Monday, February 13, 2017

St. Louis Hidden Gem: The London Tea Room

The start of a perfect Sunday in St. Louis?

High tea at the London Tea Room in Tower Grove South with a group of friends!  The space is warm and charming, the table and setting is pretty-as-a-picture, and the treats and tea are delectable!  Seeking a special surprise for your honey?  This is it if they are a tea lover!

Afternoon tea is $29.50 plus tax and gratuity.  Each person receives:

One (1) Pot of tea, chosen by you from our fine selection
One (1) Cucumber sandwich with cream cheese, dill, and chives on white bread
One (1) Smoked salmon sandwich with lemon butter on honey wheat bread
One (1) Mini croissant filled with our delicious Chicken Waldorf Salad
One (1) English scone, with Devonshire clotted cream and strawberry jam
Delicate pastries, selection varies seasonally

All served on fine china.

Note: Large groups like ours required a reservation. A 20% service fee is charged to parties of 8 or more.


The London Tea Room
#3128 Morganford
St. Louis, MO 63116
Just south of Tower Grove Park

Open 9-5 every day of the week


See my other "Hidden Gems" HERE.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Test Popcorn Ceilings For Asbestos Before Removing Them

I have never worked with a client who seeks popcorn ceilings in a property.  This spray-on texture, used commonly in American architecture between the 1950's and 1980's, is not only a pain to paint but tends to be viewed as dated in the eyes of most Buyers.  

That being said, as I peruse Pinterest to discover numerous DIY removal tutorial images like this...
... I shudder.  

I mean, SHUDDER.

While much of what I do here on CDN in the City is fun, this is a subject that I take seriously and am passionate about. Hence, this post.  If you have popcorn ceilings and are considering removal, I urge you to PLEASE put down the scraper, finish reading this post, and do a little research before you continue on with your project possibly putting your health (and your family's health) in jeopardy. 

WARNING: turn back now unless you are prepared for me to get real.

I rarely get deeply personal here on my blog, but I lost my father in 2010 (his obituary) to a devastating terminal pulmonary disease at the young age of 69.

It was a drawn-out death that I would not wish upon anyone, let alone someone who I deeply love.  His pulmonary disease, and a handful like them, are directly correlated to exposure and breathing fibrous materials like asbestos.  Asbestos was widely used in everything from siding to flooring as honestly, it was an incredibly durable material. It was also used in textured coatings, popcorn ceilings included.

When fibers of asbestos become airborne and are breathed into the human lung... they stick there and stay like a splinter.  The body's natural healing response is to inflame and build scar tissue around the shards and as that process continues... the person loses their ability to breathe and absorb oxygen as the lungs become thick and stiff with scar tissue.  

That is what happened to my father and happens to MILLIONS of other Americans each year, hence why asbestos is no longer legal. That beings said, it remains in millions of homes around the US- in floor tile, wrapped around pipes, on ceilings, and on siding.  When possible, most abatement companies just wrap and encapsulate the material.  As long as it isn't airborne in loose fiber form, it isn't dangerous. If a homeowner decides to REMOVE asbestos, however, it is a somewhat tedious process to ensure safety and follow EPA guidelines.

I have said before on the blog that my while my father was a local high school teacher... he and my grandfather were real estate investors, as well.  His initial exposure, however, likely occurred at a very young age, even long before he began high school.  The reality is that he grew up in a working class home where from the time he was in diapers, he spent time in my grandfather's workshop.  He learned how to weld, upholster, and do other various blue collar skills by the time he was a young man.  Yes, all without a mask.

In fact, as part of his physical to wrestle at Purdue, he had to get a lung x-ray where doctors noted that they saw scarring in his lungs at the age of 18.  It takes years for scarring to become troublesome or symptomatic.  My point?  The air that your children breathe is paramount.

The fact is, in the 50's these conditions were not known and my father had ZERO breathing difficulties his entire life.  This is not uncommon.  Real symptoms for pulmonary diseases like Pulmonary Fibrosis don't onset for several decades and 50% of all people die within 3 years of diagnosis.  My father was diagnosed at the age of 67 when he developed a persistent cough and then it went quickly.  

He passed away within 1.5 years of diagnosis.

In fact he, my paternal grandfather, AND my paternal grandmother all passed away from terminal pulmonary diseases.   It makes you think.

I realize that this post is a MAJOR downer, but I write it for a reason.  The end result of sitting by my father's side until the very end is that I am extremely cognizant of what Steve and I breathe, and what our children breathe in our family home. Sadly, most contractors are unaware or ignore certain material risk, so it is YOUR responsibility as a Homeowner to do your due-diligence in protecting the air quality of your own home.

