L. Vandegrift Davala: slideshow image 1
L. Vandegrift Davala: slideshow image 2



The over-all picture of your property has been professionally staged. It is important to achieve what estate agents refer to as “crispness”. Houses with greater crispness sell faster and more easily. Buyers want a “move in” quality. That means that all “dings”, cracks, scuffs, breakages, signs of wear, holes, mismatched hardware, dented or chipped kitchen or bath delph or appliances need to be renewed or repaired, and shown clean and polished. Let’s have a look at some of the details which help complete this level of presentation.

Gardens: The Outdoor Room

“How to create beautiful forms (is the question) in Europe and in the West. We are not designing forms but designing the atmosphere. How to create the atmosphere, that is what we put most effort in, designing this atmosphere.

I truly believe that a person looking at a peaceful garden everyday, will become a peaceful person. On the other hand, a person looking at an unkempt and thorny garden will eventually become an unkempt and thorny person. A garden truly can change people and restore to them their humanity.”

– Shunmyo Masuro, Japanese Zen Priest and Garden Designer

Ireland is an ideal place to garden.I first became obsessed with gardening, container gardening and the exterior environment around buildings while living and working in Co. Clare. During the following years I spent in the U.S. I was able to incorporate this love into my house staging work and my own gardening. Next to bathrooms and kitchens, gardens can sell a house. Plants, chosen for their colour, and the unique picture they paint of your home, can be the most cost effective way to increase your property value. They give life to any place. Plants used in containers have added advantages: they can create, correct or change your landscape architecture just by their placement, and you can take them with you, which allows your new occupants to design their own “outdoor room.”  See my blog post on inside/outside space.

Before And After

Before and after

Bathrooms are often fashion’s greatest victims. The bathroom project shown here was a great success. I was told later by the Estate Agent that this feature sold the house. The total cost for complete replacement of delph, adding wainscoting, laminated floor boards, medicine cabinet, new blind, new colour scheme and painting, floor mat, towels, and oh yeah – that colour-matched bar of soap and the crystal light pull, was under $3,000 U.S. including fees and labour. The Agent felt that it added $20,000 to the home’s sale result. This house was valued and listed at $389,000 in May of 2006. It sold in less than 24 hours on the market, after being shown to a record 21 viewers, for $407,500. This price was almost twice the $217,000 the property was bought for in 2001. The property was identical in structure and setting to all the houses on that street, and yet performed up to $55,000 better than other houses sold at the same time on the same street.