Styling and Simplifying your home

Do you know what one of the easiest ways to refresh your home is? Take away some of the excess clutter and only display things you love. Be a ruthless editor of what you allow in your space.

These days we see so many influencers on social media redesigning their spaces every few months with all new things. This makes me crazy. Not only do most of us not have the budget for that but it also sends the wrong message that things are disposable and something shiny and new is always better.

My favorite thing to do for my clients and at my own house is to first shop your home. Look at all of your decorative items and collections and see if there is anything you can display or use in a new way. I find that one overlooked area can be the kitchen or china cabinet with small decorative bowls or other interesting objects. Mementos from travel or family members can also be great to incorporate into your design.

Be very selective and take away anything that doesn’t add to the space or make you happy. Less is more. If you want to add a few new things then consider small changes like a new throw pillow, vase or picture frame.

My 3 main tips would be:

-Calm down the space by de cluttering and removing the excess.

-Create a cohesive color palette.

-Display old items in new creative ways and mix old with new. Make sure to add texture and color.

Is there an area in your home you can tackle today? You will be surprised at the impact even the smallest changes can have.

If you need some inspiration here are 2 of my favorite books on simplifying and styling:

I highly recommend them both!

Modern Office Design Reveal

 

Guess what my client’s first thoughts were on this wallpaper that was already in her office space when they moved in?

This is going to give me a headache. I cannot work in here and this is really not my style.  We debated removing the wallpaper but the rest of the office had bold patterned wallpaper and I did not want her office to feel like it wasn’t even part of the same space. So we worked with the wallpaper and let me say it was definitely a design challenge. I needed to add some traditional elements to make the client happy and calm down the overall space. However, I wanted her office to still feel like it could flow with the rest of the other work spaces around her. I love the way it turned out and the client was happy which is the most important thing!                                  

So what did we do to calm down the overall space?

Here are some of our design tricks and tips:

-We added some ivory into the color palette with chairs and a rug to soften things.

-We added some greenery and florals to add contrast against the busy wallpaper.

-We added a mirror to reflect light and the beautiful view.

-We added pops of teal with furniture and artwork so it still felt modern and bold and brought in the wallpaper.

-We chose a natural wood color for her desk so that she could keep the traditional feel she wanted.

Are you ready for summer guests?

photo credit: Pure Salt Interiors

Summer can be such a busy time filled with lots of activities and trips. It can also be a time for last minute guests.

-A visit from family or friends or a last minute sleepover for the kids.

– Birthday parties and cookouts, Special occasions and events.

-A neighbor dropping by for a play date or glass of wine.

-A last minute weekend get away or day trip to the beach or lake.

So what can you do to make summer a little easier and less stressful? How can you be ready for your guests and stop that last minute panic?

Guest Room:

-De clutter your guest room now. If it is always ready for guests then there is no last minute panic and shoving everything in a closet.

-Update the bedding and towels. Make sure everything is clean and fresh.

-Make sure the room is clean. Dust and vacuum regularly to keep the cobwebs and dust away.

-Make sure there is a working lamp or some sort of lighting.

-Check your guest bathroom inventory for soap, shampoo and any necessities guests may need.

-Have a space for guests to put their suitcase or hang up a few items.

Household Systems:

Set up household systems so that everything has a place and it is easy to maintain. This makes a last minute clean much easier.

Keep surfaces clear from clutter:

Keep main surfaces as clean as possible. Try not to use your dining room table, kitchen table or kitchen island as a drop zone for papers and other clutter. If these surfaces are easy to clear then last minute entertaining is much easier.

Kids Areas:

Create a summertime routine so that kids areas do not get completely out of control.

There is no reason for “mom” to keep spinning her wheels cleaning up all the time. Kids can be taught routines and taking care of their things; then when they ask to have a friend over no one has to be stressed and cleaning frantically at the last minute.

 

How does your home make you feel?

 

 

Does your home feel like a sanctuary or is it a source of stress and anxiety?

I had an interesting conversation with a longtime client last week. She commented that she loved her powder room and it made her happy. It was recently redesigned with a new bold patterned wallpaper and a textured tile backsplash. Along with a new beautiful navy vanity and a fun piece of artwork.

Before my client even said anything I had been thinking how much the powder room represented her fun bold and colorful style. And how streamlined and clutter free it was compared to other parts of her house. So I asked her “What if your whole house could feel as good as this powder room?”

