how-to

Color of the Year!

With the announcement of Pantone's Color of the Year 2014, I decided to create a little inspirational post with a collection of images showing how to bring this beautiful color into your home this year - whether it be through paint, fabrics, furniture, decor, accessories, etc. This first collage of images shows a sampling of the home design and decor ideas explored in more detail below, but I included it specifically because it nicely illustrates the color story!


Radiant Orchid gallery of images.


But before we delve in, let's discuss the selected color - Radiant Orchid.. which is sorta just a fancy name for pinkish purple, hehe. But, its name really does express how this color is vibrant, feminine and beautiful!


Radiant Orchid


Pantone describes it like this: "Radiant Orchid blooms with confidence and magical warmth that intrigues the eye and sparks the imagination. It is an expressive, creative and embracing purple — one that draws you in with its beguiling charm. A captivating harmony of fuchsia, purple and pink undertones, Radiant Orchid emanates great joy, love and health."

So, what do you think? Do you love the color?

I am not usually necessarily a huge fan of "girly" colors, or very bright colors for that matter, but I do have an appreciation for this hue and actually love it paired with darker purples and greys!

So, let's explore some ideas of how you can use this color in your home! Well, an easy way (if you aren't shy) is to use it boldly as paint on the walls!


Radiant orchid painted wall.


Radiant orchid bedroom.


But, if you'd rather introduce the color into your space in a more subtle way, here are varying shades of the daring color used in lighting.. no pun intended!


Glass lamp in radiant orchid.


Desk lamp in radiant orchid.


Gourd lamp in radiant orchid.


Of course, fabrics are a great way to bring this color into a space too! The first image below shows a beautiful color palette blending the Radiant Orchid color with darker, richer purple hues and a warm neutral hue, like grey.


Fabrics in radiant orchid colors.


Patterned fabric in orchid.


Floral fabric in orchid.


Duvet in orchid.


What about the furniture in the space? This color could create the perfect accent piece - one that will most likely also be a conversation piece!


Chair in orchid color.


Painted orchid dresser.


Club chair in orchid pattern.


This color even looks great outdoors against a lush green backdrop!


Garden furniture in orchid.


If brightly painted walls or boldly colored furniture isn't your thing, an easy way to bring in the Color of the Year is in your decor and accessories. These are the items in a space that can be changed out easily seasonally or yearly (you know, when next year's Color of the Year is announced, hehe). Simply mix in a little color with flowers, candles, toss pillows, etc.


Flowers in orchid color.


Glass candle in ombre orchid colors.


Pillow in orchid.


Votive candle in orchid color.


Toss pillow in a variety of orchid colors.


Flowers in radiant orchid.


And, if you actually like the idea of this vibrant color on your walls, but maybe you're not brave enough to paint a whole wall, then how about hanging up some bold modern abstract artwork representing the color!


Abstract art in radiant orchid color.


Abstract art in orchid and vibrant blue


Or, you could ground the space and make a statement with a large scaled area rug in this bold hue!


Trellis patterned rug in orchid.


Herringbone rug in orchid color.


Or, lastly, if you're really diggin' the Radiant Orchid Color of the Year, try designing a whole space around this vibrant color!


Interior space using radiant orchid color.


Well, what do you think? How might you use Radiant Orchid in your home this coming year?


Paint lids showing radiant orchid color palette.

The Difference Between LIGHT and Wrong

Working with a client this afternoon on light fixture selections for the first floor of their home, I got to thinking that this is one area where clients often get lost. Now, I'm not saying that these particular clients are lost; in fact, they have actually been doing their homework on all the many things to consider when choosing, purchasing and installing light fixtures. But, because light fixtures can be such a difficult thing, I thought I'd share some designer insights that might be beneficial. So here they are!

Top 5 Things to Consider with Lighting

  1. Fixture Type/Usage First thing's first, what type of light fixture does your space call for? A ceiling pendant, table lamp, recessed light, wall sconce, floor lamp, or a combination thereof. And, what do you intend to use this space for and, therefore, how will you use the light fixture? For reading, cooking, putting on makeup, mood lighting, overall room lighting, or just for added decoration. With this first consideration, you'll need to answer the above questions and also think about how often you'll use the fixture, at what time of day, etc. This will make the following considerations easier.

