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Julea Joseph

Julea Joseph
Hello - I'm Julea


A stylish home shouldn't be out of your reach or cost you a fortune. From entertaining to decorating, home should be celebrated and your special place in this busy world. Join me on my adventures to enhance, celebrate and appreciate all things home.


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Tips on Selling Your Home During the Holidays

As the weather outside gets frightful, and people are focused on Black Friday sales and what Roast Beast they'll be serving is there hope for those who have their home FOR SALE?

A home can be sold during the holidays if you apply a few rules and stage your home properly.

Here in Chicago, our winter holidays are an open invitation to go WAY over board with the concept of "Decking the Halls" -With too many trims, lights and blow-up seasonal icons bellowing on our front yards.

Deck the halls in key "Showcase" areas of your home - Such as your kitchen island.
My business, Reinventing Space  had the pleasure to be featured a few weeks ago in a clever and informative article on Selling Your Home During the Holidays in the Chicago Tribune - "Make holiday home sale a reality."

Here is some key advice from the article:

•Those left combing the market during November and December are typically more serious about the home hunt, Spreen said. They might include families relocating for job changes, first-timers ready to leap during a slow market, and those who've recently sold a home and need a new place to live.

•"You'll have fewer showings, but they'll be more powerful," said Dennis Dooley, managing broker with Prudential Rubloff Properties. Holiday season buyers are typically "motivated and financially ready," he added.

•Deck the halls with restraint. Holiday decorations make homes festive and buyers merry. But too many ornaments, wreaths and garlands can obscure views, make rooms feel smaller and distract buyers from their true purpose: deciding whether or not your home is right for them.

•And think twice before displaying decorations specific to your religious or cultural heritage, said interior stylist Julea Joseph, owner of Reinventing Space in Palos Park, since it makes it more difficult for others who don't share your background or beliefs to envision themselves living in the space.

•Photographs should picture the home as it appears in the current season, but sellers may want to capture and post additional shots of summer landscaping to give a hint of what lies ahead.

•Tap the spirit. Light the fireplace if you have one. Decorate with a pretty throw. Make your home cozy, and someone else might want to nest there.

•Clear the schedule. Since buyers are likely to be fewer in number during the dark days of winter, be ready to accommodate the interest you do have.

Deck the halls "lite" when your home is on the market during the holidays.

Since 1999, certified interior stylist Julea Joseph has owned Chicago area based interiors and home staging business - Reinventing Space. Your can see her work on HGTV or in the news giving homeowners expert insight on how to refresh, style and celebrate their space -Whether staging their home to go on the market, just settling in, or just in need of a change.  Julea also offers her expertise with mentoring and certification educational offerings to Realtors, Home Stagers and Interior Redesigners in the industry. Visit her site, JULEA.com or Interior Stylist Program. For more information 708.448.7500 or email her at Julea@Julea.com.
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Making Your Home for the Holidays

With fall well on its way, a bit of frost on the dawn lawns, and the rich colors of autumn making way to subtle shades of whites and grays;  the Holiday Season is drawing near.  Most of us will happily host some sort of soiree, entertain a gathering of family and friends and  just want to fuss and primp our space in celebration of this very special time of year!

Here are some timely tips and helpful hints for November to help make your home for the holidays.

Make it Cozy:  From changing our pillows to unfolding those warm throws. nothing speaks “cozy” than creating an environment rich in comfort. Consider swapping out those silk or cotton pillows with ones enveloped in velvet, felted wool or knits (many retailers now offer just pillow covers to make the switch more budget and space friendly.) Consider investing in a faux fur or hand knit cabled throw to make that living room sofa or favorite chair a cold day cocoon.

