Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Guest Room Reno... Downsizing? Start the process of staging your house!

This post is about how easy it is to change a few things and give a room a whole new look.  You have to think outside the box, if you will... move around some furniture, art, lamps.  Whether you need a new look or, like us, you are thinking... "why do we need this much space", it is always fun to update your home.  

A little background before I dive into the design stuff... ( you can skip to the bottom, but you might enjoy how we got here).

We have been "empty nesters" as most will call it for over 6 years now.  The home we purchased to raise our children was a mindful planned out venture.... best school district, close to your temple for easy car pooling to hebrew school, and their friends in both plus right here in our neighborhood.  I realize what a luxury this is!  Now this house has too many rooms... we keep their bedroom doors closed most of the time.  So basically we are living in our bedroom/bathroom and the first floor.

When each of our daughters moved out; whether it was to move into their first college dorm room, apartment on campus, locally or in NYC with friends, we always did what we could to help... and boy do we feel we have moved them enough for a lifetime!

The issue is that with every one of their moves, we gained more STUFF!  As they moved out on their own as adults, a lot was left behind... much due to the fact that one moved across country with as much of her belongings that would fit in her civic!  The other is in a NYC apartment... need I say more?!

We are both still working, so location for us is still really good for our commutes. Mine is down the stairs and to the left.  My husband; some of you know as my Handy Husband, has a reasonable drive to the Shore.  As we consider where to "move" where do we "want to be" we have started to "downsize our belongings"... and over time ridding ourselves of items we really do not need or have purpose for - such as VHS tapes of Disney movies!  LOL.  With Disney Plus, we can always access the kids old favorites for when the time comes to share them with their kids, if we are so blessed.  Old printers, an end table, hangers upon hangers... really trying to minimize what we keep.


OKAY - design posts... getting to it!

As we ponder these questions we have started looking at locations and some homes for sale.  This means we need to be ready to put our house on the market if we are to find something we love - we will need to act very quickly!

So, another bedroom renovation to show you!  It is the last room in the house that still had wall to wall carpet.  I mean... what else were we going to do on a rainy Memorial Day weekend towards the end of (we hope!) Pandemic?!!

We didn't fully re-decorate, this room was in pretty good shape.  We moved the furniture around, packed up the stuffed animals and books on the shelves and tore up the carpet!  We added this fantastic area rug we found online, changed the bedding, threw out the old ugly bedskirt and bought some new accent pillows.  

*Craziest thing is that this area rug is the same as one that we fell in love with in a house we saw when looking at options .... by chance, compared the images we took and it is exactly the same!  

How lucky was that!

Take a look....

A few new decorative pillows and it looks like a new room!  Minus the 30 year old TV!  Sorry, again I did not take true before photos - these before shots show the room a little after as we got started...


BEFORE SHOTS



Worst part was tearing the carpet out and all the staples that had to be removed from the floor.

The best part?  An amazing hard wood oak floor underneath, that we think was never exposed!


AFTER THE RUG WAS REMOVED.... same bedding, pillows, etc...



This just was not enough for me... I wanted this room to "feel better" so when someone walked in to see it they would think

.... I want to stay here!


We moved the dressers to one wall, will eventually hang the mirror.



FINAL SHOT

Moving around the dressers made a difference in how much larger the room feels!  

With the addition of new bedding (a quilt set I designed for a Wal-Mart private label program, new decorative pillows, a new cushion for the chair (actually the original red one I bought...) swapping the throws, nightstand and the lamp from another room, buying an accent rug... the room came to life!  

I am going to take down the shelving for a more open look and I did add that cute Frieda framed piece I found at Home Sense! 






Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Paint and Color Cures for Old Outdoor Furniture

 We all spend money on things that later we look at and think ... I wish this looked as good as when I first bought it!

As the weather improves, and people are able to start to "get back at it" being vaccinated from Corona virus and feeling a bit more free to socialize, our desire to be outside and with friends and family grows.  I feel it is a luxury to have outdoor living space; with my pots of flowers and a deck to relax and entertain.  I do not take these things for granted!  

I have these two white resin adirondack chairs and have always loved the "look" of them, as a relaxing seating area out in the yard.  Over time they have weathered... and we have power-washed them year after year.  When you look at the cost of replacing, you think... what????

