Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thankful Giving Through Design

by jeff rice

Just in time for Thanksgiving and in the spirit of giving, I have just announced a community outreach program for my company called “Healing Touches by D├ęcor Designs”. While I took my inspiration from projects by other SDP members, I had to find something that I felt passionately enough about to commit the time and energy. Healing Touches is the evolving result.

Healing Touches is an initiative that will let me give back to the local community through the gift of design. I will be working with and for individuals affected by chronic, life-threatening and debilitating illness. The goal is to facilitate physical and emotional healing through beautifully decorated spaces.

Numerous studies have shown that a person’s mental and physical well-being is often influenced by his/her surroundings. The program will offer complimentary redesign and related services to individuals or organizations that have demonstrated need and who, for various reasons, are unable to provide for or accomplish improvement projects that focus on esthetically beautiful and healthful surroundings.

While decorating projects can feel overwhelming at times, we often take for granted that we have been blessed with the finances or physical means with which to do them in the first place. But, everyone enjoys and benefits from beautiful design that promotes peace, prosperity and healing.

So, as we celebrate another Thanksgiving, I hope you too have found a way in which you can give back. I truly believe that a gift given without expectation of return always comes back anyway in ways you couldn't possibly imagine.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your families. And thank you for all you do to make our world a more beautiful place.

Jeffery Rice, PIR, PRS
Decor Designs, Inc.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Color Pulse 2010

by jeff rice

We’ve all heard it before. “If you don’t learn from past mistakes, you’re condemned to repeat them.” And, “what goes around comes around”. Well according to industry experts, the same holds true for paint colors.

I recently attended Benjamin Moore's “Color Pulse 2010” at the Merchandise Mart in Chicago. Our speaker, Mary Hoffman, and the other color specialists with Ben Mo have determined that those lovely mauves, olives and golds of yesteryear are fighting for a comeback. They’ve already started to appear and will feature even more prominently in fashion and design as we head toward 2010. Think Brady Bunch kitchen and you can envision what we may be in for. God save us!

I am happy to report, however, that there are some encouraging color notes coming up. Look for resurgence in blues which have fallen out of favor for a number of years. The real color story will come from purple which is reportedly going to be THE color for 2010. Guess I was ahead of the trend when I chose shades of purple for my logo in 2004. Who knew?

Among others, here are some trends to watch for:

1- Expect yellows to be influenced by green with caramel reemerging. Golds and other metallics will also have a strong presence.
2- Reds will be blackened with purple and blue undertones. Red and white combos will be popular.
3- Greens will be fresher fusing with yellows and away from the sages.
4- Tonalities of beige and gray will also reclaim former glory.

You know what though? While it’s nice to be trendy, I wouldn’t run out and paint my living room purple just yet. Even if that is the color for 2010, I’d say it’ll probably be short-lived. As with other trends, if you wait long enough you’ll be “in”. Albeit somewhat boring, it’s always safe to stick with a favorite beige, taupe or tan and throw in a vase or pillow to pay homage to the current color trend.

All due respect to trends, I most often recommend that my clients pick colors they like and never be afraid to experiment. Ben Mo also says that "individuality" is a strong trend on the horizon. People will be seeking “one-of-a-kind” looks in clothing, home decor etc.... I say, why not leave your mark with color? After all, it’s only paint!

Jeffery Rice, PIR, PRS
Decor Designs, Inc.
Crystal Lake, IL

Monday, November 17, 2008

Staging a Home During The Holidays

Design By DesAnn north coast Ohio

As a large portion of my business, , we Stage hundreds of homes every year.
At this time of year with the Holidays approaching I am asked by clients and Realtors what we recommend for Holiday Decorating.

1. First of all let’s start with the outside. I like to see lights outside but kept to specific areas that will make our product shine.
2. A spot light on a beautiful wooden door with a LARGE wreath is fantastic. If there are tall wooden columns flanking the entry showcase them with lights and natural green boughs of Pine. Natural Pine roping can be found at Nursery’s and Christmas tree retailers.
3. I like to stay true to the products age and Architecture. Showcase any Trees you may have with lights. You can either hang lights from low branches and/or Spot Light those tall Evergreens.
4. I like to see all the lights the same color as not to “clutter” the visual affect. White lights are gorgeous, in my opinion, yet will the perspective buyer notice another White Holiday lit home?
5. All Red or All Blue or Green lights perhaps. They need to flatter the selling features and compliment the products color and style.