Mongolian Wool Fur Throw
A rich throw changes the mood of the room.
 Overstock's Mongolian-Wool-Fur-Throw

 Vern Yip for HSN - Wool felt pillow

Light the Way: Lighting on dimmers will set the festive felling for your home. Create ambiance and mood by putting your plug in lighting on dimmers. You’ll love the results and also set the stage for your Christmas twinkles as well. Swap out your bulbs for “Reveal” bulbs that cast a softer hue. You room's hue and your complexion will thank you. Candle light is also a wonderful gem to make your home inviting and fulfill the senses.   From clean burning soy to battery operated wonders, the flicker and soft scent from candles make any environment happy.

Floral Arrangement in Silver Bucket
Add a Bit of Sparkle: Nothing says “Entertain in Style” more than shine and sparkle. Dig out that silver and get it polished. From footed punch bowls or ice buckets hosting a floral arrangement to serving trays showcasing powder room toiletries or a holiday vignette, silver makes everything look rich (whether plated or not!) You can also use this trick of the trade with metal such as copper, gold, brass or nickel.

Celebrate the Heirlooms: We have inherited or collected items with lifelong meaning. From vintage finds to pass down treasures; this time of year is the perfect time to pull out these special pieces. Dress up your Holiday Buffet by using Grandma’s tea cup collection as salt cellars, or butter pat holders. That French Antique Bird Cage can be a show stopper display on your foyer entry table with snow dusted sprigs, nest, and berries tucked inside. Reinvent your China Cabinet with a mix of old photos, ornaments and such to give your dining room a bit of ancestry.

Antique Bird Cage from Home Decorators

Check back next month for December’s list…
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Lunch & Learn Broker's Open - Tips & Techniques

Today I'll be partnering at a Lunch  Learn Broker's Open at a vacant home that I staged.  It's a great opportunity to showcase my client's home, promote my work and create partnerships with the Realtor and vendors I worked with on this project.

We've set the scene from 11-1 with a Home Staging tips and techniques workshop, a guided tour of the home, catered food and sassy invitations to locals - both Realtors and Clients.

My workshop is titled  5 Home Staging “Musts” in This Market

- On my end, I'll be bringing some simple floral arrangements to create a bit of home ambiance, workshop pass-outs and gift bags with my marketing materials and mini color fan decks from Pottery Barn.

Broker's Open - Open House Gift Bags & Goodies

As a Home Staging Professional, don't stop at the staging, continue packaging the home by offering your expertise and talents in marketing the home as well!

Julea Joseph of Reinventing Space has created her own recipe for success with her signature Interior Stylist Philosophy. She helps you develop your style, celebrate your home and makes the most of what you already own.

Julea has been featured in countess articles in newspapers and magazines, HGTV’s “Decorating Cents,” “My First Place,” and array of Chicago TV, and even hosts two hometown cable Cooking & Decorating shows. Over the past 8 years her expertise has extended to educational forums ranging from industry certification educator, library workshops to a Board of Realtors Instructor.
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Home Staging Art

Fabulous Art is only one snap away for your home staging or interior styling projects. Get out your camera, dial it to "close-up" and shoot away in your back or front yard.

  • Download to your favorite photo editing program, adjust, enhance and crop.
  • Have it printed into a poster, frame it and hang it on your favorite wall!
  • These were shot this morning with my trusty Canon EOS and edited in Picasa.
June Poppy

Pond Lettuce

Since 1999, interior stylist Julea Joseph has owned Chicago area based interior design, redesign and home staging business - Reinventing Space. Your can see her work on HGTV or in the news giving homeowners expert insight on how to refresh, style and celebrate their space -Whether staging their home to go on the market, just settling in, or just in need of a change.
Julea also offers her expertise with mentoring and training offerings to Realtors,  certified Home Stagers and Interior Redesigners in the industry. Visit her site, JULEA.com or Interior Stylist Program for more information or email her at mailto:Julea@Julea.com
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Rug Rage - Size Does Matter

Shall we say "Scale" issues?
MLS photo
  I'm having Rug Rage!  Time and time again I see ill-sized rugs being used in Home Staging projects and 99.9%  of them are too small for the space or the furniture collection it's anchoring.  And don't get me started on materials -  I've seen a bath rug under a cocktail table..

