You’ve just received a beautiful bouquet of flowers.
You admire the beautiful colors and you take a big inhaled breath to enjoy the wonderful scents.
You wish they could last forever.
But, of course, they don’t.
If you’re like me, you remove flowers in order of their demise and soon the bouquet no longer exists.
No, they don’t last forever, but there are ways for them to last longer.
Take a look at this short video from HUFFPOST.COM. You’ll recognize some of the tips, but there’s one in particular that will come as a surprise.
I haven’t tried it yet, but I plan to. I bet you will, too.

Until next time…
Blessings from my home to yours,
Nancy
Dedicated to helping you live your rooms—not the other way around
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It’s often thought that the higher the thread count, the better a bed sheet is—better feeling and more elegant.

Actually, that high thread count doesn’t mean you’ve bought a better quality sheet.

In fact, as a designer, I’d rather my clients save the money and apply it elsewhere in their design budget.

In truth, a 350 thread count is perfectly O.K. vs. a 1,000 count one. Both in how well they hold up to many washes, their comfortable feel, and certainly the difference in cost.

Take a look at this short HUFF POST HOME video that designer ERIC COHLER did. He explains why a medium thread count is an excellent choice and gives you other info when buying your sheets.

Until next time…

Blessings from my home to yours,

Nancy
Dedicated to helping you live your rooms—not the other way around

This video was produced by Alex Kushneir and Stephanie Petchers on Huffington Post

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Beechwood Farms
We put time, money, and mindful thought into how we design and decorate our home.
We put the same energy into our beloved pets as they play an integral role in our family life and make us feel happier in so many ways.
But sometimes, the two may intersect and create something not so great like scratched furniture and floors or pet hair’fur everywhere.
Fortunately, by making thoughtful choices, we really can have it all—a beautiful home and happy pets.
DECOR AID put together a list of do’s and don’ts that help avoid the time and frustration that can happen in spite of how much we love Fifi and Fido. In the end, everyone wins.

Do: Choose tough fabrics that can withstand heavy use.

Area rugs made from fabrics like sisal, silk, and wool are solid choices for pet owners because they’re sturdy and can be cleaned. Also, rugs with patterns and colors can help mask shedding and light stains.

Don’t: Select materials that stain easily.

Avoid rugs in fabrics like viscose, rayon, art silk (which is short for “artificial,” and not “artful” or “artistic,” in case you were wondering). These rugs can be gorgeous, but overall they’re too delicate to withstand life with a pet.

Any hard-surface flooring is obviously going to be more forgiving to pets than textiles, but there are some other things you can do to keep things as clean as possible. For example, use a floor duster on your hard surface flooring at few times a week, or every day if your dog or cat is a serious shedder.

Do: Pick flooring that can stand up to scratches and moisture.

Tile is a great flooring option for pet owners, but you probably don’t want it in every single room. In that case, try sealed hardwood or synthetic woods, which are durable and less expensive than hardwood.

Don’t: Choose light carpeting if it’s going to make you crazy.

Wall-to-wall carpeting is OK, but obviously it’s more difficult to clean than tile or wood, and light colors especially are going to show stains more easily. Make sure to seal the carpet to avoid stains, and save yourself the hassle if you’re going to obsess over keeping a white carpet pristine.

Even if you don’t allow your dogs or cats on the furniture (and you actually believe they’re not jumping up there the second you leave for work), somehow pet hair seems to end up everywhere. Everywhere. And if they do get free reign on your furniture, the upholstery can take a beating from dirty paws and sharp claws.

Do: Opt for fabrics that stand up to stains.

Consider reupholstering your sofa or chairs in indoor/outdoor fabrics, which can stand up to frequent use without feeling hard or scratchy. Commercial-grade fabrics are another great options, because they were made for high traffic. Leather is another durable option, and you can just wipe off pet hair. But make sure to choose one with a more of a patina, which helps camouflage scratch marks.

Don’t: Buy furniture in fabrics that trap pet fur or scratch easily.

Some fabrics, like velvet and bouclé, seem like fur magnets. And once the fur is there, it can feel impossible to remove. Avoid delicate leathers with smooth, uniform surfaces. One errant claw could transform it from statement piece to yard sale special.

