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June Decorating Tips II

Go for Contrast or Just Blend

Many people love the look of fine crown molding and trim for ceilings and doors and windows. But before you plunk down your money, you need to decide if you want a dramatic effect with high contrasting colors or a blended effect (beautiful but understated). As you can see in the pictures, when you choose white trim and your wall color is a dark color, there is very high contrast and drama in the room. What you're also doing is drawing attention to all of the doors, windows and the meeting place of the ceiling with the wall. That might not be what you want to do. If the room is small or the room has lots of "openings", using a high contrast color scheme will also make the room look pieced together. You can get away with it if the room is large or if the decor style is contemporary and understated, but if the room is (say country) it can get pretty busy instantly.

Look at the difference when the trim is painted the same or a similar color to the door, walls and ceiling. The trim is still elegant and fabulous, but you are not drawing undue attention to it, nor to the door itself. Rooms with this type of blended color palette will feel less busy and more continuous and you can direct the viewer's eye to the furnishings and accessories in the room. Know what you want before you order.


Never Paint Your House Again? What?

Imagine if you never had to have your home painted again. Many people are switching to The Liquid Stucco system which is a highly specialized, permanent exterior coating that claims to make your home look freshly painted every year. It is supposed to last longer than vinyl siding, stucco, wood and paint. Since it was originally developed to be used on coastal lighthouses in Canada, the developer claims it had to protect structures against UV rays, crashing ocean waves, driving rains, hurricane force winds, sweltering heat, arctic cold, pounding hail and high humidity - and it had to do all that without chipping, cracking, blistering, peeling or fading. The company who developed this system has 45 dealerships across the country and maybe there's one near you. You can find out by visiting their website at www.888neverpaint.com. They're currently running a 25% off sale until June, 2008 and have 100% financing. This is not an endorsement, but just information you might be interested in exploring.


Ten Top Tips Before Buying a Vacation Home

As more and more people invest in second homes, here are a few helpful tips you should think about before signing the contract.

  • Can you afford it? Be sure to factor in your lifestyle, your other debts, your overall expectations and the level of risk you can accept without losing sleep.
  • Will the home double as a rental investment or be used strictly for vacations? Use your business brain if you need to rent the place to cover some of the costs. Use your emotional brain if keeping it just for yourself. The amount of time you use the dwelling will impact your tax deductions. Be sure you know how and when you'll use the home before you buy it.
  • The Time You Will Spend? If you cannot be there often, during the good times and the bad times, consider hiring a property manager. If you're out of space in your present home, you can send some furnishings to the vacation home and enjoy redecorating it just as you did your primary residence. Be prepared to have to make occasional repairs.
  • What Is Your Criteria? When buying a vacation home, the most used criteria is: price, size, location, view. If it will also be rented, you might add convenience to the list. Set your priorities accordingly. Coastal homes will be pricey, but if you can forego the view, you can save quite a bit. Think about how you will most enjoy the residence and how often you'll be able to get to it and who else you might share it with.
  • Where Is It Located? Use the web to research location. Ask about: restaurants, golf courses, malls, movie theaters, library, internet access, cable TV, mail service, cell phone service - you know the drill. Year-round locations are ideal. Check out the nightlife as well as daytime activities. Check with the Chamber of Commerce and then locate a local realtor for more help.
  • Medical Facilities? If you're an approaching baby boomer (and even if you're not), in an emergency, being near help will be critical. Look into the local fire and police services as well.
  • Will You Buy Furnished or Unfurnished? Well that will depend on your love of decorating and available time. Some people put all their older furnishings in the second home and some go shopping for new. If the home is already furnished and you like it, you can often get the furnishings for a fraction of what it would cost to go purchase on your own.
  • Life's Unpredictable Turns? How will you fare if you have a job or business downturn? What if home prices plummet after you buy? Look at your portfolio carefully to determine risk potentials. Know that it will always cost a whole lot more in the end than you budget for and be sure to pad your figures accordingly.
  • Cleanliness Factors. One great aspect of home ownership is that you can keep it clean the way you want it. Do consider that if you rent the home, you're opening up your home and contents to the whims and cleanliness levels of strangers. Be sure that is a road you are willing to travel.
  • Buy Out of Love. There are some aspects of owning a vacation home that are priceless: the growing picture collage in the hall, the jigsaw puzzle left just as it was when you were last there, the chance to decorate in a completely different style from your primary residence, the relaxation and peace that comes from having your own piece of the vacation dream, the ability to entertain others, the memories that will accummulate over time. Priceless.