Warm & Inviting is always a Stagers desire for the exterior of a home for sale. This is the perfect time of year to Stage your product. The idea is to have the Buyer WANT to be there to EXPERIENCE the Holidays.

WOW them with a bold statement done simply.

Consider using the new LED window candles in every window that can be seen from the street. Makes ya just want to go in and be cozy.

Really understanding who it is you are Marketing too is crucial.

1. With Interiors it can be tricky. We Stagers are accustomed to asking our clients to minimize all religious Icons. There are however certain neighborhoods known for their Church, Synagogue, Temple and so on. In my city where we live there is an entire area of town called The Saint Jude’s neighborhood. Having a Nativity scene in this specific neighborhood could be a positive point.
2. I recommend that my clients really discipline themselves to only display a small portion of their decorations.
3. Keeping the product warm & inviting, cheerful and uncluttered should be the goal.
4. A particular home here in my hometown always has their Christmas tree in their beautiful 10 ft. windows. If I were looking in that area and price range… that staged scene of that tree would have me buying in a heartbeat
This is the perfect time to have a Dining Room set for a party. This would have the buyer dreaming of perhaps them entertaining their friends and family in that room.
Staging any home is problem solving.
Be particularly careful not to leave decorations up after the New Year. It conveys that you are not “on top of things”. I recommend that an exterior door wreath be replaced with any other shaped decoration for winter such as a basket with cascading greens or a Pear shape. The wreath, circle, shape seen on homes in February will look like a Holiday Wreath.
A great source for inspiration is the online site.
Please Decorate your home even while it is in the market. Life is short and you need to enjoy your home during the selling process, but PLEASE restrain yourself.
My best,
DesAnn Collins O.D.S.D.P., CSREP
Design By DesAnn LLC
Charter Certified member of The SDP®
Certified Decorating & Home Staging Professional
Founder Certified Staging Real Estate Association®

Changing the world one room at a time,
By transforming what you own!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Grocery Store Purchases For Fall Decorating

Photos from Paula's TV Segment.

A napkin tied with kit
chen twine with nuts hot glued to the twine. A Fairy Tale Pumpkin the background

I used long stemmed
artichokes in one of the floral arrangements and lemon slices in the other. The black container on the top right was filled with oasis, candles in the oasis with leaves and nuts hot glued to the top. In the front center, an arrangement of gourds, etc.

Pumpkin dressed up with a little spray paint.

A wide shot of what I brought. In back on right is a bird cage in which I used sesame linguine that was orange and looked like a bird's nest.

Paula A. Henry, ODSDP, IDP, CCP
Simply Put Interiors, Inc.
Voted Baltimore's Best Home Stager by Baltimore Magazine, August 2007!!!

(410) 252.9911

The Society of Decorating Professionals, Charter Certified Member

TV Segment Using Grocery Store Purchases For Fall Decorating

Paula Henry goes "live" with quick and easy ideas for FALL DECORATING with grocery store finds.

I have had the good fortune to have cultivated a relationship with a local TV station. They refer to me as their “decorating diva” or “decorating guru” and have me on as a regular guest. Although I have been pushing to go on location and do some video-taped segments, every one we have done so far has been in their studio…live. This would include last Sunday’s segment.

My segment was about using grocery store purchases to decorate for fall (see photos in another post.) Lots of planning. Lots of preparation. Lots of schlepping. And, set-up. I was set up in the employee cafeteria as was the cooking segment which was to air after mine. Our mikes were checked, we knew who was standing where, how the camera would follow my lead and ready to go. Just a few seconds into it, the screen went BLACK and they immediately cut away to a commercial. Now, when you are watching commercials they seem like they are on for an eternity but not so when you are in crisis mode with technical difficulties and only have a couple minutes before going live again. I was standing there trying to stay calm while watching the chaos and listening to the reporter have a conversation into her ear piece. I remember hearing her say, “I am not doing this. If we lose our picture again it will be mighty embarrassing. I am not comfortable with this.”

