When Technology & Design Marry

If you could travel in time, where would you go? In all honesty, I think that we currently live in an incredible space in time, and feel pretty lucky to be a part of it. Technological advances now offer themselves in amazing ways.  From organizing, to research and exploration, it amazes me the opportunity before us.  What's more, as a designer, I'm finding myself enamored with the ways technology is becoming more accessible to the general public for home design elements. At last, the two are becoming one in certain facets of live, and it is amazing to watch the unfolding of it all.

No, i haven't found a paint that makes your house clean itself....yet. Today, I'm going to share with you the latest lighting upgrade we've begun in my household.  It is our latest show and tell item when guests come over, and we are big fans so far. Seriously, I'm sorry, but if you've been to our house recently, we've no doubt shown you.

*Just a heads up, while this is a product I genuinely am a big fan of, in full disclosure, Amazon will pay out a small commission if my gushing over their products convinces you to click the links and purchase these items!

So here it goes.

A revolutionary lighting system where tech meets design

One of the biggest family argument-causers known to man is the issue of leaving on lights and finding the culprit of the crime. But do you know what technology has done for us? Technology, my friends, has made turning off lights FUN, and believe it or not easier. Wait, WHAT? You may be asking, how does flipping a switch get any easier. Well, what if I told you that Amazon has a product that allows us to turn off ALL of the lights in our house with a single voice command? Oh, and say you've left your house an realized you forgot! Oh yes, even then, you can remotely turn the lights out using your phone. MIND BLOWN. I know. Not only that, but depending on the bulbs you use, you can also alter and adjust the color of the light emitted. Additionally, the device allows for dimming, timers, flashing light alarms, and many other variations of settings.

So now you ask, "How can I make this happen?" And now, I tell you.  AMAZON has a product called the Amazon Echo. And if you think lighting is the only technological opportunity this device allows for, you are incredibly mistaken. In addition to our light manager, our Amazon Echo has now become our primary music player, our grocery list maker, our meteorologist, our internet search provider, our therapist, and aids in easing a wide array of household tasks.  There are so many apps available for the device, and I am only touching on the tip of the iceberg. The easiest way to quickly explain the Echo in a nutshell is that it is like a home-docked Siri on steroids. 

Here is what it looks like:

 

The product is advertised as follows:

  • Plays all your music from Amazon Music, Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio, TuneIn, and more using just your voice
  • Fills the room with immersive, 360º omni-directional audio
  • Allows hands-free convenience with voice-control
  • Hears you from across the room with far-field voice recognition, even while music is playing
  • Answers questions, reads audiobooks and the news, reports traffic and weather, gives info on local businesses, provides sports scores and schedules, and more using the Alexa Voice Service
  • Controls lights, switches, and thermostats with compatible WeMo, Philips Hue, Samsung SmartThings, Wink, Insteon, Nest, and ecobee smart home devices
  • Always getting smarter and adding new features, plus thousands of skills like Uber, Domino's, and more

 

To set up your home on the Echo lighting system, I've listed the basics of what you need to get started.

1. Amazon Echo

It all starts with this device, and the possibilities only grow from here. Also, while one centrally stationed dock works for us right now, Amazon Dot is now available if you want devices in more than one room (which we are now considering)

 

2. Philips Hue LED Starter Kit (2 bulbs + Hue Bridge hub)

This starter kit will work in a standard bulb context to give you a feel for how the product works. The technology is advancing at a rapid pace, so keep an eye out for a wider range of bulb availability for a more diverse range of lighting contexts i.e. candelabra bulbs, etc.

3. Additional bulbs

The starter kit comes with two bulbs, but you can order additional bulbs. We started with just a room or two, and as we can, we purchase more smart bulbs to expand which lights we can control using our Echo.

 

4. Another (optional) item to consider
Remote

This voice remote allows you to communicate with the device from other parts of your home. This is a nice option if you aren't ready for additional dot devices yet.

 

It has also been very helpful for us to have Amazon Prime since so much of what we do can link to our account. This may be something you want to consider as well. If you use Amazon often, Prime membership comes with some great perks. If you'd like to give prime membership a test run first, you can click this link to sign up for a free 30 day trial!

 

You will also want to download the FREE Amazon Alexa App which will be full of great ways to maximize what you can do with this incredible device. 

