GO Month – Get Organized Month

Laundry Room to Envy

Welcome to GO (Get Organized) month - January.  A RESA (real estate stager association) friend shared that with me.   She's a professional in organization, which I am not.  I'm pretty organized - but not professional.  I aspire to have things organized though, so that's why I'm sharing.  Also, after giving four staging consultations this week, I quickly realized that organized people can get their houses ready to sell in lightning speed.  I know not everyone has a laundry room that looks like this (nashastyle.com), but...most homes I see have shelving or cabinets above their washer and dryer, and many have a clothes rod.  What's the difference?   Well, check out this photo below.  

This is comparable to what I normally see, especially when it's in a room with a door.  I get it!  We're all busy!  We all have lots of "stuff."  Here's what I'd tell my seller.  Use baskets or decorative boxes on the shelves to hide away essential cleaning products and items such as light bulbs, toilet paper, everyday tools, etc.  Anything that's not essential for a few months gets packed and stored in the garage or a storage unit.  Nothing except maybe one beautiful backpack or bag should be hanging on the wall.   So where do all of the brooms, dusters, mops, etc. go?  You hide them away - for showings and especially MLS photos!!!  What about this big laundry sorter?  Unless it's built into an alcove in the wall or in a cabinet, it gets stored somewhere else.  When your house is for sale, no buyer wants to see your laundry or think about chores.  They want to subconciously feel like everything is magically organized and clean in your house.  

Linen Closet Love

On to the bathroom or hall linen closet...fluffy white towels hanging in the bathrooms are the perfect addition to make the bathroom feel spa-like.   Where do you store the extras?  Like this in the closet.  I seriously do envy the organization of this, since my husband thinks a variety of colors of towels are desirable.  I say "white" or "off-white" - that way you can bleach them and wash them all together with another of my favorites - white sheets!  I like how they at i.pinimg.com also have their cleaning products in an attractive basket.  A+ for organization here!

Pantry to die for!

And one more inspiration photo for organization - look at this pantry from thewhitepad.com.  Now, to be honest, I don't know anyone who lives like this.  Where's the mac-n-cheese boxes, the chips, they canned goods, etc.?  And the spices!   My 75 spices live in the containers they came in.  I can brag that they are in alphabetical order because years ago I discovered that doing that would change my cooking world.   I do like the clear containers with the chalkboard-style labels and the baskets to contain items in this photo.   Buyers really don't expect this, but I suggest grouping like items together, combining snacks into one basket, displaying cans with labels all facing forward, and throw away anything that's expired or nearly empty.  Make sure nothing is on the floor or hanging on the door. Another A+ for pantry organization though!  

Good luck with your organization endeavors.  Whether it's part of your January resolution or just another month when you want to gain control, you'll be glad you spent the time to organize a space.  

Continue reading

Top 10 Holiday Design Tips

Simple Tips For the Season

           #10 Use ornaments in unexpected places throughout your home. A bowl                filled with shiny ornaments looks great in the kitchen or on a side table.

#9 Use lots of white lights (make sure they all work before placing on tree or garland). Battery operated twinkle lights look festive when mixed in with ornaments.

photo from Pinterest: grandin road

#8 Use beautifully wrapped gifts as decor scattered throughout your home. Choose wrap and ribbon that matches your theme.

#7 Use Christmas tree greenery clippings to add beauty and fragrance to your mantel, table centerpieces, everywhere! You can pick up free clippings where they sell live trees.

Photo from Pinterest

Pinterest:  Etsy.com

#6 Pick a style and color theme. Then stick with it!  Check my Christmas pinterest board for ideas. Remember your packages can carry this theme throughout.


Pinterest:  Jones Design Company

#5 Add lots of texture. Cozy throws, fluffy pillows, burlap ribbon or table runners, sparkly glass, shiny ornaments, nubby pinecones...you get the picture. Mix it up!

Houzz: Robeson Design

#4 When hanging ornaments on your tree, larger ones should go near the bottom. Smaller toward the top. Hang "filler" and "less expensive" shiny balls on the inner branches. This gives dimension to your tree and the ornaments reflect more light.

#3 Group your personal collections together. If you love nutcrackers, but they are scattered and lonely, it's not much of a collection. Instead, group them in clusters of 3 or 5 around your home. If you collect spoons, wrap decorative ribbon as bows around the top and hang them on your tree for a unique personal touch. What collections do you have? I collect whimsical Santas.

#2 Add the warmth and fragrance of candles. Aromas that remind us of yummy desserts are my favorite! Also, I love Woodwick candles because they crackle and sound like a fire.

