All posts by cathymenard

About cathymenard

My knowledge in architectural drafting and construction, a master degree in graphic design, and a successful career in catalog advertising, have provided me with the tools needed to help homeowners redesign/decorate their homes to sell, or to stay.

Paint Savings Offer from Groovy Chick…



Spring has finally arrived and many of us are looking to refresh the inside of our homes.

Now, the question is:

  • Are you afraid of colour?
  • Do you have trouble selecting paint colours?
  • Do you get overwhelmed with the many colour choices out there?
  • Have you ever purchased paint and found that the colour just didn’t look right in your home?
  • Are you too busy to choose the paint colours and décor yourself?

If you answered ‘yes’ to any one of those questions then, Catherine Menard, a Certified Colour Consultant will help you with your dilemma.

There is a science to selecting a paint colour.  It will come down to perhaps 4 colour swatches, which will make choosing the right one much easier.

When you book a colour consultation with Groovy Chick Redesign and Home Staging, you will save on your total paint purchase at one of our preferred vendors.  This will more than cover the cost of our consultation.  It’s a win-win situation!

If you live in Durham Region, Toronto or the GTA, please…
Call us at:  905-683-9136 or
Email us at:

We would love to hear from you and help you decorate your home or business!


A Fairy Tale Story…

Pink Lit Up CastleWe all know the story of Cinderella, but have you ever considered the similarity of this fairy tale to the process of selling a house? No? Well then, let’s begin…

Prince holding glass slipperHere is Prince Charming or the home buyer. He was in search of a bride and decided to throw a ‘ball’ to meet all of the eligible maidens in the land.

These eligible ‘maidens’ would be our homes for sale on the market.




Cinderella bucket floorThis is Cinderella in her everyday attire. She wished that she could go to the ball like her two step-sisters, but couldn’t as she didn’t have anything nice to wear.

Consider the ‘Ball’ as the real estate market.





At the ball, Prince Charming met maiden after maiden and was not attracted to any one of them. He was looking for the WOW-factor (as is any home buyer). The prince was becoming disinterested… when suddenly, at the top of the staircase, he spotted this beautiful young lady…

With the help of her Fairy Godmother (home stager) Cinderella was transformed into a stunning beauty. All eyes were upon her!

Other maidens, who had dressed themselves in their very best, paled in comparison to Cinderella (the staged home). The maidens and Cinderella’s two step-sisters were jealous after realizing that the prince (the buyer) was no longer looking at them (homes on the market).


Unfortunately, Cinderella had to leave the ball early, before the ‘staging’ spell wore off and she returned to wearing her old rags. She would be mortified to have the prince see her in them (…see where I’m going with this?). When the prince found a glass slipper on the staircase, he went out in search of the girl who had left the shoe behind. He made his way from house to house trying the shoe on maidens’ feet. None could fit the tiny shoe. This is like the home buyer looking at listing after listing, searching for their perfect home. When he finally arrived at Cinderella’s cottage, her two step-sisters tried and tried to squeeze into the shoe with no success.

While there, Prince Charming hadn’t even noticed Cinderella in her everyday clothes (the condition of a house before it goes to market and should never be listed as is). When Cinderella asked if she could try on the glass slipper, he didn’t recognize her until…

Cinderella Prince the shoe fits

…the shoe fit and Cinderella was transformed back into the gorgeous young lady at the ball. The prince, typically, was aroused, or emotionally attached to the beauty at the ball (real estate market). And the story ends with Cinderella and Prince Charming getting married and living happily ever after.

This my friends is exactly what happens when listing a home for sale. Buyers will search online and look for attractive houses based on the photos of listings. If they don’t feel emotionally connected to or intrigued by a home’s pictures, they will ignore it and move on to the next one, then the next one, and so on. Please, don’t let this happen to you!

Let Groovy Chick Redesign and Home Staging be YOUR Fairy Godmother!


I love this analogy for home staging and I hope that you do too. Please leave a comment.

I Know the Guy!

line-drawing-handshakeWe’ve all received those flyers in the mail or on our doorstep, with offers from various people claiming to be the best at what they do… but we don’t know who they are. We don’t know if they are reputable or not. We ask around, preferring to hire someone that someone we know knows, or has hired with good results. It’s so important to know, like and trust someone we give our business to, but most of us don’t know that many people.

