May 21st, 2013
You know that annoying feeling when you can’t find that piece of paper on your desk, or that favorite pair of jeans you want to wear?
What about if you couldn’t find your desk…your closet…if you lost your home, your family pet or most cruelly, a loved one?
Last month I wrote about coming back from the events that we here in the northeast have faced in the last 6 months, and quoted Mr. Rogers…and it bears repeating. Just over twenty-six hours ago one of the worst tornados in recorded history chewed through the town of Moore, Oklahoma. The loss, the trauma, the sheer scale of rebuilding these residents will be facing in the months to come is staggering. They need helpers.
The Red Cross is clear, they need money. Money for food, shelter and medicine, money for rescue and recovery efforts. To help support these efforts, The Refreshed Home announces Working for Moore: Consults for a Cause, here’s how it works:
- Call now, mention this post and book up to two hours of Interior Decorating or Home Staging interactive consult for between 5/21-5/31.
- At the end of our consult, you write a check to the American Red Cross for the rate of $95.00/hour, and I mail it in a pre-addressed envelope
The Refreshed Home helps you make good plans and wise decisions, so you can get on with your life. Together, we make better sense of your space, and your stuff. Consults can be for buyers as well as sellers, remote, or for shopping services and in-home/on-site in Westchester and lower Fairfield county.
Got a listless listing? Looking for a unique housewarming, wedding or birthday gift? Maybe it’s something you’ve been thinking about for yourself? Now is a great time to act.
Do good, get good, call now 914.607.2895
Working for Moore: Consults for a Cause
May 9th, 2013
Growing up, gifts were purchased, and came with pretty paper and bows. No one ever thinks of, or saw what their parents do as a gift. It’s time and life that adds perspective and poignancy.
Even though I lost my mother at a young age, I see it every day, when I look at her wedding ring, on my left hand. No matter what my parents’ own personal problems were, they raised three children who somehow each knew to pick exactly the right mate, and go on to have loving relationships, and productive lives.
What My Mother Gave Me: Thirty-One Women on the Gifts That Mattered Most is a collection of personal essays, reflecting on the gifts of wisdom, courage and strength they received from their mothers. I am 1/31st into it, had to stop and write this: Buy This Book
“How They Do it in France” by Elissa Schappell is a funny and warm portrait of her mother whose choice of substance over style she saw manifest itself in baked goods. Other titles include The Plant Whisperer, The Gift Twice Given, The Unicorn Princess, and Never Too Late.
If you’re looking for a special way to thank mom, or the mom-like people in your life, buy her this book. If you’re looking for a really special way to thank her, buy this book, read a chapter or two for inspiration, then write your own story.
April 27th, 2013
While I’ll always be an Ossining gal, have been graced to live on the perimeter of Turnure Park in White Plains for many years now. And for thirteen springs I have literally had a front row seat to the White Plains Annual Cherry Blossom festival. Always a wonderful and uplifting event, but tomorrow-Sunday April 28th 2013- will host the best ever-do not miss it!
Organizers at The Japan Education Center have worked just as hard behind the scenes…the entertainers will be just as enthralling…the White Plains’ DPW crews have busied themselves just as mightily this year-repairing damage from the ravages of this past season, then seeding, edging, mulching, planting and such…so why will this one be the best ever??
Two reasons…first: Mother Nature is cooperating. Am certainly not an expert, but like most flowering trees, the blooms of the Cherry Blossom trees have a short span.
Too many warm days speed up the process, too many cold days, or back and forth weather yields mild or uneven blooming. This spring has been on the cooler side, with a gentle trajectory toward warmer temps, PERFECT. Looking out my window as I write this, tomorrow will be MAGNIFICENT.
Other reason it’ll be White Plain’s best Cherry Blossom Festival ever? We are SO READY.
This festival celebrates the beginning of Spring- always an uplifting time of renewal. But this year, we are REALLY READY. Ready to see neighbors, and share new experiences. Ready to wear just one layer of clothes, and to feel the warm sun on bare arms. Ready to breathe clean, crisp air under clear blue skies, stroll and linger under canopies of fluffy, cotton-candy pink flowers. Ready to put the collective heaviness of the last 6 months behind us. Ready to be HAPPY.
Free, and open to the public, vendors start setting up early, but festivities run from noon to 5. The park is one block in off of Broadway, between Main and Lake Streets. If you’re driving, I recommend parking at one of the municipal lots like Hamilton-Main, (by Wal-Mart) and walking the 2 or 3 blocks…trust me, you’ll spend at least that much time stuck in traffic behind others who keep circling the block.
