As I wrap up my design topic 'Vintage' for the month of May, I wanted to share my top tips for buying vintage furniture because let's face it, it can be a bit overwhelming because you don’t know which pieces to buy and which to avoid.
1. Avoid Pieces That Are Unstable
This seems like a given. If the piece has been exposed to water and/or extreme temperatures. These conditions cause wood to swell and shrink as well as loosening glue in joints and destroying paints and finishes. These pieces will not be functional again without a lot of repair.
2. Make Sure The Piece Fits In Your Space
If you are like me it is easy to get distracted by the beauty in a piece of furniture, but that doesn't mean it is going to be the right piece for your space. Prepare before shopping by making a list and taking measurements (height, width and depth) of the space you’re hoping to fill.
3. Avoid Pieces That Are Stained, Stinky, and Potentially Infested
As a matter of fact, burn them. Okay, obviously I'm not promoting arson here, but always give a piece of furniture the “sniff test”. Mustiness can be aired out, but strong pet or smoke odors are next to impossible to remove from all the layers of foam and batting.
4. Timeless Pieces Are Always A Win
The best thing about buying vintage or antique furniture is the timeless quality they give your space. If the style of a piece looked good 50 or 100 years ago and it still looks good today, it’s a purchase that’s likely to look good in another 50 to 100 years.
5. Just Because It's Cheap, Doesn't Mean You Should Buy It
When making a buying decision, take the price out of the equation. Even if it’s $5, would you pay more for it? Do you love it that much? Do you have the perfect spot for it? If the answer to those questions is yes, go for it! If you wouldn’t pay good money for it, it’s not worth buying.
These tips are based on years of experience shopping for, fixing up, and reselling antique and vintage furniture. I made all of the mistakes, so you won’t have to.
Never in a million years would I have thought I would ever be staging homes during a pandemic. But here I am, almost three months into it. I can tell you it has been a very interesting three months, and houses are still selling in our thriving City.
This week's blog post addresses this crazy topic, and is courtesy of guest blog writer Shirley Martin, with Tidy Life Today.
The coronavirus pandemic has put home sellers in a tough spot. How can you show your home off to potential buyers if you’re supposed to practice social distancing? With open houses and in-person showings off the table, you will have to get a little creative. Fortunately, the real estate market has adopted certain tech tools that enable sellers and buyers to complete a home sale with minimal contact. Keep reading to learn more about navigating this new and unfamiliar home-selling process!
Prep Your Home for the Market
Although buyers may not be touring your home in person, they will still want to see pictures and videos of your space. To get your home ready, TurnKeyHomeLoan recommends giving it a good top-to-bottom deep clean and tackling some major decluttering. Clutter will make your rooms appear cramped, unclean, and uninviting, especially in your real estate photos. You don’t want anything to distract your buyers from seeing your home’s best features!
Once your home is sparkling clean, consider making a few impactful upgrades to really hook those buyers. If you want to keep it simple, a fresh coat of paint will have a huge effect on the overall feel of your home—go with a neutral shade to please everyone. You could also touch up the exterior paint, especially if it’s peeling, cracking, or otherwise looking unkempt. When you’re finally happy with the state of your home, stage some elegant vignettes around your home to help your potential buyers imagine living in your space. For best results, try to incorporate the color blue. Blue works great with many different color schemes and stands out in photos, so invest in some blue accents to help your listing pop!
Skip the Open House
Even if open houses are still permitted in your area, it’s best to play it safe and skip this social gathering. Research suggests that open houses aren’t that effective anyway and tend to benefit the real estate agent more than the seller. Instead, focus on your virtual presence! Take stunning listing photos, create a 3D walkthrough, and offer video tours to interested buyers.
Showing off your home's features is even easier online because you can shoot your photos and videos from the angles that make your rooms look their best. To create the most engaging and attractive listing photos, Home Advisor recommends working with high-quality camera equipment and shooting during the day to take advantage of the natural light. When making videos walkthroughs of your home, try to follow a natural path through your home so your online viewers can get a more accurate feel for the flow and layout of your house.