I belong to an organization called BNI that meets every Friday morning, a group that networks together and gives referral business to each other. I know people from different chapters and other organizations as well. These are people whom I’ve gotten to know, to like, and to trust myself. Let me try and help you…

  1. Are you in need of a knowledgable home inspector? I know the guy!
  2. Are you looking to buy hardwood flooring or office furniture? I know the guy!
  3. Would you like to promote your business with give away items? I know the guy!
  4. Are you looking for savings on carpets and installation? I know the guy!
  5. Do you need a good home and auto insurance agent? I know the guy!
  6. Are you looking to hire a good handyman? I know the guy!
  7. Do you have a website that needs updating or maintaining? Perhaps you want one designed for you? I know the guy!
  8. Are you looking for an experienced real estate agent? I know the guy!
  9. Do you need an accountant for your business or personal taxes? I know the guy!
  10. Do you suffer from back pain or another pain? Have you considered chiropractic care? I know the guy!
  11. Are you in need of a compassionate and experienced family lawyer? I know the guy!
  12. Are you looking to update your window coverings? I know the guy!
  13. Are you looking for a reputable health and disability insurance agent? I know the guy!
  14. Have you suffered an injury or been wrongfully dismissed? I know the lawyer!
  15. Are you looking for a printer with a quick turn around time? I know the guy!
  16. Have you ever considered using a mortgage agent instead of paying those high bank rates? I know the guy!
  17. Is your roof in need of repair or replacement? I know the guy!
  18. Does your car require servicing or new tires? I know the guy!
  19. Are you looking to replace your furnace, hot water tank, or air conditioner? I know the guy!
  20. Have you been looking for a knowledgable financial planner? I know the guy!
  21. Are you in need of snow removal, landscaping, a new deck or walkway? I know the guy!
  22. Does your family need an optometrist for their vision care? I know the guy!
  23. Has your property suffered damage from water, mould, smoke or fire? I know the clean-up guy!
  24. Are you looking for a good house painter? I know the guy!
  25. Are you moving? Do you want to hire a reputable company? I know the guys!
  26. Do you have trouble choosing paint colours or décor for your home? Are you looking to sell in the near future and need a fresh pair of eyes to guide you in making your home stand out from the rest? I AM that guy!

I know all of these folks and a whole lot more! They are people that I myself have given work to and been very happy with the results.

So, the next time you need ‘a guy’ for this or that, ask me and I will direct you to that guy! If you would like to be one of my ‘guys’, let me know and I will arrange for you to join us for breakfast on Visitors Day.

Thank you,

Catherine Menard
Groovy Chick Redesign and Home Staging

Numbers and Statistics


 Here are some interesting home staging statistics that most people do not know…

8   The number of seconds that it takes to make a first impression (good or bad)

Attracting buyers with great online photos and marketing is so important as you only get one chance to make a good first impression! We live in fast times. We want everything now. We expect perfection. If we don’t like what we see, we move on to the next. Perfect magazine-type photos entice buyers to visit a home. Those that aren’t, won’t.

21   The number of days on the market that you want to avoid

The house that is on the Toronto area market for three weeks or more will be deemed as having something wrong with it. Newer listings will take precedence over the older ones, pushing them down in the rankings. A listed home should be memorable, attractive, and entice online shoppers to look no further!

1/2   The percentage of asking price that you should expect to spend on staging a vacant home

Prices vary as every house is different, but the average cost to stage a home should run between 1/2% for a basic job to 1% for the WOW-factor. Occupied homes will obviously cost you less.

5   The minimal number of rooms recommended for staging a vacant home

Vacant rooms don’t sell houses while well decorated and furnished rooms do. This is why builders have model homes for buyers to walk through. Given a choice, the ones with only floor plans will not sell vs. those with actual furnished models. Why? Because nine out of ten buyers cannot visualize how their furniture will fit in an empty space, let alone on a floor plan. This is where home staging comes in, by showing them how best to layout furniture and by wowing them with the décor. The more staged rooms that a home has, the better the buyers can picture themselves living in it.

