Wednesday, October 7, 2009


After such a wonderful post about the color GREEN from April, I couldn't pass up the lead in to talk about my passion for GREEN as in sustainability.

Think about these for a minute:

  • By 2015, it is estimated that we will spend $121.7 billion to refurbish our homes with new furniture pieces.
  • The U.S. EPA reported that furniture accounted for 8.8 million tons of our waste stream in 2005, quadruple the amount in 1960.
  • About 3 million tons of Styrofoam was produced in 2000. Of that amount, 2.3 million tons were thrown away. How much of that Styrofoam packaged household decor items?

One of the nice things about redesign is the positive impact it has on the planet. By reusing, re-purposing and restyling a homeowner's existing furniture, art and accessories, redesign keeps these items out of the municipal waste stream and landfills.

Last night, I had the opportunity to present the concept "Redesign is Green Design" to a group of about 25 individuals at the The 1.5 hour long presentation was well received by the group which included homeowners, interior designers, decorators and other professionals.

I know I'm preaching to the choir but I think it bears repeating: Redesign, by the very nature of the process, supports the three fundamentals of sustainability: reuse, renew and recycle.

With a bruised economy, people are naturally trending toward more sustainable lifestyles by reusing things they already own. But if the above estimates go unchanged, the damage to our planet will continue at an alarming rate. Redesign makes a lot of sense on numerous levels and should play a big part of your business marketing.

It's time to embrace a more sustainable, "green" lifestyle. We don't have a choice! Redesign isn't just about pretty.... it's about saving our planet.

Happy Green Decorating

Sunday, September 13, 2009


Here in the Chicago area, we're starting to see the first signs of leaves turning. The goldenrod is in full bloom as my allergies are the first to let me know. Thistle and grasses have gone to seed ... a sure sign that snow will be flying before we're ready for it.

And although we've had what I think has been lackluster summer weather this year, September has helped to make up for it with almost picture perfect blue skies, moderate temps and low humidity. When the goldenrod starts blooming and the thistle goes to seed, I get in the mood for fall and probably my favorite time of year for seasonal home decor.

The wonderful thing about fall accents is that they blend very well with any design style. Even more wonderful is that these same fall touches transition easily over the next several months with just a few tweeks for the fall holidays. If you've started with fall leaves, dried grasses, harvested fruits and veggies as a base, it's nothing to add the appropriate accents to embellish them for Halloween and Thanksgiving.

I just finished throwing these fall florals together. As you can see, I like to craft floral arrangements with a certain formality that also look somewhat organic and haphazard. I try to mix colors and textures for visual interest. For inspiration, I imagine walking through an overgrown field this time of year collecting samples from all nature has to offer...then incorporating them into a single arrangement.

I hope these pictures get you in the mood to start your own fall floral fun. By adding seasonal accents, you can get a whole new look for your home without breaking a sweat.

Happy Fall Decorating!

Jeffery Rice
Decor Designs, Inc.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Bedroom Ideas from a Hardware Store?

Sometimes we find inspiration in the least likely places.  I just picked up my latest sample copy of Lowe's home improvement store's magazine Lowe's Creative Ideas for Home and Garden (Sept/Oct 09) and loved their article entitled "".

Almost like the infamous "white room" challenge on  , Lowe's offers inexpensive and creative solutions starting with a plain white bedroom and bed and giving it several different personalities and pizazz.  Three different makeovers, Traditional, Contemporary and Casual give a whole new look to the space.

I got a kick out of the bamboo flooring headboard idea .  Might just have found a use for that leftover box down in the basement after all!  And don't miss the article "" on page 18 of the same issue with the creative use of over-sized, burgundy colored, ceramic planters and round wooden tops for side tables.  Love it!

Click on the links to read the articles and see all the pictures.  Sometimes inspiration comes when and from where you least expected it!

**Happy Decorating**

Jeffery Rice
Decor Designs, Inc.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Cha Ching for Going Green

Whether a business owner or home owner, we're all looking for ways to save a buck and save the planet at the same time.
I don't know about you, but I'm starting to amass a pretty good collection of used laptops, desktops and other small electronics.   Wouldn't it be nice to know that these items could be recycled and maybe get a little $$$ to spend on more decorating projects?