Questions? Let me know, I'd be happy guide you in your journey of merging technology and home design! If you have a tech-loving friend or family member, these items make very exciting gifts. Who knows what the next 10 years will bring. Exciting times no doubt.

 

 

 

Making Your Home More Awesome

If you did not previously follow my series on an easy-to-follow cleaning rotation, be sure to take a look after reading this post! Having a method and rotation to your house cleaning safeguards those easy to forget spots from being forgotten. If you did follow it, I'd love to expand by reviewing one of my newest favorite products for house cleaning.  Either way, read on. I'm about to make your home more awesome. In full disclosure, Murchison-Hume does offer me a commission for anyone who purchases their products through my referral, but the truth is that I contacted them first because I tried the product and fell in love. Now I just want to share the love with all of you!

MURCHISON-HUME PRODUCT REVIEW

Remember all of the dusting, wiping, sanitizing, etc. in that fantastic cleaning rotation? I've found a product line that has become a game changer for me. Murchison-Hume products alleviated so many of the issues I've had with traditional cleaning products. Here are my top three grumbles of the past and how the Murchison-Hume product line is addressing them.

Traditional Cleaner Grumble #1: Traditional cleaners are loaded with chemicals.  This cannot be good for us, and certainly is not of benefit to our environment. 

The M-H solution: Murchison-Hume creates naturally-derived products that are free of ammonias, bleach, dyes, formaldehyde, parabens, & phthalates as well as being free from non-sustainable Palm Oil derived ingredients.  All of their products are 98%, and even sometimes even more naturally derived.

Traditional Cleaner Grumble #2: Strong unpleasant fragrance associated with so many products is a real downside to the big name products.

The M-H solution: At Murchison-Hume, the fragrance used is cosmetic grade, and I have to tell you, it makes my house smell HEAVENLY. In some products, essential oils are the only form of fragrance. There is nothing like sitting back after cleaning, taking in a deep breath, and loving what I smell!

Traditional Cleaner Grumble #3: I am a sucker for things that look nice. The traditional brand of store-bought cleaners come in packaging that begs to be tossed into a closet or cupboard.

The M-H solution: At Murchison-Hume, they state, "We're all about elevating the everyday", and they couldn't have said it more truthfully.  I so appreciate the attention to detail that this company takes in not only making a fantastic product, but also making it beautiful.  Browse the site further. I think you're going to love what you see.

Are you a boy mom? Check out the Boy's Bathroom Cleaner!  I used the original fig, and nothing else to date has made that yucky boy bathroom smell vanish like this has.  You can also find adorable hand soaps, stainless steel cleaners, kitchen kits, and even products for your pets!  I'm telling you, you need to check it out. You'll thank me if you do!

So head on over to Murchison-Hume and stock up your cleaning arsenal. It will be a decision you'll be oh so glad you've made! And resume that fabulous cleaning rotation with more style than ever.

 

Total Game Changer DIY No-Sew Roman Shades

Hi. My name is Kim. Well at least that's what you called me before reading this tutorial. Chances are afterwards, you may feel tempted to address me as your hero. Today I bring you a D.I.Y project that has a big impact for a very small price point. I bring you; the No Sew Roman Shade tutorial. Do you have some naked windows, or even windows gracing cheap plastic blinds? If the answer to either of those questions is "yes", then you are perfectly situated for a post such as this. Have an hour or two? Well then, my friend, It's time to make the changes you've been putting off! I can be kind of scatter brained when trying to follow tutorials, so I am going to attempt to make these step-by-step instructions as fool-proof as possible.

I should note for full disclosure, the amazing people at Fabric.com and Amazon give me a small commission for every customer I send their way.  This tutorial is totally free to you, but if you want to say thanks for the tips and tricks, I'd love if you'd follow the links to the products I used when purchasing your own project materials to give me some love for referring you to one of my  favorite fabric suppliers.

SUPPLIES YOU WILL NEED:

Fabric Scissors

Fabric you will see (main material)

If you are unsure of your skill level, a solid fabric is a great place to start. The link above will send you to the fabric I used for this project.)

Lining Fabric (for back side that will be facing the outside of your house)

Fabric Glue 

Inexpensive blinds to fit window(s) you are beautifying (width is crucial, length can be longer since we will be cutting it down)

Iron (If you desire a crisp finished look of course)

Ruler/Measuring Tool

 

Step One:

Cutting Fabric

Take your lining fabric and cut it to the exact dimensions of the blind (width and length of the window you are covering).

