Barbara’s Blog

Breaking Up With Your House~~WHAT?

Posted by on Jun 3, 2016 in Blog | 0 comments

Breaking Up With Your House~~WHAT?

 

I was watching TV the other night and a commercial came on that got me thinking about the process of selling a home and how emotional a process it can be.  There is hope, though, if you prepare for this process; it can relieve some of the time and stress involved.  Consider this scenario; the commercial may be familiar to you…

“YOU AND YOUR FAMILY LOVE THIS HOUSE ~~ YOU GAVE IT A NAME ~~ YOU NAMED IT “OUR HOME.”

You may have lived in it for 10 years, maybe longer, but over that time you put YOUR personality and style into it.  It has become a retreat, a place to relax at the end of busy days; an emotional connection has been made over this time.  You find now that a decision has to be made and selling “Our Home” because of  a job relocation, downsizing or another life changing situation isn’t always an easy decision to make.  It’s time to “BREAK UP WITH YOUR HOME” you have to change your mindset from HOME to HOUSE.  You have to think of your home as a house, a commodity that you can market and sell.  To increase the sellability and profitability on this house,  these changes  can be a major factor to bring a quick and profitable sale:

  1. Transform the house from taste specific to a more neutral style to appeal to the most amount of potential buyers.
  1. Buyers look for “turn-key,” well maintained and updated condition.
  1. You need to create an emotional connection for these buyers so they can make it their “NEW HOME.”  You want that  FIRST IMPRESSION to wow buyers and create that important emotional connection.

As a Home Staging and Interior Redesign Specialist, and owner of Creatively Transformed Home Staging and Interior Redesign, I can help make the transformation needed to showcase a house and get it sold, so you can move on to create another “HOME” that you can “LOVE WHERE YOU LIVE” all over again!!

for-sale-sign-sold

Outdoor Living Spaces-Bringing the Inside-Outdoors

Posted by on May 3, 2016 in Blog | 0 comments

Outdoor Living Spaces-Bringing the Inside-Outdoors

With the temperature climbing, producing warm, sunny days, you may be making plans for your outdoor family-friendly space.  Whether you are thinking outdoor dining/entertaining, a poolside retreat or a beautiful flower garden, begin by formulating a plan and envisioning how your finished space will look and feel.  This helps to make the best decisions in designing your outdoor retreat.

Top influencers dominating outdoor living landscape this year, according to Trex Company, a wood-alternative railing and decking manufacturer, are integrated benches and outdoor kitchens, with theme settings becoming popular as well.  The look of the tropics seems to be dominating outdoor design themes, bringing in the ambiance of exotic island getaways with Tiki torches, cabanas, waterfalls and deck boards featuring warm colors and multi-colored streaking with inspiration from tropical hardwoods.  There seems to be an increased interest, also, in multi-level decks, curves, cantilevers, pergolas and walls to create a three-dimensional look,  while defining different functional areas.  Aesthetics plays a huge part in many deck-building decisions, but high-performance and low maintenance materials are important to homeowners looking to spend more time enjoying their outdoor space than having to maintain it.

OutdoorKItchenBlog1 bull-outdoor-kitchen1

With the addition of outdoor kitchens, dining nooks and fireplaces, integrated benches with colorful cushions and pillows, storage components and lighting are adding interest and function to these outdoor spaces.  Choosing the right furniture pieces will help bring a fresh new look to your outdoor space, and there are great options to create and redefine those spaces.