Photo showing multiple types of light fixtures.

  1. Light Quantity and Quality Next thing to do is, based on the usage determined first, decide how much light you'll need and what feel you want that light to produce. Do you want lots of bright light? Or, do you want soft diffused lighting? This where you'll consider wattage, number of bulbs, incandescent of fluorescent, desired mood, soft or hard lighting, direct or indirect lighting, etc.

Photo showing low lighting for a mood effect.

  1. Scale and Proportion Once you have decided what kind of fixture and what kind of light you need, it's time to determine the appropriate size of that fixture. The first question to ask regarding scale and proportion is - How big is the intended space? You can only choose a light fixture that will actually fit in your space. However, that isn't the only size consideration you have. There is a real design decision to be made here. What impact do you want this light fixture to have? Is this a statement (or focal) piece? Or, is this a more functional piece that you want to meld into the rest of the design of the room? Playing with scale is a great tool designers use to add interest and drama to a space.

Photo showing scale with light fixtures.

  1. Style After you've tackled all the major requirements, you get to the fun part! What style is the light fixture going to be? Again, you'll have to remember its usage and its scale, and whether it's decorative or functional (or hopefully both); but, ultimately, it could be any style you wish, from a really clean, modern, simple fixture to a very traditional and overly decorative fixture. This will be dictated by your style, of course, and the style of your space! Make it work seamlessly with the rest of the design. Also, when choosing the style, you will also have other choices regarding the look of the fixture like color, finish, shade style, etc.

Photo showing the awesome style of an entry light fixture.

  1. Placement And, before you can call it done, you must think about the final perfect placement of your fixture. This consideration is really taken into account early on as well, but it's key in the installation process. Exactly where should your fixture be hung, mounted or placed? At what angle or position, and at what height or width apart? It's best to think about lines of sight and any specific axis used in the space. You know, consider if it should be centered on a window, in line with another fixture, at the appropriate standing or seated height, etc.

Photo showing placement of light fixtures.

So, next time you are thinking about switching out a light fixture or adding a new one, first think about these Top 5 Things. There are, of course, several other things to consider with any design element, such as budget, timeline, etc. But this list should get you started and hopefully have you selecting the LIGHT choice, and not the wrong choice!

Images from today's post can be found on DecorPad.

Let's get our paneling on..

and by on, I mean, on the wall! Hehe. We are moving along with the progress of our powder room project, and since we've taken care of the first step, we are ready to add the next layer. In a previous post, we had mentioned a paneling project with a modern twist and that's what we've got in store. So, here's the design concept - a classic crisp white paneling on the lower portion of the powder room walls, but instead of a traditional panel design or a typical bead board design, we have designed a more modern style horizontal plank paneling. You know, how I love a good horizontal design.

As you also know, I'm a huge DIY fan and love the sense of adventure and accomplishment (hopefully) that every DIY project brings. Not to mention that I also have the maybe-a-little-overconfident belief that I can do anything I set my mind to! So, from the beginning, this project was something Logan and I were definitely gonna tackle ourselves. But (yep, here's where the 'but' comes in), I have to be honest and say that I am also a fan of hiring a professional to get a job done, and to get it done right. I've seen too many clients with a "whoops, guess I shoulda called a professional" mistake and, by the time they called me it was too late. So, as a little disclaimer, before you tackle this project, please know that it has some difficult steps, requires some special tools and takes a good amount of time and hard work. However, if you're up for the challenge.. the result is worth it!

But, before we show you the results, lets go back to where it all began!

To get started with this DIY paneling project, we headed to our local home improvement store to pick up some supplies. Fortunately, all we really needed to purchase was the wood, because our already acquired arsenal of DIY supplies will take care of the rest. But, so you can plan accordingly, here's a list of what you'll need.

Supplies:

  • paper and pencil (to plan out your design)
  • a tape measure
  • wood (specific to your panel design)
  • a saw (we used a jig saw, but a circular saw would probably be best)
  • laser level
  • nails, nail gun and compressor
  • wood putty or spackle
  • sand paper
  • drop cloth
  • painter's tape
  • paint
  • paint brushes

With all of these supplies on hand, follow these how-to instructions to create your own unique paneling for any space in your home.

