Break Free of Your “Color Box”: Let Nature Choose Your Color Palette

Break Free of Your “Color Box”: Let Nature Choose Your Color Palette

     Have you ever walked into someone’s home and it is absolutely the perfect colors?  You want to curl up in a chair and make yourself right at home.  Maybe grab a glass of wine and a really good book.  And while you’re sitting there you begin to  wonder how they accomplished that daunting task?

     There are many tricks, tips, and secrets that designers use to create the perfect color palette for themselves and their clients.  And one of these is to let nature do the work for you. 

      One of my favorite things to do when I’m outside is to take a good look at everything around me.  I notice the textures of tree bark.  I look at the way light plays on a mountainside.  Maybe it’s the art classes or the quilts I’ve made that have created this awareness.  Maybe it’s just one person’s passion for color and texture.  But through each experience, I’ve learned that nature is the best form of color combination you’ll ever find.

      As I was looking at this beautiful lake photograph, thinking about Fall, and feeling nostalgic about leaving our lake home behind for new adventures,  I realized that most of my favorite colors are in that photo.  And, most importantly, I use these guides to help me with my own color selections.

Let’s look at the photo above to see how you can make it work in your home for your next DIY project. 

1.  Find one dominating color that really speaks to you and use it freely.  For me it’s the beautiful blues of water that range from deep blue to turquoise. 

2.  Next choose a secondary color from the photo.  Red would be my personal choice.  One of my favorite pieces of pottery just happens to include both of these colors!

raku vase in blues, turquoise and coral 

3.  After that, choose one or two more to be accents.  These colors can be present in pillows, throws, towels, and any other accent piece you’d like to use.

 

4.  Finally select one color for a background and paint your walls. My go-to neutral wall color is usually Benjamin Moor Cedar Key.  It goes with everything and makes a good background for colorful art work.

      Take a look at these accent pieces found online.   They’re great examples of how you can follow the steps above to create your own color palette, and then shop on your own to find the perfect accents to pull it all together.

 

 

     If you’ve been thinking about adding some pizzazz to your home this Fall, and don’t know where to start,  be sure to grab our FREE report!  All you have to do is add your name and email on our home page.

               

3 Secrets To a Stress-Free Renovation

3 Secrets To a Stress-Free Renovation

Starting a home renovation project is a big step.  For most people, it’s a fun and exciting time.  They enjoy the process, have fun selecting their products, and want the very best when it comes to the people they choose to work with.

But every once in a while a client starts the process with a sense of dread.  They’ve heard “stories” from their friends and family about the horrors of construction.  So they worry in advance about the mess and how long they’ll be inconvenienced.  What will they do for meals?  Where will they set up the temporary kitchen?  Will the guest bathroom be too small for both of us while we live through construction?  If you’re considering a renovation or any type of disruptive project at your home.  I hope that you’re not letting these stories scare you away.

I think we’ve all had some type of disruption to our home at one time or another.  Maybe you’ve had new carpeting installed, or hardwood floors refinished.  Maybe the entire house has been painted.  No matter what project you’ve taken on, it probably brought chaos into your life and a lot of anxiety!

a demo'd kitchen remodel

We want everything to turn out just the way we imagined…PERFECT!  But too often we expect perfection all along the way, and become impatient if a little glitch appears.  I can relate because it happens to me too.  And what I’ve noticed is when I’m tired, and the chaos has dragged on too long, I get impatient.  I start to hover around the workers (or my husband) to make sure the job is getting done “right.”  And when I find one thing wrong, I start looking for other things that aren’t perfect.  Has this ever happened to you?

Since I’ve been spending some time with cabinet installations lately, and disappointed that a ding or two is keeping that perfect kitchen on hold for a week or two,  I started thinking back on some of my clients’ projects.  I realized that the clients who were the most stressed out were the ones who had unrealistic expectations of how a project works.

new kitchen under construction

And it also reminded me that when stress and anxiety creep up and rear their ugly head, it’s time to follow these 3 Simple Steps:

1.  Take a deep breath!  When you see a mistake, a ding, or anything less than perfect, take a step back and breathe.  Know that it will all come together perfectly in the end.  Maybe not today or tomorrow.  But it will be perfect soon.

