}

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

“Falling” in Love with Your Home 2009 Style

Mother Nature is beginning to put on her grandest show for the year, and we’re heading to the attic or basement for all those boxes marked “Fall Decorations.” As many of you would agree, fall is a great season to change out or update your seasonal and home décor, but just like our wardrobe, sometimes we need to weed out or refresh our stash. Here a few ideas and tips to help you update your home for the season and infused the latest trends into your home décor.









1.) Give your rooms a new arrangement. Fall is the perfect time to review your spaces and ready your rooms for the upcoming succession of holidays. Like a blank canvas, a new arrangement gives you an introduction for a medley of fresh ideas from accessory placement to infusing new color ideas. By starting at the base, you can layer on interesting new ideas, rotate your collections and perhaps come up with something totally new! (Insider Arrangement tip: Your hearth, piano or picture window is appropriate launching points for your new redesign.)


2.) Shop Your Home & Reinvent It. Unveil those fall décor boxes and sort through your decorating goods by shopping your own home. Metallic’s are at the fore front of 2009-10 trends. Could your ceramic pumpkin and Indian corn collection get a hip makeover with a quick coat of trendy antique copper paint; perhaps those pitted cabinet knobs, a lamp bases, or a painting frame could be given the same coat, creating a new metallic tread to your décor? From lamp shades to art print’s mats – small changes made to your old stuff gives them the same result as a bit of Botox! (Insider's tip: By updating more than one accessory item with a common color element, you'll create a new rhythm & flow to the room.)


3.) Put it into Rotation. The same stuff out all the time, in the same place becomes a bit dull on the eyes - Consider a rotation of your accessories. Packing away a few of your room accessory staples when seasonally decorating, not only rejuvenates your room, but when you bring it back into the mix, put it in a different spot! My motto is – “A pumpkin in, means a Lladro out!







4.) Layer it On. As the temperature goes down, the layers come out. Nothing speaks more to the season than cozy & warm textiles. Hot trends are nature inspired textural prints, animal motifs and ethnic patchworks - So incorporate layered fabrics and other textiles like rugs into your seasonal decorating. Have an old quilt that can be reinvented into a beautiful pillow, framed as art, or upholstered into a footstool? (Patchwork stools by Horchow.)Don’t be afraid to layer more than one rug on the floor or consider that rugs can be wall art too. (Insider Tip: No one ever said you can’ use fabrics as accessories – Down tables, tossed on sofa backs or tucked into or on top of bookcases or armoires.)


5.) Setting the Room’s Mood. Nothing is cuter than Mr. Scarecrow you picked up at the craft show, but is he appropriate sitting in your formal living room? Remember to set the mood of the room with how you accessorize it. Mr. Scarecrow would be better far better suited to hang out in the kitchen, and sitting on your cocktail table a repurposed silver serving tray adorned with pine cones, leaves and candles more befitting for the flavor of the room. Ombre is a trend, so why not invest in a few large ombre colored candle holders for a new candle look. (Ombre Candle Holders from World Market.)







6.) Coordinate with Color. Incorporating a new color palette into a space is one of the easiest ways to revitalize a room. Some new color combinations may evoke your creativity when seasonally accessioning your rooms, looking for a new pillows, window panels, throws or creating vignettes:

Coffee Bean Brown paired with Artichoke Green
Deep Plum paired with Paprika
Apple Green paired with Tomato Red
Smokey Blue paired with Champagne Beige (Pottery Barn Panels.)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Secret Formula to Creating a Beautiful Home - The Perfect "Mix”


Ahhh… wouldn’t it be pure bliss to have an unlimited budget to make your space lovely? No regard for the bottom line or being reduced to look at price tags? The sheer joy…. For me, there is no fun in that – What about the hunt, the use of creativity and inventive cunning to reach the same end? Now that’s bliss…



A core philosophy’s of my business is getting the right “mix” – Defining when to spend it and when not to when it comes to decorating and styling your home. For me, a beautiful space has a rich collectiveness - A mixture of rich with poor, old with new - A secret recipe that in the end defines the legacy and personality of the homeowner.


My business signature is using what you have, and then moving on from that. For most of my clients, shopping is not an issue, nor is what they already own – It’s the mêlée of pulling it collectively together to distinguish their space and define their style. Whether they’re puzzled on how to make their living room inviting or launching into a remodeling project – They struggle with knowing how to mix that perfect recipe.



My secret formula is to know when to use it, when to spend it, and how to get the look for less. The total package has to fit together with your personal taste, style of your home and most importantly – Your Budget! It doesn’t matter if I’m staging your home, helping you decorate for a party or holiday, or consulting on a major renovation – The formula is the same. So what’s my formula? How you obtain that perfect recipe?


