Sunday, September 24, 2017

9 Ways to Find Inspiration

People continually ask me where I find inspiration, ideas or stay current on the latest trends. There are several ways and places and things I listen to that give me that shot in the arm from time to time. Here's my go to list.

1.    Instagram-I love following up and coming designers, new manufacturers and industry leaders to see what people around the world are up to.
2.    Million Dollar Decorating podcast with James Swan-This is my newest favorite! Every day James releases a new podcast where he interviews a different designer. I love learning where others find their inspiration, learning more about their background and design aesthetic and how they decorate their own homes.
3.    Houzz-I especially love their twice a week newsletters that I always learn something from.
4.    Blogs-I'm a junkie, but this a great way to keep in contact with your favorite designers and see what new and exciting projects they are working on. And it comes to your email inbox.
5.    Travel-definitely my favorite way to learn. Different cultures, age and parts of the world have something to offer.
6.    Designer show houses-what's more fun than spending a day with girlfriends touring through the latest designer showhouse?
7.    Continuing Education Classes-always a source of new information and ideas
8.    Trade shows-manufacturers are displaying their best and brightest
9.    Magazines-yes, I still love tearing pages out of magazines.

What are your favorite ways to gain inspiration or ideas? I'd love to hear. Email me at

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Holiday Projects

            School has started, football season has begun, the weather is teasing us with fall temperatures and, yes, it is time to start thinking about Thanksgiving and Christmas. Only fifteen weeks left till Christmas. Yes, I really did just say that. It may seem like a long time away, but we all know that it will be here before we know it and probably before we are ready.

I am not one to rush thru the days in anticipation of the next one, but I am for planning and organizing so I can enjoy every day. Ready or not, the holidays are upon us. As this realization hits, we start to make a mental or written list of all the things we need and want to do before the holidays are actually here. Maybe you just found out that your home will be the location of this years Thanksgiving or Christmas celebration and your broken oven just wont cut it for baking those cookies.  Do you want a new kitchen or bathroom before Thanksgiving? Maybe you cant redo the entire room but want to make some small changes. Or maybe you just want to finally get the dining room repainted or new carpet in your bedroom. Now is the time to start thinking about it and making plans. If you begin now, you will have plenty of time to get your project done before Thanksgiving hits and then you can enjoy your new space all throughout the Christmas season. Its no secret that contractors are busy these days. (And if they arent, is there a reason for that?) Even more of a reason to start now in order to get something done before the holidays. First question to ask your contractor is Can you complete this before Thanksgiving/Christmas? If they cant, no sense stressing about it. Dont be surprised if they are already booked for the rest of the year.  Just get on their calendar for January or February.

Before you start to panic and hyperventilate, take a deep breath and lets take a realistic look at the calendar. Depending on the amount and magnitude of work that you want to do in your kitchen or bathroom, you can expect a remodel to take anywhere from three to six weeks from demo to final cleanup. If you start your planning and decision making now, you can realistically have a new kitchen or bathroom by Thanksgiving. Consult with the professionals who will be completing this work for you and they will be able to give you a better idea of the time needed to complete your project. Whatever you do, DO NOT plan to wrap up your remodeling project the day before company is expected to arrive. Something might be backordered or take longer than expected and then you will really be up a creek without a paddle or eating your Christmas dinner at Waffle House. The holidays are hectic enough without adding that little bit of stress.

As you consider who will be doing the work for you, make sure they have a good reputation, are doing what they say and completing projects in a timely manner. Check their references and dont let the bottom line make the decision for you. Sometimes there is a reason one person is less expensive than another. The holidays are not a time to risk having issues with a contractor. Make sure you clearly communicate your deadline to the contractors you work with to ensure an on-time project. That way there will be no surprises and everyone is on the same page.

We all know the holidays can be a stressful time. There are parties to attend or host, food to be prepared, gifts to be wrapped and memories to be made with your family and friends. Endeavor to enjoy this season and all of its wonderful food, people and events by planning ahead. Take time to slow down and remember that this is the most wonderful time of the year.

Email me at and let me know if you have any questions regarding holiday projects.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Custom Ordering: Part 2

What if you order something to be custom made and once it’s delivered you don’t like it? You have your expectations and internal image of what you are expecting and maybe it doesn’t live up to that.  What can you do keep that from happening and ensure you are clear on what will be delivered for what you are paying? Last time we discussed the proper process to go thru to order something to be custom made. Today we will explore what to do if it is delivered incorrectly.

So you’ve done your due diligence, all the details and pricing is documented and you’ve waited patiently for your custom item to be delivered or installed. Only, once it is delivered, you discover it is incorrect. You calmly contact the manufacturer and discuss how to resolve the issue. If you have the paper trail of all the details and pricing in order, it makes resolution of the mistake a much simpler matter. If all you have is your word and what you thought it was going to look like, there is not much you can stand on to dispute that what was delivered was incorrect.

Most manufacturers who have been in business for years and have a good reputation, will do everything they can to make the mistake right. If the mistake is yours, expect that they may charge you to make the changes you are requesting. If this is the case, find out how much they will charge you so you can be prepared or decide if you will live with the original item delivered.

