The First House

Setting the Stage

We didn’t have to do much to get our house ready to sell since we’d made a lot of improvements to the house already over the years, but we did do a few things to stage it. The biggest change we made was swapping out the Edison chandelier in the bedroom for a simple schoolhouse fixture. We loved the other fixture, but it was so taste-specific (you either love it or hate it). The new light is nice, ties in with the one in the nursery, and will appeal to a wider variety of people.

Edison Chandelier to Schoolhouse Fixture Lighting Swap

The rugs came up in the living and dining rooms to show off the hardwood flooring (which is beautiful and in fantastic shape). The Eames rocker came out of the living room and the fern is now on the front porch. We removed a small console table from the dining room, and also removed the table leaf and two chairs. People tend to move through houses in groups, so we made more room for them to navigate their way around. I think the house looks a little weird, but it’s standard staging stuff, I suppose.

Also weird but standard: real estate photos. All of the photos in this post, aside from the first side-by-side of the lighting, are from our listing. The photographer went super-wide with the angles to show more of the rooms’ structure, which sometimes makes for odd pictures. Also, why does my living room look even more pink in the photo than it is in real life? It isn’t really that pepto. (And obviously, no, I did not repaint the room in a neutral color.)

Living Room Real Estate Photo
Dining Room Real Estate Photo

We upped the curb appeal a bit with new plants out front (which I actually did a week before we decided to sell, by coincidence), and weeding the garden. Brandon put a new coat of paint on both the front and back porches, making sure to work around my painted rug out front.

Our House Exterior
Front Porch
Our House Exterior, from the Back

We made sure the closets were decluttered (they already were, for the most part), and have been completely on top of cleaning up toys every day. We turn on every light in the house for showings, and also make sure the air conditioning is on if it’s even a little warm that day, and that’s it.

I won’t feel comfortable sharing definitive news until we have signed paperwork and the sale is a done deal, but I will say that we’ve had a lot of interest and a lot of positive feedback. Sometimes the house is too big for a family and sometimes it’s too small, but everyone has said that it shows well. Pink living room and all.

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  • Allison
    June 13, 2013 at 3:20 pm

    I love the pink living room. So much that I have painted my living room the same color. It doesn’t look pepto-y at all to me.
    Good luck with selling and finding a new house! It seems like everyone in blog land is moving!

  • Laura
    June 13, 2013 at 3:33 pm

    Glad you didn’t get rid of the painted rug on the porch…hope your buyers keep it too. Everything looks great, good luck!

  • Lynn
    June 13, 2013 at 3:40 pm

    I’m going to miss your dining room! It is definitely my favorite room in the house. I just love that wallpaper and how it all pulls together.

  • Laura
    June 13, 2013 at 3:41 pm

    I saw the real estate listing online (my family lives in Oak Park) and I love that they subtley referenced the blog in the house description ;)

  • Leslie
    June 13, 2013 at 4:34 pm

    Yes, I saw the listing too! Much luck on a quick sale to you and I can’t wait to see your new home. A family friend here in OP has a house on the market too. Exciting times. I can’t wait to join the party. We would list now but we refinanced and there is a waiting period. If I had known things would be heating up so quickly we would not have refinanced when we did. Oh well.

  • e l i s s a
    June 13, 2013 at 7:42 pm

    Huh. This explains why I NEVER see attractive houses on the market… real estate photos make even the most gorgeous house (YOURS!) look blah and ordinary. From all the photos on your blog, I would buy your house, move in and not change a single thing (for at least 6 months… I like change too much)… but from these real estate photos, sheesh… the photos just make it look weird and uninspired.

    • Rosemary
      June 13, 2013 at 8:49 pm

      I’m the editor of an interior design magazine, and one of our photographers recently put his house on the market. It was an ok house, but he photographed it the way we do for the magazine (no wide angles, lights off using only natural light, etc.) and BAM! It sold in an instant. Maybe realtors should rethink their photography practices!

  • Chris
    June 13, 2013 at 7:51 pm

    Are the green hanging planters from Ikea?

  • jbhat
    June 13, 2013 at 8:22 pm

    It’s so interesting about staging. I have a friend (whom I adore) whose decor (that I don’t adore) would have made a professional stager wring her hands. They recently listed their home, didn’t do a THING to stage it/pretty it up (as far as I can tell, that is), and it sold like THAT. The house has good bones, is in an awesome neighborhood, etc…..but it sure makes me wonder if people put too much emphasis on the cosmetic in general. Maybe all those little efforts really don’t end up having too much of an impact in the end. I really don’t know. What do you think?


  • Jacky
    June 13, 2013 at 8:25 pm

    I am sure you will see the house in now time, it is so nice with over the top character. I am curious, what is the name of the color in you bedroom? Also, LOVE that wallpaper in the dining room. Good luck!!

  • Rosemary
    June 13, 2013 at 8:46 pm

    I have Edison envy! I am in love with the idea of that fixture in my master bedroom, but a bedroom in Arkansas without a ceiling fan is practically a death wish. The school house fixture is nice for resale purposes, though!

  • Amber @ Wills Casa
    June 13, 2013 at 9:07 pm

    I know it’s hard to juggle the kids with getting out of the house, but I bet it sells incredibly fast. It’s in great condition and has to be one of the best decorated houses in the area. Can’t wait to see what happens!

