Having just celebrated Mother’s Day, I’m reminded of my Mom who, sadly, is no longer with us.  I think of my Mom often, but especially on that day.

My Mom was a left-brained person for sure. Like many women of her era, the “success” she could have realized outside of the home wasn’t to be.

Instead she poured her creativity and energy into her home and family.  Just like most stay-at-home mom’s did doing the 50’s.

Our home would never have graced the cover of Architectural Digest.

But it could have been in any magazine that had to do with a home designed with love.

What I remember most is that home was fresh flowers, a lot of books, home cooked meals, fresh smelling linens and lemon furniture polish.

Much of what I experienced with my Mom, I’ve carried over into my adult homes.

What about you? What are your memories and what do you continue to do in your own home that you learned from mom?

Following are some recollections of HOUZZ readers remembered about their own mom’s and home.

They’ll strike some chords to be sure. At the heart of them all, they’re about love and family.

“My mother and my grandmother taught me that houses are to live in, not to live for, and it has served me well. While I was taught to keep a clean house, and how to cook a mean Southern dinner when the time is available, I was also taught that a basket of laundry needing to be folded, or a dishwasher that needs to be unloaded, can wait. A long talk in the backyard with your spouse, 30 minutes spent laughing at a silly TV program with your teenager, a loved one or friend on the phone needing a shoulder to cry on — those things should never have to wait. Your house will always be there. The people you care about the most may not.” — gigi4bee
“My mum was a single mom raising two kids with very little money. Sometimes, times were so hard that the heating company would cut us off and we had to camp by the opened stove to keep warm. I remember those times as super fun family moments where we would do crafts in the kitchen. She knew how to make a terrible situation really fun! She taught me to figure out how to fix things myself rather than buying new stuff. She taught me that elbow grease takes you much further than a wad of money. Most importantly, she taught me that what makes a house a home is a purring cat on a windowsill, the smell of lemon oil rubbed into antique dressers and a welcoming kitchen table to sit and chat at. Now, I have a home of my own (with a cat). I have a decent paying job, but still, I believe in the magic of elbow grease and carpenter’s glue.” — ameliahanna
“To hire a maid! My mom was a post–World War II wife who valued her degree and job over cooking and cleaning. Thank goodness for Sunday dinners at Grandma’s house for a taste of home cooking!” — lc29
“My mom didn’t care what the neighbors had. We had no matching furniture, thank God. She and my dad made the couch by attaching legs to a door and covering it with a mattress and pillows. It was modernist. He’d build a tall box planter, and she’d make it a room divider with a large driftwood branch and pebbles gathered at the beach. They constantly redesigned and rebuilt the house for twenty years. I learned from her that you can never own too many books or too much art or music.” — Fine Art & Portraits by Laurel
“I love my mother dearly. She’s a wonderful woman and grandma who would give you the shirt off her back. However, I learned from her to throw things away and not stash stuff you don’t use in closets and under beds, and not to buy things to store in these places simply because they’re on sale (she’s a bit of a hoarder). I also learned to clean out my fridge occasionally and to keep my kitchen clean, clean, clean. Sometimes you learn to do things by having an example of what not to do!” — krissyb92603
“My mom taught me that putting an onion in the oven, then cooking whatever you want, makes it seem like you’re always cooking a gourmet meal.” — AtWell Staged Home
“Mom was a so-so cook, could shrink a favorite sweater to doll size and piled stuff on the top of the dishwasher until I put it all away. But she could tidy up a room to make it look like it was out of Good Housekeeping in record time. Sometimes it’s the shortcuts that you remember the most.” — uberv
“My mom was a professional advertising copy chief writer when women in the office were secretaries. She knew how to play with the big boys, and she was twice as good as they were — she had to be, to rise to that level in the ’50s and ’60s. She was talented and gutsy, and had no time to cook or clean a house. She hired someone on occasion to clean. I never learned how to cook anything but basic meals to feed my family, and now, in retirement, am finally developing a knowledge of fine cooking.