Until next time…
Blessings from my home to yours,
Nancy
Dedicated to helping you live your rooms—not the other way around
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 MINDFUL INTERIOR DESIGN:
As a designer, I believe accent pillows are the next best thing to sliced bread.
They add color (vibrant or subtle), texture and personality. They’re easily changed out if you want to freshen your interiors or change pillows as a seasonal design statement.
Pillows are also functional as they add lower back support and shorten the seat depth. There’s nothing worse for a guest or yourself if your feet don’t touch the floor. Imagine you’re Lily Tomlin in her role as Edith!!
You can spend a little or a lot. Good resources for accent pillows are West Elm; Zgallerie; Pottery Barn; Crate and Barrel to name but a few.
For this week’s article, I’m sharing a post written by Houzz Contributor, Jennifer Ott, http://jenottdesign.com
It can be a bit overwhelming to choose decorative pillows because there are so many different sizes, materials, colors, and patterns available. Here are Jennifer’s tips to make the selection easier for you:
HOW TO GET YOUR ACCENT PILLOWS RIGHT [PHOTOS]
Until next time…
Blessings from my home to yours,
Nancy
Dedicated to helping you live your rooms—not the other way around
Photos via HOUZZ
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For me, growing up didn’t include computers, smart phones, tablets. or any of the technology that we have today.
So, instead of taking it for granted like today’s young people, I’m constantly amazed, and yes, often perplexed by all of the technological advances.
If you are of a certain age, don’t you agree?
Today’s article shows 10 new kitchen products that really can make our lives easier and even healthier.
There are a few I’m definitely going to look into. Especially the one that allows you to eat fried foods with all the crunch, without all of the fat!
Take a look. I’ll bet you find some that will pique your interest as well.

Here are 10 new kitchen products that will give you a smart start in 2016.

coffee machine fridge door

A Fridge That Makes Coffee

GE’s Café Series refrigerators incorporate a Keurig K-Cup Brewing System in the door dispenser, allowing single-serve coffee at the touch of a button. The magic fridges come in French door or side-by-side models.

cinnibird spice coffee pen

Latte Art Pen

The CinniBird spice pen allows you to add personalized art to your home-brewed latte. Want a great gift for Valentine’s Day? Penning romantic sayings in your significant other’s cup of coffee (or dessert plate) could certainly spice up your love life.

smarter coffee pot wifi

Wi-Fi Coffee Maker

Programmable coffee pots are nothing new. But how many times have you gone to bed at night forgetting to set the timer and fill the coffee pot, ensuring you have a hot cup first thing in the morning without having to do anything?

The Smarter Coffee machine seems to have solved this dilemma. This Wi-Fi-enabled coffeemaker runs via your smartphone or tablet while you’re still in bed; it even grinds the coffee beans. Alas, it’s available only in Europe. For those of us in the U.S., the Mr. Coffee Smart Wi-Fi Enabled Coffeemaker will do the trick via the free WeMo app.

prep pad food scale

Food Prep Pad

A new year often brings resolutions; for many, those include eating more healthfully. Whether you are looking to lose weight or simply improve your overall health, keeping track of what you eat plays an important role.

The Orange Chef Prep Pad works with your iPad or iPhone to serve as not only a digital scale, but also a nutritional guide. It has a “food library” of more than 300,000 items, and gives you the breakdown of calories, fat, protein and carbs.

slow cooker

High-Tech Slow Cooker

Another high-tech take on a traditional appliance, the Crock-Pot Smart Slow Cooker with Belkin’s WeMo technology allows you to use your smartphone to turn it on from anywhere (as long as you remember to plug it in before you leave the house).

You can also adjust the cooking temperature remotely, which is especially beneficial when you need it to be on high for a certain amount of time and then turned down. You can also change the cooking time from your smartphone.

smart app for egg storage

Smart Egg Tray

Even the person who has everything probably doesn’t have the Quirky Egg Minder. Fill the tray with eggs (it holds up to 14), pop it in your refrigerator and connect it to your smartphone, and the Wink app will let you know when you’re low on eggs and whether they’re going bad. Sure, you could just look in the fridge — but where’s the fun in that?

wine storage

Wine Preserver

While some of us finish a bottle of wine in one sitting, others prefer to sip more slowly. The EuroCave Wine Art stores one or two open bottles of wine at the ideal serving temperature for up to 10 days, keeping it as fresh and fragrant as the day you opened it.

