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Westchester Designer Highlights Local Vendors On 'Property Brothers'

Larchmont resident Kim Mitchell, center, with the Property Brothers Drew Scott, to her left, and Jonathan Scott on right. Photo Credit: KAM Design
Larchmont Interior Designer Kim Mitchell worked on three "Property Brothers" shows. Photo Credit: KAM Design

LARCHMONT, N.Y. -- Larchmont resident Kim Mitchell of KAM Design admits she's gotten used to being around cameras.

That's because the interior designer served as Design Lead for Season Five of "Buying + Selling With the Property Brothers." The first episodes, filmed in and around the county, aired July 20 and July 27 with the third set for Wednesday, Aug. 31 at 9 p.m.

Mitchell also served as Design Lead for Season's Six Westchester-based episodes of "Property Brothers" which follows twins Jonathan and Drew Scott through a host of home renovations. (Those shows will air in 2017.)

Best of all: her work included using businesses close to home. Among the vendors she partnered with are Larchmont-based Kenise Barnes Fine Art, Flower n., Kontrast Danish Design, Rye-based Carpet Trends, Scarsdale's Klaffs, and Marble America in New Rochelle.

And though we couldn't get her to spill the beans on exact filming locations (who wouldn't love a drive-by?), we did get her to tell us her "go to" tips and some of her biggest design challenges.

Daily Voice: How did you get involved with the show?

Kim Mitchell: When the "Property Brothers" show decided to come to New York, they set out to recruit a local design expert. I believe they initially found me through the American Society of Interiors Designers. I went through several rounds of phone and in-persons interviews with the team. I was thrilled after the long interview process to accept a Design Lead Position.

DV: What were some of your biggest challenges with the homes?

KM: In many cases the houses had odd, cramped, or non-functioning layouts. This is a huge challenge in many homes in Westchester. Opening up the floor plan and creating clearer sight lines is a key strategy of the show and allows potential buyers to see the potential of the space.

Adding kitchen islands help to visually divide but still provide openness between the hard-working kitchen area and the dining and living spaces. Also purging the spaces of homeowners' existing furnishings and clutter is key.

Creating a cohesive design for an inviting look and feel that potential buyers can see themselves enjoying is important, whether timeless, fun and colorful or contemporary. To update a master bedroom, wallpaper was placed on a single feature wall behind the headboard which quickly and inexpensively updated the space, making it more sophisticated.

In terms of wall colors, neutrals are the the way to go when selling, but there was a toy room that was converted to an office where I proposed a deep navy blue. There were many windows on two of the walls trimmed with white casing so I knew the room would look stunning with white furnishings.

The producers were nervous about it but Jonathan agreed it was great to try something different. A small room can handle a rich, deep color as it gives an otherwise uninteresting space dimension and gravitas.

DV:.Do you have any "go to" tips for people who want to get their homes ready to sell?

KM: Right now in Mamaroneck/Larchmont, we are in a sellers market. But still you want to get all you can from the sale and you should still take the time to get it ready to sell.Some ideas:

  • Clean, declutter and remove personal items . Less is more.
  • Neutral wall colors (in most cases).
  • If you're not professionally staging, keep furniture layouts simple . For example a living room can have an area rug, sofa, chairs and coffee table and that's it. You want a potential buyer to imagine sitting in the living room, but not get distracted by a specific style of furniture or fabric they do not like or your aunt's hand-me-downs.
  • Don't forget curb appeal. The exterior color of a home (keep it neutral and classic) and a new or freshly painted front door with beautiful entry hardware make a big first impression. It sets the tone for the rest of the home.
  • In key living spaces it's an asset to have a timeless feature that potential buyers remember . While a bit of an investment, you can transform a tired and outdated space by updating a fireplace mantel and also facade with a neutral colored stone or less expensive option of a 12 x 24 porcelain tile. This focal point will go a long way in making a big impact.
  • A space is not complete without flowers and even a large potted (and healthy!) floor plant or two. I arrange a lot of my own flowers, but if you don't have a green thumb, call your local florist. I love Noriko's personal touch at Flower.n in Larchmont for arrangements that I know need that special something.

DV: What are you looking forward to in Season Six?

KM: Last year I had the opportunity to work with the "Buying & Selling with The Property Brothers" Season Five team for three episodes. This year, I was fortunate to be invited to work as a Design Lead with their other show, "The Property Brothers" Season Six. We just finished filming the reveal this month.

It was exciting to work on "The Property Brothers" program as the premise of the show is different from "Buying & Selling." The homeowners are not selling their home, but rather creating their dream home. There is a lot of personal investment in this process and it's rewarding to see the smiles when homeowners enter what they now truly call their "dream home."

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