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Holiday Shopping has started, well it’s really in full swing! Looking for the perfect gift for friends and relatives this year? Gift giving is a tricky task, especially for friends. With so many ideas on what to get, I thought we would give you a few ideas to get your holiday shopping started, and Santa a run for his money.

holiday-shopping

Share some happiness – Surprise them with a family day or evening out, purchase tickets to a local show or concert. Admission to the Museum or Ice skating. Locally we have the Times Union Center or the Palace Theater, Proctors… you’ll be giving a memory that will last much longer than that sweater or pair of boots.

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Light Up Their Holiday – Candles are always a great gift for anyone, the ambiance created by candles makes a home warm and welcoming for holiday. Candles also promote a feeling of relaxation during the stressful holiday season. Seven out of 10 households use candles as a focal point for their home décor, says The National Candle Association, and candles inspire aromatherapy-like relaxation and stress reduction. Who can’t use that this time of the year?

holiday-candle

Size, Shmize – Skip the sizeable items this year. Not only does receiving the wrong size gift mean an annoying trip back to the mall to exchange it, you can also end up hurting someone’s feelings. Wrap up a pretty Scarf around some movie tickets for your BFF!movie-tickets-in-scarf-wrapping

When it comes to gift giving, it really is the thought that counts. So this season, be thoughtful. Reflect on the past year and what your friends and family need, what will make them happy, and the sort of thing that will make their lives easier.

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If you’re really drawing a blank, do something homemade. Lottery tickets in a clear Christmas ball…Cookies, candies.. homemade wine???  Homemade gifts that are sure to put a smile on someone’s face, and actually tend to be the biggest hit.

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I hope these ideas will help you get your holiday shopping/baking started…hmmm…I can smell the cookies!

Stay Tuned for more Adventures in Styleland.

 

XOXO

M

 

Hi, it’s Michele here with two design makeovers for fireplaces this holiday season. Below are some fun before and after photos I wanted to share with you!fireplace-before-makeover

The cold weather is here and families love to gather around a warm fireplace, especially for the holidays. In this before photo, the homeowner’s added a beautiful reclaimed wood wall in their family room and now feel that the fireplace looks too busy. The stone facade competes with the newly installed wood wall. The couple also wanted to make the fireplace more transitional to fit the decor in the rest of their home by changing from wood burning, to a linear gas fireplace.

At Matchless Stove and Chimney, we found a great option for this room offering a sleek, elegant heating solution for this family. The Slayton direct vent gas fireplace offers a more modern style without being too contemporary. Updating the façade with white wood horizontal paneling, floating wood mantel and sconces, keeping the hearth in tack.

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The crisp white fireplace wall contrasts nicely with the existing wood paneled wall. We recommended the floating wood mantel, taking this design in a stunning direction. They selected black transitional sconces for both design, and to add some personality and interest to the white shiplap wall.

Our next fireplace redo is a red brick fireplace that was feeling old and dated. Keeping it wood burning and just changing the facade helped keep this project on budget for this client.

fireplace-makeover-before

Living in upstate New York, quartz stone just seemed to be the direction to take this fireplace from past to present in a more transitional style. Lowes Dessert Quartz Ledgestone was used in this application and the results were amazing!

fireplace-makeover

Lowes Leonia Porcelain Floor Tile used on the hearth finished this homeowner’s makeover beautifully. Pleased and looking forward to Christmas, She wanted to share her Christmas mantle with you. (Are you smiling?)

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Tis’ the season, for warm thoughts and wishes! Are you ready for a new fireplace or facade makeover? Matchless Stove and Chimney and Lowes are at The Times Union Home Expo Starting February 10-12th!  Come and see me at booth 328. Bring your ideas and let me help you with your next project. Thanks for stopping by and make sure you stop by again for more amazing Adventures.

Stay Tuned!!

XOXO

M

Sure, you could buy everything at the store, but what’s the fun in that? I looked for some common household items that were around the house and transformed them into the most adorable holiday gifts!!! Mason Jars have been popular for many DIY projects; this is like a little magic in a jar… just sweet! Some little child would love this night light on their bedside table.

Illuminated Jar Light

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All you need is some magic, imagination and:

·      Wide mouth mason jar with lid and cover (Kerr brand is the best because one of the sides of the jar is clear)

·      Battery-operated tea-light

·      Button magnet

·      Glue

·      Faux snow

·      Ribbon

·      Whatever you’d like to place in your jar

Sooo clever!

Light up Snow Men

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So you’ve got a ton of Tea light left from Halloween… well here is a reason to use them this season!

 

·      Black Felt4-holiday-diy-light-up-snoman-supplies

·      Orange Sharpie

·      Glue gun

·      Battery operated tea lights

·      Black Sharpie

·      red ribbon

·      red pipe cleaners

·      red pom poms

 

Coffee Filter Wreath

For our next project all you need is an 18 straw wreath, a large package of white coffee filters and glue sticks:

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Do the back first, fold the filters in a ‘flowery’ way and hot glue. I went around the outside on the back. Do the back first, fold the filters in a ‘flowery’ way and hot glue. Go around the outside on the back.