Take your main fabric and cut it 4" wider and 4" longer than what you cut your lining fabric. (This allows for 2" overlap on each side of the lining.)

Thumbs up, step one is done! (And also, no judging the wrinkly fabric or the poor quality photos. I promise I ironed it at the appropriate time, as for the photos, they'll get better with time.)

 

Step Two:

Prepping Blind Mechanism

Unpack (or take down) the blind that fits the window you are beautifying

Fully extend the blind to maximum length and lay out in front of you

CAREFULLY trim the thin chords and remove from the blind.

DO NOT cut the thick chords as they must remain in tact for the blinds to properly operate. 

Thumbs up, you're making progress! (Note in crappy photo below, I am not cutting the thick cord running through the slats, only the thin ladder formation cords.)

Step Three:

Removing Excess Slats

The bottom weight piece of the blind has small plastic buttons.  Remove those (you can usually pop them off quite easily with a screw driver or something of the sort.)

At this point, you want to detach this bottom weight bar which will allow you to slide off all of the excess slots of the existing blind (don't worry, we can re-attache the bar later.)

Remove slats leaving only the number you would like for roman shade folds. and have your measuring tool handy for the next step.

Thumbs up, the worst is over! 

Step Four:

Layout Fabrics and Blind Mechanism

First, layout your main fabric face down on your work surface.

In the middle of that, place your lining fabric (which is cut to the desired finished blind size.)

Fold the top and side edges of the main fabric over and use fabric glue to adhere the fabric to the lining. (Basically, you are sandwiching the lining on the edges and making sure your finished width ends up being the same as your desired blind width)

Once the fabrics are laid out and the top, left, and right sides are glued in place, put the top blind header flush with the top edge of the now folded fabric and glue in place. (make sure you are gluing the fabric to the side of the head rail that will be facing into your room or you won't be able to properly mount the blinds- I may or may not know this because of experience.)

Next, mark and position each blind slat where you would like it (noting this is where your folds will be), then glue in place, taking care that they are positioned nice and level.

Thumbs up, you are super close to an awesome new window look. (Pardon the lack of photo from this point, I'm easily distracted and still learning how to properly document my projects.)

Step Five: 

Finishing Off

Now string the chords back through the holes in the bar that you removed and place the bar flush with the bottom edge of the lining fabric. tie off knots on the bar where and re-cap the holes. 

Place the bottom weight bar flush with the bottom edge of your lining fabric.

To finish fold the bottom edge of fabric over the bar and glue into place (taking caution not to glue the pulley strings)

Give the glue time to dry before operating, then mount that puppy and admire a job well-done.

Thumbs up! You've just completed a home improvement project that your friends will all want to learn. Like what you see? Send them this way, and let's make this world more beautiful one window at a time! Once I get photos from the finished room, I'll add them to the post!

 

Unless of course.....you've read the tutorial, pinned it, and thought, maybe I'll try that sometime (even though you know you won't.) There's good news for you too!  You buy the blinds and the fabric, and you can pay me to do the rest! Contact me if that's sounding pretty good to you.

 

 

 

Room Neglect. Are You Guilty?

The moment my fingers typed out the title for this blog post, I felt that perhaps it may be a bit harsh, and I most certainly do not want to leave anyone with feelings of guilt. Life can get inexplicably hectic at times, and we can ALL recall a time when a room (or two or three) in our home gets out of control. Let me inject some clarity though to ease your mind, because what I'm addressing today is not really a cleaning or organizational issue. It is a room design prioritizing issue.

What I am referring to is the one room in the house that is far too frequently left for the dead last spot on the "let's fix up this room" list. As many people budget and plan the phases of their upgrades and projects at home, most lists are far too similar.  The Kitchens,dining rooms, living rooms, and bathrooms take the spotlight, and other secondary rooms follow behind. Now I'm not saying I don't understand why. These are the rooms we share with others through entertaining, hosting, neighboring, and living out our days. Again, I get it. But the room that we far too often leave to the end (if we even get to it) is the master bedroom which is far from secondary!  We spend, an approximated 33% of our lives sleeping in our beds (and that's not even counting the leisure and relaxing time we spend in the room.) Updating spaces in your home can be an exhausting task, but at the end of that exhausting day, it doesn't help much to settle down in a room that you very well know isn't seeing its upgrades until everything else is done. 

