Tuesday, May 25, 2010

May PlumPerk

It's that time again! I want to see your design ideas/projects! To win this month's PlumPerk, submit a design project that you've completed - perhaps recovering a stool, repainting a room, or even repurposing a piece of furniture . . . . if you are selected as the PlumPerk winner you'll receive this super cute, versatile treat from Anthropologie. It is a white porcelain dish with a floral motif measuring 61/2 x 5. Use it in a bathroom or kitchen for soap, on a dresser for jewelry, or serve yourself something sweet for a late night snack! AND, to sweeten the deal, if you submit a project that has previously been featured on the blog you'll receive a surprise companion piece as well!

Here are the specifics:
1. email your photo to amy@plumbliss.com
2. photo must be received by 8pm on Tuesday, June 1
3. winner will be announced on my blog on Wednesday, June 2

Friday, May 21, 2010

Perfect Palettes - Part 4: In the Bathroom

If you want to feel like you're at a posh hotel at home, refined and relaxing should describe your bathroom. Pale-gray greens and blues enhance what might be a severe white palette. Here's how you can put the colors together:

1. Identify dominate elements - tile generally sets the tone in the bathroom. A celadon floor mosaic and sage wall tiles coordinate well without overpowering the whites.
2. Add contrast in small doses - that means towels, shower curtains and bath accessories. Pale pink salts make the tile seem more vibrant because complementary colors tend to intensify one another.
3. Use reflective surfaces - materials that bounce light will make your room feel larger. In addition to the mirror(s), chrome and nickel faucets and fixtures give this effect.
4. Look up - ceilings can be as important as the walls and floor. Don't settle for white, paint the ceiling the same soft green as the tiles to integrate the two planes.
5. Feature furnishings - light palettes serve as a backdrop for standout pieces with dramatic color or architecture.

Room elements: 1. towel monogram 2. wall sconce 3. mirror 4. console sink 5. chair 6. ceiling color 7. wall color 8. roller shade 9. floor mosaic 10. border tile 11. wall tile 12. faucet 13. bath salts

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Make A Small Space Look Larger

Any room can look larger than it really is with a few room-expanding tricks like these:

1. Add multi-purpose pieces. Furniture that serves more than one purpose is a great way to streamline a room. Think: an ottoman with built-in storage.
2. Paint with light hues. Dark colors make rooms look smaller. Think: pale blues, grays, greens, yellows and creams.
3. Reflect your room. Not the wall-to-wall 70's style, but a little glass will open the area and reflect light. Think: oversized mirror leaning against the wall.
4. Space things out. Give your furniture breathing room, your room doesn't necessarily look larger with the furniture shoved against the wall. Think: angling your bed or floating your sofa with a skinny console behind it.
5. Color code. Favorite items can look cluttered unless you give them some structure. Think: arrange knickknacks, books and vases by color to give a streamlined look.

Coming soon: Feng Shui for your Home

Monday, May 17, 2010

Sell Your Home for the Best Price

Most people who want to buy a home are looking to upgrade - your mission as a seller is to project a lifestyle of success, glamour, happiness and organization. How do you do this? In two words, home staging. Staging helps your home appear more valuable to prospective buyers.

1. Spruce Up Your Curb Appeal: whether it's new sod, fresh landscaping, new exterior paint or simply an updated front door and handle, curb appeal is your best bet to lure buyers inside.
2 Make A Memorable Entrance: the minute a buyer walks into your home, they should think, "looks good, smells good". Put an oversize mirror in your entry and fresh flowers or scented candles go along way in making a good first impression.
3. Update Old or Worn Aspects of Your Home: sand and stain your wood floors to look more luxurious. Steam clean or replace your carpet with a light taupe berber carpet because it appeals to most people and the light color makes rooms seem larger. If you have stone floors, have them pressure cleaned.
4. Position Your Pieces: move your furniture so that potential buyers can walk through without having to stop or adjust their path. This may mean moving a coffee table or chair out of the room. Open your mind to new layouts.
5. Modernize Your Kitchen: stainless steel appliances immediately add perceived value to any home.
6. White Out Your Bathrooms: give your bathrooms a "5-star" hotel look with luxurious white towels, fresh flowers and a scented reed diffuser.
7. Clean Your Closets: your closets should look and smell good. Have closets filled to half capacity; line shoes up neatly; and if the walls are scraped up and dingy - paint them white. Add a cedar block for scent and use matching clothes hangers. Remember, you're projecting a lifestyle of organization - subconsciously your closets should reflect that!
8. Make Your Master Look Luxe: present your master bedroom like a top-tier hotel suite. Use matching bed linens, add scented candles and fresh flowers, paint the walls a nice warm color, and clear the room of clutter.
9. Add the Illusion of Square Footage: increase the look of space by dramatizing whatever outdoor space you have, no matter the size.

Not only does home staging help your home value, it also helps your home sell faster. And for you, that means more money in your pocket!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Paper Records - What to Do?

