Truffles Magazine

Posts Tagged ‘home’

Room Functions

In House & Yard, Life, Life @ Home on November 2, 2012 at 10:25 am

Over the years houses styles have changed and room functions have as well. Most people in the USA have a home of approximately 2,500 square feet. Depending on where you live may determine the specifics (basement, attic, crawl space), however many people have moved toward more informal living arrangements and now prefer the open concept. There are pros/cons to both. If your a messy person sorry but you don’t belong in an open concept house just picture it when you open the front door it would look like one big mess had engulfed the entire space. What about rooms that didn’t exist years ago? Well many people didn’t use home offices (unless they were self employed or worked from home) moms usually paid all the bills from the kitchen table thereby eliminating an extra bedroom just for surfing the web and bill paying. The formal dining room that gets used only on Thanksgiving or Christmas is wasted space – for the regular entertainer who spends time dining with their guests its a necessity. So here are some ways to make the open living concept work for your family…and yes sometimes open concept means feeling more spacious even though there can be a lack of storage.

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A sofa table can provide great extra storage, serve as extra lighting for reading, use solid baskets to hide the stuff so shelves don’t look crowded. And during the holidays its an easy place to reach to put up some extra Thanksgiving and Christmas decorations.

For those of you who find yourself always eating in the kitchen or family room and find the dining room as the black sheep of the house then by all means try re-purposing it into something useful for your family. Here’s a few suggestions: even if your eliminating your dining room table (if you have one in the dining room) make sure to have some built ins designed for the space (whether they’re ikea or custom is up to your style/budget)

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Why the built ins? well you unless you have a massive kitchen or plenty of closet space a built in provides the extra storage for those items that can be seasonal (turkey platters, carving boards) and for all those wedding gifts that don’t have space in maybe a small kitchen. Also with the floor space freed up you still have storage so you can turn the dining room into a library (built ins are great for books) or a home office for the self employed.

Or maybe your in the opposite position and find yourself without the formal dining room and your kitchen, dining room, great room are really one big space…talk about open concept challenges. I suggest removing your kitchen set and having just a larger dining room set. If you have a table that has leaves then it can easily go from 6 people for family dinners to 10 or 12 for holidays.

Consider what rooms you use and how often and for what – ignore the labels for a moment and see if that basement can be turned into the kids playroom or that dining room into the home office for the self employed or maybe an attic can provided needed storage for a hobby room.


How to Make A New Home Yours

In House & Yard, Life, Life @ Home, Urban Dweller on September 14, 2012 at 9:00 am

Since many families move over the summer and right before school goes back I figured now was the time to share this posting. If you recently moved into a new home (or plan to in the future) here’s some advice on how to make it less new and more family feeling.

First off  congratulations on your new home many people are so excited and busy with all the packing/unpacking that they tend to ignore the little details.

  1. Go ahead and plant some flowers in the front of your house – this is a great way to add curb appeal and distinguish your house from the neighbors in large housing developments/MPCs
  2. If you have a front porch consider painting the interior ceiling a calm, blue (like the sky) it has helped many homeowners prevent bugs
  3. Why not head over to Lowe’s or Home Depot and buy some solar powered lights for your driveway – they won’t cost you anything to run since their solar so its a one time expense (and luckily won’t show up on your electric bill)
  4. If the outdoors are your thing – then try planting a veggie/fruit garden in your backyard (doesn’t have to be large just enough for your family to enjoy it) – also consider planting items like Basil, Thyme, Parsley or Oregano because they add great flavors to the dish and are so much cheaper to grow than buy (also if you end up growing a lot of herbs  consider clipping them, putting them in a ziploc bag with a paper towel and freezing them for when there not in season).
  5. Also consider hanging a clothes line this may seem dated to some of you but to me there’s no better smell than laundry from the line (sorry all the fabric fresherner just never smells that fresh)
  6. Roll out the welcome mat or my personal favorite have an area in the front hallway/foyer to remove shoes and keep your floors clean (and your new house looking new)
  7. If you have a dog and trees in your back yard connect a dog line between the two trees so they too can enjoy the outdoors
  8. Absolutely make sure to paint the interior of your home (I say this incase white or builder beige isn’t your thing) painting walls helps to define areas, personalizes it, and makes for a lived in feel
  9. I know sometime technology can be great but what about all those photos on your digital camera/memory card have you thought about going through them and picking a few to print and frame for your new space
  10. Have a moving in party with family and friends is great – why not if you plan to live in your new home for a long time have a party where you invite over the neighbors just print off a flyer (address, date, time) and have some easy food (cookies, brownies, coleslaw, hamburgers) the food doesn’t have to be expensive if your anticipating lots of people keep it simple and cheap but make it welcoming (if someone invited offers to bring something graciously accept but don’t tell them what to bring unless they ask)
  11. Enjoy your new house and make new memories in it and it will become a family home

