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Friday, December 4, 2015

I have a bad CASE of Design Giddy!

BEFORE bath
Island!
Design Giddy?  Yes, that's me right now!  I am giddy about a couple of whole house projects that are in progress and looking ever-so-cool!  Upon completion, I will post photos and share all the details about these homes, but in the meantime, I wanted to share some of the plans and ideas I have for two of the homes I am currently working on.  The first home, a brick two-story in a great neighborhood in Kalamazoo, Michigan, is getting an inside and out remodel.  On the exterior, a new roof & chimney, painted trim & shutters, and a new front door salvaged from an old home in Gull Lake, Michigan.  On the interior, all new flooring, wall colors, updated kitchen, lighting, trim, and new bathrooms.  The greatest feature in this home will be the show-stopping brick wall in the kitchen! 
Salvaged Door
It will be paired with trimmed-out and painted cabinets, quartz countertops and the most unique island you have ever seen.  Add over-sized amber glass pendants and a new patio door, and this kitchen will be party-ready for spring gatherings!  Gone are the days of a corner toilet and vintage wallpaper (not in good shape, otherwise we would have saved it - the wallpaper, not the toilet!). 
This home is now on its way to being warm and cozy with its new hardwood floors and plush carpet.  So now what?  Let the decorating juices flow!  I have been all over town today shopping for inspiration and just the right pieces to complete this remodel.  Starting at KalamazooKitty, I found the perfect mirror to transform into a huge chalkboard.  It will be placed in just the right spot to
Lighting from World Market
keep track of who is coming and who is going.  I gathered curtain panels, lighting, frames, rugs, and odds & ends.  Once the construction is complete and the messes swept away, I will get in there and transform this home into a restful haven for this awesome family of four!  Just down the road in Schoolcraft, Michigan, sits a sprawling ranch with a history a mile long.  Once the meeting place for town officials, it is now home to a family of five.  New windows, garage door and flooring are just the beginning!  This home is getting a brand new kitchen, shiplap walls and ceiling, and bathroom/mudroom remodel.  Metal and wood lighting, a butcherblock island and a stone fireplace will be sure to warm this kitchen up for the winter.  Watch for updates and photos on my facebook page, as well as the post right here, when both homes are complete. 

This is from Kalamazoo...to you!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

My Top 5 November Favorites!

It's hard to believe that November is almost gone.  Snow hit Kalamazoo, Michigan, last night, which will catapult Michiganders right into the holiday spirit.  But before December arrives, I want to recap what I loved this month:

My Favorite Pin:
Found on Indulgy.com
Before I start telling you about all the things I LOVE about this space, scroll down to the bottom of this post and look at My Favorite Piece at  KalamazooKitty Right Now.  These two photos go hand-in-hand, so if you want to recreate this beautiful room, now you know where to shop for the giant cubbies and the metal chairs.  About THOSE cubbies...they are awesome!  What a great "buffet" in a dining room!  With oodles of storage for glasses and dishes, you won't need your grandma's china cabinet any longer (so bring it to KalamazooKitty to consign).  Whether the cubbies are painted like this one, or natural old wood like the photo from my store, it will do the trick.  Paired with the farmhouse metal chairs and the industrial lights, this would make a great dining room, office or craft room.  Check out ShadesofLight.com for similar lighting.

My Favorite Exterior:
Found on popsugar.com
Named "Riverbend" by Paula Deen, this adorable cottage is situated on her 5.5 acre estate in Savannah, GA.  It is just loaded with details!  A spire, a metal roof and a front porch?  Say no more!  And in Savannah, Georgia?!  I'm in love :).  The wood front door is the perfect warm touch to this stark white exterior and hard metal roof.  A cozy sitting area for morning coffee sits just outside the pretty white windows that are adorned with black shutters and metal shutter dogs.  I love the way the porch posts frame out the door and windows, and support the secondary roof with the most perfect wood corbels.  Don't overlook the enormous live oaks and perennials that soften the walkway leading up to the cottage.  Some hanging ferns bring the fresh green color up to the building, making it a little more difficult to peek in the windows!  However, the little bit that we can see from the photo makes me believe that the inside of this space is just as amazing as the outside.  Please, Paula...can I be your guest???


