Home Design & Trends: Get Organized!

January 19, 2010

A Faster, Easier Way to Get Organized

“Clutter takes several forms. It can be too much to do or too much stuff,” says Barry Iszak, former president of the National Association of Professional Organizers.

We all need a little help gettting our life in order, and it can be easier than you think. Let your computer help you out — here are a few sites we found that can help you stay on top of the details!

IScrybe.com: Is a comprehensive site to help you schedule your day by combining your calendar and to-do lists. You can can create work and personal calendars and then merge them into one.

Drop.io: We all know that we need to backup our files, but how do we do it? At drop.io, you have your own private web page that stores everything from text to photos to videos, so you can access them anywhere. It’s more provate than emailing and you don’t have to carry around a hard-drive!

Mint.com: Find yourself a secure money manager online with Mint.com. It lets you see activity on your credit cards, debit cards and stocks. You receive automatic email and text alerts about balances and bills due so you can save money in fees. You can also use their online tools to see where your money goes each month.

So, with the new year, take some time to organize your life.


Home Design & Trends: Feelin’ Blue?

January 14, 2010

Are you in a Blue Mood?

Since I’m ready to paint, I had to pick a color; and there’s no easier hue to work with than blue, in all its warm and cool tones.

Cool Blues:
Shades known as cool blues―like cobalt, turquoise, and ice blue―have yellow in them and tend to recede, or back away, which can help a small space look bigger. Color experts explain that cool blues encourage calmness (which is nice for a bedroom) and focus (say, in a home office). Sometimes cool blues can go a little further and be cold. But in a bathroom, where you want a crisp, clean vibe, that can be a good thing.

Warm Blues
Famously calming and peaceful, blue can have very different effects on a room depending on its temperature. Warm blues, like the shade shown here (or like denim, ocean blue, or slate blue), contain hints of red. Color experts say they advance, or come toward you, so they help make a room feel cozier. Decorators often like warm blues in social spaces, like the living room, the kitchen, or the dining room.

Keep in mind that the hue or tone of the blue creates a different feeling in your rooms depending on your furniture, wood, rugs, etc. Here are some recommendations from the experts:

Van Deusen Blue HC-156*
Best Blue for a Living Room: “It looks fantastic with rich woods, like cherry,” says Jayne Michaels, an interior designer and a co-owner of 2Michaels Design, in New York City.

Blue Ceruleum Moyen 32020
Best Blue for a Dining Room: “Lush and intimate, for cozy dinners with family and friends,” says Michaels.

Clear Skyscape 028-5
Best Blue for Kids’ Rooms: “A bold shade for both boys and girls,” says Michaels.

Buxton Blue HC-149
Best Blue for a Bathroom: “A clean, fresh feeling with white tile and chrome,” says Michaels.

Good luck – and dream in color!

Home Design & Trends: How About a Little Paint?

January 11, 2010

Now that new year is here, I get all kinds of crazy ideas to redo rooms around the house. My big thing is color which equals paint. Personally, I love the smell of the fresh paint as you open the can. I can’t wait for that first roll of paint to go on the wall. The thrill of accomplishment as you’ve completed the room…it’s all part of the do-it-yourself thrill!

I do, however, always need a little bit of advice from the professionals. So, I decided to pass on a little fo you do-it-yourself-ers out there.

Painting Tips for Large Spaces:

  • Use a 20-foot expandable ladder when painting a stairwell. Rest the bottom of the ladder against a tread for stability.
  • Use ladder mitts on the top end of the ladder to protect dry wall.
  • An inexpensive pot hook provides a spot to hang a bucket of paint from the ladder and avoids going up and down the ladder to load the brush.
  • A professional 18-inch roller cover and frame make the work go faster. A larger tray is also required.
  • A long extension pole helps reach awkward spots.
  • A new product, called a paint stick, which has a tube that can be filled with paint attached to a roller, makes painting go more quickly.
  • Stiff paintbrush? Heat a cup of vinegar in the microwave and soak the brush. Rinse it out and it should be like new!
  • Good luck! Look for more ideas in future blogs!

