Victoria said.....

Victoria said.....


Victoria said…..   


Front Doors

When you walk up a sidewalk and study a home’s front door, what you see always makes a statement about the home’s condition. Is the door clean and freshly painted or varnished? A front door can often give you dimensional hints of what you’ll find inside like the size of the entry foyer and indications of the home’s floor plan. Your mind anticipates; is the dining room on the right and the living room on the left? Will you be able to see into the kitchen from the foyer? There are also subtle telltales about the people living there. Do the smudged fingerprints of laughing, running children decorate the door’s glass? Have cottonwood seeds carried on spring’s breezes been caught in the screen?

Realtors are trained to study an entry door’s “first impression” and watch their clients’ reactions; are they pleased or disappointed? Given the importance of a front door’s appearance, home sellers should be proactive. They need to carefully consider the impact their home’s entry will have on potential home buyers. Research shows there is a high percentage of return on investment when a home seller replaces an old, worn, or deteriorated front door. If not replaced, it can be painted or refinished. It is always good to improve that “first impression.”

Besides the obvious factors of whether it is a single door with sidelights or a double-door, or if there is a transom window that will brighten an entryway, my real estate clients immediately recognize a wood door versus a painted, steel-clad door. Their thoughts are very likely to include an awareness of home security issues like solid, deadbolt locks. Based on appearance, a fiberglass door can be mistaken for one made of wood. The new ones look so real that any comparison of their individual characteristics needs to consider how much long-run maintenance a real wood door may require.

Experience has also taught me to study other details closely, to let a home’s entryway speak to me.  Over the years I’ve discovered that there is a lot more to a front door than the material it’s made from. A front door tells the smaller stories of a home. Those stories are in the details, the little things. Is there a flag holder where Old Glory can be proudly flown on Memorial Day and the Fourth of July? Is there a hook to hold a seasonal wreath of artificial blooms or fall colors or holiday greenery? Is the door handle’s hardware tarnished? Does it show signs of wear? If it’s winter is there a full-glass storm door to keep out cold winds? If it’s summer is there a screen to let in fresh breezes?

Take a moment to remember a front door’s less obvious purposes, the very human reasons they open and close. They open to let in memories as close friends visit and families gather for the holidays and birthdays and anniversaries. Over the years, a front door punctuates days of parents going to work and children going to school and weekend trips and grocery shopping and vacations. Its openings and closings record daily events as well as special occasions. The weeks and months and years accumulate, marked by the turn of a key and the click of a latch.

Eventually front doors open and close as lives change and grown children go off to college and to lead their own lives, leaving the rooms within quieter and changed forever. Happy or sad, joyous or difficult, homeowners hold onto those memories. And as sure as Santa comes down chimneys, photo albums will include family pictures posed with that front door in the background.

A front door is a gateway that chronicles a family’s history and marks the passing of milestones as the rotation of life continues. An inevitable day comes along when empty nesters decide to downsize and move on and a young family moves in and their small children run outside through that door, giggling and jostling, to play in the yard.

 New hands will open and close the front door, repeating the cycle, making new memories. It’s a very normal progression.  

Victoria said....


Noun, an object that recalls a place, occasion, or person; memento

   Some homeowners, perhaps avoiding a cluttered look, don’t like using knick-knacks or accessories like souvenirs or mementos as home decorations, but I enjoy them. Souvenirs can be great accessories. To their owners, the people who collected them, they’re memories. Constant reminders of incredible trips to distant cities or foreign lands, they are visible links that trigger fond recollections of family events. When seen from the perspective of a lifetime, they can be tangible milestones found on the road from humble beginnings to special reunions and anniversaries decades later.  Whatever occasion they represent, we treasure them. They allow us to step back through the years and remember the fascinating places we’ve seen and the good times with the wonderful people we’ve known.

   From a decorator’s perspective, souvenirs and mementos provide clues to a client’s preferences and, in a way, a glimpse of what they truly value. But they’re just objects, right? I’m not so sure. Often something unique brought home from a vacation or from a business trip as a gift can be very real, an item personified to include a sense of place, the intrinsic qualities of a favorite destination.

   In my career in real estate I’ve witnessed the reactions of potential buyers when I’m showing them a home for sale, their impossible to hide side glances and double takes. It’s all right; curiosity is a normal trait of human nature. Even though we’re busily discussing the home’s rooms and features, their eyes are drawn to the out of the ordinary things the home’s owners have left about on tables or shelves, or the photos or paintings framed on its walls that document the timeline of their lives. Studio photographs of children and grandchildren always attract attention. The buyer may be trying to gain a personal glimpse of the home’s owners, to understand how well they’ve lived their lives here; has it been a house full of love and laughter?