You don’t have to tackle your whole house at once. Just take one space at a time. Walk around your house and take inventory of what spaces and things you truly love. Less is more..you can create the home you have always wanted.

Take one room at a time and be a ruthless editor. De clutter, organize and style it so it represents your current lifestyle. And your style right now. Not the you from 5 years ago, not your ex-husband’s style and not the hand me downs from your family and friends you are keeping out of guilt. Keep only the things that feel like you and make YOU happy. (Of course, you do have to be mindful and respectful of other family members and their spaces.) But start with what you can change and you and everyone else will notice a difference I promise!

Tips on packing for your next trip

One easy way to pack light is to pack some staple pieces and then pack accessories to change up the looks. This is a perfect example of a black faux leather moto jacket that can be dressed up with a skirt or worn over a dress. Or you can wear it with jeans or leggings.

You can really change the look of the outfit just by changing the scarf and earrings. Scarves and earrings don’t take up much room in a suitcase and can really help you create so many more outfit combinations! So get creative and have fun with your wardrobe!

The benefits of Shopping Secondhand

Shopping secondhand may take time but there are so many advantages to it!  After years of helping women with their closets I can honestly say there are so many clothes out there that are in new or like new condition that end up at consignment or thrift stores.  Taking items to consignment is a way to make a little money and pass your items on in a responsible way where they don’t end up in the landfill.  If you aren’t worried about getting any money back for the items then there are so many great thrift shops that support wonderful causes  that you can donate to.   And the best part is  that someone else benefits from something that was just taking up space in your closet and never being worn.

What are some of the biggest benefits of shopping secondhand?

-You can try a variety of brands all in one place and you may even discover brands you didn’t know about.

-Once you identify the brands that fit you best you can look for those specific brands in the future.

-If you have an item, style or brand that is no longer made sometimes you can find these gems hidden at consignment and thrift shops.

-You have the opportunity to buy brands that are higher end and better quality for a fraction of the price.

-If you need some transitional pieces for weight fluctuations ( as many women struggle with, myself included) then you can buy some staple pieces at an affordable price.

-If you have a special occasion that requires an outfit you are not likely to wear often you can buy secondhand to stay within a budget and not have to spend money on something new.

I hope these tips helped and you are inspired to buy secondhand or at least do some  browsing! Its’ fun to see what you might find!

Some of my favorite local shops are:

Pennies for Change Thrift Store, Durham, NC

http://thedcrc.org

My Secret Closet, Hillsborough,NC

http://www.mysecretcloset.com

The Stock Exchange, Chapel Hill, NC

http://www.shopstockexchange.com

 

Favorite Closet Storage

We can’t all be lucky enough to have a giant closet. These days all you see on social media are these beautiful dream closets with floor to ceiling storage and gorgeous chandeliers. However, many of us (myself included) have to make do with an average size closet. Over the years I have lived in many different style houses. I have to say my husband and I love old houses with all the charm but none of the closet space!

Therefore, I have had to learn to get creative to max out my storage space. Also, I have learned that you don’t need as many clothes as you think you do! Weeding things down to what you truly love and wear is half the battle of having an organized and streamlined closet.

I wanted to share one of my absolute favorite storage solutions for a small closet. It is truly a game changer! I have used this in multiple houses for my own closet and used for clients as well.

It is called the Elfa Start a Stack and you can find it at the Container Store. There are a few different versions once you start looking at Elfa but one of the things I like about the start a stack is that it is a freestanding tower of drawers. It is perfect for rentals and small spaces. So if you are someone that likes an easy solution that can be assembled in less than 30 minutes then this is it! It does come in a few different widths so you want to measure your space but I have found the depth perfect for a small closet and the height as well. It slips perfectly under your hanging clothes so that you basically have a built in dresser under there maximizing all that space.

I actually do not own a dresser anymore and use these drawers for anything I don’t want to hang. Leggings, workout wear, pajamas, casual tees, scarves, lingerie, lounge wear…It makes putting away your laundry a breeze! I file fold or roll most of my stuff so that it is easy to see and grab.

These also work great in kids closets! And there is a taller version you can buy and use to max out that wasted vertical space. You can also use it to store kids clothes, toys and craft supplies. The best part is the kids can easily find things and easily help put them away.

