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Last week, Lauryn of JOE Interiors shared tips for styling a home before you list it with a Realtor in our blog Advice from an Interior Stylist: for sellers. This week she offers advice for buyers, as well as a funny story about a decoration left behind by a seller.

Our first question to Lauryn regarding the house hunt: Buying a home that comes furnished is fairly unique to island life. Do you have any advice for people who are house hunting and have trouble getting past the furniture and décor of the homes they are viewing?

“Seeing past another family’s cherished items can be a serious challenge; particularly when you know you will be inheriting them with the purchase!  Remember that nothing is permanent…and the upside is that whether you like the style or not, you’ll have a functioning space, so you can take the time to choose pieces that you really love for the home when it’s yours.  

As far as getting beyond the clutter, try to focus on the “bones”: ceiling height, flooring, window and door sizes and age, quality and care of the structure.  Then consult your list of non-negotiables and priorities to make sure that the basics of the house are ticking your must-have boxes.  Last but certainly not least, take a deep breath and think about how the house makes you feel: how does the amount of natural light effect you?  Do you feel calm, inspired, comfortable, excited?  Make sure your body is reacting in a way that you will be happy with day in and day out.”

Our next question focuses on making a space your own after purchase: What are your top tips for re-styling/re-purposing inherited furnishings after buying a house?

“Similar to selling your house, this can be broken down into the same 3 phases; just with a little more excitement and creativity, since it’s for you to keep!

  1. What has to go?  Get rid of anything that you truly canNOT live with.  There are great outlets to sell these pieces at: St. Croix VI Buy or Sell on Facebook, the Women’s Coalition and consignment shops, or even friends!  
  2. What can we play with?  Are there items that you could make your own with paint, refinishing, reupholstery?  Come up with a color palette that speaks to you (cool and calm, warm and cozy, natural and neutral) and keep your projects consistent within that style.  Then, move the pieces around to work within your space to create a function and flow that works for you.  
  3. What’s missing?  Hopefully at this point you have at least a start to a color palette and spatial plan for most of your rooms and what is missing will pop out at you.  Fill in the blanks with pieces you fall in love with that fit the space.  Always check dimensions and make sure the color, style and finishes coordinate with your existing items.  Magazines, catalogs and Pinterest can help with this step, as well as for the final pull together where you add textiles, decorative pieces and natural elements for a cohesive look.”

Follow Coldwell Banker St. Croix Realty on Pinterest for island decor inspiration

Finally, we couldn’t resist asking Lauryn about any funny stories she could share: Do you have any funny or cool stories of items found in a house after a purchase?

“I am actually working on a project right now with a crazy story.  Unlike most home purchases here on island, my clients were moving into an unfurnished home.  When they moved in, however, the previous owners had left one lone, tiny and aging painting on the wall in the living room.  We chuckled about working it into the design somehow.  To prepare for renovations, they moved the painting into a closet, not sure what to do with it.  The next day, when they returned home, it was back on the wall!  Needless to say, I am now working on an art and photography gallery wall where the painting will be incorporated.  Spooky, right?!”