OutdoorKitchenBlog2 northcapemelrosecurvedsectional

Sectional seating is a very popular option now as it is very versatile, redefining a space in minutes.  You can literally go from close configuration for poolside conversation to strategically placed seating, creating an open look to encourage mingling.  A pair of garden stools can create a unique coffee table or if extra seating is necessary, they can handle the job easily.  Accessories or a brightly colored accent piece can bring pizzazz into the design, or try a tiled bistro table or Papasan chair.  Pillows, cushions, umbrellas and outdoor rugs and curtains can transform a weather-worn space into a refreshed and renewed outdoor oasis.  Be sure to add in those special accents – lanterns, wall décor, statues and wind chimes – treasures that are uniquely you, letting your personality shine through. OutdoorKitchenBlog3

Relax and enjoy the upcoming spring days and evenings outdoors, with the anticipation of the lazy days of summer coming just around the corner~~SO YOU CAN LOVE THE HOME YOU LIVE IN – INDOORS AND OUT~~

Vanishing Walls~Open Up the Look

Posted by on Mar 31, 2016 in Blog | 0 comments

Vanishing Walls~Open Up the Look

In new construction houses or in older houses, do you notice that walls seem to be vanishing to make way for open-plan layouts, producing multi-purpose areas?  In many cases kitchens, dining rooms and family/living rooms flow seamlessly into one another.  This creates a beautiful, spacious look and feel, but you may ask “How do you decorate this one large multi-purpose space?  How can this kitchen, dining room, and family room be decorated to create a cohesive look showcasing these three spaces?”

  1. Color

The key to creating this open floorplan is continuity.  Wall color is the No.1 element for achieving continuity.  The same “warm” or “cool” color should be used throughout the space.  Another choice would be to paint architectural elements, chair rails, soffits or pilasters in a variation of the main color, from light to dark.

Large furnishings are most successful when chosen in a mono-chromatic (using any shade, tint, or tone of one color) palette; for example, three shades of green.  This creates an easy flow, with the eye travelling throughout  the space without interruption.  Using pops of the same color, for example, the fabric color for the sofa in the living room and chair-seat fabric at the dining table, to the fabric for the shade on a table lamp creates a comforting sense of continuity, moving from one space to another.

pic1

  1. Flooring  

In a open floorplan living space, keep the flooring material consistent.  Changing flooring material will chop up the flow of the space.  Laying wood planks on the diagonal, or setting tiles in a herringbone pattern can create a different look, but the main thing is to keep it the same throughout the space.  Layering rugs on top of hardwood or tile floors can soften the look and add warmth, while also identifying the rooms also.  Rugs are very versatile; they add personality, color, texture and style, and they anchor the furniture arrangement on an area rug, creating a conversation zone in this open space.

  1. Art/Accessories

The use of artwork and accessories enhances the space by using these items in repeating or contrasting tones of the existing color.  Add texture with picture frames, and add interest by not only hanging artwork on the walls, but bring it into a space by placing pieces on a ledge or tabletop. Decorative folding screens  are problem solvers too.pic2

  1. Furniture Arrangement

Furniture arrangement is critical in open floorplans.  Separate but useful ‘zones’ can be defined by a simple sofa table or sideboard behind a sofa, connecting family room with dining room.  Bring furniture “off the walls” to create a conversation, reading or dining space.  This produces a feeling of light and airy.  Open plans need unity so keep color and materials to a minimum.

pic3

  1. Window Treatments

To further unify the space, choose window treatments that work well in the entire interior, not just one particular zone, and this will further unify the space.  Hang window treatment 3” – 6” beyond the side of the  window frame for a grander look and more light.  To create the illusion of a taller window,  mount rod 4” – 6” above the window frame or halfway between ceiling and window frame.

Open floor plans sometimes can be a challenge to decorate, but the unity and flow of the spaces are great for entertaining and are warm and inviting.  So, providing the wall or walls you would like to remove are not load-bearing, or the issue can be treated in another way, go for it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Proper Furniture Placement-It Balances the Room

Posted by on Feb 29, 2016 in Blog | 0 comments

Proper Furniture Placement-It Balances the Room

When a room is completely empty is the best time to plan the layout of the furniture that will be used in the room.            

