Tag Archives: Philadelphia interior designer

Older Homes: Restoring, Remodeling and Home Staging by Sunflower Creations

20 Dec

IMG_9387(1940’s Germantown home staging by Sunflower Creations)

Although we spend a lot of our time on new construction projects, we always get a special thrill out of working with older homes.  For better, or for worse, old homes are chock-full of reminders of the past.  Sure, you’re going to encounter some lumps and bumps and imperfections–  This is the character, the charm, the “cozy” factor!

blog2(Logan Square Home Staging by Sunflower Creations)

If you are an old home-lover, you may fall into the category of Preservationist.  Or, if you are like me, you may appreciate the old bones and cosmetic details, but opt for the conveniences of modern living.  So, I thought we’d talk a little bit about both options, provide some resources, and share some pics of our older home stagings.  Thanks for reading, and feel free to share your opinions and experiences!

The Basics of Old Home Buying

It really goes with out saying that in any home purchase, you should always bring in a licensed and qualified home inspector.  But in older homes, you will want to pay special attention to the functionality of the existing mechanisms.  One hundred years ago, people did not consume like we do today, so be realistic about the capabilities of the plumbing, electrical, heating/cooling systems.  Whether you seek to preserve or remodel, keep in mind that these basic functions of the home can dictate lifestyle, and be costly changes.  (Ex:  Will you be happy to turn off the air conditioner while you blow your hair dry?)  Pay close attention to the condition of windows, flooring, foundation, chimney, framing, and roof.  Also, be wary of grading/drainage issues that may result in pooling water damage, and could contribute to mold growth, and check for asbestos, which was commonly used in insulation before 1960.blog1(Broomall Home Staging by Sunflower Creations)

So, after reading all of those troubling possibilities listed above, why on earth would anyone want to preserve an old home?  Because we love projects!  If you think working around the house sounds like a fun way to spend your weekends, keep reading…  If you think learning history in a hands-on way sounds interesting, scroll on.  And, if you would rather post Facebook photos of your new circuit breakers than your cat, hang with us!

Restoration Resources

So, if you are a preservationist, you are looking to celebrate the history of your home.  Design-wise, you will probably opt for more “period” specific furniture, accessories, and window treatments.

A major cosmetic detail in proper preservation is paint color, both interior and exterior.  Sherwin-Williams has this invaluable section on their website that actually categorizes your home by period/style, and then provides paint color combination suggestions for walls, trim, and accents.

blog5(Suburban Home Staging in Rydal by Sunflower Creations)

A general theme that we hear in older home staging projects is that, charming as they may be, many old wood floors suffer from the “patchwork” phenomenon from many years of different owners and quick-fix repairs.  In some cases, a very simple cosmetic option is a nice big area rug.

IMG_9378(1940’s Germantown Home Staging by Sunflower Creations)

But, in terms of flooring restoration, there are many opinions out there about the best course of action.  OldHouseOnline is a great starting point for your venture because it discusses various types of wood flooring and various types of equipment you will need.    But, if you make the decision to take on the project, consult professionals.  You do want to be sure that the sander you use is appropriate for the type of wood.  Also, tongue and groove flooring restoration can differ from face-nailed flooring.  And, getting the finish right will highly impact your end result.  (BTW, OldHouseOnline also has an awesome section on a vast number of different “restoration how-to’s”.  Definitely worth bookmarking if you are into this…)

blog11(Rittenhouse Square Condominium Staging by Sunflower Creations)

On a final restoration note, I wanted to mention woodwork.  This is a project that I have taken on in the past, and I will be the first to tell you that it is a biggie.  The end result will be worth it every time you look at it, but it is methodical, labor intensive, messy and detail-oriented.  Since many homes built before 1960 may contain lead paint, you will want to seal off the room, wear a dust mask and gloves at all times, and keep away kids and pets.  First step is to treat a small, descrete area of the woodwork with denatured alcohol to determine whether the existing surface material is water or oil-based.  The process will vary a little in terms of materials, depending on what type of surface covering you are stripping.  And, again, you will definitely want to ask questions at the hardware store.  But, basically, from here you will strip the old paint with a chemical agent, scrape the remaining residue, clean up the debris, stain your raw woodwork, and seal to protect.  Simple, right?!  For more details, check out This Old House.

