Friday, May 01, 2009

Curious Goes Modern

As promised, the after pictures of the Florida condo I just staged for selling, 98% completed. A few items arrived the day after we left but the idea is still there.

555 on 5TH AVE SOUTH
(Big seashells to come to sit here)


(Candles are sitting in a pool of sand)

(A series of b/w vintage photographs of scenic Naples are coming to hang behind this wall)



(The piece de la resistance- a Curious Sofa linen slipcovered sectional sleeper)

(An amazing seven foot distressed mirror is coming to hang over the sectional)


(I chose the brushed metal fan at the last minute from Home Depot)

(Lush bedding not shown, still waiting on the bed frame)


(Duvet covers and more pillows to come)



What you are seeing above is my first real design job where I met with a client (Angie), listened to what she needed and gathered what I thought was appropriate for her project. This is an eight unit condo in downtown Naples that my client has owned for many years. After a hurricane, she bulldozed the lower level retail shops and decided to build two additional floors of luxury condos above. Cache and White & Black Market are her tenants. These are pictures of the model unit the realtor will show potential buyers. This unit had no decorative touches to start with except the tile, appliances, cabinets and floors. All else was bare.

My assignment was to keep it clean and cool, simple and modern so it would appeal to a hip, second-home buyer. She didn't want it cluttered with paraphernalia but shown in a way others could see that it was big enough for a large screen TV, sectional sofa and a Queen bed. This is not the usual model condo decor you'd find in Florida.

I spent approximately six weeks and over 75 hours shopping for this job online, talking with the property manager and architect for specific details and arranging deliveries and pick-ups 1,400 miles away. I tried to time all shipments to get there a week before we arrived so all would be ready. We flew down last Saturday and began. Angie and I unpacked boxes and arranged and kept shopping for what we still needed, then schlepping and hauling each and every item to the third floor. She would unpack and clean as I was was building, hanging, drilling and steaming for four days and five nights. Many items were ordered and shipped through my store while other items were ordered through Target, West Elm, Sears, World Market, HSN or found in Naples (Pottery Barn, Home Goods, Pier One). Keep in mind this was a little more than a staging job as Angie and her family will come here to work and vacation until this unit is sold. So everything from mattresses to dishes, flatware, trash cans, a vacuum, alarm clock, TV, dish soap, towels, etc. had to be ordered to make it livable for them. Some things came broken, some were returned and some never arrived at all. We delayed our flight one extra day to fine tune, add more details and clean, clean, clean.

There were also many problems to fix that come with a new development and long distance living: the hot water heater didn't work, the cable wasn't connected to the building, the electricity wasn't working in one room, locks weren't locking and the first realtor was fired as I watched the business of real estate unfold. There was also some comedy relief when Angie put dish soap in the new dishwasher (screaming, "It's leaking!"), cooked the plastic manual pack in the new oven, tried to wash the clothes with detergent and bleach in the dryer saying, "The washer is not working either!" and left the rental car idling for 5 hours in the garage because of a new off button they have now.

We were so tired most nights we didn't have the energy to go to many of the good restaurants in Naples but opted for ice cream or grocery store take out instead -and- I only saw about 1" of beach peaking over a park bench at 30 miles an hour!

In the end, I learned I was not half bad at this interior design stuff even though it was not hard core Curious Sofa style. But good design is good design. It was nice to buy things and put them out without cleaning, fixing, rewiring like you usually do with antique goods. We left proud of our efforts and talking of the next unit we would love to do in tan and blue with sisal rugs and painted furniture. The real test will come when buyers walk through and give their two cents (because everyone has their two cents!). If it sells within the next 3 months, despite the off season in Naples and the soft real estate market, I know I will have done my job!