2.   Trust that the people you’ve hired want the very best for you and your project.  You’ve hired the very best.  Don’t hover around the job site to watch them at work or ask a lot of questions.  I know you might want to watch the process, but imagine your employer looking over your shoulder all day long.  It probably slows down your work and makes you anxious.

3.   Take a break.  The banging, sawing, and drilling will get on your last nerve after a while.  So make it a practice to get away for a little while each day, especially if you work from home.  When you’re at the job site all the time, you start to notice every little imperfection to a cabinet, wall or seam.  Let your installer work their magic to make it perfect and you’ll never notice there was a problem.  After all, that’s why you’ve hired the best!

ARE YOU STUCK IN “BEING PERFECT”?

ARE YOU STUCK IN “BEING PERFECT”?

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I have to be perfect.  Some people would call it a value, others a flaw.  No matter how you look at it, the need for perfection pops it’s ugly head for most of us at one time or another.  We want everything to be “just so” before we put it out to the world.  How do I know?  Because I’ve been there!

For a few months now I’ve been postponing a few projects that have been on my list for a long time.  Different excuses seem to get in the way.  Then, I began procrastinating, which lead to guilt, and then stress.  Sound familiar?  It wasn’t until I watched a video in a class I’m taking, that I realized I was stuck in being perfect.

Some women need to be perfect in everything they do.  Other women are selective.  We all want our children to have perfect manners when they‘re in public.  We usually want to look our best for a date or a job interview.  And when I make the time to sit down and paint, I expect it to be perfect every time!  Of course it’s not!!!  Then I avoid painting for a while and do something that I know I’m good at.

painting class exercises

What about our homes? There are so many ways we create perfection in our minds.  We want the perfect paint color, the perfect designer, the perfect budget, the perfect weather before we start the kitchen remodel.  The list goes on and on.  How many times have you passed on an opportunity to join a book club because you were self conscious about hosting it at your house?  I remember my mom telling me that I couldn’t have a sleepover because the house wasn’t clean enough!  Often we’re so focused on not failing that we don’t even begin the process. We’re on “overwhelm” before we even get started!  The sad truth is that if we just take action without waiting for the perfect kitchen, the perfect wall color, or the perfect window treatment, our lives would be more enriched with relationships and happy memories.

Let’s take a look at a few things that can make a huge difference in getting us out of perfect and into action:

Realize that nothing is perfect.  Did you know that Amish quilters always leave one mistake in their quilts because “only God is perfect”?

Be realistic. Acknowledge your limits of time, money and resources.  Don’t let these obstacles keep you from moving forward with little changes.

Be flexible. Realize that the project will probably take longer than you expect.  Go with the flow and relax.  Enjoy the process.

Trust yourself.  If you inner voice is telling you not to buy something.  Listen to it!

Be authentic.  Be true to yourself. And, please, don’t check your personality at the front door.  Every woman brings their own dreams, visions, and talents to the table.  Don’t be afraid to let your uniqueness shine.

Make a plan.  Small steps, done consistently, are sometimes better than one big effort.  You know the old saying, “How do you eat an elephant?…one bite at a time.” Use these words to guide you through your home makeover.

Mistakes happen.  Sometimes you have a “What was I thinking!” moment that sends you into a panic.  Instead of feeling like you’ve failed or having a meltdown, sit back, take a deep breath, and get creative.  There’s almost always a way to fix it.  Did you forget to measure the wall, or test the paint color in the room?  Learn from your mistakes and take that with you into the next project.

Take risks.  Sometimes it’s fun to shake things up a little.  Go ahead.  Add some turquoise to the walls.  Throw an animal print pillow on the sofa.

Seek help.  Network with your friends, hire professionals, or take a class.  I can’t stress this enough!  So many design disappointments happen because you didn’t ask for help, assumed your contractor could read your mind, or didn’t want to pay for help.