While the use of asbestos in ceiling material was banned with the passing of the Clean Air Act of 1978, the existing inventory was used in construction projects well into the mid 80's.  As long as the material is undisturbed, you are perfectly safe!  However, this post is for your DIY-ers, myself included, contemplating removal of suspect asbestos popcorn material.  Protect your own health and the health of your family, before accidentally introducing something into your home that may cause them harm.

Our home has popcorn material that lines our basement stairs.  I have been hesitant to disturb it until recently when we gave our basement a facelift. The good news? Keeping your family safe is EASY, friends.  It only requires ONE EXTRA STEP and $35.

I ordered THIS asbestos testing kit from Schneider Laboratories Global. Within a couple of days, the kit arrived including all of the tools needed to safely remove sample material. I sent it off in the pre-labeled box and within 5 days we had a report emailed to us with a full breakdown of the material...

... NO FIBROUS MATERIAL.  Hurray! This test was fast, simple, and delivered the "green light" for us to safely proceed. NOTE:  If your home tests positive for asbestos, knowledge is power.  Hire a professional to safely remedy it, by either encapsulating or abating it. Do NOT attempt this by yourself under any circumstance.  Period. 

Whether you use this kit or another, just please use SOMETHING.  I must also note: once you begin the project, please be kind to your lungs by keeping the dust to a minimum! 

My Tips:
  1. Turn off your furnace or AC during the removal to reduce air circulation in the house.  You don't want this stuff in your ductwork!
  2. If it is a multi-day project, plastic off that room and cover any air-intakes/vents so them don't circulate until the dust is cleaned up.
  3. Thoroughly wet the material prior to scraping.  It not only reduces dust but makes the popcorn WAY easier to remove.
  4. If doing this project over floor vents, COVER THEM so material doesn't drop in.
  5. Shop-vac continuously and wear a mask.  
  6. Do NOT use your family vacuum cleaner, your Dyson will thank you.
  7. Protect your kiddies and have them mask up, as well when they peek their heads in to see what the heck you are doing
  8. When all else fails, no matter what the project is, just wear a mask.
Those of you following my adventures on Instagram have seen a lot of this...

I practice what I preach, I promise.  Safety first!

Monday, February 6, 2017

The 2017 Pantone Color of the Year: Greenery

Hey Buyers and trend-watchers!  You can expect to see fun pops of fresh botanical green in homes in 2017.  
Pantone, the leading authority on trending colors, has announced "Greenery" as the color of the year.  Ironically, remember THIS POST that I did in 2015? Ha!  Who knew?!

Friday, February 3, 2017

New Client Recommendation on LinkedIn

Thank you, THANK YOU for the new client recommendation on my LinkedIn profile this week, Sam.  It totally made my week.  I stand by the fact that no one can vouch for a Realtor's work ethic, integrity, and abilities like their former clients. I appreciate you taking the time to share your testimonial, my friend! 

Read my other client testimonials HERE. Connect with me on LinkedIn HERE.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Hidden Gem: Gateway Online Auctions and Overstock Outlet

Just a quick hop west of the Missouri River, near the Family Arena and Historic Downtown St. Charles...

... sits a retail hidden gem that most locals know nothing about.  In fact, I almost hate to share this one as it means less great deals for me. 😉 Ha!  

An industry friend who is a professional stager told me about Gateway and I was astounded when I visited! I found a 10k+ sq ft warehouse filled to the BRIM with overstock from Wayfair, Amazon, and local big box stores. All items are 50% off the manufacturer price.  In fact, most items at Gateway are currently for sale on these sites for DOUBLE the price.  The owner, who is super friendly and helpful, told me that he receives several truckloads, 2-4 per week. The contents vary from truck to truck. 

A visit to Gateway Online Auctions is the ultimate trendy home item scavenger hunt.  Each visit, you never know what you will find!  If you just bought a new home or seek a little home decor spruce, Gateway is a must-visit. 

Happy shopping!


1) In my opinion, the name is somewhat deceptive as while they do run some online auctions for smaller items, this is in fact a retail location. Everything is marked with a price and you carry it out that day.

2) Ask to utilize the new computer data base to browse/search their inventory!  I walked around first and then searched the database second.  Super helpful, particularly when shopping for a specific item like I was.