Well check out our friends at Costco.  They've partnered with to purchase and recycle used electronics including laptops, cell phones, LCD monitors, digital cameras, MP3 players, blu-ray players, gaming systems and more.... and you earn Costco Cash for your efforts.

One additional benefit, Gazelle also cleans all hard drives etc... of personal data using Dept. of Defense software in a secure, controlled environment to insure your privacy is protected.

I'm glad to see that big business is finally seeing the value in recycling and also compensating consumers to encourage a more planet friendly approach to disposing of these items.

If you know of any other local or national programs, I'd love to hear about them!

Jeffery Rice
Decor Designs, Inc.

Saturday, August 8, 2009


Nothing replaces good old fashioned decorating tools!  What would we do without color wheels, measuring tapes, levels and all our samples?  But technology does help with ways to make our lives easier..... Laser levels have taken the guess work out of hanging artwork.  Drafting boards have given way to CAD.  Digital rooms can be washed with every possible color.  The list gets longer every day.

With the advent of smart phone technology, decorating tools have taken another leap into the future.  Cool Apps are popping up daily to help professional and novice decorators attack those all too common decorating dilemmas.

I'm sure you've seen the commercials:
Need to calculate how much paint or wallpaper you'll need for a room?  
There's an App for that!  
Need a pocket level or square?
There's an App for that!
Need a snazzy way to show off your portfolio for clients? There's an App for that!
Here are a few of my recent favorites that I thought I'd pass along:

  • Benjamin Moore's "Ben Color Capture"  (matches BM's color palette with a simple tap on any area of photos taken or stored on device)
  • Sherwin Williams' "Color Snap" (similar to above)
  • Tech Tree Media's "Handyman Sidekick" (calculates paint/wallpaper/flooring)
  • Marc on Call "Interior Designer" (simple room layout/space planning app)
  • iHandySoft Inc.'s "Free Level" (perfect for those quick leveling tweeks for art/mirrors)

With thousands of apps to choose from, I'm sure there are others that I've yet to find.  Love to see your favorites posted here.

Happy Techo Decorating!
Jeffery Rice
Decor Designs, Inc.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Decorating by Attraction

I'm just so tired of all the negativity....from political bickering to new pandemics to financial woes.... it just gets to be too much sometimes. So, I've all but quit reading the newspaper or watching the news. Instead, I'm trying to focus on breaking this cycle of negativity by reading books that inspire me to reach beyond my current circumstances and to control my own destiny by attracting better things. Two such inspiring books that I wanted to share are:

by Esther & Jerry Hicks.
Cover Image

And, by Lynn Grabhorn.

Cover Image

I know there are tons of books out there like these. These are just a couple that have recently come to and inspired me. And I know you're asking how the heck does this relate to decorating? Ironically enough.. lots of ways!

If you really stop and think about it, without a strong desire for change, everything (even your decor) stays the same. No one ever completed a home improvement or beautification project if they didn't dare to Dream it and Want it badly enough. The simple acts of Dreaming and Wanting are mentioned repeatedly in both books as cornerstones for the Universal Law of Attraction... that you attract and manifest those things on which you are most focused.

So back to Decorating by Attraction... it stands to reason that if you're ready for, let's say, a new look in your kitchen, all you have to do is dream it, want it and focus on having it to put the Law of Attraction to work for you. It doesn't matter if you don't know anything about kitchen remodels, that you don't have a contractor yet or that you don't even have the money. What does matter, is that you stay focused on the feelings you associate with your beautiful, modern, wonderful new kitchen and the Universe will take care of the rest. In a nutshell, it's not up to you to determine the Hows...but simply to focus on the end result and the joyful feelings you associate with it.

I have seen this in my own life so many times... and the fact that I can talk to you about it here on a "decorating" blog enjoyed by so many talented decorators is proof it works. I'd love for you to think back on the things you feel were "attracted" to you because you were able to dream them and believe in them enough to manifest them, no matter what. And I want to hear your stories.