 

 

 

 

This way you can get a more accurate sense of the room’s natural strengths.  The furniture needs to be arranged so it enhances the architectural details of the room.  Some questions to ask yourself are:

  • How should the furniture be arranged to draw attention to the room’s best characteristics?
  • What are the features that immediately catch your eye?
  • Consider traffic patterns in the room.  Is there a large window or a fireplace?
IMG_1452 IMG_1450

When deciding on the furniture layout of a room, balance of the furniture to be used in the room, along with size and visual weight should be considered.  All sides of the room must appear to be carrying an equal amount of “weight” distributed evenly.

IMG_1449 IMG_1448

The term “weight,” as used in design, is described as “visual weight,” or how heavy or massive a piece of furniture appears to be to the human eye.  One piece of furniture may appear to be heavier because it is larger, more colorful, darker or has a busy pattern.  Use pieces with less visual weight in a small room.  Chairs or couches that are white have less visual weight than dark chairs and couches.  Glass furniture, such as tables, take up less space visually and they are good for small rooms.  Heavier fabrics and patterned fabrics give furniture a heavier feel.

In a room with an architectural feature, for example a fireplace, arrange furniture so the focus is on the center of attention, the fireplace.  The eye should fall upon the focal point.

The axis of a room deals with the elevation of the room, ensuring that it dominates the eye – from floor to ceiling.  If the focal point is a fireplace, draw the eye upward by adding a tall piece on the mantel, a piece of art above the mantel or maybe a mirror resting on the mantel.  Building up the axis on the opposite wall will balance out the room.  Use objects that are of equal weight, as the objects on the opposite wall should be high enough to establish their own axis, perhaps a tall wall unit, or in the example above, the entryway and furniture with drapes behind.

Proper placement of furniture and planning the layout carefully is essential to produce a practical and visually appealing design, enabling the homeowner to sit back and relax in an inviting, beautifully put together space!!

Don’t feel you can put a visually balanced designed room together?  Give Creatively Transformed a call – we can take the stress out of decorating and bring your design inspiration to reality!

Company’s Coming – A Quick Holiday Refresh

Posted by on Dec 1, 2015 in Blog, Project Pics | 0 comments

Company’s Coming – A Quick Holiday Refresh

So you get a call saying that you will be having guests for the upcoming holidays and they are staying 4 days!  As if it’s not crazy enough with holiday preparations underway and in full-swing ~~ now the attic bedroom, in its’ disheveled state, needs a really quick refresh!!!

Three and a half weeks before Christmas I got a distress call from a client with just this issue.  Her daughter and son-in-law, along with three children, were coming in for four days at Christmas!  They needed a budget-friendly refresh, and they need it quickly.

IMG_0872

IMG_0884

From the pictures, it is obvious that this is a design challenge.  How can you place a queen size bed, along with two twin beds and a pack-n-play in this 12’ by 17’ room and leave space for accessing the beds?  Furniture height was a consideration too because where the eaves meet the perimeter side walls the height was only a little over 5’.  Also, the room has three small windows that don’t provide much in the way of natural light.  The only other source of light was from a floor lamp alongside the bed.  A favorite area rug was staying, which determined the color choices in the room, and a favorite piece of artwork was a must for the wall above the bed.

First step was to give the space a fresh, new coat of paint and make any repairs to the walls.  For adequate lighting, 6 high hats were installed and both the headboard and footboard were removed from the bed, which visually opened up the space.

image1

 

Two small side tables were brought in for both sides of the bed, but the real challenge was placing the two twin size beds in a way the all could be accessed easily enough.  Bunkbeds would have solved that problem, but because of the height restriction on the short walls where the eaves met the shorter walls, that was not even an option.  With some researching for comfortable, size-appropriate beds, I found two items that would work very well…twin size CHAIR BEDS!image2 image3

When opened, they could be placed head-to-head along the long wall, just fitting in the space in front of the closet.  When not in use, they could be folded up to provide seating for guests.  It worked great and now the room looks neat and organized, but when the need arises, pop open the beds and everyone gets a good nights’ sleep!  Table lamps were added and new bedding purchased to tie the look together very nicely.

