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Updating With Modsy.com

October 5th, 2019 · Hamptons, Random Things That Make Me Smile, Vacation rentals

We have a loft/playroom/guest bedroom in our vacation home that needs some updating and TLC. I stumbled on Modsy.com on Instagram and decided to give it a try.

Modsy asks for basic room measurements. The program also requires you to upload photos of your project room from different vantage points. The photos don’t have to be anything fancy or clutter-free. I used my cellphone and noted pieces I wanted to maintain (my brown faux-suede sleep sofa made the cut). I wanted to have a space to relax, read, watch TV and desk space for writing. I also wanted a small seating/play area for young guests.

Here are my before shots.

For $99 (which I can use as a credit towards furniture purchases) – Modsy sent me two designs and a 3D image. I made multiple revisions and had to correspond with my designer via email a few times. But this was the end result. I was blown away. (Click on the images to enlarge.)

I’ve already purchased a few pieces. One word of advice, if you can check out an item in the store – do it. I was surprised at the size of some of the items, even though they are supposed to be drawn to scale.

Overall, I was happy with service and would use it again. I’ll post photos of the loft once it’s all done. If you use this link you’ll get 20% off a Modsy design package (and I will too!)

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Is HGTV for Black People Too?

September 8th, 2019 · Random Things That Make Me Smile

I’m a HGTV addict. I binge watch Flip or Flop, Love It or List It, The Property Brothers, and Fixer Upper. This morning, I settled down on the sofa with a cup of Earl Grey tea to watch a marathon of Good Bones.

Good Bones features a mother-daughter construction team. They work in Indianapolis renovating and re-selling homes. The daughter is young and respectful, but doesn’t get steamrolled by the mother. The mother looks like someone I’d like to have a coffee with. They are white but I feel good about the female power they exude.

But this episode was a painful watch. The duo took pains to say they weren’t familiar with the neighborhood and that it was outside their usual “wheelhouse.” Red flag number one. The cameras took the viewers inside, where there are piles of clothing and garbage. My spidey senses were tingling.

Was this about a black family’s home?

Within a few minutes, my question was answered. An attractive middle-class African-American woman was explaining to the duo that they had about “given up” and had considered tearing the house down. which belonged to a woman she referred to as “grandmother.” (When she used the term, it was in conversation with her own daughter, so it wasn’t clear to me if she was referring to her own mother or grandmother.”)

What was clear was that the home had been in the family for decades. How does this happen? A home owned by a family for several generations, sold at a cut rate to speculators and developers. All while the rate of black homeownership since 1970 is at a record low.

The black woman dabbed at her eyes. She seemed thankful the house would be saved, but there was an undercurrent of sadness. Thirty minutes later, the spectacular renovations were revealed. The mother-daughter duo spent over $250,000.

The black woman was brought in for the reveal and there were more tears. “This is what grandma would have wanted,” she says to her daughter. The contractor daughter demurely suggested that perhaps the family could buy it back from her. The asking price $400,000. The mother-daughter duo want a profit margin of $118,000. The margin seemed high, as there were other episodes where the duo was happy to make $30-60,000.

I’m not calling the mother-daughter duo racist or absolving the black family of any responsibility. I just have loads of questions. What happened here? Did someone die without a will/estate plan? How many heirs were involved? Why did they not pay the taxes and provide basic maintenance on the home? Did they seek out financial assistance or bank loans to update the home?

I know from my own family history, black homeownership has been plagued by redlining and it’s evil second cousin – predatory lending. In NYC, hundreds of homes, owned by black and brown families are being taken for unpaid water and sewer bills.

So I have a proposal for HGTV. Why not create a show that spotlights black homeownership, one of the major sources of the black wealth, in the United States? You provide the cameras and the television expertise and I’ll pull together a team of black bankers, attorneys, realtors, interior designers, contractors, landscapers and community development activists for a new TV show that celebrates the grit and endurance of the black homeowner.

But if HGTV is for black people too, let’s not sanitize the economic downfall of black homeownership, for public consumption.

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