And as yet another wonderful motivational author and speaker says, "Thoughts become things... choose the good ones!"

Jeffery Rice
Decor Designs, Inc.

Monday, July 27, 2009

FINALLY... Some Good News!

Finally, in case you didn't read it already, I thought I'd pass on some good news for homeowners, realtors and us stagers...

According to the Associated Press, earlier this month, the government reported that new home construction rose to the highest level since last fall with new homes sales rising almost 11 percent in June. And data reported last week showed home resales rose almost 4 percent in June which was the third straight monthly increase. They report that the last time sales rose so dramatically was in December 2000.I knew something was going on since my business suddenly shifted from redesign to more real estate consults and stagings. Now if we can keep the momentum going into the fall and winter.Just thought it would be nice to focus on some good news for a change!

Happy Decorating!

Jeffery Rice
Decor Designs, Inc.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Does Virtual Staging Really Work?

A realtor partner of mine just sent me an article posted on regarding "virtual" staging and she asked my opinion of it.

I guess virtual staging is exactly what it sounds like... staging that takes place electronically through computer assisted design (CAD).

While I know of a few stagers that offer consults by looking at photographs of rooms, I was intrigued by the idea that someone would take those same photos (especially of vacant properties) and electronically enhance them by adding furniture, art and accessories.  The re-touched photos are then used to market a warmer, more homey feeling property.

I've taken a look at Before and After photos on one of these virtual stager's websites and I have to say I'm not very impressed.  Perhaps the technology just isn't there, but I thought the After photos seemed very artificial, not achieving the desired effect.  While perhaps an improvement over photos of empty rooms, I can't imagine that a prospective buyer would be that much more enticed to see a listing after seeing these digitally staged rooms.  And what happens when they show up for a tour only to find a vacant listing?

While simple staging advice can certainly be offered by looking at photos, I think the real test of staging's effectiveness is how the space feels when a prospective buyer walks in the door and it FEELS like home.

I'm curious what you think of this technological approach.  Have you offered this service to your clients?  Did you actually alter photos of a property or simply offer staging advice based on them ?  Have you perhaps had your own listing virtually staged?

Comments Welcomed!

Jeffery Rice
Decor Designs, Inc.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


It's no surprise that the real estate market has seen better days.  Double digit property value increases had us all spoiled; so this downturn has been particularly painful.  Thankfully,  I'm starting to see signs of improvement.  I have had several of my staged listings sell or go under contract in the last couple of weeks and my realtor partners are busy as ever.

Amazingly, I continue to hear that staging really doesn't make a difference in the sale of a property.  Of course, I take great exception to that since half of my business is staging.  But more than that, I think sellers and stagers across the country have seen results to the contrary first hand.

I never disillusion my seller clients into believing that staging will result in a rapid sale.  But they know when I'm done that their property, whether vacant or occupied, now shows to its full potential.  They understand that, in real estate, it just as much about selling the "dream" as it is about selling the property.

These are a few pictures I took during a recent staging.  You tell me if you think staging made a difference?



Jeffery Rice
Decor Designs, Inc.
Crystal Lake, IL

Saturday, July 4, 2009


Where does the time go?  Another year half over and here we are again celebrating our country's Independence Day.  Red, White and Blue dot the country as people use the U.S. Flag to decorate their homes and businesses for the holiday.  We've all used the flag from time to time in our decorating projects, especially for the 4th.

But, did you know that using the flag for decorative purposes is actually regulated by Federal Law?

The establishes advisory rules for display and care of the flag of the United States.  There is no penalty for failure to comply with it and it is not widely enforced — indeed, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that punitive enforcement would conflict with the First Amendment right to freedom of speech.