air fryer cooking tool

Air-‘Fried’ Cooker

Now you can enjoy “fried” food without breaking your New Year’s resolution. The Philips Airfryer gives you that crispy, crunchy texture you love without all the fat — only a spritz of oil is required. You don’t have to sacrifice the texture of your favorite fried foods, and they won’t ruin your diet: win-win!

kitchen charging station

Charging Station

If you plan to change up your kitchen in 2016, consider adding a charging station. For many, the perfect spot is integrated into the kitchen island, allowing you to charge your electronics all in one location without the hassle of cords.

iPort’s LaunchPort serves as a docking and charging station for your iPad. The base station fits on your kitchen counter; a wall-mount version also is available. Both give you easy access to your tablet while you cook, especially handy for those who who use their tablets as recipe cards.

kitchen tablet

Kitchen Tablet

Speaking of tablets in the kitchen, you no longer have to worry about getting food or liquids on yours. The Sony Xperia Tablet Z Kitchen Edition is designed to hold up to spills and greasy hands. In fact, Sony says it can be submerged for up to 30 minutes without being damaged.

The tablet is preloaded with food and cooking apps as well as recipes from Saveur magazine. It also comes with a wireless Bluetooth meat thermometer, so your iGrill app will let you know when your roast is ready.

We hope these new kitchen products will give you a smart start in 2016. Please let us know if you try any of them!

Until next time…
Blessings from my home to yours,
Nancy,
Dedicated to helping you live your rooms—not the other way around
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MINDFUL INTERIOR DESIGN:
I’m always looking for unusual table centerpieces for myself and my clients, If it’s something that nature gifts us with, so much the better.
The idea I’m sharing with you this week, comes from landscape designer, ROXANNE KIM-PEREZ. It utilizes simple things that are easily found and not difficult to put together—namely, driftwood, succulents, and tillandsias (air plants).
For those of us living in the Northwest, driftwood is found on beaches everywhere. It’s usually kicked aside like the sand it rests on as we walk along.
But if you really look at driftwood through your artist’s eye, you notice beautiful shapes, color, and texture. This simple  and seemingly common gift of nature becomes a piece of sculpture that time and tide creates and becomes a piece of sculpture—one that you can turn into your own piece of art to be enjoyed for a very long time and with little care.
Roxanne shows you step-by-step, everything you need to create your own “masterpiece” centerpiece. It does require a drill which if you’re uncomfortable using, someone can help you with this step.
Take a look and see how easy this project is to do. There’s nothing like the feeling you get when you create something that requires your heart, mind, and hands. You become the artist and how great is that?
Until next time…
Blessings from my home to yours,
Nancy
Dedicated to helping you live your rooms—not the other way around
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“What colors should I choose? “How many pillows should I have?” “Which material would be best?”
These are just a few of the questions I’m asked when it comes to choosing decorative pillows. It can become confusing and frustrating because there are so many to choose from.
My first suggestion is to choose your pillows after all of the other elements are in place. This includes furniture, flooring material, paint colors, and artwork.
Here are some other tips that will make your choices easier:
PRICE

Accent pillows come in all price points. It’s one of area decorating where you can get a lot of zing without breaking the budget. However, you may find a pillow or two that you love and want to splurge on.

MATERIAL

This will depend on how much wear and tear your pillows will receive. If you have small children and/or pets, having an out-door fabric makes much more sense than choosing a silk fabric. Check, too, if the pillows can be machine washed or require dry-cleaning.

SIZE

Decorative square pillows are generally sized from 14 inches to 22 inches. Rectangular pillows     from 12 by 16 inches and 16 by 26 inches. Think in terms of 1 pillow for chairs and 3 to 5 for a sofa. It’s your choice as to how many pillows you choose.

COLOR

This will depend on what else you have in your room. For instance, you may want to pull colors from your artwork. Look at the colors you’ve chosen for the rest of the room. Are they warm, cool, or neutral hues? Looking at a color wheel, do you prefer warm or cool colors? Your own clothes closet is also another indication of the hues you love.Here’s another way of breaking down colors:

COOL PALETTE

Examples are blue, blue-gray, purple, blue purple,  gray and cool gray, green and blue green. Think of the sea.

WARM PALETTE

These are on the opposite side of the cools on the color wheel. Examples are shades of yellow, yellow-orange, orange, red-orange, red, and red-purple. Think of the sun.

