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2011 in review

January 2, 2012

Can you say you’ve filled the Sydney Opera House three times.  Check out our annual report for the Design Without Compromise blog.  Thanks to our readers we can say we have had a sucessful blogging year.  Cheers to you and hope you will keep tuning in for Design Without Compromise.

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Syndey Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 8,600 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 3 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

So it is a Day before Christmas and All Through the House… There is Total Chaos and You Just Want to Shout.

December 24, 2011

Branches in a Decorative Pot

You have just been informed that Aunt Edna came down with a contagious flu and she was hosting the Christmas dinner extravaganza this year. 

Somehow you were roped in to having the big dinner.  The problem is you are not prepared. Panic is setting in as your house is not as festive as you would want it to be. Face it spending extra money was not in the agenda. 

No worries, there are items around most homes that will make it a little easier on you.

 For years I have scoured my home and yard for items to decorate with.  It has not only saved me money but also time.   I have selected a few I found online to get your creative juices flowing.   

Our feature picture from Iroonie is as easy as it gets. Place branches in a pot and throw on those extra decorations you didn’t have room for on the tree.  This makes a great center piece or can warms an unfriendly corner of a room.

  •  From Free Home Decorating Ideas. If you live in the north you probably have access to Arborvitae bushes.  Trim the bushes a little and use the trimmings to decorate pots, wreaths and candles. By the way they smell great.

Arborvitae Candle Holder

Served up from Real Simple. Do you have extra candy canes, sugar, marshmallows, chocolate chips in your cupboard?  They look great arranged in a grouping and after the meal they can be used to sweeten hot beverages.

Edibles in Glasses

Pine cones are natures abundant decorations.  They not only look great in a glass container but also work great for starting fires in the fireplace. Thank you Inspiration for Home.

Pinecones in Glass Containers

Small Place Style says “Scrabble any one?”  Easy, simple and fun center piece.  After dinner you may want to challenge your guest to a holiday word challenge, only placing words on the board that have to do with the holidays
Scrabble Holiday Greetings


I love this idea from The Inspired Room. Who knew recyled jar candle holders with epsom salts snow could look so good.  This snow will hold up all night and at the end of the evenings festivities you can soak your aching feet in a nice hot water salt  foot bath
Recycled Jar Candle holder with Epsom Salts
Now go forth and create.  Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.

Aging in Place, Do you have Arthritis or is your Sofa too Low?

November 1, 2011


Tight Back Firm Cushion Sofa with Arms

This year baby boomers began turning 65 years old.  What does that mean? It means that a huge chunk of our populations is, shall we say, in the winter of their life. Census predicts that 13% of the population (over 39 million) people are or will be over the age of 65 in 2011.

 More than ever this population wants to stay in their homes as long as possible. No one wants to feel like they are a burden to others.   Taking an assessment of your present home may reveal the possibility of doing just that.

Here a few of many suggestions

  • Converting an unused room on the main floor of a two-story home into a bedroom
  • Buying new upholstered furniture with firm seats and tight backs for ease of getting out of
  • Changing out sockets on table or floor lamps so they may hold a larger watt bulb. You can also get more light at a much lower wattage if you convert to fluorescent bulbs
  • Converting a main floor closet into a bathroom
  • Moving laundry from basement to main floor access
  • Installing roll out shelving in kitchen cabinets and reorganizing items
  • Changing plush carpeting to firmer flooring for stability underfoot
  • Painting walls the opposite tone from flooring for better wayfinding
  • Lighting stairwells

 Sometimes small changes can make the biggest impact.  I recently picked out a new sofa for my Mom who lives in New York State. I spoke with her on the phone right after delivery and asked her if it was easier  to get off the new sofa compared to the old one.  There was a pause on the phone and she said, “I am up on a ladder.” “What the heck are you doing on a ladder, get off,” was my reply.  She then hesitated and blurted out, “For 20 years I thought I had bad arthritis, if I had only known it was my sofa.” She was now sitting high instead of in a hole. No longer does my mom have to do the rock and roll shuffle to get up and out of that way too low, way to soft sofa. She now can get up with the dignity she deserves.

 Oh and by the way my mom who is in her 80’s still works full-time and is my hero and mentor for aging in place.


Convert Closet into a BathroomEasy AccessMain Floor Laundry


Roll out Shelves


Main Floor Laundry

Thanks to the Following:

What Floats Your Boat…Stuck For a Design Idea

October 26, 2011

You’re not sure what design direction you want your home to reflect. You may be like me and love many design types. So how do you decide? For me it was going back to my roots. I asked myself a simple question, when in my life was and am I happiest. I came up with the following.

I am happiest when:

• I am on vacation

• I am near any body of water

• When I share my time with family and friends

• My rooms are well-organized and clutter free

• Outside enjoying nature

• Doing my hobbies-biking, swimming, kayaking, camping, reading ( the list goes on and on)

So now that I knew that, how did I put that into a plan? I didn’t want an exact replica of say a vacation spot, which might have come off as kitschy. I asked myself a new set of questions for each of my happiest times. What exactly is it I do love about my happiest moments.