Of course, it was all about me and all I could think about was how much time and effort had just gone out the window. Then I heard the plan. With literally 45 seconds, we had to make it to the news room to continue and hope for some video of my display. I told you we were in the employee cafeteria…on the ground level. We had to cover 2 flights of steps and get to the opposite side of the news room and seated at the desk…in 45 seconds! I am not a sprinter. I am not a jogger. In fact, I am not even a power walker. However, I really didn’t have a choice and there was no time to think about it. They said “RUN” and I ran! Guess what? I actually made it even though I felt like I was panting like a dog!

We continued the segment, I drew a complete blank about anything I had done (I was too worried about catching my breath) but with the guidance of the reporter, determination, and finally some video, we got through it. When we were finished, I knew for sure it was horrible. Especially when everyone in the studio was telling me how sorry they were.

I did not dwell on this. I knew there was nothing I could have done to avoid what had happened. I could only control how I dealt with it. I stayed calm, completed a sprint in record time, made it through the segment and was proud of what I had put together. I was also thankful. Thankful for the opportunity to be on TV. Thankful for the exposure and FREE advertising. Thankful to share inspiration with viewers. Thankful it was behind me. And, when I got home and watched it, I was thankful it was nowhere near as bad as I thought it would be. In fact, under the circumstances, it wasn’t bad.

In our lives and in our businesses, we often encounter things we cannot control. The key is not to sweat what you can’t control but to control yourself and how you deal with what comes your way. Whether you are on live TV or sitting in a client’s living room, stay focused and positive, and you will have plenty to be thankful for too!

Paula A. Henry, ODSDP, IDP, CCP
Simply Put Interiors, Inc.
Creating the "WOW" factor one room at a time! CALL US FOR ALL OF YOUR DECORATING NEEDS!!
Voted Baltimore's Best Home Stager by Baltimore Magazine, August 2007!!!

(410) 252.9911

The Society of Decorating Professionals, Charter Certified Member

Window Fashions Magazine Gets A Redesign To Inspire Decorators

Window Fashions magazine will launch its newly rebranded magazine, Window Fashion Vision, in November. After 30 years as the leading industry publication, providing inspiration and education for interior designers, Window Fashions is taking its mission even further.

“We are raising the bar. We are on a mission to elevate window fashions in the minds of designers and consumers,” said Grace McNamara, president and CEO of Grace McNamara Inc., parent company of Window Fashions. ““The re-design and re-naming of our product better represents what we have to offer, which is the industry vision for our readers and advertisers. We are the voice, the views, and the “vision” of the industry.

“There is much we in the window fashions industry can do to gain back lost market share,” she said. We must make window fashions a hot product choice in the minds of consumers and designers. Our new magazine—which is designed to be even more inspirational for designers—is part of elevating that perception.”

We are also campaigning to reach designers who don’t work with window fashions now but should, said McNamara, and who need to learn more about window fashion as a “must” design element to add to their projects.

The November edition of Vision includes an interview with designer Jamie Drake; a story on designer John Buscarello’s Park Avenue apartment makeover; a piece about high-end window fashions from the workroom perspective; the new trends report from Maison + Objet; and more.

“Throughout, the magazine will have more the look and feel of an inspirational magazine geared to all designers and window fashion design professionals,” said Sheri O’Meara, editor. “We aim to speak to their passions and give them inspiration and information to create beautiful work for their clients. The new look and feel of the magazine speaks to and through design professionals—be they designer/decorators, workrooms, installers or manufacturers.”

The November issue will go out to a record-setting total of 85,000 readers, who will receive either the print or digital editions.

In addition to the magazine, Vision will also launch a new website,, to reflect its new vision.

For more information, call Beth Hansen, publisher, (651) 762-2012.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Painting Green For Decorating Dummies

by jeff rice

As Redesigners and Stagers, our projects often require for us to be a "Jack (or Jill) of all trades". While we all offer various design services, I think it's safe to say that color unites us all. At some point, we all recommend paint colors, finishes and products for both redesigns and stagings.

As your resident "Green" Guru, I thought you might find it helpful to have a quick reference for paints that are better for the environment and better for you and your client's health. So here is your primer (ha..ha..get it!) in all things Green Paint.