You can get rid of most documents and go digital with the rest. Some of you may have a stash of boxes or a file cabinet stuffed with old bank statements, tax returns, pay stubs and other paperwork you didn't even know you had! Since you most likely just completed your tax return, now is the perfect time to clean house. With a few exceptions - mainly tax-related documents - you don't need to keep all those papers. If you are willing to use online banking and create digital files of crucial records, you may even be able to go paper-free - good for you and the environment too!

What to Keep:
1. Annual Tax Returns. Keep the returns forever, but get rid of supporting docs after 3 years which is how long the IRS has to initiate an audit. Also save for 3 years any thank you letters from charities that were reported on your tax return.
2. Investment Statements. Save your year-end statements to make sure they match up with your monthly mutual fund reports. Then toss. Also be sure to keep records that show the initial purchase price for stocks and mutual funds so you can calculate your basis when you sell. Then, you can shred after the 3- or 6-year IRS window.
3. Home Records. Save anything pertaining to purchase price and home improvements for as long as you live in the house. These will come in handy when you sell. After you sell your home, keep the docs for 3 years.
4. Retirement Records. Hold on to documents showing how much money went in and came out of your IRAs and 401(k)s - especially if you made nondeductible contributions - so you don't overpay taxes when you withdraw the money.

You Can Toss:
1. ATM receipts, bank withdrawal and deposit slips, and credit card receipts.
2. Pay stubs. Keep them until you get your Form W-2, verify and then shred.
3. Most monthly bills. Shred credit card statements, utility bills and other misc statements unless you need them for tax purposes (ie, claiming expenses for a home office).

Before you start throwing papers away, be sure to invest in a paper shredder to guard against identity theft. And don't skimp - the cheapo, ribbon-cut style produces bands that can be taped back together. Instead, go for a cross-cut or confetti model for about $100. (The Fellowes Powershred DS-2 looks cool and works well too).

exerpt from Financially Fit

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Shutter Organizer

What do you do with your kid's overwhelming assortment of art projects? Or, how do you organize mail, letters, to-do lists, etc. around your desk? Wooden shutters can be just as functional inside as they are on the outside. In this picture, a painted trio hangs on the wall over a hallway console (shelf). The slots are a perfect spot to tuck invitations, display art or hang a message pad. Vintage hooks are mounted on a wooden plaque to keep up with the daily mail.

How to do this:
1. Choose your style and size of shutters.
2. If the louvers are adjustable, lock them in the "up" position by driving a small nail through the tilt bar and into the frame.
3. Sand and paint shutters.
4. Use level to mark position on wall of middle shutter; drill pilot holes in shutter and wall; mount with coordinating hardware; repeat with side shutters butting the snugly against the middle shutter.

Supplies: hammer and nails, medium-grit sandpaper, latex paint, paintbrush, a level and pencil, drill and mounting hardware appropriate for your wall.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Perfect Palettes - Part 3: In the Bedroom

Ahhh, soothing and sophisticated. That's what we want to think about when we envision our bedroom retreat. Purple? No, think Plum . . . purple can seem young and playful, but when paired with graceful grays, subdued browns and chalky whites, the result is a grown-up palette that gives you a sense of comfort and elegance in the bedroom. A few ideas:

1. Give shine to dark surfaces - redo the finish on a piece of furniture by bleaching it to reflect light. A high-gloss white on the moldings brightens the walls that are painted deep shades of lavender and gray with similar intensity.
2. Add contrast - you have a ton of opportunity for texture in the bedroom. A striped headboard, linen and velvet pillow fabric, assorted trim details, and a hand-knotted area rug add texture that contrasts with the smooth bedding fabric. This can also broaden the range of browns and lavenders and can easily be swapped out for a different look.
3. Accent with furnishings - Sleek lines on a side table and a bleached finish on a dresser help reinforce the contemporary palette.
4. Consider views between rooms - Color schemes don't need to be the same from one room to the next, but they should harmonize. Master bedroom are usually located away from the common areas so this is a good place to be adventurous.

Room elements: 1. side table 2. bedding 3. curtains 4. pillow fabric 5. furniture finish 6. wall colors 7. trim molding 8. antique mirror glass 9. headboard 10. chair trim 11. pillow trim 12. lampshade trim 13. furniture pull 14. headboard fabric 15. curtain finial 16. chair fabric (back) 17. chair fabric (seat) 18. slate floor 19. fireplace tile 20. molding 21. area rug

Friday, May 7, 2010

Free Design Class

Tomorrow, May 8th at the West Elm downtown. Spend two hours in the morning and get ideas on decorating your outdoor space. BONUS - receive a 10% discount on anything you purchase after the class. www.westelm.com for more details

And the winner is . . .

Beth H. and her impressive garage organization!!

In her words, "I have been planning to organize my garage shelves since we moved here 2 years ago, and was finally inspired to do it. I did this in about 2-3 hours and didn't spend any money."
I think the shelves look great and it's especially gratifying when you are able to use what you have and not spend additional money! Beth said she organized similar items together, put some rarely used items away in the attic and got rid of things they didn't need. She also has some things ready to take to Goodwill. This is a key to organizing - think about what you need/use, what you can give away, and what you can throw away - then get busy.
Congratulations on winning this month's Plum Perk - I'll get your Container Store gift card to you ASAP! Maybe it will help with that kitchen project you're planning . . .