The Annual Cherry Blossom Festival in White Plains is a celebration of Japanese culture: music, singing and dancing will abound. Storytelling, and other events are suitable for kids of all ages, and popular food and beverages will be available for purchase. TODAY might be a great day to find and dust off (or go out and buy) those folding chairs that you can carry in a fabric tube, on your shoulder, as sitting space is minimal.
Am always so grateful to The Japan Education Center, and the City of White Plains for this event.
LIKE it now on FB now to see photos and more details. It will be the best ever, do not miss it.
February 23rd, 2013
Preparing a property for sale is a very personal experience, there is not one absolute standard. It’s a collection of decisions that correlate to your needs, goals, and expectations.
Further complicating things-most everything you hold dear in this world is on the table: Family, your values and relationships, money and time, your hopes, dreams and fears. All this considered, critical thinking skills are essential, which is why I started running free Home Staging workshops a few years ago.
Free*, interactive and open to the public, The Refreshed Home is very pleased and excited to share the Spring 2013 schedule of upcoming Get Your House Noticed and SOLD! events.
Bronxville Adult School Monday March 18th, 7:00-9:00PM *There is a class fee for this event, click link for details
Mamaroneck Public Library Wednesday April 3rd, 6:30-7:30PM
John C. Hart Memorial Library (Shrub Oak/Yorktown) Thursday April 11th, 7:30-8:30PM
Tarrytown Warner Library Monday June 3rd, 7:00-8:00PM
My presentations are geared to the hands-on home seller: interactive and flexible, combining Q&A, easy ideas most everyone can implement on their own, and a slide presentation-including the perennial crowd favorite-BEFORE and AFTER photos!
While the local market is rebuilding, that’s no reason to assume buyers will now be taking their house-shopping any less seriously. The reasons a homeowner would choose to prepare their property boil down to this: to get a better price, and quickly. Homes that have been thoughtfully prepared garner the most buzz early on, and often attract the most qualified, serious buyers-saving you hassle and carrying costs.
Above links will bring you to each venue’s site, with registration info. Mark you calendars, and bring your questions, even your pictures-hope to see you there!
February 13th, 2013
‘What happens in Vegas’ is a successful campaign…but as far as the Home Furnishings industry is concerned, what’s happened in Vegas last week should most definitely NOT stay there.
Since their inaugural conference July 2005, this semi-annual event has steadily evolved into an event that is not just about new product, but reaching out to and embracing the new clients, the new marketplace, and the new merchants.
High Point, NC’s April/October Markets are still considered the standard for product (at least for now!). Yet-as a bricks and mortar gal from way back, my focus has always been on the translation for the individual, end/local user; and I very much like the supporting role the Vegas Market has created, and made their own.
Along with workshops on color forecasts and trends what happened in Vegas were some very consumer-centric symposiums: Best green/sustainable practices from BRAVO’s Thom Fillicia, creating simpler, more transparent marketing, customer service expectation ins 2013, and musings from Yankee Candles’ President & CEO Howard Kent, on his experiences of being an “Undercover Boss”
Synopsized product: the lines are clean, and scale is generous-but not oversize, like the sectionals and tables on steroids look we saw a few years back. Combined with simple, and clear colors, the results are alternately fun and upbeat, or classic and confident. The materials are a blend of organic and manufactured, sometimes within the same product-like these: Resin and glass is used to fill in the space of reclaimed wood to create a fun and functional stool.
There are signature pieces that will bring the right amount of ahhh to a space, either with a touch of shimmer, or some whimsey, like this simple and elegant ceiling fixture…or this over the top (but nonetheless awesome!) bed.
Only clunker in the group I find is Emerald Green-the annointed Color of the Year. Like last year’s Tango Tangerine, even in small doese, it’s more like the Color of the Next 15 Minutes, and IMO should stay in Vegas.
Don’t despair-or rail against what you see here as being so wildly inappropriate for your cozy condo, or your simple split.
Home Furnishing Markets-like NYC’s Fashion Week, the Boat and Car Shows, for that matter, the long-gone Sears Christmas Wish Book- are meant to inspire and entertain. They set the bar-a point at which looks and ideas will trickle down and work for most of us. So stay tuned-what retailers saw this week will start showing up online in the near future, and in the marketplace sometime late spring.
January 11th, 2013
Decorating for the Stars: Happy Birthday, CAPRICORN!