Be kind to yourself.  If updating your home is taking too long because of no money, no time, or no help, it’s time to tell yourself good enough…for now.  Throw caution to the wind, call your friends, and have a spur of the moment party.  Sometimes entertaining at the last minute is the perfect excuse to not be perfect !  You’ll be more relaxed and feel less pressure.  Best of all, your guests will feel welcomed.  And isn’t that the point… enjoying what life has to offer?

 

 

5 Important Action Steps to Simplify Your Life at Home

5 Important Action Steps to Simplify Your Life at Home

Life at home is anything but normal these days.  Most of us have been cooped up at home, feeling more distracted than ever.  Some days it feels like a blessing, as if God hit the reset button just for us and we finally have time to breathe and regroup.

Other days we just wander around the house aimlessly, distracted by the news and conflicting reports on how to stay safe.  Between homeschooling and work-from-home the day is gone before we know it.  Focusing on anything is hard. 

Now that we’re spending so much time at home, suddenly we see our spaces with new eyes, and we’re definitely focusing on it.  After weeks of staring at the same walls, sitting on the same sofa, and prepping meals on the same island that became your home office and home school, we long to make some changes. 

Clients are telling me they’re finally ready to update their bathroom, change wall colors, or buy new furniture Here in our house, we’re working on all the projects that we’ve been putting off.  For years I felt the porch was too dark.  It was all I thought about when I sat out there.  So the project of the week was painting the porch!  It’s funny how such a simple change like paint color can bring peace of mind.

cans of colorful paint

Keeping life simple so we can enjoy it more is a lifestyle choice that’s becoming more accepted.  Do you ever wish you had more room for fun and joy in your life?  I know I do!  After all the tension, uncertainty, and distractions simplicity at home is a good place to start. 

After thinking about what I really want, (and the list was long) I narrowed it down to these 5 Important Action Steps to Simplify Your Life at Home…

Action Step #1: Re-evaluate Your Stuff

Too many possessions will complicate your life and lead to clutter.  Living in a cluttered space drains our energy, our attention, even our bank accounts.  And who wants that?  Have you ever spent time organizing the clutter and all of your stuff, only to find that after a week, it’s a mess again and you can’t find anything?

cluttered desk

Do you have a closet filled with clothes from 10 years ago?  A pantry filled with expired food?  Five sets of dishes?  Instead, think about what you really value in life and start to live a life based that.

Right now, I value being active outside.  I no longer want a lot of stuff that I need to dust or maintain.  And that includes house plants, books, and nic-nacs.  Slowly these things are going to new homes.

Action Step #2:  Look at Your Time Commitments

learn to say no

Review your list of values and set priorities.  Then use your Best YES (and your Best NO) to help you decide what is good for you and your family.  You can start bringing joy into your life by doing the activities you actually love doing (gardening, being creative, relationships with family and friends, etc.). The things that no longer serve you can be off your plate!

Action Step #3:  Focus on Your Goals

goals

As women, we love to be people-pleasers and over achievers.  Can you relate?  We set all these goals for different areas of our lives and think we need to work on all of them at the same time.  This is crazy, and a recipe for a mental explosion!  You want to be homeschooling Mom of the Year, lose weight, decorate your house by yourself so everyone has their own “work space”, plant the garden…The list goes on.

Take a deep breath and know that there’s a better way.  And that is called FOCUS.  I like to make a brain dump of all the things I want/need to accomplish.  Then I’ve learned to choose one important goal for each area of my my life: personal, home, and work.  Once a goal is completed, I can move on to the next one.

Mentally release the rest of the list for now.  And don’t beat yourself up with negative thoughts if you fall off the wagon and binge eat or stop a project for a day or two.  Just focus on your ONE THING again until it’s done.

Action Step #4:  Eliminate artificial and toxic ingredients

health

Eating clean, intermittent fasting, plant based are all the internet talks about these days.  We work so hard at it.  Somehow we forget that just as we watch what goes into our bodies, it’s equally important to watch the ingredients in our cleaning products, our skin care products, and our makeup. 