“That said, my mom had a heart of gold and was the rock and anchor to my brother and me. She would do anything for anyone (and did), and taught me the meaning of love and honesty by her example. She fought an 11-year battle with cancer, never complaining, mostly upbeat and always with a zest for life that reminded us of the importance of living each moment fully. She taught me what was important in life, and showed me how to die with grace and even humor … and I miss her every day. Stuff like cleaning and cooking, I can teach myself.” — appytrails

“‘When you are making corn tortillas, and a hole appears, you can patch it up. Flour tortillas need to be handled with care, because if you tear a hole in the dough, you have to roll it back up and let it rest.’ If I applied this to anything in life, it meant some things, like housework, are not that important. Others — like one’s marriage, mortgage, etc. — you have to be more careful with, because patching up the holes takes more effort than if you were careful from the get-go.

But, really, my mom was talking about tortillas. And her recipe/lessons continue to feed my ever-expanding tummy and that of my spoiled friends and hubby.” — tiachocolate

“My mother is amazing at taking care of a home, and has always worked full time outside the home. She taught me to be great at the things I care the most about and let the small things slide. For her, that means we use the kitchen twice a year and otherwise eat out, so she had more time to spend with her kids! For me, that means hiring someone to clean for the same reason!” — docmack

019.Mother's Day 2013

 

As noted interior designer Nate Berkus says: “People, pets, and things. What else is there?”

Indeed, I would say nothing is more important. Those are what make a house into a home.

And most often, a lot of what we carry with us came from mom.

Until next time…

Blessings,
Nancy

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This week I want to share a post written by HOUZZ CONTRIBUTOR, LAURA  GASKILL

As a lifestyle interior designer, I couldn’t agree with her more and I couldn’t have chosen better words. Laura’s are spot-on. It’s my hope  that they resonate with you, too.

There is something comforting about the idea of living in the same home for many years, with layers of memories infused in every coat of paint on the walls and every repair made with your own two hands. As we go about our days, it’s natural for our homes to fall into the background … but since we are thinking about it now, I’m curious: Would you say that you are living in your “forever house”? Or, with so much mobility in our lives these days, is there such a thing as a forever house anymore? Is that a pie-in-the-sky dream? From a home where family memories are made to one that supports us as we age, we will explore the many facets of our relationship with our homes, and why — or why not — you may want to stick with one home for the long haul.
The big dream. More than simply owning a house, I think a big dream many of us share is to have a home that we feel connected with, where our families grow and some of our best memories are made. Each of us has our own particular set of challenges, and owning a house is not always a feasible option — but the potential to connect with your home is always there, no matter where you are living.
The little dreams. If I asked you to describe your dream home in detail, what would be on your list? Digging deeper than size and location, what small details make up your ideal home? Let yourself vividly imagine for a few minutes, and I think you might be surprised at the things that you realize are important to you. Could any of them be incorporated into the home you have today?
If these walls could talk … The pencil marks on the kitchen wall measuring height in years, the particular sound the screen door makes when it bangs shut — these are the things that become etched in our memories. Part of the allure of a forever home is its ability to act as a stable, grounding element in the lives of our kids and ourselves; it’s something solid that we can measure ourselves against.
Mining childhood memories. One wonderful thing about owning your own place for the long haul is the ability to tackle more extensive projects, tailoring your home over time to fit you perfectly. If you are already living in your forever home, re-creating the feel of a beloved grandparent’s garden or your parents’ warm, easygoing kitchen can help build a connection with your favorite parts of the past. Allow the most positive images and memories from your own childhood home to inspire your home today.
Welcoming pets into the family. As an animal person myself, I completely understand the need to have furry members of the family. Working out pet policies with landlords is not always a pleasant affair, moving is stressful for all involved, and for those with larger animals, finding a place can be a real challenge — making a forever home quite appealing for some pet owners.
Expand and renovate … or move? We require very different things of a home depending on our stage in life. A family growing and welcoming new children will need more space. Space needs may diminish again after retirement, and in our later years, mobility and accessibility are important factors to consider. So, when faced with these changes, do you adjust your home to fit your needs, or do you move on?

Is it possible to have a forever rental? I would venture to say yes. After all, I don’t see a great deal of difference between the potential dangers that can befall a home you own (fire, flood, foreclosure) versus one you rent. Embrace where you are and give yourself permission to settle in, in the same way you would if you lived in a house you owned.