My Favorite DIY Project:
Done by Jenna Sue Design
What a transformation!  I have done similar techniques in the past, but her photos and directions are incredible!  With a few simple products (wood veneer and boards), Jenna Sue took a slab door and turned it into an amazing piece of art.  This door was then stained, but could easily be painted, as well.  You could do a solid color, painted and waxed to enhance the wood texture, stain it gray, or whatever fits your style.    If tools and wood aren't your thing, check out your local salvage places for cool old doors.  Be sure to hit Heritage Company in downtown Kalamazoo, MI.  You have never seen so many doors in one place!  You may get lucky and find just the right size you need, at a price you can afford.  Don't forget to check KalamazooKitty!  We get old doors (and windows) in often.  Whether you create this door, or find one already done, be sure to freshen up the hinges and doorknob.  Jenna Sue even added a cool lantern fixture from World Market.  Awesome project!




My Favorite Christmas Look:
Found Here!
WOW!  Okay, not everyone has a magnificent bedroom like this, but we can all take away some great ideas to achieve a similar look.  I found this on Pinterest and love it!  Yes, the holiday decor is beautiful, and I'll get to that in a minute, but check out the vaulted ceiling, shelf above the bed, chandelier and incredible furniture!  Right now at KalamazooKitty, you could find something similar to almost everything in this room.  We have letters to spell words, 4 poster beds, antique dressers for side tables, settees, chandeliers, metal bins and Christmas trees!  Speaking of Christmas, let's take a closer look at what was used to make this room so cozy and filled with the Christmas spirit.  Greens!  They are on the chandelier and headboard in the form of garland, and several trees, including the beautiful flocked Christmas tree, carry the greenery throughout the space.  The color scheme is simple, with only creams, red and green, which help make the room soothing and calm.  The word NOEL takes center stage up high above the bed on a simple rail that extends the length of the room.  A handful of Christmas trees finish off the look and each are decorated simply, or not at all.  I love the use of the metal bin at the end of the bed to hold the miniature Christmas tree!  There are no rules against decorating your bedroom for the holidays, so why not have a little fun with it?!

My Favorite Piece @ KalamazooKitty Right Now:
Old Cubbies found at KalamazooKitty Portage Rd.
As mentioned above, I chose this section of KalamazooKitty because it was perfect for My Favorite Pin (above).  Imagine the dining room you could create with these old cubbies!  Add those metal industrial chairs around a farmhouse table, and you have that Industrial Chic room that I would certainly drool over.  Dining Room not big enough?  Place the cubbies in a craft room, basement or mudroom!  With a long craft table and those metal chairs...Ooh la la :). 

So whether you are decorating for the holidays, or decorating for everyday living, there are many details you can pull from the beautiful pictures on Pinterest to help you achieve the look you are after.  Once you have a vision for your space, visit your local resale, consignment and thrift stores to pull it all together on a budget. 
That wraps up November, 2015.  Here we come, December, ready or not!

This is from Kalamazoo...to you!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Deck the Halls...

