Archive for May, 2011

A quick note today for all of you Marshalls shoppers or are you a TJ Maxx Maxamista? These stores are just a great resource any time you need something!!! My friend Mary Korzinski just amazes me with how she can accessorize a room with a MARRSALLLS run!! Last years showhouse was proof of that, she needed some additional pillows and came back with an amazing finds!!

There are a few other stores that make my list. If I’m looking for a piece of furniture to do, or add to a design, I go to a couple of local thrift stores or used furniture stores like Salvation Army, or Goodwill another of my favorites Pier 19 Outlet in the Watt St. in Schenectady NY at the Watt St shopping plaza ,  also in that plaza is Tuesday Mornings, another good resource, I actually found some great items for this year’s showhouse room.

There are plenty of people who don’t think about shopping thrift stores.  It may be that they dislike or are afraid of used goods, or their local thrift location has useless junk.  Most thrift stores have unusable items, but I’ve  scored a few finds in thrift stores that could be resold for hundreds of dollars. When I shared a space in Vintage Chic Furniture I found an Empire Dresser for $9.99. The owner of Vintage Chic Furniture worked a little magic with some blue paint, and WELL-LA, she sold this beautiful piece for $395!!

(not the actual dresser ,just a google image as an example of Empire Dresser style)

It all depends on the particular thrift store, they’re all so very different.  Some ideas for successful thrift store shopping are:

Set out shopping with an idea of what you’re looking for.   Once you have found a great thrift store, stay focused!!!!! You can quickly get side tracked and your trip will turn into a shopping spree were you wind up with pricey things that you didn’t want, and you’ve brought home things you don’t really need.  Before you start shopping at any store, remember what you’re there for.  Stay focused on your needs and your budget.

Find out when they are having a sale!  Your local thrift store has sale days, plan show up early.   Where I live, the local salvation army gets donations in every Monday or Tuesday so I always try to stop in to see what’s new.  My niece Lauren loves Goodwill in Amsterdam, she has expanded her wardrobe considerably.  She’s found many designer labels and even items that are brand new and have never been worn, you just never know what you’ll find!

Hitting the jackpot, Finding the FIND……..  Shopping a thrift stores or junk stores can be hit and miss, and you never know what you’ll find inside, it just depends on a given day.  For me,  the most exciting and rewarding part,  is searching through a pile junk to discover a great find.  It’s like a treasure hunt that keeps you returning to dig deeper.

Search every corner of a thrift store, you never know what has just come in.  Also, keep in mind that time is money.   Always consider the time and cost of refurbishing a piece.  If it is one that will need to be completely restored, stained or painted, factor in that time and energy into the purchase price. I have waited a few days if I wasn’t sure that I wanted to pay the amount originally listed, and when I returned  a few days or a week later I’ve found items marked down!! If it was meant to be, it will be there for the price you want to pay!  Look for signs of quality construction, like solid wood and dovetail joints. Sometimes the runners on drawers are damaged, or bottoms need to be replaced or fixed if they have warped, they can be repaired just make sure your aware.

Use common sense! Leave Now!  Before I enter a thrift store I know what I’m searching for if  I see absolutely nothing I could use I leave!n I (try to) resist the urge to buy something and bring it home if I know it will not have a purpose.  I’m am an avid thrifter and my clients know it, so I always have a list of things I’m looking for, for me or for them. If I don’t see it, I walk out and come back to shop another day.

Beware of dirty items!    My friend Cathy owns a pest control company and  bed bugs, mites, or strange odors should send up a red flag.  This concern is legitimate, as outbreaks of bedbugs in many urban areas, are on the rise, so always take precautions.  If you bring home fabric, be sure wash it in hot water to kill any germs.  Resist the urge to buy anything upholstered you’ll sleep or sit on unless you plan to have it professionally cleaned or upholstered before you bring it into your home, and examine every piece of furniture for any signs of infestations.  If your furniture fine has an odor, you can use baking soda, white vinegar, witch hazel, Borax, and Murphy’s Oil Soap all help neutralize odors.

Leave the Children at home!  Plan ahead, make a play date or get a sitter if your budget allows that, children have no patience.  You want to be able to move quickly and accomplish your goal or find the treasure you’ve set out to look for.

The barter system.  Never be afraid to ask for a lower price.  Talk to the owner or manager, don’t waste your time with a clerk working in the store.  If you shop at a certain location regularly, chances are they will give you a discount.  Ask and you shall receive, start out low and go up from there. Get to know your shop owners,  When they see you, they will know that you are a serious buyer, they will remember you and sometimes give you a better deal.

