Seven Steps To A Tidy Home

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My friends often ask how I keep my house so tidy working and having three children, especially with a toddler who loves to make messes in every room. The answer is simple, I follow the same steps every morning, transforming my house from disheveled to delightful. The trick is to be consistent and stay on top of it, this means never skipping a day. The good news is that it will come naturally after a few weeks and when it’s time for house cleaning it will be much easier because the house is already tidy. It also means that when guests drop in you can invite them into your home without having to apologize LOL.

Everything In Its Place- Every morning I walk through each room removing whatever does not belong there. I like to use a large basket that sits perfectly on my hip as I fill and then disperse to the proper location. In the case of my two older children I will deliver the goods to their rooms but they are responsible for putting them away.

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Sort Piles- We all have stacks of mail, bills, medical forms, catalogs and pieces of paper that we have to attend to but maybe not that second. I suggest a shallow basket or bin to house one pile and sort through it so that the time sensitive pieces are closest to the top and toss what is not pertinent. Spend a few minutes each morning and attack, you will be surprised how much tidier the house will feel just by having your papers organized and in one place.

Fill Laundry Bins- I recommend laundry bins in each bedroom making clean up a breeze. For my teenage daughter this is a must because outfits can change several times in a day landing on the floor. Before she leaves she looks around and starts tossing into the laundry bin.

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A Clean Kitchen- By no means is my kitchen sparkling everyday but the sink is always clear when I leave which means the dishes are done, the dishwasher is loaded, the surfaces are wiped down and I take the trash out if needed. I personally don’t have time in the morning to unload the dishwasher before I go to work, my husband lends a hand after dinner. For more tips on kitchen organization click here.

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Make The Beds Everyday- My kids will ask, why bother if no one is coming over? My answer is, we are here to see it. The room looks so much nicer when the bed is made and automatically feels cleaner.

Dust, Sweep & Squirt- Have you heard the old saying, a lick and a promise? Well that totally applies here, as I walk through the rooms with my handy-dandy basket I take a quick look at the surfaces and floors. If I need to quickly dust a surface, sweep up a section of the floor or vacuum a room I come back once everything is in its place.

aayes1 Stay Focused- I could spend hours on each of these steps but I limit myself to 10 minutes maximum, my average is 45 minutes or less a day, a short amount of time for a tidy home. The hardest part is getting started but once you begin these steps become part of your routine and the benefits far out-way the effort it takes.

cathy

 

 

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Comfortable Chic Living

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If you are a Pinterest fan like I am you have probably pinned dozens of Martha O’Hara interiors and didn’t even know it. Her work combines clean lines with chic livability in a wide range of aesthetics, priding herself on never getting too comfortable with a particular “look”. This home is the perfect example and you will quickly understand why.

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Comfortable furnishings with subtle touches of color and texture make the living and dining room the epidemy of understated elegance and super inviting. The kitchen design is no exception, stunning in classic white cabinetry with inset doors with a scrumptious island that combines a Carrara marble top and gray cabinetry.

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The soap stone counter-tops throughout and shimmer of the white subway tile are the perfect complement to the classic design elements and fabulous wooden hood.

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The wood floors are a rich, dark brown providing the perfect back-drop for the light cabinetry and furnishings. Further below, a sleek and functional office area is carved out while chic lighting and accessories complete the look.

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On the porch and in the bedroom a bold pattern was chosen to create a design focal point. On the porch it is combined with texture and a touch of rustic living while in the bedroom its a monochromatic color scheme and high quality linens.

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I hope you have enjoyed the tour, creating chic yet comfortable design is all about classic design choices with a few bold moves, go for it!

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Creating Coastal Curb Appeal

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Curb appeal creates the first impression people receive before entering your home or when passing by. It is the opportunity to create a style or identity for your home that is all of its own, join me as I share some of my favorite ideas for creating “coastal” curb appeal.

Hang Decorative Shutters- I am a huge fan of wood shutters with nautical cut-outs, bam instant coastal curb appeal especially when painted in a tropical color.

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Build A Breeze Way- Slightly easier in new construction but it can also be created if your existing garage is detached and a nice distance is left between it and the house.

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Add a Nautical Symbol, Sign or Door Knocker- Yes, it can be as simple as that and still have a big impact on the exterior.

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Change Your Railing- By changing your existing spindles on your railing to a more decorative fretwork you are creating visual eye candy. Fretwork is beautiful when designed properly and inherently coastal feeling.

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Style Your Stoop- Potted plants in fabulous ceramic containers that resemble the color of the ocean combined with rustic lighting and a rattan chair to create a warm coastal welcome. Here are even more ways to style your stoop for any style.

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Hang a Hammock- A simple, budget friendly option to create an instant coastal entry. It doesn’t hurt that this exterior boasts palm-trees, a second floor balcony, a board-walk in front and fabulous wood shingles.

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Paint A Tropical Color- Painting your house or a portion of the house in a tropical color will give the house instant coastal curb appeal. Looks fabulous when the neighbors decide to join in the fun don’t you think?

I hope these ideas inspire you to create some of your own coastal curb appeal, share your ideas with us, we would love to hear about your creations.

cathy

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How To Design Your Dream Home Office

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The home office has become a standard for many of us these days with one out of five Americans working from home, reported by Forbes. Here are a few tips to consider when designing your work-space to help make it as aesthetically pleasing as it is functional.

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Designate A Space- Finding a space to work in sounds like an easy task but for many of us it means rearranging, relocating and reorganizing the way we live. Just tossing a desk in the basement corner or laundry room, when you may be working several hours a day there, does not create the most inspiring work environment. Consider ditching a guest room and adding a pull-out sofa for the occasional guest or how about that rarely used dining room or living room, french doors are a nice addition in this scenario. You can always add a table with leaves for those Thanksgiving dinners.

Old & New Furnishings- Several home-offices become junk rooms for old furniture that was handed down or not currently being used. Don’t fall into this trap, find another family member that may want them or donate the pieces that don’t work in your design. Re- furbished pieces that I find work best are desks, bookcases, chairs and chandeliers. Check out How to Paint Furniture Like a Pro and think outside of the box when accessing old pieces, you may surprise yourself.

Create a Layout- If you have the entire room this is fun, you can actually decide which direction you would like to face. It is a nice option to face out into the room and have a credenza behind you or if the room has multiple functions I like when the work-station wraps the walls.

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Consider Built-Ins- I am a huge fan of built-ins if they fit into your budget. When you are laying out your office it is the perfect time to decide where the built-ins will be and how they need to function. If you are handy or know an inexpensive handyman, you can achieve a built-in look on a budget by adding a bookcase to a work-surface as shown below. Cut off the base of the bookcase, add crown molding and bolt to the wall.

Don’t Forget The Lighting- One of the most important design decisions in the room that can increase your work productivity and mood when designed properly is lighting. The idea is to create an even light level in the room and to have light directly over your main work-surface. I recommend a combination of recessed lights and decorative fixtures. Just hanging a central fixture may not provide the light level you need if your work-surfaces are against the wall. If recessed lights are not in the budget you can always add a desk lamp.

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My best advice is to create a room that you “want to spend time in”, one that reflects your personal style while meeting your needs for your daily tasks. Here are more tips and design advice to get you started creating your the office of your dreams.

cathy

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