Great Style…From Target?

We specialize in the luxury market...most of our clients are homeowners whose homes are valued at $1mil+.  Because of this we have really become experts in finding gorgeous decor items to style these homes with.  At the end of the day though, we love finding stylish items at wallet-friendly prices.  It feels like such a win.  Currently, we love the Threshold collection from Target.  Though it seems hard to believe, Target really has a winner with this collection.  Here are a few of our faves from this line.

Gorgeous!  We love this bedding.  It has such a retro feel and the bird pattern is not too much.

This is such a find!  We always feel that beautiful mirrors are not easy to get without breaking the bank.  This one is stylish and inexpensive.  Win!

We love draperies.  We really believe that window treatments can make or break a room.  The problem is they can be so pricey!  These are so budget-friendly and are super stylish to boot.  This was our favorite color combo but there are four more to choose from.

We love that throw pillows are getting away from the boring old solids and stripes.  We also love mixing patterns and textures and this one is just such a great way to liven up a sofa or a bed.

A lot of our design clients have small children and want a rug but not the large price tag that usually comes with a rug.  With children and pets running around you never know what will end up on the rug.  With a stylish rug like this and a small price tag, you don't have to worry!

Lamps are another accessory that can really get pricey.  $250, $300 for a lamp.  Yikes!  These are such gorgeous lamps and nobody will ever imagine you got them at Target.

This silver hurricane is so beautiful.  We can only imagine how it looks with a lit candle inside.  On its own, flanking a floral centerpiece, or in a row on a mantel this is going to make a statement.  We also think it would make a great gift. Last, but not least, a beautiful throw.  We love a throw draped over a sofa for a splash of color.  This one will do just that and add a little touch of style.

One Look, Five Sofas

We are always amazed at how much of a change swapping one detail of a plan out can make.  So we decided to put it on paper and show you what we mean.  We took one look that we presented to a client and swapped out the sofa four times.  See the difference just a new sofa can make.

This was our original look.  We love the white sofa paired with neutrals and kicked up with art and accessories.

This was our second visit to this look.  We are currently on a navy blue kick so we were excited to see that the navy really looked great with this look.

This is another great version of the same look.  The warm grey sofa really makes this look feel rich but cozy and approachable.

We love this look!  It has such a Miami feel to it.  This aqua sofa is gorgeous!

And last, but not least, a gorgeous dark grey sofa.  This look is great too...the grey will really pop against the light rug and the oatmeal chairs.

A Clutter-Busting Challenge

Clutter is a mystery to me.  At the end of the day it is really just "stuff".  So why does it have this magical power over us?  Why do we, as a society, seem to be ineffectual in our attempts to control it?  I wish I had these answers because it would really help my clients who are preparing their homes for sale. What we do know about clutter is that, universally, it makes us unhappy.  Nobody is happy with a home filled with clutter.  We also know that our clients, time and again, tell us they cannot believe how much better their homes look after they have cleaned, purged, and reorganized.  We also know that the process has a snowball effect....the more you purge and organize the more motivated you are to keep going.

We recently stumbled upon a "Clutter-Busting Challenge" that we are fully prepared to participate in and would love to encourage you to do so as well.  The challenge runs through the month of May and is being run by one of our favorite bloggers Crystal Paine of Money Saving Mom.  The challenge is simple - get rid of seven things every day during the month of May.  Crystal doesn't specify that you have to throw them out, so get creative.  We plan to sell stuff on EBay, donate, take items to the consignment  shop, give things to friends and family....whatever it takes.  We would love for you to join us on this adventure.  Check out the information on the challenge here and get ready to spend the month with us.

Here is our end goal!!

I Hate Valances

So if I had once pet peeve as a designer, it would be window valances.  Truthfully, I am not sure if I actually hate the draperies themselves or rather the fact that they must be the most commonly misused window treatment in existence.  I have never seen a valance in a home used properly. Most often they are hung too low, block the room's light, and make the ceiling feel shorter.  All these things add up to a room just not feeling right.  Every time we have instructed a homeowner to remove their valances prior to listing their home for sale the feedback afterwards has been surprise at how much brighter the room is.   I hope that the following images will make you understand why they make us so unhappy.

