Chevron and Greek Key Combinations

A couple weeks ago we finished this wonderful family room.   The client and I sat down together during our "walk-thru" consultation and decided what was going to STAY and what was going to GO. 
She was moving from another home and had used browns and gold as her color scheme.  She desperately wanted to move into more of a fresh, clean & modern look.  She had lots of antiques and accessories we could incorporate as well as a beautiful rug she paid a lot for.  Knowing that my speciality is "incorporating as much of what you have" into the design, we decided to keep as much as we could and made a list of items that we needed to add to make the transition from OLD and TIRED to NEW and FRESH.
 I knew I could do this by adding some new custom pillows to her existing gold couch.  Because her rug had gray, black, gold and red in it, it totally worked.
I apologize for the lame pictures, my camera died and my Ipad had to do the trick :(
 A few chevron pillows combined with a some patterned gray and white pillows made it look updated immediately. 
 I especially loved how we added the Greek key gimp to the pillows.  The lamps with stone and wrought iron and the burlap shades add a casual feel and lightened up the room immediately.
She had a lot of formal items throughout the home so we made some simple changes like painting the fireplace black to make it feel less intimidating and more inviting and cozy.
We layered books with photo's and other misc. accessories that we thought belonged in this room.  I especially loved the pottery vase I found in HER existing treasures. 
 We added these amazing chairs that are from my "ONE by ONE"" collection.  See the before and after  here.
Don't you just love the pillows we had made?  We are also having some bar chairs made for her in this pattern.  It brings the whole room together and makes the rug work!
 I found these wonderful art pieces.  They are translucent leaves layered to make a flower.
I hung one on each side of the fireplace.  I placed existing console tables underneath each one with fresh flowers in vases she already had.
I thought they were absolutely fabulous.  When I first showed my client the picture of them, she was not quite sure....but told me she would trust me on this one.  When she called me the day of the install to let me know what she thought, she was raving about these two pieces!  My job is to stretch my client to try new things, usually when they trust me, they are pleased!
This little desk was upstairs amongst boxes but my intern "Audra" found it and brought it downstairs.  She created this lovely little grouping of books and little treasures.  I found these two African busts and thought they added a fun eclectic mix to the room (you know I love Africa since it's my birth home).  My client couldn't believe I combined these items because she said her mom gave her the desk and her brother brought the busts from a vacation trip.  She said they would be extremely pleased to see these items combined together in one spot in her new home.
So here is the.....
and NOW the
We created this little sitting area below with the leftover furniture that didn't go anywhere else. 
 It's a temporary solution for now so she can at least entertain guests in her home until the new furniture arrives for this room.  We used an existing table, chairs and rug.  I found the lamp base in the garage and stole the lampshade off another lamp upstairs.
 We have ordered some custom chairs for the round table and this will be her "wine/bar" room when the final plan is complete.
We are now working on her dining room and master bedroom and will install next week.
(Sneak Peak)
I'm crazy about this Ikat rug!
Ruthie's Tip of the week - Just because trends are moving away from gold and browns, etc. doesn't mean you have to start redecorating from scratch.  Have a decorator help you incorporate the items that still have style and life in them.  We have ideas that you may not have thought of to make it feasible for you to update your home without breaking the bank.  The ABOVE room is a true example of a transformation that could happen in your home.
I'm taking the weekend off to spend some time with family and rest my foot (planters fasciatis) that is about to kill me.  Doctors orders are to rest up but I seem to be having a hard time doing that!
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Decorating Details & Piano Room

