Thursday, August 1, 2013


Key Associates

By: Allison Taylor

It's that time of year in the real estate market where buyers are anxious to get settled in a new home before schools start back, and sellers are in the final push to make the sale.  Most schools typically start back around the end of August, and this month also signifies that summer is coming to an end.  It's a perfect time to make that final push on your home that is for sale, and to look at opportunities to get a leg up on competing properties. 

We've seen time and time again the benefits of staging a home that is for sale - most significantly in the swift sales times and the increased purchase costs.  If you haven't already considered staging as an option for improving your home's selling potential, now is the time.  Professional staging companies have the expertise in real estate and staging to assist and promote your success.  Home owners and realtors can either call in staging professionals for  consultations and do the work themselves, or ask that the professionals take on the entire task of staging.

At Key Associates, we offer special rates for half or full-day Intensive Stagings.  With Intensive Stagings, we come in with the sole purpose of maximizing a home’s marketability.  We know the key factors involved, and we efficiently go about professionally packing up clutter, arranging furniture to maximize square footage and appeal, and properly accessorizing the home. 

Here is a video that reinforces some of the key aspects of staging a home, and the benefits in doing so. 


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Key Associates
By: Allison Taylor
I don't consider myself to be a designer, by any means.  My house is a mis-match of antique family pieces, hand-me-downs, and second-hand finds.  When it comes to furnishings, I am thrifty, practical, and love to re-use items that would otherwise go to waste.  In the past couple of years, I have gotten more bold in what I'm willing to try. 
First came the outdoor seat.  We had a large (and VERY heavy) rock that once stood up in our garden.  After several years in it's location, and some heavy rains, it took a fall.  So, as I studied this cool rock, I started to wonder, what else could I do with it?  Then, after having a tree go down, and looking over the wood that was destined to be split for camp fires, a light bulb came on.  What if I could lay a couple of wood stumps on their sides, and top them with the rock to make a bench?  I talked my husband into moving the rock into place for me, and voila - a bench was born!
My next idea was for a platform bed.  After trying to extend our full size antique bed frame to a queen with an extender kit, our new memory foam mattress started sagging in the middle.  We tried another frame extender, and still couldn't resolve the sagging.  So, I decided that if we had a platform bed, we could support and save our mattress.  I looked at many different beds, and couldn't find any that I loved.  I started thinking of ways to build one.  I was almost set on a design using old pallets, but the chemicals that can off-gas from the weather treatments of the wood ultimately deterred me from going that route.  After much contemplation, I decided that I'd build one using tree stumps and much sturdier could you get?  I would need two sheets of plywood, so there would be a seam down the middle.  I figured that I needed stumps that were at least 12 inches across, and wanted one at each of the four corners, and then three down the middle at the seam.  I called our local saw mill, and told them what I had in mind.  I also didn't want to treat the wood, and after discussing options with the saw mill, they hooked me up with my seven stumps for about $75.00.  When determining the measurements for the plywood topper, I decided to add some length so that I could fit some big pillows between the mattress and the wall - as a headboard of sorts.  The plywood cost me about $50, and our locally run store even cut it to the dimensions I needed.  My husband thought I was crazy, but it has turned out to be a perfect design, and I love it!
On the more professional side, designers are coming up with new and unique approaches every day.  Here's a link to an article with some fun ideas from House Beautiful - and a peek at one of the article's creative designs, using a rope for a stairway railing, is pictured below.
   If you have a creative design idea, go for it!  The possibilities are endless.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Key Associates
By: Allison Taylor
I am one of those people that will take any opportunity I can get to be outside - not the bugs, the heat, the cold, or even a light drizzle can keep me in.  My favorite places at my house are on our patio out back, our front deck, or even just sitting right in the middle of my driveway.  Lucky for me; we live in a fairly secluded home that is surrounded by woods.  When we bought our home, a little over 10 years ago, it was a total mess.  At the front of our home, there were so many large trees close to the house, that the indoors were in a constant state of darkness and mildew. After having several trees removed, we had a large deck built to overlook the forest gully that separated our home from our neighborhood road.  The woods at the back of our house just fell down the bank to within just a few feet from our back door.  My husband and I cut the bank back, built a massive retaining wall, and spread stepping stones and gravel - all while I was quite pregnant.  We are graced with lots of deer (that very rudely eat many of my plants), a seemingly decreasing population of wild turkeys, woodpeckers and other birds, bats, snakes, abundant spiders, our semi-domesticated Shepherd-Husky mix rescue dog, and our rambunctious eight year old son.  So yes, outdoor space is a precious commodity.  Although the deck is an amazing space for us to use, we often find ourselves at the patio out back.  Like others have stated, it seems to invite us into a more intimate setting.