Even to the casual observer it’s always fun to see what the stars are supposed to say about you; in this series we look at what makes the birthday sign happy in their home. Those born between December 21 and January 20 are a robust bunch. Represented by a goat, it’s a pretty apt characterization….and I mean that in a good way.
Capricorns are often quite accomplished in their chosen field, but you’d probably only know that if you googled them, or someone else filled you in.
Anything loud, obvious or flashy, PDAs, or other shows of emotion embarrass the typical goat. Instead, they are low-key, and tend to stay in the background and observe (think Humphrey Bogart, Cary Grant, Capricorns both). Focused, practical, and determined, but not in a teeth-gritting kind of way. They just pace themselves, and get where they want to go.
Gifted with a solid and sturdy countenance, they are great to decorate with, or for-because you will always know where you stand with them. They tolerate frustration better than most, and don’t let trivial things derail them. They keep their eyes on the prize, and are all about the long view, and getting the job done.
Capricorns are consistant in elements that make them happy, but don’t tend to a specific aesthetic preferences-let me explain: Capricorns love books and history, revere wisdom, their elders, and family. They’re thrilled you came up with the idea of bookcases, and would be fine if there was another decision maker who choose, say cherry vs. stainless steel, built-ins or free-standing.
Ditto for saving wall space for appropriate art (framed maps, local archives, or oil portraits of Great Uncle Clyde), or making sure the guest room was comfortable and well-appointed, when Nanna came to visit.
They also insist on a plan. Winging it will not cut it. Nor will short cuts, and ‘deals’ from the Big Box stores will generally not be worth the hassle for them.
If you live with or love- are decorating with, or for a Capricorn-here is what you really want to know: They need light, fresh air, outside spaces. Without it, the sturdy, sober nature of the Goat can turn inward, becoming introverted, even pessimistic (Richard Nixon and Elvis were both Goats).
Whatever space you have, make the most of the windows-including that they are clean. Highlight them, by framing them with stationary panels in a color that contrasts with the walls. Mirrors to reflect and add light, as well as adequate interior lighting is important. Live plants, good; NASA-proven ones that filter the air-even better! Greenhouses, conservatories, or skylights are all excellent renovations/updates for these folks.
If you have any outside space, make it as inviting, and as functional as possible. A firepot on the patio will encourage time under he stars, instead of in front of the TV; a pair of chairs and a small bistro table for coffee, and to read the morning paper.
Consider a bike rack in the garage, adequate storage for sports gear or garden equipment. Probably not the sort of things you’d think about as ’decorating’, but channeling Steve Jobs-good design isn’t how it looks, it’s how it works… this is what keeps Capricorns at their best.
December 21st, 2012
POP QUIZ !!
Test your Staging Savvy: True, False, Maybe or IT DEPENDS ?
- Staging is for vacant houses only
- I’ll sell if I can get the price I want
- All my friends love my house, so will the buyers
- Offering a buyer allowance is a better idea
- White walls will make a space look bigger
- Staging is expensive
- Buying, renting, and borrowing can all be part of Staging
- Buyers should use their imagination
- Bathroom and kitchen renovations will attract buyers
- Wallpaper is coming back
- It’s still my house, and I have to live here
If you’re like most people, you got more ‘maybes’ and ‘it depends’ than anything else. That, in a nutshell, is the real challenge most find in Home Staging. The look is just the beginning. The heart of successful Home Staging lies in defining a strategy, and making a plan for how it will work for YOU.
You probably wonder: What makes sense for my situation…my property, my market? What options align with my needs, goals and resources? What are viable ideas that will provide the best ROI? And how to even start thinking about it all?
Yes, HGTV has brought ‘de-clutter, de-personalize’ into our everyday lexicon, but after you shut off the TV, can you translate that to your space? With your pets…kids…smokers…less motivated spouse? To your vacant…average…short sale, distressed or estate sale property?
That’s why The Refreshed Home is hosting two Free Home Staging Workshops at the Mt. Kisco Public Library next month. Two different sessions: Saturday January 5th 1-2PM, OR Thursday January 24th, 7-8PM. Free, and open to the public: pick the one that works for you, and mark your calendars now. Program is subject to minimum attendance, so please reserve your spot with the library 914.864.0137.
Learn how to see your house through the eyes of a buyer. We’ll cover all the hot button topics, show you simple but impactful things you can do yourself.