Yesterday I had a full day install for an entire home. We recently remodeled the home and yesterday was the detail day where we rehung pictures, placed new rugs, added some accessories, hung draperies and headboards, etc.  I always incorporate what the client has during my installs because most of the time they have items I can definitely re-purpose or include to make the entire space feel collected over time vs. all brand new and "showroom" like. 
Here are a few snapshots I took of the day.  More professional photographs coming soon! 
Thought you might enjoy looking into what we did yesterday!  The best part of the day is that I hired my niece Jess to help me.  My Intern Audra is on vacation and I needed help!   Spending the day with her was awesome.  She was my right hand girl all day and did an amazing job! 
We used the existing bedspread and added the headboard, duvet and throw pillows.
I was so happy with the way it all coordinated together!  Can you believe we bought the pillows separately? The set didn't come together but they sure look that way.  Purchasing the duvet cover online was much cheaper than having a custom one made.  It was a great way to save money so we could have gorgeous mercury lamps!  The duvet cover is from Pottery Barn.
A lot of times after a remodel, the client isn't able to afford all the decorating details because their funds have been depleted. However, this is what makes the home complete. It's the décor that makes it all come together! I know it gets incredibly expensive to redecorate but I LOVE to "use what the client has" and add in my touch if budget is something the client is concerned about. 
I move rugs from room to room, steal lampshades from different lamps in the house, rummage through closets & cabinets (with the clients permission of course) and sometimes have furniture repainted ahead of time. It's a fun shopping day for me!
Showcases the granite and backsplash.  The newly installed LED lights really make the details shine!
I brought out some of their china and showed them how they can mix and match pieces to create a more eclectic look.
This tray was in her living room but it belongs in the kitchen. 
I added this beautiful bowl to their china cabinet.
New parsons chairs and a rug were added to the dining room so now it's less "matchy matchy".  We also added new hardware to her existing china cabinet.
New pillows were added to her existing suede couch in her piano room.  Now it looks sophisticated and classy.  This is the waiting room for her piano students that come through her home all day long.
New rug in the piano room to warm up the space and add texture and color.   It also coordinates with the adjacent dining room.
Hope you enjoyed!  Now off to unload my car with all the leftovers from yesterday!  On to another install on Tuesday!  Stay tuned!
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House Beautiful in a day.