Why is this happening? Where can this this size dilemma  and faux pas placement stem from?

1. Home Staging Inventory Issues?
2. Lack of Education?
3. Complacent Stagers?

Lovely Rug by Horchow
 How do we solve this size issue? Well, by simply educating the faux pas rug placers.  Here's a double duty educational tool from our friends over at Over Stock.  Why double duty?  Over Stock is an awesome place to shop for rugs, so a great source to build your inventory & for educational home decorating articles. They slip you just the right info to foil your size dilemma and faux pas placement issues.
How to Size Your Room for an Area Rug
How to Place an Area Rug
How to Determine the Right Size Area Rug

And for those that offer both home staging and styling services - A fabulous post by a designer and blogger: Area Rug Rules and How to Break Them

Hopefully with these gentle tip, Rug Rage can be resolved.
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5 Easy Home Staging Tips to Sell Your Home

Although Home Staging can sometimes be a precarious feat, these simple tips on prepping your home for sale can make the process much easier.

1. Remove YOU From the Home Staging Process: The place you’ve called home all these years is now a product that gets prepped, package and wrapped with a target buyer in mind. Your personal style, your taste, your needs and emotions get replaced with the requirements of the ideal buyer.

2. Look at Your Home in its Entirety: From curbside to back fence, to the online photos – You’re selling a package, not just the physical home. Today’s buyer is a smart and refined set, they expect from the moment they view photos online, to when they walk your backyard, that the home is pulled together tip to toe.

3. Consider the Stature & Style of Your Home: Whether cozy cottage or charming château, your home’s style and stature dictates how you package the product. Set the stage by staying true to the bones of your home - from quality to price point, be well educated when making updates, repairs and furniture and accessories choices to stay true and in-tuned to the property’s standing.

4. You’re Selling Space not Stuff: From lawn accessories to garage gadgets, showcase the property’s architecture, floor plans, details and storage instead of the stuff you’ve accumulated. Instead, strategically use the stuff to define and highlight to these important selling points.

5. The Psychology of the 5 Senses: People buy on psychology & emotion and the 5 senses speak of all that is home. Make sure your property passes the 5 senses test and evokes the senses of home… Looks great and is light and bright, smells citrus clean and fresh, relaxing sounds and is tactically pleasing – especially in the kitchen and baths.
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Williams Sonoma Home has great decor items suited for the traditionalist to the eclectic minded. Here's some great design advice from legendary interior design Bunny Williams.
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The Art of Mixing Rich with Poor

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Lifestyle Design – Home Staging the Garden?

Lifestyle Design Home Staging
As we all know, targeting a lifestyle is a well established design niche for both retailers and designers -from big box stores to model home designers, lifestyle design is all about knowing how your ideal client lives. Today, it's about fine tuning the enjoyment of your home. The most expensive thing we own, the one place in this unsure world we can feel safe - Home, now more than ever is where the heart is.

Take a stroll through the Home & Garden department at your local Wal-Mart, Target or Costco. That area no longer just houses pots, towels and trowels - Now, there are whole tempting outdoor rooms presented to you, eye candy equipped with beautiful planters, outdoor chandeliers and matching Melamine tableware. Catalogs like Grandin Road, Napa Style, or Smith & Hawken are totally focused on lifestyle design.

Old school homemaking is now big business. From going organic, brewing beer, to planting your own kitchen garden - the urban "Homestead" is hot! Last year I staged a very high-end home that had a Porsche in the garage, but rain barrels and a kitchen garden in the back yard. This month's Martha Stewart Living has a full feature on an upscale home planned around a garden. This past Sunday's Chicago Tribune had an article on kitchen gardens titled " Food for the Soul." Even the home party plan arena has gone from selling Tupperware to Wine Accessories and Green Cleaning Products.

