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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Less Is More

I love these posters.

The bold colors and the characters just jump out of the space and always make me happy to look at. They evoke the emotion and memories of good food, good drink, and really good times. They are playful, clean and simple and I just want to crawl right into the picture and join the fun!

I am matting and framing this "Isolabella" on a project in my client's kitchen / bar area and am excited to get it hung this week. Watch for a picture of it soon!


The artist is Leonetto Cappiello who was born in Italy and settled in France in his 20's. This was in the 1800's and his work remains timeless. Here are a few more of my favorites:



He also did portraits...I wonder if anybody was the inspiration for any of these?


Hard to believe he had no formal training, isn't it?

It turns out he also decorated some interiors of private hotels and public houses but sadly only the renderings remain, as the actual locations have been destroyed. I guess he will just live on in the homes and galleries where his work hangs today, infusing rich color and endless happiness...
including my own kitchen.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Master Sweet, er, Suite

I don't know about you, but I love staying in a nice hotel! Whether it be on the beach, in Vegas, a ski resort or in a big city, I am admittedly a hotel snob. So as I am currently staging and re-designing multiple clients' master suites, I am hoping to make their space as sweet as the suites I adore staying in. Here are a few tips for making your suite sweet:



First, start with the bed. This should be the focal point of the room and should have some "wow" factor. This can be achieved by creating a feature wall behind the bed with fabric or painting the wall an accent color. You can also find a grand headboard that draws the attention, and the easiest option is to use artwork above the bed to accentuate the space.


The second thing to focus on is dressing the bed. I suggest a solid or neutral pattern for the main bed linens (ivory is my personal favorite right now) and get the best you can afford; 300 thread count or better is a good starting point. By layering 2 - 3 different textures of blankets, duvets, and throws you will get sumptuous layers that you'll just want to crawl between! Get some down or down alternative pillows and plump them up and then place glamorous pillows in front so that you'll have something to prop you up while you read.

Speaking of reading in bed, you'll need to consider lighting. Lighting creates drama and atmosphere (oooh la la!). Ceiling lights should be on a dimmer, and the symmetry of two nightstands and lamps flanking the bed is key in hotel suites. So regardless of whether or not you have somebody occupying the other side of the bed, you should match both sides if you have the square footage to do so. If you don't want or have two lamps, then find something that will give comparable height to the opposite nightstand...and if you don't have room, you can also install wall lamps or sconces....


Your master suite should be a retreat from the rest of the world so take your time to find the color pallet that soothes you, invest in some good linens, turn the TV off and crawl into bed. Aaaah....doesn't that feel good? If only you could dial room service!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Keeping the Christmas Lights Up Is NOT Exterior Home Staging

It's January now, and the holidays are over so if you're considering putting your house on the market, you need to consider what exterior decor is appropriate. Hopefully, you have taken down the Christmas lights.


If not, please do so.
Quickly.

Instead of paying enormous electric bills to power the electric light show, go buy some winterized planters. Fiberglass, wood or concrete will weather even the coldest of weather and can be dressed up nicely with twigs, winter greenery and "baubles".


And if you're wanting some color, I'm no botanist but my pansies managed to survive this last blast of arctic air we had here in Dallas and so I do recommend them.


They are hardy little flowers and if I can keep them alive, so can you! Really. And soon, springtime will be around and you won't be as limited in your garden flower options.

In the meantime, consider some outdoor flood lights. Ahem, CLEAR and not colored and definitely not the leftover Christmas lights, okay? Point them on statues, urns, or uplight a large tree for a hint of night time drama.

Remember that these tips include your back yard as well as your front! And if you have an outdoor fireplace in the back, consider lighting it for nighttime showings.

...ooohhh...aaahhh....

Of course, that is only if the manufacturer says it's safe for wintertime use...I know, why wouldn't it be? But just double check to be on the safe side.

If you really need some help with the plant life in your front & back yards before listing your house, my friend Elizabeth at Splendid Gardens is the pro. I'm just advising you take down those Christmas lights NOW!










Sunday, January 24, 2010

Mirror, Mirror On The Wall....








So here is what I did yesterday...
have you ever tried to hanging something high in a stairwell?


Not only on a stairwell but the corner of the stairwell.

And let me tell you: a stairwell in a house built in the 30's isn't very big but today's ladders are!

Yes, we had a stair-step ladder but the base was wider than the step...oh oh. So we got some large, hardback books to even out the distance between the next step and the ladder foot and my lovely assistant (you can see her sweeping the step in the second photo) held the ladder and the books steady while I climbed onward and upward. Yikes! If we were HGTV stars, there would have been quite a few "bloopers" caught on tape!

Thankfully, the end result was definitely worth the effort. The stairwell and landing were a little dark but now the mirrors reflect the light that streams in from the opposite windows and brightens the whole space. I love these vintage looking mirrors from Crate & Barrel and hope to use them above the bed in another project I just started...stay tuned!


















Tuesday, January 19, 2010

HGTV's Dream Home







Okay, I know there has been quite a few blog entries in the past week but there is just so much material as we start 2010, I just ask that you indulge me a little for now....