Good Design Requires Good Planning

Don't you just love it when TV shows redecorate entire rooms in 30 minutes and even rebuild and completely outfit entire homes in 60 minutes? Wish you could act that fast and have it all done? Time is essential to good design. You have to create a plan with phases. You have to determine the phases and set time limits.

Then you've got to create a budget. Without a budget, you're guaranteed to go way over. Having a preset budget will help keep you from making emotional decisions that are not thought through properly. The last thing you need is to wind up out of money and unable to complete your project as envisioned.

It's best to select all your fabrics at one time so you can coordinate them. You've got to be able to see the "big picture" and the more pre-selection you can do, the better off you'll be and the more successful the final outcome will likely be.

Mistakes can easily happen without a plan. Yes, they can even happen when you have a plan, but are far less likely to do so. The last thing you need is to purchase a sofa that doesn't fit or that is the wrong color or pattern. Making one mistake can often cause you to fear to make any further decisions.

But nothing is ever gained by lack of action. If you need help, hire an interior re-designer to work with you on the furnishings you already own or seek help from a full service interior designer. You'll be amazed at how that can help you out and take away all of the fear factor.


New Trends in Kitchens

With the 2007 season well underway comes newer ideas for kitchens, such as:

  • Polished Granite vs. Matte Finishes Some people have found, especially in smaller kitchens, that the high polished granite or marble countertops have been too strong for the smaller space, like overwhelming in fact. So some people are opting for "sanded" granite countertops that blend more easily in the kitchen rather than becoming the focal point. However, sanded granite is more porous which makes it more susceptible to chips and stains.
  • Bold, Rich Colors Darker colors are on the uprise, both in cabinetry and countertops. To complement darker cabinets and countertops, many people are opting for bolder mosaic backsplashes, colorful tile floors or vibrantly-decorated center islands. For a more contemporary look, some are choosing large sized tiles for the floor.
  •  Built-In Storage Units Built-ins in every conceivable format are growing in popularity: wine racks, book shelves, desks, pantry cupboards, roll-out shelves in cabinetry. People are also personalizing their space with displayed cookbooks, family photos, knick knacks, plants, fresh flowers, wine bottles. Others have added computers and stereo systems. Using built-ins is a great way to organize the space, keeping non decorative items hidden away but still handy.
  • Finishing Touches Crown molding is very, very popular. Increasing in popularity is designs from the East Coast such as coffered ceilings, wainscoting and bead board. Add to these built-in breakfast nooks and tons of windows and you've created that Cape Cod feeling (consider this for your vacation home). Faux finishes are popular as they are fast and inexpensive treatments to give any room a makeover that is trendy and custom. Sponge painting, rag rolling and textures give new depth to color and an old-world feeling. You can pick up some quick workshops at your local home improvement store.

Quick Links

Painting Cabinets
Stone Countertops
Countertop Styles
No Demolition Countertops
How to Design Kitchen
Remodeling Advice
Countertop Choices
Decorating Kitchens
Smart Appliances
Edible Decorations
How to Buy Appliances


Advice for Life

Weed out your frustrations. When you feel angry and irritable, try a little weeding in your garden. Just as you want to remove weeds from the yard, angry thoughts and words are like weeds in your relationships. Get rid of them.

Look for examples from others. My cats teach me a lot about life and business. They are loving but yet independent. Don't love anyone to the point where you give up your own sense of who you are. A little independence goes a long way in relationships.

Don't look back at the furrow you've plowed. Once you've set your path and taken your first steps, don't look back with regret. We've all made choices in life that we later came to see as being poor. Make the best choice you can with the knowledge and experience you have. And later, if you find out there was a better route, don't regret the choice you made. Just move on and keep seeking wisdom for life.

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Quick Links

Painting Cabinets
Stone Countertops
Countertop Styles
No Demolition Countertops
How to Design Kitchen
Remodeling Advice
Countertop Choices
Decorating Kitchens
Smart Appliances
Edible Decorations
How to Buy Appliances


Barbara Jennings is author of 10 decorating books: Decor Secrets Revealed, Rearrange It, Home Staging for Profit, Home Staging for Yourself, Arrange Your Stuff, Advanced Redesign, Pro Art Consulting, Wall Groupings: The Art of Arranging Art and Photos, The Art of Hanging Art, Great Parties! Great Homes!

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