Probably the most important element to dealing with an issue like this is to clearly understand and take responsibility of anything that is your fault or problem and not immediately jump to the conclusion that it is someone else’s problem. If it is your mistake, take full responsibility and ownership of it. If it is the manufacturer’s fault, work with them to come up with a remedy and timeframe for resolution.

Have you ever had something like this happen to you? How did you handle it? I’d love to hear. Email me at

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Custom Ordering: Part 1

What if you order something to be custom made and once it’s delivered you don’t like it? You have your expectations and internal image of what you are expecting and maybe it doesn’t live up to that.  What can you do keep that from happening and ensure you are clear on what will be delivered for what you are paying? Let’s walk thru the process.

First, before deciding on which manufacturer to work with, check out their references, previous work, put your own eyes on their finished product so you have a clear idea of what you can expect on your product. 

Next, work with the manufacturer you have chosen to clearly design the item you are ordering. Be specific and have in writing the materials to be used, the dimensions and final finish. Do not skip this step. Do not make assumptions.

Then, have a written estimate which clearly spells out the above details and final price with estimated time frame for delivery or installation.

Once the order is placed, do not “check in” on the project until a week or so before it is scheduled to be completed. The more time the manufacturer has to spend responding to your emails or calls, the more time that is taken away from them working on your project.

If the item is delivered and doesn’t match your written design and estimate, contact your direct contact at the manufacturing company. Clearly and calmly describe the issue. Yelling or making accusations will not get you very far.

Next time we will continue to explore the best way to deal with a custom order that is incorrect. Have you ever had something like this happen to you? How did you handle it? I’d love to hear. Email me at

Sunday, July 30, 2017

15 Reasons Your Project May Not Be Completed On Time

One of the most frustrating times for any homeowner is when a project is not completed on time. Now there are plenty of reasons why the fault may lay with the contractor, but today I’m going to share with you some of the reasons that may take it out of their control.

11.    Weather. You may think your contractor can handle anything, but they cannot control the weather.
22.    The faucet came in defective and a new one needs to be sent from the manufacturer.
33.    The humidity levels in the wood flooring won’t acclimate to the house fast enough, drawing out the    time it takes to complete the floors.
44.    The granite tops were being cut and the stone slab cracked along a fault line. A new slab needs to be  found.
55.  The sheetrock mud wasn’t dry enough to sand and needs another day to dry.
66.   Rot was found in the bathroom floor and the subfloor and floor joists need to be replaced.
77.   Cast iron pipes were found and need to be replaced with pvc pipe.
88.   The county inspector didn’t have time to inspect your project on the day it was scheduled to be inspected.
99.  The power company didn’t turn the power back on the day you needed it.
110.The cabinet company is behind schedule.
111.  A light fixture arrived broken and a new one needs to be shipped out
112.  You changed your mind 3 times on the wall paint color.
113.  The shower glass came in with a scratch and needs to be reordered.
114.  The bathroom mirror was hit by a rock being delivered and needs to be recut.
115.  The plumber has the flu and a new plumber needs to be found.

It’s always a good idea to have an extra week or two buffer time built in for the length you expect or have been told that your project will take. Better that and be surprised when the project is completed on time than thoroughly frustrated when your project takes more time than you were told. Have you encountered other things that have put your project schedule behind? I’d love to hear about your experience. Email me at

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Rolling Ladders

As ceiling heights in homes grow taller and people are interested in maximizing their storage space, one item that is helpful in accessing storage space near the ceiling is a rolling ladder. We used to only see these in library spaces, but now we are using them in closets, bunk rooms, kitchens, mudrooms and garages. There are many styles and finishes that can be used and they can also make a great aesthetic statement.

Rolling ladders can be made out of any wood species, powder coated aluminum or a myriad of metals. The wood ladders can be stained or painted to match or contrast the surrounding cabinetry and trim work. Often times an aluminum ladder is chosen because it weighs less and is easier to move around if needed. While a rolling ladder is very functional it can also add a really lovely design detail to a space.

Some options for rolling ladders are if you want handrails, do you want it to roll on wheels at the top or do you want it to hook on the rail at the top, allowing you to take it off and move it around, do you want a traditional wheel pattern or a more contemporary wheel pattern.

While adding a rolling ladder is not inexpensive, it sure beats dragging out a stepstool when you need to get to something at the top of your cabinets. Add a rolling ladder to your “To Consider” list. Do you have any ideas for places to use a rolling ladder? Email me at

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Charging Electronics

Do you have phone chargers scattered across your kitchen counters? Where do you charge your fitness tracker, Laptop, ipad, and the myriad of other devices that have to be charged these days? Below are several of the ways we have hidden away charging devices that allow you to reclaim your counter space.

1.      Put an outlet inside a cabinet. This allows you to plug in chargers while also shutting the door.
2.      Do you have open shelves on the end of your island? Consider putting an outlet in one of those shelves and keeping a basket on the shelf to wrangle electronics.
3.      Install a Docking Drawer inside a drawer. Specifically made to function with opening and closing drawers, this is perfect and an item we are starting to put in most kitchens. It’s also perfect for offices and in bathrooms for hair dryers and electronic razors.

When you are considering adding outlets specifically for charging electronics, consider if you need to use a regular outlet or if you should use a combo usb and outlet device. So many things charge with a usb port these days that that helps maximize the usage of an outlet space. What are your tricks for wrangling electronics? I’d love to hear! Email me at