90   The percentage of less time on the market that a staged home spends, compared to a home that is not staged

Homes that are perfectly styled to sell will set the standard for the local market. All other homes will be judged accordingly. Offers will be reflected based on where a home stands in the buyer’s mind.

2   The average number of hours that Groovy Chick Redesign and Home Staging will spend with you during a consultation

We will start at the curb, work our way through the house, room by room, and into the back yard, all the while making recommendations on what attracts today’s home buyer. By following all of these recommendations, sellers should see their property sell quickly and for much more money. Partial follow-throughs won’t be nearly as lucrative as complete ones.

100   The percentage of satisfied Groovy Chick Redesign and Home Staging customers

Homeowners often wonder why they hadn’t done it sooner after seeing the end result. You don’t have to wait to sell, in order to fall in love with your home once again. Call us. We would be happy to help you redecorate, or redesign your space. Your family and friends will be impressed.

To get a better understanding of the statistics for staging first and selling fast, please visit our website:


3 Senses that will Affect the Sale of Your Home

We are emotional creatures and make purchases based on emotion.  Buying a home is no different.  We are ruled by our senses and the 3 senses that can make or break a deal are:

  1. Sight.  We like pretty things.  We like to imagine ourselves living in a home that is current, trendy, clean, and move in ready!  We don’t like to see clutter, personal ‘stuff’, too many colours, a mish-mash of furniture, patterns, etc.  It must ‘look’ inviting and not offend our sense of sight.multiple outdoor wires
  2. Smell.  We like pleasant smells.  They take us back to a special time, place, memory. Smell brings up those old emotions.  Anything foreign or unpleasant smelling will offend our sense of smell.
    ashtray full of cigarettes
  3. Sound.   We like calm when we come home from a hard day’s work.  We like to read a good book, listen to music, meditate, play with the kids, enjoy our space.  That is all taken away from us when we hear loud noises, sudden sounds, constant droning.  It offends our sense of hearing.
    overhead shot of plane
    These 3 senses rule our emotions.  If a buyer’s senses feel in any way ‘offended’, they will not make an offer on a home.  However, not all homes are ideally situated on a cul-de-sac or back onto a greenbelt.  Some homes are in close proximity to highways, airports, train tracks, manufacturing plants, and the like.  These homes need some help to lessen the negatives and to show off some positive features.  A staging professional will help to attract potential buyers and make them feel welcome!  Now, you may not live near any of these unsightly places but we are creatures of habit and what we accept, or overlook as part of our home may be a big ‘miss’ to potential buyers.  We may not even realize for example, that our cooking or pet smells are a turn-off to others.  Family and friends may be too timid to tell you so.  Something may have bothered us initially about our home, but we got used to seeing it, paid less attention to it, and eventually didn’t even notice it.  We forgot that it bothered us in the first place, and that old feeling of yours will be your buyer’s own first impression. A third party will tell you the truth and help you to circumvent those problem areas.  The staging professional will know what will get those buyers in through your doors and want to buy your home.

    Let Groovy Chick Redesign and Home Staging help you!


Jigsaw puzzle on table

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always enjoyed doing puzzles.  I was probably 5 or 6 years of age when I got my very first jigsaw puzzle… The Flintstones.  It was a 100-piece puzzle that I liked to do again and again.  When I learned how to read and write, I progressed to word search puzzles, and then to crossword puzzles.  Doing jigsaw puzzles on a rainy day up at the cottage was a great way to pass the time, when there was no TV to watch or book to read.  Starting with the corner pieces, I would build the frame, then group pieces according to colour and work on mini sections at a time.  It was fun hunting for the right shape to connect these mini sections.  It felt like an accomplishment to have completed the puzzle!  Working on puzzles helped to sharpen my mind.

In later years the popular (with my co-workers) word jumble puzzle got me hooked.  Every day we had a contest at work to see who could complete it first!  Often times, it was me.  This past decade, Sudoku puzzles have been my go-to choice of puzzle.  I love to figure out which numbers go where.  I’m also hooked on online games like Jewel Mania or Bubble Mania and enjoy moving up in the different levels.  I think the attraction to puzzles stems from the way my brain is wired.

