1 Just a Thought: Why Recline?

>> Friday, July 31, 2009

As Realtors, Eric & I parade through dozens of homes per week, and we are always intrigued when we happen upon a home theater. While a home theater is a fun bonus, I commonly find myself slightly disappointed when I walk away.

I like the idea of a fun gathering place where friends and family can hang out and watch a movie together, and I adore the idea of Brad Pitt’s face plastered across an entire wall of a room. So what’s the deal?

Then it hit me—it’s the abundance of leather recliners. Don’t get me wrong. If a recliner floats your boat, I’m on board, but why limit yourself and your home theater?

Check out the swanky home theater below. Here they used chaises for ultimate relaxation and even worked in leather with a comfy couch…


Just a thought.



0 The School Zone: Fair Park Early Childhood Center

Fair Park Early Childhood Center

616 North Harrison Street
Little Rock AR 72205

The Fair Park Early Childhood Center  provides a high-quality preschool program at no cost to parents.

Built in 1928, with the main part of the building constructed during 1937 and 1938, Fair Park was originally known as the "Lincoln School."  A tradition over seventy years in the making,

Fair Park boasts of educating several generations of families and now covers an entire city block in the historic Hillcrest neighborhood. Fair Park converted to an Early Childhood Center, the only one of its kind in the state, for the 2005-06 school year and serves as a model facility for pre-kindergarten children.

Quick Facts:

Principal: Judy Milam

Enrollment: 180
Grade Levels: Pre-K
Uniforms: Required



1 Voting for Veggies

>> Thursday, July 30, 2009

If you’ve ever enjoyed snacking on fresh produce from Little Rock’s Farmers’ Market in Downtown’s River Market Pavilion, take a moment to vote for our local veggie stop in the “Love Your Farmers Market” contest.

The top market will win $5,000 (woo hoo!), which would be a huge help in making our farmers’ market even more delicious. You can click here to vote and help our farmers’ market take the cake!



1 Salt Lake City: Room with a View

This Salt Lake City residence featured in Dwell sits atop Emigration Canyon and lays claim to breathtaking views. With its oversize sliding glass doors and meticulous attention to geometric principles, the home creates a calming haven in the mountain wilderness.

Should I mysteriously disappear someday, this may be the first place you should check. Now, how to go about dragging me home is a whole other issue…

jespersen exterior portrait

The backyard features a cedar deck that extends into a field of rolling wildflowers.

jespersen exterior side yard

The living & dining rooms offer a spare but comfortable environment, while sliding glass doors allow the mountain breeze to fill the space.

jerspersen living room deck
 jespersen dining room 

B-E-A-utiful. Just looking at the photos put me at ease. I could only imagine how refreshing it must be actually living in this home.



1 Busy Bee

>> Wednesday, July 29, 2009


While browsing through the magnificent beehive coop, I stumbled across a few fun items for the home.

Ceramic bowls and vases by Cara Gilbert were recently featured in Real Simple magazine, and I can’t get enough.

Cara Gilbert_vase1Cara Gibert_vase2Cara Gilbert_bowl1 Cara Gilbert_bowl2 

These nature inspired cotton pillows will soften any space…


     …and animal pillows from Tu Tu Kids are just too adorable for words.

   Tu Tu Kids Rhino Pillow Tu Tu Kids Rhino Pillow (Tu Tu Kids 004), handmade gifts, handmade handbags, handcrafted jewelry, handmade jewelry, designer clothing, designer products Tu Tu Kids Walrus Pillow Tu Tu Kids Walrus Pillow (Tu Tu Kids 005), handmade gifts, handmade handbags, handcrafted jewelry, handmade jewelry, designer clothing, designer products 




1 Designed to Sell: Bathrooms

>> Tuesday, July 28, 2009

When potential buyers enter your home, one key feature they look for are appealing bathrooms. When staging your home to sell, put a little extra effort into those areas. Think clean, fresh and luxurious.

  • If the fixtures in your bathroom are outdated (spigots, handles, mirrors, etc.), consider replacing them with sleek, modern fixtures.
  • Adorn the towel rack with high-quality plush towels in subtle colors. When buyers come to visit, always remove your daily towels.
  • If you have a shower curtain, be certain it is 100% clean.  If not, replace it.  Choose a solid curtain and keep it simple. White is always a safe choice.
  • Check the tub and shower to make sure there are only necessary items in there.  No messy bars of soap and shampoo bottles. Place items under the sink after using them each day.
  • Hang neutral art in your bathroom to transform it from hum-drum to something special.
  • Fresh flowers and candles suggests a spa like atmosphere.
  • Make sure your bathroom is squeaky clean. Many buyers will not be able to look past dingy grout and filmy shower doors.







