Saturday, April 24, 2010

What is a ‘workroom’?

A drapery workroom is the place where the magic happens for fabric fashions for your home. If you are doing some home decorating on your own it is a good idea to find the local workroom and make friends with

the operator. Just like any professional, a workroom operator will have invested considerable time and money in training and equipment and the workroom is a reflection of that. I generally wouldn’t take my car for

service to the guy operating out of his garage in the back alley so please don’t be surprised if the quality of work you receive from the home sewer is not to the standard of a professional workroom.

Professional workrooms usually work to a standard consistent throughout the industry. For example, most professionally made drapes will have a hem that is 4” deep, turned twice. There is a reason for this, the weight of the hem helps keep the drapes hanging properly and allows ample fabric if alterations are necessary. All hems should done on a blind hemmer so the

stitches are not visible on the right side of the fabric. – All professional workrooms have industrial blind hemmers and this commitment to professionalism costs about $1000.00 and does just this one thing.

The largest cutting table I have seen in a workroom was one 6 by 14 feet. Most workrooms have tables 5 feet wide and 10 feet long which enables them to cut, handle and press large pieces of fabric with ease and accuracy. If your chosen workroom is using the floor, or dining room table, as a cutting surface, rest assured your drapes will most likely be crooked.

Like any professional, the workroom will be associated with other professionals; supplies, like the cord used in cushion welting, will be of a superior grade to that available at the local fabric store ( it won’t shrink, for example).

A professional workroom will be able to assist you in calculating the fabric required for your home d├ęcor project and most likely will not charge you for this service. Many workrooms are operated by people with

interior design or decorating training as well as superior sewing skills. These professionals spend their days handling fabric. If you have questions, call them. They are usually quite willing to help the ‘novice’.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Selling my House

Use a professional.

I know I sound like a broken record but here I go one more time. We can’t do everything ourselves. Ask around, find someone with good references and then let them guide you. Chances are really good you won’t regret it.

I recently sold my home; bought a new one and moved my workroom to a separate site. All within 2 months. Now that it’s done I am rather amazed at how fast the whole process happened. I love my new living space and while my new workroom is smaller than the previous one the downtown location makes it easier for clients to come and look at my 150 fabric books.

While I really believe being in the right place at the right time helped a lot, I think that a few things I did helped the sale along. The first thing I did was get a good agent. I asked around; ‘Which agent is selling the most right now?’ I kept hearing Doris Mills and Linda Rohlfs. So I called and spoke to Doris. Perhaps I could have saved money by doing the sale myself, or going to a lower commission sale but I wanted to sell and fast. And have you seen the paperwork involved in a sale?

Doris provided a video:‘ Fit to Sell’; that is a great tool for sellers. As a decorator, I knew I had to remove all personal items. I keep a fairly lean house anyway so this wasn’t too much of a stretch but it did involve packing and quite a few trips to the thrift store. All the pictures came down, all the knickknacks went into a box. The closets got cleaned out.

I was a nervous wreck. My agent kept calm and kept me calm. When it came time to actually move - I had 2 moves to do, one for the workroom, one for my house; I was presented with that wonderful surprise of a professional who provides over and above the required. I got a moving van - at no charge.

The whole house selling experience is another example of the truth that using a professional will save you money in the long run. If had tried to do this myself I’m sure I’d still be filling out forms.. not sitting on my new balcony watching the sunset.


We have all seen ‘Sell this House’. Roger the stager works magic, with very little money. The homes sell quicker and for more money than homes that are not ‘staged’. So what is this all about anyway?

Staging is the preparation of your home for sale. It involves the de-personalizing of the space and the optimization of the home for appeal to the widest spectrum of potential buyers. This means, among many other things, that all the family clutter and photos get packed away; the wallpaper borders will usually come down, any unusual or odd wall colors are neutralized; design principals are applied to furniture placement and the interior and exterior of the home is made to appear at it’s finest. As an interior decorator I can say that the main difference between what I do and what stagers do is that an interior decorator strives to make the space personal to the homeowners; the stager must strive to make the space appear impersonal, yet still inviting, to as many people as possible. The design principals are the same for both professions. Traffic flow is still traffic flow. As an interior decorator, I am aware of decor trends but they are not my prime focus; a stager must be very aware of what is selling in her particular area; what trends are catching the eye of potential buyers. Interior decorators have an eye focused on the long-term; stagers must work quickly and often with a small budget; knowing that their work may very well be short-lived.

What does it cost? That depends.. some stagers work for a flat fee that could be based on hours of work or square footage of the property. Some stagers work for a percentage of the budget for the staging. Some stagers can supply furniture, rugs, linens or accessories, for example, and charge a rental fee for these items as well as a consultant fee and some stagers will rent the items for the homeowner. An in-home consultation is the first step.

According to some statistics I uncovered, staged homes sell faster than unstaged and for 7% more. Staged homes appeal to a broader range of buyers than unstaged; buyers feel staged homes are well-maintained, inspectors often believe the home is better cared for and staged homes often get better appraisals than unstaged homes.

So,., it might be a good idea to get that consultation if you are considering selling.