DIY Wall Paneling How-to

  1. Determine Paneling Design. Decide on the look and feel you want and sketch it out. This will help you in the following steps. As you know, we decided on a horizontal wood paneling design. Our design incorporated wood planks of varying widths and depths for added texture. In this step, we determined the plank dimensions that were the most aesthetically pleasing and in what pattern they would look best - see our elevation drawings below. (Side note: I happen to love drafting and using AutoCAD, so don't mind me.. instead you could just as easily use pencil and paper, which I did first anyway).

AutoCad drawing showing paneling design.

  1. Measure and Plan. Determine the measurements and calculations of your paneling design and how it will fit in your space. This will include height, spacing, proportions, size, etc. Therefore, this is also when you'll determine how much material to buy. In this step, we determined the appropriate height of the paneling on the wall for our space, and also took the perimeter measurements of the space to determine how many of each plank size we would need to implement our design. You'll notice that we utilize the wall surface, as part of the panel design, to save on material.
  2. Cut the Wood. After (and only after) you have measured and checked your measurements, you can start to cut your pieces of wood. I suggest doing this step in combination with the next step - cutting each piece, then hanging it, before moving on to cutting the next. It is a lot less confusing than having 20 pieces of precisely cut wood, but not remembering which piece goes where. Not to mention, sometimes measurements change as you go, even just a tad - your saw blade can eat away about 1/8" of your wood as you cut, so remember to allow for that.

First stage of the paneling project.

  1. Hang the Paneling. Again, do this in combination with cutting, as you'll want to double check your measurements between each cut to ensure a perfect fit. Oh and by the way, in our case, this step was easiest when done with two people. One person to hold the laser level (to ensure that the horizontal plank was actually horizontal), while the other person lines up the wood plank on the wall. Then, the first person grabs the nail gun and nails the plank in, while the other person is holding the plank firmly against the wall (careful not to nail any fingers). And, if you get to choose which job is yours - I think the nail gun is the fun job. I love that thing! I do love a power tool every once and awhile. =)

Another progress shot.

  1. Putty and Sand. Once the boards are all attached to the wall, and your paneling design looks complete, it's time to add a painted finish. But, like any painted finish, you want to prepare the surface. In this case, this includes puttying the nail gun holes and the seams where any wood planks meet. Once the putty dries (typically about 24 hours) go to town with some sandpaper to create a beautifully smooth finish. This process took us a few days with the drying time and my perfectionism. So, depending on your project this part may take the longest.

Puttying.

Valerie sanding the putty.

A close up of the top paneling trim.

  1. Paint and Enjoy. Lastly, you want to paint the paneling in whatever color you choose. We went with a warm crisp white in a semi-gloss finish. But first, make sure to use painters tape to trim out and protect any edges you do not want painted. In our case, we taped the blue-grey wall so that when we painted the top of the paneling we wouldn't damage the freshly painted wall. Then, we went ahead and painted the entire paneling area with a brush to ensure that every nook and cranny got covered.

Paneling with the first coat of paint.

So, that's it! Simple, right? Follow this how-to and you can add a personalized architectural feature to any of your spaces.

Below are a few photos of our finished DIY paneling project result. Check it out and let us know what you think!

The finished panel design!

Paneling behind toilet

Paneling from another angle.

A close up of the paneling texture.

The mirror layered over the paneling.

So there you have it - another step completed in our powder room project. But even with the paneling complete, this space is still a blank canvas, so we will, of course, be adding the next layer in the near future. Check back soon for progress!

DIY Striped Wall

So, a few posts ago we showed you a sneak peak at our third floor stair hall wall and the striped painted wall treatment we created to give it a little style. Well, as promised, today's post will show you exactly how we did it with easy to follow step-by-step instructions. However, before we get started, let me say that this project and technique can be modified to fit almost any project and the possibilities are endless - different colors, different finishes, different patterns, etc. So get inspired, be creative and go for it!

If you have a space that needs a little texture or interest, this is a pretty simple, though a tad time heavy (a few days), project that will do the trick.

As with any project, first you need supplies. So, here is a list of what you'll need (what we used)!