  • Jenni
    June 13, 2013 at 9:21 pm

    Hey Nicole, This has nothing to do with your actual house, but I thought of your dollhouse when I saw this while trolling Etsy today: a tiny pink Smeg-like dollhouse fridge!! What?!?!? Kinda expensive, but so cute! Look at the pix of the inside. Little bitty bins for your tiny doll-people fruits and veggies!

  • Dana @ House*Tweaking
    June 13, 2013 at 9:56 pm

    Everything you’ve done in preparation for the listing looks great! Best of luck with showings.

  • Tena
    June 14, 2013 at 12:11 am

    I think your house is amazing. My favorite spaces are your library area and your office. Can’t wait to see the next house your family makes a home.

  • Kelly
    June 14, 2013 at 2:26 am

    Your house looks great! Good luck selling quickly!

  • Megan @ Rappsody in Rooms
    June 14, 2013 at 7:54 am

    I’m glad you kept the pink living room. I think it is so nice and I’m not even a big pink fan, personally. So glad to hear everything is going well. Good luck for a quick sale!

  • Holly
    June 14, 2013 at 10:12 am

    It looks great, despite the weird lighting in the LR photo. I’m sure it will sell quickly. And I’m so jealous… even your street looks perfect!

    I am curious about the Edison, which I’ve loved ever since you first posted about it on the blog. Is it hard to find replacement bulbs for it?

    • Making it Lovely
      June 16, 2013 at 11:56 am

      It is — you have to order them online.

  • Andrew
    June 14, 2013 at 10:37 am

    Isn’t it weird having your place on the market? Keeping it extra tidy, turning on all the lamps during the day, prior to showings, locking pets up in the basement. Like you I’ve also removed my rugs, touches of vintage taxidermy, and anything vaguely controversial (I have some intense artwork). Also the realtor and prospective buyer feedback is so interesting. Like the three bears “too big/too small…” I’m still hoping for “just right.” Good luck! I bet your place will go fast.

    • Making it Lovely
      June 16, 2013 at 11:56 am

      It’s bizarre. Since this is our first house, we’ve never gone through the whole selling thing before! I love that you had to remove vintage taxidermy — probably for the best when selling.

  • Shannon
    June 14, 2013 at 1:35 pm

    I would kill to have an awesome fixture like that in my bedroom! Florida gets so hot (especially second floor bedrooms) that I HAVE to sleep with the fan on! Boo!!!


  • Brianne Heape
    June 14, 2013 at 3:20 pm

    I LOVEEE your pink living room. But what has baffled me the most, how did you convince your husband to go for it?

  • chris
    June 14, 2013 at 3:27 pm

    I wonder if you could have used some of your own photography – I think the listing photos don’t show off the features of your home as nicely. We have the same schoolhouse light fixture in the baby’s room – not near as fun as the Edison but much better than a boob light!

  • Krista of KJ & Co.
    June 14, 2013 at 3:27 pm

    LOVE those schoolhouse fixtures from Home Depot. Great price. I used them in my first house and again in our current house in the kitchen.

  • Elaine in Delaware
    June 15, 2013 at 3:51 pm

    Where did you get the large botanical chart in the bedroom? Is it a reproduction?

    • Making it Lovely
      June 16, 2013 at 8:58 am

      I got mine from Fab, but The Evolution Store sells them on line too.

  • Kates
    June 17, 2013 at 10:52 am

    I recently sold our house and as a home buyer I hate the way the photographers take the photos. They completely distort the rooms making them look wider OR they just take bad photos of one corner of the room and get no idea of space. What happened to actually just using a regular camera with no wide angle lens and standing standing in the corners? Honestly I take houses off my search list if they don’t have good photography. Your house always photos well!!! Best of luck! We sold in the Midwest (not Chi but in the Quad Cities) and it took us 6 months! I guess we should have expected that trying to sell in the winter months.

  • Glass Orb Chandelier | Making it Lovely
    June 17, 2013 at 11:24 am

    […] leaving all of our light fixtures in the house when we move, other than the Edison chandelier that I swapped out, so I’ve been paying attention and looking for possible new lights for our next […]

  • Holly
    June 17, 2013 at 11:27 am

    Glad to pop in to see that you hopefully have good news and a quick sale on your home – it’s a great feeling and feels good that your hard work has paid off. Selling a house certainly keeps everyone on their toes as far as straightening up and keeping things neat/orderly- our house never looked so immaculate as when we sold.

  • Tandra@Little Houses Big Dogs
    June 19, 2013 at 11:34 am

    When I arrived at your blog and home tour it was just what I needed! We have a 1948 home and I’ve been scratching my head on decor. For example, how to not lose some of the early mid century charms but still look modern, and light. Plus mix my love for unfinished and rustic materials (bit of a quandary)…Your design elements and decor are fab! How has the potential buyer reception been on the pink living room?

    • Making it Lovely
      June 19, 2013 at 12:54 pm

      It wasn’t an issue, as far as we know. We received feedback from several of the showings, and the pink was never mentioned.

  • Jenny
    January 31, 2017 at 8:48 pm

    Sorry for the random post bombing, but do you by chance have any idea where to source a replacement bulb for the edison chandelier? I have a burned out bulb and no idea where to get a new one!