Windows of Vintage Sleds
Yes, it is time!  Every year brings a new holiday season.  A season filled with SNOW, shopping and holiday decor.  Are you ready?  It's time to start decking the halls and checking people off our lists.  I, personally, have only found a few things to check off my list so far, so I better get moving!  Somehow Christmas Eve always sneaks up on me and I wonder how it happened so fast.  So now that Halloween is passed us and we have "fallen" back in time, it's time to dig through our holiday boxes and bins and see what can stay and what must go.  Go where, you ask?  KalamazooKitty, of course!  Bring in those vintage ornaments, holiday decorations and anything else that no longer fits into your theme.  We LOVE that stuff!  And speaking of stuff...it is time to D E C O R A T E (the stores, anyway).
Saturday, November 7, 2015, we will be kicking off the holiday season with our annual Holiday Open House at the West Main location (the Portage Rd. location Holiday Open House will be Sat., Nov. 14th, 2015 from 10-6).  So how do we do it?  How do we decorate 18,000 sf in a matter of hours?  Elves!
No, this is not an Elf!
Okay, maybe not elves, but certainly an awesome group of volunteers.  Here is how it goes down:
After closing on the Friday before the Open House at 6pm,  it is GO time!  We assemble in groups and tackle different areas of the store.  Each area is adorned with a beautiful Christmas tree to showcase the theme.  Lit from top to bottom, these trees feature vintage ornaments, Hallmark ornaments and anything else that came in on consignment.  We have hundreds of ornaments throughout the store each year!  The themes are carefully thought out and chosen prior to this evening, based on what arrived at each location.  We usually have an entire area decked out with snowmen, one with santas, a vintage area, as well as a children's corner.  The themes are located throughout the store to guide shoppers through our indoor winter wonderland.  Don't miss the beautiful centerpieces, holiday tablescapes and dishes for Thanksgiving dinner!  In addition to the consignment pieces, we always have great displays within the booths. 
Branches and Cardinals
There you will find metal reindeer, gifts for teachers, and wreaths made from vintage ornaments.  Gifts?  Of course!  You will find the perfect gift for your boss, your best friend and your mom.  Not to mention your neighbor, the mail carrier and your great uncle Sam.  When the store opens at 10 am Saturday morning, the windows will be adorned with a magical theme, there will be treats for your shopping pleasure, and more decorations than your eyes can take in!  Speaking of windows, let's flash back at the previous holiday window displays.  What do cotton balls, sleds, branches and stars all have in common?  KalamazooKitty front windows!
Cotton balls in the windows!
What will it be this year?  Well believe it or not, I spend all year thinking up my window displays.  I always work in multiples, and try to find readily-available items.  To date, my favorite window display was the cotton balls!  It was definitely the most time-consuming, but it had a great wintry look, at a rare moment when Kalamazoo, Michigan didn't have any snow!  There is only one way to find out what is inside the windows, and in the windows, at KalamazooKitty...come to the Holiday Open Houses!

This is from Kalamazoo...to you!

Friday, October 23, 2015

My Laundry Room "Wall"

My New Laundry Room!
Laundry Room?  Mudroom?  Craft room?  It doesn't matter what you
Laundry/Mudroom BEFORE
call it, I have this awesome room in my house that could serve many purposes. In fact, this is the room that really sold me on this house the minute we walked through the door.  I don't know the real history behind this space, but I would venture to guess that it was originally a bedroom, then an office, and finally a laundry room.  It is quite large at 10x15, and is also open to my back door entry.  Because of this, it is essentially a giant mudroom/laundry room combo.  Who wouldn't love that?!  The black and cream checkered floors are from the previous owners and I really kind of like them, so for now, they stay.  As for the walls, I don't mind blue, but this existing blue needs to go (put that on the to-do list!).
Laundry Room BEFORE
So why the new "wall"?  Many reasons, actually.  As KalamazooKitty has grown over the years, so has the need for a home office.  Yes, I could make a huge office in the basement, but I just don't think I would really use it down there.  And anyone who lives in a Cape Cod like me, knows that we just don't have extra rooms sitting around unused!  In addition to my need for a home office, my husband essentially works from home and needs a space as well (he is a Realtor with Jaqua Realtors in Kalamazoo, Michigan).  I also didn't have a great spot to organize bills, school papers or anything else to do with our
Office "wall" AFTER
home or businesses.  After pondering this for quite some time, I came up with one room as my only option: my laundry room!  Do I move the laundry downstairs where it probably originally was?  Do we divide the space by building a wall and creating two separate rooms?  Do we just set up the office within the laundry room and live with it?  Quite honestly, I didn't love any of those options.  I did not want to permanently change the room that sold me this house originally, in the event that we decide to sell at some point ourselves.  I also didn't want to move the laundry downstairs because it would be inconvenient, and again, not a great selling point in the future.  So in order to achieve my office, keep the laundry upstairs and maintain the mudroom, I decided to build a temporary wall to divide this large room into two smaller, more functional rooms.
Laundry Room BEFORE
So off to my stores I went!  I already had the tall multi-drawer cabinet and the black filing cabinet (both came from KalamazooKitty!), but I needed more "pieces" to create a two-sided wall that was functional, yet super cool!  I picked up some old milk crates that had actually been consigned twice (I love it when cool things come back!), some wood crates, metal locker bins, an organizer, a couple chicken feeders (what?!), some metal file bins, an old Steelcase desk, a burlap memo board, a time card slot, and even a metal dog!  Wait....there's more: a plug-in vintage hanging clock, a huge metal bell, an old darkroom timer, some hooks for drying clothes, a desk lamp, an egg basket, a bottle-drying rack, some old windows, a SLOW sign and an old-school pencil sharpener!  Who knew you could build a wall shopping only at KalamazooKitty?!  
Office "wall" AFTER
After collecting a few more things around my house that I already
Office "wall AFTER
had purchased at my stores, I started assembling my "wall".  In reality, I had no idea how I was going to take this pile of awesome stuff and turn it into a two-sided functional wall, but I knew what I wanted it to look like in the end.  So I started out with the tall drawer unit and the filing cabinet, then continued building off of those.  Much to my surprise, the boxes and bins fit together perfectly and took up the exact amount of space I had!  I faced some open-side to the "office" and others open-side
to the "laundry room".  I then, BY MYSELF, moved the Steelcase desk into the "room" that would now be my new office.  I just love that desk!  It is old, imperfect and full of storage.  I next added the accessories to my wall and desk, hung a window, filing bin and time card slot, and my office was complete!  For now, I left the original wall of cubbies that store our shoes, mittens, and office supplies.  In the future, I want to replace it with wall to wall, floor to ceiling, butcherblock shelves to hold some more old bins or crates.  Remember, this office is also part of the "mudroom", so I need to keep shoe and boot storage for sure...this is Michigan, afterall!
Laundry Room "wall" AFTER
Onto the "laundry room" side...I hung my ironing board on the backside of the tall drawer cabinet, hung accordion metal hooks across the milk crates for drying clothes, stacked wood bins above my existing cabinets, then added a houndstooth rug!  I love this room!  It isn't too small, it's super cute and it somehow makes the chore of doing laundry a tiny bit better (maybe)!  The "wall" holds a waste basket, my cowboy boots and hand towels.  I can sort my kids' clothes into the bins to get them off the top of the washer and dryer. Yes, I would like to stack my washer and dryer someday and add a butcherblock countertop, but for now...this works!
The best part of this renovation is that it is all temporary.  I didn't even screw the bins together, but if you have small children who like to climb, I would recommend attaching them together and to the walls on either side!  I managed to gain a much-needed office for myself and my husband, a laundry room that is functional and fun, all while maintaining my mudroom and storage areas.  And because it can all be removed in a matter of minutes, I didn't change the footprint of the house, or take away any great selling features in the process.  This is what I call a WIN-WIN!

