- Why Stage?
Everyone loves to dress up their home for the holidays and a focal point in many homes is the mantle above the fireplace.
I am one that likes the traditional look of greenery and poinsettias to adorn the fireplace to make it look festive. But over the years I am finding I am gravitating towards more of a winter theme vs. the holiday theme because if I do not get to taking it down right away it still looks nice in January.
However you dress your mantel it is personal, traditional and will leave everyone with a warm feeling of the holidays. Here are some ideas to inspire you, as they have me, over the years.
I love this trending turquoise blue color in decorations, it is so striking and the color just pops with the natural greenery, and branches.
The blue with the white creates a cool room that feels very wintry, while combining the blue with natural greens on the mantel it feels warmer.
If you like a more traditional look with evergreens and paper whites, these are beautiful additions to a room.
In the South and where magnolia branches are abundant, take advantage of them and mix them with fruits and warm candle light to create a striking mantel.
Of course using red and green to decorate a mantle is always handsome and agreeable with the colors of Christmas.
In my search of favorite mantels I came across this adorable idea for the apartment dweller or home that might not have a real fireplace mantel to decorate. Create a canvas with chalk board paint to set the ambiance.
However you decorate or create your mantel, it will bring warmth and the joy of the holidays to you and your family. Merry, Merry!
The holidays are a great time to get out and visit some towns, shop locally, check out museums and places that you have not been to in a while. Here is a small collection of holiday events happening in Orange County.
On November 30th start your holiday shopping locally during Small Business Saturday. Warwick features horse and buggy rides and offers many incentives for shopping local. This is the time to enjoy all that Orange County has to offer.
After you have finished your shopping you might want to visit the Orange County Tourism site here you can search by day events in all of Orange County towns. For instance on December 3 at 6:30 pm the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame in Goshen will be holding their annual holiday concert. For those that love Antique Model Trains head up to Newburg to the Motorcyclepedia Museum. They also list tree lightnings in Chester, Washingtonville, events at West Point, and Middletown to name a few. It is a great resource of information.
Another great event to get into the holiday spirit and make some memories that will last, is to get a ticket to the Wreath Fineries at the Wineries event. You check in at the first winery to receive a grapevine wreath and ornament. While traveling on a self guided tour of 14 wineries you can sample handcrafted wines of the Hudson Valley and create your wreath. A fun filled time for a group of friends to enjoy the holidays, just make sure you have a designate driver! Wreath Fineries at the Wineries- Shawangunk Wine Trail.
Fun for the whole family is the candlelight tour at the Hill Hold Museum in Campbell Hall. This historic house built in 1760 is decorated for the holidays displaying antique toys and serving refreshments. Open two weekends December 7th & 8th and again on the 14th and 15th. Another fun place to visit the Orange County Arboretum in Cornwall features the Holiday Lights in Bloom. The display has tens of thousands of holiday lights that illuminate the Arboretum. It is open free to the public on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from November 30 through December 30th, and opened from 5 to 8 pm.
Get out and enjoy all that Orange County has to offer, it is a great place to visit and a fabulous place to live!
Do you have a space that you wish you could do something with, or do you have a need for a(n)________________? You fill in the blank.
Take a look around your home because you might find you have more space that you realized.
Basements- This is an obvious space that many will tackle. When approaching the space though make sure that it serves the purpose of the needs that you have in mind. Plenty of storage to be organized, and easy access to utilities that are placed in the basement level.
Attics- There is a lot of potential in attics if more room is something you need. Although the ceiling line may slant take advantage of that empty space by adding dressers that are flush with the new wall. Add seating with storage underneath for a cozy reading corner.
Under steps- I have seen some fabulous storage and desk spaces created under the eaves of steps. Not only can you put a small desk in this space, but add some shelves or cabinets to add additional storage. This spot is doubling useful space because of the storage, and it can be a work space if needed like the bar set up.
Closets – this is one project in my house I am looking to tackle in the next year. By adding shelves, storage bins, racks you can gain more space in this tiny area. Using pocket doors, a barn door, bi-folds open the space more.
I especially like the way this closet is set up by like colors- makes finding things a lot easier!
Shelves- Simple shelves can fit into a corner of a small room and be used in place of a night table or to display fun art, books, and trinkets.
A leaning shelf unit can be a great spot for cook books, herbs and spices. Adding a piece that has storage for glasses, bottles and cocktail accessories can help with the lack of cabinet space
Reach Up- by going vertical you can create a lot of storage space especially in small areas. Add a cubby system that can hold everyday items that you feel are taking over your room. This is a great for family rooms that have movies, games, toys extra pillows etc.
When looking for space in your home, think and evaluate the space you already have. There is a good chance you have space that is being underutilized that can become the needed area you felt you could never have. Send me pictures of the areas you “discovered”!