Our surroundings are far more influential on us than we often care to admit or acknowledge. There is extensive psycological research on environment and outlook/attitude. Knowing this, I would suggest, that even if the bedroom IS in fact  last on your list of spaces to work on in your home, that you at least focus on a few special touches to boost the space as it patiently awaits its turn for attention. Below are just 5 simple steps to get your started

 

1. TREAT YO' BED

Even if you don't have a beautiful bed yet, find bedding that feels fun and stylish and great to you, and dress your bed every day. For years, my husband and I had a box-spring and mattress on the floor (yes, we were/are guilty of room neglect at times.) But I always made sure to dress that mattress up in a way that felt special and relaxing. 

 

2. LIGHTEN UP

Make sure you give the bedroom several layers of lighting through lamps and overhead lighting. Having varying degrees of lighting options can be a really nice way to ease into your day, or slip into your night (especially if you are sharing a room and don't always have the same schedule.)

 

3. HIGHLIGHT YOUR WINDOWS

Few things have a faster impact in a bedroom than doing something fun with the windows. Curtains, fun blinds, or cornices are an inexpensive way to bring pattern and/or color into the space. There are some awesome ways to DIY those types of things for little to no cost. (I'll share one of my favorite  DIY's for windows on the blog soon!)  

 

4. TAKE A SEAT

While the bed is clearly the star of the show in a bedroom, adding a chair, bench, or other seating element to the room can add warmth and functionality. Again, it doesn't have to be a huge expense if that isn't your "focus room". 

 

5. NEVER TOO LATE TO START

Make a statement! Find a few inexpensive art pieces, or one big graphic statement piece for a wall in your room.  It gives your surroundings personality, and will likely make you smile (at least inside if nothing else) every time you see it. This does not have to be an expensive touch, but can go a long way in making the room feel far more inviting. And by all means,  if you are feeling really generous, paint the room to coordinate with the fun bedding or accents you have. A bit more cost involved, but a huge impact until the rest of the room follows.

 

The above suggestions are all the "holdover" and "maintenance" techniques I would recommend while your room awaits proper furniture and cohesive style.  Once you finally come to terms with the long time neglect and choose to strengthen the relationship you have with the room you spend MOST time in, I have even more great tips to improve the outcome of your project. 

Are you tired, weary, and ready for a restful space and retreat? Contact me sooner rather than later, and I'd love to help you make it happen!

So What Now?

So you've determined you are ready for a change, but what now? The design process can initially feel quite overwhelming. With so many decisions to make, you can easily begin to feel like you are sinking in a pile of uncertainties. There are, however, a few steps you can take to make the process much smoother and more enjoyable.

1. Define Your End Goal Upfront

Any good plan starts with a mission statement, or goal. You can achieve and define these goals by considering a few things.  In putting together your project, ask what specific needs (and wants) you desire to be met. Not only should you be asking how you want the space to function, but it is also important to consider what things would you like the space to prevent. Ask yourself how you want to feel in this space, and also how you would like guests to feel.  Consider the number of people you desire to accommodate, and the functions you envision taking place. I would be missing a piece if I didn't mention that inviting a designer into this process can help tremendously in identifying and answering some vital and important questions.

2. Set a Realistic Time-frame

Once you've spent your time dreaming and defining, it is important to set up a realistic time-frame that you intend to stick to. While delays can happen, presenting a time plan prevents the never-ending-project saga. No one likes or appreciates a project that never seems to feel completed. Having this established keeps not only you, but also your contractors on task and aware of the goals you have.  One great way to stick to schedule is to plan something that you plan to take place in your new space. A small party or get together is a great way to hold yourself accountable to keeping project moving and to persuade you to not drag your feet on decisions as they come. In the long run, you will be glad you held yourself to a schedule for your project.

 

3.Identify Your Style

Often times, people know what looks they like, but feel totally lost when it comes to achieving that look. Other times, people feel stuck as early in the process as identifying style preferences.  The best way to find direction is to look for inspiration. Pinterest, Houzz.com, and home style magazines are all great places to start. Simply compile a collection of looks you like and spaces that appeal to you. Even further, pictures and things that seem unrelated can also be a part of expressing your style. For example, if you saw a picture of an avocado and it gave you a good feeling, include that picture. As crazy as it sounds, it often does have a role to play in identifying how you want your spaces to feel. A good designer will be able to find a common thread and will pull looks together that make sense with the existing architecture, while achieving a look that fits in with the things you are drawn to. Identifying style upfront helps to keep a cohesive design and avoids a project that ends up feeling disjointed and confusing.