This is from Kalamazoo...to you!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Q & A by Kitty

Do you sleep?  Where do you shop?  What does your house look like?  Do you ever take off your cowboy boots?  How did your hair get so long?  Do you decorate homes?  And so on.  Over the years, I have heard many of the same questions over and over again.  So this is a little Q & A with some of the most common questions I've been asked:

Design by Kitty Copeland, Photo by Connie Arnsman
1. Do you decorate homes?  Absolutely!  That is my fun, my outlet, my joy.  What started out about 19 years ago as decorating for fun, quickly turned into a full-time career.  I had graduated from Western Michigan University with a teaching degree and was living in a local apartment.  During the summer, I spent hours and hours watching Lynette Jennings and Christopher Lowell.  Remember them?!  It was then that I realized how much I love home design.  I started practicing on my apartment, my first home and several friends' homes, as well.  It very quickly became my passion!  I continued to teach for a while, but I started getting too busy with my new career that I didn't return to teaching after my son was born.  I am currently still decorating homes throughout the Kalamazoo area and just love it!  Check out this link for a few photos of work I had professionally photographed (most of my work has not been photographed, other than on my phone).  In the past year I have gone back to teaching at the KalamazooKitty West Main location.  This time I teach how to paint furniture and how to stage your home to sell, rather than geography and math.  There!  Can't say I'm not using my degree!

Nashville, TN
2. Do you ever take your cowboy boots off?  I have to admit, my boots are a pretty recent find.  I had been searching high and low for a pair of boots that will slide onto my feet, with no luck.  I have a VERY high arch, which prevents my foot from sliding into many types of shoes, including cowboy boots.  So I set out to the greatest place in the world for a pair of boots...Nashville, Tennessee!  We went into endless shops with hundreds of boots lining the walls, floor and ceiling.  I left with nothing.  Not a single boot would slide onto my foot, unless it was 2 sizes too big.  Then I realized what I needed, and it was right in front of my face all along!  I needed a USED pair of boots.  Of course!  So I started hitting the clothing consignment shops all over Kalamazoo in search of that perfect pair.  I soon realized that cowboy boots in Michigan are few and far between.  Luckily a great friend of mine told me about a used sale last spring at the Fairgrounds, and I hit the jackpot!  I found not just one, but two pairs of perfectly worn boots in just my size (unfortunately for me, they also happened to be my daughter's size as well).  So back to the answer...Yes, occasionally!  I tend to "work" in tennis shoes and "live" in my boots.  I am now mildly intrigued by the cowboy boot industry.  Enough so, that I think I want to start taking them in on consignment!  More on that in the future...