The hallway got a new coat of paint and a storage/linen cabinet, and the bathroom also got the benefit of this “refresh”.  With the wallpaper removed, walls repaired and repainted, tub repainted, and a new tiered shelf for toiletries,  the bathroom now looks updated and refreshed.

Layford Bath3Layford Bath1

 

image6image5

 

This attic bedroom now looks neat and organized, just waiting for guests come for a short stay!

Enjoy the holidays~~~

A Thanksgiving Family Tradition

Posted by on Nov 7, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

A Thanksgiving Family Tradition

Thanksgiving is such a favorite American holiday, a very heavily traveled holiday, and in many families there are special traditions that are repeated year after year because it just wouldn’t seem the same without them.  Here is one of mine that takes preference over all others in our family ~~ Barbara’s Applesauce ~~

 

 

 

 

 

Our traditional Thanksgiving meal is much like many others, starting with a beautifully set table (for me the presentation is a must for the dining experience)

Gobble up the tablescape

Gobble up the tablescape

table3

The fabulous Fall colors are so welcoming

with turkey and gravy, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, breaded cauliflower, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin bread.  There is one item that can absolutely not be taken off our menu – any time – ever; APPLESAUCE!!  Our Thanksgiving meal would just not be the same without it!

A big question in the family this time of year is “Where are we going for Thanksgiving this year? and Aunt Barbara’s making applesauce, right?”  It is a big job because I like to make small individual jars for all the kids, which now number 14!  One year I made a special jar for my tallest fan, and I have to say you would have thought the kid won lotto – the smile on his face was priceless.  He’s in his second year of college now, but looking forward to coming home at Thanksgiving, there is a jar with his name on it!!

The recipe is very simple, with no special ingredients other than the obvious, but I think because it is such a favorite and it’s made with love, I guess that’s the secret ingredient – Made with Love.

Grandma’s/Aunt Barbara’s Applesauce

Preparing the ingredients

 

Ingredients:

8 – 10 Apples   Mainly Macoun or Macintosh, but I like to throw in a few Granny Smith’s, a few Gala and/or  Honeycrisp

½ cup                 Sugar

2 tbs                    Cinnamon

I try to get large apples because they are easier to peel (never could get used to the Apple Peeler).

Peel apples and core them, then cut up in small chunks and cook in a large pot with  enough water to cover the bottom so apples won’t stick while simmering. (Be careful not to add too much water because the sauce will be very thin). Simmer until apples are soft, the consistency of potatoes when mashing.  I add the sugar and cinnamon at this time and you can test it out to see if it needs more sugar or cinnamon.  From the pot, I put the mixture in a blender (a  little at a time) and blend until smooth.  I pour the hot sauce into the jars, cover and let cool.  The mason jars will seal tight as it cools. 8 – 10 large apples would make a quart jar and maybe another smaller jar.  Try and see what works and tastes best for you an It’s a lot of work but so worth it to see everyone enjoying it.

If you do decide to try this recipe, I would love to hear how it turned out, and if you got really adventurous and added other ingredients, let me know, always open for a variation on a recipe.

Most of all, enjoy your Thanksgiving Day meal, wherever it  may be,  and be thankful for all the blessings we do have and to be surrounded by family and friends.

table4

Candles bring warmth and beauty

 


pumpkin

TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THIS HOLIDAY SPECIAL – 1 HOUR DECORATING QUICK FIX OR CONSULTATION FOR THE SPECIAL HOLIDAY PRICE OF $49.00.  CALL BEFORE NOVEMBER 18 AND RECEIVE A HOLIDAY GIFT…

A Decorative Folding Screen Solves a Decorating Dilemma

Posted by on Oct 30, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

A Decorative Folding Screen Solves a Decorating Dilemma

A client asked me for a solution to this design dilemma:  In their vacation home the main level of the home displayed an open floor plan, consisting of the kitchen in the front, flowing into the dining area, and the great room, with its cathedral ceiling at the back.  A kitchen island defines the kitchen/dining area.