Use your creativity!    Look past the finish if its rough, try to visualize the piece with a great finish or paint color.   Whenever I enter a thrift store, I see things for what they could become, not what they are.  Take the coffee table I recently blogged about.   This table had potential to be a completely amazing table !

Most thrift stores are for charity and are run by churches, but, many thrift stores like Goodwill or Salvation Army actually exist to raise money for their organization.  Buying an item from these establishments means that you are helping land fills from becoming full, and saving great pieces of furniture.  So when thinking about purchasing something to accent your home, look for the bargains and think thrifty!!!!

As always, stay tuned ……………



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Well we’ll just see about that !!! I definitely need some help so I enlist my daughter to aid her mother in this endeavor. Giovanna my older cherub and I decided to start with channel 1067, Exercise on Demand on a Tuesday evening.  Looking at the menu our first question was “what do we want to do?” Giovanna immediately takes the TV  remote control and starts scrolling through the categories BELLY DANCING!! Wholly Cow….. what in the world is she thinking???? I’m gonna feel stupid, can I keep up??  I’m 48 Years Young!! Can I really do this?? Silly question, of course I can! It’s just exercise.

Thank God we decided to go with something less intimidating. We started on Buns and Thighs! This was only a 12 minute workout, and so we started the workout,  IT WAS AWESOME!! I was really doing great. I was thinking this may work  for me! Unfortunately, not so for Gi,  she was not so happy, after 4 minutes of loud work-out sounds, I hear a sigh of relief next to me, quickly followed by this statement “WHAT!!!! THAT WAS ONLY THE  WARM-UP!?”  OMG, this work out was not going the way she wanted it to , she could not keep up, she felt stupid, could not keep count and was utterly uncoordinated, about 9 minutes into the workout she reached for the remote, stopped the workout and went back to the menu. Okay,  I could definitely understand what she was feeling, not wanting to discourage our Mother Daughter Time I said Nothing! This time we decided to start with a beginner workout, it was simple calisthenics, we would be able to follow no problem. We started AGAIN,  It was great! I didn’t say much to her, in fear that I may lose my new workout partner, it was great being together and sharing time doing something healthy for ourselves!

We continued to do another workout ” Abs of steel”. This workout was a 12 minute work out we chose together, it looked easy and fast paced, Okaayy!!!!! We actually are spending time together!! Working out !!!!. Not one rude comment or roll of the eyes, my fifteen year old daughter was actually laughing with me! This was a day that will live in infamy!!!!  (Rosaria, our younger honey bunny decided not to join us, but I have hope she will in the future, and in retrospect it was probably best that she didn’t, I think she had beans for supper you know what they say……….beans beans the musical fruit!)

If I were to choose an exercise, it would be walking !!  I’ve tried to get my husband to go with me but…… he thinks walking will add only minutes to your life, he says the only benefit would be that it would enable you at 85 years old to spend an additional 5 months in a nursing home at $5000 per month. LOL. The only positive reason for long walks he says is ” when they are taken by people who annoy me.”  Trying my hand at humor,  I told him a story about Mother Theresa.   I said ” You know my mother started walking five miles a day when she was 60. Now she’s 97 years old and we don’t know where the heck she is.” (Just Kidding) !!

Yes, summer is right around the corner soooo… I should stick with this program, sharing time with my two girlies is the best benefit!!  I will leave you with a few thoughts to ponder:

Exercise is done against one’s wishes and maintained only because the alternative is worse”

“Even in a country like the USA where fitness has become an obsession, most people exercising do not seem to think it illogical to drive automobiles to gyms while doing their best to avoid walking”

Thoughts to ponder…………….

–Daniel Worona



stay tuned………………….



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What makes a Great Bedroom???? This is a question I’ve asked myself again and again. The answers, for me anyway are, ambiance that feeling of calmness, a personal sanctuary. The bedding, furniture, lighting it should be welcoming, a retreat. A place that will see you through a sleepless night, where you can close the doors and take a deep breath and destress…. A place you can have marathon reading sessions, even illness seems better in this place.

But, what is in a Sanctuary aka bedroom that gives it this feeling?? It should be luxurious, welcoming calming with comfortable seating. In my bedroom I have a Sam Moore chair and ottoman by the fireplace. Lighting, a beautiful chandelier on a dimmer, soft task lighting for reading and just relaxing. Soft colors on the walls that help soothe your eyes and bedding….The softest highest thread count you can afford, 400 count sheets are priced so reasonably, goose down pillows, and down definitely down comforter….ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh blisssssss…

Just some pictures to help translate what I mean:

Jeffers Design Group

House Beautiful Sanders

Jeffers Design Group

Watch for my article in Life and Home by Lee Nelson about bedrooms!!!!!! That’s all for now, Stay tuned……………………..



