joy of nesting

joy of nesting
California designer Shiree Hanson Segerstrom's weekly tips for decorating, gardening, and stylish living

Staging for Owner Occupied Home Sales

How many times have you started a project, like painting your home office or choosing new throw pillows for your living room sofa, or organizing your junk drawer and not followed through? If you’re like me lately, a lot!

I’ve been planning a big move. I'm selling my home and relocating life and business to Sacramento County, California. For four and a half months I lived in disorganized despair. However, that all changed this week. My home is back in order and better than ever. With less furniture and fewer accessories the focus is now on the architecture.

Here are some tips for staging that I've picked up in my almost twenty year design career.

Shiree’s Style File: Staging an Owner Furnished Home For Sale:  

All large surfaces like windows, windowsills, carpets, lighting, chandeliers, floors and walls should be clean and freshly painted where needed. Just because you can’t see the dust doesn’t mean others won’t.

Furniture and draperies should also be clean and in good condition but unfortunately not everyone selling a home has that advantage. Services like Coit Drapery Cleaners do come to the house and will clean upholstery provided it’s not frayed. If it’s frayed, cleaning will cause the fabric to further deteriorate.

If the sofa or chairs are especially unattractive, discount stores such as TJ Maxx have a great selection of fine quality pillows. I like to use three matching twenty inch down blend throw pillows on an average sized 94-98 inch sofa. Red is always a good pillow color for neutral color schemes. Cream colored throws also hide a myriad of sins.

Keep small table top accessories to a minimum. Instead use larger items like stacks of hardbound design books, lamps and faux or natural plants in decorative pots or jardinière.
Keep framed family photos to a minimum. For my home, I removed all table top photos and retained my rogue's gallery in the stairwell and at the top of the staircase.

Keep all mail and clutter under wrap.

Sanitize bathrooms with a little Clorox here and there. Yes it is toxic so use sparingly but it gets rid of household germs and smells and gives the rooms a really fresh, clean feeling.

Fluff the pillows and throws.

Open the windows if possible. Nothing beats clean, fresh air. It not only smells better, it feels really healthy upon entering a home. Like a walk in the woods.

Fluffy white towels, white sheets and white toilet paper give bedrooms and baths a spa feel.

Lastly, a few small vases of scented fresh flowers are a nice touch. Scatter them in unexpected places too like the hall, kitchen and bathrooms.

Room Service... for Valentine's Day!

Room Service is my makeover for the home using the furniture and accessories you already have. It's perfect for people who have some furnishings, but have trouble pulling them together in a functional, attractive and cohesive manner. 

When shopping for or planning future purchases, a home makeover is very helpful in
creating clarity on a variety of issues such as size color, style and function. Often times, you’ll find that the item you want to replace, can be utilized elsewhere or enhanced with new accessories.

Room Service Home Makeovers are perfect for people combining homes like newlyweds, people who are downsizing, and even those who are purchasing a new home. It is a dynamic, invaluable tool to get your projects started.

Mistakes are a common factor in purchasing home furnishings. They can be frustrating, especially with large budget items such as sofas and window treatments. However, during my home makeovers I provide clients with invaluable clarity on function, size, color and style so they are much better equipped to shop on their own, with or without a designer.

What we’ll do…

Develop a personal style that’s unique
to you.

Place furniture in the most functional, visually appealing ways.

Hang artworks for the most visual impact. 

Arrange accessories in new and interesting ways.

Edit or incorporate items to and from other rooms.

Evaluate future purchase plans to go with your new scheme.

My Valentine's Day Gift to you!

With your purchase of a four hour Room Service Home Makeover, refer a friend and receive your choice of a complimentary year's subscription to House Beautiful or a 15 minute phone consultation upon receipt of their order!

Save up to $145 on my annual special pricing on two and four hour Room Service makeovers February 1 through 28. For reservations call 209-728-7701 before February 2nd to make your reservation. 

Twelve Classic Ways to Add Winter Interest to Your Home


I have to confess, winter is not my favorite season. Even though I live in California we have our fair share of cold and even the occasional snow. I’m not complaining. Okay, maybe a little. But by the time Christmas is done I crave tennis, the longer days of daylight savings time, and the sight of fresh green growth in my garden.

