Thursday, June 23, 2011

Our First Giveaway! Beauty Beachside!

I am always amazed at how thin the line is between home decor, fashion and beauty. When I spot something I love in fashion- my mind instantly translates it into my passion: home decor. I thought it would be interesting to do a little study on common trends popping up in fashion, beauty and interior design.

I started to dabble with an inspiration board based on a Home Decorators Chest of Drawers (which is now on clearance, by the way!). I have loved this piece and wish I had a place for it in my home or a client's home....(ahhh, to dream....)

As for the beauty inspiration, I decided to consult makeup artist to the rich and famous (and coincidentally, my sister-in-law...lucky me!!), Tamara Palumbo, co-owner of the gorgeous makeup line Piret and Tamara. She sent me directly to their Limited Edition Island Collection of Eye Silks and what do you know? There was the same dreamy seaside blue I was already loving! The Surf Eye Silk was just featured in July 2011 issue of Lucky magazine.  (Hmmmm, I think I smell a giveaway coming!!) I grabbed some fashion pieces to complement the look and the inspiration board was born!

And now, for the fun part...THE GIVEAWAY! In a generous effort to keep my readers looking fabulous this summer, Piret and Tamara will be giving away one of those glorious Surf Eye Silks to one lucky reader!

Here's what you have to do:
1. Visit Piret and Tamara.
2. Shop around for your favorite product! While you are there, why not register as a customer (before July 15th) and you will receive a surprise coupon code good for 15%, 25% or 35% off your first purchase! (You can also follow them on Facebook and Twitter, too!)
3. Come on back over to the Homestyling101 Blog and leave a comment telling me which Piret and Tamara product you just need to have in your makeup bag this season!
4. That's it! Consider yourself entered! Just do this before July 1st. That will be the last day for entries...
5. Winner will be announced July 5th!

Good Luck, beauties!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Peeping Tom Tuesday!

So this is the launch of our new series: Peeping Tom Tuesdays! I bet you readers are so very smart that you can already figure out what this series is going to be about! Ok, for those of you who haven't had your morning coffee yet (or three!) here is how it is going to go down.
Every Tuesday, we will take a peek into a room or home of someone special. I am so excited about this series because as a decorator, I am naturally a voyuer. I love catching a glimpse of people's homes (not just celebrities homes) because what someone chooses to put in their home says so much about them, where they come from and how they like to live. That is the biggest honor of my job: whether staging or decorating, I truly appreciate that people invite me (and my opinions!) into their homes everyday. And that is the true inspiration behind Peeping Tom Tuesdays! Ok, time to get a little naughty and start peeping....

Can you guess who lounges in these living rooms? (Answers at the end!)

Great place to meet the parents....
Kick off your Manolo Blahniks and stay a while...

The true Italian Goddess

A Model Living Room...
Say What You Need to Say- this is a cool room!

Scroll down for the answer key!
And don't forget to enter our first ever-giveaway of Piret and Tamara Surf Eye Silk as seen in Lucky Magazine!

1. Ben Stiller and Christine Taylor
2.Sarah Jessica Parker
3. Donatella Versace
4. Cindy Crawford
5. John Mayer
All courtesy of Elle Decor

Thursday, June 16, 2011

All you need is rugs....

The allure of a great rug can really transcend any room design! In fact, I am known to include some vibrant and graphic rugs to really excite some of the rooms I decorate. I know it is the knee-jerk reaction of some homeowners to select a very neutral, understated rug because they are afraid to make a mistake with a large purchase such as this. Following are some rooms that just come to life because of the rug!




Here are a few affordable and exciting rugs that I have compiled so you can get adventurous in your own homes. Don't be afraid to let your floors do the might be just what your space needs to come to life!

All you need is rugs....


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Great decorating Apps!

On most jobs I go to, I am known to travel with my decorating toolbox. Most clients look at me curiously as I roll this contraption into their home. "What in the world does she keep in there?" they wonder. While I am quite reluctant to divulge the contents of my rolling life-line (featured below)......

....I will expose the contents of my second most reliable toolbox: my iPhone.

Here are some great decorating apps I have come across. Some I have downloaded and some I have not. (Yes, call me cheap but I haven't sprung for the more expensive ones yet. And yes, I am calling a $2.99 app expensive. And yes, I do realize how contradictory it is to pay $6.00 for a coffee at Starbucks but call a $2.99 app expensive. I know, I'm complicated.). Ok, enough self-analysis.

