only has a galley kitchen and that's their main table. Speak up Talley.

Oilcloth and the gingham check is a local kind of thing. We never had either when I was growing up. I just don't care for placemats.

And now I can finally say I "know" someone who really takes tea!


    Bookmark   July 20, 2006 at 2:50AM
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As somebody may recall I am a broker and a real estate & probate lawyer involved in selling lots of houses over the years, and I was married to a spec builder for 30 years. People who are house hunting look at location, price and size of the home and size of the lot or the amenities if its a condo. Then they narrow the location more, sometimes down to several streets.
If they don't like it--they comment on everything they don't like including the dog.
So Tally I wouldn't worry about the tablecloth, a buyer will like where the place is, and what's near it, etc.
The last week or so of July and August tend to be vacation time and househunting slows down because its hot, but it will pick up when it gets cool,
Tell us about your location in case somebody reading this will decide they would like to look at it. I didn't see the link to your ad.
Gloria--your photos are wonderful--so cooling to look at. We are on our way to a wedding in Boise Idaho. Can you believe it--my siser in law told me to bring a sweater? Its going to be 100 there.
For years I have had glass cut to put over my desk at work and our dining room table at home. I hate tablecloths and placemats. I actually put a lace tablecloth under the glass for a while. A little windex and dinner's cleaned up.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2006 at 5:28AM
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we have only the dining room--the kitchen is a galley.

And that's a vinyl tablecloth, with protective pads underneath. I don't have time to take stuff off the table and put it back on for every stupid meal. And protective pads alone look like exposed underwear to me, so it's either all of it, or nothing.

We're also not going to eat on the wood for everyday.

The rest of the apartment is so great, I just can't see someone overlooking -the huge living room (13x17--huge for Queens apartments OR houses),
-w/ the archway into
-the large dining room (big enough for a full-size formal table, a big upright piano, a large china cabinet, a buffet and plenty of people milling around),
-the bright light from the window,
-the phenomenal center-of-the-block garden shared by all the buildings on the block.
-the 2 bathrooms

    Bookmark   July 20, 2006 at 11:01AM
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