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How to enhance the value of a house with art

Chris and Beverly With have packed their District of Columbia condominium with framed items. “No space goes untouched,” Beverly With says. [BILL O’LEARY photos/WASHINGTON POST]
Chris and Beverly With have packed their District of Columbia condominium with framed items. “No space goes untouched,” Beverly With says. [BILL O’LEARY photos/WASHINGTON POST]

Everyone has an opinion about what clinched the deal.

For Christine Neptune, a collector and co-owner of Gallery Neptune & Brown, “it was the art that sold the apartment. Other than that my tiny New York studio was a small white box. The interior came alive because of the art.”

“Art creates the impression of a more valuable home. If you think about a beautifully designed home with strong architecture, you can appreciate it for what it is, but without art it’s not finished. It’s missing an important component. Art rounds out the impression of living there,” said Theo Adamstein, a sales associate with TTR Sotheby’s International Realty.

Art can enhance the value of the house, but a real estate agent can’t pinpoint a number or percentage.

“It doesn’t work like that,” Adamstein said. “You can’t say by how much because that implies there’s a formula and if you spend a certain amount, then the house goes up a certain amount. Art embellishes a home, it adds to a home’s character, it adds color and rhythm and makes it more interesting than it may otherwise be, and that absolutely adds value.”

Chris and Beverly With live in a two-floor District of Columbia condominium packed with works on paper. Hundreds of framed pictures plus sculptures cover every square inch of wall space.

“No space goes untouched. The guest bathroom is our photography gallery,” Beverly With said. A print hangs on the small area below the wall cutout between the kitchen and dining room inches above the dining room floor. The walls lining two staircases, one from the entry door to the main living area and a second from the living room up to the bedrooms, are covered chock-a-block.

“We don’t want empty space so there’s no place we don’t put art. If you want to find a spot, you will. In the kitchen or bathroom or wherever. Nature abhors a vacuum,” Chris With said.

Paula Amt, owner of Framesmith DC and a collector, lives in a 400-square-foot space. “My art is hung floor to ceiling. I minimize the space between works to fit in another piece because I want to see what I can see,” she said. “It doesn’t matter if your home is large or small, if you rent or own. Don’t stop collecting because you think you don’t have any more room. Just make the spaces between the pieces smaller.”

‘Buy what you love’

Robert Brown, the other co-owner of Gallery Neptune & Brown and a collector, recommends collecting for joy, not investment. “Buy pieces you can’t live without. Something that gives you pleasure and a thrill every time you look at it,” he said.

You and your partner’s tastes may differ, but that shouldn’t create tension, he said. Instead celebrate and broaden your assemblage with works that appeal to both of you. “Buying art isn’t a competition,” he added.

“When you start buying, accept that your taste will evolve and you may not like a piece in 10 years. When that time comes, sell or give it away,” Chris With said.

“Buy what you love. That’s the most important thing. Then the art will move around all your real estate,” Neptune said.

Go to galleries and museums across town. Ask questions and ask to see work not in view. Galleries have rooms in the back with files holding many pieces. Owners will work with your budget and show you art in a range of prices. You can buy on credit and often on installment. Sometimes you can take a piece home “on approval” to see how you like it.

“Don’t be embarrassed or shy. That’s why we’re here,” Brown said. “It’s our job to talk about art in a way that makes you feel comfortable and teaches you.”

No room should be omitted from your art display, but there’s no map to show where to hang. It’s intuitive and what looks right to your eye.

Related Photos
<strong>The District of Columbia dining room of Chris and Beverly With, who have filled their home with original art over a lifetime of collecting. </strong>

The District of Columbia dining room of Chris and Beverly With, who have filled their home with original art over a lifetime of collecting.

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-947dcf2a9cb6847585744cfa0d4017bc.jpg" alt="Photo - The District of Columbia dining room of Chris and Beverly With, who have filled their home with original art over a lifetime of collecting. " title=" The District of Columbia dining room of Chris and Beverly With, who have filled their home with original art over a lifetime of collecting. "><figcaption> The District of Columbia dining room of Chris and Beverly With, who have filled their home with original art over a lifetime of collecting. </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-acab5eacb36c47cc7af10534ff54b2dc.jpg" alt="Photo - Chris and Beverly With's bedroom art in the District of Columbia. [BILL O'LEARY/WASHINGTON POST] " title=" Chris and Beverly With's bedroom art in the District of Columbia. [BILL O'LEARY/WASHINGTON POST] "><figcaption> Chris and Beverly With's bedroom art in the District of Columbia. [BILL O'LEARY/WASHINGTON POST] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-a2997dbe385352815d4311c2191cbea3.jpg" alt="Photo - Chris and Beverly With have packed their District of Columbia condominium with framed items. “No space goes untouched,” Beverly With says. [BILL O’LEARY photos/WASHINGTON POST] " title=" Chris and Beverly With have packed their District of Columbia condominium with framed items. “No space goes untouched,” Beverly With says. [BILL O’LEARY photos/WASHINGTON POST] "><figcaption> Chris and Beverly With have packed their District of Columbia condominium with framed items. “No space goes untouched,” Beverly With says. [BILL O’LEARY photos/WASHINGTON POST] </figcaption></figure>
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