The Inside Scoop at CellularWindowShades.com

Posts Tagged ‘houzz

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{cue the Rocky music}

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… and they’ve picked CellularWindowShades.com!

 

houzz best 2014

in our email

We received our ‘badge’ for Customer Satisfaction, which is determined by a variety of factors, including the number and quality of client reviews received in 2013.

This prize really belongs to Michelle — you’ve read her work here, when she’s guest blogged.

I was out yesterday, and reading today’s email, when I spotted the news. Makes battling today’s snowstorm worthwhile.

Houzz is a fabulous source for talking about home decor, soliciting comments and thoughts about your decor problems, as well as spotting that fun lamp or gorgeous carpet! I urge you to check it out – and especially check out our Idea Books, Posts and Projects. It’s prize-winning!

blanket winner

**Michelle has CWS covered**
BIG CONGRATULATIONS!

best of 2014 houzz

Perusing HOUZZ, this article’s very title compelled me to read it:

not my books!

The story begins with a conversation:

Years ago I was chatting with an acquaintance, and she referred to a weekly meeting she attended without naming it. I asked her what it was.

“Overreaders Anonymous,” she said.

I froze. I had no idea there was such a 12-step group, but if anyone was an overreader, I knew I was. And then my auditory memory caught up with my fervid imagination, and I realized she had actually said, “Overeaters,” and I resumed breathing.

Like author Alison Hodgson, reading is my drug of choice. I must say, in my defense, that much has been amassed over the years that interests me still: favorite authors, authoritative texts on history, fascinating biographies. For the most part, my books ARE books that I cherish and dip into, and yes, sometimes, re-read.

But what of those “lesser” books, gifts or really-wrong purchases. Why are those still in my house?!

Alison Hodgson uses a two-fold system to winnow out the duds:

Do I love it?

Will I read it again?

If your answer, over and over again, is “yes” – take a look at Houzz and get some ideas for shelves, like these:

library books

Alison has also included a “housekeeping” section to her article, as well as a link to Lisa Frederick’s article on “accessorizing with paperbacks”. (One of her thoughts: Group by color!)

If more shelves, carousels, and book nooks are not in the cards, and “downsizing” your library is a must, don’t forget to read Alison’s “4 Obstacles to Decluttering — and How to Beat Then.”

Now that SUMMER is officially here, I’ve been trying to find more websites with home decor content — nothing like a “new” season for a bit of “fresh air” in the home!

So here’s a few new-to-me blogs (and an old friend or two) that I’ve found to be worth visiting.

HOW TO BUILD A HOUSE

rustic cottage

With categories like “Home Furniture & Accessories“, “Bungalows & Cottages” (where this little beauty pictured above resides), and entries for every room in the house; construction tips and renovation ideas; household – and even moving advice, HOW TO BUILD A HOUSE is a great one-stop-shop for everything relating to house and home. Highly recommended!

DESIRE TO INSPIRE

desire to inspire

A photo fest for design and decor, DESIRE TO INSPIRE will give everyone something to ooh and ahh over.

LET ME BE INSPIRED

let me be inspired

Household “goods” never LOOKED so good – like this sleek bathroom sink. With a predilection for the purity of white, LET ME BE INSPIRED offers product photos, apartments portfolios, and even vacation rental advice.

HABITUALLY CHIC

habitually chic

Again, a fest for the eyes, but with short and insightful content. Punctuated with a New York – Europe sensibility, the style of HABITUALLY CHIC will have home-dwellers running to change up their own rooms. I’m heading back for a little Jefferson in Paris. Come join me!

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As usual, CellularWindowShades is open Monday through Friday for calls, email, and live chat (we’re in the eastern US time zone). Our website is open 24/7 — so, while I’m in PARIS, strolling with Jefferson, do take a last chance to shop for shades with our free Smoothy Continuous Cord upgrade (a $30 savings). On sale through Sunday.

How timely to read on houzz an article about FLAGS, seeing as today marks the cusp of a three-day holiday weekend here in the States: for Memorial Day.

flagsAuthor Alison Hodgson’s own decorating scheme is shown in the photo: a pleated fan above the door; flags line the walkway.

The building my mother lives in has a flag pole — flag flaps in the breeze all weathers, all hours. So it is a surprise to read that although the ‘inclement’ weather indicative should be observed, the lowering at sunset has looser restrictions. If the flag is illuminated it can fly at night.

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There is a website for up-to-the-minute HALF-STAFF notifications, but the major half-staff dates are:

* May 15, Peace Officers Memorial Day

* September 11

* (early October) Sunday of Fire Prevention Week

* December 7, National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day

The article discusses the pertinent information for flying the U.S. Flag: which flag takes precedence if flying more than one, which way is “right side up” etc.