I have many clients who travel often and hotels, no matter how grand, are not home. So while they’re packing, they include a photo, a candle that holds a favorite scent, a throw…anything small that allows them to bring a piece of “home” with them. These reminders of home comfort and ground them emotionally.

Such is the power and importance your home has with your sense of well-being and truly living well.

No matter what the circumstances are for you, every abode you live in has to be thought of as a “forever house.” It’s the only way that your house can say “welcome home.”

Until next time…

Blessings,
Nancy

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Is 2013 the year you want to sell your home?

As home equity is finally on an upswing, and available homes to buy have shrunk, this may be a good year for you to sell.

No matter if you just wish to sell or need to for any number of reasons, you want to get the best financial return possible for your home.

This week’s article is from FRESHHOME and shares ideas that can help you get top dollar when you sell. As you’ll see, not all home improvements need be costly.

The goal when selling your home is always having prospective buyers emotionally connect with your home in a positive way. What you want to hear them say is “I can see myself living here. This home makes me feel good.”

curb appeal 10 Easily Avoidable Factors Real Estate Professionals Say Devalue A Home

1. Lack of Curb Appeal

The first thing any prospective buyer will see as they approach your home is the front of the home.  Everyone wants to live in a home that is beautiful on the outside as well as the inside.  A poorly kept landscape, whether overgrown, or non-existent will turn a buyer off.  They may fear the cost of redoing landscaping, or be overwhelmed at the thought of it. This undoubtedly will affect the perceived value of your home. By planting a few annuals, keeping the grass cut and weeding the flowerbeds regularly you will improve your curb appeal.  Front landscaping that is welcoming and has good visual appeal will keep a buyer interested in your home.

exterior paint 10 Easily Avoidable Factors Real Estate Professionals Say Devalue A Home

2. Exterior of the House

Chipped or faded paint, dirty windows, broken railings or busted sidewalks will all devalue your home.  Just as a buyer will notice the front gardens, they will also notice the disrepair of the outside of your home. Buyers may wonder if the exterior is so neglected, what has been neglected on the interior.  If selling your home is in your future, invest in a fresh coat of paint, wash the windows, and repair any issues with your walkways. Potential buyers will notice the pride you take in your home and will reflect in their offer price.

kitchen renovation 10 Easily Avoidable Factors Real Estate Professionals Say Devalue A Home

3. Outdated Kitchens

Kitchens can make or break how buyers will perceive your home.  They want to walk in and fall in love with your kitchen.  Moms want to be able to envision making cookies with their kids or perhaps hosting dinner parties.  That vision will not work for them if the kitchen is dark, dingy, or outdated.  There are two ways to update a kitchen.  A full-blown renovation will update the space to a buyers liking, but at a substantial cost.  The good news is you will reap close to a 90% return on investment.  A fresh coat of paint on the cabinets, new door pulls and fresh laminate on the counter tops are all options for a small budget.

bathroom renovation 10 Easily Avoidable Factors Real Estate Professionals Say Devalue A Home

4. Outdated Baths

Outdated bathrooms are certain to affect the sale of a house. Buyers want updated baths just as they want updated kitchens.   If you are able to renovate the bathroom from top to bottom, you should recognize an 80% return.   If not, make small changes to update it.  Add new the fixtures, new lighting and if your budget allows, tile the floor.  No matter how you update the space, a buyer should walk in to a bathroom that is clean, fresh smelling and decorated nicely.  These simple changes will do a lot for the buyer’s perception of the space.

red livingroom 10 Easily Avoidable Factors Real Estate Professionals Say Devalue A Home

5. Taste Specific Decorating

Taste is subjective when it comes to decorating a home.  What you may love, a buyer may hate.  Buyers want to see themselves in the space, and if they walk in to a home with, red walls, shag carpeting and wood paneling, they will have a hard time envisioning themselves living there.  Instead, they will see the cost of replacing carpeting, and tearing down the paneling.  All of these factors could cause a buyer to offer less than the asking price. Before you sell, paint your home a more neutral color that has a broad appeal.

