The Style Report

Spring Real Estate Kick-Off: Connecticut's Aging Housing Inventory Creates Opportunity or Loss for Today's Sellers

Tips and Advice For Surviving A Renovation

Dazzling Blue

MODEL HOME TOUR: Decor and Furnishings Transform Two Models

Our Picks In Art, Culture, Design & More Across Connecticut, New York and Massachusetts 


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February 2014                                             V0L 3.2
Photo Credit: Jeff Kaufman Photography
February has taken us all by storm -- both literally, with two major snow storms, and figuratively, with all of the new projects we have just scheduled for this month and March.

Our company has just signed five new staging contracts since February 1 -- our new clients are savvy and looking to get a head start on the spring market. From working families to empty nesters and snowbirds, they are all looking to sell their primary residence and to us for turnkey services to get their property in shape -- whether painting, refinishing hardwood floors, installing new carpentry, or updating outdated bathrooms and kitchens.

In this issue, we feature an important story about today's housing market -- especially as it affects our area. Most of the homes in Connecticut and New York are old and in need of important updates. I have worked with many clients on the staging side of our business who just don't understand this crazy buyers market. Today's buyers are more demanding than ever before. They want move in condition properties because most don't have the time or want to spend the money on updates. And most importantly, the real estate market has changed significantly thanks to the Internet. Over 95% of today's buyers shop for a property online. How your home looks in photographs is more important than ever before.

If you are considering selling your home now or in the future, make those updates to your bathroom, kitchen, or dated tile floor -- it will pay off now in terms of your own personal enjoyment and in the future when you go to sell.

I took my own advice this past December and updated my very outdated, 1960s master bathroom -- the last room in our home to be renovated. I wanted to enjoy a modern, elegant and stylish master bathroom before we decide to sell in the next several years. I am also confident that if we tried to sell our house with a 44 year old master bathroom, we would have a very hard time. Take a look at the makeover below and let me know what you think. You can email me at

Stay warm and safe. Let's hope for an early spring!

Connecticut's Aging Housing Inventory Creates  
Opportunity or Loss for Today's Sellers
Superbowl Sunday wasn't just about the big game, half-time show or commercials. The real buzz in real estate is it marked the kick-off of the spring buying and selling season.

2013 experienced a very early spring housing market and 2014 is trending the same. In the past few weeks alone, PJ & Company has signed five new staging contracts. Late March and April tend to be one of the busiest months for new listings, but agents and sellers who want to beat the competition are getting their listings ready now. 

In New England, aging housing inventory is further demanding sellers update and stage their home prior to listing. Even as the housing market recovers and sees gains, if a home doesn't appeal to today's younger buyers it won't sell quickly or for top dollar, if at all.

An aging homes analysis by RealtyTrac found that more than 70 percent of single family homes in the country were built before 1990. Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts and Rhode Island are states with an even higher concentration of homes built before 1990.

According to RealtyTrac's Chief Economist, Jake Edger, the percentage of homes at least 20 years old and likely in need of some major repairs is eye-opening. 

While an older home can be a potential opportunity for buyers to negotiate a lower price, it's ultimately a loss for sellers to list their home  "as-is". For many, their home is their single largest investment and they are looking for ways to increase its marketability and value, to capture equity. 

The following properties showcase low cost updates any seller should consider

New flooring and a fresh neutral coat of paint totally transform this bathroom

Hardwood floors are a top feature buyers want in a home and an investment
that helped sell this home.

  White has become the top choice for kitchen cabinetry. Professional painting is a low cost option to brighten and transform dated, dark wood cabinets.  

Whether you are an experienced do-it-yourselfer or a first-timer, a remodeling project can be intrusive and overwhelming to every aspect of your life. That's why hiring a professional can save time, money and a lot of unnecessary stress.


Recently, my husband and I decided to finally renovate the last room in our home that remained untouched -- our master bathroom. My vision was to transform our 1969 master bath into a modern, stylish space but I didn't want anything too custom as we may sell our home in a few years. The design and d�cor needed to appeal to our personal style, as well as potential future buyers.


Our 1969 Master Bathroom was Cramped and Outdated.


The first step of the renovation was deciding if we could knock down the wall between the master bathroom and our guest room closet to maximize the space and upgrade to a double vanity and larger shower -- the most important elements of the project. Once my talented carpenter determined we could, I was off and running with the design.


As my own general contractor, I managed every element of the project and deciding on the design elements was particularly daunting, since this was a project for me and my family. I ultimately decided on a modern, spa-like design with an earthy color scheme -- dark espresso vanity, glass tiles and a stone shower floor.