Pity there’s so little history of the flag. Websites do exist. And what would talk of the flag be without talk of Betsy Ross! so here is some additional information:

The rule of thumb for FLYING YOUR FLAG Memorial Day is: Half-Staff from sunrise until noon, then Full Staff the rest of the day.
Here at CellularWindowShades.com we are having our own MEMORIAL DAY celebrations: our 20% off Skylight Shades Sale continues through Monday, May 27th.

20-percent-off-skylightsStay COOL & CUT your Summer energy bills!

Spring is a time to move house as well as clean house. News broadcasts LOVE to publicize the latest home starts or housing sales. So the houzz article on APARTMENT HUNTING FOR RENTERS seemed quite timely. The “customer comments,” however, resonated with me as never before — and I’ve been in my home for more than fifteen years!

SanFran

The houzz article is firmly aimed at big city apartment hunters, but the comments hone in on the worldwide dilemma of finding somewhere to live — and loving where you land. Some of houzz’s tips include

  1. Focus on a FAVORITE neighborhood or two, if possible (might depend on the size of the municipality).
  2. Beside budgetary concerns, what two other priorities must your new home have?
  3. Open House overkill? Keep a checklist (of likes and dislikes) or snap a photo or two. (One commenter suggested that snapping a photo of each front door helped immensely.)
  4. Be prepared! in some markets, housing will go fast. Be ready with pertinent information to convince the seller or landlord you’re the person for their property (references; credit history information; mortgage pre-approval; etc).
  5. Hidden costs? Are those window treatments included? how much are utilities? is parking available, or cable / internet hook-ups?
  6. Odd smells? Noises? lack of natural light? add those to your list so you’ll remember your reactions later.
  7. Be nosy! You might be living here soon: peek into closets, run the water, flush the toilet.
  8. Search online, newspapers, dedicated publications — but don’t forget word of mouth.
  9. Negotiate price. It’s worth a try.
  10. Will Grandma’s armoire fit? Bring a tape measure.
  11. Did the seller / landlord makes promises: Get it in writing. Don’t rely on memory…

My take-away from some of Comments:

  1. When talking ‘utilities’, don’t be afraid to ask how a bill is assessed; beware hidden ‘fees’ charged to tenants.
  2. Likewise, be leery of ‘application fees’ or leave-taking ‘cleaning’ fees.
  3. Check out the yard (if applicable), especially if the prior owner / tenant had pets. (think: clean-up…)
  4. Think twice about the flat near the elevator or garbage chute. Do bedroom(s) overlook an alley where the trash is kept? a busy street?
  5. Be on the look-out for signs (for rent / for sale); tell co-workers about your hunt for a home. The more, the merrier.
  6. GREAT idea: Check the neighborhood during commute times on a weekday. Cruise the neighborhood between 10pm and 3am [I personally would extend this to the likes of 7am] “to see who and what is out at night”.
  7. Pertinent to renters: is there a waiting list for a building you want to live in? Get on it!
  8. Really concerned about safety: contact the local police department and ask about the area.
  9. Moving in or doing a walk-through before closing? Take pictures and document.
  10. “Don’t be shy about asking a friend or relative to accompany you” – a second set of eyes can often help.
  11. Do baking cookies hide an odor? Does music mask street noise? Visit more than once to be sure.
  12. Looking near a school – but don’t have children? Be aware of increases in (road and foot) traffic; additional noise; parking or trespassing problems.

houston

Now to add a few thoughts of my own. I live in what could be termed a “small city”, certainly an urban area. The housing is predominantly single-family homes, a few condo units, only downtown has some “lower” high-rises. Downtown has exceptionally few amenities, so I can start my list with

  1. Is your area walkable? How’s the public transportation? Do you need a vehicle no matter what? Depending on your lifestyle, you may want to think twice about where to locate.
  2. If you like nature, are there public parks, scenic areas easily in reach?
  3. Would you prefer an area where everyone has children, or are professionals, or all retirees?
  4. Consider that the No. 1 business of businesses is to grow: that college up the hill will not be content with a student body of 2000 students in ten-years’ time; that airport will add run-ways and parking garages – or change flight patterns to entice larger jets; that highway may be two lanes now, but what if it became wider or faster?
  5. How close are your closest neighbors? Be aware of basketball hoops, barking dogs, loud cars or loud music. All have the potential to impact your enjoyment of your own home.