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I’ll start with a Thank You to Nathaniel Bette,  he is a remarkable man, his vision, perseverance, unending patience and good nature made this year’s showhouse such a great project to be involved in. When I first saw the home back in October, I was inspired to do a period design. Here are some of my early pictures of the room, when I first learned I was going to do the Guest Bedroom!  I loved the fireplace, recently one of the many people whose talents stand out in the restoration of this home,  is a gentleman called  CJ (who worked for Nate, over seeing many projects and also did the italian venetian plaster ceiling in the wine cellar), he mentioned that the marble used for the mantle on the fireplace was rare and is no longer available, it’s characteristics  are similar to Grigio Carnico in color and veining,  this is fireplace is stunning. The view from the Guest Room windows are of the Helderburg Mountains. The artwork above the mantel mimics the hills and valley’s preceding the mountains , which is what you see from the endowment, out the south window of the room.

The walls were painted by Jason D’Amrbosi for me, he was again one of the many artisans that took part in this transformation. The color on the walls is Lunch Bag, from the  Martha Stewart palate. Benjamin Moore donated the paint for this space, Thank you to Miller Paints in  Latham, NY!!  The finish we chose for the walls from Faux Effects, it is a troweled finish called Luster Stone. 


Working with Mary Beth was terrific. We adjusted the gradation of color in the Luster Stone with the tint formula (provided by Ben Moore) and the walls were transformed into suede, the subtle depth that I conjured up in my head was there… perfection. It was as if the layers of plaster took on a pearlized finish, the soft shade was so alluring. We did this finish in two days, the first day we taped off the ceiling and moldings. The tools we used were a textured roller and trowel. Once we applied the luster stone onto the wall we used a trowel to tight trowel off the product and create a smooth textured look. It was all coming together, loved the Gray Cashmere on the ceiling it was the perfect back drop for the ceiling medallion… we were ready for  draperies and furnishings!!

Finding a Bed for this room was a passion,  I was looking for a focal point in the design, this piece of history from the Civil War, belonged in this house and was perfect for the Guest Room! The story behind this bed was quite interesting. Circa 1861, this hand painted bedroom set includes: Bureau that has a mirror, night table and two chairs. This set was made in Sudbury Massachusetts by a resident (Smith) who was leaving to fight in the civil war. He left the set for his daughter to paint while he was gone, which she completed flawlessly. The floral painting on the head board was fabulous!!! All the pieces to this set have similar hand painted floral arrangements on them, there are roses, lilly of the valley and pansies. Simply exquisite! The families related to this story are Smith (Seneca Smith Chief of Police, Sudbury MA) and Curt Garfield the Sudbury Town Historian. I purchased this from Johanna Withiech in Tenafly NJ. Johanna and Michael brought this up to Albany for showhouse, the bed room set is for sale, I have all the pieces in my possesion, although I only used the headboard in the Guest Room. The bureau was worn and the mirror was missing, we didn’t have enough time to have them restored.  She was happy to have this bed in such a historic Showhouse, and the moment it came off the trailer I knew it was the perfect complement to this room. Johanna would like to see this bed room set in a historic home and I would also, please contact me if you know of a  historic home that this set could be part of. Thank you to Johanna for her expansive knowledge of the history of this bed and for journey to deliver it.

A couple more pictures for you….

I started with thank you and so it seems that it would be appropriate that I would end with the many thank you’s  to the  people who helped and participated in my space, to the wonderful, Barbara Richer who is always there to answer any question, help with a resource, talk with you and help with any concerns you may have. Barbara was, ever-present , always kind, loyal, caring, sympathetic, reassuring, compassionate, understanding, encouraging, empathetic. Her guidance is so appreciated, her strength is inspiring. To Grace Thomas, who is my friend and supported me through out this project, Mary Beth Johnson, for her enthusiasm and energy, Nancy from Saratoga Signature, for lending me everything I could have needed and more, Debbie from Stockade Imports for her unending support, she was such a tremendous help in pulling everything together, she not only supplied the rugs in this space but many of her own accessories to finish this room! Anna Privitera whose Marshalls trip was so successful, also her help with researching antique beds for this room! Rae Rau for cutting in my medallion when my hands were unsteady. To my wonderful husband for all  his support and help with art work and extending his Honey do list, to my room!! ” You are the wind beneath my wings, you might have appeared to go unnoticed, but I’ve got it all here in my heart. I want you to know I know the truth, of course I know it. I would be nothing without you!”  I love you… your unwavering support and encouragement that means the world to me!

Signing off for now, as always stay tuned…………….



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