Recently I went on a consult for a client. They had a living room space that just was not working for them. They complained that they had too much furniture, flow in the room did not work and it did nothing for them. I noticed that the architectural details of the room were lost.
Smaller rooms can work if you know what to do and pay attention to. Here are some suggestions that might help you if you are feeling a little cramped.
1.Go upward- by that I mean make the space feel larger by bringing the eye up, and using wall space. Have you ever been in a house that has high ceilings, but you realize the room is very small? The height gives the illusion of a bigger space.
2.Open up the floor- when purchasing items for the room like a couch or chairs, having the legs exposed gives the feeling of more space. Even if you have a night stand that is mounted on the wall vs. having a base will make a bedroom feel more spacious. Removing rugs if you have hardwood is a great idea to do too.
3.Reflection- mirrors and glass help open up a space. A coffee table made of glass, or having mirrors on the opposite wall of the windows makes the light reflect in the space making it feel more spacious and open. In addition use accessories that have the same effect- glass base lamps, mirrored accessories but don’t go overboard too much of a good thing is just that- too much.
4.Paint- painting your ceiling the same hue as the walls can help make the space feel larger. It erases the visually defined space when everything is the same color it is harder for the eye to tell the parameters of the room therefore appearing larger.
6.Proportion – make sure that the items you use in a small space,(actually in any space), are proportioned to the room size. I have seen too many houses that have either too much furniture in the space, or they have too large of furniture for the space. It’s like a large football player wearing a too small outfit- it does not work, or look good for that matter. Proportion is very important when picking out furnishings.
These are just a few ideas to get your creative juices flowing, I have other tricks up my sleeve and if you need some help planning you tiny area out, let me know!
Did you know that National Clean out your Garage Day is the Saturday after Labor Day? Well I obviously missed it but here are some ideas to get you inspired to get your garage in order (hint, hint Hubby)
If you are like my household the only time we somewhat organize our garage is when my husband gets the tractor ready for summer mowing, or in the fall when he gets it ready for winter plowing. This isn’t bad because we do edit a lot that we have been storing but we could be a little more organized through the rest of the year. This one room tends to be a big project, so schedule a weekend to do it.
It would be nice that it did not need to be a major undertaking every time, so here are some ideas (hint, hint hubby) that you can implement and feel like you have this space of your house under control, even if the rest isn’t.
Now is the time to get organized. First remove everything out of the garage, once you have everything out it gives you a better idea of the available space. As you pull things out question everything that you touch….
Do I need it?
When was it last used?
If I have not used it, and don’t have a need for it, recycle, throw out, or donate.
While narrowing down some of the items, group together like items- all gardening equipment, sports equipment, tools, camping equipment, automotive items, you get the picture. Now you know what you have and are keeping, it gives you a better idea as to the space you will need to store these items.
The items you do not use a frequently can be put higher up on the shelves or towards the back of the garage. Use a much vertical space as possible when bringing items back into the garage- shelving units or storage cabinets are great for fitting a lot into a garage space. Your goal is to keep as much of the floor space open for parking cars. Any bins you fill with items label, so you know what goes in them. Get in a habit of putting things back where you originally got them from, and make it a yearly priority to edit the garage at least once a year to maintain.
Best of luck, send me pictures of your organized garage…I might have one when we finally decide to move (wink, wink)
Fall reminds me of apple picking, school starting, cooler weather and moving indoors.
Speaking of indoors how do you handle all the additional gear that is used in the fall and winter months? I have been looking into mud rooms, a place to hang your coat and store all the stuff that gets dropped at the door and have found some really nice ideas that I felt worthy of sharing with everyone.
First off, if you have the space in your house- you are LUCKY! I loved this space that had room for hanging coats, a bench and then all the storage. It keeps everything in order, and looking clean.
Even using a hall way I thought was a great idea with built ins, drawers and hanging spaces. Although this hall is narrow keeping everything white and bright keeps the space feeling open and satisfies the need.
This laundry area keeps everything handy. Just think, your kids have been out playing in the rain and mud, when they come in they can remove it all and be thrown in the wash. Great space for muddy animals too.
Some of us do not have as much space in our homes to dedicate as a mud room, but I loved this entrance hall. The table- not too big cleverly mounted along the wall and hooks to hang all the coats. I might have changed out the picture for a shelf with baskets to collect all those hats, scarves and mittens though.
This bench is great for storage and an easy place to sit and put your shoes on and off.
And I love, love, love this idea of shelves going up the steps to house belongings- great use of space and it looks great too.
To save money you can also buy units vs. having built-ins. This is a good option for people that move frequently or living in a temporary setting because you can always move them with you. As you can see you can purchase multiple of the same units or mix it up to have a bench and taller units for storage.
