*This post contains affiliate links
Recently I was given the opportunity to design a small apartment at a local assisted/independent living facility. This little apartment is going to be used a model/virtual tour for future retirees. I was so honored to take the project because several months ago I staged one of the independent cottages affiliated with the same company, for a Realtor who was referred by another Realtor...talk about a long list of referrals!!! That was what made it such an honor and so exciting!
Anyhow, this cute one-bedroom apartment was so much fun to design, but there was just one issue...it was small. So how do I make the space look functional for future resident's? That was my biggest challenge going into this project.
Starting with the living and dining area, these two rooms share the space; that there wasn't a lot of. I wanted to use a regular sized sofa and oversized accent chair, but what about the small dining area? Well the good news is there is a restaurant inside the facility for it's residents- so the dining area wasn't something I really wanted to play up. I used these fun gold barstools and a small bistro table and chairs set, allowing for at least 4 guests to sit comfortably in the dining area. Without having to sacrifice the living area, I added the ottoman that functions as a coffee table and storage- because yes, the top comes off! This piece serves 3 functions!
SMALL SPACE PRO DESIGN TIP- Adding texture to the room helps create dimension in a small space
That oversized wall art above the sofa- one wouldn't think incorporating something really big in a small space would be right. Wrong! Texture gives the eye something to investigate, something to sink its teeth into, something that makes the whole space feel a lot bigger.
I think texture is something most people forget when designing a small space. They focus more on storage solutions, often it’s intentionally overlooked for fear of cluttering up an already small space.
You can add some small extra home décor pieces to add textures to your space. Focus on the finishes of your existing furniture pieces too. Like the faux fur rug I draped over the ottoman, the gold side table and gold hammered lamp. It could even be a simple fabric couch with wooden arms and legs. The key to achieving visual balance and to keep visual clutter at bay is to have one or two pieces of furniture in similar textures. The faux rug on the ottoman ties into a larger faux rug under the dining table.
Another way to work in texture in small spaces is through adding texture to walls. Textures on walls make a big impact and they don’t take up any floor space. You can do so through a variety of ways including wallpaper, textured paint like Dulux’s Ambiance Paints (the paints can offer up anything from a rustic linen feel to a luxurious marble finish), wall cladding or wall moulding. In the living room I added a hanging ladder to a decorative hook then folded some textured throw blankets. An easy and unique way to not only store extra blankets, but also adds texture!
FINAL SMALL SPACE PRO DESIGN TIP: When adding textures to your space, use juxtapositions e.g. metallic vs matte, weathered vs smooth, see-through vs opaque. Keep in mind that textures don’t have to be felt to be sensed; they can also be visual to make an impact
I recently interviewed Pam Greenway with Greenway + Giovanni Creative Business Consulting. During our little chat I learned a lot of things I didn't even know about Pam. I mean, we are friends, but it's crazy how my little Podcast allows me that opportunity.
In case you missed this week's Podcast, Pam has over 26 years of experience in the healthcare profession including private practice & starting a Non-Profit for children with disabilities called KC: Art Without Labels. However, Pam has now ventured into the business consulting world and it has been an easy transition since she is still able to serve others.
I asked Pam a couple questions before our on-air interview, so you all could get to know her a little better, and of course you can listen to our the entire interview by clicking here
C: "If heaven exists, what would you like to hear G-d say when you arrive at the pearly gates?"
P: "I think the end goal of living a life for Christ is to hear the words at the end of your earthly journey ...Well Done...enter in my good and faithful servant. I was raised to be respectful of others, to love others as Christ loves me...but to also to stand firm in my beliefs whether that's about my faith or any portion of my life. If we never take a stand for anything we'll fall for everything. My Dad was a strong man...and always showed me through his actions more than words what it looks like to love people...but to also be a strong person who isn't afraid to speak their minds."
C: What is your favorite word?"
P: "One of my favorite words is Ping. It's a nickname a sweet little boy gave me years ago...Eli Jack Malone...he's one of the sweetest boys ever....and before he could really speak...one night it sounded like Ping and it stuck. I always loved hearing his tiny voice say Ping...I love you...so sweet. I cannot believe he will be 13 in August . Crazy how time flies."
C: "Room, desk, car- which do you clean first?"
P: "It's funny because when I say clean my desk...sometimes it means moving a few piles of material to the other side. But it's organized chaos. I know exactly where everything is and can find it immediately. I've never in my life lost anything important. I've had people over the years who tried to change my ways and get me "organized" the way they were organized but it never worked for me. I have to do it my way to stay organized...so years ago I embraced my organized chaos and have lived happily ever after."
For anyone who is looking for help to grow their business Pam helps Realtors, Network Marketers & other service based entrepreneurs with strategies and tools to stop chasing unqualified leads & focus only on generating consistent, qualified leads who truly want what the biz owner has to offer. She comes HIGHLY recommended by me personally.
Want to know how to get in touch with Pam?
Email: email@example.com -or- firstname.lastname@example.org
Summer is here, which means sunny days, vacations, and easy no fuss meals; or at least for the Toscano's. I especially like quick, healthy, and light meals during the summer months.
One of my favorite go-to meals when vacationing on the Gulf Shores (where we visit every summer) are these yummy quesadillas. < DISCLAIMER> The key ingredient for these is the spice I use...which is not easy to find in grocery stores back home. The spice is 'Slap Ya Mama' cajun seasoning. However, any cajun seasoning will do.
You are going to season some chicken breasts, very generously with the cajun seasoning. You can either cook in olive oil on the stovetop or grill. While you are cooking the chicken, you can start making your guacamole. I use fresh tomatoes, purple onions, avacadoes, salt, pepper, + garlic salt. Spread onto the flour tortilla, add cheddar cheese + salsa. Once the chicken is done cooking, shred + place on the tortilla. Add another tortilla to the top,and brush some olive oil on both sides and grill them for a minute or two, or eat them without grilling like we do. Just a little less heavy without that extra few minutes of cooking. Perfect for hot summer days!
These are SO easy + SO good! My family eats these up like crazy!
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!
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."