Even in my former occupation as a catalogue layout designer, I gravitated to the most difficult pages to design and I made them look good. Others would ignore or skip over those problem pages but I would scoop them up… thrilled that I was being mentally challenged!  When a 2-page spread was completed and looked like it was easy to do, I knew that I had done a good job!  It was like making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear, as the saying goes.

I’ve always been meticulous about things.  I remember, even as a toddler, that I could not stand to have dirty hands.  I didn’t like dirt, grease, or any foreign substance on my hands… it grossed me out!  In my adulthood, I’ve learned to relax somewhat and even enjoy digging in the dirt.  I was a perfectionist… no crayon ever went past the black outlines in my colouring book, and if a friend took to colouring in it and coloured outside of the lines… it drove me crazy!  To me, the book was ruined!  I’ve learned to accept people’s shortcomings.

My attention to detail has followed me throughout my life and my career… whether it was designing ads or catalogue pages, whether it is writing something, building something, or installing something… it has to be perfect!  I guess my brain is just wired that way.

Reader: Are you puzzled by your colour, decor, or furniture choices?  Do you feel paralyzed with fear in moving forward with your decorating?  Are you overwhelmed by the many choices when you walk into a paint store, a furniture shop, or decor store?  Wouldn’t you want somebody with that attention to detail to handle the job for you?  I would love to work with you, to help you design or to redesign your space, and to WOW you!   I’m always up for a challenge and would love to work on the puzzle that you call ‘home’!  Groovy Chick Redesign and Home Staging could be your answer.

Do you have a favourite type of puzzle?  If so, what is it?  Could we be of the same mindset?


P.S.  Any Pop-up Ads that appear on this page are NOT endorsed by Groovy Chick Redesign and Home Staging

Top 5 Staging Tips

5 Female Figures - graphic

Here are 5 things you may or may not know about the benefits of home staging:

1.  You will make a lot more money
In a 2014 survey of over 3,500 professionally staged homes, over half sold for 10% more than their unstaged neighbors’ homes.

2.  The cost of staging won’t cost you a dime
When sellers spend an average of 1% of the value of their homes on staging, they see (on average) a 1,000% return on investment!

3.  Your house will sell much faster
In a recent Real Estate Staging Association® (RESA) survey, professionally staged homes spent 72% less time on the market.

4.  Your online photos will stand out…
According to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR), over 95% of home buyers search online first. By looking at those photos and pre-judging the home, they will decide whether or not to call the agent or to visit the home. If buyers are not impressed with the photos, they will move on to the next listing.

5.  Not staging will only help to sell your competition before you do…
Competition can be stiff and today’s buyers have very high expectations. Successful agents know that the key to competing is professional home staging. Why? Because staging prior to photography will create a great online presence, which will drive traffic to the home and bring in much higher offers.

Can you think of any other reasons to stage first?

cartoon man missed the boat

Missed the Boat? Now What?

The spring market was crazy HOT in Toronto and the GTA.  Believe it or not, houses in this area sold for ($100,000 – $400,000+) way, way OVER asking!  The real estate market was nuts!!  The average house in Toronto was valued at over a million dollars and we in the suburbs experienced a ripple effect.

Houses sold unconditionally… without inspection, without staging… cars parked down the streets, people lined up outside of homes… C R A Z Y !!  It reminded me of the mid-1980s when house-flippers drove prices into the stratosphere.

First time home buyers were constantly out-bid on properties… and if they were lucky enough to buy one,  I’m hearing now that many are walking away from those properties because:
1. they can’t afford to bring them up to code (per after-purchase home inspection)
2. having been pre-approved for a mortgage, they got into a bidding war and no longer qualify for a mortgage based on the current market value
3. due to becoming cash poor, they’re unable to turn it into their ‘dream’ home

These buyers would sooner walk away from a $100,000 downpayment and pay a fine than to be stuck with a money pit.  This has caused problems for the sellers who purchased another home.  I see potential lawsuits.  I’ve also seen properties with ‘For Lease’ or ‘For Rent’ signs as a result of buyers walking away.  What a nightmare!