   Sometimes I find myself doing the same thing, studying obvious souvenirs seeking clues to the people who have called a house a home. If the home is one of my listings and I’ve had the privilege of getting to know the sellers, they often stop during a tour of the home to explain some of the photos or paintings or mementos to me. Many are keepsakes, true reflections of their personalities. As they describe them I can sense how much those memories mean to them. The souvenirs from foreign lands provide more than a travel history; they show what appealed enough to these travelers to become the token brought home in their luggage, carefully padded and protected.

   In the foyer of one beautiful home, I was captivated by a display of several watercolor paintings the owners had purchased on the Charles Bridge over the Czech Republic’s Vltava River. The seven hundred year old stone bridge connects Prague Castle and the city’s Old Town in Prague, a fascinating and historic tourist destination. Adding a three dimensional touch, the watercolors were presided over by an antique wall hanging, a captivating sculpture of a little boy’s head. Hollow on top, it had held kitchen matches next to the wood stove in an old cottage they’d owned; more memories.

   On the wall in their dining room on opposite sides of a sun-filled window were four interesting little prints. A special glow crossed the face of the lady who told me their story. Over forty years ago the couple found four postcards in Holland, Michigan when passing through on their honeymoon. Each frame held a miniature print of a watercolor painting of Amsterdam’s canals and old buildings. With almost no money to spend, they’d recognized their value as souvenirs, brought them home and framed them in dime store frames. Thirty years later she’d found them in a drawer and had them professionally matted and framed. Simple postcards, not numbered prints or costly oil paintings, but the tie to the couple’s first days together still made her smile. Life truly is a journey; those four postcards were time capsules of a special day.

   How do you spot keepsakes like those postcards or watercolor paintings when you’re on a vacation trip? If you’re lucky the realization of their value as a memento will be instantaneous; the item will speak to you from the shelf of a gift shop or from an outdoor display at an art fair. Don’t be too concerned about the risk of damaging it by packing it inside your checked luggage at the airport or in among the suitcases in the trunk of your car on your road trip; most stores and vendors will ship them for you. Your role is to stay constantly alert, watching for those unique souvenirs that will remind you of your trip.

Victoria said....

Sea Salt Blue

    We learn a lot from the people we meet. Working in real estate, I meet fascinating people. Some lessons are more subtle than others, and more memorable. I once met a very special lady with a paint chip in her purse. It was worn from being pulled out countless times in furniture stores and carpet stores, art galleries and framing and accessory shops. It gave her purpose and helped her through difficult times.

    Holding her paint chip and battling an aggressive cancer, she taught me the beauty of colors, how to make a house a home, and the absolute value of courage. Long after her home was completely redecorated and her cancer beaten, I’m sure she still carries it.

    She is wonderful and sweet and kind. The paint chip is Sea Salt Blue from Valspar’s Signature colors; CI191 in an interior matte finish. Like other premium paints, it is a paint and primer in one. Creamy and easy to work with, they cover well and wear like iron. In a world where children and grandchildren rush through our lives spreading joy and leaving fingerprints, they make it easy to keep your favorite room looking new. Applied with a professional lamb’s wool paint roller, giving them both thick coverage and deep texture, the effect is extraordinary.

    Sea salt blue is almost always associated with nautical decors. There is the feeling of a sandy beach subliminally associated with this color. Its tones vary from a crisp light blue in bright sunlight to light gray/greens under the illumination of incandescent lamps or in shadows brought on by cloudy skies. You can almost hear the surf and smell the wet sand. Not ready for lighthouses and paintings of schooners with billowing sails, nautical can be toned down into its more casual, underlying sense by using its colors without the obvious symbols. I’ve heard that color level called coastal casual. No brass anchor accessories, no seashells and sand in glass globes tied with shredded ribbons made from dried sea grass; just amazing colors that make the rooms of your home as appealing as kicking off your sandals and letting the white sands along Bermuda’s shores squish between your toes.

    Having had the privilege of working with clients selling exclusive homes and those searching for that one special home they’ve wanted all their lives, I’ve studied rooms professionally planned and executed by amazing decorators. The underlying perfection of color coordination is a common theme in the finest of their efforts.

    The most beautiful rooms I’ve seen with coastal themes blend colors and textures to achieve a level of comfort that welcomes everyone into the spell they create. Think of colors like Sherwin Williams version of Sea Salt (SW6204) and Wheat Grass (SW6408); they set the theme well. Then frame them with texture; white window frames with white shutters and soft tones of flooring like bamboo, teak or lightly-stained planking that look white-washed. Think of using light blue striped upholstery or shades of light tan leather that speak of sand.

    White trim in a coastal themed room is very important. I’m sure you’ve noticed the differences between shades of white. Especially noticeable in the paint finishes on automobiles, it is critical to home decor. Consider using Ultra Pure White paint on your woodwork. It makes trim and cove moldings pop out and accentuates nautical or coastal colors on walls and in upholstery.