Going for the Update

On the other hand, if you decide to go for the modern spin on your older home, you have infinite possibilities…

One major difference between older and newer homes is the tendancy toward open floor plans.  In older homes, rooms were small, often for the sake of heating each space with its own fireplace.  It is very possible to knock out walls and create open spaces in an older home, but be sure that you know which ones are supporting the structure of the house (and stay away from those!).

Here’s a few cosmetic ways to open up space:

Utilize the color wheel- Paint ceilings white, and choose cool, light colors for accent walls.  (And, while we are on the topic, be sure to use a flat or eggshell paint finish.  A less shiny finish will hide more of the unevenness in older walls.)  Lighter color flooring materials will brighten the room, also making it feel larger.

Play visual mind tricks-  Hang long accent panel curtains as high as possible above windows.  The long vertical lines will make the ceilings seem higher, and the rooms more spacious.  And, if you are installing directional flooring, you can create the feeling of more space by the direction that you lay your new floor.

IMG_9373(1940’s Germantown Home Staging by Sunflower Creations)

Now, if you love your older home, you obviously have some affection for things antique and vintage.  But, if you are like me, you might want to get eclectic with some modern surprises.

blog3(Fishtown Home Staging by Sunflower Creations)

Consider updating with contemporary light fixtures.  Switch out kitchen/bathroom drawer pulls with something artsy or something clean-lined.  A glass/ceramic tile or hammered tin backsplash is an excellent little addition that is not terribly expensive or invasive.

blog4(Mount Airy Home Staging by Sunflower Creations)

Here’s some other simple and complex renovation ideas to think about:



Well, that does it for today–  Thanks so much for looking!

…Whether ultra-modern new construction, a charming rehab, or a traditional redesign–We understand the subtle differences.

Our “look” helps homes sell quickly and our process keeps clients coming back time and again.

If you need help with home staging or interior design services, please contact us:

Ali Kutner, Home Staging Coordinator



or visit us at Sunflower Creations Home

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Philadelphia Home Staging Review

16 Jul

Past and present clients we have a great deal for you!  Through the month of July anyone that reviews our services on Yelp will be entered to win 2 loaded Phillies Tickets!  Visit our profile on Yelp here.


Contest runs through the end of July and the winner will be selected on August 1st.  What are you waiting for, Yelp all about it!!

As always thanks for keeping up with us!

Visit our website for information about our Home Staging and Interior Design services: Sunflower Creations Home


The Staging Chick

Philadelphia Interior Design: 1/2 Bath

26 Nov

One of the things that keeps me up at night is the state of our environment.  I find myself in a constant internal battle over what products to use, am I recycling enough, could I do more?  I’ve learned that I may not be able to change it on my own but the little steps I take to improve myself can help in a big way, especially if those around me take notice and (quite frankly) give a damn.

So it is with great pride that I present one of my recent interior design projects which incorporates up-cycled items and low voc paint.  The great thing about this project is we turned an unused mudroom into a 1/2 bath, no old bathroom demo.  And my heart is glad 🙂

If you live in Philadelphia you must get over to Philadelphia Salvage located in Mt Airy. Need an extra push to get over there?  Thursday nights are ‘Thirsty Thursdays’ whiskey and beer while you shop.  What more could you ask for?!

We cut the wood for the shelving from a 4ft piece of wood reclaimed from a 150 yr old barn (purchased at Philadelphia Salvage).  We did the math, the tree probably started growing in the 1600’s.  Like whoa.  We created the brackets using some plumbing pipe, floor flange and cap.  Vintage bottles and milk glass vase purchased at Phantastic Phinds (great home consignment store in Flourtown).

I also found these metal baskets at Philly Salvage and they fit perfectly in the reused sink cabinet’s side shelves.  There’s not much space in this bath so instead of a hand towel bar we used one of the metal baskets to hold fabric napkins for drying hands.  Bonus, wash them and use them over and over!

