Monthly Archives: July 2009

Easy Lighting Update

I just ran across these fun crystalsBallard CrystalsThey are magnetic, and available in several colors.  They attach to your existing chandelier, wall sconce, mirror – you name it!  How fun is this?  Much easier – and less expensive – than replacing the fixture.  It’s a great way to add some personality and color to your space.  I also see they are available in star fish and now pumpkins for fall.  Too fun!  Let me know what you think –

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How Removing Wallpaper is Saving My Sanity

I have taken on a new project – removing the wallpaper in my main bathroom.  It is a beastly job.  My fingernails hurt.  The walls are going to need sanding and touch-up before I can even THINK about painting them.  My neck hurts from looking up for too long.  My arms ache.  My bathroom is a disaster filled with tiny strips of peach and blue country striped wallpaper.  I can smell the faint odor of vinegar, as that is the best way to remove wallpaper, in my estimation.   If I could afford to hire this job out, I would do it in a heartbeat.  So, how is it saving my sanity?  For the answer, I need to back up a couple of months.

After nearly 8 years with my last employer, I was awaiting word of a lay-off in May.  Panic set in – how would we pay our bills?  Could I find another job in this economy?  It’s not a great time to be an interior designer, as people cut back on non-essential spending.  A million thoughts and scenarios rolled through my mind like the credits at the end of a movie.  My husband and I put the brakes on everything, spending money only on groceries and necessities.  Certainly, any home improvement projects we had in mind would need to wait.  After all, we have children to feed, cars that need repairs and bills to be paid.  And, according to the news, this recession is the worst since the Great Depression, and no one is spending money on anything!  Yikes!

I have been looking at peach and blue country-style striped wallpaper in my 1920’s home for the past 7 years.  This was my year!  After painting nearly every other room in the house, removing wallpaper in bedrooms, replacing window treatments and ripping out carpet in favor of the original wood floors beneath it, it was FINALLY time to tackle the dreaded wallpaper-removal project in the bathroom.  Believe me, the bathroom needs more than a new coat of paint to be my dream space.  However, since the sky is falling, and we are all in economic hell, those improvements would have to wait.  Wouldn’t they?

My "before" shot.

My "before" shot. Most of this is original to our purchase of the home - and definitely not my style!

As spring turned into summer, and I began my lay-off, I started my own design business.  My wallpaper project was put on the back burner once again – I didn’t have the time and I didn’t want to spend money on paint.  My family has saved every penny possible – no vacations or extras this year.  But, the more I looked at my peach bathroom wallpaper, the more I realized how much I NEEDED this project.  I decided I could, indeed, spend money on a bucket or 2 of paint, and spend some time scraping wallpaper off my walls.  I needed this project to feel like life is moving forward; I have been smothered by bad economic news, worry about my new business, stress and the feeling that we have a long time to wait before things improve.  When I took hold of that loose piece of wallpaper that has been taunting me for 7 years, and tore it loose from the wall, I felt hope!  Hope that we could survive, and even succeed, in this economic time.  Hope that I am improving my surroundings, so I can enjoy my home even more, and add to the value of my home.  Hope that others will want to do the same, and will hire a professional to help them achieve their goals.

The sky is not falling.  In fact, there are signs that the economy is starting to recover.  All I know, is I NEED to move forward.  I am excited that I am the owner of my own design company, and I am confident that I can succeed.  I need to keep my eyes forward, and not worry about the latest economic predictors and worries.  I can afford a bucket of paint.  That bucket of paint will update my bathroom.  It’s not the only thing my bathroom needs, but it’s a start.  And it keeps me moving forward.  That’s what I need right now, and I know that is what you all need, too.  What is the project that will move you forward?  And, how can I help you get there?

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Filed under Interior Design News, Just for Fun, New Projects

A Room With a View

A small sunroom with a dramatic view – and too much sun in the morning!  I just completed this installation, and I think it turned out beautifully – and, thankfully, so does my client.  The goal was to add drama to the space, to accentuate the arched window, and also to cover a portion of the arched space to help with morning sun.  They didn’t want to block out all the light – just to make the room a bit more bearable while the sun is out.  We certainly didn’t wish to take away from their golfcourse view.  Let me know what you think!

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Victorian Elegance

I have been working on a new construction project for nearly a year.  It’s not often that I have the opportunity to work on a new home in the Victorian style!  My clients have been fantastic to work with, and I have enjoyed the entire process.  The home is being built by Landsted, LLC, in Hudson, WI.  What a joy to see it come together!  Take a sneak peek at some of the pics I just snapped – the home is scheduled to be completed at the end of the month, and I will take some finished shots to share with you all.  The home is equipped with the latest in green technologies, allowing the lucky homeowners to drastically cut their heating and cooling bills, save water and reduce their overall energy consumption.  Even the granite used in the home has been harvested within 500 miles of the home.  I’ll have more information on the details of the home when I post photos of the completed project.  Let me know what you think so far! 

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Favorite Fabrics

As a designer, one of my very favorite design elements to work with is fabric.  I love fabric!  I often see a fantastic new piece, and hope that I can find a client for whom it would be perfect.  From elegant to laid back, from silk to polyester, there is a fabric for every style and every budget.  What fun to create a grouping of varied patterns and colors to complete a room!  Add a little decorative trim and you have a completely custom look, which no one else will have. 

I thought you may want a peek at some of the fabrics I love most.  Thankfully, through the wonder of the internet, you can search my favorite websites for your own favorite fabrics!  These sites sell to designers only, but I’m happy to offer pricing on anything you are interested in.  I can send it anywhere in the country, and I always share my discount with my clients.  So, listen up do-it-yourselfers:  now you can have that designer look, too!  Order a few yards of fabric and transform your space – it’s amazing what a new valance or pillow can do in a room.  Or call me – I’ll design something just for you.  And, leave a comment with a link to your favorite fabrics; I’m always on the lookout for a new favorite!

http://www.greenhousedesign.net

http://www.kravet.com

http://www.robertallendesign.com

http://www.kasmirfabrics.com

http://www.fabricadefabrics.com

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Filed under Interior Design News, Product Specials and Great Finds

Cheap Eats

If you, like me and every other family in America, are trying to cut costs wherever you can, food is a great place to start.  I have found some fantastic websites that can help you do just that.  If you are looking for some frugal recipes and shopping tips, check these out:

http://www.5dollardinners.com – this mom can literally feed a family of 4 for under $5 each night!  She is a savvy shopper and knows how to eat well for less.

http://www.debtproofliving.com – Mary Hunt is the author of the Cheapskate Everyday newspaper column, and has tips on saving money throughout your everyday life.  However, she also has archives of some great recipes that save you time and money.  Make-ahead mixes, like a biscuit mix, are great alternatives to more expensive store-bought brands.

http://www.hillbillyhousewife.com – Tips on all kinds of saving!  And some fun recipes, too!

http://www.thegrocerygame.com – This site will show you the weekly specials at your local stores, plus match them up to coupons and tell you where to find them!  There is a small charge to use the resources, but you save more than that each week with coupons!

http://www.thesneakychef.com – This isn’t really a frugal site.  But, I think many of this author’s recipes lend themselves to budget cooking.  For example, when cauliflower is on sale, you stock up and cook and puree it for use in future recipes.  It stores really well in the freezer until you need it.  Plus, as an added bonus, your kids get veggies into their tummies without knowing it!  🙂

What great frugal cooking sites have you found?  I would love to hear about your favorite finds – I’m always looking for new ways to save a buck!

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