As a decorator, I found these particular rules interesting:

  • The flag should never be displayed with the union down, except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property.
  • The flag should never touch anything beneath it, such as the ground, the floor, water, or merchandise.
  • The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery. It should never be festooned, drawn back, nor up, in folds, but always allowed to fall free. Bunting of blue, white, and red, always arranged with the blue above, the white in the middle, and the red below, should be used for covering a speaker's desk, draping the front of the platform, and for decoration in general.
  • The flag should never be used as a covering for a ceiling
  • The flag should never be used as a receptacle for receiving, holding, carrying, or delivering anything
  • The flag should never be used for advertising purposes in any manner whatsoever. It should not be embroidered on such articles as cushions or handkerchiefs and the like, printed or otherwise impressed on paper napkins or boxes or anything that is designed for temporary use and discard. Advertising signs should not be fastened to a staff or halyard from which the flag is flown.
  • No part of the flag should ever be used as a costume or athletic uniform. However, a flag patch may be affixed to the uniform of military personnel, firemen, policemen, and members of patriotic organizations. The flag represents a living country and is itself considered a living thing. Therefore, the lapel flag pin being a replica, should be worn on the left lapel near the heart.

It's easy to forget the many freedoms we enjoy living in a country where the freedoms of speech and expression are among the most cherished.  The ability to decorate our homes in any way we choose could actually be considered one such freedom (of expression).  Maybe it's not too much to ask to show a little respect for "Old Glory" and those who've fought defending our freedoms when we decorate!

Happy Independence Day and Happy Decorating!
Jeffery Rice, PIR, PRS
Decor Designs, Inc.
Crystal Lake, IL

Friday, June 26, 2009

Thank you Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett!

Sad Day For This 70's Gal

WOW...I'm so saddened today. Two of my favorite Icons have passed away.

Farrah Fawcett had such an impact on us girls as we ALL wanted that hair. I don't think there was a teenage boy around who didn't have that poster either on their walls or ceiling for that matter.

Farrah instantly changed the way posters were looked at. From that moment forward posters were suddenly used as home decorating art. Why even boy's were paying attention to the idea of decorating their rooms.

My other was Michael Jackson. WOW could that guy dance! My mother and I often joked with family that if they ever questioned if we were unconscious to just play Billie Jean and if we didn't move they should rush us to the hospital!
He influenced the fashion world which inevitably influenced our home decor. Red Leather with Black accents was an instant sensation. Not to mention the reintroduction of sequins and glitter.

His home, Never Land, was even a star. He designed it from his favorite character Peter Pan. It was his escape from reality.
A really sad day for me. I can't believe that my two favorite "pop" influences from my teenage years are gone. I will be digging out my albums today and looking back with nostalgia and wonder.

These are definitely two icons who, through their love of their craft, impacted millions.
Rest in peace my dear friends and know that you will live forever, at least in this 48 year old's mind.

From my heavy heart,
DesAnn Collins
Design By DesAnn/One-Day Decorating of Ohio

Sunday, June 21, 2009


You know.... working with a mostly female clientele for over 10 years in various media, I think I have a pretty good grasp on what women want when they decorate their homes. And being a man in this predominantly female business, I know I offer a unique perspective in decorating, one that tends to be overlooked.... the man's!

During a consult, if I'm lucking enough to get the man of the house for a second or two and ask what he likes or thinks about whatever project we're working on, I can't tell you how often I get " long as SHE's happy". How pathetic is that? I'm not sure if it's societal thing that keeps him from expressing an opinion or perhaps he just really doesn't care.
None the less, I also have yet to meet a woman that doesn't adore a husband who understands the truly delicate balance of power in a home... i.e. when she's happy, HE'S HAPPY!
So I thought, on Father's Day, it might be nice to share a few tips from that ever elusive man's point of view. You might just find that incorporating a few of these into your design plans won't screw things up as badly as you think. You might even do it already without much thought. But, solid design practice, just like the principals of feng shui, always seeks balance between feminine and masculine elements. So here goes:

  • Black is the definitive masculine color (or lack of color). No matter the color scheme, always include something black in a room. It introduces male energy in even the most feminine of rooms, helps anchor the space and gives you a visual point of reference for other colors.... try a black picture frame, box, candlestick, or even window hardware.

  • Selective use of textures and materials can go a long way when adding masculine energy in a room. Uneven, rough surfaces and natural raw materials ground a space by bringing in nature and the outdoors (typically associated with male energy). Stone elements are quintessentially masculine.

