November 30th, 2013
Giving the Gift is an annual series that puts Westchester County Small Businesses and Shops on your radar. So far we’ve covered Original Art, and now Special Gifts. Next? For Love of the Printed Word: Westchester County independent bookstores!
As so knowingly chronicled in the classic A Christmas Story, kids know what they want. Not always realistic, but persistent and specific? Oh yes. There is “Ralphie” in every child, and every generation has its own version of the an official Red Ryder BB rifle.
Adults are harder to shop for. Perhaps because being nicely surprised is part of the gift? Also, we have our own money, and will often just buy something we want or like. Fine for them, but troublesome if you’ve got a gift-giving occasion, but don’t know where to start.
Happily-Westchester County is gifted with independent shop owners who think, and buy creatively for their stores. Shops that (YEAR-ROUND)are full of fun, unusual, and thoughtful gift ideas, to inspire, delight and be a glorious surprise for your special someone(s).
Knowing full well how important “local” is, many feature items made responsibly, and domestically: Jewelry and wearable art, home decor from practical to whimsical, stationary and other specialty paper products,even books by local authors. Many offer free and artful gift-wrap and host events of interest year round(so like them on FB!) Here are links to some of my favs.
Be warned: Once you get there, you will want to linger, explore, and enjoy. So have a big breakfast, and ENJOY!
The Dark Horse Clients brought me here years ago, have kept coming back to this Scarsdale shop. Maybe it’s the real photos they place in the plethora of frames they feature??
Whimsies Incognito Located on Broadway in Tarrytown, just south of Main Street intersection; clever, green/sustainable/fair trade, local and well, whimsical are some of their specialties.
Glass Onion Originals Always wondered about the name of this sweet shop in Pleasantville>hommage to The Beatles, or an invite to ‘look closer’-from the British nickname for monocle?
Sign of the Times Decidely 60s and what used to be called ‘counter-culture’, it’s like visiting a good friend. My only Rockland mention, love this Nyack shop, there is just nothing else like it.
Wishes Boutique Yorktown’s fun and funky store: for her, baby through teens, home and hostess
WISH Home Boutique No relation to their northern counterpart, but this Rye store is the go-to shop for the HGTV junkie in your life
Wondersous Things Comfortably ensconced in the heart of Briarcliff village, after ohsomany years in Croton, this, too, is a very apt name.
The Coop This gem of a retail store is tucked away a few doors down from the historic Paramount Theater in Peekskill. Treasures made by local artists are mixed in with antiques in this jam-packed warm and welcoming shop
Rhinestones and Wrought One of Hastings newest shops is edgy and current, perfect for teens who need to be of-the-instant. Note to parents: “Dope” here means cool, not…well, you know.
Vintage Their card says it all: Passionate Finds for You & Your Home. Indeed. Bedford Hills, Route 117, north of the shopping district, closer to Bedford Town offices.
When you Shop Small in Westchester County on Small Business Saturday, you make a statement.
When you Shop Small in Westchester County year-round, you make a difference!!
November 24th, 2013
Giving the Gift is annual series that provides inspiration for gift ideas and resources you may not have thought of, while highlighting local brick and mortar businesses.
The series usually starts a week or so before Small Business Saturday, but-like the support these independant stores and organizations give the community, it’s available year-round, just click the Giving the Gift blog category.
Mostly Westchester-based businesses and organizations, but there’s a sprinkling of suggestions in lower Fairfield and Putnam counties. By no means a complete list, am always on the lookout for more good locations, and suggestions are more than welcome.
The romance of original art is undeniable. Art can also make you happy. Be it ‘personal art’ in the form of a hand-beaded piece of jewelry or woven scarf, a bowl, a piece of sculpture, or a journal of handmade paper: someone put their hands to raw materials, and channeled their spirit and vision into something beautiful and funcitonal.
Westchester, lower Fairfield and Putnam counties are blessed with an abundance of natural beauty and as well as talent.
Happily, there are several locations where talented folks, and their art congregate, and are supported. Representing a wide range of mediums, most have studio space, give lessons and sponsor community events year-round.
Original art enriches a community like few other things. Like their FB pages, click their link for more info, check out their galleries, and bring your shopping list!
Clay Art Center Located in Port Chester, I first heard of CAC from a client. Their Opening Night Reception is Thursday 12/5; and my favorite, an avent that affects me viscerally>their Empty Bowls Fundraiser is slated for January 24th, 2014. Like them on FB
Loft Artist Association Recently relocated within Stamford, their holiday show will be in conjunction with, with a portion of the proceeds going to Laurel House, an opportunity and resource center for those living with mental illness. Opening Reception Friday 12/13, 5-8PM Like them on FB
Putnam Arts Council Holiday Craft Show and Sale at the Belle Levine Center in Mahopac will run Saturday 12/7-22, and offers a 10% discount to members (applicable immediately if you join at show) Like them on FB
Mamaroneck Artist Guild Two hundred artists call MAG their base. Westchester’s oldest artist collective, they’re on the corner of Larchmont Avenue and US Route 1, and their gallery will be open 7 days a week in December. Like them on FB
TOMORROW: Giving the Gift: Westchester Booklovers are in Luck!!
November 17th, 2013
Small Business Saturday is one of the best ideas that ever came out of Big Business.