The overall space is painted a pale wheat color which is very neutral, but the great room, from the style of the window treatments and furniture, displays a country casual style.  The dining space and kitchen lean more towards an Italian/Tuscan style, from the window treatment on the kitchen window and sliding door in the dining space.

The decorating dilemma was this:  Can the two different window treatments and furniture styles, in two different patterns and colors for these spaces co-exist?  How can the spaces be defined in this open floor plan?  I presented them with two solutions:  using a free-standing decorative room divider/folding screen or simple cornices installed at the point on the wall between the dining space and living room.  Both of these design accessories would certainly solve the problem and add a decorative element to define the spaces.

 

The art of Monet brings color and function.

Folding Screens offer incredible design options.  They are frequently overlooked, but certainly offer a lot of decorating versatility.   As a problem-solver, folding screens can be used to cover up pipes, radiators, an unattractive view from a nearby window.  Perhaps one of the best ways for folding screen use is to define open spaces in an open-concept space.  It can add architecture where there is none.  A typical example is in a space where a 9 ft ceiling soars to a cathedral ceiling.  A folding screen can balance out the room visually with its’ height.  Best yet, they can be found online in every style, taste and budget.  Here, the art of Monet brings color and function.

This is a dual purpose divider.

This is a dual purpose divider.

Decorative iron divider.

Decorative iron divider.

 

Cornices are a very budget friendly solution for this dilemma also, and in this instance it was the best solution, simply because of space and furniture placement issues.  The ceiling over the kitchen/dining area is typical 9 ft, but soars to cathedral height between the dining area and family room.  At that point I installed black wrought iron cornices at each side; a simple, inexpensive solution but absolutely addressed the issue and solved the problem.

Wrought iron cornice.

Wrought iron cornice.

Another beautiful option.

Another beautiful option.

PROBLEM SOLVED~~~~~~~HAPPY AND SATISFIED CLIENTS!

Autumn “Welcome Home” Décor

Posted by on Sep 30, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

Autumn “Welcome Home” Décor

Nothing says “Welcome Home” “Come in” more than the beautiful gifts of Fall that decorate the front door or porch of a home.  From baskets of colorful mums, fall grasses, cornstalks and pumpkins all displayed on the porch or alongside the front door comes an invitation to come in.

Fall welcome wagon

Fall welcome wagon

Door wreaths are so welcoming!

Door wreaths are so welcoming!

 

With rich, vibrant colors,  luscious textures in fabrics and many different styles, you can decorate in your own style and bring the “Welcome Home” into your home.

Fabulous Fall pillows

Fabulous Fall pillows

 

PillowCollection - Sunset

Leaf-peeping pillow

~       In a family room, accent pieces such as pillows, throws, accessories and candles in fall fragrances can create the warm and inviting feel for family and guests.

Cozy and colorful

Cozy and colorful

~       In the dining room, as guests gather at the table set with beautifully  detailed linens, colored goblets, and fall-inspired dinnerware, the senses delight in the aromas of dinner and everyone is seated – dinner is served~

Save me a seat at this table!

Save me a seat at this table!

FallDishesFB

Awesome Autumn on a plate

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

~       Classic design of fall bedding collections with rich jewel tones and timeless patterns, creates a dream retreat that is inviting and where you can envision waking up to each morning.

Seasonal accessories such as large standing vases with fall florals, faux leaf garland, candle holders with leaf accents, even carpet runners or area rugs in the vibrant colors of fall bring the “Welcome Home” feel to a space.

Let Mother Nature decorate for you this fall season, “So You Can Love the Home You Live In.”  

FallPumpkinsFBBlog

 

Color It Welcoming – Front Door Curb Appeal

Posted by on Aug 31, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

Color It Welcoming – Front Door Curb Appeal

As a Home Stager, I always stress the importance of curb appeal as an attention-getter to attract potential buyers to a home that is for sale.  If the exterior of the home and landscaping are well maintained and manicured, it sparks interest from buyers and entices them to proceed up the  driveway to the front entry way and the focal point, the “Front Door.”