Clean Every Day
One plus side of the coronavirus lockdown is that you won’t have to deal with buyers coming by to view your home on short notice. However, you will still need to keep the place clean! Your real estate agent might be giving live video-chat tours to potential buyers while your home sits on the market, and you want it to look its best every time.
Get in the habit of cleaning up after yourself as you go about your day. Pick up laundry, put dirty dishes straight into the dishwasher, and wipe down countertops when you're done cooking—these simple actions will reduce the amount of cleaning you have to do before a virtual tour. If your kids are home from school, distribute your workload by giving them some daily chores. Try to keep your storage areas clean as well. Potential buyers might ask your agent to film inside cupboards, drawers, and closets so they can check out your home’s storage solutions, so make sure these spaces look neat and organized.
Selling a home is always a stressful experience, but the coronavirus pandemic has made things much more complicated. Take steps to prepare for your sale so you can sail through the process with minimal issues. Declutter, clean, and stage your home, work with your real estate agent to create great online listings, and keep up with the daily cleaning so you’re always ready for virtual showings!
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My design topic for the month of May is- 'Vintage' and it is no surprise that these vintage staples have made a comeback! In fact, they are better than ever!
Did it ever really go out of style? I don't know about you, but gold is one of my favorite finishes in a home. Champagne bronze is fresh and subtle. Faucets, frames and fixtures are taking a break from chrome and brushed nickel.
Hell yes!!! This kitschy look dates back to the 1970s. Macramé is a form of textile-making that’s made up of hand-tied knots instead of knitting with needles or weaving on a loom. Many of the original ’70s designs have resurfaced, like plant holders and wall hangings but with a more minimalist touch that makes the designs less “groovy” and more boho chic...refer back to my last blog post. I used macrame dream catchers in my daughter's room. Not too mention Toscano Interiors carries some pretty awesome macrame wall hangings.
Another cool trend from the 1970s, graphic art often showed up as framed posters. These pieces are impactful and unique, perfect for a dramatic focal point in a room furnished with clean-lined furniture.
Taken from ancient Greece and Morocco, this trend was huge during the Art Deco period in the 20's. These patterns offer classic bold aesthetics with a sharpness that feels both playful and sleek.
Mirrored Kitchen Backsplashes
I wonder where this trend could have derived from??? Well the disco era of course!! The 70's and early 80's this look was all about adding a touch of glam, and even opening the room up a bit. Today, this trend is popping up in traditionally styled kitchens, infusing the simplicity with some glamour.
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It was no surprise that after I redecorated my oldest son's bedroom that my two daughter's, Grace + Harper would want me to redecorate their bedroom too.
They already had a lot of decor that would be considered 'boho' however the biggest issue for them was decluttering the space. These two are pack rats, and save EVERYTHING! Little pieces of paper, broken jewelry, broken dolls...literally trash, yet neither like to throw that stuff away. Which is why once a month we purge their room. It makes me crazy, while those two are perfectly content.
So just like their brother's room, we literally moved everything out, took everything off the walls, and cleaned EVERYTHING!
I made piles for the decor pieces that were staying, a pile for donating, and a pile for trash. Then we started the fun part, decorating! The girl's and I let our inner boho go wild!
Starting with their beds, boho beds are low to the ground. The beds they already had worked perfectly!
If there’s one thing you notice about boho spaces, it’s the colors. And the best way to get your color fill is to make it patterned. Choose the patterned rug and the patterned duvet and the patterned curtains to infuse your bedroom with as much color as you can hold. You'll notice I kept the same color palette with their room- it's so bold, bright, and cheery. But you can play with color when it comes to boho.
Notice all the different textures, from the curtains, to the sequin pillows, to the way I layered the wall decor. Boho decor isn’t just about the variation in color, it’s also about the variation in texture. Instead of cotton everything, try a shaggy rug with linen pillows and a knitted comforter. The variety will make your bedroom look well rounded.
Comfort is key to any style of bedroom. Thankfully boho decor permits us to pile on the pillows and the variety of color allows you to choose any pillows you like!