  • Leather is a no-brainer element that introduces masculine energy in a room. Leather evokes all kinds of masculine associations from cowboys to biker dudes. The musky smell of leather brings another layer of masculinity to a room that isn't even visible.

  • Masculine energy is conveyed by shapes that have squared corners or sharp edges. Curvy or round objects evoke more feminine energy. Try and incorporate both in the space if you can.... For example, square coffee and side tables should have round decorative elements on them like lamps with curved bases & round shades or decorative round bowls.

  • Metal is unequivocally masculine. Furniture, art and accessories with metal elements always trend masculine. The fact that these items tend to come in square or rectangular shapes further enhances the male energy. Consider adding free-form, sculpted metal art or accessories in a space. They are a nice blend of masculine and feminine energy and offer a compromise.

So, as you tackle your next design project, give a nod to the man in your life. With thoughtful consideration and by adding some of the elements I've mentioned, you'll create a dynamic and inviting space that you love. And at the same time, you'll be stroking his fur without him probably even knowing it. Not only will he be happier as a result thinking he's given in to your decorating prowess... But you'll feel good knowing that he's more at ease with his surroundings because you took the time to consider him in your design plans.

Jeffery RiceDecor Designs, Inc.
Crystal Lake, IL

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

My Letter To The Editor of House Beautiful

Last week I blogged about the July 2009 issue of House Beautiful's article featuring a New York designer who "has made a business of" re-doing homes in one day by using what already exists in the home. I was surprised by the way the magazine made it seem like something new. Many comments were posted by SDP members and others suggesting a letter be written to the magazine, so last Friday I sent the following letter to the editor:

Dear Editor:

I am an interior decorator who specializes in the art of REDESIGN. At an initial consultation with a client, we view all the rooms of a home to see what is available within the home to utilize in a different, fresh, and useful way. We determine the needs of a homeowner i.e, what is useful and functional, what do they love and what can they do without, what is important to the family, what changes would they like to see made, why is it that they called me in the first place? At the end of our consultation, we schedule a return date to do the REDESIGN.

On the scheduled day, I return with my assistant and the homeowner leaves for the day. We set about to do all the things your designer Jonathan Rosen did: clear the room, "shop" the home, rearrange the furnishings, sweep away the "dust bunnies", re-accessorize, hang the artwork, light the candles, then call the homeowner to come on home and see their "new" spaces. What I call a "straight redesign" means that no new purchases are made and we are strictly using what is already in the home. But very often I do personal shopping for the client where I bring home decor items along with me to the redesign. Generally these are things like artwork, rugs, pillows, lamps and decorative accessories. The decision to shop for new items is determined at the initial consultation and if the homeowner wants that service, together we make a "wish list" and determine a shopping budget for these items.

I was delighted to see House Beautiful devote an article to the topic of REDESIGN. I respect your magazine and enjoy every issue that I receive. However, I was a little surprised that you made the concept of redesign seem like something new in the world of decorating. The fact that Jonathan Rosen has "made a business of it" isn't such a novelty. Personally I have been a small business owner practicing the art of redesign for over 8 years. Additionally, there are people from all over the country that have been trained and certified in REDESIGN who are enjoying great success with it. With the economic climate being what it currently is, redesign is an excellent alternative to those who wish to decorate (and many are nesting and enjoying "staycations") but don't want to or can't start from scratch. Look no further than HGTV which constantly features this concept on many of its shows. As redesigners, we are riding the wave of this popular trend.

There are several professional organizations which provide training, certification, mentorship, support, continuing education, annual conferences, etc. for redesigners, decorators, and home stagers like me. Please check out (The Society of Decorating Professionals) for more information on all of these topics and which also directs homeowners to locate redesigners and home stagers in their areas. The SDP is a fairly young organization, but there have been other "pioneers" teaching and certifying students in redesign since the 1990's.

Once again, I am delighted that HB featured the art of REDESIGN in the current issue. I reveled in reading an article that so clearly articulates and documents what I do everyday. I felt compelled to inform you however that the concept has a name--REDESIGN--and that it's not all too new, AND that there are many practicing this art who are not only "making a business of it", but loving every minute of it.