My house :)
3. What does my house look like?  Well...I have three kids, a husband, a big dog, and a neighborhood full of kids who travel from one house to the next on any given weekend.  I try to keep it clean and picked up, but let's be real!  My house does have an occasional bad day.  Keeping this in mind, I decorated it with kid-friendly materials and surfaces.  It is casual, comfortable and a great place to call home!  I am a huge fan of decorating a home to fit the style of the exterior.  I live in an adorable cape cod that just screams CHILL OUT.  It has a casual feel from the moment you walk up the driveway.  My flower gardens are informal and my Adirondack chairs beckon you to take a load off.  We recently painted the exterior a custom color that has been named "Kitty's House Color".  It is dark gray one day, metallic the next and even green on occasion, depending on the sunlight.  I didn't want my house to be the color of anyone else's, which is why I created the color myself. 
My Laundry Room
My Family Room
So the interior follows right along.  Every "public" room in my home is a color that compliments the exterior.  I chose all my paint colors from one card in the Sherwin Williams fan deck so that all the rooms would flow seamlessly.  My colors are: Rice Grain, Ramie, and Favorite Tan.  My house, however, is nowhere near complete!  When you do the work yourself, it takes a whole lot longer (be patient, oh husband of mine).  I included a few photos of my home, but I haven't had it professionally photographed yet...that will come when it is finally complete!  Look at my post on how to "build" my laundry room wall!

KalamazooKitty.com @ Portage Rd.
4.  Why did I open KalamazooKitty?  I needed a place to shop!  My decorating business was in full swing, and I found myself shopping online or traveling to bigger cities to find the perfect pieces for my clients.  I always try to achieve a comfortable, lived-in look when I decorate a home.  This is nearly impossible to do entirely at a new furniture store.  I saw a need in Kalamazoo for a consignment furniture store for the homeowner who doesn't have a huge budget.  So after much research and planning, I opened in June of 2011 at 4217 Portage Rd. in Kalamazoo (flash back to another post to see where it all began).  It flourished immediately and I found myself running out of space in that 10,000 sf building!  That led me to open the 6883 West Main location in 2014.  Also a huge building at 8,000 sf, it filled up in a matter of days!  We still never turn down furniture due to lack of space, but we could always use another 20,000 sf if it were available!  Both locations are packed with furniture, lamps, accessories, rugs and more.  Everything for the home and then some, including decorating ideas galore!

KalamazooKitty.com @ West Main
5.  Where do I shop for my clients and myself?  Anywhere and everywhere!  I start at KalamazooKitty, of course!  However, due to the nature of consignment, I can't always find the exact piece I need for a particular room at a particular time.  If you don't buy it when you see it, it's gone forever!  That means I head out shopping other local consignment stores, thrift stores, Target and even TJMaxx and Marshalls.  Those places are great for sheets and towels, which I prefer to buy new rather than used.  Kalamazoo is now blessed with many great consignment and resale shops that fit any budget!  When I first moved here from the Detroit area when I was 19 years old, I felt like there was no place to shop in Kalamazoo.  That is no longer the case!  People travel from miles away to shop Kalamazoo because we have unique shops that can't be found anywhere else.  Way to go Kalamazoo, Michigan!

Those are just a few of the questions that I am asked on a regular basis.  Of course there are many more!  Yes, I sleep...when I can turn my brain off!  I suffer from a brain condition called creativity.  I am always, and I mean always, thinking about new ideas, new concepts and new design.  My greatest ideas always come while I am "sleeping".  Nite...

This is from Kalamazoo...to you!

Monday, September 28, 2015

My Top 5 September Favorites!