This bathroom is nice and new, but a few neutral pieces of wall art and plush towels set the stage for a speedy sale… 

bathroom3_before  bathroom3_after

The bright walls and under-the-sea inspired shower curtain may be fun for the kids, but buyers are adults and looking for a neutral, peaceful retreat…

bathroom2_before bathroom2_after



4 An Original Outdoor Redesign

>> Monday, July 27, 2009

Check out how one savvy reader from Design Sponge added a bit of organized style to his outdoor space with an old file cabinet purchased for $10 on Craig’s List.


Once turned on its side, outfitted with planter boxes and  painted a bright yellow, this boring cabinet reemerged as a sleek and durable outdoor planter.


I think this is a fantastic idea, but not sure I would have gone with such a bright yellow. What do you think?



0 Quick Quote: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

The national average interest rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage was 5.2% this past week. Slightly up from last week’s 5.14%.

I’m glad to say that in Little Rock, the rates have remained slightly below average.



2 Shop Talk: The Green Corner Store

>> Sunday, July 26, 2009

TheGreenCornerStore_frontA new eco-friendly store has popped up in Downtown Little Rock, and this weekend we had a chance to stop by and check it out. The Green Corner Store, on the corner of Main & 15th Street, carries  products for healthy, creative and earth-friendly living. My favorites include the line of mineral cosmetics, custom built birdhouses and all natural dog treats. Limited merchandise is currently available, but there are plans to expand product lines in the near future.


Next time you find yourself Downtown, be sure to swing by and support one of Little Rock’s newest businesses.




0 Just Sold: 2010 N. University

>> Saturday, July 25, 2009

Congrats to the McClures who just sold their Little Rock Heights home. We enjoyed working with you and wish you all the best in your new place!

2010 N. University_sold
If you are looking to buy or sell, contact us to find out how we can help!

-Eric & Cara


0 Seller’s Guide: Negotiating an Offer

>> Friday, July 24, 2009

brick house The goal of every seller is to have a line of buyers outside the front door, each clutching higher and higher offers. And while this has been known to happen, in most markets there is some balance between the number of buyers and sellers.

How do you negotiate?

Real estate bargaining typically involves compromises by both sides. It's not war; it's not winner-takes-all; and it's not the time to take personally any comments made by purchasers.

Instead, negotiating should be seen as a natural business process; buyers should be treated with respect; and owners should never lose sight of either their best interests or their baseline transaction requirements.

Should I accept an offer?

A number of factors determine whether a buyer's offer is acceptable. They include:

  • Is the offer at or near the asking price?
  • Has the buyer asked you to pay for any additional costs—buyer’s closing costs, for example?
  • What is the alternative to the buyer's offer? If a home has not attracted an offer in months, then you need to determine if a better deal is possible—recognizing that each month costs are being incurred for mortgage payments, taxes and insurance.
  • Do you have enough time to wait for other offers?
  • What if no other offers are received?
  • What if several offers are received? Do you choose the high offer from the purchaser with questionable finances who may not be able to close, or a somewhat lesser offer from a buyer with preapproved financing?

In each case, sellers—with assistance from their Realtor—will need to carefully review offers, consider marketplace options and then determine whether an offer is acceptable to meet your goals.

What is a counter-offer?

A counter-offer is simply a new offer. Once an offer is received, the seller now has three options: accept the offer, decline the offer or make a fresh counter-offer.

Offers and counter-offers reflect the back-and-forth activity of the marketplace. It's an efficient and practical process—but also one that may contain tricky clauses and hidden costs. Your Realtor can explain the local bargaining process in detail and assist in the actual negotiations.

Finally, once both seller and buyer are in agreement, you are officially on the road to the closing table!



1 The World’s Largest House

>> Thursday, July 23, 2009

Recently, we shared Toronto's littlest house with you all, so we thought it only fitting to post the world’s largest home. Prepare yourselves. This is just nuts:

Largest House_outside
The largest of the Sultan of Brunei’s four palaces is indisputably the world’s largest residential and administrative palace currently in use.

At 2,152,782 square feet the palace has 1,788 rooms and 257 bathrooms. Amenities include 5 swimming pools, an air conditioned stable for the Sultan’s 200 polo ponies, a 110-car garage, a banquet hall that can be expanded to accommodate up to 5,000 guests, and a mosque accommodating 1,500 people.

The palace was built in 1984 at a cost of around $1.4 billion USD and has 564 chandeliers, 51,000 light bulbs, 44 stairwells, and 18 elevators. It is also a home to a car collection that includes custom-made Ferraris and Bentleys as well as 165 Rolls-Royces.

But watch out Sultan!   In 2009, Indian multi-billionaire Mukesh Ambani is scheduled to complete construction on his new place and will steal the title of the world's largest house.



0 Easy Does It

>> Wednesday, July 22, 2009

When gardening is involved, I do not claim to be an expert. I appreciate a beautifully landscaped yard as much as the next gal, but when it comes to creating one, I am definitely a beginner. Don’t get me wrong. I do enjoy getting my hands dirty, especially with an easy yard pick-me-up like these container gardens from Real Simple.