Whether you’ve had disappointing results with a listing already on the market, or are starting to plan for maybe 2014-this workshop is for you: it’s suitable for ANYONE who has a vested interest in getting a property sold quickly, and for the best price (and that includes you, agents and lenders!)
Our local market is recovering, most indications are this will continue-even expand-in 2013, why not have your house be ready when you are? Come to a FREE Home Staging Workshop at the Mt. Kisco Public Library now-you’ll be glad you did!
December 3rd, 2012
Broad tables laden with fine table linens and bed coverings…well-organized shelves, full of all things tabletop….unusual accent pieces of every price point imaginable, filling in whatever space is left….If you enjoy big warehouse sales with a wide selection of products for the home, get thee to the annual Casafina Holiday Warehouse Sale, starting tomorrow, Tuesday December 4th.
Importers of hand-decorated ceramic and glassware, stoneware, and such, Casafina Warehouse Sales have been a local and easily accessible treat for about 25 years now I think.
We live in an area where there are a lot of shoping choices, so if you’ve never been, let me tell you why a trip to Casafina will be worth your while: First-it’s a great physical set-up. The space itself is like a set of those Russian dolls, just when you think you’ve seen it all, you turn the corner, and there is something else to see.
It’s well-lit, and from the parking to the wrapping station, well-organized. No clawing around, hunting for whatever. Product is laid out by type, then color and patterns, and attention is paid to keeping it orderly, and replenished. Everything is sold separately, but there is usually enough of everything that you could purchase a complete set of something, if that’s what you wanted.
The merchandise is both current, and retired patterns of stemware, tableware and serveware. And the assortment is wide: there are things like hand-painted glass tumblers for the powder room, ceramic pet bowls, piggy banks and wall clocks. And cement statuary…and handmade throw rugs…and hostess gifts of every caliber. And OHYES< nice pricing, too!
Sale is rain or shine, 9am to 6pm Tuesday 12/4 through Saturday 12/8, and 10am to 5 pm Sunday 12/9. Minutes off exit 8 of 684, click here for directions. And make sure you sign up for their mailing list, to get future notifications and special offers!
November 29th, 2012
Legend has it that when when Winston Churchill was advised to cut funding for arts, in order to help support the war effort, he replied ‘than what is it we’re fighting for?’. Historians debate the authenticity, but it’s good enough for me, one of the reasons I am so fond of Churchill.
Art is good. It soothes, and makes you feel alive. It nourishes, inspires, and challenges. It can make you laugh, cry, ponder or react. But mostly art can make you happy.
This Sunday, December 2, Westchester Arts is sponsoring their annual FREE ARTS DAY. As good as art is for the soul, FREE ART is even better!
You and the kids can make bowls at Clay Art Center in Port Chester (LOVE you guys at CAC!!) , or jewelry…or beads at Westchester Arts Family Art Workshops in White Plains, or screen A Christmas Story at Jacob Burns in Pleasantville. Sample dance and fashion sketching lessons, or experience Play Theater Group workshop
For more grownup tastes, you can tour Caramoor, or the Historic Hudson Valley lamdmarks; visit almost every museum and cultural center from Mt. Vernon and the Pelhams to Peekskill and Purchase, View The Marriage of Figaro in Pelham, even catch YCP’s performance of Nora Ephron’s play Love, Loss, and What I Wore. ALL FOR FREE. Seriously.
Your (inner) child will have a blast, and work through some serious ya-yas in this uplifting and creative format.
50 events, 21 locations! Click here now to see the entire listing, and plan your day. Some events might have limited class or audience size, so I’d call ahead and find out the logistics on your favorites. GO-you’ll like yourself a lot for it!
November 26th, 2012
Even if you are not a believer, it’s always fun to check and see what the stars are SUPPOSED to hold for you, or your loved ones. Each month we take a look at what floats our boats, home decor-wise. This month, we wish a Happy Birthday to SAGITTARIUS!
Those born under the sign of Sagittarius (November 21-December 20) are pretty easy to spot. Energetic, outgoing and gregarious, you usually know they are in the room. Chatty and direct, they attract and can hold an audience of whatever size they want.
Fun, funny , and totally un-selfconcious, there’s a lot of good things to say about these Archers, one of them is that they are really, really easy to decorate with-and for!
Honest, optimistic and high energy, they speak what is on their mind, and then let go of it. In my experience, there are no hidden agendas, and generally no regrets, they are all about speaking the truth, and moving forward…works really well in professional relationships, but not always in personal ones.