Eclectic Decorating - Why it Works

There are many differences between the way a designer tackles a decorating project and the way a homeowner does.  I think one of the biggest of these differences is that designers tend to err on the side of the eclectic.  We mix patterns, woods, styles, metals, colors and yet, in the end, the rooms they style are gorgeous.  Homeowners tend to buy things that match - matching end tables to their coffee table, keeping every element of their rooms in the same style.  Certainly this can be beautiful as well but we think the real secret to gorgeous spaces is blending styles, colors, patterns so that the end result is a true representation of your style. Here are some gorgeous, eclectic spaces....

White Cathedral Ceilings - A do or a don't?

I have a love/hate relationship with cathedral ceilings.  I love them because, in theory, they make a room look huge and spacious.  I hate them because most of the time homeowners paint these rooms incorrectly and undo all the good that having this gorgeous, high ceiling does for the space. In most cases, we believe a room with a cathedral ceiling needs to have the ceiling painted a color other than white (unless the room is white then by all means white is perfect).  These rooms usually look best painted in soft, muted colors with the ceiling the same color.  Of course, this is a gross generalization but will create successful interiors with most homeowners if they follow this rule.

Here are some photos we spotted to illustrate our point....

Two Of Our Favorite Paint Colors

We often work with homewoners who need to paint as they prepare their homes for sale.  As you can imagine, we usually opt for neutrals that are universally appealing.  Of course we have a variety of other colors in our bag of tricks but we have two that are pretty much our "go to" colors for staging. What are they?  Benjamin Moore's Linen White and Manchester Tan.  Here are pictures of two rooms painted in these colors. We think you will see why we rely on them so heavily.

Rent Furniture to Give New Life to Your Vacant Listings

We wrote this article a few years ago for Realtor Magazine but think the information is still really relevant so we wanted to share it again here. You can read the original article here:

Selling a vacant home poses all sorts of challenges for real estate professionals. It feels uninspiring, doesn’t photograph well, the rooms appear smaller than they are, there is typically a lack of light, and you often are competing with furnished homes in your price point.

Staging a vacant home with furniture solves all of these problems and more.

So what do you need to know about renting furniture?

There is typically a minimum rental term. Industry standard is three months. Shorter terms often require a surcharge.

Payment requirements vary. Some companies require the entire rental to be paid upfront, others charge monthly with a security deposit required upfront.

Not all furniture rentals include accessories.

Pricing is often based on the cost per item so your quote and final pricing may vary. This is normal if inventory has changed.

Ask what happens at the end of the initial rental term. Some companies automatically renew the rental and some will call to ask if you want to renew.

There are several, national “budget” rental companies – before you rent from them, take a look at the product you will be getting. Putting cheap furniture into a home to fill it up doesn’t fool anyone.

The best course of action may be to contact your trusted local stager. She will likely have experience with furniture rentals. She can get you a quote, select the furniture, coordinate delivery, meet the truck, and ensure the furniture is set up properly and trash is removed. She will also likely have accessories if your rental company does not, including the small details like light bulbs and pillows that don’t usually come with a rental, even one that includes accessories. And, most importantly, she will professionally style the home.

A Hint of Pink

We know that Emerald is the hot color of 2013 but lately we have noticed that pink seems to be on our radar more than usual as well. Not just one shade of pink either, it seems like pink - in general is just hot. Here are some examples of beautiful rooms we have spotted incorporating pink. What do you think?

2013 Color of the Year - Emerald Green

Recently we found out that the color of the year is Emerald Green. Now normally we like to think we are pretty on-trend, often times we are using the up and coming colors before they are really the "it" thing. Emerald Green caught us by surprise but after a little research we are totally on board. Wondering how on earth you can incorporate this color into your decorating? Well it is bold, so you have two choices. First you can take the go big or go home approach and use it in a dramatic way like painting your walls with it or purchasing a green sofa. The other, low-commitment solution is to use it sparingly as simply a splash of color. I think our favorite way might be through draperies. What a gorgeous, rich color to layer in this way.

Here are some photos of beautiful rooms using the color of the year!!