     One mistake to avoid is using standard ceiling white paint next to cove molding painted Ultra Pure White. The ceiling will look drab and dusty by comparison. A paint store professional told me there is a tiny touch of black in white ceiling paint. He said it was so people wouldn’t “see” the ceiling. When detailing a room with Ultra Pure White trim, use flat latex Ultra Pure White paint on the ceiling to match. The room will literally light up, bringing the ceiling into the total impression you’ve created.

    Behr Paints ( makes a wonderful Ultra Pure White paint. I recommend their Premium Plus Ultra, interior satin latex enamel No. 7750 for trim. Their flat latex version for ceilings is Premium Plus No. 1050.

    Whatever décor you choose, be aware of the wonderful ladies out there with a paint chip in their purse. The lessons they teach can last a lifetime.

Victoria said....

From Steamer Trunk to Steampunk

   There are secrets to discovering new ways of creating incredibly warm and inviting rooms. One is to keep an open mind, especially when looking for ways to re-purpose old ideas, taking them beyond current into futuristic. To do this well, I ask you to look into yesterday to find tomorrow; it’s easier than it sounds.

   In recent years the prices and popularity of antiques have plummeted, in particular antiques that fall into the category of primitives. There is one antique, however, that is still in use, steamer trunks from the late 1800s. But aren’t they all old and musty and dusty and worn out? Not if you find one that’s been professionally refurbished. Brought back to life, it can become the centerpiece of a room that transports the past well into an imaginative future. And a steamer trunk carries an undeniable sense of history. When you think of an antique steamer trunk, close your eyes and think of the lives it changed as a person’s belongings moved across the ocean on a ship or across our changing nation on a train pulled by a steam locomotive, or tied atop a stagecoach. Listen carefully to its presence and you can hear the past speaking.

   Mr. Fred Toussaint of Hudson, New York has steady hands, calloused from sixty years of woodworking and true craftsmanship. The proprietor of Pop’s Trunks; you can study the steamer trunks he refurbishes on his website, They’re beautiful and reasonably priced. Fred’s son, Bill, uses the job title Pop’s Gopher. Together, they work to preserve a part of America’s past when transportation and industry ran on steam. I doubt there is a question about steamer trunks they can’t answer.

   Using a steamer trunk as the focal point of a room may sound old-fashioned, like you’re displaying antiques, but I think I can change that impression. There was a style of home décor that was popular in the 1980s. It had a strange sounding name, Steampunk. Featured in movies of that era, it has made a genuine comeback; and it is not limited to the do-it-yourself, hand-fabricated home furnishings that were designed twenty-five years ago. Steampunk has gone upscale. If you open Restoration Hardware’s website and go to its “furnishings” tab, you will find beautiful trunks that can only realistically be called luxury items. Your eye will discern a heavy influence of late 19th century America with a dash of England in its glitzy Victorian era. 

   As a concept, Steampunk can take you a step closer to a decorating idea that easily combines the exciting elements of science fiction and imaginative accessories that blend industrial designs, exposed gears and levers and mechanical parts. The number of Steampunk home accessories, lighting fixtures, and jewelry items available is staggering. These include many distinctive and creatively inspired items. They tie together themes gleaned from industry like sets of gears. The light fixtures are often made from hardware store castoffs and leather items seemingly derived from the Old West. Mix those with some wild imaginings and you get a feeling of unrefined, often unexplainable simplicity. It can also border on science fiction if the person you are decorating for enjoys that genre. There are also lines of men’s and women’s Steampunk themed clothing available; some of those tend to take inspiration over the top.

  Jewelry and clothing items aside, who might truly enjoy this unconventional home furnishings décor called Steampunk?  Perhaps your husband would take great pride in a home office or den with an exquisitely unique flavor, or you have a twenty-something son or daughter caught up in today’s volatile economy and temporarily living at home until the storm passes. Steampunk speaks to all generations.

   Spend a little time researching Steampunk home furnishing and accessories. There are several color choices that compliment the theme. With heavy influences of dark woods and brown leathers, Steampunk often leans toward grays and beiges. Lighting fixtures can brighten the room with touches of brass.  A masculine color theme with black and autumn hues using earthy backgrounds can be made feminine by adding metallic accents in gold or silver, and highlighting with the sparkle of clear glass or crystal elements.

   Contact Fred or Bill; a steamer trunk they’ve lovingly refurbished would make a remarkable addition to a room you’re designing. If you own a trunk or find one in an antiques shop or at an estate auction, ship it to them. They’ll bring it back to life, re-purposing it for your decorating needs.   










Contact Information

Photo of Victoria's Luxury Home Team Real Estate
Victoria's Luxury Home Team
The Danberry Co. Realtors
3555 Briarfield
Maumee OH 43537
Cell : 419-460-5587