Here are the three ingredients:


  1. USE IT: Most of us over the years have acuminated things, whether bought, inherited, or found, we have stuff. If you take a hard look at your stuff; I guarantee there is treasure galore within your inventory. Can you repaint, upholster, and update it? In another room, would it look better or have better use? Your old stuff is your legacy, it defines who you are, and if it doesn’t, I’ll let you know. As an educated professional, my talent is to be able to identify what can be used or not when it comes to making your spaces beautiful. Although, most would not cast me to appear on “Antiques Road show,” I’m pretty good at knowing what’s worthy, and really good at using it if it fits into the grand plan.
    Whether it’s a couch, painting or lamp, I’ll let you know if it will work, or if it’s an undiscovered treasure that we can use “as is,” or is worthy of a reinvention. I did a staging recently and came upon a signed Leroy Neiman print that the homeowner had picked up at a garage sale. They were going to toss it because the matting was ragged and damaged and the print was falling out of its frame. After a quick look over and a suggested run to a framing store for a re-mat & tune-up - They’ll have a pretty snazzy “real” piece of showcase art!

  2. SPEND IT: O.K., even though I’m supposed to be the budget decorator, you just have to sometimes SPEND IT! Love that vintage French one-of-a-kind-kind; will be perfect for my awkwardly sized foyer- Entry Table? – Go get it. It will become the showcase to your home. You’ll love looking at it every day and it will define the style of your place. There has to be expensive in the mix – and there will be a times that spending the big bucks is a worthwhile or part of the grand plan. That stuff may be pricey, but you can fill in the blanks with less expensive or fabulous finds.
    The other piece of SPEND IT has to do with the quality of things. Sometimes you can’t get it for less; sometimes the workmanship upstages the price point. Your inherited Grandma’s dining room set can be broken or made by the SPEND IT choice you make. Pair her set with off-the-rack Target window treatments and rods and her set is reduced to a “tired pass-down.” Pair her set with custom one-of-kind window treatments and the set is upgrade to “antique heirloom.”

  3. LOOK FOR LESS: Getting the LOOK FOR LESS is a two- fold feat. The 1st feat is to see if you can find the expensive, SPEND IT item for less (you still have to pay $$$ for it though.) And the 2nd feat is to be to make choices at discount store, and have the eye for inexpensive items that LOOK expensive. Shopping expensive is easy; anyone can walk into the Mart and find fabulous stuff, expensively priced. Finding its identical twin or a knock-off for a fraction of the price takes talent and an eye. Getting that look for less, filling in those blanks makes for that perfect “mix.”


  • Say you’ve got a few lovely Sterling silver pieces. Pair those with a few more in silver-plate, and the plate becomes instantly “Sterling” by association… The end result is a beautiful mix…

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Easy Gourmet - Twisted Surf & Turf


Easy Gourmet - September 09 Twisted Surf & Turf

We’re all pinching a penny or two these days, so I came up with an inexpensive, but rich meal. The key to great cooking is to have a well stocked pantry, and be wise when shopping. Price items out, don’t be afraid to shop at “alternative” discount stores, but reserve a few bucks for gourmet items to add a rich twist to your meals. In this recipe pairing, I took simple ingredients and upgraded them w/a few POW items.


  • Table Setting of the Month: - My “use what you own “philosophy extends to table settings. For our table setting, I employed a sarong as a runner for the table for its color and sea theme. Fish themed plates, napkin rings a Batik table cloth with fish motif completes the setting (-all already in my entertaining arsenal.) The big prize was flowers purchased for $3.99 a bouquet at a discount food store. Bought in threes, for a total of 10 bucks a knockout rich floral for my table setting.
    Hint: Consider purchasing an array of Gourmet Sea salts and serve them on scallop shells (which you can buy at a gourmet food store,) as a great option to a typical salt shaker To see all of my great serving ideas watch the ‘Easy Gourmet” show, Channel 4 on http://www.palosheights.org/.

RECIPES:

Herbs de Provence Rice - Take simple white rice to a new taste level.


Ingredients:
1 cup white rice
2 cups water
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon herbs de Provence (can be purchased at local gourmet food shop or store such as HomeGoods or TJMaxx.
1 tablespoon unsalted butter to finish
Instructions: In a large, microwave safe bowl, mix all ingredients except butter. Microwave on time cook for 21 minutes at power level 6. Let sit for 5 minutes, stir in butter to finish.


Chili Shrimp Salad -The Chinese chili sauce adds just the right zip to this totally tasty, be easy to make salad.


Ingredients:
12 oz. bag of frozen jumbo shrimp thawed, drained and chilled.
1 bag Butter lettuce salad mix
1 Yellow Pepper - Chopped
1 Cucumber - Chopped
1 Tomato - Chopped
Chili Dressing:
½ Lemon juiced
¼ cup Italian bottle dressing
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon Chinese Chili Sauce (Found in ethnic food isle.)
Instructions: Whisk together dressing ingredients, add shrimp to marinate. In large bowl combine lettuce mix, chopped vegetables and marinated shrimp and dressing – Toss.


Blue Cheese Butter Filets - Taking a petite steak to a whole new level.
Ingredients:
1 cup crumbled blue cheese
1 stick unsalted butter room temperture
2 packaged bacon wrapped Fillet Mignons
Instructions: Bring fillets to room temperature. Heat grill. Mix together with fork, butter and blue cheese. Reserve for serving. Grill steaks to desired doneness. As soon as steaks are off grill, add tablespoon of blue cheese butter to top. Serve immediately.

 
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