(end of letter)

So, fellow SDP members and redesigners out there...the address if you should want to draft your own letter is:

And, House Beautiful, I surely do hope to hear back from you.

Beth Batke

Monday, June 8, 2009

Floral design tips for on-the-spot decorating

First off, sorry I haven't posted in a while. If the economy is in recession, you wouldn't know it from how busy I've been. Now if I can just bottle whatever "mo-jo" this is and keep it going.

So I was wondering who thinks arranging flowers is intimidating if not impossible? I admit that I've felt that way before. But I'm actually having quite a lot of fun now that I've taken the time to learn a few of the basics of good floral design. And just like any other decorating discipline, a good eye (...we all have that), patience (...not so much) and the right tools (...duh!) make any job easier.

The group recently attended an open house style luncheon and seminar with one of our area's floral wholesalers, in Carol Stream, IL. Owner Dana Plazyk was nice enough to show us her simple tips for making quick, easy, on-the-spot arrangements that can work well in both staging and design applications.

I thought I'd paraphrase her expert advice here in hopes it inspires you to rework an old arrangement or start from scratch to create a new masterpiece for your home or a client's.

Today's faux florals aren't your "grandmother's plastic flowers". Don't be afraid to touch to see the advancements in PVC florals. It's amazing how real they not only look but feel.

  • Make your arrangement base by hot gluing floral foam block to an inexpensive ceramic tile, shiny side down. Cover the foam with sheet moss or spanish moss attaching with floral pins.
  • Start from the base and build in layers. Always cut floral stems at an angle for easier insertion into foam remembering to add a small amount of low heat glue to the cut tip to hold it in place when inserted. For the more expensive stems, cutting a little longer than necessary gives you some wiggle room if you need to adjust the length.
  • Depending on the desired look, take bushes of greenery with broader leaves. Snip off the individual tendrils and "fluff" by bending them into "S" shapes for a more natural appearance. Insert longer pieces around bottom of base leaving shorter pieces to randomly cover the top and sides. Repeat with another "bush" of different, contrasting leaves (different color or texture or both).
  • Add in twigs or sticks with berries for another texture and dimension. Sparingly use willow or other flowing twigs to add motion and height to the arrangement.
  • If you like the greens-only look, just make sure all areas of the base are covered and set your arrangement on a bookshelf or cabinets. Simply insert the base into an appropriate container filled with more foam as needed for the sides to cascade and you have a centerpiece.
  • If you decide to go further, add flower stems in the same fashion. Be careful not to be too symmetrical. Nothing in nature grows perfectly symmetrical. Imagine flowers or vines growing toward the light and you'll get the idea. Mix flower sizes, textures and shapes as you did with the greens to add dimension and visual interest. Generally, larger flowers trending toward the bottom of the arrangement and smaller more whimsical flowers toward the top will help avoid a design that is too "top heavy".
  • Always remember the "negative" space in your arrangement just as with your interior design projects. Not every area of the arrangement has to be filled. In fact, negative space allows you to see the movement and visual interest in the finished product.
  • Working on a plastic drop cloth or oversized garbage bag helps with clean up at the end. Simply fold up at the edges and throw away all clippings and mess from your work.
  • Don't skimp on tools. A good glue gun, heavy duty snips, floral wire and plastic zip ties are the basic necessities for any floral designer. The plastic zip ties help you bundle elements together in mini bouquet arrangements prior to inserting them into foam or attaching them to another base such as a wreath.

That's about it in a nutshell. With these awesome tips courtesy of Flowers By Design you should be on your way to creating arrangements for all your decorating needs at a fraction of the cost you'd pay in floral boutiques.
Happy Decorating
Jeffery Rice
Decor Designs, Inc.
Crystal Lake, IL

Monday, May 18, 2009



This is the final phase of the rooms I have committed to for the Women’s Shelter. The photo’s are showing the entry wall to come in from the stairwell, a little section to the right showing burgundy curtains, a ladder and a plant, then a half wall where you enter the eating area, and lastly the eating area itself where they feed on average 65 people per meal.