 

4. Concept Development

Once you've answered the important function and use questions, and you have put a picture to your end goal, it is time to connect the two steps. Creating a concept board with images helps you to get a clear picture of how the look comes together. This is where you see color, texture, and pattern merging in ways that give spaces depth and comfort. When you hire a designer, this step is an awesome way clarify that you are on the same page, and to see the basic feel that is going to be achieved before making purchases. 

 

5. Moving Forward

If you've walked through the process, answered all of the questions, set a realistic deadline, identified your style, and pinpointed looks that accomplish it (within your budget) you should have no reason to delay in fear of mistakes. When you wait too long, product lines change, and the process of finding the same look in the same budget becomes increasingly difficult. If you've done all of the research upfront, you can move forward in confidence. 

Working with your designer brings ease to each of these steps. And once you've worked through the process for one space with said designer, the process only becomes that much easier with each subsequent project. Don't enter your project with fear. It should be a fun and exciting process, and I'd love to help you along the way. Contact me today for more details on your next project.

 

 

 

Week 4 Cleaning Rotation

If you've been joining me in the clean-along fun, you've made it to the final week of the regular rotation! If your experience is anything like mine was, you are feeling much more in control of your home environment now, and realizing that with each week, you will only see more improvements and less intense cleaning needs as you continue the rotation.  Below is the week 4 schedule you should do throughout the week in addition to the regular Monday through Friday schedule.

 

WEEK 4 ROTATION

BATHROOMS, OFFICE, & CLOSETS

CLEAN SINKS

CLEAN WINDOWS

CLEAN SHOWERS AND TUBS (UNCLOG ANY DRAINS, ETC.)

WASH ALL LINENS

WASH WALLS

WIPE DOWN DOORS/DISINFECT HANDLES

WIPE DOWN SURFACES

CLEAN TRASH CANS

ORGANIZE UNDER SINKS (MAKE A LIST OF ANY SUPPLIES THAT ARE RUNNING LOW)

CLEAN LIGHT FIXTURES

HANG UP/REFOLD CLOTHES

 

One other thing I will add is this; Some weeks you will have extra days in the month beyond the 4 week rotation. That, or you may find yourself with extra time and energy for additional tasks. The list below includes tasks that don't need done quite as often, but are great to do if you can complete them on those extra days.

 

bonus days

DEEP CLEAN CAR (INSIDE & OUT)

CLEAN AND ORGANIZE GARAGE

CLEAN AND ORGANIZE CLOSETS (TAKE CLOTHING TO CONSIGNMENT/DONATION CENTER)

ORGANIZE JUNK DRAWERS

CLEAN TOPS OF FANS/OTHER HIGH UP AREAS

CLEAN OUTSIDE OF WINDOWS

DETAIL GARDENS AND YARD (MULCH, ETC.)

PRESSURE WASH HOUSE AND DRIVEWAY

MENU PLANS TO STORE IN A ROTATION

OFFICE FILING AND ORGANIZING

TOTALLY ORGANIZE KITCHEN CABINETS

ANY NECESSARY PAINT TOUCH-UPS OR FIXES

 

 

There it is! Your regular rotation.  Check out my Etsy Shop to purchase the printable forms to keep you on track! For just $3.00 you can have it all right in front of you.  I also have children's cleaning rotations available too, which are great ways to begin teaching your kids tasks they can help with. What home projects do you want to learn about next? Send me your feedback and interests,  and I'd love to address them in a future blog series.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Week 3 Cleaning Rotation

Somehow, another week is already here, and with it another week of cleaning rotation. As mentioned before, the Monday-Friday rotation from the first post (How to FINALLY Keep a Clean House) remains the same. The list below outlines the items you would work at during the 1-2 cleaning tasks portion of your cleaning schedule each day this week.

WEEK 3 ROTATION

BEDROOMS/OUTSIDE AREAS

DUST TOPS OF FURNITURE

CLEAN AND ORGANIZE ALL END TABLES/DRESSERS

WASH COMFORTERS

ORGANIZE MAKEUP/VANITY SPACE

WIPE DOWN BASEBOARDS

CLEAN WALLS AND COBWEBS

CLEAN WINDOWS/BLINDS

WIPE DOWN DOOR/DISINFECT HANDLES

ORGANIZE AND SWEEP GARAGE

MAINTAIN FLOWER BEDS

ORGANIZE BACKYARD, DECK, AND PORCH

 

Is it feeling cleaner yet?