The 5-second time delay was probably inspired by, or invented for a Sagittarius. The are neither mean or unintelligent, but they are so simply about the truth, sometimes they forget the context of a situation, or the feelings of a loved one. OOOPS! Well, no one is perfect, but if you spend any time with an Archer, you will see their goodness outweighs the gaffes. Their heart is pure, and that counts for a lot.
Sagittaurians do not like boundries, or to feel constrained. Because they are about connecting with others, they are attracted to open floor plans, and ‘great’ spaces: Nice size dining rooms, maybe with doors that open to big decks, maybe an outdoor kitchen? CHECK! Kitchens do not have to be ‘gourmet’, as long as they are generously proportioned, have good light, and adequate walk-around space. Finished basements-as long as they are not chopped up, or with low ceilings-work well for them also. .
Two areas of universal appeal: First-there must be room for their pets. Symbolized by half-man, half-horse, rare is the Archer who doesn’t feel a true kinship with most four-legged creatures. Legend has it that Frank Sinatra had his driver stop and pick up an injured dog he saw on the side of the road, while he was on his way to a rehearsal. Everyone had to wait while he found a vet, had the dog tended to, and it’s owners contacted(and yes, anxious readers, the pup was fine!).
And games! Mention games to a Sagittaurian and watch them light up. Whether it’s an innocuous card table for Bridge or family game night, or an elaborate pool table for the man-cave, the stakes are the same-something about green felt makes them very, very happy.
November 18th, 2012
Maybe you have a freind or client whose space needs a fresh look. Or maybe you are looking to amp up your own home for the holidays, start the process of getting it ready to sell-or even ring in the New Year as a more organized you? This could be the nudge you need…. NOW is your opportunity to get started, while giving a hand to those affected by the superstorm.
To add to the Hurricane Sandy relief effort, I’m joining with two other local women business owners, to contribute in the way we know best. The result: Will Work for Food, a fundraiser to benefit the American Red Cross.
Between now and November 30th, Denise Hoffmann, Allison Segreto and myself -Accredited Homes Stagers and Interior Decorators all-will be offering a limited number of one hour consults free, in exchange for a direct and immediate $100.00 contribution to the American Red Cross for Hurricane Sandy relief.
Each of us created and run our own, independent business. Together we represent almost 60 years of hands-on, in-home design experience, Will Work for Food is the first time the three of us have collaborated.
Appointments will be filled on a first-come-first-served basis, so don’t wait-here’s how it works:
- Check out the profiles of the companies, and the different services.
- Choose the professional and the service you want, and follow the links below to contact them and directly to schedule an appointment.
- At the end of your one-hour consult, write a check for $100 (or more, if you are so inclined!!) made out to the American Red Cross, and give it to your provider. They will have pre-addressed official Red Cross envelopes, and will mail it on your behalf.
Questions are welcomed, hope to hear from you soon!
Denise Hoffmann, Owner of Cameo Home Staging Featuring Real Estate Staging & Home Design Services. Serving Westchester, Dutchess & Putnam counties. Licensed & Insured. Mahopac/Carmel & Yorktown Chamber of Commerce member. 914.497.0924
Allison Segreto,Owner of Mission: Organization Offering home and office organizing, decorating, and home staging services to clients in Westchester, Putnam, and Dutchess counties. Simplify Organize Stage 845.528.2444
Marie Graham, Founder of The Refreshed Home. Interior Decorating, Home Staging and Project Coordination in lower Westchester/Fairfield counties, Helping you make good plans, and wise decisions, so you can get on with your life. 914.607.2895
November 11th, 2012
Furniture Sharehouse is Westchester County’s own furniture bank. Run by volunteers, Furniture Sharehouse collects unwanted clean, basic furniture, and re-distributes it FREE to clients of about 40 different Westchester County agencies.
Every month, on average, 7 to 8 Westchester County veterans are helped to ease into permanent housing by Furniture Sharehouse, through the Veteran’s Affairs arm of WestCOP (Westchester Community Opportunity Program).
Donations (furniture, time, funds) are always sought and welcomed, but right now, your online VOTES are #1 ask.
Larchmont’s own Kate Bialo, founder of Furniture Sharehouse is one of 10 National Finalists vying for a $25K grant from L’Oreal’s Women of Worth event.
Now, through November 21, everyone can vote once a day (per email address) HERE.
Veterans are just one segment of the client base who typically receive 8 to 10 pieces of clean, basic furniture, things many of us take for granted: a sofa, a kitchen table/chairs, a dresser, a bed.