Why? After 9-11, our safe haven became our home and the rise of using our home as the main entertaining zone. We were staying in, instead of going out and the movement has stayed "in-trend" since then.

We even staycation rather than vacation...

Packaging a Home for Sale
With the downward dip our economy has taken, we're using and valuing our entire home more than ever and looking for economical solutions too. From garages, carved out backyard rooms to kitchen gardens - From curbside to back fence everyone is celebrating every inch of their home.

So when it comes to Home Staging and packaging that home for sale, it's important to keep lifestyle design as one of your basic home staging strategies. As an example, I conducted a Home Staging consultation yesterday for a young couple relocating back to their Michigan roots. The home is in a cute suburb, with a boutique downtown that attracts their age group. In their 30's, this young couple with two toddlers in tow, are heavy entertainers, shop their town and dabble in gardening and yes - the garage is dapper too. As part of our staging plan, we incorporated those lifestyle choices - Since the predictable buyer will be someone just like them! Here are a few of my home staging tips and ideas for the seller -

•· Make sure the public areas of the home have a great open flow plan and are conducive to family & friends for casual living and entertaining. Make sure to establish rooms for their particular purpose and lifestyle - From a great cozy conversational seating areas in the living room, a TV viewing basement family room - to staging the built-in hutch in the kitchen with key entertaining pieces - Every space should read "This room is great for..."

•· Fresh. Take the extra effort and use real instead of fake. From a big bowl of real lemons, fragrant Key limes to a lovely orchid or tulip bouquet - Real speaks to the 5 senses and gives the home the essence of life.

•· Breeze Way is staged from floor to with bulletin board with great places to shop, dine and go, from Yoga class down to the "Whole Food" bags.

•· Backyard is "decked" out with furniture, vibrant container gardens, situated man grill, all to beckon the buyers to see the back half of this commodity.

•· Stage the garden - Budding gardeners, the kitchen garden that went in last year will be planted and maintained and featured as part of the home.

Since 1999, interior stylist Julea Joseph has owned Chicago area based interior design and home staging business - Reinventing Space. Your can see her work on HGTV or in the news giving homeowners expert insight on how to refresh, style and celebrate their space -Whether prepping their home to go on the market, just settling in, or just in need of a change. Julea also offers her expertise with certification training and mentoring offerings to Realtors, Home Stagers and Interior Redesigners in the industry. Visit her site, JULEA.com or Interior Stylist Program for more information or email her at mailto:atJulea@Julea.com.
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10 Home Staging Tips to Make Your Listing Look like a Model Home

One of Julea's Model Homes
What is it about Model homes that make them so appealing? Is it the freshness of all new; is it the sassy paint colors, the perfectly placed furniture, art and accessories or the beautiful groomed backyard that makes you want to plop right down on that comfy club chair? Well…. Yes to all the above. A builder holds host to an array of skilled professionals to make that Model beautiful. From blue print to drawer pulls that Model home is meticulously planned.

Beyond the nicely placed furniture, Model homes are the current reflection of the home environment needs of the target market for the Builder. They are a turn-key product, designed and packaged for the desires of perfect buyer.

Models homes are lovely because they have the latest and the greatest, are fresh and new and are meticulously detailed. Psychology, more than decorating is applied to make them look so fabulous. From architecture to floral arrangements, Model homes are planned with “YOU” in mind.

So how can you make your listing as appealing as a Model Home? – Here are 10 ways.

1.) Clean. Those nice angled vacuum lines, gleaming windows, and perfectly manicured lawns in Model homes speak to a potential buyer – You don’t have to do a thing. Translate that into - A little elbow grease goes a long way. A super clean home says “turn-key” to the potential buyer. Have every inch of the home, blind slats to porch light glass, super clean and perfectly coiffed. According to a national 2011 survey done by Real Estate based Home Gain (www.homegain.com,)  a $290.00 cleaning investment gives a $1990.00 price increase, or a 586% return!

