Saturday, August 29, 2015

Steals and Deals for Less Than $20

Tis the season for clearance sales. Time to make way for the new inventory rolling in. The perfect time for you to score some amazing deals on great home decor. When it comes to decorating and designing, looks are important to me but so is getting it at a great price. Especially when it comes to home decor. Accessories are the jewels of a room but they don't have to cost a fortune. Shop clearance sales for great finds.

Check out these amazing deals all for less than $20.

Home Decor Steals for less than $20

Friday, August 28, 2015

Mattress Buying Tips

My husband and I are on the hunt for a new mattress. We have had our current mattress for about 10 years and while the mattress is in good shape my aging body needs something different.

When we purchased our current mattress, my husband and I were on the same page for the level of firmness of our mattress. We selected a memory foam mattress that was on the firmer side. This worked well for many years however, lately both of us are finding that a softer mattress would suit us better. For me, the firmer mattress is pushing on the pressure points of my hips and shoulders (I sleep on my side) and for him, his lower back and neck need a little more cushioning. 

Mattress technology has come a long way. Now you don't need to choose just a standard coil mattress, memory foam or adjustable mattresses. Most companies are now offering hybrid mattresses that combine coils and memory foam or memory foam and adjustability. The benefit of this technology is that provides a wider range of options when looking for that perfect mattress.

In addition to the different mattress options, you can add an adjustable base to your bed. Adjustable bases offer options such as raising or lowering your feet or head, night lights, massage features and more. Some even offer the ability to monitor your sleep patterns from your iPad or smart phone. 

Here is a roundup of some of your choices when buying a mattress, and their pros and cons.

Memory foam mattress conform to your body and have no coils. You don't feel as much movement in the bed (such as when your partner gets up in the middle of the night). They do retain heat so if you get warm while sleeping you should go with one that offers cooling technology. These mattresses do offgas an odor when you receive it. It does dissipate after a few days and can be faster if you leave it without sheets for 24 hours.

Airbeds offer the benefit of dual control allowing each person to control their side of the bed independently. A big plus for couples who have different mattress needs. The adjustability also allows for changes in your preferences over time. So, if you like a firmer mattress now but in two years need something softer then you can adjust your mattress rather than having to buy a new one. The beds are mechanical so they do make noise when you are changing the level of firmness. Also, being mechanical there is the possibility of repairs being needed unlike a memory foam or traditional coil mattress.

Hybrid mattress offer both traditional coils as well as memory foam or airbed with memory foam. Inner spring hybrids are touted as the "best of both worlds" as they give both the traditional coil support with the softness of memory foam. Unlike traditional inner spring mattresses they offer motion separation and the conforming feature of memory foam. Airbed hybrids offer the dual adjustability with the softness of memory foam. It is harder to feel the bed adjusting however, due to the layer of memory foam.

Inner spring mattress are the most common mattress type. Technology for these mattresses have also come a long way. They too now offer memory foam topper options as well as cooling technology. They are the most affordable option out of the ones I mentioned. Their biggest complaint is that it looses its initial comfort over time.

Another option I mentioned earlier is an adjustable base. This allows you to raise or lower your head or feet as well as massage and other options. Most companies now offer adjustable bases. Most adjustable bases can be used with any bed including traditional inner spring mattresses. Some raise and lower independently, together or split. Split are usually on airbeds and only allow the head to be raised independently but the feet together. One downside to this is you can't buy normal sheets which can be a significant added expense. Since they are mechanical there is a risk for failure and they make noise when raised and lowered. Having an adjustable base does however, help with those who snore, need to raise their feet to assist with blow flow or for those who have acid reflux. 

There are many great options out there to find the perfect mattress for you. We are narrowing down our choices and will hopefully be making a decision soon.

Did you find this helpful? Comment below. I would love to hear from you.

Happy decorating!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Decorating Made Easy

To me, fall is the perfect time to redecorate. Kids are back to school, the leaves are changing and temperatures are dropping. Time to throw open the windows and make some changes. The question is, where to start? This, I find, is where many people get hung up in the process. They aren't sure what look they are after or how to get it.

Sometimes, the easiest way to get started is by looking online or through magazines to see what strikes you. Really look at the photo and decide what you like and what you don't. Try to find one that marries the colors you like with the style you are after. Once you find it, start to determine what you already have that works and what you need to complete the look.

Also, consider using a tool like Sherwin Williams' Color Snap. It allows you to create a paint palette based on the colors in the space. Want to learn more? Click on this link

Here it is in action. I have chosen this photo as an example of a space I would like to duplicate.

Image Pottery Barn
Colors Sherwin Williams Color Snap

The colors on the left are the most dominant colors in the room and the ones on the right are the accent colors. Extra White represents the wall color and the black and neutrals are the being and furnishings. Here the yellows and golds represent the gold accents. Use this as a guide to decorate your space. It is even worthwhile to bring it with you while shopping to ensure you are getting as close to that hue as possible.