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design)
is a program that is designed to measure sustainable building design, which was started by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). LEED provides certifications based upon a point system and Paint products fall under the Material and Resources category. Part of LEED concerns itself with low VOC emitting materials. VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) are a large group of carbon based chemicals that are emitted (off-gassed) by paints (and other materials) as they are applied and dry. Studies have linked VOCs with health concerns ranging from sinusitis and headaches to cancer. Of course, the term "non-toxic" is a very generic term as it applies to paint because it's more a matter of degree of toxicity. There are three general categories for no (or low) toxicity paints:
  • NATURAL PAINTS Paints that are made from natural, raw ingredients such as water, plant oils and resins, plant dyes and essential oils, natural minerals such as clay, chalk or milk casein. Water based natural paints generally give off almost no odor while the oil based varieties make take on the essential oil's fragrance. These paints are by far the safest of the three types. Examples include:
    The Real Milk Paint Company (
    EcoDesign (
    SoyGuard (
    Green Planet Paints (

  • ZERO VOCs Any paint in the range of 5 g/L or less can be called Zero VOC. Be aware that some manufacturers may claim Zero VOC but these paints may still use tints, biocides or fungicides that contain some VOCs. Colorants (tints) can add up to 10 g/L to the base. Examples:
    ICI/Home Depot FreshAire Choice (
    Sherwin Williams Harmony (
    Benjamin Moore EcoSpec (
    Dunn Edwards EcoShield (
    Olympic Zero-VOC (
    Mythic Paint (
    Pittsburgh Paints Pure Performance (

  • LOW VOCs These paints are water based alternatives to their petroleum based counterparts and contain no, or very low, levels of heavy metals and formaldehyde. They may still emit an odor until completely dry. The amount of VOCs varies by brand and should be listed on the can. Low VOC paints generally contain 50 g/L or less.
    Benjamin Moore AURA (
    Sherwin Williams ProGreen 200 & Duration (
The examples included here are by no means a complete listing of green paint products. They are among the more readily available nation-wide. Quality companies are introducing new & improved bio-friendly paint lines every day. Ask for them at your local paint retailer.

I hope this "base coat" (I just can't help myself) in Green Paint encourages you to seek out and recommend these products to your redesign and staging clients. Paint is the easiest way to change the look of a space. Why not make it a healthy change for your client and the planet?

Jeffery Rice
Decor Designs, Inc.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Interior Redesign: From the Receiving End

by beth batke

Last month I had the unique opportunity to be on the receiving end of a redesign. In a crazy moment I offered to host the Ohio chapter SDP meeting at my home. We meet twice yearly and have always met in an environment more typical for decorators (home decor-related venues). This time, however, we found ourselves nearing our meeting date with no place to meet, and I thought "why not?" It wasn't long after that I wondered "why am I having all these decorators to my house?"

First let me say that the Ohio SDP gang is one fantastic group of women. Smart, talented, creative, sophisticated, and just plain fun to hang with! Our meeting focused simply on decorating rather than business and marketing as in previous meetings. We had fantastic presentations by Diana Hudson Kresnye, Ramona LaChapelle, Wendy Pecikonis, Nancy Buck, and myself on topics such as Fall decor, tablescapes, decorating bookshelves, how to dress a bed for staging, and trash to treasure ideas. After a catered lunch, we had a hands-on redesign in my very own living room.

Just try and say that one of you decorators, redesigners and stagers out there haven't wondered what it would be like to have a team of redesigners do a room in your home! Who hasn't been more than a little curious about what ideas would come out of someone else's head? What fresh ideas would be born to someone who had never been in your home? Someone who didn't already know your stuff like the back of their hand? Was it even possible to have my furniture in a position that I haven't had it in a thousand times? Was it possible to do anything different at all?

I want to mention that the room had been unaccessoried and all the furniture pushed to the center so not to give these talented ladies any pre-conceived ideas. True, that is atypical of a real redesign in the real world. Normally we arrive for an initial consultation and see the space "as is". But these ladies needed a challenge and this would make them get to the root of their creativity. At first, we role played and our newest Ohio member Amy Euller played decorator while I played client. She asked me questions and then I left the room as the ladies went to work.

What a great opportunity it is to know what it feels like to be in your client's shoes. How it feels to trust another individual with your precious belongings. How it feels to wonder if someone else will judge your things, and if so, what will they reveal about you? How it feels to leave and just let someone "have at it".