Here are the apps you should check out: (FREE): This app allows you to upload a photograph of the room to be decorated. Insert a select piece of art from their collection into the photograph to see how it would look. I have purchased prints from so I think this is pretty cool to show a client!

Zapd (FREE): As a homeowner, you can create really cool websites for any facet of your life: vacation, graduation, holidays, etc. As a Realtor or Home Stager, it allows you to create a quick website for your clients to show off their newly staged home. Just take pictures with your iPhone, drop them in the website, add links and you've got your own site!

Benjamin Moore Color Capture (FREE)- I am obsessed with this app! Take a picture of any color that moves you and Benjamin Moore will match it to a paint color of theirs. For instance, the manicure chair I was sitting in yesterday was a beautiful match to their color "Kiwi". Even if you aren't in the market to re-paint something, it is still a cool toy!

Kravet Lee Jofa (FREE):  This app features the beautiful fabrics and furniture available through Kravet Lee Jofa and you can search the vast array of fabrics by style, designer, material, color, etc. andy little tool and the fabric prints can serve as a great piece of inspiration.

iHandy Level (FREE): I can't walk by a picture without straightening it (which has caused for some awkward moments at restaurants!) and now my iPhone ensures that I can get it perfect! This is a neat little tool and toy to whip out at a moments notice!

PriceGrabber  (FREE): This app is great to help you comparison shop while in the heat of shopping. Great way to find the best price on anything and I love the handy scanner component!

HomeSizer ($2.99): This nifty little app allows you to calculate square footage of a room, as well as usable square footage of a room. It also tallies up the estimate gross square footage of an entire house! Pretty neat!

Ebay Mobile (FREE): Never miss the end of an auction again! 

addDecor ($3.99): Share, define and refine your design ideas all in one app!

If anyone springs for the expensive apps, drop me a comment and let me know how they are. And if you have a few 'secret weapon' apps of your own, I would love to hear about them!

Friday, June 10, 2011

"I wish you could come to my house!"

When people first hear that I am an Interior Decorator, the most common response is "I wish you could come to my house!"  To which I instantly reply, "I can!". I hand them my card, invite them to call and then often that is where the conversation ends. I feel sad because most times I know those people really would like some decorating intervention but just don't think it is accessible for their home or their budget. 

I think the number one reason people do not hire a decorator is the misguided notion that only wealthy people work with a decorator. So this blog is my attempt to get my bull-horn, stand up on a milk crate and dispel some of the misnomers about working with a decorator. In fact, I'll give you a little glimpse of what I do when I take on a new client to take some of the mystery out of it and show that working with a decorator is more accessible then one would think!

Step One: The introductory phone call. When a new client first comes to me, they explain their project, their ideas, their wishes, their past experiences, their marital problems, troubles with their in-laws, etc....(I kid about the last few but truthfully, the relationship between client and decorator does get very personal after a while. In fact, I am considering getting a backup degree in psychology!!) In this phone call I also explain a bit about the decorating process and how I work with my clients and of course, the budget.

Step Two: In the second step, I come to meet the home for the first time. (And I say 'meet the home' because the home and I become very, very close over the process of decorating!) I take measurements and photos of the space in question along with some adjacent spaces as well. The client fills out a comprehensive questionnaire at this meeting or prior to it so we can get on the same page style-wise. At this point, I lay out a plan of action along with introductory ideas of which direction we should head-in to achieve the desired outcome.

Steps Three, Four and Five: These usually include a series of shopping hours, in which I shop both retail and trade-only vendors to find pieces needed for your space. Here is where one big myth will be laid to rest: as a decorator- I don't ONLY shop at high-end vendors. I shop everywhere from Target, to Pier 1, to the Salvation Army to get you the piece you need at the price that works within your budget. I also receive trade discounts at most of the places I shop and ALL of those discounts get passed along to the client. (Not all decorators work this way but this system has worked best for me and my clients!) I have had many clients say that the discounts they receive through working with me offset my fees...there you have it: (almost!) FREE DECORATING!