Reviewing Rugs

In House & Yard, Life @ Home, Urban Dweller on August 9, 2012 at 9:03 am

Some people have gone more and more towards having hardwood, tile or linoleum throughout their house. Obviously some people do this because of asthma, allergies, quicker cleanup whatever the reason it can leave you with little to no carpeting in your house and sometimes an area rug may just be the perfect solution (under your bed, dining room table or in the living room.) If you’ve been considering getting an area rug make note of 4 things: your budget, the size of the room, the size of the furniture and its placement and finally what material preference you have (I prefer a natural material such as wool.)

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The above Adum Rug, hile pile comes in 4 colors and is available at Ikea $199.00

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The above rug is from Natural Custom Rugs (they sell natural rugs already made and custom made) the photo shown above details the one I created which was a St. Tropez weave and Black Border. Make sure to browse their rugs selection its quite extensive.

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If a modern rug is more your fancy and yet you hate bright bold colors or obnoxious patters this one might do the trick. On this hardwood floor it looks like concrete stones but yet its really an area rug and the neutral colors will work great with many furniture pieces.  Its available from eSaleRugs for $271

Finally remember small area rugs can help older dogs from sliding or sitting on a hard surface and they make a great spot for baby to sit softly on and play. If you are looking to browse (in person or the web) consider these  places below:

Crate and Barrel

Pottery Barn

Looking for cheaper solutions try your home improvement store (Lowe’s and Home Depot) normally have lots of colors, typical sizes and lower prices.

Hurricanes for Candles

In House & Yard, Life @ Home, Urban Dweller on April 16, 2012 at 11:42 am

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Hurricanes holders for candles are beautiful and simple, they allow you to display the colorful candle inside while allowing its light to shine through. I also like that you can add any decorative item inside them as well not just candles. I found these London Hurricanes on Crate and Barrel.    They are  $24.95 for the small and $39.95 for the large. Another thing I really like about these are: they will last a long time, because their clear the candle or other items inside can be changed out for relatively little money allowing you to change the look. Also, you can re-purpose them in the future (it can have a candle in the dining room, mints in a home office, or cotton balls in a bathroom.)  Share a comment with me if you have any other great uses for these Hurricanes.

10 things under $10 (house)

In House & Yard, Life @ Home, Urban Dweller on March 23, 2012 at 11:52 am

With the economy being so bad I figured its only right to feature some things which are affordable on tighter budgets. So today I am going to start my 10 things under $10 list this week featuring housewares. I feel this could inspire you to tackle creativity – and maybe find a thing or two which will lend some inspiration to transform your abode. 

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1. This Bladet plant pot w/ saucer retails at Ikea for $5.99 try planting some herbs (parsley and basil are easy for beginners + you can save $ on buying herbs)

2. How about some apothecary jars, the ones featured below are from the Container Store, these come in 3 sizes all of which are under $10.00. Looking for inspiration, consider cotton balls or q-tips for a bathroom, or maybe some wrapped candies for a dining room table, or maybe a hairbrush, nail file and lotion for the nightstand either way there are many uses for these jars.

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3. Buy some used candlesticks, or candle holders in a variety of sizes & shapes that you like and fit the candles you already own (try the Goodwill & Salvation Army) then buy a can of spray paint in a bright, bold color (think aqua, high gloss white, burnt orange obviously something that matches your taste & decor) then clean the candle stick of any dirt, dust and then take outside to spray paint. Place them on a dining room table, foyer, or a living room.