Supplies:

  • paint (we used three different variations of the same color - grey, with two different finishes - satin and semi-gloss)
  • paint brushes (one for each color, of course)
  • drop cloth (to protect whatever is below)
  • painters tape (and if your project is anything like ours - possibly a lot of it)
  • a tape measure or ruler
  • pencil
  • laser level (make's the project so easy!)
  • post-its (this is what we used to plan out the color pattern, you'll see below)
  • ladder or step stool (depending on the height of the space - in our case, there was even a point where I was on Logan's shoulders on the stairs to reach a place our ladder just couldn't - I apologize for not having photos of this, it was quite funny, but even so I really don't recommend it, haha!)

Once you have all the supplies, follow the simple steps below to create a happy horizontal wall pattern!

Painted Striped Wall How-to

  1. Determine and Design the Pattern. This can be any pattern you'd like - striped, zig-zag, etc. Here is how we designed the horizontal striped pattern that we decided on. We wanted varied width stripes (some 1", 3", 4", 6", 9", etc.) that we could paint varied colors. So, after a few sketches of how it would look, we started at the top corner of the wall and used our ruler and pencil to start marking the increments down the wall. We like to keep things casual, so we determined the stripe sizes as we went, going with whatever we thought looked best and balanced, making sure not to mark a bunch of narrow or wide stripes in a row.

Blank stair wall

Photo showing the pencil markings.

  1. Tape out the Pattern. This is where you'll use the laser level and painter's tape and probably the ladder. This step did take two people - so for those solo do-it-yourselfers out there, you'll have to find a DIY buddy! One of us held the laser level flush against the wall lined up with the markings, while the other applied the tape in line with the laser! Start at the top of the wall and work your way the entire way down. This is probably the most time consuming part of the process, but once it is done the rest is pretty simple.

Photo showing the pattern taped out on the wall.

  1. Determine the Color Pattern. Once you have the pattern taped out, you have to decide what colors you want to use. In our case, we decided to alternate the three colors randomly but thoughtfully. We did this by assigning a paint color to a post-it color and placing a coordinating post-it tab on each stripe as we planned out the color pattern. This way, we could step back, and see how the color pattern looked based on the colors of the post-its. Sorta silly, but worked well for us!

Showing our post-it pattern method.

  1. Start Painting. Once you've decided on the color pattern, it's go time! You'll obviously need all the painting supplies for this step. It went pretty quickly for us because Logan and I each took a different paint color and worked together. We are such a great team! Anyway, during this step you will most likely have to let the first couple painted stripes dry and come back to the project to continue. Some of the tape lines will be covering portions of the stripes you want to paint. So, you can either use the tape to your advantage and let the taped line be a stripe, or in our case, we let the first paint color dry, then removed the tape, and then taped that painted line in order to paint a new color adjacent to it.

Photo of the painted stripes

Logan painting the stripes.

  1. Pull the tape and voila! Once you've painted your pattern to your liking, let it dry, then go ahead and pull the tape to reveal your masterpiece. At this point, your wall painting project is complete.

The finished wall.

Another angle of the finished stripes.

We went a step further to add a bit of interest (and to add a sense of entry into our studio) by hanging varied size framed art up the stair hall. The artwork is framed photos of urban signage letters that spell out StudioVB, since this stair hall is the entry to our interior design studio!

Hanging the framed art.

Close up of framed art.

Valerie getting ready to hang the last frame.

The finished stair wall!

So, there it is! What do you think? Let us know your thoughts on this project. Do you have any painted pattern projects you'd like to share?

Stairwall Stripes

It's been quite some time since we've published a blog post. But, it's because we've been really busy (which, in business, is always good news), so we don't feel too bad! =) Anyway, it's also been quite some time since we've brought you one of our DIY projects (like this one) that we've tackled for our own home. So, although we actually completed this project a little while ago, we haven't gotten to share it with you.. until now!

This one is a painting project, which is arguably one of the easiest and least expensive DIY projects anyone can do, whether it's freshening up a room with new wall paint, giving a tired old dresser a new life with a fresh splash of color or using paint to create inexpensive artwork! I love paint for that very reason. It's a great way to add interest, color and style to practically anything! But back to the project in today's post - of course, this wasn't just your average painting project. Nope.

We have this stair wall (as many people do), that was big, boring and blank! Check out our the before photo.