Regular readers know I am absolutely shameless when it comes to asking for support for this wonderful cause. If you are reading this, please, you have all the tools you need to help right now. Please click on this link to VOTE, then share it with your friends as well. WHatever you can so, thank you for your support!!
November 10th, 2012
Even if you are not a believer, it’s always fun to check and see what the stars are SUPPOSED to hold for you, or your loved ones. Each month we take a look at what makes each of our motors hum, home decor-wise. This month, we wish a Happy Birthday to SCORPIO!
Most commonly characterized by the nocturnal, stinging scorpion, a Scorpio’s reputation often precedes them…and most of them like it that way. If you are shopping with-or for- a Scorpio, the #1 most important thing to know is their decision style is more important, much more of a constant than their specific taste or tendencies.
Those born under the sign of Scorpio (October 21-November 20) are intense. They are a strong sign, but not strong like LEO strong. Leos attract others with their confidence and charisma; Scorpios tend to…well, scare some people. Like the Scorpion’s tail. a Scorpio’s stare keeps you off balance, and keeps you ar bay, Never challenge a Scorpio to a staring contest, you will lose.
Scorpios are passionate folk, but do not wear their emotions on their sleeve. However, they do respond well to direct questions. You’ll always know where you stand with them, and if your goal is to get decisions made and move on, you’re golden.
They won’t sugar coat, so if there are any background issues, you’ll hear about it: the office that needs to be organized, the in-laws who need the law laid down about drop-in visits, even the amount of time/energy you might be spending, er, wasting on deciding!
As outwardly impassive as they may appear, family and friends are one of Scorpio’s passions. They are very loyal and supportive, so a home that is warm and welcoming, ready to host loved ones at a moment’s notice is important. Nothing is timid about Scorpio, and red-or other saturated contrasting colors are a good place to start.
A good size dining roon, a well-appointed living space-perhaps an outdoor kitchen-all ways to their heart.
Cute and fussy will never do. Even a cottage or bungalow will be funky and artsy rather than sweet, or delicate. Whether their taste is classic 18th century, French Country, or uber-modern: best to remember that strong colors, decisive lines and bold mixes is always their style.
November 8th, 2012
Regular readers know I’ve written about Furniture Sharehouse before. It’s our local furniture bank, where basic, average unwanted furniture is collected, then re-distributed to clients of about 40 different agencies, FREE. Donors re-claim space in their home while getting a receipt for their taxes, and perfectly usuable furniture stays out of landfills.
Clients include individuals and families transitioning out of shelters, seniors and vets, foster kids who ‘age-out’ of the system, and fire/flood victims. To date, nearly 2500 Westchester County families in need have received FREE FURNITURE through the efforts of Furniture Sharehouse founder and Executive Director Kate Bialo.
Kate is now one of 10 National Finalists in L’Oreal Women of Worth 2012 event, which has already won her a $10,000. grant for Furniture Sharehouse. But now there is a bigger prize at stake, and she needs online votes. LOTS of them. Whichever candidate gets more votes between now and November 21st will win an additional $25,000. for their cause.
Here is the link. You can vote once a day, every day, between now and November 21st. PLEASE:
- Make it a favorite, and vote everyday
- Share it with family, friends, colleagues
- Like and Share on FB, and ask the same of your friends
The timing of this event is especially fortuitous, as many in our area are just starting to pick up the pieces from Hurricane Sandy; the need is certain to escalate in the weeks to come.
Sandy has brought many of us to our knees the last week, in more ways than one. The 15-20 seconds it might take to vote each day could help make a world of difference to a neighbor. Thanks in advance, and stay tuned, I’ll keep you posted
October 12th, 2012
At this very writing, the post-season future of the NY Yankees hangs in the balance (Game 5, top of the 8th, Yanks leading Orioles, 3-0, 2 outs but bases full of Orioles)-ARRRRGGG.
BUT-their Team Captain, Derek Jeter got some resolution recently. It was reported earlier this week that his 4 bedroom penthouse in NYC’s Trump Towers sold last month, after a not-untypical journey
It first came onto the market in September 2010, listed at $20 million. A beautiful space, but it was pricey, and empty. And it sat on the market.
Several months later new photos showed it had been staged…but price stayed the same, and it sat some more.
It came off the market last September, then back again April 2012, with a new listing price of $17.5 million, and last month it closed for $15.5 million. Click here for B&A pictures, and a neat article.