Storage does not have to be boring, or mudrooms messy, with a little thought where to collect everything you can actually enhance a space!
With the market recovering buyers are more price sensitive and less interested in taking on projects to make the property “theirs.” Staging can help tailor your property to become desirable to your particular market. Home sellers maybe hesitant to invest any money into their properties when they are ready to sell, but with a minimal investment it can shorten the time the house is on the market. Buyers can see it as “their” home, not one that “someone else lives in”.
Sharing these two posts below are to help you understand why staging should be part of your marketing package when you plan on selling.
This article has some excellent points and quick movies to show how staging can help your property sell.
Another plus of staging is that staging as part of home selling costs may be deductible. Contact your CPA to see if staging costs can be deductible in your state to get your house sold.
When talking with your agent, ask about staging it should be part of their marketing package to get your house sold!
Ignite your evenings outdoors and add spark and warmth by adding a fire pit to your landscape and outdoor spaces. With the weather becoming a little cooler fire pits are becoming a popular yard feature to enjoy the outdoors. There are many options of styles that can be considered. Above ground, below ground, table pits, fire bowls, Chiminea, or even a fire place all add ambiance and warmth for a relaxing evening outdoors.
When considering your options keep in mind the style of your home and also your landscape and space. If you have a large back yard a fire pit that is in ground might be a nice option to consider. They can be built either for burning wood or can be hooked up to propane. Another option is a built in fire place.
I like the table top fire pit because it is easy, and by adding a cover to the fire pit it gives you multiple options and functions. These add the ambiance of spark and warmth without having to do a lot of construction to obtain the ambiance of fire and warmth.
If you have limited space consider smaller fire bowl that can use denatured alcohol or bioethanol to create a gathering place. Chiminea fire pits are also a popular choice, these burn wood and contain the fire in one place.
All of these are beautiful options, but remember safety:
When using a fire pit never leave it unattended.
Make sure that all dead vegetation is removed ten to twenty feet around the pit.
Make sure the hoses on propane and gas fire pits are connected properly and are in good condition.
Any surface below the fire pit such as a table top, or chimina is fire proof. Good options are slate, brick stone.
Their is nothing better on a summer evening gathering around a fire. Kids will love this also to cook up a batch of great s’mores! Ah, enjoy the summer and send me some of your pic’s of fire pits!
“To jazz or not to jazz, there is no question” –Louis Armstrong
Next week Warwick, NY and five surrounding towns will be hosting famed jazz artist throughout the Hudson Valley. This festival has grown over the years and had to change the name from Warwick Jazz Festival to the Hudson Valley Jazz Festival. This will be the fourth annual Hudson Valley Jazz Festival coordinated by Steve Rubin executive director and founder of the festival.
The goal of the festival is to call attention to the great jazz players in the Hudson Valley. The venues will be held in Warwick, Greenwood Lake, Peekskill, Poughkeepsie and Marlboro, NY this year. The performances begin August 8 and run through the 11th.
Here is a sound clip from last years Hudson Valley Jazz Festival
When getting your home ready for the market your curb appeal is just as important as the interior of your home. Every season has it nuances to make your home resonate with buyers, take advantage of them.
Your driveway is where buyers are first entering into your home. As they are traveling up the drive make sure it is in good condition. Power wash if you have stains, consider coating if it has not been done recently in the past three years. If you have a non-paved drive make sure it is smooth consider getting another load of stone to fill in any divots or dips.
As they get out of the car to proceed down the walk way to your front door make sure all weeds that tend to pop up between pavers are removed. Make sure that you are leaving the buyer with a welcoming feeling.
Adding inexpensive solar path lights can give your home “drive-by” night appeal, and create abidance around your home. These can light the way to your front door, and also accent plantings around your home making a big impression.
Your front door is important focus. This is what conveys to buyers to want to enter into your home and feel welcomed. Make sure the doorbell works, and if your handle is worn and the key lock is difficult to use replace them with a new set.
Make sure the glass on your light fixtures next to your door is clean, work and look updated- if not replace. Look up and around, remove any cob webs or hornet nests, especially during the summer months since they tend to navigate toward protected areas such as doorways.
In the spring an easy and quick way to make your property look neat and have a big impact is to lay down mulch around your foundation. Pull weeds, prune the bushes and add a dark layer of mulch. The lighter orange color does not complement the grass, so you are best to go with darker mulch.
If you have gaps in your boarders and yard fill with bright flowers. In the summer months plant flower in the blue, pink, colors they convey a cooler look during the hot summer months. In fall replace annuals that are dying off with bright colored flowers in reds, yellows and oranges. Winter, tidy up beds by cutting back perennials, tall grasses could be left for winter interest.
By paying attention to the little details, show potential buyers that you have taken care of your home by doing so they will believe there are few problems around the property.