2.) Fresh and Smells Good. People buy homes on emotion, and your 5 senses are a direct path to your brain. If a home smells and looks “funky,” “doggy,” “smoky,” or if the stove is coated with cooking gone bad – The home is off their list. Just like you would detail your car to sell, invest in clean and spotless carpets, patched, repaired and freshly painted walls and new appliances if the old have seen better days. Be wary to skip this step and take the low road with room refreshers, candles and stove burner covers – Potential buyers are not fooled.

3.) Color. Any advertising executive will tell you color is a key to properly packaging a product; and a listed home is just that, a product. Throw away the off-white manta of old school home staging rules – Welcome to the era of HGTV. Using color is a powerful and inexpensive way of making that home stand out from the rest, and with so many decorating TV shows boasting the benefits of color, you better get hip to hues. From 1st Web impressions to curb-appeal, color is a strong emotional tug for the potential buyer. Update yourself on the latest color trends in wall color, appliance, fixtures, etc… and apply it to your target buyer. For home staging, use earthy, calm tones for the bigger areas such as wall color and add pops of saturated colors in the details; such front doors, accessories or annuals.

4.) Make Space. The joy of a Model home is the acres and acres of unused storage space & beautifully organized closets. Reduce, organize, upscale and edit all the home’s spaces when it comes to closets and storage areas. If the home’s price point dictates, upscale the closets with custom organizing options.

5.) Clear a Path. Consider that many people with be walking through the home. Make sure traffic patterns, entrances and exits are well established. Too much furniture, undefined entrances and awkward walkways confuse and discourage buyers from moving about the property. Follow a Model Home’s lead and create a concise walking pattern for potential buyers starting at curbside to back fence.

6.) Lovely Layouts. From the landscape to furniture placement, take a clue from Models homes that continuity and flow make for a good mix. Create curb appeal with nicely maintained landscaping, added annuals and perennials, an inviting stoop and well groomed walk and driveways. Inside, make sure each room depicts what its function is, enhances the highlights of the room (i.e. fireplaces or upgrades,) and allows the buyer to envision themselves in the space.

7.) Set the Mood. Create ambiance and character in the home with well thought out placement of sensory and lifestyle components. Soft music, lighting on dimmers, candles lit, and fresh floral are all great ideas for Broker or Open houses. If you have concern about candles, battery operated candles that even have timers built in are now readily available. Stage the dining room table tastefully, or set the stage in a back yard with a detailed patio retreat. Offering helpful lifestyle hints has always been in the Model Home arsenal and always is a huge hit.

8.) K.I.S.S. On the opposite note, don’t over accessorize, go over-board with the lifestyle tips or create “store bought theme” rooms (i.e. Chef-with-a-Hat Kitchen or Anniversary Bathtub vignette complete with Champagne bottle and fake ivy.)

9.) Appeal to a Target Buyer. Model home Builders hire tony Marketing companies that create campaigns to market that home. Consider "WHO” the ideal buyer that will be interested in the property is, and market the property accordingly. From advertising photos to furniture, consider who will find this appealing and desirable.

10.) Market, Market, Market. Model Homes have great marketing incentives inside and out. From clear address markers, great signs, to small exit giveaways, to an exit survey - Market that listing to the fullest.
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Springing into Home Makeovers

It’s my business to make homes better. As an interior stylist, I’m the new generation of designer that can seamlessly progress from a home staging professional to interior design consultant (always on a budget.) My job is to celebrate your home and make it beautiful no matter what chapter you may be on in it. From when you 1st move in, to when you sell - I’m there to make your home better.

My business philosophy is to spend it where you need to, and fill in the blanks with chic, yet cheap finds – The perfect mix of Rich with Poor. Like I always say …“If you keep your big mouth shut, they’ll never know…”

So… it’s almost spring.