Using tools like these can take some of the guesswork out of decorating and help you overcome the initial hurdle of "Where do I start?".

Happy decorating!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Fall Hue - Turquoise

When I think of fall colors I think of orange, russet and brown. Warm colors that invoke the changing colors of the leaves. But, there is a bold new hue creeping into fall decor this season. Hues of blue, navy, light blue and turquoise are everywhere. If you are looking to add the unexpected to your space this fall, try turquoise. It is a warm hue that adds a punch to your decor. It pairs well with many colors including red, orange and brown. Check out these great finds.

Fall Trend - Blue

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Style File - Traditional

When working with a client, one of the first things I do is ask them what style they are after. Is it traditional, modern, transitional, etc. However, for many people they aren't exactly sure what their style is, or what qualities make up a specific style type. Traditional happens to be a style that stumps many people. At first glance it seems like it would be stuffy or ornate but, traditional can be elegant and refined as well. 

Is traditional your style? Take a look at these spaces to see whether traditional may be for you.

Traditional Home with Classic Interiors - Home Bunch - An Interior Design & Luxury Homes Blog
via Home Bunch

Large open bathroom with light blue walls and white cabinets and designer bathtub.
via Traditional Home

A traditional living room
via Architectural Digest

I love marble counters on a dark vanity and a deeeeeep soaker tub... aahhh...
via BHG

best of the nest link party ~ november
via Simple Details

White cabinets, grey walls, neutral backslash, dark island--design by Carolina Design Associates. DIY Network.
via DIY Network

25 Best Hallway Walls – Make Your Hallways As Beautiful As The Rest Of Your Home
via Homedit

Looking for Some Inspiration for Our Foyer
via Stone Gable

If traditional is your style, take some inspiration from these great spaces to incorporate into your own home.

Happy decorating!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

5 Key Questions to Ask your Builder/Contractor

Recently, I was comparing with a friend our personal experiences in building a home. Both of us were struck in the similarities of our experiences even though she is in Canada and I am in the U.S. It was then she suggested that I write about ways for others to avoid our troubles.

That got me to thinking about the key questions anyone should ask their contractor or builder when engaging in a building or remodeling project. Asking these questions before work begins, will help you and your contractor stay on the same page during the project and help ensure that the end result is one you will be happy with.

1. Make sure the contract states that they will build the project per the architects plans. The plans drawn up by your architect specify the number and placement of plumbing and electrical fixtures, as well as things like type and style of windows and doors and built-ins. Making sure your contract requires the builder to complete the project per the plans ensures that you end up with the correct number of recessed lights and you have a full water body jet system rather than just a shower head. It also addresses things you cannot see, such as support beams and wiring.

2. Discuss what items are not included in the contract. Items such as cabinet hardware, light fixtures and moulding may not be included, but may be items you envisioned in the space. These items can quickly add up and blow your budget.

3. Review the efficiency of appliances and plumbing fixtures selected before the project begins. Once you have that information you can decide if you wish to upgrade. Of course upgrading can seriously affect your budget especially when done mid-project, so choose upgrades wisely. However, having a toilet that has sufficient flushing capacity, or a dishwasher that has the features you really need, can make a world of difference in your day to day life.

4. Go over the details of the project with your builder. Discuss the type and style of trim to be used, the outlet placement and covers, and room layouts before your contractor begins working. For example, it is not uncommon for builders to have stock trim they use which may not be what you had in mind. However, once installed it is time consuming and expensive to remove. Discussing these items ahead of time can avoid disappointment and conflict.

5. Know and understand your allowances. Allowances are budgets your contractor lays out in the contract for each selection such as countertops, cabinetry, flooring and fixtures. Review these numbers and do some preliminary research to determine whether the allowances are sufficient for what you want. For example, you may have envisioned granite countertops when your allowance is only sufficient for formica. It is not uncommon for allowances to be on the low end, so be sure they are sufficient to cover what you expect. If not, you could find your budget spinning out of control quickly.

Here are a few other things to keep in mind. Get referrals and always choose a licensed contractor who uses licensed sub-contractors. It is the things you cannot see behind the walls like plumbing and electrical that can cause problems later. Do all your research before you begin the project. There is nothing worse than a contractor ripping out your kitchen only to realize the budget is no where near sufficient to give you the look you were going for. Don't assume your contractor knows what you want. You may want marble and custom cabinets but he or she priced laminate and stock cabinetry. Also, avoid making changes once the project begins. Making changes during the project can not only delay the completion but can also exceed your budget quickly. It is far easier and cheaper to make changes before a project begins than after.

Asking these five questions will make your building or remodeling project an easier experience for both you can your contractor.