Blank stair wall

Anyway, so, it was time to get a little creative and find a solution. Our ideas ranged from a framed art wall to installing reclaimed brick veneer. But ultimately, we went with a less expensive idea and one we could do relatively simply! We decided on a painted wall treatment of horizontal stripes with subtle variation in each stripes width, color and finish. Here's a sneak peak at the result!

Close up of painted stripes.

Overall shot of painted stripes.

And, since we are busy, that's all you get for now! We'll have to save the how-to instructions for a post in the near future, so you too can turn your boring stair wall (or any other wall, or anything really) into something beautiful. Check back soon for our step-by-step guide!

DIY Window Cornice

Our last post showed the beginnings of a window cornice DIY project, but we hadn’t showed you the how-to or the result. So, that’s what we are blogging about today. If you’ve got a window that needs a little love, a quick and easy project, that will add some dynamic interest to your space, is just what the design doctor ordered. Okay, that was cheesy, I know!

Anyway, to get started on the project, first you need supplies, right? So, here is a list of what you need (what we used), most of which you probably have lying around the house somewhere.

Supplies:

  • a lovely fabric (we only used a yard and a half, bonus!)
  • batting (same length)
  • a few pieces of wood (you can even use scrap wood, we did!)
  • a tape measure
  • pencil
  • saw (we used a jig saw)
  • drill
  • screws
  • scissors
  • spray adhesive
  • staple gun and staples (light duty works fine)
  • and L-brackets

Once you have all the supplies, follow the simple steps below to cornice creation!

Upholstered Window Cornice How-to

  1. Determine the dimensions. This is a personal design choice and is totally up to you. But, here are a few tips! The cornice should be slightly wider than the window casing, as it will need to fit around it. It can be as tall as you’d like it to be, but just remember to conceal the unsightly window treatment mechanisms (after all, that’s the true purpose of a window cornice). And I would make the depth of the cornice at least 4 inches; again, it will need to allow room for the window casing and any window treatment mechanisms such as the brackets, blinds, rod, etc.

Diagram showing the size of the cornice.

  1. Construct the cornice frame. This is where you'll use the wood, tape measure, pencil, saw, drill and screws. Measure out the dimensions you’ve determined onto the wood and use an accurate saw to cut into four pieces – the face of the cornice (the biggest piece), two side pieces, and a top piece.

The constructed frame for the cornice.

Image showing that the constructed cornice fits into place.

  1. Cut and wrap the batting. Once you have the cornice constructed, lay out the batting and cut the appropriate amount to cover all three visible sides of the cornice.

Image showing cut batting.

Then, wrap it pretty snug the whole way around. The batting really only needs spray adhesive to attach it to the wood, but you can always use the staple gun just to be sure.

Image showing cornice frame wrapped in batting.

Image showing batting step finished.

  1. Upholster the cornice. Now that the frame and batting are ready, you can start the upholstery part. Yay! Measure twice and cut once the appropriate amount of fabric to cover all three visible sides of the cornice, just like you did with the batting. Quick tip – if your fabric has a pattern (like ours did), make sure you line up the fabric on the cornice to ensure that the finished product will show the portion of pattern you really want. And if it’s striped, you really need to pay attention to aligning it so that the stripes are straight!

Image showing the fabric being cut for the cornice.

Now, it's time for the best, and hardest, part. Start in the center of the cornice. Wrap the fabric and staple one staple on each side, pulling the fabric pretty tight. Work your way outward from there, alternating sides to ensure the face of the cornice is evenly smooth. Do this for the entire cornice. As you come to the sides of the cornice, you may want to cut some of the excess fabric as needed.

Image showing the upholstering of the cornice.

Detail shot of the rolled under edges and the staples.

Here's how it should look when you complete this step!

The finished cornice.

The face of the finished cornice.

  1. Attach L-brackets to the wall. While you are marveling at the beauty of the cornice you’ve just created, prepare the wall for it to be hung. About ¼ of the way in from the outsides of the window casing, screw in two L-brackets that your cornice will rest on.

Logan screwing in the L-brackets.

Image showing the L-bracket placement.

  1. Attach the top frame piece. The top board of the cornice does not need to be upholstered since it will not be visible when hung. Slide the top piece in about ¾ inch down from the top. Make sure you know which is top and bottom, you don’t want to end up hanging the cornice upside-down. Once the top piece is in place, attach it to the upholstered cornice with very small screws (that won’t reach through to the pretty face of the cornice) with small L-brackets (we actually used the same size ones we attached to the wall to hang the cornice).