4. Project 4 is very similar to project 3 only this time buy used, wooden picture frames and spray paint them to display family photos, travel pics, or to start a photo wall.  See this posting here displaying many eclectic picture frames

5. Given your skill set- go ahead and buy some fabric from your local fabric store in a pattern you like (check the clearance racks many times you can get fabric reduced from $6-$9 a yard down to $2-3. I just saw this the other day) then make new place mats for your table, if you have left over material go ahead and make some small cloth napkins as well.

6. If the bathroom is a soar spot for you consider changing out your cabinet’s hardware (since most bathrooms normally only have 2-4 handles/knobs) this can be done for very little money

7. Consider adding a colorful pot holder or two to the kitchen

8. Browse Etsy for handmade bargains that are very unique, avoiding that mass merchandiser repetitive style

  you can buy this towel from from THIS    – Etsy shop

9. Invest in some stylish bins like the one I featured below from The Container Store, its made of jute and retails for $9.99  – there are so many uses: store magazines, books, organize your use in your guest bath for spare toilet paper,organize open shelves by placing related contents inside the baskets to keep the area looking clutter free

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10. Some people LOVE to use their fridge as message centers to track important notes, shopping lists, etc. So my challenge to you is get more creative with magnets don’t just buy plain magnets go ahead and display family photos, or that vacation your saving up for then make them into your own magnets 

And we’re finally here so my question this week is what cheap decorating or house accessory do you recommend that’s less than $10.00 ? This article took some time so I appreciate any comments you have on the subject or any decorating ideas you’d like to share with fellow readers.

Setting your House Apart

In House & Yard, Life @ Home on March 11, 2012 at 12:17 pm

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There are many advantages to living in a Master Planned Community (M.P.C.) the side walks, club houses, on site pools, and neighbors who know each other, but on the other hand not many M.P.C. homeowners know how to distinguish their home on the outside. Yes, having lived in one myself I know there can be many rules – this is why I am showing you ways to give your house curb appeal without violating the community rules (obviously I don’t pretend to know ever M.P.C. or subdivision’s rules so check your home owners handbook first).

Here are some tips to get you started and you can choose which ones fit your budget:

Paint the mailbox you presently have – most people have a metal mailbox and most are black or white go ahead and buy some spray paint and feel free to give it a new life

Look at all the doors to choose from

Make sure the numbers for your house are visible and feel free to spray paint them if they look worn out or make sure they match the hardware on your front door (satin, brass, nickle, etc).

Put out a “Welcome Mat” so people have a place to wipe their feet

Go to  Lowe’s, Home Depot or your local nursery and find flowers that do well in your area then plant them along the drive way to freshen up the land scape

If the budget allows consider getting pavers or brick for your drive way it is  gorgeous and will last a lifetime (even though it can be expensive it can be a well worth it item that you might really enjoy)

Make sure the driveway and front lawn are free of weeds, and choose a colored mulch to give your front area depth and distinguish different plant beds 

Add solar lights to the walk way or for those of you who don’t want planted flowers you can use the solar lights along the driveway as well (its also a great Eco-friendly touch)

Sometimes a front door works well and you may even like the color or style go ahead and switch the hardware  (handle, knob, & locks) to a finish you prefer

Add a kick toe plate to an already existing door especially if your front door is the one used most often (it also adds great decorative flare) this tends to get more use on wood doors than metal because it prevents scratching / stains

If you have an outside light fixture consider replacing the lights with something more energy efficient like LED bulbs/fixtures

Well, I hope this inspires you to realize your home can be so much more than an M.P.C. house from the outside


Pillow Inspiration

In House & Yard, Life @ Home, Urban Dweller on February 28, 2012 at 11:58 am

The hard part to decorating is often the small pieces and accessories can really add up. Often people are very good at sticking to a budget for the large items like a sofa or chair but when it comes to the accessories its like I buy this piece today that one next week and lo and behold your receipts start to add up! Look below at some inspiration I provided to help you realize easy ways to re-create looks, you just need the right tools and some patience.