Over the years, I’ve found effective ways to lighten the winter doldrums like bundling up for walks with my mate and canine companion; building evening fires in the fireplace; keeping warm and hearty vegetarian soups and stews cooking on the stove; and finding appealing ways to add warming, visual interest to my home and garden.

As an interior designer, gardener and former owner of five retail design stores I’ve been exposed to as well as have come up with my own, ideas to make the dreary winter months pleasant, warm and aesthetically pleasing.
Here are ten of my favorite ways to brighten your winter mood at home:
1.      Forcing bulbs and branches- Paper Whites, Amaranth, flowering quince, forsythia and hyacinth are super easy to ‘force’ into flowering. Cold storing bulbs mimics the effect of winter cold and tricks the bulbs into thinking its spring when brought inside to the warmer temperatures of the home. Quince and forsythia need buds on them before they can be forced but bulbs can start without growth.

2.      Texture- in design terms translates to warmth and visual interest. Functional, beautiful elements that add texture are baskets and heavy throw blankets.  For fall think in terms of earth tones like russets, golden yellows, and warm browns. For Christmas, winter white, greens, reds or icy blues if that happens to be your color scheme.

3.      Swapping throw pillows- is a bit more challenging especially in rooms that are already decorated. Look for fabrics in warm tones that also coordinate with the other elements in the room. If you don’t have a lot of patterned fabrics in your design scheme it will be easier to find the right coordinating pillows.



4.      Greenery, fresh or faux- bringing the outside in is never a bad thing but it’s especially effective during long winter days. Having greenery, fresh or faux in your home signals spring and can be incredibly mood enhancing. Some of my favorites are ivy and honeysuckle topiary, red and white amaryllis, and fragrant paper white Narcissi’s.


5.      Mirrors- are also strategic year round decorating elements and during the winter months they help by expanding light during shorter, darker days. 

6.      New lamps- to shed light on those dark corners of the home. With lamps, you really get what you pay for. The design and quality of high quality lamps is truly an investment that will pay off. Cheap lighting seldom looks good to begin with, and doesn’t stay in style long.
7.     Cocktail trays and carts- add a touch of festivity and function to your rooms. I love freshly washed stemware, interesting liquor bottles and attractive cocktail accoutrement like decorative cheese knives and stir sticks. Also a nice touch: fresh tea towels to hang casually from cart handles.

8.     Silver or China tea service- are other great ways to add festivity and function to formal rooms. I love putting them in the formal areas like a corner of the living room, on the dining room sideboard or even in the entry if it’s near the dining room.

9.   The color red- in little touches here and there is a subtle yet confident way to add warmth and brightness to any décor or color scheme. It doesn’t take a lot: a red nosegay in a small green glass vase, a red cashmere throw tossed casually over the back of a chair, a lampshade in red silk. Even if your color scheme contains no red, small touches of the color add so much.

10.  Hard bound coffee table books- are my favorite “fillers” for table, sideboard and dresser tops. I have them in every room because they add character, beauty and a feeling of permanence to any home. It’s very hard to have too many so don’t be shy.



11. Solar tubes and skylights- are one of the best upgrades you can make in any home. I’ve done them in designer showcases and client’s homes and they’re indispensable in winter months. Care must be taken, however to protect furniture and flooring from sunlight.
12.  Drapery sheers- I have long been a fan of unlined, white linen, floor length curtain panels on rods and rings layered in conjunction with lined, functioning (traversing) stationary (non-functioning) drapery panels. I love the options the two layers allow. Keep in mind how much glass and light will be covered by the expanse of draperies.


“Designer’s Top Ten Small Projects to Improve Your Life at Home”

Spring has an energy of its own. We all love a fresh start, and that’s what this time of year is about. I’ve compiled a top ten list of home projects to improve your life at home and hopefully give you a little impetus to get things started right before gardening season is in full swing. I make a living going into people’s homes and I know for certain the items below will make a big difference in the appearance of yours.