Logan screwing in the L-brackets on the top piece of the cornice.

Image showing the attached top piece of the cornice.

The finished cornice, before it is hung on the wall.

  1. Hang the cornice, and voila! Slide the cornice into place above the window and reach up under the cornice (it will probably be a tight squeeze) to screw in small screws through the L-brackets that are on the wall, into the top piece of the cornice. That's it!

The finished product hung on the wall.

Image showing the cornice in the space.

So, what do you think? Let us know your thoughts on this project. Does it seem easy enough? Did it improve the look and style of the window?

Well, what really matters is that we love it. And we do! It added that extra layer that was missing. Now, we only have to add a few (or more.. haha) layers - we're thinking backsplash, lighting, etc. We'll be bringing you more DIY projects soon!

Layered Spaces

As an interior designer, I tell people that a well-designed space should have many layers, and it’s the layers that really make a space feel dynamic, aesthetically pleasing and complete. But as a busy business owner, wife and homeowner, it’s the layers that I just haven’t found the time (or the right items) to add to my own spaces. Shame on me! However, this past weekend I was out and about, and since I always have my eyes open for any great design finds to add to our home (or for client projects, of course), I happened to stumble across a beautiful fabric that, as soon as I saw it, I knew would be perfect for a certain DIY project for our home and I just had to have it!

But, before I tell you any more about that, I thought I should clarify what I mean when I say ‘layers’ when referring to designing spaces. This post is for those of you with spaces that you’re pretty happy with, yet still feel there is just something missing – it’s probably in the layers!

Just like any art form, the design of an interior space involves layering.

With oil painting, the first layer might be the ground (surface coating), then the underdrawing/sketch, then the underpainting, then the overpainting, and finally a glaze/varnish to complete the work of art.

In sculpture, the first layer might be an armature, then an overlay of clay, then adding specific textures, and ultimately finishing it with a glaze or a coating.

And, even in music there are layers, starting perhaps with the drum beat, adding in the guitar and other instruments, then layering in the vocals, and maybe even finishing it off with some effects.

Okay, so I’m probably going overboard with the examples of layering - I think you get it! But in interior spaces, it works the same way. Check out my visual explanation below on how I layer a space (I apologize for not including color in these quick sketches - because color does play a huge part in the layering process – but I think you’ll still get the idea!)

Most often the first layer is the 6 planes that create a space – in most cases that’s 4 walls, a ceiling and a floor. So this layer would include the flooring material, the wall color/texture, the ceiling color/material, etc.

Sketch of walls, ceiling and floor.

The next layer often involves adding textiles and surfaces that soften that 6 sided box - things like rugs and window treatments. In these two layers you are setting the stage (or the backdrop) for the space.

Sketch showing walls, ceiling, floor with window treatments and rug.

Now, the next layer usually includes the large furnishings of the room. This might be a sofa, coffee table, desk, etc.

Sketch showing room with sofa and coffee table.

Many times people stop here, with this layer, and that can be why those spaces are leaving something to be desired. But these next two layers are where the space comes alive!

The next layer should include decorative items such as lighting, artwork and design accents like toss pillows, occasional tables, etc.

Sketch of a room with sofa, coffee table, lighting and artwork.

And lastly, all spaces need a little bit of life and personality, and this comes by way of additional décor and accessories.

Sketch of a fully layered room with furnishings, decor and accessories.

So, there you have it! Each new layer builds upon the last and each layer should bring in, and balance, different colors, textures, patterns, etc. resulting in a dynamic, aesthetically pleasing and finished looking space! Hopefully you will find this helpful when pulling together your space.

For now, I’ve run outta time, so check back soon and I’ll be sure to let you in on my great design find (that I mentioned at the beginning of the post) and find out what DIY project we created to add a little layering to one of our rooms! Stay tuned…

Staging Tips!

So, last post I talked about home staging and the incredible benefits homeowners get from taking just a few simple home staging steps. Well, I also mentioned that I might list some tips to get you DIYers started. So, that’s what I’ve got in store for you this post. Check it out below! A sold sign in front of a home

Key Tips to Staging your Home for Sale:

De-clutter – With a staged home, it’s likely to sell fast - so you might as well start packing early! Remove all items that are cluttering your spaces (even donate some to charity). Homebuyers want to see the house, not your things. In this case, as with many things, less is more.