For years, specific colors have been the front runners when choosing the color for the front door:  white, one of the more popular colors, but other choices such as dark green, dark blue, red and dark brown stains have all had a chance to welcome visitors.  This is not to say that there is no room for change.  Today’s front entranceway doors can display a color that looks more welcoming and fresh and expresses the personality of the people living inside.  (Check out this link to read about what the color of a front door says about the people living inside!).

Many times you see a front door and shutters that are matching in color, usually in white, black, dark blue or green, and possibly dark red.  For those houses that do not have shutters alongside the windows, more creativity can come into play in regards to front door color selections.

Red Door

Red Door

  • Red doors appear welcoming and elegant, but taking the red color a little further, Pantone’s color of the year, “Marsala,” brings a more modern, warm look to the door.  Want a color that is more edgy?  Try coral, tangerine or possibly pink!
Pinking it up!

Pinking it up!

  • Deep, rich colors such as blue or green also give a welcoming appearance to the front door, but for those that like to take a different approach, adding a spark of electricity such as a bold yellow or a brighter blue can create the desired look. A deep blue/gray is an elegant choice also, but for chic sophistication, choose the richness of navy or black.
DkBlueDoorColor

Dark Blue

  • Light colors for the door are another option, but take into consideration the color of the home’s siding or brick, and the shades of the plantings surrounding the home.  If the color of the siding, brick or plantings is darker, then a pop of color on the front door will make the home come alive, but not appear too overwhelming.
  • Dress the door with shiny decorative hardware and place a welcome mat in front.  Painting the door doesn’t take very much time or expense, but makes such an impact to curb appeal.

Got a Design/Home Staging Question?   Just Ask…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summertime Living

Posted by on Jul 30, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

Summertime Living

Summer 2015 is half over.  Summer is way too short not to make the most of it. Summertime and the living is easy. . . the long, lazy days of summer are here. Beach weather, watermelons, fruit-flavored sorbets, sand-between-your-toes, fireworks, barbecues, flip flops and bathing suits come to mind for most people when they think of summer. But life is busy and these days, many of us find ourselves wishing we’d made more time for our favorite fun-in-the-sun  activities: a picnic in the park,  catching lightning bugs in the backyard, or a night out at the outdoor movies. You know… the stuff memories are made of.

Beach campfires are perfect for making S'mores.

Beach campfires are perfect for making S’mores.

This is a great time to evaluate your outdoor space.  Are you satisfied with your patio, deck, garden, outdoor kitchen?  How comfortable are your chairs?  Is your outdoor furniture looking shabby, particularly under the bright, unforgiving glare of the sun? pool_1

If your furniture is actually falling apart, it may be time to retire it. If it’s structurally sound, however, no matter what it’s made of, there’s probably a way to freshen it up. For example, spray paint is the answer for wood, wicker, and metal. Most pieces can also be revived with a thorough washing, scrubbing, and sanding. If the finish is beyond saving, or if you’re just sick and tired of it, you can recover it—by slipcovering or reupholstering. Or maybe all you need are the right accessories—a few throws and pillows—to bring your furniture back to life. You can bring your old garden furniture to new glory.

ddeck

Go with an umbrella that’s a lighter, neutral color. Otherwise a bright colored umbrella will look faded and dull by the end of the summer.

 

Make sure you have a place to store pillows and chair covers when you’re not outside. Storing them during your indoor time will preserve the look and life of the pillows. Also, cushions with patterns on both sides can be flipped over.

If you’re buying a chaise lounge for stretching out your legs, make sure you spend a lot of time trying it out in the store before plunking down your credit card. There’s nothing worse than an uncomfortable chaise lounge.

eclipseslingchaise

Retailers are offering great sales in August.  Check out the end-of-season clearance sales both in-store and online.  Once you’ve got a great new outdoor space, pick up some food and have yourselves an “End of Summer” shindig!  Happy Shopping!