This area has not been a very cohesive area in the past. We are looking to place all new tables and chairs in the eating area, the metal on the chairs is rusty and the wood is splintering - that in itself is not a very welcoming place to eat. The wish list will have 5 large round tables seating 8-10 chairs per table.

I am a little perplexed about the area to the right with the burgundy curtain, it is small and unused except for a ladder and plant, and how inviting is that. Give me your thoughts on this area. I was considering this area be a place for posting all the info that is posted all over the entry walls - keep it in one place.

The eating area also needs a place for pictures that those who stay there put up of family and friends - how about some ideas with that as well.

Looking forward to some input on these things as well as some thoughts on a color palette. This is your opportunity to make selections and work those design skills on a project you don’t even have to get your hands dirty on. Thanks for sharing - you are all great designers!!

Posted Courtesy of:
Linda Sluiter
Interior Artistry
Greater Chicagoland Decorators Coalition

Friday, May 15, 2009




The pictures of the “boys room” may not look like it is such an awful space. The reason we have decided to work on this room is the director of the shelter has such a place in her heart for these boys. Can you imagine being 16 years old and living in a shelter-maybe some of you can. The main problem with the space is lack of color, window treatments - the boys pull the drapes shut to keep the street light out and now the $1 rod is bent-imagine that. They also have no storage at all and no place to hang anything on the walls that they may enjoy.

Looking for color input and great storage ideas for their room - get creative for these young guys - let’s show them how to rock!

Posted Courtesy of:
Linda Sluiter
Interior Artistry
Greater Chicagoland Decorators Coalition

Thursday, May 14, 2009



This summer I will be working on a womens shelter in great need of help. The goal is to make their entry, eating and living space a more cohesive environment. The space houses on average 45-85 women and children. It is a “well loved” space - meaning it needs to be able to stand up to a lot. I would love it if you would share your thoughts on how to make as per design, color and any ideas you can share.

This shelter has been on my heart for some time - we serve hot breakfast for them on Sunday mornings before church. They deserve to be made to feel special and with the helping hands of many we can make that happen for them.

The first portion I will be sharing is the entryway to come into the shelter. Not welcoming for sure. This will need some major paint and a bit of creative design to give it what it needs. So first things first - the door to go in is corrugated steel - any thoughts on what we can do to that would be a sure welcome.

Looking forward to your design ideas - have a great day and my thanks in advance for sharing.

Posted Courtesy of:
Linda Sluiter
Interior Artistry
Greater Chicagoland Decorators Coalition

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

I Never Would have Thought of That-Picture on Picture

I have been creating beautiful spaces professionally for over 30 years. Every home I walk into fills me with excitement as I anticipate the challenges and most of all, the opportunity to be creative. Looking at things in new ways, and finding a solution to a problem that looks unique and individual is one of my driving forces when I am working with a client. Also, from a stanpoint of building a business, it has always been the "I never would have thought of that" ideas that create buzz and built my business. This project was part of a class last week in Tulsa, OK with Jennifer Keener and Candi Peaster. We were immersing ourselves in Color with No Regrets, Interior Redesign, and decorating while working in 3 homes. Our first house was sparse with a budget to match. The key to decorating on a tight budget, is to make sure it doesn't look like it was done on a budget. Creativity is always the key and I love the challenge. After we completed the redesign, we went shopping for the final touches. Interior Redesign is touted as "use what you have" and that is certainly the beginning but almost every home can benefit by a little extra frosting on the cake.

Let me share one of many projects we undertook for the space. The room was in desperate need of a large piece of art for one wall. I found a great poster for $20 and then was overjoyed to discover the perfect frames, 1/2 price at Hobby Lobby. But now, what could we do, that would take our new piece of art to a new level. We began with one poster, 1 oversize frame, 1 medium frame, Liquid Nails, and patience. (note to self-buy more liquid nails) Jennifer Keener set to work to take frames apart and then cut the poster to exact size to fit into the frame. After placing the poster in the oversize frame, it looked good, but predictable. After all, anyone can hang a new piece of art on the walls, time for a bit of creativity. We decided to add another frame glued on the top of the glass of the first picture. Deciding what area of the picture to highlight took a bit of doing, but once it was decided, I added liquid nails to the back of the frame and placed it on the picture so we had a picture on picture. The most difficult part was deciding which area of the picture I wanted to highlight. The end result was an unusual piece of art for about $50. And of course, we accomplished our mission, a beautiful room on a budget, that definitely didn't look like a budget room. The clients were deighted, another happy customer. Their first words? " Oh my Gosh, I never would have thought of this." Sweetest words in the world. (next to Grandma) Tomorrow's house is full of stuff, so I wonder what creative ideas we will have next.