Location always is #1, but I really like that celebrity still does not ‘trump’ price and condition. Staging a property elevates it within the marketplace, as it finds and defines value for the buyer. And you don’t have to be Derek Jeter to afford it, either: With The Refreshed Home-interactive consults, with a written report after start at $285.00!
OK< back to the game now, Let’s Go YAN-kees!
October 10th, 2012
Channeling Mark Twain here, and NO, not talking about me, but rather a store.
The rumors started this spring, when a tractor-trailer backed into the front of Stickley Audi on Tarrytown Road in White Plains.
The sign came down, boards went up, and the whispers started.
Then there was the Clearance Sale. SIGH. Where herds of professional store-closeout
bullies salespeople did little to dispel the rumors.
But alas, the truth came out…a long-needed facelift had been in the works, the tractor-trailer just got it on the fast-track.
The store has remained open during the renovations, and they still have a while to go, but the early reviews-OK, my early review-is that it’s great.
A very welcome change is evident the moment you step into the lobby: Look up (fabulous bubble chandelier), look down (sleek leather upholstery), then look all around (a serene oil over the sofa in muted tones, and a truly wonderful, very fashion-forward color on the walls).
Wander through the rooms and although many are still in the throes of being rejuvenated, you will like what you do see. Three of my favorite things:
A really neat drafting table/desk (with a big cogwheel to adjust the angle!)-under $600.00!
A spacious, professional Design Center.
And this sofa!! My goodness!
As I had written about earlier in the year, the big messages at this springs’ Architectural Digest Show was Sexy! Metallic! Organic! and this sofa is IT.
The lighting wasn’t in place yet, but even from this snippet of a rear view, I think you can see where this is going…
The curvilinear frame, in a shimmering pewter velvet, complete with shiny nail head trim and YES those are genuine mirrors attached directly above the skirt.
You can tell by even just this small amount of detail that this console table is something special…a sophisticated burnished finish, and a mirrored top.
It’s not certain when the work will be completed, but hopefully it will be soon. But if you are in the neighborhood, stop by and take a walk through-you will be delighted, and like me, be impatient for the rest of this beautiful package to be complete.
October 9th, 2012
Even if you are not a believer, it’s always fun to check and see what the stars are SUPPOSED to hold for you. Each month we take a look at what makes each of our boats float, home decor-wise. This month, we wish a Happy Birthday to LIBRA!
From the ancient Greek, Libra was a unit of weight (around 12 oz), why the sign of Libra to be represented by a set of scales.
The assumption might be that those born under that sign are operate in an even-keeled, steady and balanced manner. Well, they’d be kind of right…this is what they STRIVE to do.
For Libras, balance is the goal, but it can be an elusive one, mostly by their own doing. If you are decorating with-or for-an October-born person, you have your work cut out for you.
Outwardly they will have a pleasing and agreeable demeanor, but love to debate, to take a contrary view, seemingly just for the heck of it. But often they are debating themselves.
They’re not meaning to be disagreeable, they just see it as a necessary part of their pursuit to be fair and open-minded. So they may appear pleased and content, but BA-ZINGA they will challenge you in a precise and detailed manner.
Although they will argue they are not indecisive (!!), they take a very long time, weighing all the possibilities and options. They run hot and cold, up and down, left and right. And they will push themselves past even their reserve, then need absolute calm and rest to restore their vitality.
Still with me? Good. Here is way to make Libras genuinely happy in their space:
Calming, soothing colors. Monochromatic or analogous colors.
Symmetrical balance, ans soft lighting.
Consider the acoustics: White noise, a small fountain, maybe an aquarium. Thick carpets, and lined draperies to absorb sound.
Soft, polished Egyptian cotton bed sheets, big fluffy pillows and plush bath towels will refresh and revive them.
Books. Yes, and hardcover please! Even the uber early-adapter Libras will prefer ‘real’ books to the electronic ones.
And art. Not for the pedigree, but for the type of image. Abrupt abstracts are a no-as are dogs playing poker…think peaceful landscapes, portraits, or mellow abstracts instead.
Just don’t expect them to make any quick decisions!
September 20th, 2012
Fairfield County residents-sorry, I’m letting the cat out of the bag…
Moments off exit 8 of I-95 in Stamford CT is Juliska, one of the most lovely gift and tabletop stores I have even been in. Even better-this Saturday starts their annual warehouse sale!
