We recently had the privilege of catching up with Herman Chan, one of San Francisco’s biggest Real Estate Personalities, to get the inside scoop on preparing your luxury home to sell for top dollar. Broker, Speaker & Videoblogger, Herman has been featured on countless media outlets including HGTV, House Hunters, My House is Worth What, and MSNBC.
What are the biggest mistakes you see on the exterior of luxury homes on the market?
It never ceases to amaze me how much homeowners will spend on designer furniture, imported marble, one of a kind toilets, but the outside of their home look so blah. Take a chance with some off the beaten path color for that front door! In my forthcoming photography book Looking Up: Images to Uplift & Inspire, I highlighted some luxury properties with interesting exteriors because those are the ones that stood out from a sea of homogeneity.
What are the top three things homeowners can do to make the best first impression?
I know I sound like a broken record, however, it needs to be underscored because people just don’t learn.
Three things that will make any home stand out is to declutter, new paint and professional staging. Decluttering allows people focus on the wonderful space rather than littered personal junk. Spruce up your home with a fresh coat of paint for a quick facelift and to unify spaces for natural flow. A whole generation of consumers have been socialized by HGTV to expect staged properties during the shopping process. Buyers want to be wow’d which will hopefully be reflected in offer prices.
Would you recommend the same improvements in Pacific Heights as you would in Noe Valley, Piedmont or Palo Alto? Are there regional trends sellers should pay attention to?
In order to be successful in real estate, you must understand your consumer. The Bay Area yet more notably in San Francisco, a plethora of micro-markets exist so each market deserves different approaches. Piedmont is all about family, hosting dinner parties, and manicured yards for kids’ parties. You wouldn’t remodel a sprawling Piedmont estate in the aesthetic of a SOMA loft heavy with steel, brick, and concrete which is in fact very appealing to young professionals in tech and Millennials. The Casto, historically the gay ghetto, has gentrified immensely with influx of young families. I am seeing a lot of bedrooms staged as kids rooms in the Castro. You’ll see a lot of regional trends in my book Looking Up, whose images draw primarily from Northern Californian life and decor. I made sure to cite the location and city of each photo. The eclectic nature of this area is astounding!
Summer is well under way in the Bay Area – even for us San Franciscans! This season’s unusually warm weather may have you scrambling to spruce up your outdoor space. Never fear, we’ve rounded up 5 modern lounge chairs that will add instant style to your patio. Grab one now before the fog rolls back in…
With school out for summer you might be struggling to find a way to keep your children’s toys from taking over every inch of the house. We’ve rounded up a few chic ways to keep your home clutter-free while keeping toys and games easily accessible for playtime!
Disguise What’s Inside. An easy way to completely remove toys from view is to use furniture that doubles as storage units such as ottomans, benches, or coffee tables. Niche Interiors designed the above ottoman with a removable top for stashing kids stuff out of sight before adult gatherings.
Mix It Up. Use low storage units that can house bins or be used as open shelving. Being able to see a few books and supplies will add visual interest to the room while providing easy access for your kids.
Stylish Bins. Treat woven baskets, patterned bins, or wooden crates as design elements in your space – look for options that are both attractive and functional. Land of Nod, Serena & Lily, and The Container Store are all great places to start your search!
If you’re like us, you dream about escaping to a scenic place with an equally beautiful interior to match. Take a mini-vacay with these inspiring vacation homes, and steal a few tips to freshen up your own space!
Designed by Jeffrey Alan Marks
Now, this is a room you would want to lounge in for days! Take home tip: Layer a bold, striped rug over an existing rug for an graphic but laid-back feel.
Designed by Jeffrey Alan Marks
Take home tip: Maximize the potential of every corner of your home with statement artwork and beautiful, well-curated accessories. A well-styled table goes a long way!
Designed by Patrick Printy
If this was my vacation home, I’d never leave! Take home tip: Layer crisp white sheets with wool and linen blankets, and bring in the outdoors with a simple, but dramatic flower arrangement.
We’re always on the hunt for new furniture stores in San Francisco, especially if “vintage” and “industrial” are involved! We stopped in to check out the newly opened S16 Home in the Castro, which specializes in vintage furniture and lighting, quirky industrial antiques, and high-end designer consignments.
The upholstery consignments include mid-range to high-end pieces; We spotted Room & Board armchairs and Barbara Barry for McGuire chairs (score!). But, the showstopper was definitely the Hudson live-edge coffee table with acrylic base.
S16 Home is located at 286 Sanchez Street in San Francisco. Happy hunting!
I’m excited to share the inside scoop from last week’s Healthy Homes Conference sponsored by Build it Green and PG&E. We’re huge fans of Arlene Blum, the biophysical chemist who was largely responsible for eliminating the flame retardant requirement in California’s new standard for upholstered furniture (Read more about TB117-2013 on our blog post here.) It was an honor to meet her and hear the latest on the fight to remove harmful flame retardants from our sofas.