Week 2 Cleaning Rotation

Today, as we begin a new week, I simply wanted to share with you this weeks' room rotation for the cleaning schedule I am sharing with you.  Short and sweet. The Monday-Friday rotation from the last post remains the same. The list below outlines the items you would work at during the 1-2 cleaning tasks portion of your cleaning schedule each day this week.

WEEK 2 ROTATION

LIVING ROOM/PLAYROOM/HALLWAYS/LAUNDRY

VACUUM AND SPOT CLEAN FURNITURE

ORGANIZE TV AND BOOK SHELF AREAS

WIPE DOWN ALL BASEBOARDS

DEEP CLEAN WASHER AND DRYER AS WELL AS FREEZER

ORGANIZE CLEANING SUPPLIES

WIPE DOWN DOORS/DISINFECT HANDLES

WASH WALLS

CLEAN WINDOWS/BLINDS

ORGANIZE ALL PLAYROOM TOYS

 

That's all for now! Check back later in the week for another fun read. Happy cleaning!

 

 

How to FINALLY Keep a Clean House

Over the years, I've found myself accumulating quite a stash of titles and roles. Designer, business owner, wife, mother, volunteer, organizer....the list goes on. One title that up to this point has NOT found a place on that list is "housekeeper extraordinaire". It seemed like under the mountain of duties I held, I was having a hard time keeping my house in the pristine fashion I desired. I, of all people, appreciate good design.  But no matter how well designed a space is, if it isn't routinely kept after, it will soon be swallowed by the elements of life, thus destroying the peace that such well planned design brought.

For the longest time, I had my "cleaning day" each week. From morning time until the end of my day, I tackled the household cleaning. All of it. Then I stood back and marveled at the condition of my home since I knew that such a state of perfection would be short-lived. Week after week I became more and more discouraged at the feeling that I only enjoyed a clean house for a few fleeting hours. SOMETHING had to change. 

I like to make a lot of my own cleaning products (stay tuned for more of that in an upcoming blog) and one day while researching some new ideas, I also came across a 4 week cleaning rotation that included daily home maintenance  combined with deep cleaning tasks. Instead of trying to carve out an ENTIRE day for cleaning, this new way of thinking got me excited. I got started on the cleaning regimen, and have noticed a HUGE difference in how clean my house feels on a day to day basis. I've made a few tweaks to better suit my personal needs, but I would seriously recommend this schedule to anyone with a full plate who would like a cleaner house without hiring extra hands to have it. So for the next four weeks, I will be sharing my cleaning schedule one week at a time. 

In the past, I've seen quilters share their quilting pattern, then invite other quilters to join them and share their successes and ideas for said quilt.  I'd like to invite you to join me for this quilt-along-style clean-along. I'd love to hear your feedback and see if you feel like you benefit from the structure this cleaning rotation provides!

Every day, you have a list of simple maintenance tasks to do. These are constant in the schedule. In addition, each week in the rotation will highlight tasks for a specific room/rooms of focus. Each day (during whatever time you choose), you are to complete 1 or 2 tasks from that weeks' room rotation list. On moths that have more than 4 weeks, or when you find yourself having extra time, there is an additional BONUS WEEK list that outlines tasks you can consider doing that don't need done quite as often. If you are joining us mid-week or mid-month, just pick up where we are, and things will get caught up as you continue to follow the rotation. Let's get cleaning! (Also, check out my PDF files and day of the week clipboards on my Etsy shop to really get things organized!) 

