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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!


Covering Bay Windows? NO Problem for the Professional

August 18, 2011
Sketch for approval

 I recently was contacted to cover another bay window. I have been covering windows for over 16 years. They are really no different then covering any other window if you know what you are doing.

Clients want list.

• Something unique

• Nothing Flat

• Possible with a curve

• Matching smaller valance for sink area

• Treatment to cover window blinds

I think that was accomplished with style and fun.

Beautiful Results

Fantastic Detail

Proportioned Matching Sink Treatment

Rain Gardens…Not just for Beauty!

July 11, 2011

Rain Gardens, they are beautiful. Either wet or dry they sometimes remind you of babbling brooks dependent of the plants used to create them. But what do they do and why do we need them. In downpours the rain comes off our roofs, driveways and roadways so fast that the untreated water flows into the nearest water tributary. This could be a collection pond, wetland, lake or river. The pollutants and sediment the storm water carries is harmful to those water eco systems. Thus the importance of a rain garden is to filter the water before it causes a problem. If built correctly the rain garden collects this water before it hit the water tributary. The storm water trickles down into the garden collecting sediment and is naturally purified.

I have seen many rain gardens in yards collecting roof water run off. Another way to use the rain garden is to have a planting down by the road. Curbing is reconfigured with an opening and the garden is set 6 to 9 inches below the roadway. Street run off flows into the garden to be filtered. Now your garden couldn’t possible hold all the water the roadway is carrying. This is true but it is the initial flow of water that carries the most sediment and pollutants.

I commend the City of Inver Grove Heights, MN. Residents in this city can participate in a program that gives plants to homes free of charge. Installation is done by the resident with guidance from the City. The resident must sign an agreement ensuring they will take care of the maintenance.


To find out if you qualify for this program I have attached a few links that may answer a few of your questions.

 Information Courtesy of: In the May/June issue of the City of Inver Grove Heights Insight


Solar Panels… Not Just for the Geek in Us

June 17, 2011

Solar Panel Bench 

Ok, so my first introduction to a solar cell was when I was a little girl.  Opposite to contrary belief of some, it was not when dinosaurs roamed the earth.  Nor was it during the days when people walk to and from school uphill both ways.  I was probably only 6 or 7 and my older, wiser brother brought home a photo cell from a school science project.  That cell was the most amazing thing I had ever seen.  To tell you the truth I don’t even remember exactly what it powered up, maybe a flash light bulb.  It truly piqued my curiosity.  My older and wiser brother said that his teacher explained that it would be the power source of the future. 

 So why has it taken over 45 years to incorporate such a phenomenal science into every day life?  For some it is cost.  Solar panels can be very costly to run a whole home.  Where do you put the battery source?  The energy you collect from the sun has to be stored somewhere.  In an established home with no extra space where would that be?  I have heard many including my other half say that it is not attractive.  Well, neither is crude oil or battles over oil territory. 

 Maybe we can all start in a small way.  If many of us Incorporate solar energy in a small way we collectively will make a big impact.  With that said I did a quick search of solar panels and I was amazed at what I found.

(Click on pictures for source)

Solar Convertible Table Concept


Solar Convertible Table Sample


Solar Soft Rocker



Solar Lounge Chair


Solar  Wheel Chair


Solar Fan Hat


Solar Table

I  also found backpacks, camping chairs, lighting, bird baths, small portable devices to run your PC or cell phones from, the list goes on and on.  I challenge you to do your own search and let me know what you find.

Ceiling Fans- Save Energy & Look Great

June 1, 2011

52 Casa Deville™ Candelabra Ceiling Fan

Is there a fan in your future?

Ceiling fans have come a long way since the 80’s.  We are no longer stuck with three selections, wood grain smooth blade, wood grain with a seat caning insert or white blade with decorative painting. 

 Some of you may be chuckling right now because you haven’t gotten rid of them. You know and understand the hidden benefits.  For those of you who wouldn’t even consider a fan take a gander.


Benefits of ceiling fans:

  • Saves energy
    • In summer, counter clockwise rotating blades circulate the air to make you feel cooler
      • Reduces air conditioning cost by up to 40%
    • In winter, clockwise rotating blades circulate the warm ceiling air down the walls to the floor
      • Reduces heating cost by up to 10%
    • Energy Star ceiling fans are 60% more efficient than an 150 watt incandescent bulb
  • Large selections that look great
  • Complementary light selection to coordinate the whole room
  • Remote control for hard to reach places or for places such as bedrooms where quick convenient adjustments are important
  • Design your own by selecting from  pre-chosen parts and pieces

Each of our homes is as diverse as the next.  If we are going to put ceiling fans in our rooms they should at least look as if they belong.  Today’s selections are as vast and varied as we are.

Fans without blades

30 Savoy House Fan D’lier Antique Copper Ceiling Fan

 Contemporary Styling

60 Emerson Loft Brushed Steel Ceiling Fan

Outdoor Fun

52 Cool Vista Damp Oil Rubbed Bronze Ceiling Fan

A Tribute to our Armed Forces

May 27, 2011

Memorial Day brings back special memories for me.  When I was young it was a day of parades and proud men and woman celebrating.  Although I didn’t understand exactly what we were celebrating I knew it was important.  The red, white and blue colors were evident on many homes. 

 I was recently at another celebration. It was more a celebration of life.  Last Saturday I was invited by friends to attend the “Spring Swing Big Band Hangar Dance” at Fleming Field in South Saint Paul.  It was a night of food, friends and swing dancing. The Dancing was lead by  Roseville Big Band.  Costumes reflecting the 1940’s and WWII adorned most of the dance participants.  Men dressed in military uniforms and women in their 1940’s Sunday best. It was truly a site to behold. 

 Prizes were given away for the best dressed.  A group of girls dressed as the players from the movie “A league of Their Own” took first prize for the women. Two, Rosie the Riveters were also there.

 The music was fantastic,  the dancing was fun but the true magic occurred as the announcements were made calling those who serve in military service from WWII to present and active duty members to the floor.  Standing there clapping and looking around the room emphasized how lucky I am to live here in America.   All those men and woman gave of themselves freely to assure our freedoms.

So, I thank you for the sacrifices you and your family members have endured. Happy Memorial Day!

The Early Curb Period

May 19, 2011

Does Your House Look Like This?

My son has just graduated from college and returned home until he secures a job in his major. When he moved back in so did two chairs, two bar stools, a sofa, coffee table and a ton of other stuff.  The furniture ranged from a 26 year time period, all different styles and from all different price points. 

 You can probably guess what a couple of the rooms in my house look like at the present moment.  My mother use to call it “Early Curb”.  It is a mish mash of furniture and finding that don’t go together. It looks as if someone scoured the streets and took items that people put out at the curb and crammed it into one room.

Both of the rooms function alright but being in them makes me feel uneasy.  They are totally unsettling to the eye and I find myself constantly planning in my head how I will design them when all is gone.  Don’t get me wrong I love my son but I was already in college as a matter of fact twice.  I don’t want to live in the “Early Curb Period” anymore.

 You may be in the same position at this time. Possible what you may need is also a good plan.   Plan it now for a few months (hopefully not a few years) down the road. It will give your heart an upbeat just knowing the end to the mess is just around the corner.  At the confirmation of your child’s job offer you can celebrate by implementing the design plan.  Having the ground work already completed will shorten the completion time line.  

 Good luck with your “Early Curb” and may your son or daughter find the job of their dreams soon.