A company store year round, Juliska is nestled pretty much in the center of Stamford’s antique shop district. Carrying primarily their own lines of china, crystal and other tableware, but augment it beautifully, seamlessly with product from other vendors. The displays are creative and engaging, full of unusual finds, at very reasonable prices. Under the best of circumstances, it takes me about an hour to go through this shop….I just don’t want to miss a thing.
For the sale, they are expanding into the parking lot, filling a 5,000 sf tent with all sorts of product-ceramic, table linens, lighting and more. Some seconds, but many retired designs as well.
All I can tell you is it’s a perfect place to shop anytime, but if you have gift-giving occasions coming up, be there when they open at 9am, you won’t be disappointed.
Juliska-465 Canal Street, in Stamford. 203.316.9118 Have fun…and make sure you hit Barry and Fred’s next door while you’re there!
September 15th, 2012
It’s pretty simple to craft a happy space for those born under the sign of Virgo (August 21-September 20). They are consistent, detailed, precise, meticulous. And worriers…big worriers. SO-wait for it- simple…but not necessarily easy. Well, ok, as long as you keep anything loud, bling-y, fussy or high-maintenance out of the picture it’s easy.
Virgo is not a dominant sign like Scorpio, or Leo…used to think I didn’t know too many of them, but turns out I know many. Virgos abound in any occupation that is equal parts focus on detail, and compassion for the human condition: Education, architecture and engineering, law, politics and medicine.
Not usually not the loudest people at the party, or the ones wearing (driving, listening to, fill in the verb of your choice) the latest and hottest whatever. But they are not pushovers, not by any stretch. And a solid pal-neighbor-co-worker you can count on? Every day, and twice on Sunday.
Decorating is not just about how something looks, it’s how someone’s underlying values and needs are recognized, and addressed: For Virgos, start in the bathroom.
Despite their quiet nature, Virgos can worry themselves into a frazzle…the infamous ad “Calgon, take me away!” was probably conceived by a Virgo. They need a soothing environment, where they soak-or steam- their troubles away; give them big fluffy towels in soft blues, greens, jades, even plums.
One of the clearest way to a Virgo’s heart is a BIG medicine cabinet and linen closet. All their worrying, they tend to keep a lot of OTC remedies at hand…antacids to vitamins, they need space to hold it all, and make it easy to organize. Mirrors are big, too. They’re not overly wrapped up in what other people think if them, but being impeccably well-groomed is part of what makes them feel organized and right with the world.
Virgo’s fastidious nature carries all through their space. Fussy fabrics, convoluted floor plans, conceptual art is not the way to go here. No plan-or ‘winging it” will not be well-received. They are drawn to details, done well. Simple lines, crisp tailoring, in classic colors and materials make them happy. A leather Chippendale-style wing chair (in a even, a.k.a. corrected leather) and (exactly spaced, highly polished) nail head trim is a perfect metaphor of their decorating style.
They are frugal, but not miserly. Waste is upsetting, so “green” choices, or anything that can be re-purposed is very appealing. In that same line, a big repeat on the draperies-where there would be waste, to match the pattern-will not fly.
“Home” is a very special place to most Virgos, and they cherish what is done well, and provides comfort to them, their friends and loved ones. Simple, and when you really understand what is dear to them, easy as well.
September 1st, 2012
Many Labor Days ago (before everything was online) I remember reading an op-ed piece in the NYT, exploring why Labor Day would make a better New Years Day.
Don’t ask me where my keys are, but this really hit a chord with me, and YES, I think of this every year.
There were two premises: First, as a practical matter, there is just WAY too much going on at the end of the year…too many distractions, too much stress to plan, or implement any kind of real change.
Second-the lure of a fresh start- the hope, promise and potential of a new school year, ingrained in us as children, is irresistible to us as adults. This aligns perfectly with what we currently look for in late December.
As adults, we can start fresh on any day we choose… but it just feels right, when so many other people are on the same page.
The last few years have been an uncertain time for many. In my work, I started to see the fog lift late last year, and have seen constant and sustained forward movement since. People are doing things, making decisions and choosing to get on with their lives.
They are getting rid of physical, mental and emotional clutter. Energized, they are re-claiming their power, and choosing to be happy. Which is a lot easier to say, or write about-than do.
The end of this summer seems to have snuck up on us really quickly this year. Whatever you have going on in the next few days, I hope you can find some quiet time…to collect your thoughts, restore your balance and refresh your heart, so you’re open to, and all ready for your next adventure. HAPPY LABOR DAY, EVERYONE!!