1735 S. River Rd.
St. Charles, MO 63304
Open Monday- Saturday from 9am-5pm


See my other St. Louis Hidden Gems HERE.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Architectural Goodie: Unique stained glass in University City

I have seen a lot of century old stained glass windows in St. Louis over the years...
...but never ever one depicting bleeding hearts?! 💕 So pretty, understated, delicate, and unique!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

A special day, personally and professionally.

As I wish my youngest a happy 15th birthday today...

... I also celebrate 15 amazing years in St. Louis residential real estate with Coldwell Banker Gundaker.  This little bundle caused us to outgrow our own home and I decided to "give real estate a try", or at least move us. One of the best decisions that I ever made... ❤

Sunday, January 8, 2017

In St. Louis and dream of a new home in 2017?

Stop dreaming, take action, and make it happen, St. Louis!  If contemplating a move in 2017, the time to prepare is now as Spring is just around the corner. I am currently meeting with Buyers and Sellers to create a "plan of attack" for the swift Spring selling market in St. Louis.

2016 was a terrific market for both Buyers and Sellers in St. Louis.  Experts project an even stronger market for 2017 as value continues to steadily increase, the job market remains healthy, and interest rates remain historically low. 

I have over 15 years experience of selling residential real estate in St. Louis and wear my past clients' testimonials like a badge of honor.  Let's connect and make your dreams a reality. To get the process started, call me at 314.298.5275 or email me at

Learn more about me HERE.  Read about my professional accomplishments and see what my clients have to say about me HERE.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Just For Fun: Winter Date Night in Forest Park

I dare to say that there is nothing more magical...

... than an evening at Steinberg under the stars.  Bonfire, hot cocoa, and a Forest Park icy adventure makes for the perfect date night with my hubby!  If you have never visited Steinberg, I beg you to do so.  It is a charming and magical winter oasis under the shadow and big city lights of the Central West End.

The 2016/17 Skating season runs November 12 - Feb 23rd

Sunday-Thursday 10am-9pm
Friday-Saturday 10am-Midnight
Extended Holiday hours—10am-Midnight (Nov 23-26, Dec 16 through Jan 7)

All ages skate admission is $7.
$6 for skate rental. You may bring your own skates.

400 Jefferson Drive 
St. Louis, MO 63110 
In the SE corner of Forest Park near the Planetarium

(314) 367-Rink or (314) 361-0613


Wednesday, January 4, 2017

To Stainless or not to stainless... that is the question!

Stainless steel appliances have been the "belle of the ball" for some time now, as they have become the hallmark of a desirable and updated kitchen.  However, I have been privy to client concerns and complaints for years, typically for two reasons:

1) Fingerprints: 
"Kids do NOT touch the refrigerator today as the house is being shown!"

Note- I have heard more home remedies on reducing smudge than I care to count from baby oil to coconut oil.

2) Dents: 
"Carrie- should we buy a magnetic wipe board or something to camouflage it for listing?"

In fact, this post is brought to you by...

...the big fat dent made by the delivery men upon installing our brand new 24 inch special order counter-depth wet bar refrigerator. 

No, no, no! *sigh* 

Universe- I will take your 2 months of waiting for this fridge only to have it dented upon installation and spin it as a gift. A happy accident. Had this dent not been made by the poor delivery man, it would have likely been made by a member of my family with zero recourse. We sadly learned a lesson at his expense, I suppose.

While most Buyers love themselves some stainless steel and I don't see it being out of vogue for a very long time, there has been a distinct shift in what I have begun to see in homes around St. Louis and trending in design publications.  As Homeowners begin to seek contemporary appliances that are lower maintenance, designers and large appliance houses have responded in a big way. 

If you enjoy the aesthetic of stainless steel and seek a low-smudge alternative...
Black or slate-toned stainless steel is trending and is hot, hot, hot!  Not long after its introduction, this finish has quickly taken over Pinterest and big box stores due to its popularity.

In addition, traditional white and black appliances are making a huge comeback as they have a new sexy swagger with clean lines, smooth surfaces, and high-end options.

Those aren't your parents' appliances.  Clean, stylish, and gorgeous, aren't they?

Per the Nenonens, we have changed courses for our unique space that requires a very thin (24") yet tall (70") special order fridge.  While I was initially drawn to the sleek and modern appearance of the steel fridge for our wetbar makeover with new granite and carrara marble...

I have opted to reorder the white version instead.  Yes, the somewhat painfully practical decision, but likely the right one for us.  With no less than a dozen teenagers in my basement every weekend, we have tried to create a space that is stylish and pretty, but yes... practical and durable, as well.