De-personalize – Homebuyers want to envision themselves in your home, so let them do so by taking down personal photographs, personal religious icons, personal style décor, etc. You want any buyer that walks through your door to feel at home!

Make Repairs – You know that broken door hinge you’ve been meaning to fix – do it! And also fix any other tiny dents, dings and broken things around the house. These will be big distractions for homebuyers.

Update – Most homebuyers are looking to buy a new home that is move-in ready. But, they are not looking to buy your old carpet and lighting fixtures with it. So, go ahead and do the little bit of work to update any fixtures and finishes that are out-of-date. These outdated aspects of the home scream “lots of work to be done”. And don’t worry, you’ll definitely see a good return on this!

Clean – Wash, scrub and dust all parts of the home until it sparkles. Think about it, this might be the last time you have to. A super clean house makes a great impression, and tells buyers that the home was well kept!

Stage – Lastly, stage the home to be tasteful, beautiful, and appealing to almost anyone. Buyers want to see functionality and how they can use the space, so give them hints of that through-out. Here is where you’ll definitely need professional help. Stagers know what the trends are, what buyers are currently looking for, and what has been proven to show best. So, let us help. Contact us today!

Sending Handmade (and eco-friendly)

It’s been several days since Christmas, but here on our blog, we’re still catching you up on all the pre-holiday fun we had. Another staple of the holidays are the Christmas wishes sent to family and friends; whether it be an email, a mailed card, a family update letter, or what have you, many people dig out their address book (or iPhone in our case) and gather a list of all those they hope to wish season’s greetings to. I must admit, I do love the idea of shooting someone a little note to say hello or simply that you’re thinking of them, but sending Christmas cards can often be overwhelming, and for us, this year was no different! Logan and I were feeling crafty one night in December and he says to me, “Why don’t we make our Christmas cards?” which, I should mention, is not unusual as we have done this several times before, and so, I happily agree. But, I’m not sure we knew what we were getting into this time.

As an artist, I had recently been interested in mosaics, having been inspired by my aunt who has been creating beautiful credit card mosaics for the past several years. Anyway, I had been saving all cardboard packaging from products we buy at the grocery store (cereal boxes, tissue boxes, etc.) in hopes of cutting them into tiny squares and reusing them as my medium to create recycled mosaic artwork. So, with the huge stack of these broken down boxes staring us in the face, Logan suggests this method for creating our Christmas cards. So, off we began and let the holiday spirit inspire us! Check out some of the results and our easy instructions below.

How-to: Recycled Mosaic Cards

  1. Gather supplies - card stock, scissors, craft glue and post-consumer cardboard packaging.

Post-consumer recycled cardboard packaging

  1. Cut and fold card stock to desired size and orientation to create the actual card.
  2. Cut lots of small shapes (squares, triangles, etc.) from the cardboard packages - these are the mosaic pieces.

Handmade recycled mosaic present card in progress

  1. Organize the mosaic pieces into colors and patterns for ease of creative flow. =)
  2. Layout mosaic pieces to form simple seasonal imagery (presents, snowmen, Christmas trees, wreaths, etc.)

Handmade recycled mosaic snowman card in progress

  1. After you're happy with your design - glue the mosaic pieces down. We use scrapbooking tweezers, which help this go smoothly!
  2. Write your message inside the card and sign, seal and send! That's it!

Handmade recycled mosaic Christmas tree card

Now, as I write this, I must be clear – this DIY project is really super simple, inexpensive and a lot of fun, and for many great reasons (recycling materials, being crafty, and giving handmade gifts – just to name a few), I hugely encourage you to create your own greeting cards. But, on the other hand (the logical one), at the volume of nearly 50 cards, you can imagine the huge undertaking this became and the smidge of regret we had for taking on such a project. =) But on the bright side, Logan and I got to spend a good deal of quality “craft time” together and when all was said and done, they turned out very sweet and the best part is the lovely and very complimentary feedback we’ve received from our recipients; making it all well worth it! And before you say, “well, thanks for the idea, but Christmas is over.” This handmade recycled mosaic card project works for any occasion… so get crafty!