On April 21st, a law was passed to deter foriegn investers from speculating and driving house prices up in Ontario (specifically Toronto and the GTA).  Now, the market is settling down, prices are closer to where they should be and yet, sellers still think that they can ride the gravy train… by not investing in home staging.  The pendulum is swinging the other way folks!  Where you once got away with selling your properties ‘as is’ and received well over asking for them, you may now be getting ‘low-ball’ offers.  Remember… buyers expect to be WOW-ed and if your home’s current condition doesn’t do that, it will be reflected in their offer!

A simple consultation may be all you need to get your home ready for the market.
Let Groovy Chick Redesign and Home Staging help you get there and to set sail!

Consultation to Redesign to Project Managing

A homeowner called on me to do a color consultation.  She was tired of living in a drab looking environment for the last 7 years.  I went, and selected new paint colors for the whole house.  She planned to have some rooms painted ‘now and the rest later’.

A couple of weeks had passed and the homeowner called me again.  This time she said that she had put in an offer on a condo and would be selling the house.  What?!  She needed a painter and handyman pronto to do the work required before staging and listing the home.  I found a painter and then consulted with the client on what needed doing in order to sell her home quickly.  After a major purge and de-cluttering, I sent the painter to paint the rest of her house.  Then I brought in my handyman to fix the many things that needed to be addressed.  Any flaws detected by would-be home buyers would result in lower offers!

Time was of the essence now.  The holidays were fast approaching and the growing list of work to be done wasn’t yet complete… let alone the staging.  My client went on vacation to be with her family and left me in charge.  The handy work was finally finished, the cleaners came in, and I was ready to stage the occupied home.

I then went to shop for the staging decor as well as for my client.  She would hopefully take it with her to the new place.  As I completed each room, I sent her photos of my work.  She loved it all!

The open house took place on the weekend.  Upon her return, there were multiple offers.  It sold that same day for well over asking!  My client was thrilled as she got exactly what she wanted PLUS she was equipped with paint colors and decor to take with her to the new condo!

The client absolutely loves her new place.  It’s fresh, clean and offers a sense of serenity… it’s what she really needed.

Are you in a similar situation?  Are you stressing over decorating?  Well don’t… just call Groovy Chick Redesign and Home Staging.  I would love to help!

Where do I go from here?

IMG_9451… continued from Feb. 2

“Wow, I’m free! No more commuting, traffic, or weather to worry about.  But wait… what do I do now?  Gosh, I haven’t written a resume since before desktop computers even existed.  Resumes have probably changed a lot… oh yes, they have!” – my thoughts after losing my job of 30 years.

My career in catalog advertising ended abruptly.  I was happy, working in a creative environment, and not ready for a change… but I had no control of my career, as a pawn in the corporate world, and I did not like that.  Yes, I did all the right things; I created a new (condensed into 2 pages) resume, I attended workshops, seminars, webinars, etc. on how to find the right job in today’s tough market.  All the while I wondered… do I really want to look for a job that I may lose again?  Do I want to commute across the 4th largest city in North America?  There were no advertising jobs close to home… then it hit me.

For years, people have been asking me to help them with their decorating dilemmas.  I never thought anything of it, but began to wonder… could I do this sort of thing for a living?  I considered several home staging courses and found one that I believed would work best for me.  I was already a perfectionist, creative, had awareness for color, space, and balance.  I worked on the most challenging catalog pages (the one’s that no one else wanted, or were too afraid to take on).  As the saying goes, I could make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.  What I really needed to learn was how to manage a small business.  The rest was in my DNA.

Many stagers have previously worked in non-related fields.  Designing is all I know.  I have this God-given talent.  I can visualize a space whether it is empty or chalk-full of furniture.  In fact, many stagers will ask that most furniture be removed from the house.  Why?  Because, they cannot imagine how or where to place the existing furniture.  It’s oh so much easier to work with a blank canvas than it is to work with an existing one.  Remember… I’m the one that gravitated towards those most difficult catalog pages at work… remember?  Well, redesigning someone’s space is my new challenge and I say, bring it on!