Don’t forget the importance of lighting. Get creative about your lamps. I used pineapple lamps for lighting- the fun gold one I used on the nightstand, a white one on their dresser, and a cute green gingham print one in the little reading nook I made in the corner. They had no overhead lighting, and that was their biggest complaint- more light. Another idea for lighting is to hang them from the bed. Mount them on the wall. The dangling bulb is especially eclectic.
One of the biggest pieces to the bohemian bedroom puzzle is the large wall art. It might be a brightly patterned tapestry, it might be a large vintage movie poster or it might be a neon sign with a motivational phrase. If it’s big and colorful, it will work in your bohemian bedroom. For their room I did lots of layering with bright colored wall art, and photos of them I had enlarged- then added the fun book page garlands made by my friend and local artist Lani Robertson with Objects of Affection.
Boho also likes fringe. You’ll find it in the form of curtains and bed skirts and duvet tassels, but the easiest way to get it is with macrame. Buy one with a long fringe or make one yourself to get exactly the style you want. Again, I accomplished this by using the garlands, I have tassel tiebacks for the curtains, and lots of dreamcatchers throughout the room.
As a professional designer I typically advise stashing your bedroom clutter behind closed doors. The boho decorator displays all the books and jewelry and knick knacks for all to see on a set of open shelves. However it is perfectly curated in their room now, with fun jewelry stands, little stuffed cacti, succulents in fun brightly colored dinosaur containers. Get creative!
Along those easy Saturday morning lines, all boho bedrooms have a nook for reading and snuggling. If you don’t have the space for a big comfy chair, think about how you can use your bed for a reading nook instead I reupholstered the little green and pink chair which is the perfect size to fit in the corner, next to the bright pink rolling cart that is perfect to store their books and other knick knacks.
The very best part of boho decorating is that it’s a forgiving style so you can have all your favorites in your bedroom at the same time. The mix of colors and patterns and finishes and woods will make it your favorite room in the house. I would say their room is definitely one of my favorites now!
I love soup, and so does everyone in my house...well, that is except my husband. There’s just something about soup he hasn't always loved, but he LOVES my sausage + tortellini soup!
He eats an entire bowl and then some every time I make it. The combination of sausage and tortellini is a winner for the whole family!
It’s creamy without being heavy, full of veggies, and loaded with pillowy cheese tortellini. It’s hard not to love this delicious soup.
HOW TO MAKE SAUSAGE TORTELLINI SOUP
This recipe is super simple and it comes together in 45 minutes. You probably have half of the ingredients on hand, and the others are really easy to find. It tastes amazing the day it’s made, and delicious the day after. Did I mention it requires only 1 pot?!
MEAT. To start you’ll brown 1 pound of Spicy Italian sausage (we like spicy food, but you can substitute with mild) in your stockpot. Transfer it to a paper towel lined plate. Using the remaining grease (about 1 tablespoon or so), a tablespoon of olive oil and sauté the onion, shallot and carrots, sauté for about 5 minutes or until the vegetables are nice and soft.
ROUX. Add the garlic and sauté for an additional 2 minutes, or until fragrant. Whisk in 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour and cook for 1 minute (creating a roux that helps thicken the soup). Gradually add in the chicken stock, whisk to combine. Continue cooking until the mixture reaches a simmer, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 6 minutes.
TORTELLINI + VEGGIES. Pat as much grease as possible off of the sausage (that way you wont have excess grease on the top of the soup) , then add it along with the tortellini, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, chopped spinach, and half & half.
SIMMER. Simmer for 5 minutes, or until the tortellini is fully cooked.
MORE NOTES + TIPS
This soup is perfect as is, but it can be changed up by preference. In fact, many sausage tortellini soups are tomato-based, and if you like that, we suggest cutting the chicken broth in half and add 1 can of tomato sauce and a few cans of diced tomatoes. It’s delicious too!
If STORED properly in an air-tight container this soup can last for up to 3 days in the fridge.
I have worked on numerous design projects throughout my career…from full kitchen renovations and master bedroom makeovers to entire first floors and complete basement remodels. But for the past few months, my oldest son, Aiden (17) has been asking the same question over and over again…”Are you working on my room yet?” With a busy family life and a busy design business, my answer was always the same…soon!