NEUTRAL PALETTE

Examples are shades of white, creme, gray, greige (grey-beige), tan and taupe. When choosing neutrals, vary the pattern and texture and choose varying dark and light shades of your chosen neutral.

If you’re not sure when looking at pillows in the store, bring them home so you see them in the actual space. Your eye will tell you if they’re right or not. You may not know why, but something will feel off.
In the end, if you have difficulty in this area, it’s worth hiring expert help to feel sure of your choices.
As always, your home is your haven and everything you choose must feel perfect for you.
Until next time…
Blessings from my home to yours,
Nancy
Dedicated to helping you live your rooms—not the other way around
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“What colors should I choose? “How many pillows should I have?” “Which material would be best?”
These are just a few of the questions I’m asked when it comes to choosing decorative pillows. It can become confusing and frustrating because there are so many to choose from.
My first suggestion is to choose your pillows after all of the other elements are in place. This includes furniture, flooring material, paint colors, and artwork.
Here are some other tips that will make your choices easier:
PRICE

Accent pillows come in all price points. It’s one of area decorating where you can get a lot of zing without breaking the budget. However, you may find a pillow or two that you love and want to splurge on.

MATERIAL

This will depend on how much wear and tear your pillows will receive. If you have small children and/or pets, having an out-door fabric makes much more sense than choosing a silk fabric. Check, too, if the pillows can be machine washed or require dry-cleaning.

SIZE

Decorative square pillows are generally sized from 14 inches to 22 inches. Rectangular pillows from 12 by 16 inches and 16 by 26 inches. Think in terms of 1 pillow for chairs and 3 to 5 for a sofa. It’s your choice as to how many pillows you choose.

COLOR

This will depend on what else you have in your room. For instance, you may want to pull colors from your artwork. Look at the colors you’ve chosen for the rest of the room. Are they warm, cool, or neutral hues? Looking at a color wheel, do you prefer warm or cool colors? Your own clothes closet is also another indication of the hues you love.Here’s another way of breaking down colors:

COOL PALETTE

Examples are blue, blue-gray, purple, blue purple, gray and cool gray, green and blue green. Think of the sea.

WARM PALETTE

These are on the opposite side of the cools on the color wheel. Examples are shades of yellow, yellow-orange, orange, red-orange, red, and red-purple. Think of the sun.

NEUTRAL PALETTE

Examples are shades of white, creme, gray, greige (grey-beige), tan and taupe. When choosing neutrals, vary the pattern and texture and choose varying dark and light shades of your chosen neutral.

If you’re not sure when looking at pillows in the store, bring them home so you see them in the actual space. Your eye will tell you if they’re right or not. You may not know why, but something will feel off.
In the end, if you have difficulty in this area, it’s worth hiring expert help to feel sure of your choices.
As always, your home is your haven and everything you choose must feel perfect for you.
Until next time…
Blessings from my home to yours,
Nancy
Dedicated to helping you live your rooms—not the other way around
Photos via HOUZZ
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It’s the height of summer and that means vacation time.
Traveling to new or favorite places.
Visiting friends and family, or entertaining in our own homes.
And what is an important part of this?
Photographs—many, many photos.
And where do these captured for all time special moments live?
You guessed right if you said they hide in our smart phones. Hundreds of them that we forget about.
That’s why I’m strongly in favor of printed photos. This week’s article is from ELLEDECOR.COM and gives some great ideas on ways to share your treasured memories.
Until next time…
Blessings from my home to yours,
Nancy
Dedicated to helping you live your rooms—not the other way around
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Your style of design is soft, soothing, and sophisticated. It’s not trendy. It lasts;you don’t tire of it.
But every once in a while do you look around a space and wonder if it could use some zing? Something that might amp up the energy?
Not every room in your home, but maybe just one space.
One way to do this is choosing a bold rug that is anything but “quiet.” Bold colors or geometric designs can be the perfect solution.
They work with any design style from country to contemporary and they don’t reduce the impact from the rest of your more subtle design elements.
Take a look at these photos for some examples. You’ll see everything from herringbone, diamond, Aztec, chevron, Greek key, honeycomb, and fret patterns. You may very well decide it could be your solution to giving a room a whole new feel and upping your energy quotient at the same time.
(Photos via HOUZZ)
Until next time…
Blessings from my home to yours,
Nancy
Dedicated to helping you live your rooms—not the other way around
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