I always enjoy my ONE DAY installs.  My client and her husband just moved to their new home and hadn't a clue where to start with all of their decorating.  They were consolidating homes and had a bit of this and a bit of that and a lot of wonderful collections too!  They hired me to "use what they had" to make their home beautiful.
I met with them for a "Walk-thru" consultation first and I helped them select paint colors for certain rooms.  I then took an inventory of the items they had and made a list of some accessories that we could add to their mix to make the final reveal look more complete.  Doing "One Day" installs is one of my favorites, it's my passion!  I want everyone to be able to have a beautiful home and it doesn't always mean purchasing ALL brand new items.  Mixing it up and adding some creativity to your home is what makes it personal! 
 Isn't that what Pinterest is all about these days?
On the day of the install (a week later) I made them leave for the day (so they could be surprised) and we got to work!  Half way through the day, I heard the front door open and it was my client, she couldn't wait and wanted a peak....I immediately told her she wasn't allowed to peek :) and sent her on her way :)  She was just so excited and thought I'd let her see a glimpse into what we were doing.  I was just as excited :)
My team and I went through each room and pulled things from other rooms, shopped in closets, the garage, and even the patio.  We also placed some new items (lamps, accessories, pillows, wall art, mirrors, etc.) as well.   These three niches are something you see a lot in new houses. I don't like them because they limit what you can do and make new homeowners that don't have a clue about decorating even more frustrated!
I recommended they paint the insets Sherwin Williams "Foxy" to go with their rug and other furniture they have in the house.  In the past, I've wallpapered, faux finished, tiled with a metallic pearl tile, stenciled, etc. but for these niches it was more cost effective to paint them.
The  homeowners had a formal flair to their decorating style and I suggested that we break that up a bit. Adding old and new items, formal and casual, makes a room feel a lot warmer and more inviting.  I want rooms that I decorate to be spaces that people actually go in and enjoy!  Their house needs to have "lived in" spaces not just "for show" rooms.
Adding the rustic panels to two of the niches added the casual, comfortable, rustic flair.  For the middle niche, I added three antiqued & distressed mirrors in gorgeous frames.  They look really stunning with the  buffet lamps I purchased for them.  
Their family Bible that has been passed down for generations was placed between the lamps because that is the one thing the homeowner really wanted!
The dining room was painted a wonderful sage green. 
I took a leaf out of the table as it was way to big for the room.  The leaves can be added with no problem but for every day, it needed to be smaller. 
I grouped special artwork that was done by family together on one wall.  I added a few embroidered throw pillows for color (the same red that is in the entry niches) and they made this dining room come alive and united this room with the entry.  An "all natural" arrangement added to the table and it looks fresh and updated now. It brings me great joy when I can incorporate things that have special meaning to the family.
I spruced up their family room too.
I found this old window in their garage and decided it would be beautiful on their mantel.  Again, breaking up the formal feel and adding a bit of character and "old world" charm.
Rearranged the bookshelves and added some height to the room with artwork and wrought iron.
The butler pantry got a new look with her collection of baskets.  We hung them on the wall because they are all so beautiful and did not need to be hidden in the closet.
The Master Bedroom got an animal print throw pillows to add to the mix and broke up the "matchy matchy" of her duvet set.
 The couch back pillows were getting worn and had lost their form so I got rid of those.  I then took the floral bed pillows off their bed and added them to the couch and I  must say it looks wonderful. I made a nice quiet reading/chatting space for the couple to sit and have coffee each day together.
It's amazing how a few throw pillows can "update" a space instantly.
 You have to have those things that are special to you close to you.  Placed this treasure on "HIS" side, so sweet and obviously hand made with LOVE!
The baby room got a few throw pillows and we moved things around a little.
The upstairs rooms got some freshening up too.  Their children come home a lot to visit so they wanted them to have some personality based on what each child likes.  Again, we "used what they had" and made it work beautifully. 
Ruthie's tip:  If you buy a "bed in a bag" mix it up with other pillows so it isn't so matchy.  I brought in the plaid pillow and the round pillow from another room and it happened to work perfectly.  It isn't always that easy but buying a few pillows that didn't come with the set is a great way to mix it up.
Found the large flowers in another room too and thought they deserved to be more of a focal point with these purple vases they already had.  I've made a shopping list for a few things the upstairs rooms need and will place them in Phase II of the project.
The pillows are stunning in the "Architects" room.
We had the theatre room painted a rich espresso and the columns got a nice silver metallic finish on them.  We hung new posters and this room is ready for the show to start!
It was a fun, exhausting but a very rewarding day! 
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Ruthie's tips to selling your home

As I drive around through neighborhoods in our area, I've noticed lots of homes for sale.  I know that in this economy houses are not selling as fast as people would like. 
2 years ago we had our house on the market and fortunately, it sold in about 4 hours. I know that it had a lot to do with the fact that it was DECORATED. People love to walk in a home that feels inviting and finished. Even though the furnishings will not be there when they move in, it still makes them want the home because they can imagine themselves there. They will choose your home over another they have looked at in the same neighborhood because yours was memorable.
I just heard from a client today that said that their house was on the market along with several other houses on their street.  She mentioned that she is sure that their house sold before anyone elses because it was decorated beautifully. 

I always love to hear great news like that from clients!

Decorating your home is an investment and you will get that money back.  You also get to take ALL your items with you for your next house!
You can hire a professional like me to help you with your staging but to start off, here are a few tips that you can do that involves your hard work.
Create an amazing First Impressions - Think of what people see first when entering your home - When potential home buyers step into your entry they form their opinion within a few minutes whether you like it or not. You want to grab them within those few minutes and have them wanting to see the rest of the house.  Have all your blinds OPEN, overhead lights and lamps ON.  If you have a beautiful backyard or pool that can be seen from the entry, make sure it is FRONT and center.  If the first thing buyers see is the outdoors, that's awesome.  Makes them anxious to see what it looks like outside and gets them excited right away!