On a large piece of lined white paper write down all the things around your home that drain you, from a broken tile, to a rip in the draperies, to your spouse’s broken down recliner. There will probably be twenty to forty items on your list. You don’t have to act on all the things at once but do prioritize them. Anything that’s not solvable immediately will be your last priorities. They will stay on the list until a later date, and you will keep that list in a central location.



The things that you are capable of solving (changing batteries, light bulbs, and sewing holes) address one by one. Check them off your list as you go. I call these lists "Clean Sweeps" and I've done them successfully since 2001 in various aspects of my life from personal fitness, to home maintenance, to professional advancement and it’s amazing the amount of energy you gain by getting your life in order and by retaining that order as best you can. There will always be those things you can’t resolve immediately and that’s okay. But taking care of the little things is achievable and cumulative. Keep the list on the inside of a cabinet you use at least once a week, such as the cabinet where you keep the laundry detergent. Don’t place in a spot you visit numerous times a day. That’s too distracting. You will also get considerable relief just by writing them down and prioritizing them.
 Number one is "make a home related list of to do's".

One of my pet peeves about older homes is “golden oak”. I know some people are reluctant to paint wood but golden oak immediately dates a home. When sanding, staining or replacement isn’t an option, fresh white paint is a huge improvement on any golden oak surfaces from kitchen cabinets to closet doors. With this project, it’s best to hire a professional painter, preferably one who has a sprayer. Brush strokes aren’t desirable on doors.

So number two is "update kitchen cabinets and drawers".
Along a similar vein, stained casings on windows and doors and baseboards that don’t match other wood work in the home create a disparate, “patchwork quilt” look in rooms and hallways. Go for a clean appearance by keeping trim colors consistent.

Number three is "paint or stain trims, windows and doors a consistent color throughout your home".
I’ve noticed light fixtures look quite dated in homes fifteen years and older. It could be because they weren’t well chosen to begin with. A wonderful place to upgrade your home is with lighting. One caveat, don’t just update one or two rooms. Replace fixtures uniformly throughout the home.

Number four is "update your lighting".






Dirty traffic marks on carpet are very noticeable. Having carpets cleaned once or twice a year is a terrific investment. I have my dining room and bedroom carpets done right before Mother’s Day and right before Thanksgiving. That way my carpets are fresh when family arrives for the holidays.

Number five "have your carpets professionally cleaned".

Dust is a nemesis of every homeowner. It settles on light fixtures, furniture, glass surfaces, window sills, draperies and wooden blinds. Even with a housekeeper it’s hard to notice all the incipient places dust settles. Make it an annual, or better yet, bi-annual event to do extensive dusting and polishing. Your home will thank you and so will your allergies. And open your windows and to allow fresh air to circulate as often as possible. It makes the home feel unbelievably wonderful.

Number six is do a "deep clean dusting".

Dusty, dirty windows aren’t immediately noticeable when you’ve been looking at them for years. But trust me, if you get used to them being clean, you’ll notice when they’re dirty.

Number seven is "clean the windows".




Aluminum mini-blinds are dreadful. There, I said it. Here’s a little insider trick. At IKEA, you can get perfectly fine sheer panels for $10 each. I spent a recent holiday at my brother’s home in San Francisco and he had them in his living and dining room and I was smitten with them. There’s no excuse for mini-blinds.

Number eight is "upgrade your window coverings" with inexpensive, unlined sheers. Or better yet, call me and we can fit your windows with custom curtains.



Energy efficiency is extremely important now and will be increasingly so in the future. While florescent light bulbs lend a slightly off color cast to humans and their furnishings, I’ve replaced most of the light bulbs in my home with them. You’ll love the savings on your electric bill. The bulbs last longer too. It’s well worth it.

Number nine, "replace all incandescent bulbs with energy efficient florescent ones".
Clutter begets clutter. I’ve preached this one for years. In the same way graffiti multiplies in urban areas, clutter collects in your home. If you want a tidy home, tidy it and keep it that way. When someone leaves something out of place, it will be immediately noticeable. If you want your family to be more organized, provide easily maintained storage for everything in the home.

Number ten, is "tidy and organize".
Happy Spring, almost.




Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...