    GoRapids.com Home Design & Trends: Some Christmas gifts don’t change.

    December 14, 2009

    If you aren’t purchasing clothes or electronics this Holiday Season (such as the popular Wii and Nintendo DS), you might be thinking about a piece of furniture for your home.  Cheval mirror’s, blanket chests, gun cabinets, jewelry chests and coat racks are always top of the list this time of year.

    When I started in the furniture industry 10 years ago, I was told that those are the items that get more popular around the Holidays.  I’m not quite sure why that is, but it is still true today.  Again this year, around Thanksgiving, we had customers asking for gun cabinets, coat racks and a cheval mirror!

    This is a cheval mirror in a plantation cherry finish.  Beautiful for any room.  Below is a picture of what you might expect to see for an iron coat rack (instead of a traditional wood one), but the other is actually a Jewelry CHEST, but it’s disguised as a floor mirror!  Not your traditional furniture piece!

    GoRapids.com Home Design & Trends: Ornaments of the Season

    December 1, 2009

    Beautiful. Classic. Elegant. Graceful.
    This glass drop ornament is what I would call the favorite ornament of the season.  Barely in the store a week and ladies were searching the store to collect as many as they could find!  You could hear them discussing all the different ways to use these, places they could be hung, other than on a tree.

    Snowflakes a close second…

    A holiday decoration that doesn’t need to be taken down right after the Holidays!

    Pearl beads to go around candles or anything else you can think of.

    Holiday decorating tip: Put some of your ornaments in large glass container or on a bowl on the counter for a new twist.

    GoRapids.com Home Design & Trends: Rustic & Elegant Home Furnishings (Eclectic)

    November 25, 2009

    This new display at Furniture Studio in Wisconsin Rapids is ahhhhhhhhh, just dreamy!
    The colors are subtle and relaxing so it’s the details like texture that make it different.  The multi-colored knots on the bottom of the curtain panels, wicker on the basket, rope on the outside of the lampshade, etc…  We’ve seen a lot of different designs with lamps over the last few years like beads, tassels, and fringe, but this is NEW!  It gives it a natural almost organic feel.

    It’s a mix of rustic and elegant…
    Rustic elements: the buffet has a distressed, handscraped look, the mirror has a weathered ‘rock’ look (really made out of plastic or resin), and the picture up high on the wall has what looks like sticks glued to the picture.
    Elegant elements: Silver lamp with beads, shimmery curtain panels and pale colors.

    Easy decorating tip: hang your curtain panels from a copper rod (from Home Depot) for a unique look.  Add some finials.

    GoRapids.com Home Design & Trends: How About a Spec Home?

    November 25, 2009

    Thinking about building a spec home in Wisconsin Rapids for 2010.

    Maybe I’ve gone completely crazy!  Some days it seems to make complete sense and other days seems like a gamble that’s too risky.  It started with an idea to make it be a smaller ranch style home between 1300-1600 sq ft with details to showcase Furniture Studio and the difference having a designer involved can make.  The original goal was to have a home that would price out under $249,000.  That still seems to be the price that is selling ($150-220,000)… probably because of the first time home buyer credit, but I’m finding that it’s very difficult to build a house for that price.

    Everything that looks good, cost more (Gasp!).

    If it happens at all, we are considering adding some green elements like a reclaimed wood floor throughout the main living areas and “No Added Urea Formaldehyde” cabinets in the kitchen.  The reclaimed floor is a white oak that came from the roof of a building in New London, WI.  The No added Urea Formaldehyde is potentially less harmful for people with allergies.

    Because the economy plays a huge part in the stress level of everyone’s lives, things that bother us (like cramped closet space or dysfunctional kitchen cabinets) sometimes have to wait until there is job security or A job!