EVERY WEEK

MONDAY

10 minute morning clean-up

Put away clean dishes

Make beds

ORGANIZE OUTDOOR AREAS (Garden, Sweep decks/porches, driveway)

10 minute evening clean-up

Wash dirty dishes

Tidy Kitchen/prep for any morning kitchen work

1-2 TASKS FROM THE WEEKLY TASK LIST

TUESDAY

10 minute morning clean-up

Put away clean dishes

Make beds

DUSTING IN ALL OF THE HOUSE

10 minute evening clean-up

Wash dirty dishes

Tidy Kitchen/prep for any morning kitchen work

1-2 TASKS FROM THE WEEKLY TASK ROTATION LIST

WEDNESDAY

10 minute morning clean-up

Put away clean dishes

Make beds

CLEAN OUT FRIDGE AND PANTRY

10 minute evening clean-up

Wash dirty dishes

Tidy Kitchen/prep for any morning kitchen work

1-2 TASKS FROM THE WEEKLY TASK ROTATION LIST

THURSDAY

10 minute morning clean-up

Put away clean dishes

Make beds

VACUUM, SWEEP, MOP HOUSE

10 minute evening clean-up

Wash dirty dishes

Tidy Kitchen/prep for any morning kitchen work

1-2 TASKS FROM THE WEEKLY TASK ROTATION LIST

FRIDAY

10 minute morning clean-up

Put away clean dishes

Make beds

CLEAN TOILETS AND SINKS

10 minute evening clean-up

Wash dirty dishes

Tidy Kitchen/prep for any morning kitchen work

1-2 TASKS FROM THE WEEKLY TASK LIST

SATURDAY

10 minute morning clean-up

Put away clean dishes

Make beds

LAUNDRY DAY (FIXING, MENDING, WASHING)

10 minute evening clean-up

Wash dirty dishes

Tidy Kitchen/prep for any morning kitchen work

1-2 TASKS FROM THE WEEKLY TASK LIST

SUNDAY

10 minute morning clean-up

Put away clean dishes

Make beds

REST

10 minute evening clean-up

Wash dirty dishes

Tidy Kitchen/prep for any morning kitchen work

WEEK ONE CLEANING ROTATION

KITCHEN/DINING 

clean all woodwork, molding, chair railing, baseboards

take everything off of the counters/bars and wipe clean

deep clean oven, microwave, and coffee maker

organize & clean cabinet doors and cabinet content

deep clean fridge (inside & out)

deep clean sink

clean windows

clean trash can

clean light fixtures

polish furniture

wash walls

organize command center

 

There you have it for week one! I'd love to hear from those of you joining to see if you see similar results in the improvement of cleaning up-keep. Each week this month, I'll be sharing the tasks for that week as well as other helpful cleaning tips and tricks I'm discovering along the way.  Here's to cleaner houses and reduced burdens!

 

 

10 Reasons to Hire a Designer

I'm going to begin by putting a common misconception to rest. Having a mega-mansion is not a prerequisite to hiring an interior designer. There. I said it. Let truth prevail. Designers maximize any space they touch. Mansion on a hill to small cottage home. And the reality of it all is this; There are more reasons to hire a designer than you think. Read on to discover how professional design services just might benefit you.

 

1. A solution may be simpler than you think.

Whenever I get invited somewhere new for the first time, it is inevitable that I hear, " Oh I'm so embarrassed for you to see my house." While I'm busting misconceptions, let me say, as a rule of thumb, I really don't walk into houses and pick them apart. My brain usually only goes there when someone asks me what I would do with the space.  All of that said, more often than not, the solution to upgrading your space is far simpler than you think.  Combining space planning, with some accessorizing and organizational strategies often has drastic transformation power. The good news? A designer can help you with those things. And here's another nugget of truth; Hiring a designer to make simple changes/upgrades is a lot cheaper than buying all new everything. 

2. You can make bolder decisions with far less fear.

I can't tell you how many time's I've had people show me photos of spaces they love followed by the unfortunate proclamation, "But there is no way I could pull this off in my home."  The exact look? Maybe not. But a designer has the skill and know-how to tailor a bold look to fit your home.  It's really not all that different from the work of a suit-maker. Each body is different, and with a few alterations, anything can be made to fit. Don't avoid a look you love simply because you are worried it will look crazy. Hire a professional who can accomplish a look you love with ease, and you don't have to pace back and forth for hours after painting a sample swatch of color on the walls.

3. Designers serve as great mediators when style conflicts arise between residents.

My husband and I have slightly different style preferences. Who am I kidding. I'll be a bit more transparent. My husband and I are polar opposites on the spectrum of design. Enter, bonus perk of being a designer. Because of my design-know-how, I am able to marry both of our preferences in a way that accomplishes a look we both love.  Designers are able to fit together different looks, and make a great, unbiased tie-break vote when decisions simply need to be made. Taking both of your styles into consideration, interior designers take a huge load of stress (and arguing) out of the process.