A Potted Herb Garden

herb garden

What to plant: Various herbs can share the same pot, but make sure they are compatible by reading the care tags. Water-loving basil and curly parsley make good partners, whereas rosemary, sage, and oregano all prefer a slightly drier environment. Or try different varieties of one plant, such as common, lemon, and silver thyme.

Which pots to use: Classic terra-cotta pots are an excellent choice for container plantings because their porosity allows air and water to move through the walls, which is healthy for root development.

How to maintain: Most herbs are naturally low-maintenance―regular harvesting will keep the plants productive. But in the summer heat, your pots might need a drink almost every day if Mother Nature isn’t obliging.

A Potted Salad Garden

salad garden

What to plant: Maximize your growing space by planting varieties that are bred to be compact. Look for words like bush, baby, dwarf, tiny, midget, and patio in the plant names and descriptions. Throw in nasturtiums for color. The edible, peppery flowers and leaves are great in salads.

Which pots to use: You’ll need relatively large containers for vegetables like tomatoes, which require at least five gallons of soil to develop a root system large enough to support a productive plant. Galvanized metal tubs and buckets make terrific planters―just drill holes in the bottom for drainage.

How to maintain: Stake and tie tall growers right away, and adjust the stakes as the plants gain height. Never let the soil dry out more than an inch below the surface, make sure the container gets six hours of sun a day, and harvest regularly so the plants don’t go to seed.

A Potted Cutting Garden

cutting garden

What to plant: It’s best to go with annuals, which blossom all season long. Especially good are showy types, including floss flowers, zinnias, and rudbeckia. For faster blooms, buy six-packs of seedlings (or slightly more developed plants in four-inch-diameter plastic pots) at your local garden center instead of starting from seed. When planting them, mix in a time-release all-purpose fertilizer to encourage continuous blooming.

Which pots to use: If you want a lightweight, unbreakable  alternative to terra-cotta, opt for plastic pots shaped and finished to look like the real deal. They also retain moisture well and―bonus―are more weather-resistant.

How to maintain: It’s easy―frequently cutting blossoms  for the table stimulates plants to produce more flowers. And if your plants look wilted in the early morning, that means they need a drink.



1 For the Birds

>> Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A friend recently noticed that she’d seen a lot of bird inspired decor lately. You know what? Now that you mention it, Susan, so have I!

Check out this aviary of decor dedicated to our feathered friends…

Making it Lovely, gave a nod to the winged creatures when she recently re-wallpapered her entire dining room in this print…

MIL bird

Dwell Studio has gone bird happy! This duvet and wall art are just a few of the items boasting beaks…

dwellstudio bord douvetdwell studio wall art
and Pier 1 must be perching on the same branch with their feathered finds…

P1 owls
P1 pillow 



0 Seller's Guide: What to Expect

>> Monday, July 20, 2009

ranch3You've selected your Realtor, set a price and prepared your home for buyers. Now what?

Knowing what to expect when your house goes up for sale can be half the battle of getting through the transaction. Here’s a look at what you can expect once you sign a listing agreement:

Out of the gate. The first thing your agent will likely do is place your home in the local Multiple Listing Service (MLS). This notifies all other agents in the area that your home is for sale.

Soon, a for-sale sign will appear in the yard and a lockbox will be attached to your house, most likely the front door. The lockbox allows local agents access to the house when you aren’t home. It is important to be as accommodating as possible when other agents are wanting to show your home to buyers. A more convenient time for you may not fit into the buyers’ schedule. Plus, unless you’re in a hot sellers’ market, there will be plenty of other houses to see.

Open house. Your agent will want to have an open house to showcase your home to the public. It is recommended that you are not present during open house, since buyers want the freedom to look in closets and make comments which can be uncomfortable to do if the homeowner is present.

Neat freak. Keeping your house in tip-top shape, especially if you have kids and pets, is one of the more difficult parts of selling your home, but one of the most important. Remember, buyers will walk into your house and try to picture living there. Most people don’t have the vision to look past toys scattered throughout the house, dishes in the sink or pet food spilled on the floor. It doesn’t matter that they probably live the same way.

Changing course. Markets can change quickly, so there may be a time when you need to consider price and any physical changes or improvements that could enhance the home. This doesn’t mean you have to remodel the kitchen, but maybe realizing the garage should be cleaned out or the pink bedroom walls should be repainted can make the difference.



1 Toronto’s Littlest House

>> Sunday, July 19, 2009

Take a look at this little cutie! Toronto’s Little House was built in 1912 and boasts just 312 square feet.