Pinterest:  blog.balsamhill

#1 Floral picks can add so much to your tree and garlands. Just poke them in. They can add drama to the tree topper, and make the tree more interesting looking.

I hope you enjoy these design tips. Most of all, remember to spend time with the    ones you love! Baking cookies, sipping hot cocoa, touring Christmas lights,        singing holiday songs.... those are my favorites and repeating them year                after year creates lasting memories.
May you be blessed this Christmas season!

When a pantry could be so much more!

Ready for a Remodel

We down-sized to a smaller home recently, and I knew right away that this 9 door pantry had to go.  Don't get me wrong, nine doors sounds like a lot of storage space but they were so deep that you could lose a small child back there.  There was also wasted space on each side, so even pull-out baskets weren't really an option.  To make matters worse, the entrance to the kitchen was only 2 1/2 feet wide and 7 feet tall.  It felt like another bedroom entrance.   Ugh!  My last house had a huge kitchen open to a living and dining space with lots of natural light.   Immediately I began to problem solve.  I envisioned 4 cabinet doors with custom pull-out drawers to be the base cabinets.  Four others would go all the way to the top of the 10 ft. ceiling and be used for party and holiday items that I wouldn't use often.    Perfect!   Another problem was on the opposite wall.  It stuck out so much that the refrigerator door couldn't open completely.  So, I hired a contractor to widen my opening to 8 feet tall and about 4 feet wide.    Now the fridge functions properly and it feels a lot more spacious.  Read on...
A few weeks later,  we had the subway tile installed in a herringbone pattern, added black granite for a classic look, hired Daniel (my favorite electrician) to do electrical work for the coffee maker, new barn light, and open shelving.    SO MUCH BETTER!   Of course, it's never ending.  We now have new wood floors and baseboards.  Time to paint all of the cabinets white, and pick a color for the walls.  I literally have four paint colors on the kitchen walls right now.  I'll share more pictures when that is finished.  Honestly, I'm in no hurry because I think I just got all of the dust cleaned up.   Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog!  Happy Home Life!

If you love fabulous kitchens as much as I do, check out my collection on Pinterest  https://www.pinterest.com/shutson/kitchen-fabulous/

5 Tips – Styling with Pillows

Styling with pillows!  Load up on some soft, fun pillows for your sofas, chairs, and beds!   Who doesn't love the color and comfort that they add?  This is an inexpensive way to change up your look for the seasons also.  Since the rug in this photo already had a large design, I went with solid-looking colors.  The brown is actually a velvet print on print, and the cream ones are actually a cream and white mix.   Don't go crazy with too many patterns is my suggestion.   

Here are 5 tips that I use when working with pillows:

Tip #1 Use pillows that are at least 20 x 20 inches with down inserts on a sofa

Tip #2 Layer 2-3 pillows on each end to give a very inviting, comfortable look

Tip #3 Give each pillow a little "karate chop" right in the middle to make them look plump.

Tip #4 ​For beds, use 2-3 European pillows as a backdrop for your standard or king size pillows with shams layered in front. White pillows always look clean and classy.

Tip #5 A rectangular or oblong pillow looks great as the "middle" piece since it is smaller.   Think tall, medium, short as you layer on sofas or beds.

Bonus Tip #6 Don't have room to store lots of pillows?   Buy pillow covers and just change them out when you feel like it.  Etsy.com has nice ones.  Poppin Pillows is another great place that you can order online.  I actually sewed the brown velvety ones myself!  I think I spent about $12 on fabric.   Good find!

​Have fun styling with your own pillows.  I hope you found this helpful.

Decorate with No Money!

After I took down all of the Christmas decorations and cleaned all day, my living spaces were a blank canvas.  A few days later, my son and I spent half a day shopping (mostly looking) at The Shops at Clear Fork in Ft. Worth.  They have several home furniture and decor stores there.   One that I absolutely love is Arhaus.  The employees there are so friendly and everything is like eye candy.  Walking around, I began noticing how they used branches and twigs to decorate large wall spaces.  The photo above is one of the walls that inspired me to make some changes in my own home.

First, I gathered a bunch of branches of different sizes from the two trees that my husband had chopped down.   (Always sad to see trees die!)  I brought several into the house and began to play with them.  This metal basket is pretty much the “collection” of them in case I want to use more.

I put several in the yellow ceramic pitcher that we’ve had for years.  This was given to us, and it’s a perfect size for general decorating.  The white wood mirror was behind some Christmas decor, so I just left it there.