Conceived and promoted by American Express in the depths of this recession, it was first observed in 2010, on the the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Fitting between Black Friday, and Cyber-Monday, it’s a clarion call for consumers to support local, often independant stores for their holiday shopping.
I think it’s been such a success because, at the heart of it, each of us has probably several links to the local businesses, and the people that run them: people we know who’ve gone out of their way to help their customers, and support the community as a whole. The shopkeeper who sponsors the Little League team…who chaperones class trips….who hires your kids for their first job. It’s not just the kind thing to support them, it’s the smart thing to do, as their success is the success of the community, spiritually as well as financially.
As a life-long Westchester County resident, and a small business owner who offers local and personalized service, Small Business Saturday resonates with me deeply, on many levels. In years past The Refreshed Home has highlighted individual businesses, but this year is starting early, and widening its support of Small Business Saturday.
In the days to come Giving the Gift series will share gift ideas you may not have thought of, gifts that will delight, and will last beyond “the” day: Experiences and items, memberships and adventures, with links to the Westchester County small businesses and organizations to can get you started.
Please check back for the series>>even share it!>> and consider visiting at least a few of these merchants, and see what they’re about. *BONUS* all are appropriate year-round, for any type of occasion you’re ISO a different and thoughtful gift idea!
November 17th, 2013
Old beliefs die hard; that Home Stagers exist to bring rental furniture into empty houses is one of them.
As client advocates, The Refreshed Home works collaboratively to ease the minds of buyers, sellers and agents alike; helping ready, willing and able parties get to YES. TRH’s business model is based on strategy and service; our success comes from referrals, not referral fees.
Preparing a property for sale is ALWAYS about doing the best you can: finding that sweet spot of what is doable, affordable and effective, that will connect and resonate with buyers. Sometimes, yes, renting furniture for an empty property is called for. But if that’s not possible, what’s your backup? Waiting, seeing, hoping….then price reductions?
What about if you’re a buyer?
Home Staging makes it easier for a buyer to see themselves living there, it highlights a property’s value, and potential. If you’re like 95% of the population who can only see what’s in front of them-do you automatically pass on listings of empty houses?
While Decorating and Home Staging are *not* the same thing, the skill sets from 32 years of working in Westchester County homes converge in Buyer Consults, a specialty service offered by The Refreshed Home.
Buyer Consults are for Westchester County buyers and sellers, and the agents and brokers who represent them. Working with qualified and committed buyers and reasonable sellers, TRH helps bring the two parties closer together>>closer to YES>>closer to SOLD by walk-through, interactive consults of the empty property. Space planning (furniture layout, what will fit, what goes where) and color consults (like how to make big changes inexpensively with costly givens like older baths and paneling) are the most common requests.
Prospective buyers and buyer agents will hire The Refreshed Home to sort out and clarify options in different properties; sellers and their agents bring in TRH for Open Houses, or when the feedback indicates buyers just can’t ‘see’ all the property can be. In either case, one hour of one-to-one back and forth is often all that’s needed.
As an independent contractor, TRH does not ‘sell’ anything, but provides ideas, and puts tools in others’ hands, enabling them to make good plans and wise decisions more confidently.
If you are selling, or looking to buy an empty property in Westchester County-or represent a party who simply is *thisclose* to being able to move forward, consider a Buyer Consult with The Refreshed Home. At $95.00 an hour, it’s a lot less costly than a price reduction, a whole lot more fun, and can actually help get you to YES!
November 16th, 2013
Time for anther installment of FAQs, the series that features snappy answers to your home decor questions.
Whether you’re trying to sell your Westchester County property, or looking to snazz it up for the holidays, you need to believe me when I say White Walls are the Kiss of Death. And the Decorator off-whites are not much better.
There are three principles to remember here: First, the eye is immediately, intrinsically drawn to color, and light. There is no conscious thought, it just happens. Second, walls are the largest surface area in any room. No matter what, they just are. Third, most rooms are bottom-heavy. Color and pattern on furniture or carpet; bulk-thanks to gravity, the furniture itself-rests on the floor.
If there is little or no color on the walls, we ‘see’ the stuff. Our eyes are drawn down first, then to the stuff itself. In an average to large room it’s chunky and unwelcoming at best. In a small room it’s sad, but without anything else to catch your eye, it focuses on the stuff>>>the more stuff, the more the eye re-focuses, and the room becomes smaller and smaller.
The Refreshed Home knows that color on the wall is the singular most important change you can make to a room. It adds balance and warmth, and (counter-intuitively) it expands smaller rooms by having the furniture visually recede because there is not such stark contrast.
In listing photos, color on the walls engage the viewer, encouraging them to linger longer. It also makes the detail on the mouldings and other trim work stand out. You can actually see the 6 panels on the doors, the crown mouldings when it’s not one big vanilla space.
That it can be done quickly, and for so little money makes it the best ROI by far.
There are some very pleasing neutral colors out there that will make a world of difference, and could probably work really well with much of what you own. Need a little more direction? OK then>>just in time to update for the holidays, TRH’s 2013 Paint Color Hotline.
- Decide you are ready to paint, and are done with white walls.
- Take some decent-quality photos of the room, and send them to me.
- We’ll have a five minute conversation that’ll get you on your way.
This is my gift to my regular readers. Free, and no obligation of any sort…but sharing the ‘after’ shots, and the accolades you get would be very welcome!
No more white walls…trust the Decorator-you’ll be glad you did!