Outdoor Decorating for the Holidays

My husband is known as a Clark Griswold in our neighborhood during this time of year. He LOVES outdoor decorating with the flashing candy canes, wrapped trees and bushes, deer family, santa with gifts and a huge snowman in the middle of the yard. One year we even had a Candy Cane Forest with Buddy the Elf in the middle of it. He says it’s “for the kids” and they do love it, but let’s be real…it’s just as magical for him.

Recently, my son’s friend was dropped off at our house and he complimented the outdoor display. He said his mom was feeling really good about hanging the wreath on the door that morning at their house…but now she was feeling super inadequate. We all had a good laugh!

This article has some good ideas. Checkout #8 – this blew my mind! Also, in #2, there’s a reference made to NOT turning your front yard into Disneyland, but I say go for it. Afterall, it’s for the kids!

 

Best Finishes for your Kitchen

This article is a gold mine of information! Everything you’ve always wanted to know about the best finishes for your kitchen. All here, in this one place!

Not only are you told what finishes are best, but you’re told why and then given a second runner-up option as well. I love that window coverings are addressed which helps explain why I never recommend soft or fabric-based treatments in a kitchen. There’s even a link for “how to clean stainless steel” since that’s often the #1 complaint for those beautiful appliances.

Check out this article by @SamFerris….he’s done all the research for you!

 

Let’s Clean Up the Laundry Room

The laundry room in my last house almost caused a divorce. Well…maybe that’s a little dramatic, but it was one of the top reasons we moved. Maybe if I’d read this article sooner and had more than 36 sq. feet to work with we would still live there. In my defense the laundry room was also the room between our garage and the kitchen, so you can imagine the shoes and coats and bags and sports gear and laundry all piled up to be tripped over constantly. Like I said…that was our last house!

I love good Before and After photos and this article has plenty. One thing I always suggest to clients is that they make the laundry bright and inviting. You’re going in there to take care of  a mundane task so the space should be pleasant. Make sure it’s functional and organized and there’s a place to store everything – out of site if possible.

Check out the Before picture on the 3rd example. I’ll be curious to know if you shake your head too!

 

Outstanding White Tile

Clients often get nervous when it comes to selecting tile. It’s much more permanent than paint or lighting or furniture. When the stakes feel high people often opt for the more neutral choice. They typically ask for a white tile. The good news is that there are so many fabulous white tiles out there that offer texture, dimension or pattern. That’s how I help my clients keep their designs interesting.

I love the tiles and their applications in this article! So much design inspiration here…

 

Dorm Room Contests

Wait…is this really a thing??? Had I known there was potentially prize money and bragging rights, I would have pushed my daughter to take her dorm room design to the next level!

Some of the ideas in this article are very creative and inspiring. While other ideas make no sense to me. Why would I put astro-turf on the wall next to my bed? Ouch! Some of the rooms had me wondering whether or not these people had a roommate to blend their style with.

While sharing a small room with another person is challenging, you also need to make sure there’s a place for all of your stuff. Then an even bigger challenge is having appropriate storage that keeps all functional items out of sight. This becomes essential when you have a student trying to create a calm, relaxing, zen-like space. Clutter becomes chaos pretty quickly especially in a dorm room that functions as your bedroom, living room, dining room, study room and closet all-in-one!

While there’s a lot of hoopla surrounding decked out dorm rooms, the most important factor is that your student feels comfortable. I tried to steer my daughter away from an all white comforter, but that was the crisp, clean vibe she was going for. The good news is that she knows how to use a laundry machine.

Cheers to a great school year! Go Dukes!

 

Appearing Bigger is always Better

Quite often a challenge arises when a room is much smaller than the client’s vision for the space. A client sees enough comfortable seating for visiting family and friends while a designer sees all the physical parameters including window walls, a fireplace, 2 doorways entering the room, etc.  This is where the right furniture and finishes make a huge difference in helping a room feel larger than it is.

Designers use lots of “tricks” to achieve certain goals within a space. This article gives some great suggestions to keep in mind if you’ve got a tight space you’re working with.

Along with painting ceilings Bright White, I use #5 and #10 regularly. These are some of my best kept secrets!

 

Design Rules Are Made To Be Broken

Every client, every house, every space and every situation is unique. Here’s an excellent article from Houzz regarding cabinet height in kitchens. There are a multitude of reasons why you won’t hang your upper cabinets 18″ above the countertops. We always start with the standard rule, but we often move from there due to specific uses or design elements.

 

Which Countertop Is Best For You?

This article answers all of my and my client’s questions…Finally! A must-read before any kitchen or bathroom remodel. Not to mention that all the photos are gorgeous and inspiring…Enjoy!

 

Time Is Money

I’m a firm believer in using time wisely. This is a great article for clients on being prepared for their interior design consultation meetings. For #5, I suggest clients check out my Pinterest Boards for inspiration and then create some of their own to help them find their style. The boards are extremely helpful as we design their space – a great reference tool!

 

Transformation of the Week

Now this is how you transform a bathroom!

If you have a good bathroom layout, then one of the most cost-effective tricks is to not move any of the plumbing. The new cabinetry around the toilet is a great use of space adding tons of extra storage. The large frameless walk-in shower expands the visual size of the room dramatically.

This bathroom gets an A+.