4. You'd be amazed at the time a designer can save you  (and time is money.)

When I'm out in public (yes, I do venture out from time to time), I know where quite a few things came from. It is like I have a constant catalog of product lines stored in the crevices of my brain. While it may be annoying to my family, it can be of HUGE benefit to you.  When you have a look, or a specific item in mind, it can be tedious, and really annoying to track it down. Failed store after failed store, and you can easily feel ready to give up and continue using that nasty thrift store sofa that has a strange odor you can't quite name. As a designer, I will not only direct you to the right places to look, but I will look for you and present you with some options.  Additionally, I often do purchasing on behalf of my clients which takes another step out of the process for you.  This leaves making a final decision to  your biggest tasks. Not too shabby if you ask me. 

5. A good designer takes your lifestyle into consideration when designing your home.

Have you ever looked at a magazine showing a smiling family with 6 kids, 3 dogs, and a pig all smiling and enjoying life in their living room with bright white sofas? Ridiculous. But you may find some comfort in knowing that a lot of the time, these photos are simply design sets used simply for the purpose of advertisement.  A professional designer will take your lifestyle into account, and find looks that fit both your taste AND the realities of your life. This can be really easy to overlook when you get excited, so having a designer to remind you of function can be of utmost importance. 

6. When you know what you want, but not how to get it...designers do.

It is really easy for most people to pinpoint a look they love.  Then comes making it a reality in their own home.  This is the point where a lot of people freeze with uncertainty. But not a designer. Between their eye for design and their database of product knowledge, a designer can take a look you love, and recreated it. I offer a personal shopping option in which I find out your style, then either join you, or shop on your behalf to purchase items that will achieve the feel you love. Simple.

7. A designer can prevent you from making costly mistakes.

Tearing down walls and putting in permanent fixtures can be pretty costly decisions to reverse. It is project like these where it can be crucial to invite a designer to join you.  From wild paint ideas, to demolition desires, a professional will be able to give a stamp of approval or a word of caution which can be extremely helpful in the process.  

8. Well designed homes increase re-sale value.

Have you ever walked through a house with a realtor only to find that the wall color and carpet choice totally turned you away? These seem like simple things, but it is amazing how quickly poor, yet easily fixable design decisions turn away a future buyer. The thought of priming and painting over a horrific color can seem too much to handle. I've helped several clients stage their homes for resale, and it often makes such a huge difference in the duration of their listing. But it isn't just immediate sale that needs to be considered, and a designer will be able to guide you through materials and finishes that will help with ease of sale when the time comes.

9. Interior designers see past what you might not be able to.

This flows right along with the concept above. Sometimes, it can be really easy to only see what is right in front of you. But it is far different for a designer. I'll never forget house shopping for the first time. My first house was a small row home in Baltimore City. It was dark, and dirty with nasty carpet and hideous tile and wallpaper. AND. I. LOVED IT. The bones of the space were so beautiful that instead of seeing the nastiness in front of me, I saw solutions, and an end product I'd love.  Designers see hope in spaces that to many others seem bleak.  A lot of times my clients say that they just can't envision what the space will look like (which is why I offer a 3-d space rendering package.)  A professional, though, will already be able to see the end product in their mind as if it is already completed. Because of this, they can tell you in advance if a look will work or not. It is a whimsical, magical process to watch the transformation go from vision to reality, and you will be better off for choosing to include a designer in the process.

10. You may just end up with a new friend.

One of my favorite things I learned early on in my design career was that there is a certain intimacy involved with inviting someone into your home and divulging insight into your daily lifestyle.  Welcoming someone into your home is incredibly personal. Inviting them to participate in making your house a home by telling them all about you adds even more vulnerability.  Think about the people who are in your house on a repeat basis. Quite often the list includes only family and close friends.  However it works, the process of design forms a certain bond that, in my experience, often leads to really fun relationships. The fun quotient rises pretty quickly when you get to work alongside a friend to bring projects and dreams to completion.  

 

Now, I will offer one last tidbit of truth. Hiring a designer is probably much more affordable than you think (at least, hiring me).  I offer quite a wide range of services to meet people where they are at in the design process.  After considering all of the rational above, I suggest you evaluate where you are at in your own house to home journey. There is a host of simple solutions that could immensely improve the feel of your home. Then, contact me, and find out just how affordable it could be to get some help to make it all happen! I have a feeling you'll be glad you did.