I am all about "re-purposing, re-working and re-inventing" in every aspect of my life; my good friends and certainly my family can attest to this.  I am just thrilled with how they came out!

Here is the before images of the chairs and little side table.  We used Rustoleum Ultra Cover Paint and Primer.  You cannot believe how many colors are available!  

Taking my daughter's advice I watched a few You Tube videos and learned that there is a great tool that saves your "trigger finger"... it attaches to the top of the spray can and has an actual trigger that allows you to get an even coat and no paint on your hands!


We chose a color to match back to some of the accessories and decorative pillows we purchased for the deck furniture.... we wanted a POP of color!


Choose a spot to paint; lay out a tarp.  You can used one of the lightweight plastic tablecloths you get at the dollar store, or even an old shower curtain liner.

Place your items on the tarp - take note of the wind.... 
THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT!  You want to be "downwind" of the paint as you spray the items you are re-purposing!

Be sure to move with the lines of the item; long steady strokes and as even as you can get them so you do not have any drippings. Have a paper towel nearby to "dab" them if needed - you need to do this right away before they dry.

You can see from the photo here that the table was very badly stained.  We powerwashed all of the items before we started and made sure to use a towel to dry them all thoroughly.






Once you have finished painting all of the items you are re-purposing.... let the items sit out to dry.  I love to see the lines from the paint; like shadows!  This restoration was quick and easy!  You can bring anything back to life with a little paint!

Now you can see below how pretty this color is in our garden and how well it goes with the new accessories we added to our deck!

We plan to put in some more flowering bushes behind these for a nice backdrop... for now we love looking out as this pop of color! 




Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Throw away those winter blues for a new shade of happy. Allow yourself to get inspired!

Winter blues can be cured with a great day of warmer weather, as we have had this week! With everyone starting to feel a little more freedom we still continue to update our homes; want something fresh and new!
  This time of year we are all so done with winter and the cold, especially here in the Northeast!    We have all been inside and mostly isolated for a year, looking at the same four walls.  People have been more inclined to update their rooms with a fresh look, so they can feel good about their space, and now that they can start to see their friends, and have company again,  they will oohh and aaahh over how nice everything looks when they visit.
We all want a fresher look, cleaner, brighter and updated.  
An easy way to rejuvenate a room is with a fresh coat of paint.  I cannot walk into a paint store without gathering and collecting paint swatches, making new palettes which awakens the need in me for change!

Contractors will tell you that this is one of their craziest times. Especially now that Covid is more under control and people are less afraid and getting vaccinated.  Contractors can hardly keep up with the requests for quotes, let alone the job.  Many people hope to make changes to the inside, before they all start working outside; spending time in the nicer weather on outdoor projects. DIY stores are putting out flowers and bulbs and this "Spring cleaning" idea allows us to get ready for that and makes us crave for something fresh! 

  The big question most ask me as a designer is "where do I get started?"
Allow yourself to be inspired... all you have to do is look at what makes you feel good, what color is it, is it flowers that have a scent that is reminiscent of a time that makes you smile?
Living near a great small downtown... Princeton, NJ gives me the opportunity to walk around town, the University campus and the great stores! Grab a coffee, wander around streets of this historic town... the architecture, the art museum - so much culture here.... allow myself to get inspired!

 Palmer Square is exactly as it sounds, a "square" block that surrounds a "green"... a patch of grass where in the summer they offer concerts and movies. I always head down to this quaint, very unique home store in town called Homestead... They recently moved to a new location just outside of town, and the beautiful items they have are so inspiring.  They have a great way of pulling things together, offering very unique items and making you want and feel the need to buy something new to add to your home! If lucky you can catch the owners there and hear about a new piece he designed and repurposed from some very cool antique! This is a great source of inspiration for me, something always catches my eye- colors or the way things are put together that might work in my house.  


As you saw from one of my previous posts, I have a favorite art gallery store located in the heart of Princeton; Cranbury Station Gallery. If that didn't help my longing for springtime and flowers, and inspire me to create, nothing would!  Thankfully they were able to stay open in spite of the lockdown. Stop in, browse the art, the owner is a wonderful painter!