ultra modern kitchen 10 Easily Avoidable Factors Real Estate Professionals Say Devalue A Home

6. Design Specific Renovations

Have you ever wandered into an open house and wondered what the owners were thinking as you faced an ultra-modern kitchen or a futuristic fireplace.  These design choices will be difficult to sell to the average buyer with a more mainstream style and most buyers will be thinking about ripping out a kitchen and redoing it to their liking.  It will take someone with a similar aesthetic to be interested in a home with such design specific features.   Keep that in mind when you contemplate any renovations.

diy tilefloors 10 Easily Avoidable Factors Real Estate Professionals Say Devalue A Home

7. DIY Projects Gone Awry

DIY projects can be fun to do, but if you riddle your home with projects that are half-done or poorly done, buyers will cringe at the thought of redoing projects or hiring someone to complete them.   Buyers who see dollar signs will either walk away or deduct from their bid.  A general rule of thumb is to hire someone for a project if you lack the confidence it will look professional.

poodles 10 Easily Avoidable Factors Real Estate Professionals Say Devalue A Home

8. Pets

Pets are wonderful additions to a home, but bring unwanted issues when trying to sell.  Damage to walls, carpeting or woodwork needs repair before you list the house. A good carpet cleaning will lessen the smell of pet odors too.  Buyers would rather not move into a home that has lingering evidence of pets, especially if they have allergies.  So, farm Fido out while the home is on the market to ensure the best offer you can get.

bedroom to closet 10 Easily Avoidable Factors Real Estate Professionals Say Devalue A Home

9. Wasted Square Footage

We like our home to work with our lifestyle and to accommodate specific interests or needs we may turn a bedroom into a closet, or a garage into a gym.  While these highly personalized spaces work for a homeowner, the perceived wasted space is a turn off for most buyers.  Ultimately, the missing square footage detracts from the value of your home.  Changing the space back to its intended use is a huge endeavor; buyers may focus on cost of such a project.

inground pool 10 Easily Avoidable Factors Real Estate Professionals Say Devalue A Home

10. Water Features

You may love your pool, covet your hot tub or adore that waterfall, but for a buyer water features are another expense that will be incurred to maintain the home. Over time, in-ground pools will need to be resurfaced and resealed at an additional cost to the buyer. Families with small children will see the pool as a potential danger as well.  A buyer may love everything about your home, except the pool and request it removed or filled in before closing on the sale.

From kitchen renovations to wasted space it’s the simple things that devalue your home, with a little forethought and practicality you will reap the most value from the sale of your home.  How would you avoid these factors that devalue a home?

I hope this gives you some workable ideas. As an interior designer, I’ve staged homes for resale. Some of them were homes I had originally helped the owners design. It’s an absolute fact that a properly staged home sells faster and for more money than one that isn’t.

If you are selling your home this year and need some help, email me at [email protected] for a complementary phone conversation. I’d love to be of service to you.

Until next time…

Blessings,
Nancy

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The best way to have a good year is by living life on a daily basis, letting the good days accumulate one by one. And it doesn’t have to be New Year’s to resolve to have a good year. Start anytime. Today, for instance.

1)  Take time, slow down. Be present in your life and mindful of the present.  I’ve always wondered why the concept of NOW is so difficult to remember.  The NOW is all we really have and yet we have regrets for yesterday which can’t be undone, and worry about tomorrow which hasn’t even arrived. All we really have is now; this very minute in which to live fully. NOW.

2)  Care for your body. Eat well, exercise, treat yourself loving, nurturing self-care.

3)  Spend quality time with family and friends. Communicate, keep in touch. Say I love you. Tell people you appreciate them.

4)  Take time throughout the day to renew yourself. Take a walk, read a poem or read a good book. Listen to music (really listen), bring beauty into your life on a monthly basis. Take a whole day for yourself—play, treat yourself to something YOU want to do; retreat from your daily life. Mark these special days on your calender (in ink) so you’ll be certain to take them.

5)  Clean up what needs to be cleaned up. Make amends, fix what’s broken, clear away clutter, forgive what needs to be forgiven and let go.

