Archives for category: Realtor William Rochford

l620b6f44-m2oThe current TV show Mad Men has sparked a renewed interest in all things mid-century modern. The lead character Don Draper and his advertising partners inhabit a 1960s world fueled by mid-day martinis and cigarettes, filled with hidden identities and changing gender roles. But even amidst the sophisticated drama, the viewer can’t help but be dazzled by the gorgeous sets, which capture the high styles of the time beautifully. As a result, young hipsters today are re-discovering the modern clean lines in both the furniture and household items of the era. The “shelter magazines” have gone mad for the MCM (mid century modern) look; one can see both the original and the knock off pieces for sale everywhere now. The unfussy, easy-on-the-eye furnishings have a fresh upbeat feel.l620b6f44-m3o

I was recently asked by William Rochford, realtor at Sotheby’s, to stage for sale a 1970s ranch style home in Rockport. The house was empty and presented a clean slate. The moment I walked in the front door, it hit me immediately what the house needed. A large picture window opens up to the acre plus property and the commodious combination living/dining room complete with built-in shelving and open bookcases flanking the fireplace screamed out for MCM. Staging the house could show the home to its best advantage and give potential buyers an idea as to what life could be like living there. My basement and attic is a bursting treasure trove of all things MCM. A perfect fit.l620b6f44-m7o

The furniture I chose for the house are mostly warm woods and all original pieces from the 1960s and 1970s. For a bit of gloss, a pair of teak and smoked glass topped Danish modern side tables flank the sleek lined sofa. A wire see-through Bertoia chair with sheepskin added was placed next to the fireplace. Selecting a Paul McCobb dining table with stiletto legs and Franco Legler woven wicker basket chairs completed the furnishings. For accent colors I opted for a burnt orange and lime green. When used sparingly, these colors work amazingly together. The bookcases were filled with books of the era, such as The Spy Who Came In From The Cold. Art objects, glass ware, and framed art from the period complement the room. No knock offs used here, only the originals please. Rather than look like a frozen in time room, the space oddly enough looks fresh and updated, ready for a modern family to move right in and begin living the MCM way. Makes one mad for a Singapore Sling.

If you have caught the MCM fever, check out all my modern offerings at Cambridge Antique Market, Msgr. O’Brien Highway, Cambridge, MA, space #274/275 on the second floor.l620b6f44-m5o


IMG_7817 final nightYears ago, my interest in homes led to getting a real estate license. I ended up not using it much. But in recent months, to my surprise, I have found myself hip deep in the real estate business as a stager.

Staging houses for sale is a recent phenomenon. In years past, a house was put on the market and it was left to the imagination of the buyer to see its potential. I recall hearing my mother, who was a real estate agent in the 1960s, say to a client, “now . . .  you have to imagine all of your own beautiful pieces in these rooms.” Sellers are no longer simply hoping that potential buyers make that leap of imagination. Staging gives buyers visual references to allow them to see what their lives might be like if they lived in the house. Staged houses sell quicker.Roch7376

William Rochford, a real estate agent at Sotheby’s By The Sea on Cape Ann, Massachusetts, asked me to stage a circa 1866 large proud Victorian complete with swimming pool, tennis court, guest cottage and six car garage. I gulped quickly and said, “Oh, that sounds like fun.” Having staged a few of his listings in the past that sold quickly thereafter, I thought I knew what was in store when I agreed.Roch7392

In the 1980s, I lived around the corner from this same Victorian and had always admired it. The house has a courtly visage from the street. As it sits up on a hill, the view from the street makes the home appear even larger. Once inside, the rooms are tall and elegant. The pool, tennis court and accessory buildings open up to the rear of the property, lending the feeling you are on an estate. All of this is within easy walking distance from town, a beach and commuter rail station. Wandering about the landscaped grounds, it is easy to imagine pool parties and tennis matches straight from the society pages of newspapers.IMG_8513 crop

The current owners have purchased another home in town and had moved most of their furniture out. Large, mostly empty rooms awaited me as I began the assessment of what was needed to stage the house for sale. We drew upon a combination of rental furniture, pieces from my own inventory, items from the owners, and antiques borrowed from a shop in Essex, Massachusetts. Roch7451 fireLuckily, some very handsome oriental carpets were still in the house and I used those as a foundation on which to build the rooms around. As the house is so large, we decided to stage only the main rooms. The family room, formal parlor, dining room, sitting room, office, kitchen, morning room and master bedroom and bath were given the royal treatment.

Years ago, what drew me to real estate was not making the deal, it was the homes themselves. Turns out, what I really wanted to do was make them look better. Fortunately, the staging concept in the real estate industry has caught up to my desire.

All photographs are by Michael Rixon, professional photographer. Click on any photo to enlarge.

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