The actual renovation involved taking the original bathroom down to the studs and building from scratch (remember, this shower lasted 44 years). Working with my carpenter, excellent vendors, and my own knowledge of renovation projects helped the process along to final completion just a few weeks before the New Year.


The Entire Bathroom was Gutted to Provide a Blank Canvas  

for the New Layout and Design.


The final reveal, pictured below, features a frameless shower door, which opens up the space, accent glass tiles on the walls and floor, modern 8-inch faucets, and jeweled light sconces affixed to the wall-to-wall mirror. We also added a silent ceiling fan for air flow and circulation.


The New Master Bath Features a Modern, Spa-Like Design with an 

Earthy Color Scheme and Includes an Espresso, Double Vanity.    



Throughout the process, I kept a journal and noted some key tips and advice for all homeowners when taking on any renovation project including:


  • Have A Written Plan. Be sure you are absolutely clear with your interior decorator, contractor, and carpenter -- whomever you are working with -- regarding the remodeling job and have a written plan and contract.
  • Plan Ahead. Make sure you have all of your design plans and materials for your remodeling project ahead of time (including windows if applicable). Sometimes, though, things do have to change once the remodeling starts. For example, I opted for one large mirror instead of two as originally planned. Be flexible and plan for an additional 10-15% above your budget for "just in case" scenarios.
  • Don't Skimp Where It Is Important. When putting in a shower floor, for example, make sure your contractor is using the right materials to prevent leaks, mold and mildew. Sometimes spending more on better quality items will save you money in the long run.  
  • Have An Alternate Space For Getting Things Done. If your bathroom or kitchen is under construction, where will you cook or manage everyone's personal daily routines? Set up a makeshift kitchen in a basement or garage, color code towels in the bathroom, or add temporary storage in a hallway.
  • Think About The Big Picture. How will your remodeling project affect any other rooms or even future plans for your home? Will a wall being knocked down impact another room? If so, you may have to consider painting or repairing any walls in the impacted space. Are you thinking of selling your home in a few years? If so, you'll want to make changes you'll enjoy now but will appeal to potential buyers in a few years.   
  • Plan Around Any Entertaining of Special Events. Don't plan any holiday dinners, parties or invite friends over on a Friday night if you are in the middle of a major remodeling job. No matter how good your contractor might be, dust goes everywhere!  
Blue is a favorite in fashion, particularly for spring and summer, and now a bright, bold, blue hue is trending in home decor. A "peppy" shade of blue, Dazzling Blue, is Pantone's -- the color experts -- top color pick for spring 2014. Be inspired to take Dazzling Blue from your closet to the rest of your home's interior with our photo collage of furnishings and accents. 


Ceramic Drip Vase/ Williams-Sonoma,
Dazzling Blue Room, Astrid Blue Chair / Anthropologie

Dazzling Blue Color Swatch / Pantone,  Jared Navy Desk / Worlds Away, 
Dazzling Blue Apothecary Table Lamp, Lamps Plus

Toll Brothers Summit at Bethel and Southington Ridge models were empty canvases before the PJ & Company team came in and transformed them into homes any buyer would love!

Toll Brothers Summit at Bethel Tamarack Model
Decorated by PJ & Company Home Styling, LLC

Toll Brothers Southington Ridge Amherst Model
Decorated by PJ & Company Home Styling, LLC
Upcoming Events
The region is filled with great events this month. Below are our top event picks for February. 

32nd Annual CT Flower and Garden Show - February 20 - 23, Hartford, CT  

Come see an award winning landscape exhibit in full bloom! Occupying over 45,000 square feet of the Connecticut Convention Center.  Click here for more info.   


Boston Wine Expo - February 15 - 16, Boston, MA

The 2014 Boston Wine Expo Grand Tasting features more than 185 wineries pouring over 1,800 wines from around the world, chef demonstrations, seminars and more. Click here for more info.  

Connecticut Home and Remodeling Show - February 28 - March 2, Hartford, CT  

Connecticut's largest and longest running Home and Remodeling Show from the Home Builders & Remodelers Association of Central Connecticut.  Click here for more info.  


New York Fashion Exhibitions and Talks - Month of February, New York, NY 
Mercedes Benz Fashion Week will showcase designer's spring collections this month but  
events and exhibitions throughout the month at area museums offer a glimpse into fashion trends past and present from around the world. Click here for a full listing of events.


We welcome your feedback. Please feel free to send your thoughts, comments, or questions to

The Style Report is PJ & Company Home Styling's e-newsletter designed to inform, entertain, and engage our clients, colleagues, friends, and other style followers about topics in interior design, fashion, and special events.