6)  Commit to a project you really want to do or to learning something new or attaining something you want. Commitment is the first step. Then set achievable goals and work toward them on a daily basis.

7)  Give yourself to a cause. Volunteer at a nonprofit organization, a community group, your church, or lend a hand to an individual or family who could use your help.

8)  Practice your spirituality in whatever form you express it, on a daily basis.

9)  Laugh everyday.

10) Take time to dream.

You may wonder what this has to do with interior design. Well, as a lifestyle interior designer, I truly believe our home is the touchstone from which we live our lives. Be it humble or grand, our home is only as happy, beautiful, and comfortable as we feel about ourselves. Our home is a direct reflection of who we are and how we think and feel.

So, as you begin this New Year 2013, think of it as a brand new start;  a clean slate. Make it your best year ever!

Until next time…

Blessings,
Nancy

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green homeWhy? Not just because it’s better for sustaining our planet, but on a personal level, it’s better for your health, saves money, and improves the re-sale value of your home.

This isn’t a passing fad, but an ever growing trend. New buildings are constructed today with green features that not only save money but enhance the occupants’ productivity and sense of well-being.

Indeed, we’re seeing a focus on creating green communities. While most of us can’t move out of our home and build a new one that comprises the definition of being green, we can start from where we are. Little changes that promise big results.

From using re-used, re-cycled content to renewable resources. Minimal pollutants to landscaping. A green home, if you are building, costs more up front but only by a few percentage points and the savings down the road are considerable. Also, many green products cost less than conventional ones.

A wonderful resource for finding every product imaginable to “color” your home “green,” is GREENHOME.COM, also called the enviornmental store. You won’t believe how many choices are available today.

5 TIPS FOR “GREENING”” YOUR HOME

  • KEEP THE AIR FILTERS CLEAN: Heating and air can account for up to 30% of your utility bill. Dirty filters can cost you.
  • CHANGE YOUR LIGHT BULBS: We all know we’re supposed to change out our incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent ones. However, this is one area I have not embraced because the light they produce is ugly. Fortunately, this isn’t the case with LED’s. Their light quality is excellent. While expensive, they can last for 20 years! Just replace one at a time.
  • INSTALL ENERGY-EFFICIENT APPLIANCES: Energy Star appliances save energy and money. If you’re ready to replace any of your kitchen appliances, this is the way to go. Also think in terms of installing a programmable thermostat, and installing outlet insulators on exterior walls.
  • EMPHASIZE NATURAL SUNLIGHT: No heavy window coverings. You want as much natural light as possible entering your rooms. If you need window treatments, my favorite choices are Roman shades or Plantation shutters.  Both offer privacy when needed as well as allowing much needed light.
  • CEILING FANS: An excellent choice for rooms with higher ceilings.  Circulating clock-wise, they move the air when it’s hot. Circulating counter clock-wise they move the warm air when the outside temperature is cold. They’re available in many styles and price points. This is one area, however, where I’d spend the money for a really good one to insure you’re getting maximum efficiency.

What do you think? Have you any other “green” ideas that you use in your home? Let me know on my Facebook page. I’d love to share your ideas.

Until next time…

Blessings,
Nancy

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holding houseFor those of you who have followed me for any length of time, know that my philosophy of interior design reaches beyond furniture, color, accessories, etc. It’s about how we feel in our home and does it support how we really want to live.

Our surroundings play an important role not only in how we feel, but also how we behave in all realms of our life.

Here are 10 ways to make your enviornment support the best you.

  1. De-Clutter—Do whatever it takes to bring order to your space. Clutter is the enemy of clarity and relaxation.
  2. Add Flowers/Plants—Living things help clean the air and clear the brain. Be sure to keep them fresh.
  3. Keep Relationships Clear—Conflict with anyone living in your home can poison even the most beautiful space.
  4. 4)  Eat Healthfully—What you put in your mouth has a profound effect on your energy and your mood. It truly is nature’s best medicine.
  5. Take Mental Health Breaks—Take a quick walk outside, do some stretching, or sit quietly and breathe. Doing so regularly can do wonders for your state of mind.
  6. Get Inspired—Hang artwork that you love, light candles, bathe your walls in color. Whatever keeps your spirits up and your life moving forward.
  7. Set Up Systems—Whether it’s a system for laundry, or taking phone messages, systems save time and money and help everything run smoothly.
  8. Work On You—Developing yourself and your environment can’t help but improve everything else in your life.
  9. Exercise—Everything feels and goes better when you’re getting regular exercise, even just a 20 minute walk a day.
  10. Use Humor—A little laughter goes a long way to create a positive, and beautiful environment.