Finally, I put a branch or two on the fireplace mantle, adding another layer to the display.  Do you like the simple gray “wave” on the gold framed art?  Previously that was a mauve matte with mauve, green and country blue flowers – a cottage look from the 80’s.  Rather than get rid of it, I simply painted everything white and added a gray wave with acrylic paint.  My inspiration for that came from Pinterest.  Overall, I think I spent $2-3.00 for some paint.    Adding a bit of nature in your home is always smart and practically free.

Cocoa and Coffee Bar

So living with a husband and two grown sons means I’m the one who decorates for Christmas. Last weekend we all shopped together and found this year’s tree.   They helped haul it in and get it in the stand.  My husband is passionate about watering the tree which is great because I find it tedious.     0nce I put up all the lights and decorations, I had to find a fun Christmas movie to watch.  Check.  Then I needed some delicious hot cocoa.  Check.   That made me long for a cute corner for all of the hot cocoa we’d be drinking this season.  So Ta-Dah!   Just a short time later, I came up with this.  My favorite topping is whipped cream which didn’t make the photo, but trust me, it’s in the fridge!  Do you have a spot in your home that feels warm and cozy?

Mini Makeover Winner

A couple of months ago, I offered a free mini-makeover to one person in a Facebook contest.   Michelle P. in Arlington was the lucky winner, and she chose to update her den.    THANK YOU MICHELLE FOR ALLOWING ME TO SHOWCASE YOUR ROOM!  She has a great house which gives us a good base to work from.   She told me that she’d like to lighten things up and maybe add a splash of color, giving some life to the brown in the room.  We used her artwork above the sofa which had some blues and brick red tones in it.   We chose to keep all of her existing furniture in the room, just scooting two chairs closer together.  The ottoman became a coffee table when we added the tray, and now the pillows give color and personality to her leather sofa.

The brick fireplace is the focal point in the room, but hadn’t really been updated in a while.  Again, our goal was to lighten things up, so we layered some white wood pieces on the mantle and brought in a green potted plant.  Easy!  Remember tall, medium, and short for table tops and mantles when grouping items.

Even though I used my own basic camera for the photos, you can see how we brought together some of the newer accessories to give the pops of blue and white into the bookcase beside the fireplace.  If your books are a hodge-podge of colors, flip them around to see the white/creamy pages. Also, taking a book jacket off the book can give a cleaner look.   Stack accessories to vary the height.  We incorporated a mirror on the lower shelf, which not only hid an electrical outlet, but also reflected light at that low level.   

For the side table, we wanted to move the clock down a few inches so it didn’t feel lonely, but it was not going to budge off of that wall, so we just improvised.  We found a creamy distressed-looking tin from her back porch to give some weight to the configuration, placed a bread basket (from Magnolia Market in Waco – love that place) in front with green “foliage” balls, and kept her tall lamp.  The table had some beautiful accessories before, but especially in photos, smaller things seem more like clutter.   Remember, items smaller than a cantaloupe don’t photograph well.  I know, I know… we all have things that are smaller and we all have photographs of our family in our rooms.  That’s perfectly fine when you’re living in and loving your space!   If you’re marketing your home to sell it though,  those things are a no-no.    And no, Michelle is not selling her house.   The new look definitely gave her some inspiration to look for accessories that not only had pops of color, but allowed her to consider using white.  

Cozy Up to Fall

The weather has FINALLY felt like fall.  With the approaching holidays and cooler weather, I tend to put more accessories in my rooms.  It gives them a warm, cozy feeling.   I’ve learned to appreciate splashes of orange, but I don’t go overboard with it.  Learn to mix in the seasonal colors with the everyday colors that you love.

 Take a few minutes to enjoy the season and count your blessings.  I’m thankful for family, friends, my church, morning coffee, evening campfires…..I could go on forever. 

Obviously, you would not keep these pillow on the hearth if there is a fire in the fireplace, but soft pillows can lure you in, and invite you to sit a while and relax.  A basket of soft throws or blankets look nice and are convenient for chilly nights.   Here’s to fall!   



Create a Tablescape

Begin with a table runner going down the middle and falling off each end.   Next, add chargers for the plates to rest.   A festive, cloth napkin adds a sense of celebration.  Layer on another plate or bowl, depending on the type of food being served.   Add a special touch by putting a place card with the name of your guest.  Be creative by adding it to a pinecone, ornament, candy cane, individual pies, etc.  In the middle of your table runner, think high, medium, and low. You can’t go wrong with this formula.  Unscented candles always bring a welcome glow.  Cheers!