Happy building!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Put Some Fun in Your Decorating

It is important to me when designing a space that, when complete, it looks polished but also comfortable. Beautifully decorated rooms, like those from a magazine, are great but if you walk in and feel like you can't sit down and put your feet up then I feel that I have failed in some way.

I received the best compliment I feel I could ever receive as a decorator after completing a client's basement remodel. The husband told me that when he wasn't feeling well he loved to come down there and relax in front of the t.v. I can't think of anything better as a decorator than hearing that the client feels relaxed and comfortable in the space. It is also a space they love to entertain in. A win/win for me.

Part of making a space feel comfortable is adding what I call "fun" touches to a space. Accents that keep it down to earth and feeling like home. Placed on a bookshelf, coffee table or hung on the wall, decor that adds a little whimsy are, to me, what make a house a home.

Want to add some fun to your decor? Get inspired by some of these great finds.

Whimsical Home Decor

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Take Control of Back to School

In less than a week my children will be heading back to school. On the one hand I am excited for my children to get back to school so I can have more than five minutes at a time to myself but, on the other I am dreading the mounds of paperwork, coats, shoes and backpacks all over the floor and the running around that comes with the school year.

To ease that stress I have found some great organizing ideas to start your school year off right.

1. Give their coats, shoes and backpacks a home. A hallway, corner or mudroom or even a small closet can serve as the perfect drop point for all their gear.

Take out the rod and put in Hooks. This way the coats will get hung up. in the front coat closet!!
via Housewives of Riverton

@Jess Pearl Pearl Pearl Liu Pineda   this looks nice    simple entryway solutions and organization - 320 * Sycamore
via 320 Sycamore

Usando la esquina
via Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom

The Creek Line House: 10 Inspiring and Inventive Mudroom Ideas
via The Creek Line House
2.  Create a command center. Keep everyone's schedule in one place so making plans is a snap. The kitchen is an ideal place but a hallway or laundry/mud room are great alternatives.

Back to school season is here! Get organized for the school year with one of these inspiring command centers!
via Cirburbanity

Small-Space Command Center
via BHG

via See Vanessa Craft

family drop zone | Organized Hallway Drop Zone Desk | Angela Todd Designs on Houzz
via Angela Todd Designs

3. Take charge of all that paper. Sort the papers as soon as they come in the door. Throw away those you don't need, and organize the ones you do into folders such as "to return", "in/out" or by person. Find a system that works for you.

tutorial to make my own Family File System.  NEED ONE OF THESE because my magnetic one from Target is cute, but not big enough!
via My Love 2 Create

Good idea to file papers that end up all over the kitchen counter in a cute basket- yep this is what I need!
via Chic on a Shoestring Decorating

Great tips on how to organize paperwork.
via Clean & Scentisble

4. Create a homework station. Head off the usual time wasters (such as I can't find a pencil) and give them a space to concentrate and complete their homework. Whether it is a basket filled with supplies on the counter or a dedicated workspace, you can create a space that is organized and one they look forward to using.

homework nook
via Sand & Sisal

DIY homework station -
via The House of Smiths

Dream Desk
via Martha Stewart

5. Make packing lunches and after school snacks a whole lot easier. Create grab and go snack options by making individual portions and storing them in the refrigerator in one easy to identify container. 

via Real Simple

Spend an hour on Sunday getting lunches ready for the week. Individual packages makes putting them together easy.

6. Last but not least, create a quiet corner for you to sit back and enjoy once the kids are off to school or on the weekend. Having a place to recharge can help you tackle the rest of the day or weekend with less stress.

1. Get fresh coffee 2. Get fuzzy blanket 3. Put on favorite pjs 4. Get knitting UFO or latest read 5. Curl up, breathe, relax, BE
via Apartment Therapy

Corner stone fireplace in family room with leather sofas and plaid
via Golden Boys & Me

The 6 items to create a reading nook you'll love: tufted chair, pouf, reading lamp, side table, and wall art! All these pieces are from @HomeGoods!
via Home Goods

Happy school days!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Design Crush - Modern Farmhouse

While traveling in Italy last month, we stayed in this beautiful apartment in Venice. I absolutely fell in love with it and immediately thought how much I would love to live in it. It had gorgeous large windows, beamed ceilings and antique furniture.  The overall space was decorated in a modern farmhouse style. Worn woods, modern cabinetry and light fixtures and a neutral palette.

Dining Room



Master Bedroom

Family Room

Guest Bedroom

Living Room (note my son lounging on the sofa)

What I love about this style is how it is cozy and elegant at the same time. The white walls let the warm weather woods shine and the earthy color palette makes the space inviting and easy to care for. 

Like this style? Here are some other examples of modern farmhouse style to get you inspired.

Fantastic Download Modern Farmhouse
via CNB Homes

via Judith Balis Interiors

Bewitching Wood Walls home designing tips Farmhouse Bedroom San Francisco
via LMK Interiors
Happy decorating!