As a client, I now know about the wonder and excitement that grows while the job is in progress. I now know about the "other end" of the reveal. I now know what a natural reaction it is to say "I never would have thought of that!"

As a redesigner, I now appreciate (all the more) what an honor it is to be entrusted with my client's precious things. I now appreciate (all the more) what a powerful impact I can make in my clients homes, and therefore their lives.

So not to leave you wondering.....the redesign was fabulous! My talented colleagues in Ohio did in fact see my things in a new light. They did in fact have my furniture in a way I had not ever (not exactly anyway) had it. They did find new and exciting ways to accessorize. Moving Grandma's antique mirror over the piano (hello...was it clearly not the same size, shape and feel of the piano?) Why had I never had it there? Using the legs from a plantstand with a decorative tray as an occasional table...brilliant. My marble topped piano bench as a coffee obvious choice...yet one I hadn't thought of. Of course I would have tried that in someone else's home, yet in my own, I did not.

Attention SDP members: DO TRY THIS AT HOME! Host a meeting, host a gathering, host a few fellow members to your home for a redesign. I wholeheartedly encourage you to experience redesign from the receiving end.

Beth Batke

Monday, November 3, 2008

Decorating With Fall Colors Can't Hide the Green

Hellooo...... Hellooooo...(echoing)? Is anybodyy....outtt.....theree.....?

Since we issued the Decorating Green Ribbon Challenge at the SDP Annual Conference in August, I have received TWO (count 'em) TWO whopping emails from members that have given examples of how they have and are reducing their carbon footprint. What gives?

I know you are out there and I know you've probably already implemented "green" practices in your daily routines. But, we need to hear about it!
As an organization, we want to lead by example promoting green practices in our own lives and businesses. Since Redesign is fundamentally Green (we reuse/repurpose household items), we want to make sure that we are not missing the boat when promoting this fact to clients. As sustainability (the more accurate term for "green") continues to be at the forefront of the public collective consciousness, it is important to look for opportunities to showcase that Redesign isn't only quick and cost-effective but also a way to do something positive for the environment.

So, leading by example, here are ten things I have done recently to reduce my carbon footprint:
  1. Set a target to cut driving by 10% (for me that equates to about 100-125 miles/month). I know I can reach my goal by simply planning my trips to be more efficient and less impulsive.
  2. More consistently recycle all office and household items including cardboard, magazines, catalogs etc....not just bottles and cans. I also carry reusable bags for all kinds of shopping (not just groceries).
  3. Set my programmable thermostat to 62F (nights) and 65F (days) during winter months. I can always bump up the temperature or wear a sweater if it gets a little chilly. I have also put 3M plastic on key windows to reduce heat transfer thus reducing energy consumption and my gas bill during the winter. I've also reduced waste by purchasing a reusable furnace filter.
  4. Collected over 8 gallons of leftover paints and stains and took them to our local township center for recycling.
  5. Cleaned the dryer vent to improve clothes drying time and use less gas.
  6. Canceled bottled water delivery to cut down on the use of plastic bottles and also eliminate the gas and pollution that resulted from home delivery. (Note: Americans use over 2.5 MILLION plastic bottles per HOUR).
  7. Return wire hangers to the dry cleaners for reuse while praying for a chemical free cleaner to open in the area.
  8. Designing a "Green" page to add to my business website that will further explain how Redesign is green and giving decorating/design tips that demonstrate the concept.
  9. Limit shower time while using a water saving shower head. Also, turn off faucets while shaving (even in the shower, ladies) or brushing teeth. You'll save thousands of gallons of water annually if you implement this simple change.
  10. Unplug any electronics and chargers that are not being used. I have multiple items like the tv/vcr/dvd on one power strip to turn off the entire group when not in use.

By no means is this a complete list of things you can do to cut your energy and water consumption, reduce waste and move toward a more sustainable lifestyle. I would like to reiterate the Green Ribbon Challenge to all of you. Let me know what simple steps you are taking each day to save our planet and natural resources. No effort is TOO SMALL!

Send your feedback to me at Please be sure to sign your email so that I can give you credit if you permit me to share your ideas with others on the blog. I look forward to hearing from you.

Jeffery Rice
Decor Designs, Inc.
Crystal Lake, IL