My journey began with the simple need to find a product for my clients that would clean granite counters and stainless appliances without leaving a “greasy” residue.  Chemical cleaning sprays began bothering my breathing, so I switched to “clean”.  And now unexplained skin issues have made me start looking at the chemicals in skin care products and makeup. 

Do yourself a favor and start checking ALL labels.  Not just on food.

If you want to learn more about clean beauty, visit my website: www.beautycounter.com/randidestefano 

Action Step #5:  Stop Multi-tasking

chaos of multitasking

Have you ever caught yourself checking emails, watching TV and trying to carry on a conversation with your kids?  Chaos, right?  And nobody likes feeling stressed from doing too many things at one time.  Just like focusing on one goal at a time leads to success, working on one task at a time has the same effect.  Being focused on one thing at a time allows you to do your best work, and no one feels like you’re not paying attention to them.

“Simplifying your life will bring balance, freedom, and joy.  When we begin to live simply and experience these benefits, we begin to ask the next question, Where else in my life can I remove distraction and simplify life to focus on the essentials?” – Joshua Becker-

To learn more ways to Simplify Life at home, follow my Instagram page: www.instagram.com/simplifylife.randi

                                                                      And my Facebook group:   Simplify Life

 

7 THINGS I LOVE ABOUT MY KITCHEN …and what I wish was different

7 THINGS I LOVE ABOUT MY KITCHEN …and what I wish was different

Our kitchen was designed by me, with my hubby’s input, eight years ago when we were building our new house on the lake.  Back then I wasn’t cooking as much as I did when our family was bigger.  But we had high hopes of changing that with our new Lake Lifestyle.  We poured through magazines, visited model homes and studied the kitchens of all our friends to come up with the perfect design for us.  And when we moved it, we loved it, and still do today!

Fast forward to this time of Stay at Home when restaurants are closed, trips to the grocery store are limited, and stock-piling of toilet paper is the new normal.  Lifestyles have changed, and life in the kitchen has become very active!!!   We’re spending most of our time there working, home schooling, and cooking.  If it wasn’t before, the kitchen has definitely become the Heart of the Home.

With all this extra at-home time on my hands, it’s been perfect to reflect on what’s really important.  And what is not.  I started out doing what most people are doing….de-cluttering and purging!  The donation pile is getting bigger every day.  I even found some strange things in my drawers and have no idea what they are or why I bought them! Can you relate?

The biggest surprise of all is how small, and unorganized the refrigerator and pantry seem with so much extra food and supplies.  No, we aren’t hoarding toilet paper!  And so with that Ah Ha moment, I created my list of What I Love About My Kitchen…and what I wish was different.  Have you started making your own list of things to change?  Let me share mine:

 7 Things I love about my kitchen:

  1. The steam oven! It’s become the workhorse of the kitchen.  We use it daily to reheat food, bake, thaw food, sous vide meat, etc.
  2. Our big island is perfect for spreading out to prep food.
  3. The walk-in pantry is the first one we’ve ever had!
  4. Dish drawers
  5. Spice pullouts
  6. Coffee/tea station
  7. The warming drawer is a lifesaver for dinner parties when everyone brings something hot.

What I wish was different…

  • An organized space for vitamins and supplements
  • A space for my ever growing essential oil collection
  • Really good food preservation/refrigeration
  • A larger pantry for more food and all the party platters
  • More space for storing paper products
  • Square containers for flours, sugar, and grains that fit better in the cabinets
  • Less “stuff” on the counters

After 60 days of Stay-At-Home (but who’s counting), this is what I’ve discovered.  We are blessed to be healthy, blessed to have Zoom to connect, and blessed to live in a home that we love.  This time of reflection has made me realize that it’s time to press the reset button and get back to what’s truly important to each of us.

…….. have you been having your own Ah Ha’s about what needs to change in your kitchen?  Maybe your dream kitchen changes are different from mine, and maybe they’re the same.  I would love to hear how this Stay-at-Home time has impacted the way you look at your home today.  Is it serving you or NOT?  Please comment below and tell me what you love about your kitchen and what you would love to change.  I promise….NO judging and NO commitments!