    Not sure what the end result will be… so at this point it’s just a dream!

    GoRapids.com Home Design & Trends: Frustrated by Home Decorating?

    November 25, 2009

    I have been recently puzzled by the number of people overwhelmed or frustrated when trying to decorate their home. Can you relate? Is it because you aren’t able to find what you like, afraid to make a mistake, lack of money, or something else?

    Some seem to be like artists looking for just the right piece to reflect themselves in the amount of space they have to work with. They will know it when they see it!

    Others, seem to want the home to look JUST RIGHT, and not sure how to do it. They are afraid to make a mistake!

    One of the customers at Furniture Studio suggested it’s because of lack of money. A feeling of not having the money to do what they want!

    Could it be that the last home furnishings purchase experience wasn’t a good one? Maybe the quality was poor, the item didn’t last as long as they had hoped, it was too big, too small, uncomfortable or just something was wrong. Buyer’s remorse!

    It seems like there is more anxiety related to purchasing home furnishings or decorating the home than other purchases like jewelry, clothing, cars, etc… Maybe it’s easier to justify our mistakes or there is value to be able to resell the products.

    How can we eliminate or reduce this anxiety?

    My experience is that working with a designer costs less in the end because you make less mistakes, but you have to be willing to give up some control to trust and that can be very difficult. Maybe it’s just not possible to reduce the anxiety when purchasing home furnishings.

    What do you think? Take our brief survey!

    GoRapids.com Home Design & Trends: Table Top Decorations

    November 25, 2009

    The perfect recipe for great floral arrangements:
    Start with a unique pot add some dried florals, silk florals, and greenery… maybe a pinch of something else and WAH-LAH!

    The decorating can be seasonal or just coordinating with your current furniture pieces.  Florals can add color and softness to a room while greenery adds the softness, but with a neutral & natural coloring.  I may have mentioned florals in a previous blog, but it’s that time of year where you’re looking for ideas to decorate for the seasons.

    This first floral has a subtle winter feel with the icicle, berries and reindeer head.  Very natural and appealing.  It could be dining table centerpiece or even an accent next to the hearth/fireplace area.

    Below is another natural option with the dried grasses, acorns and leaves.  It’s amazing the amount of color that can come from a very neutral palete.  The pot has a unique burst of two-tone color to perfect the look.  The vertical shape of this one makes it good for on a console table or above a low bookshelf where you need some height.

    Happy & lighthearted.  A mix of small florals offers a large variety of color and the white pot is light and bright.  It’s easy to add or take away from this to create an updated look.  Florals bring color and texture to a room in a 3-Dimensional format that a picture can’t.  Really, what other accessory can?

    GoRapids.com Home Design & Trends: Organize the Chaos

    November 25, 2009

    If your home is anything like mine, we need a professional organizer to come in and get us organized before school starts.  There really is an organization for finding professional organizers (www.napo.net), but if you aren’t ready for that level here are a few functional furniture pieces and accessories to get you thinking.

    Stylish letter holders from Global Views make a statement and provide a convenient storage area for the envelopes and paper products that can easily clutter up a home or office. 

    Some of my personal favorite storage pieces are made by Howard Miller and designed by TY PENNINGTON.  Fully customizable, change the finish, change the arrangement.

    By TY Pennington

    This EVERYTHING CART is fully functional with makeup storage, magazine storage, and more storage!  Ideal for a guest bathroom or small space.

    The HOME ORGANIZER CABINET works for the mini-office.  Space for a laptop, notes, mail and plug-in areas to charge cell phones and ipods.

    True to it’s name, the EVERYTHING CABINET, is as the name implies. Wonderful for a small home, guest room or large bathroom. Smart features include a flip-up ironing board, towel rack, storage areas, and full-length mirror.

    Find more functional furniture storage pieces at www.howardmiller.com.

    Now, I have one more problem.  I need a professional decision maker to select the most functional pieces for me.  Do they have a professional decision making organization?