Until next time…

Blessings,
Nancy

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0

That Place We Call H.O.M.E.

September 16th, 2011

H.O.M.E.Part I

We all deserve a peaceful place to be ourselves…

Our place called H.O.M.E.

What does H.O.M.E mean? It’s an acronym consisting of 4 parts. Over  the next few weeks, we’re going to explore each of them. These parts,  working in harmony, are truly what makes a house into a home filled  with joy, beauty, and contentment.

This is what I do when I’m coaching a client. Yes, I am an interior  designer, but sometimes I meet a woman who needs more than new window  dressings. She needs clarity in understanding and discovering what all  her possibilities are to have an exciting and fulfilling life, just  through how she designs and sets up her home.

I’m going to give you a taste as I talk about the different parts of  H.O.M.E., of what it means to literally create a field, a space, a  place that invites in your dreams, goals, and intentions to take root  and become reality.

A house consists of 6 walls (floor, ceiling, and sidewalls) and a  roof. This is merely the shell, and it’s inside the protective  covering that the real magic can happen!

WHAT IS “H”?

H represents health and wellbeing. A sense of mental, physical,  creative, and spiritual wellness. Does this sound like your home? If  not, let yourself daydream and think in terms of what you want to give  yourself a fully supportive home. For example: If you love to cook,  does your kitchen allow you to do this easily and joyfully? Is it set  up exactly right for you and not a frustrating experience? Or, perhaps  you’ve just made do.

Maybe you’ve decided to start a business and work from home. Do you  have a space that gives you all you need in order to have the mindset  to be your most productive? Or is the kitchen counter your makeshift  office, and you haul your computer, papers, and supplies each time you  sit down to work.

You may wish to have an area where you can excerise at home. Going to  the gym hasn’t worked, no matter your best intentions.

Or, you feel the time has come to clean the fridge and cabinets of  unhealthy foods and replace them with those that really affect you  physically,mentally, and emotionally in a very positive way.

These are just a few examples of how your home can affect your  wellbeing. It doesn’t have to require a big budget. It doesn’t require  big changes either. Sometimes, one small thing can make a hugh difference in how well your  home supports you. It does require mindfullness and making a list of  what’s important to you, all of the possibilities that you have and  making a plan.

The really cool thing is when we feel good in our home, we carry that  positive energy with us out into the world. That definately makes it a  good day!

Let me know on my Facebook page what you think and if you’ve made  changes in your home that have given you a better sense of wellbeing.

Until next time…

Blessings,
Nancy

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Who’s In Charge?

February 18th, 2011

Common Fears When Working with Interior Designers

1) Scared of losing control and spending more money than you planned to invest.

2) You’re afraid you might be criticized for having poor taste.

3) Endless hourly fees.

4) Fear of your home looking like the designer’s vision, vs. what your wants, needs, desires, and dreams are.

What You Absolutely Need to Know and Believe In

Before taking on a client, I always want to know if we are a good fit together. We dialogue and ask questions to make sure we will make a good team. If you and the designer are not on the same page, the final result may very well not be what you envisioned.

You want to know before signing an agreement what the cost of your project is going to be. There are many different ways designer’s charge and you want to know up front. You may decide you wish to resource your own products rather than leaving it to the designer.The designer needs to know this as well.

You want your relationship with your designer to be built on trust and transparency. The entire design process should be fun and exciting! It’s sort of like opening Christmas presents. The anticipation of knowing that your “big gift” will be the home of your dreams. A home that supports you and all who live there.

Finally, remember that you are smart and you really do know how you want your home to be. The best interior designer knows this. We know our passion for design lies in helping you to put all the pieces together in a way that is perfectly you.

Until next time.

Warmest regards,
Nancy

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