My Favorite Pin:
Found on digsdigs.com
The ceiling?  The floors?  The walls?  The furniture?  Where do I begin?!  I think the best part about this room isn't the stuff in it, but the warmth created from it.  It is loaded with textures, natural elements and "found" objects.  The color palette contains layers of natural colors from whites and brown, to tans and black.  The walls in this room are cream painted horizontal boards that extend up onto the ceiling.  Down south, this treatment is called shiplap.  Once used as an inexpensive alternative to plaster, it is now a must-have look across the country.  The hewn log beams then become the focal point of the space; dividing it up just enough to add interest and dimension.  Speaking of interest, did you notice the giant black lanterns?!  They are absolutely stunning in this home.  I love the addition of metal to every room of the house, and these lanterns do just the trick.  Wondering where to find an old wood lobster cage?  KalamazooKitty of course!  There is one at the West Main location this very moment.  Need an old wood door to top it off?  You will find one of those at KalamazooKitty, as well.  This combination of two natural elements makes a unique coffee table that you won't see at your neighbor's house! A glass lamp, a cream sofa and some fresh flowers, and that is one beautiful room!

My Favorite Exterior:
Found on littlegreennotebook.blogspot.com
Whether you call it a garage, guest house or home, this is a gorgeous building!  I love the color combination; or should I say lack there of?  Crisp white against black shutters is always a classic choice, but this time it is paired with a weathered shake roof that makes it look elegant and casual, all at the same time.  The mutton bars in the little upstairs windows add subtle detail, as do the metal barn lights over the main floor openings.  The shutters even have shutter dogs attached, but the crowning touch...the cupola!  Covered in a contrasting shake, it stands out as the centerpiece, without being bold enough to ruin the beautiful, subtle feel of this exterior.  Some well-placed vents, and it is truly a masterpiece!  I sure would love to be a guest in this guest house...if only I knew who owned it!


My Favorite DIY Project:
Found on urbanejane.com
Who isn't sick of their grout color in their bathroom, kitchen or laundry room?  We all are!  But before you start ripping out your tile or chiseling out your grout, try painting it!  Now available at home improvement stores, grout pens are saving floors and backsplashes all across America.  It goes on easy and wipes right off the tile if you make a booboo.  It may even take you right back to your days of coloring as a child, but this time stay ON the lines, not IN the lines!  You will find that the pens don't go very far so you will probably need many, but it is still cheaper than installing a whole new floor.

 My Favorite Fall Look:
Found on homestoriesatoz.com
Last month I posted a pin of my favorite fall look that was pretty traditional, as far as colors go.  This time I was drawn to this blue door and white pumpkins!  Who said pumpkins have to be orange, anyway?!  Well, it wasn't just the pumpkins that caught my eye, I actually like many things about this porch.  The door color is a dusty aqua that makes the black hardware pop, but it is the black that is carried throughout this look that makes it all flow so nicely.  The black lantern light, the planters and the painted house numbers, all stand out from the road.  A simple grapevine wreath with dried hydrangeas and a burlap bow,  are exactly what this door needs to enhance it, not hide it.  More hydrangeas in the pots and a copper mailbox give this porch a simple, yet pretty entrance that whispers fall, rather than screams it.  Maybe this year will be the year that more and more people think outside the box when it comes to fall colors and decorations.  As for me...I'm sticking with my creepy white ghosts and skeletal dog!


My Favorite Piece @ KalamazooKitty Right Now:
Reclaimed Piece @ KalamazooKitty
Made by hand by a local craftsman, this piece is nothing short of awesome!  A kitchen island?  Of course!  This reclaimed wood piece would bring the Industrial Chic into your kitchen in an instant.  With drawers for silverware and a spot for pots and pans, it would not only be functional, it would be the conversation piece at your next party!  Is there anything better than old wood and metal, married together in perfect harmony?!  Kitchen too small?  How 'bout a bathroom vanity?  Drop a couple of sinks in there and show off the plumbing underneath, and you are on your way to the most unique master bathroom in your neighborhood.  This could also bring a dining room to life as a buffet, or make the perfect bar for a basement family room.  One thing is for sure, you will never see another like it...and something this cool... can only be found at KalamazooKitty!

This closes out September, supermoon lunar eclipse and all!
Photo taken by my daughter


This is from Kalamazoo...to you!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Let's Shed a Little Light!