Happy Decorating!

Monday, April 27, 2009


Some of my friends call me "Martin Stewart" ala Martha but with the obvious nod to gender.  I guess I do get crafty from time to time.  I think anyone working in the staging and redesign industry has to be.  Even as homeowners, if something is lacking we find ourselves forced to create or approximate it until the real deal can be found or afforded.

One of my favorite "crafty" projects is the creation of a headboard.  You've already seen some clever creations from my fellow bloggers.  From Diana's post on creating tufted headboards to DesAnn's clever use of window treatments to create the illusion of a headboard, we all have our favorites.  Mine is more along the line of the illusion of a headboard.  I have done it a few times now with great success for some of my staging and redesign clients.

In most cases, like the one pictured here, I've started with a blank wall or at the very least one painted a solid color.  Since the bed is almost always the focal point of a well designed bedroom, I use paint to help draw the eye to the bed.  I accentuate the bed by painting a "stripe" from ceiling to floor exactly as wide as the bed.  A darker tone of the same color usually does the trick.  (You could even paint a rectangle slightly above the bed the same width but why tape off more than you have to!).  To get a clean, crisp line, I use painters tape and make sure to press down the edges (of the tape) with a flat head screw driver to virtually eliminate bleed.

After the paint is dry and I've removed my tape, I hang artwork above the bed.  I leave just enough room for pillows to rest against the wall below the art.  You can use a long, horizontal piece or I've also combined two or three identically framed pieces in a row to create the illusion of a headboard.  Abstract art or objects could also be used to draw the eye to the faux headboard.  Just be careful to secure whatever you use since it is right above the bed.

You're really only limited by your creativity and what's on hand.  And that's it... another relatively quick, easy and green way to create the illusion of a headboard when you need one.

Jeffery Rice, PIR, PRS
Decor Designs, Inc.

Sunday, April 26, 2009


Believe it or not, I have found a whole new way to go Green.  It's a great idea if you need instant curb appeal for a party or for real estate staging.  Since I've seen this several times over the last week, I felt compelled to post about it.  Tired of a dormant lawn or one filled with brown patches?  Why not spray paint it?

Apparently an increasingly popular way to spruce up your lawn and on a budget is to spray paint it green.  Companies are popping up all over the country that offer this service especially to improve the appearance of vacant or foreclosed properties.  I could even see doing this for a party, wedding, or other outdoor event where you want the lawn to be a beautiful green but can't afford to re-sod, seed or pay huge water bills.

I know what your thinking.  How can this kind of green be "green"?  Actually, the product is not paint but a non-toxic green dye sprayed onto the existing lawn.  You can even adjust the color intensity by adjusting the dye to water ratio.  Athletic teams and golf courses have been doing this for years to ensure a beautiful, consistent turf.  Now the idea is catching on with home and business owners.

Lawn painting instantly improves curb appeal by masking ugly, dormant or damaged lawn.  the dye will dry in about one hour and will last up to 3 months or until the lawn is mowed.  It is harmless to people, pets, wild animals and the planet.

While some may think this is deceitful or dishonest, it is no different than the other cosmetic improvements we stagers make to accentuate the positives and detract from the negatives of a property.  It's not like someone isn't going to realize the lawn has had a little help to look its best for an open house.  And it's not like you're covering up a structural defect or other safety hazard.

More information is available online.  So, the next time you need a beautiful green lawn for a staging or outdoor event... don't forget to go Green.

Jeffery Rice, PIR, PRS
Decor Designs, Inc.