Adding a piece of furniture that is to scale and placing nice tall buffet lamps creates a nice ambiance in any entry.  Doesn't the above entry looks so much better and less formal and dated?

Depersonalize - remove all items that are too specific to your family. You can have a few out but take away your family gallery that most people have.   If you have something like the below picture, replace the photo's with landscape or architectural black and white photo's.   It's not just your photo's, it's also items that you collect, or anything that you think someone else may not like.  If you question it, take it away.  You can't please everyone, but you can TRY.

Take a day out to CLEAN - Seems so basic but you MUST have everything clean!  Baseboards, finger prints on doors & windows.  Go in each room and look at the back of the doors.  So many times the rooms that are used the most (bathrooms) are overlooked.  Close the door and make sure there are no dirt stains around the handles.  LOOK UP - dust all ceiling fans & blinds, remove cobwebs, dust lampshades & light fixtures. 

Fix - spend a few Saturday's fixing things.  Replace any broken blinds, loose faucets, chips in trim/baseboards, touch up paint, squeeky doors, regrout bathtubs & change out dirty shower curtains.

Eliminate clutter - You want your home to look like a MODEL home.  Do you ever visit model homes and see clutter all over the counter's?   You do not want lots of clutter everywhere.  Especially in kitchens & master bathrooms.  Eliminate items from all your counter's.  I know it will be a pain while you sell but you want everything put away.  This will make everything look clean, fresh and updated.  Go to the following link and they actually will come out and remove your clutter

Clean out closets - Take out the clothing that you won't be using over the next few months.  Move it to storage while you are selling.  Clean out kitchen cabinets and your pantry.  Only have the items you will NEED.  Buyers look in kitchen cabinets for space.  If they see that it is full and items are falling out all over the place, they will assume that there isn't enough storage. 
Remove large pieces of furniture.  Anything large (Armories) that can be removed that creates extra floor space is best to take out.  Especially in the living room and kitchens.  If you need a storage cabinet in your kitchen, remove it while you are trying to sell.  It tells the buyer that you don't have enough storage.    So many times I see GREAT big china cabinets that take up the whole room.  Taking those out makes the room looks so much more spacious and allows for the buyers to imagine their furniture in the space.

Neutralize - Repaint walls that are too loud.  Try to keep neutral colors throughout your home.  I know you may love RED but not everyone does.  If you have a rugs that is a pink floral print, then remove them and put rugs in their place that are neutral.  They don't have to be real expensive rugs, just simple and classy.  The same goes with couches and chairs.  If the print is too strong and screams "outdated" I would suggest you remove it and rent one.  Sometimes neutral throw pillows can help in these cases but if it is really grubby and dirty and outdated then you need to move it out.

Think about your curb appeal -  This is really important because it's the first thing they see when they pull up.  Make sure you don't have dead plants or flowers, kids toys, or an overgrown yard.  Again, make sure things look clean and well kept.

Have a welcoming Entrance/Entry.  Sweep before you show the house and remove all cobwebs.  We often forget to see what our guests walk up to because often times we don't enter through the front door.

Get rid of any unusual odors - Clean carpets, make sure all moldy smells are eliminated.  Use plug-ins like Vanilla flavor (everyone loves vanilla) and make sure the fragrance isn't too overpowering like you are trying to hide a bad odor.  Even if you just  make a pot of coffee before your realtor comes, that is a good smell that says "come on in and stay a while."

Add special touches to your home - Purchase big fluffy towels for each bathroom in a nice neutral color and tie ribbon around them.  Make it feel like a hotel.  Put beautiful soaps out in the bathrooms, set your dining room table with nice place mats, dishes and napkins, have soft music playing, use lots of lamps, put a tray on the master bedroom bed with a cup and saucer with magazines, stack fluffy towels on the bathtub.  These are just a few touches you can add to your home.

All these tips can be applied to your everyday living! 
Whether you are staging or wanting to make your home comfortable for your guests, think about what a hotel would have and you will be doing something right.
Good luck!