Here are some nice ideas for patio and outdoor room designs that can be accomplished on a budget.  If you haven't worked to make your outdoor space more comfortable and accomodating, now's the perfect time.  Cheers! 

Architects, interior designers, and more ∨

From Shabby Chic home decor to contemporary furniture and mirrors, browse thousands of decorating ideas to inspire your next home project.
As you get ready to host an event, be sure you have enough dining room chairs and dishes for dinner guests, as well as enough bakeware and chef knives for food preparation.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013


Key Associates
By: Allison Taylor

What a fun week ahead of celebrations, cook-outs, and fireworks!  I love celebrating the fourth of July for many reasons - it is warm outside (my favorite!), it's a day off with my family and friends, fireworks are always a *blast* (get it?), and most importantly, it is a day to appreciate all of the freedoms that our country offers. 

When preparing for the festivities this week, many a flag will be hung - both as a show of patriotism, and as a very fitting decoration for the holiday.  I got to thinking about the proper ways to hang a flag, and thought some of you might appreciate a little clarification too on the appropriate etiquette.  Here's a little clip from YouTube with instructions to making sure that your flag is hung correctly. 

Happy Independence Day!


Thursday, June 27, 2013

Key Associates
By: Allison Taylor

Last week we showcased a move management job that we were hired to execute, and I bet some of you are wondering how we pack items securely.  Our staff are trained in the proper packaging techniques, and we participate in on-going training through videos and articles on the subject.  The owner of Key Associates learned to pack during a CRTS (Certified Relocation & Transition Specialist) Certification course, and through various demonstrations at conferences, and through following the latest research.  Packing isn’t as simple as it may seem, and professional packers, such as Key Associates, are up-to-date on the standards and techniques that ensure that your possessions will be protected during your move.  There are specific recommended techniques for packing pictures, dishes, and other fragile items, and it is our job to make sure that those criteria are researched, staff members are trained, and all packing is executed properly.  We utilize techniques such as packing dishes vertically rather than stacked, for example.  We are experienced in determining how many boxes of varying sizes will be needed, as well as which types of protective packing materials will best suit your possessions. 
We can take your home from looking like this:

To this:
Let us assure that your belongings will safely arrive at their destination.    


Friday, June 21, 2013

Key Associates
By: Allison Taylor

Several of us at Key Associates had the pleasure of packing up the belongings of a return client this week.  This client was living in one of our favorite retirement communities in Greenville, SC - The Woodlands at Furman - but, after the death of a loved one, had decided to make the move to upstate New York to be closer to family.  

We were called upon to handle the move so she could head to her new destination in advance.  We facilitated the hiring of a moving company, coordinated schedules and packed up her furniture and possessions in preparation for the movers.   

This particular client was a collector, and many of her pieces were heavy and fragile.  Key Associates is highly qualified to professionally pack our client's prized possessions as well as their everyday belongings, and we do so with care.  We can assure you that when the moving truck arrives every precaution has been taken to protect your valued possessions.  

From beginning to end, we do as much or as little as needed to smooth the way for a hassle-free move!

The amazing Jennifer is wrapping an item from the collection with care.
As you can tell, there were a lot of boxes that needed to be packed.


Thursday, June 13, 2013

Key Associates
By: Allison Taylor

Father's Day is this coming Sunday, so it seemed like a perfect opportunity to explore some designs for the ever-popular Man Cave.  Are you looking for a great Father's Day gift?  How about creating a space for him to call his own?  Now is the perfect time to clean out and organize that basement, spare room, attic, or garage and set it up to welcome the man in your life.  Now, my husband does not have a Man Cave, but I would be all for him having a space to get away to sometimes.  In fact, I wouldn't mind having one too - I happen to be a gal that loves shooting pool, throwing darts, and sipping on a cold brew.  And, the fact that I have two full drum kits in my house - one for my husband and one for my son - makes the Man Cave option all the more appealing.  I long for the day that I can get one of the drum sets out of my office, and the other out of our spare room. 

Key Associates has abundant experience in masculine-themed interior design, and a good number of our clients over the years have been men.  If you need help creating an amazing Man Cave space, we are here to guide you.  Here are some ideas to get you started:


Architecture, interior design, and more ∨

From a designer chair and desk to bulletin boards and credenza, create your dream home office.
Light up your living spaces with recessed lights, designer chandeliers or even a row of pendant lights.