I learned some interesting facts about the specific chemicals used in flame retardants, all of which were very alarming. Did you know that PentaBDE is one of only 23 chemicals that is banned GLOBALLY? It’s effects on animals exposed include endocrine disruption, neurodevelopmental problems, lower IQ, and cancer.
The good news: Furniture manufacturers are starting to make the switch to foam without flame retardants. A few big box stores will be phasing in healthier foam starting July 1st. Be sure to look for the “TB117-2013″ tag and to confirm with a sales rep that the foam doesn’t contain flame retardants (they are not banned from furniture, just no longer required).
Ready to make a change? The Green Science Policy Institute has a fantastic program called the “Safer Sofa Foam Exchange”. Take your existing foam inserts which contain flame retardants (purchased anytime between 1978 and 2013) and exchange them for new, healthier foam for roughly $50 per cushion. The old foam will be used for testing and research by the Green Science Policy Institute to help determine the safest way to dispose of these chemicals, many of which have long half-lives and remain in the environment for decades. Participating locations include Foam Order in San Francisco, The Foam Store of Marin, Foam and Cushion in Concord, and Kay Chesterfield Company in Oakland.
Interested in a 100% green, non-toxic sofa?Contact us to learn more about our custom, locally made sofas fabricated from natural latex foam wrapped in organic wool.
We had a great time exploring the showcase house and catching up with fellow designers at the HGTV party last night. With a 19 month old at home I may be biased, but the kids spaces really stood out this year!
“Little Roamer’s Room” designed by Regan Baker Design is an inspiring space perfectly suited to an imaginative young boy (or girl). The existing wallpaper from the 1970′s (WOW!) was given an adventurous and modern spin with explorer themed accessories and art. The tent expands the length of the room by latching onto a hook on the opposite wall.
“Lily’s Pad” designed by Artistic Designs for Living was another fun space, created for an artistic teenage girl. Jackson Pollock-style paint splatters on the ceiling mix with glamorous teal headboards and jolts of lime green and tangerine.
Congrats to all the designers who contributed their hard work and creative talent to the home. Be sure to stop by 3660 Jackson Street to see all the fabulous rooms in person – open through May 26th. Find details at the San Francisco Decorator Showcase website.
Ready to start on your own interior design project? Contact us for more information about our services!
We were thrilled to learn that Serena & Lily, one of our favorite online retailers, was opening their first design shop in San Francisco! We got a sneak peek of the Sacramento Street store at the designer preview party this week. It’s an inspiring and colorful space packed full of Serena & Lily’s signature textiles (hello, fun patterns!), eclectic furniture, and whimsical accessories for the modern nursery.
One of our favorite features is the vignette in the back of the store showcasing their collection of original artwork and prints. Now, that’s how an art wall should look!
Stop by to see the eye candy in person starting this Saturday, May 3rd at 3457 Sacramento Street. See more photos from the event on Instagram – including a shot of Jeffrey Alan Marks interviewing Jen!
Happy Earth Day! As interior designers we’ve been given the opportunity to play our part in helping the environment. The furnishings, materials, and finishes that we source have far-reaching impacts on the health of the local and global environment as well as the health of our clients. Here are three small choices you can make that will have a very large impact in conserving our planet’s resources.
1. Opt for FSC certified or reclaimed wood flooring, cabinets, and furniture. Forests create oxygen, protect biodiversity, filter pollutants, and help mitigate global warming. The Forest Stewardship Council is an international agency that tracks and certifies sustainably harvested wood. By purchasing FSC certified wood, you are supporting responsible forestry practices that help protect forest ecosystems.
2. Invest in quality furniture. Avoid poorly constructed furniture and invest a little more in pieces that will stay with you for many years. You’ll prevent adding to our rapidly growing landfills, and will also avoid using additional resources to replace your original purchase. Don’t have a big budget? Consider vintage! Sometimes all it takes is a new fabric or wood stain to give a piece new life, for a fraction of the cost of new items. The Alameda Antiques Faire and vintage shops such as Past Perfect are fantastic places to start your search.
3. Shop local. Ask showrooms where their furniture is made and consider the fossil fuels required to bring a large item from overseas. There are so many quality furniture companies that still manufacture right here in the United States, such as Plantation, A. Rudin, and Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams to name a few.
Our latest project, a bachelorette pad in One Rincon Hill, inspired us to share our tips for bringing color into your home – from daring, vibrant upholstery to accent pillows and flowers.
Re-think the painted accent wall. A grasscloth accent wall is a great way to add both color and texture to your space. In this master bedroom we chose a paprika shade to spice up a mostly neutral room. Try combining various shades of a warm color with a cooler hue across the color wheel from your main color. In this room we opted for orange with aqua accents.
Feeling adventurous? Consider a vibrant fabric for your next armchair! We snatched up these vintage Milo Baughman chairs from a dealer and had them re-upholstered at our local San Francisco workroom. Bonus: The new latex inserts are non-toxic and eco-friendly.
Commitment issues: Using bold color in large (and more permanent) ways isn’t for everyone. Starting out with accent pillows and flowers is a safe way to venture into the world of color. We like to stick to one type of flower or one color for unfussy, contemporary arrangements.