We left the exposed brick on one wall to add to the industrial/reclaimed feel.  The bathroom door was salvaged from previous renovations in the house.  A few coats of paint and some genius DIY barn door hardware and it works great.

We finished it off with a coat of low voc paint in a soft gray and some homemade curtains.  I thought the black and white vertical pattern would help draw the eye up, hence making the small room feel larger.

All hardware is oil rubbed bronze.  Flooring is a Dal Tile porcelain tile in a concrete gray.

I’m so excited this project is completed and that it came together so well!


The Staging Chick

“Be the change you want to see in the world” -Gandhi

Need an interior designer in Philadelphia?  Email amanda@sunflowercreationsonline.com

Welcome to Catherine Court

13 Mar

Sunflower Creations Selections Katie Devlin Photography

Day four of Blog-Fest and I have a treat for you.  But first I need to thank Katie Devlin (photographerkatedevlin@gmail.com) for sharing these beautiful photos with me, she did a great job shooting this space.

Sunflower Creations staging and finish selections Katie Devlin: Photography

Sunflower Creations: paint selection, hardwood floors, trim, staging Katie Devlin: Photography

This project was my baby and I’m so happy to share it with you!  The well-respected builders of Catherine Court asked me to step in and help select finishes pre construction, um YES!  I had my hands in everything, floors, railings, back splashes, counter tops, light fixtures, bathroom tile/layout, doors and exterior lighting.  You name it, we helped!

Sunflower Creations: paint color, hardwood floors, wet bar cabinets, wet bar backsplash, trim Katie Devlin: Photography

To finish it off I staged the property and it is what you see today.  I’ll give you a breakdown as we go through these photos (again thanks to Katie Devlin for the beautiful photos!)

Sunflower Creations selections: garage entry floor, handrail, hardwood floor, wet bar cabinets, wet bar backsplash, trim, paint color Katie Devlin: Photography

Sunflower Creations Selections: backsplash, hardwood floor, counter top, hardware, paint color, trim, light fixtures, staging Katie Devlin: Photography

Sunflower Creations Selections & Staging Katie Devlin: Photography

Sunflower Creations Selections & Staging Katie Devlin: Photography

Sunflower Creations Selections & Staging Katie Devlin: Photography

Sunflower Creations Selections & Staging Katie Devlin: Photography

Sunflower Creations: tile & layout, paint color, cabinets, counter, light fixtures, trim Katie Devlin: Photography

Sunflower Creations Selections & Staging Katie Devlin Photography

Sunflower Creations Selections: tile, cabinets, paint color, trim, staging Katie Devlin: Photography

Sunflower Creations Selections: tile, paint color, cabinets, counter tops, trim, staging Katie Devlin: Photography

Sunflower Creations Selections Katie Devlin: Photography

For more information about Sunflower Creations builder services email Amanda@sunflowercreationsonline.com Visit the listing courtesy of Prudential Fox Roach.


The Staging Chick

Art Museum Area Home Staging: Philadelphia

8 Mar

Well spring came early this year,  I’ve been so busy staging houses that I haven’t had the chance to share any of them with you!

Not any more, this week you’re in for a treat.  I promise you’ll see a post a day through the next week.  You have to see some of these houses.

To start off the blog-fest I want to share this adorable classic home in the coveted art museum area of Philadelphia.  Featuring an open floor plan, gorgeous built-ins and a view of the art museum like no other!

We staged the first floor only and had a blast doing it.  The first floor is a great area for entertaining.  Having a finished basement and den on the second floor there is really no need for a tv on this floor.

A lot of people have trouble envisioning their furniture in an open space.  It’s actually easier than you think, but you have to get away from shoving furniture against the wall.  Floating the sofa and chairs around the fireplace in this space creates a cozy area for late night conversations with friends and wine.

I’m loving this property and I’m sure you will to.  Visit the listing here: Prudential Fox Roach Listing.

Missed you guys!!


The Staging Chick