“It’s September! Overnight we wake up to dew on the ground, misty mornings and everything looking a little tired after another glorious Long Island summer,” says Helen Lind of English Ivy Interiors. “School children pull us back into our routines, we take a deep breath and look around our homes with fresh eyes as a new year begins.” Helen, an interior decorator and professional home stager covering Long Island and Manhattan, offers some expert tips on refreshing the look of your home for fall.
The Question: How do we improve our home’s first impression?
The Answer from Helen Lind of English Ivy Interiors: It’s always good to start with the entrances.
My golden retriever Oliver, very brave behind the gate, jumps up to greet all comers leaving scratch marks in the white paint. The gate posts have also shifted with the heavy rains and dry spells so the latch needs moving. My elegant, high gloss, dark green front door has been ravaged front paws and needs attention—as do the brass door knob and kick plate from general wear and tear. The back door frame and saddle have water damage from the hurricane, and the gate from the car park carries a little mold from the honeysuckle that climbs all around it.
Entrances are important first impressions not only for visitors and potential buyers but for the home owner and family. They give clues to the way the house is run and how the occupants live. The feel of a happy, cared-for home affects the way we live the rest of our lives. Perfection is not what we are looking for, just a little attention now and then to show our space is valued and loved.
The temperate days of autumn are great for painting before the windy days begin. Armed with a medium grain sandpaper to even out scratches and chipped paint, wood fill and spatula for gouges, bleach solution and an abrasive sponge for mold, we are ready to prep. Don’t forget newspaper to catch the debris and, vital for a happy worker, good loud sounds from your paint-splattered radio!
For exterior woodwork I recommend Behr Premium Plus Ultra latex paint and primer in one—Ultra Pure White No. 5850 lovingly surrounds my home and garden. Applied with a four-inch sponge roller it covers thoroughly and quickly in a couple of coats, leaving a “radiant, sleek sheen” and an “enhanced mildew resistant finish.” Just not having to apply a primer first is good enough for me.
If you have a light colored front door then regular white undercoat will do after you have sanded or used wood fill. If it’s a darker color then create a custom primer by mixing a little of the colored topcoat in with the white undercoat. Before you start, though, take a moment to consider a new color to spruce up your entrance and give your home a lift. If selling is in the cards, strong colors to impress potential buyers are dark green, crimson red, dark blue and black. Always use the highest gloss finish you can find and add as much shiny brass as you can lay your hands on!
Have more questions about how your home can make a great first impression? You can contact Helen Lind at (516) 922-3518 and visit www.englishivyinteriors.com.