Is it:

 • The colors

• Fragrances

• Sounds

• The temperature of the area

• Surfaces composition of things around me

• Ease of life

• Laughter

• Tranquility

• And so on

As a child I played in a small granite mine in my grandparent’s back yard. I absolutely love granite, even before it became such a major player in surface selection. For me granite symbolizes joy, playfulness and the outdoors. Will I replace my counter tops with this great material? You betcha!

You can take these few steps as I did and you will slowly see a pattern arise. Maybe you’re attracted to the blue-green color of an ocean spot you once visited. Possibly you loved the dark wood in a hotel room you shared with a loved one. Perhaps you like being outside because of the fragrances you enjoy.

Now, what floats your boat?

Warm gray leaves with the pink flower can translate into a color scheme

The coziness of this Banyan tree may translate into a canopy bed

This small dead-end street with close neighbors may translate into a comfy, welcoming family room

Fall 2011 Color and Trend Forecasting

September 12, 2011
Circle, circles everywhere!

Colors and Trends last approximately 7 to 8 years.  That is about the time our eyes get tired of looking at the same old thing.  As I have mentioned before there are 5 major things that influence a trend.

Economy– When down we gravitate to dirty colors, when up optimistic colors

Apparel(mostly women)- Large prints in apparel large prints in home decor

Art World– When Monet’s art toured the world we used the colors in his pallet.

TV and Movies-Reality TV like the Bachelor; we want the same luxurious feel.

World Events-After the Olympics we tend to popularize the colors and patterns we’ve been watching from the host countries.

 So you want to know what’s in.

 v     Black- Black on walls and Ceilings. Black on ceilings makes the room feel infinite like the night sky

v     Black and White- Bold large prints in Black and white

v     Lace but updated and/or backed with a color

v     Gray- Either warm or cool gray. It should however be mixed with taupe or yellow

v     Red

v     Green- And yes yellow green is back the blue green didn’t hang around very long

v     Pink- Pink and yellow and pink and green

v     Circles- in fabric, wallpaper and home décor accessories

v     Teal and Turquoise

v     Blue- Cobalt blue mixed with silver or gold.

v     Metallic- In fabrics

v     Animal Prints- In their natural color or re-colored in fun colors

v     Textures- Feathers, open weaves, waffle patterns, laser cut fabrics, hairy, crystals, rosettes. These can be found in fabric, lampshades, wallcoverings

v     Oversized drum lamp shades

Infinite Black Ceiling


Fabulous Gray and Yellow Fabric


Black and White Large Print Wallpaper

Large Drum Crystal Chandelier

Mouth Watering TealMetallic Fabrics are Fabulous


Sophisticated Pink and Yellow

Metallic Fabrics are Fabulous

Now go forth and have fun with your interior design. 
Thank You for the images:

Is There a Hanger Door Track in Your Future?

September 1, 2011

The drastic shift in our economy has left many families in a monetary pickle. Many of you have been forced into downsizing.  With downsizing come other problems.  Some of you have had to give up your extra guest bedroom.  Most of the time this is not an issue but when guest do come sometimes a single sofa is not enough. Blow up mattresses are a pain and if guest are staying for more than one night where do you throw this oversized thing?

 Have you ever thought of a Murphy bed?  I recently was introduced to a gentleman who makes custom surrounds for a Murphy bed.   With customization comes the ability to have sleeping quarters within any room.  The cabinetry can be made to fit into the feel of whatever room it is built into.

 Check out this Murphy bed with a library surround.  The front bookshelves gently slide on a hanger door track. Push shelving to either side; pull down bed and viola instant extra bedroom.


Thank you to Steve at Solencraft Woodworking(

I Love You

August 26, 2011

Devil's Tower

Hi everyone. Today’s post is going to be a little somber.  I usually talk about design or something cool I have found in my research.  Today I want to talk about my oldest friend, Kathleen.  She has been a friend since the day she rode her tricycle up my street at the age of 4.  Three years ago she lost her younger sister at the age of 50 years and 2 days.  Last year she was diagnosed with breast cancer and just recently she lost her little brother at the age of 49.

So don’t fret over the small stuff.  If your teenager’s room is a mess, is it really the end of the world?  A plan didn’t work out the way you wanted…so what, maybe the results will be better. I once dyed my hair blonde and it came out the prettiest melon color I have ever seen and what I story I had to tell.  It wasn’t the end of my world.

In the mist of our economic problems as a nation and our daily grind of just keeping on we sometimes forget how incredible precious those that surround us are.  So don’t forget or be afraid to tell friends and family you LOVE them.  That little word with sincerity behind it can move mountains. 

So look around for the good, be thankful for what is right in front of you. Have a great weekend, I love you and pay it forward.

Beautiful Stormy Sky In My Own Backyard

Four Old Broads On a Vacation


Sunflowers In The Dakota's


Letchworth ParkIn My Home State Of NY


My Spring Lilacs


Honey At The Minnesota State Fair...Yummy!