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4-holiday-diy-coffee-filter-wreath-coming-aroundOnce you do the back, turn it over and start on the front. Work in rows/loops around the wreath. Making it full and fluffy.

 

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What a great way to dress up the mantel! Such a pretty Snowy White Wreath!!

Wine Bottles

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After painting the wine bottles, add some letters to them to spell a fun Christmas word! Depending on how many bottles you have, you can spell “joy,” “merry,” or any other word that’s festive!

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You can simply add a string of Christmas lights to different size and shaped bottles…

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!! So decorate and don’t break the bank doing it. It’s that joyful time of the year when you want to gather your family, especially your children to craft some décor or gifts. There is nothing better than sitting around the table making memories…

 

Stay Tuned for more Adventures in Styleland…

 

XOXO

Michele Conti

 

As a designer I must admit I am addicted to design trends and 2017 is quickly approaching.. I think now is a great time to start exploring what trends are already shining through:

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Organic color pallets – Muted, blues and greys still shining, with more organic and natural influences this years pallet will have deep greens, deeper greys and steel blues. There Back…..Deeper Jewel Tones! Deep colors are the best way to kick up a traditional space.

Archiexpo

Cork – As a designer I am very attracted to natural texture. Cork does double duty. It creates warmth in rooms while adding texture. To add another excellent element to this already shinning star, cork absorbs noise in our increasingly open and larger homes. In a home office or luxurious bedroom this trend is often a overlooked design element. Cork brings a unique story to any part of your home. The natural but soft texture of cork complements every style.

home-bar-1Home Bars – This latest home trend raises the bar on what was once considered only for the uber wealthy. Home bars are now becoming the norm.  At the end of a tough day at work, coming home and popping open a beer or decanting a glass of wine is a great way to unwind, but there’s just something special about making a cocktail at the bar.

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Vintage goes Modern – In design, what goes around comes around. … start heading on over to your local vintage furniture store now to grab some great finds. Burled wood of the art deco period, classic campaign furniture and other vintage looks were front and center at High Point again this fall. Historic pieces and mid century modern are still going strong.

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Upholstered headboards – Expect more of this glamorous look, with luxurious fabrics and tufted bed heads. This trend is very versatile, and fits into any room. Nail head’s to tufted buttons, upholstered headboards are an instant way to update your boudoir. Tailored lovely and very desirable!

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Terracotta – The color is already prominent in fashion trend this fall, but this is not your mamas tile! Tiles with a matte finish are used on feature walls and fireplaces. The tiles are bordered and in uniquely warmer hues with added texture.

With only a few months left in 2016, trends in 2017 for your home are already arising! Forecasters and designers are rolling in with the newest and hottest trends for your luxury home. So if you’re thinking about or already renovating or building your own luxury home, these are some trends to look out for. Come visit me at the Home Expo for your renovation projects, let the pro’s help you, stop in and see me for some inspiration! in booth 328.  We have a variety of experts on hand to talk to, so bring your ideas and let them help you complete your list.

Stay tuned as always for more Adventures in Styleland…

 

XOXO

M

dishwasher-ad-dishgruntled

 

 

josephine-cochranIn 1886, Josephine Cochran invented the first dishwasher, effectively bringing peace to a country torn by Civil War. Unfortunately Josephine would never see how innovative her dishwasher was because it wasn’t until the 1950″s that dishwashers became a standard kitchen appliance to the delight of housewives everywhere.

 

dishwasher-ad

 

Loading to Liftoff…

017_13J_dishwasher graphicTo achieve a cleaner outcome, start with how you pack the dishwasher. Dishes should face toward the middle of the unit, and bowls and cups should face down to make the most efficient use of the sprayer. Your glasses should go between the tines, not over, otherwise they could break. Pre-sort your silverware to make unloading that much easier.

 

Lastly, scrape plates before loading, and don’t bother rinsing detergents are designed to attack stuck-on grime, and will make your glasses cloudy if there is no food to attack. Dishwashers are designed to catch food, most models have their own food dispenser. Rinsing can waste both water and time. DO NOT over pack the dishwasher otherwise you might have to re-run the cycle!

Blast Off To The Stars!

Investing in an Energy Star certified dishwashers can save water, energy, and ease your utility bills. Energy Star dishwashers cap out at 5.8 gallons per cycle and only use half the electricity of the older models. As a comparison,  running your faucet for one minute uses about 1 gallon of water along with the electricity to heat it.

Bells and Whistles!

 

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There are a few tips and tricks that can make your dishwasher habits even easier. For instance, use a magnet to mark whether the dishwasher’s contents are dirty or clean, so your minions know when its time to unload. Unload the bottom rack first otherwise the water from the top rack could splash on your sparkly clean bottom dishes as you unload.

 

 

Do you know all the items that you can clean in your dishwasher-clean-itemsdishwasher, click on this link for POP SUGAR to see 30 everyday things from your greasy range fan filter to contact cases. Keep your dishwasher fresh by tossing a cup of white vinegar into the bottom of the empty unit and run a normal cycle. Lastly, don’t forget to clean the dishwasher seals and trap every once in a while.