Little House_front 

The entrance foyer serves as a place to welcome visitors as well as an office space…

Little House_foyer

Built-in storage & Murphy bed are found in the inside…

Little House_living

The backyard features a fenced patio and access to parking… 

Little House_patio


0 Open House Sunday!

>> Saturday, July 18, 2009

Sunday, July 19: 2-4 p.m.

One of our newest listings is being held open this Sunday. You won't want to miss this lovely home and all of the Hillcrest perks it has to offer...

5422 C Street


Be sure to check out this charming house in a fantastic location!

-Eric & Cara


0 Seller's Guide: Staging Your Home

>> Friday, July 17, 2009

Rayn Properties Architectural ImagesHome staging is about illusions. It's beyond decorating and cleaning. It's about perfecting the art of creating moods. Staging makes your house look bigger, brighter, cleaner, warmer, more loving and, best of all, it makes home buyers want to make it their own.

Think of it this way: How we stage is not how we live. It is how we want to live. We have all seen magazine pictures of beautiful homes and thought "I want to live there!" In reality, it took the owner weeks to get their home picture-perfect. They had to declutter, remove excess furniture items and deep clean to get their home ready for the magazine photographer. This is exactly what you are doing to prepare your home for sale. We want buyers to leave your home thinking, "I want to live there!", just like the homes in magazines.

Your Realtor should be able to provide feedback on how to best stage your home. It is important to remember to separate yourself from your home at this point. Your Realtor is not criticizing your decorating skills, they are simply helping you use what you already have to best accentuate your homes features. For example, you may have a stunning china cabinet in your dining room that you would definitely want to display in your personal home. However, by removing the china cabinet from your home while it is for sale, your dining room may appear larger. Buyers are looking to buy the space, not the china cabinet.

Here are a few staging hints to prepare your home to sell:

Depersonalize the space by removing family photos, trophies, posters, etc.

Clear high-traffic areas of excess furnishings to maximize feeling of space.

Highlight key features in each room, such as windows and fireplaces, by making sure they are not obscured by plants or furnishings.

For more staging tips, visit the
Designed to Sell section of Living the Home Life.



0 Neck of the Woods: Stifft’s Station

>> Thursday, July 16, 2009

Stiffts Station_signStifft's Station makes up the western part of the Capitol View/Stifft's Station neighborhood.

The neighborhood remains one of mixed use, though primarily residential in character, and includes a commercial band along Markham. Here you can find the Station grocery store, the Oyster Bar and Pizza D’Action.

Stiffts Station_Craftsman Bungalow

The name, Stifft's Station, was derived from the active participation of prominent local businessman and civic booster, Charles Stifft, in the growth of this portion of Little Rock’s streetcar suburbs.

The Stifft’s Station Historic District offers reasonable real estate prices with the majority of the homes built in Craftsman, Craftsman Bungalow, and Bungalow styles with modest Tudor or Colonial Revival detailing.

Stifft’s Station is also where home buyer, Justin Parkey, purchased his house with Eric’s help in TLC’s My First Home. Click here to watch the entire episode!



0 Designed to Sell: Kitchens

>> Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The kitchen is really the heart of the house and the one room that demands the most attention.

Actually, staging the kitchen is one of the easier rooms to do. There’s no re-arranging furniture, but there are still several guidelines to stick to:

Clear every appliance, utensil, gadget, spice jar, knickknack that you own from the countertops. Then, add a few (3-4 max) to add color and shape without being distracting. For example, a bowl of fruit or a flower arrangement in an attractive vase should do. Clearing the countertops allows the eye to focus on the functional space of the room.

This kitchen in on point with clean countertops, matching hand towels, and a few neutral accessories…



The front of the refrigerator needs to be free of all refrigerator magnets, children’s artwork, post-it notes, photos, everything! Stoves, ovens, microwaves, and dishwashers should all be spotlessly clean inside and out. They require no staging other than to be clean and free of fingerprints.

As with everything else in the house, cabinet exteriors and interiors need to be absolutely clean.

Remove as many items from the cabinets as possible. Most cabinets have an assortment of everyday glasses and plates, plus lots of everything that only get used occasionally. Remove everything that you don’t need for day-to-day living.  

Home kitchen offices
If you’re fortunate enough to have a small home office in your kitchen, make sure it is neat and tidy. Remove all personal items (calendars, date books, planners). People want to imagine themselves working away, not you.

If there is anything else in the kitchen that can be removed (shelves, non-built-in cabinets, etc.) and they are not necessary for the function of the kitchen, remove and store them someplace else. Make sure all light bulbs are in working order to keep your kitchen light and bright.

Before & After:

Before this kitchen looked bare and impersonal. By staging an eating area, buyers can now imagine themselves gathering around the table with family and friends…


What a difference clean counter tops and a smaller table makes in the eat in kitchen!



Related Posts with Thumbnails

  © Blogger template Simple n' Sweet by Ourblogtemplates.com 2009

Back to TOP