Determined to give each one of my children a comfortable and relaxing space that expresses their own personalities, I spent many late nights designing and sourcing furniture and materials starting with my oldest son Aiden's spacious bedroom. Most 17 year olds have strong opinions but he was actually different. And I'm not going to lie, it's bittersweet, my first born will be a Senior in high school starting in the fall- he wants me, his mom to decorate his room, but I also can't believe my first-born is really only going to be at home for one more year.
When brainstorming teen bedroom ideas, the most important thing to remember is that their bedroom is an expression of who they are.
Today’s teenagers are design-conscious and up to date on the latest trends. But they’re torn between childhood and adulthood. Most teens have beloved toys they’re not ready to give up, but look for a room that’s older and more sophisticated than their childhood room.
I definitely took into consideration approaching his room as a mini, self-contained apartment where he can spend most of his time comfortably.
Regardless of size, a teen’s bedroom needs to be versatile enough for them to spread out and get homework done, hang with friends, lounge and sleep, all while reflecting their personality.
When considering teenagers bedroom ideas, keep in mind they should include functions specific to their age, as well as look great. For Aiden, he loves playing the guitar, tinkering with his drones, playing video games, reading. Keeping his current hobbies and interests in mind, I really wanted to create a space that will support him this last year at home before going off to college in a year. So it was important to incorporate the things he's passionate about and what he is looking forward to doing in his future (a commercial airline pilot)in his space. So finally one Sunday afternoon, we cleared everything out of his room- and finally gave him the bedroom makeover he had been waiting patiently for. And yes, he did help.
"Regardless of size, a teen’s bedroom needs to be versatile enough for them to spread out and get homework done, hang with friends, lounge and sleep, all while reflecting their personality."
The first thing we decided was that this room needed to serve multi-purposes. For most teenager’s their room is more than just a sleeping space. Like most teenagers, Aiden is starting to explore the world of independence and having a room where he can hang out, study and lounge with friends is almost as important as sleep. And the social aspect of a teen room decor is big.
I added a rolling desk, and since it didn't have any storage space, I used some storage bins he had hiding in his closet. The desk lamp has a USB port for charging his electronics, because teens bedrooms need some tech savvy aspects too. Since his window ledge is wide, I used it as a shelf for his books. If your son has a favorite hobby or collection, why not incorporate it into his bedroom design scheme? We finally ordered guitar wall brackets, because he had his guitars laying everywhere. So now, they also serve as wall art. We also incorporated some more trendy types of decor like the tie dye wall tapestry over his bed.
Bold and imaginative elements are the secret to making your teen excited about creating a cool new bedroom space. We added a few of these unexpected features to make the space a little more fun-
* an old world map I found at a barn sale, used as a roman shade over his window
* old suitcases stacked in the alcove above his closet, made the perfect vignette when I added some greenery and a cardboard airplane he made when he was younger
*the blue geometric pillows to tie into the blue geometric rug we added. stick to a simple color palette of two or three primary colors for a smart, cohesive scheme.
* an old standing globe, with stenciled letters, then the rest painted black.
His plaid quilt is great because it is a relaxed and grown-up scheme for a boy’s bedroom, you can’t go wrong with a classic industrial boarding school look. But we also added a furry throw, because textures are also important for a teens bedroom. Teens love spending time in their rooms because they feel safe and comfortable. So be sure to add things that have a soft texture, feel-good fabrics.
"Bold and imaginative elements are the secret to making your teen excited about creating a cool new bedroom space"
I'm a firm believer of keeping the walls in kid's rooms a blank canvas. White walls might not be the trendiest option for a teenage boys room, but you can easily adapt to your teenagers changing interests with framed prints on the wall and patterned bedding.
What I realized during this fun bedroom makeover, is your teen can all appreciate cool bedroom decor. Invite them to brainstorm ideas with you to design a creative space that’s comfortable, functional, and suits their unique teenage style.
Stay tuned…two more kids room reveals coming soon…
Author, Candance Toscano
"You can design the life of your dreams and acquire that luxurious, fulfilled and empowered lifestyle you know you have always wanted."