The Final Steps: Of course, there are many factors involved in determining how long the project lasts and how many steps are involved but the final step is usually when I add my "Wow Factor!" Once all the major players have been addressed (paint, flooring, furniture plans, window treatments, etc) I shop the market for some very special accessories (artwork, pillows, accessories, etc) and then I come into the space and arrange them. This is usually where we have a big Oprah-moment- as the client comes home and is over whelmed with emotion over the results. They cry, I cry, we hug and then we move on to the next space that needs decorating. (Ok, that might be an over-dramatization- but you get the idea. My clients are very happy but since they have seen the transformation over time, we don't always end up in the 'ugly cry')

So what does it cost? This varies greatly on the project. However, I can tell you that I charge either by the hour or occasionally I charge a flat fee per project. Some projects are very small: I come in and assess what they have, what they need and select a few paint colors. Some projects are much larger in scope: I work with clients over the course of a year moving from one room to the next.

I think the most important take-away in all of this is that everyone should live in a space that they love. If you have difficulty achieving it yourself- seek the help of a professional. Even just a one-hour consultation might set you on the right track. And it might be more reasonable than you think! Visit Homestyling101

Above I included some photos of my top-secret books and folders where I hide all my ideas. There is also a shot of some of my fabric and carpet samples. Below is the quote that sits above my desk. It inspires me as an entrepreneur, it encourages my clients to take risks and perhaps it will inspire you to take action and make your home the home of your dreams

"Don't be afraid to go out on a limb. That's where the fruit is." H. Jackson Browne

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A Coral Exam

As part of my very cool job, I have the arduous task of pouring over countless catalogs, websites, blogs and magazines all about design. One thread I have seen appearing in numerous publications is the naturally occurring, succulent color of CORAL! And I am LOVING it!

When I say coral, I am including colors ranging from a shade that just toes the line of orange to a color just a wee bit lighter than terracotta- what a glorious range of deliciousness!
You can catch coral showing up in the most unexpected places- even this regal formal dining room.

In fact, if you are afraid to commit to coral- consider pairing some of these enticing coral accessories with an already neutral room. Coral plays beautifully off navy blue, yellow, brown and even a light green. Here are a few of my favorite coral picks! (see links and credits below!)

A Coral Story


Williams-Sonoma Home | Printed Capri Stripe Rug
Ikat Melamine Plates | Tablewares | Wisteria
Embroidered Flower Patch Pillow

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Homestyling101 Blog is born!

Ok- I have finally made it my business to blog about my business. So....let's get to it! Before we begin this wonderful journey together, I would like to give you all a bit of background on how I came to do what I do.

I have loved decorating and design since I was just a small precious child, rearranging furniture when my parents least expected it. I carried this passion through my teen years, and was often known to bury my sorrows in a can of paint when boyfriend troubles arose. I think I am the only college student who spent their hard-earned, part-time job money on Fiesta-ware. (Yes, I still have all of it and I swear that my collection is going to fund my children's college education!!)

(Side note: These are just a few of my Fiesta pieces: the green bowl in the background is by far the most valuable piece I own because it was given to me by my Grandmother....or rather, I begged for it after I realized she had a coveted piece of Fiesta among her mish-mash of serving bowls. Of course, she gladly gave it to me and it has been my most cherished piece!)

Needless to say, decorating and design was always a constant in my life. However, after studying Interior Design at FIT, I chose to explore lots of different career outlets (and when you go to school in New York City- you are exposed to sooo many opportunities!) I worked in fashion, publishing, and sales but, design was in my bones and was never too far from my mind.

It wasn't until after I had my two babies that I realized that if I were going to do any job that would take me away from my children- it would have to involve the one thing I loved almost as much as my husband and children and that would be interior design. Hence, I birthed my third greatest creation: Homestyling101, LLC.

Now at Homestyling101, I offer two distinct services. I offer decorating services to both Residential and Commercial clients and I offer Home Staging services to both home-sellers and Realtors. I am excited to have this blog as an avenue to share some of my thoughts, ideas and experiences in this great, crazy-land of design. I hope some of my posts will serve as inspiration for you to strive for accessible design in your own homes!

Whew! Now that the first post is over- I think I got the hang of this. If you are interested in joining the journey, be sure to look at the sidebar to follow or subscribe to Homestyling101, LLC through e-mail. If you are really excited about following along, suggest my blog to the friends who you know are nutty about decorating, too! Oh, and feel free to comment- it gets a little lonely on this side of the blog!