Whether you are going or staying, the induction of spring seems to be the cue for home makeovers. Just like the longing for a fresh breeze through open windows, homeowners are ready for change. From simple updates like a fresh new paint palette, to the restless rustlings of bigger remodeling projects; this season seems to burst forth home makeover needs like the crocuses popping up in your lawn.

In this series of three articles, I’ll be offering insight on how to go about a home makeover project. The 1st of the series is “Where to Begin,” followed by two other articles “Style & Details Defined” and “Current Trending & Savvy Shopping Sources.” Hopefully, your makeover needs will be more defined, and if not, I’ll be getting a call (708.448.7500.)

Where to Begin?

The 1st step to home makeover projects is to define your room goals, create a plan, and be realistic of a budget. Unlike the makeover shows you watch on TV, unless you had stock options for an Internet IPO, any home project will cost you more than the materials you purchase.

DEFINE YOUR ROOM GOALS. Is it that darn lack luster living room in need of a décor boost and a color correction? Is it your kitschy out-dated kitchen that will never appeal to the 30-somethings that will be the ideal buyer for your home in need of an overhaul? By sketching out your goals, you’ll start defining the steps you’ll needs to complete the makeover.

When I work with my clients, my 1st step in defining your goals is to use adjective packed sentences to describe how you want to define the space. As an example:

“I want my lackluster living room to feel warm and inviting - a cozy place to curl-up on the couch to read a book, or engage in the latest news with my favorite neighbor. Buttery tones, soft, tea-washed fabrics, with simple, yet sophisticated French flea market inspired accents will fill this space.”

Or, “I want to update and redefine my kitschy out-dated kitchen, complete with duck-with-bows wall border into a turn-key ready, for a family of four, with smart, shiny new appliances, envy-evoking, trend forward cabinets and irresistible, yet no-fuss quartz countertops – so that the kitchen appeals to the target buyer of my home.”

CREATE A PLAN. Create a workable outline of all the projects you’ll need to do to complete your makeover. From wallpaper stripping, to accessory shopping, define, outline and calendar your plan. The best and most effective way of succeeding in this plan - is to take a hard look of what you are and are not capable of. Please, just because you once read in a magazine “3 Easy Steps on how you can reface your cabinets in a weekend with Contact® paper,” doesn’t make a saleable worthy kitchen remodel. Consider your time restraints, knowledge and expertise in all project details, and understand that if you really want to get this done in a timely matter, you’ll need to seek professional help in certain areas.

ATTACH A REALISTIC BUDGET. Once your goals have been described, a plan has been defined you can now attach budget estimates to each of the projects. By attaching a budget to each of the projects, you’ll get a realistic view of your financial investment. By far, the most faulted area of any home makeover is not being realistic of the costs to complete it. It is not an educated guess that your new complete furnishing dreams for your living room will cost $399.00 because that’s what the price quoted on the HGTV show. News alert, a side table for your living room is around $399.00 – Just the side table! Be smart, weed through catalogs and jot down home décor pricing, scour over Sunday newspaper flyers and the internet, and get estimates by referred professionals for deeded work.

Once you’ve established your budget projection, completed your goals and plan - you can proceed to “Style & Details Defined” step of your home makeover. This style definition exercise will help you understand the psychology of the home makeover, understand your home and your lifestyle - which will help you choose color, materials and the overall look of the makeover.

Since 1999, interior stylist Julea Joseph has owned Chicago area based interior design and home staging business - Reinventing Space.  Your can see her work on HGTVor in the news giving homeowners expert insight on how to refresh, style and celebrate their space -Whether prepping their home to go on the market, just settling in, or just in need of a change.  Julea also offers her expertise with certification training and mentoring  offerings to Realtors and Home Stagers in the industry. Visit her site, JULEA.com more information oe email her at Julea@Julea.com.
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Stylish Trends for Spring 2011

From world view to nature hued, 2011 Spring decor trends look to be a delightful
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