With these tips and tricks, you can speed up the time you spend doing dishes, and save money in the process!

Stay Tuned for more Adventures in Styleland..

XOXO

M

 

Living in Upstate NY there are many historic farm homes that were built with excellent architecture. Large wooden beams and coffered ceilings make farmhouse design alluring today. With a revival of Rustic design and rich heritage of older homes and estates in upstate New York,  this style is a marriage made in heaven! I’ve put together some steps to follow to create beautiful, functional upscale farmhouse designs. To start the Journey…

Stay Neutral

Use a neutral pallet of light and airy colors to create a calming and casual atmosphere. When you do add color make it  a soothing green or sea-mist blue that adds a touch without too much pop. Soft shades of brown, black, grey, tan, beige and white are used quite often to ground the whole design concept.

farmhouse-painted-coffered-ceiling

Blending History and Current design

Mix together old furnishings, new fabrics and colors to keep your look fresh, but inviting. Even if you don’t currently own true antiques you can fake it. Use Distressed furnishings and sanded off painted surfaces to give the look of worn out furniture that has a story to tell.  Pull vintage farm equipment into the décor and give each piece a new purpose. Think outside of the box when decorating your home using old plates, glass jars, used books, dressers as vanities, trunks as coffee tables and more.

farmhouse-bedroom

Using Fresh Flowers and Greenery

Pulling in greenery from your yard adds character and beautiful texture to warm up a room. Options includes indoor plants, twigs, branches, succulents, herbs, flowers, pine cones. Use them in pots, clear vases, and more. Whether real or fake, this is a staple farmhouse décor.

farmhouse-greenery-kitchen-pinecones

Adding Texture

Shiplap wood ceilings, stone accents, barn wood floors, milk glass, linen pillows, antiqued tables, textured mirrors and much more. There should always be abundance of texture in farm inspired homes.  Even if you don’t own a home with brick walls or wood floors you can add in texture through your furnishings. When it comes to farmhouse style, there are guidelines but no hard and fast rules. You may enjoy anything from metal barn lights and industrial chandeliers, to classic mason jar pendants. The common thread that all farmhouse style shares is the antique, casual and streamlined design.

farmhouse-shiplap-ceilings

Finding Time … Clocks

Amazingly unique wall clocks have wowed you, designers strategically place them everywhere in farmhouse design. Incorporating gorgeous antique (or antique looking) clocks to remind us of times past. Here aged leather chairs and the right accessories, invite you to sit and pass the time away..

farmhouse-clock

What is a perfect farmhouse home? In my opinion its architecture and construction that fits naturally into the topography while offering beautiful inspired interiors that transform outdated spaces into Old World themed treasures. Treatments such as coffered ceilings, crown molding and transom glass windows enhance the warm farmhouse inspired designs….

 

As Always stay tuned for more Adventures in Styleland..

 

XOXO

Michele

 

 

 

cedar-pergola-with-grill

As time passes our family home matures. Trees Grow and so do the children. The landscape gets worn, and gone are the swing sets.  Our needs and uses for the outdoor space have changed.  Priorities often change, and our children leave the nest. We find ourselves with more free time to relax and enjoy our home. Being cooped up inside during the cold winter months especially here in upstate New York, is not our idea of enjoyment. Maximizing the space in your back yard is one way to enjoy it year round, even when your sitting inside looking out.

curtis-lumber-outdoor-space

With the intent to extend the living space beyond the walls of your home, Curtis Lumber has many options to design an outdoor space suited for your needs. Here they have designed a comfortable space for friends and family to enjoy each other’s company while dining on a delicious meal cooked on the built in grill. The granite countertop surrounding the grill allows the family to keep everything they need for a cookout close by. While relaxing under the free standing pergola this family also enjoys many intimate evenings in the hot tub under the stars. To complete the look they have updated the landscaping with young shrubbery chosen for its low maintenance and eventual privacy value.

Visit Curtis Lumber at the Home Expo this year or stop by their showroom in Ballston Spa for their Outdoor Kitchen  display. Ask Curtis about Cambridge pavingstones, wallstones and outdoor livingrooms. Cambridge products are distinguishable value and quality.

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Terra Mira built this outdoor display for Curtis Lumber. Contact them before the snow flies so your outdoor space can get started.

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Give Terra Mira a call, 518 337-0501,  they can make your outdoor space happen within your budget.

 

Enjoy some new projects happening for fall from  Duke and Hal at Terra Mira….

 

terra-mira-outdoor-project-3Hardscape lighting:  Cambridge LED lights meets the latest technological advancements in the lighting industry with a wide range of outdoor lighting, The lighting kits come complete with Remote Dimmer and patented Easy Plug™ Installation System allowing fixtures to be daisy chained together without cutting or splicing.

Steps and Stairs: Durable stone stairs from Cambridge offer both beauty and convenience in addition to being a more affordable substitute for bluestone. The choice of colors, inspired from their natural counterparts, along with the variety of stylish options will coordinate nicely with styles and colors of Cambridge Outdoor Living Products.

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Stay tuned to see the finished patio..and for more Adventures in Styleland!

XOXO

M

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