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You can purchase this 18″ x 18″ Pillow fill at JoAnn’s for $14.99 on sale ($24.99 reg.) Then use this with your desired fabric to create beautiful pillows perfect for a sofa or loveseat. Now if your looking for inspiration just browse some websites or your local stores, but I think this pillow below from Z Gallerie is just gorgeous I love the geometric patter however if you don’t feel like spending $59.95 then look for material that suits your taste and use the pillow fill from JoAnn. Your pillows will definitely end up costing you less than the store bought one.

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Check out this video of an awesome and well explained DIY for Envelope Pillows.


Consider using fabric transfers to give pillows a completely different look check out this posting from Lemon Tree Creations.


Extra Bathroom Space

In House & Yard, Life @ Home, Urban Dweller on February 11, 2012 at 10:39 am

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Let’s face it there are some rooms that are just lacking in space, for those of us urban dwellers this maybe our entire place, and in the suburbs it maybe a room or two. There is one place, every room in your house has extra space, you just never though of looking, it’s between the studs. There are very few restrictions to this but here they are:

  • You can only do this on an interior wall (to avoid problems with insulation) – no exterior walls
  • You can’t do this above a toilet (due to plumbing & venting)

This is something if your handy you can do yourself or if your in the process of a remodel now or in the near future consider incorporating this into the design plan with your renovator.

Here’s my tips to a successful niche between studs:

In a shower keep it at a proper height (your shoulder is a good height for most) to avoid bending over or placing too far up the wall to avoid stretching and slipping.

The photos above are of a recently remodeled old farmhouse, check out this new bathroom

Interested in attempting this project yourself check out instructions here

Check out the video below, don’t have the skill have your contractor do it.




Decorating a Master Bedroom for 2 Tastes

In House & Yard, Life @ Home, Urban Dweller on February 10, 2012 at 11:46 am

One thing that many couples complain about is their different styles for decor. This can be a real problem when 2 people can’t come to an agreement over their now common space. Before they were married or living together having different tastes didn’t bother them because they each still had their own comforts. I hope this picture inspires you because feminine colors can work with masculine furniture, antiques or older furniture can be re-upholstered into new colored fabric, re-staining or sanding and painting a table can give it a whole new life.

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In this photo gray acts as the modern neutral tone, pink brings in a soft feminine color, the modern bed is coupled with a traditional scalloped end table used as a nightstand. This is a combination that is neither too feminine, modern, masculine or cold.

Renovating your Kitchen

In House & Yard, Life @ Home, Urban Dweller on February 3, 2012 at 1:21 pm

Kitchen 1

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Kitchen 2

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Kitchen 3

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Kitchen 4

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Yeah, you have finally decided your going to renovate your kitchen…how exciting. There are so many color choices, material choices, appliances, color finishes, counter tops, flooring, paint, and decorating that the excitement may seem overwhelming all of a sudden. Here is what you need to make the process go as smoothly as possible.

  1. Set a budget – this is what you can afford and don’t spend more than budgeted
  2. Determine what work you will do and what work you will hire labor for (painting your kitchen or installing mosaic tile back splash will save you money and the tools needed are very cheap compared to installing a granite counter which requires special tools for cutting and installation.)
  3. Determine where you plan to spend your money in the kitchen (some people desire a specific appliance, someone else its the flooring – so unless your budget is enormous you are going to have to compromise on certain items)
  4. Donate your appliances to a local Salvation Army or Goodwill
  5. Choose appliances that energy start rated and use the least energy possible – this will save you money every month over the life of the appliance.
  6. Spend time researching online each item before committing to the purchase – this also alleviates any anxiety and pushy salesmen. Plus you need to write everything down online to get a real comparison – it will save time driving from store to store
  7. It’s best to go prepared to the store – once you have narrowed down your searches go to the store and check them out (obviously some people like to do this process before #6 I think that’s okay if you are unsure of products/brands that interest you but try to have an idea in mind or the choices will become overwhelming and your less likely to stick to your budget)
  8. Please check out this download I created to use Online and In-Stores to make shopping easier


Post a Comment – I’d love to hear which kitchen is your favorite.