For example, how could I resist this year's HGTV Dream Home? I mean, WOW! HGTV always has amazing Dream Homes but this year is especially interesting to me because it is in New Mexico. I spent most of my childhood growing up in NM and still have family there. We have always known how beautiful The Land of Enchantment is, but to now see it featured on HGTV is really rewarding. Not to mention the Sweepstakes Giveaway of the featured home...oh my, it is AMAZING.

Look at this kitchen...gorgeous!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Reset!


Did you know that January is National GET ORGANIZED Month? It's a great time to throw out the old, sort through what remains and organize what you are bringing into 2010. This counts for thoughts as well. If you think "I'm not an organized person" - change that mantra! It's not that you aren't organized, you just haven't found the system that works for YOU. There is no ONE way and even if something worked for you 5 or 10 years ago, you aren't the same person you were then so don't be so hard on yourself!

If there is a project you're wanting to tackle but are a little daunted, break it into smaller pieces. For example, if you want to organize your kitchen, but don't know where to start, don't tackle the whole thing at once, start with your pantry and work your way out from there or start with your junk drawer if the thought of your pantry is a little overwhelming. Here are some universal points on organizing ANY project, no matter how big or small the project is:
The project will look worse before it starts to look better - and you might want to warn your spouse this will be the case if they will be home and especially if they will be helping you! Create three piles, stacks, or areas depending on the size of your project and label them so you don't get them confused. These piles will be "Keep", "Trash" and "Donate".
PURGE - most excess clutter comes from things we don't need or have purchased duplicates of because we couldn't find the first (or second or third) item we purchased for the same task. And if you have the tendency to hold on to things, ask yourself if the space used in storing the item is worth the cost it would take to (and how accessible it would be) to replace it.
Once you have three distinct piles, get the Trash items thrown out and the Donate stuff boxed up (and out of temptations way to sneak an item or two back in).
You are now ready to sort your Keep items! Yay! Start by putting similar items together in piles / stacks / areas. Hopefully THIS mess is a little smaller than the one you started out with....
You may find that some of your Keep piles can be sorted as well...it gets a little addictive once you see how tidy your space will look so rock on with your bad self and sort away! You'll need a place to store what you have kept and one of my all time favorite places for storage items that are as functional as they are aesthetically pleasing is you guessed it, the Container Store


I walk in and my anxiety just dissipates, my heart rate increases with anticipation of the next gem I'll find and I walk around the store in a sort of trance until I find just the solution I didn't know I was looking for. Granted, there are a few other places that exist and I suggest considering, especially if what you're needing is not a specialized solution and can be purchased elsewhere for less:


In the end, just remember to take your time and don't spend a lot of money trying some fancy system that a salesperson swears is the best solution. Ease your way into the process and find out what works for YOU. And if you get stuck and need a little help, I happen to know somebody who can....

Monday, January 4, 2010

QUICK TIP to save money with good storage solutions!


I don't know about you, but I'll forget what decorations / gift wrap I have on hand and end up buying duplicates or so much extra that I can't use it all so I've started a decorating file on my computer and yes, it's a spreadsheet but don't worry, it doesn't take the cheer out of decorating! (Actually, it kept me MORE cheerful this year because it prevented money from flying out of my pocket unnecessarily!)

And don't worry, it's not completely too late if your items are already packed up: first number the boxes, then get a piece of paper and write what items you can identify by opening each box, and start your spreadsheet, listing each box separately. I'd also suggest leaving yourself a friendly little reminder IN the first box to take inventory next year as you unpack....

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Suite Dreams

I was first enthralled with the entertaining aspect of the home, and now I am past that and am thinking about relaxing so check out the Master Suite. LOOK at these colors - they are soothing and refreshing all at once! Inspired from the scenery outside the windows, I'm sure. I love the chandeliers flanking either side of the bed instead of the usual table lamps; I wonder if it is functional?






I haven't gotten enough of HGTV's 2010 Dream Home and have entered to win it every day...I wonder how my hubby would feel about moving to New Mexico?!

Some flagrant self promotion here: I could have staged this closet better. As huge as it is, it doesn't make me see myself or my clothing in here. Kinda blah. (I will not point that out when I win the house though...that would not be very gracious.)

Chirp Chirp!


Yesterday's mission was accomplished: the house is "un-decked" and my home is back in order. However, I couldn't resist saving these little chirps from the dark gloom of the attic until next year. I only have two (and they are little) so the hubby shouldn't object to their presence somewhere in the house (he's not a big fan of the pouf-y feather-y look). But they just make me happy and anyway, a little whimsy is good to have in the house.

Hmmm...where to put them???

Saturday, January 2, 2010

It's time to un-deck the halls


Day 2 of 2010 and I don't know about you, but I am ready to "un-deck" the halls and get my house back! However, I procrastinate because I dread the effort it will take. I wish I could just pay ME to do it for me...after all, I'm highly organized and efficient putting the decorations back into their well labeled, well packed Rubbermaid bins and placed neatly back up in the attic. Somehow it's just not the same....

Here is a picture of my little Moose when we were hanging out on the couch before Christmas. Isn't he cute???? He'll be happy to have the house back too...the Christmas tree blocks one of his little running paths.