I’ve personally have lived through loud neighbors, barking dogs, early morning airplanes, a backyard daycare. I remember reading once about a woman whose neighbor was a chatterbox; ultimately, the writer resorted to diving into her car in the garage, just to avoid the neighbor. The spring after I purchased my home, the state ‘upgraded’ highway bridges – and now you hear traffic thumping over expansion joints; sometimes you feel them too, especially once the potholes begin to crop up again. In the end, you may have little control over what happens over time.

My city used to be tree-lined, but decades ago it lost that attribute to a two-lane / four-lane road through the center. Places change over time. Don’t be afraid to acknowledge when it’s time to cut your ties and move on.

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Whether you’re new to your home, looking for updated decor ideas,
or setting up some “must haves” for a dream home,

yard-saleAt a typical YARD or GARAGE Sale, you’d expect to see what’s presented in the illustration above: clothes on a coat rack; old stereo or TV popped somewhere they fit; books and blankets in boxes. HOUZZ recently ran an informative article called “14 Ways to Make More Money at a Yard Sale — and Have Fun Too.”

Are Yard Sales fun? The one sale I held was to raise some funds from my mother’s past shopping sprees. She had gone through a love of all things SWEATER. Was it a success? yeah, we sold some clothes – but although the prices were cheap, many wanted bargain basement sale. I think I sold more to the neighbor and her sisters than anyone driving by. Were we on a busy street? – with items displayed so as to entice the casual passerby? you bet: BUT the busy street also meant people just drove on by.

Would I do it again? probably not. But then my shopping sprees are for books and we all know the one thing that sells worse at a Yard Sale than clothing: BOOKS! (see the 50-cent bargain box in the picture above!)

So it was with great interest that I read through the HOUZZ article. And you must read the comments; they are HALF THE FUN! I found myself agreeing with so many who said, After selling all day, who has energy for a party (see hints #1 & #14).

  • Hint #1 — Make it a Party, with Profits: invite the neighbors for a Block Sale.
  • Hint #2 — Embellish Your Goods: upgrade furniture with paint, or change out the knobs on Aunt Dolly’s old dresser. (Houzz writer Laura Gaskill admits that this tip may not be for everyone.)
  • Hint #3 — Think about creative ways to display your wares-for-sale: give the old cardboard boxes a miss and get folding tables, wicker baskets, or wine crates.
  • Hint #4 — Have a Sales Concept: Avid gardener: offer cuttings or plants along with Uncle Steve’s collection of pipes. Or, Maybe the kids would like to sell refreshments.
  • Hint #5 — Advertise Your Sale! (BTW, there are free and/or low cost ways to ‘advertise’.)
  • Hint #6 — Make your Garage or Lawn Festive for the Sale: Why not dig out that bunting or those lanterns or maybe just some balloons.
  • Hint #7 — Make Pricing Simple: My sweaters were all priced the same, no matter summer or winter clothes, used or never worn.
  • Hint #8 — Never forget, You will be ASKED for CHANGE and a BAG.
  • Hint #9 — Display Clothes well: – tumbled will not help you past the “jumble sale” mentality.
  • Hint #10 — Give the SMALL items their due space: Jewelry can get picked-up as well as picked-over, hanging earrings on a board or around a tea cup might keep them in their place.
  • Hint #11 — Let There Be Light: are you selling a lamp or electrical appliance; give the buyer the opportunity to try it out for him/herself. An extension cord could prove handy (but be safe: do this yourself).
  • Hint #12 — Create Vignettes: Have tableware AND flatware? — display them together — someone might want to keep them together. After all, The Dish Ran Away with the Spoon.
  • Hint #13 — End on a High Note: once all the goods and shoppers have vanished: Pick up and go home.
  • Hint #14 — Get Help! If not a Block Sale, then get others to pitch in — especially if you’ve items left over and face having to bring in what you’ve brought out.

As mentioned, the comments are useful too. I especially like the one that mentions Carolyne Roehm: she gave profits to Charity. Another comment brought up the website Freecycle.org.

The findings of a recent Houzz survey — its Second Annual Houzz & Home Report — was communicated to Houzz users this past week. The survey purports to be “the largest survey of remodeling and decorating activity ever conducted”.

You can see their full press-release – but here’s my summation of their 100,000-response survey findings:

  • more U.S. homeowners moving forward with renovations projects, compared to last year.
  • 53% of homeowners believe NOW is a good time to renovate; and 58% of those are planning projects in the next two years (and plan to hire professionals).
  • 3/4s of those surveyed believe NOW is a good time to buy a home.

The study “yielded detailed data at the national, regional, and metropolitan area level”.

Bathroom and Kitchens top U.S. renovation projects. Similar to this before picture already discussed in the blog post Renovation from ‘Ranch’ to ‘WoW’:

kitchen1


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