 So if you too are inspired by your surroundings, and crave something fresh... go down to your local paint store, pick out a few chips in colors that ignite your soul, stop in to your favorite store and buy something that makes you smile - paint the room, move some things around - add that new item you bought (doesn't have to be anything big to make a difference, even just a candle) and brighten up your home!

Friday, May 7, 2021

Personal Space to unwind... creating a home gym

Designing in a Pandemic.... 

Who ever thought it would be over a year and we would still be here, at home, staring at the same walls. For most, we saw things in our houses that had to change; whether this was cleaning out a closet, tossing clothing that we never wear, haven't worn in years or just didn't like anymore... or the simple exercise of cleaning those little corners or the rooms you never spent more time in. 

We looked more closely at how we surround ourselves, what a room "feels like".
We asked ourselves if this was the "space" that we wanted to be in; that made us feel good. 
I started working from home a few short months before everything closed down. I had a bit of a head start setting up an "in house" office... I showed the make over in an earlier post. 

The issue with working from home is that it is allways there; no, that is not a typo, LOL! 
I quickly realized you need to set boundaries for yourself, hours you will work, eat.. and not just sit at your desk endlessly. My office faces my front yard, so I would see my neighbors walking their dogs or out for a stroll and knew I had to carve time out of my day to get some fresh air... even in the dead of winter. 

What changes did you make? To your routine, your house, yourself?!!! What questions did you ask yourself, what did you need...
I was commuting to NYC every day for work, taking Soul Cycle class four times a week, seeing friends, and clients. This routine worked for me. In Dec. 2019 I made a job change and started working from home.... I needed to find a new routine. I joined a second gym, belonging to one at home already, and continued to go into the city to once a week. One reason was to take that SoulCycle spin class with my daughter, I then would comp stores for work; it kept me connected to the city. I mean, who wouldn't be happy about not having to commute every single day?!  I added a new membership at a very new and cool gym at home, worked out at least 5 days (between @orangetheory and @Lifetime). I found a new normal, where I could work from home but still have my socialization and exercise. I met new people and loved the schedule I set, all based around the classes I was taking. I could do this! 
 
Then on March 12th, I came in to the city to ride with my favorite instructor, @melaniegriffith, with my friends I had made in the class over time... had lunch with my old colleagues who flew in from CA for Market Week, and somehow I knew it was my last day going to the city for some time. I visited my daughter and took the train home. I heard rumors about the growing numbers of covid cases and that the city, as we knew it, was closing down. Market week was pending and everyone who was preparing for clients to come see their new developments was stopped mid-step and told for the first time, in my career in home textiles, that market week is not going to happen

 Slowly everything closed - gyms closed... I could feel that this isolation was not going to be easy. 

So where is the design topic, where I tell you about a new project?

Right here!
 
 I felt I had to first "set the scene" build the story and let you understand where the need came from and why I had to create a purposeful space for myself at home a home gym.. a place to recuperate, invigorate and escape to in my house.
First you need to know that we have been empty nesters for some time now. We also have been in this house 21 years this coming May! That being said, I have a lot of great exercise equipment.. and then a spin bike I inherited from my youngest daughter who is a SoulCycle Spin instructor for the past 6 years... it has cages on the pedal, but I did not let that stop me for the first 6 months of quarantine! LOL! Here are the before shots; as you can see my mess and lots of stuff that we have accumulated over the year, including the stuff my kids left behind when they moved out.


Before shots with so much stuff!


 




I was determined to create a sanctuary; an at home "dark room" that I could spin in, listen to the best music, and just disappear and work out...






 


I cleaned out the space, rearranged the room, put up the most beautiful wall mandala decals! 
So bohemian!
Then I was lucky enough to have the best brother and sister in-law; in October I received the best present ever - the final touch to my space!  

The piece dé resistance! A Peloton! 




 Look at this space! I could not be happier! 





Now onto the other room renovations needed. 
For now, at least I have an escape, and I have to say, I spend so much time in "MY GYM" that it was worth it!


Create a space for yourself! 

We all need a place to breathe, to feel good... do this for yourself, if not, then who will? If 2020 has taught us anything, it is that we need to look around and live in the present... you never know what is around the corner. ... and if you didn't notice, there is an extra bike - come ride with me! I promise the music will be amazing!