The start a stack is such a multipurpose storage solution. It’s great in any closet, pantries, laundry rooms, craft spaces, kids homework spaces.. the possibilities are endless. If its a little over your budget just keep an eye out for the Elfa sales which run multiple times each year!

https://www.containerstore.com/s?source=form&q=Elfa+start+a+stack

Some organizing tips for sharing a small space

living room

Sadly, I have not written a post in awhile and we have all been in this crazy pandemic life for almost a year now. Wow… it really has felt like a long year.  I think we can all agree we will never take those small things for granted again. The pandemic has made many of us really evaluate what we do truly miss and what we are actually happy has changed. Many of us have slowed down from our busy schedules and realized this slower pace is kind of nice. So it’s not all bad, right?

The new norm right now has become lots of people working from home and many kids doing remote learning. When the whole family is home the majority of the week and you are all sharing a space it can get tricky. Balancing work with school and making sure everyone is set up for success in whatever space you have available.

This brings me to the question of “How does your house make you feel?” If you are constantly stressed out and tripping over each other and piles of stuff then something needs to change. Your house should support you and be a space you can relax in. ( I’m not saying you will never be stressed but at the end of the day you should be happy to wind down in your space. So what can you do to make small changes that will make a big impact on how you view your house? The key is to set up systems that work for your family and are easy to maintain.

Start by making everyone responsible for their work space. If you or your spouse have a d home office or desk set up somewhere then set boundaries that no work is allowed on the kitchen table. If you have to use the kitchen or dining room table as a temporary workspace then set a boundary that by dinnertime the space needs to be cleared each day. This will work as well for children that are using it for remote learning or homework. Getting them a little utility cart or small bin for all of their supplies will make it easy to clean up and find things the next day.

Set up a drop zone somewhere in the house where items land on your way in or out of the house. If you don’t have a large mudroom or designated space you can create one easily with a little table, bookcase with cubbies (like the IKEA Kallax) or a bench with storage. This is where shoes, keys, phones, purses,dog leashes, masks and hand sanitizer can land to avoid cluttering up other surfaces. Hang a decorative hook on the wall for keys and masks or set up a bowl or tray to keep them in.

Keep the family room as clutter free as possible by using baskets and other storage to hide blankets, remotes, kids toys, etc. There are so many great pieces that double as storage; like coffee tables and ottomans. The biggest mistake I see is when parents let the kids treat the family room as their playroom. This space should be for kids and adults. If the kids want to have some toys or games in here then do a toy rotation. That way the majority of their stuff stays in their rooms or playroom. At the end of each night or beginning of each day have them help you put things away.

Lastly, this is an important one…your bedroom is not a dumping ground for laundry and odds and ends. I hear clients says all the time that no one sees it so it doesn’t matter. YOU see it!!!! So it does matter. More on this soon…

So ask yourself what you can do right now to make your home feel better and be easier to maintain?

 

Spending more time at home?

Most of us have been spending more time at home whether we like it or not. Since the stay at home orders due to covid-19 we have all been feeling a little cooped up. This brings me to the big question of how do you feel about your home environment? Does your home make you feel stressed? Is it full of clutter, piles and unfinished projects? Or does you home feel a little blah and unfinished…no art on the walls, no color, no finishing touches? Or is your home almost the way you want it but it feels like it is missing a little something? It just doesn’t feel like you and your style?

Basically, all of these problems are caused for the most part by indecision. Yes sometimes it may be a lack of money or time but most of the time we get stuck living with the way things are and accept it. For example, I had a client one time who I was helping de clutter and stage her house to sell. When I opened the door to the small closet in the kitchen that should have been the pantry I was shocked. The client was using this closet for coats and then she revealed that canned goods were stored behind the row of coats and completely inaccessible and out of sight. I asked her why she had never made this a pantry and she didn’t really have an answer. She set it up that way when she moved in and got used to the challenge of it and accepted it as her only solution. Once I suggested we move the coats to the appropriate bedroom closets and purchase a small coat rack for the front entry she was excited to design the space as a pantry. One call to a handyman and wooden shelves were installed in the back with narrow shelves on the side for cans and condiments. She was thrilled with the transformation and only wished she had done it in time for her family to enjoy it more. Although, it did help the house sell!

A common theme with clients moving and having their houses staged is why did I not do these things sooner? I love the way my house feels and functions so much more now. Years ago I attended a seminar and one class completely stuck in my mind. The class was called “the eyes of a stranger”. The concept is a fairly simple one. Walk in your front door as if you are a stranger seeing everything for the first time. You would be amazed how you notice things differently.

During this crazy time with all of us spending more time at home try to look at your house through the eyes of a stranger. Sometimes the smallest changes can yield the biggest results and really change the way you feel about your home.