Found on laylagrayce.com
With the holidays quickly approaching, my thoughts are always drawn toward lighting.  Whether it is holiday decorating, entertaining or just making your home sparkle, lighting is the key to making everything in your space pop!  So now is the time to think about updating your lighting in every room before you start breaking out holiday decorations or tackling your oh-so-very-long-shopping list. The most important room in your home is your kitchen.  It hosts huge family gatherings on weekends, and serves as homework-central during the week.  It is the hub of your daily family activities and deserves to be lit with beautiful, yet very functional, ceiling fixtures.  To start with, most homes feature a window over the kitchen sink.  In addition to that, most homes have a can light (or "puck light", as Candice Olson would say) centered over that window.  This is such an easy fix!  I know you have shopped around Pinterest, drooling over the beautiful pendants that hang so perfectly over kitchen sinks.  With an easy screw-in adapter, you can have a pendant light in your own home in just a few minutes!  Grab a kit at your local home improvement store in the color of your choice.  I almost always prefer the black, but go with what works in your space. 
Pendant Light Kit
Pop out your existing light bulb and screw in the pendant.  It really is that easy!  Now the fun part...choosing a shade.  You can choose glass, basket weave, metal or even chicken wire shades to adorn your space.  In fact, these are usually pretty inexpensive and can be switched out for the holidays or whenever you darn well please!  The next area that needs to be addressed is your kitchen ceiling fixture. 
Flush Mount Fixture
If you have a large florescent light from the 90's, or a builder-grade flush mount light, it needs to go!  Lighting has become so reasonably priced that there is no reason to live with something you absolutely hate. The one pictured left is one of my favorite flush mount lights for a kitchen that I have found. It offers great lighting, has a nice shape and is usually the perfect size (I also use this fixture in laundry rooms and hallways).  The most important lighting in the kitchen is the lighting over the island or peninsula.  Let me start by saying...if you have a huge island in your kitchen, it is SCREAMING for a chandelier or two! 
Found on SouthernLiving.com
So many people shy away from chandeliers in kitchens, but you absolutely should not!  A chandelier says, "I know what I am doing!".  If you can't take that mental plunge into a chandelier, opt for some unique, totally awesome pendants.  But whatever you do, don't match them to your sink pendant!  We don't need to be all matchy-matchy with our lighting; unless you're into the boring kitchen look. 
Found on deringhall.com
Add some pizzazz to your space with something that compliments the features in your kitchen.  If you hung glass over your sink, use metal or wood over your peninsula. 
Found on wayfair.com
These days, the kitchen usually has an attached eating area.  Whether it is your only dining room, or just a nook, it still needs adequate lighting.  This is a great place for a round drum chandelier or an antique brass one found at KalamazooKitty!  Whatever the combination of lighting you choose for your sink, island and nook, just make sure they all compliment each other, never match, and provide the lighting you need to cook, clean and entertain.  The best way to achieve that is by installing dimmer switches to each and every fixture, and not just in your kitchen either!  Need more light?  Adding under cabinet lighting or up-lighting above your cabinets will do the trick.  There are TONS of options for these spaces at the home improvement stores.  Again, remember to make sure they are dimmable!
Found on Houzz.com
The foyer may not be the most used space in your home, but it is usually the first thing your guests see when they walk through your front door.  If I could survey every reader right this moment, I would be willing to bet 95% of you wish you had a different foyer light fixture.  It is either shiny brass, tacky cut-glass, too small or too large, or just plain old ugly!  With all the great lighting companies out there now, and a pretty awesome selection at the home improvement stores, what are you waiting for?!  If buying something new is holding you up, I have a few suggestions: shop at KalamazooKitty for something locally made, vintage or antique, or alter the one you have.  If you love the size and shape of your existing fixture, remove it and spray paint it!  Just make sure you clean it up really well first, then spray prime and spray paint it the color of your choice.  My best chandelier painting tip for you: hang it from a tree branch so you can get all around it without ever touching it.  There are also ways to alter an existing light fixture by switching out the glass shade for a fabric one, or vice versa.  Often times the inside structure is decent, it just needs an outside facelift (don't we all!).  Always hire an electrician if you are not familiar with electrical work!
Lastly, most family rooms and living rooms across America are tainted with totally outdated ceiling fans.   Worse yet...fans with light kits hanging from them!  Now I do realize that fans can be a much needed, and very refreshing addition to a large space, but they don't have to be brass, white or a combination of the two.  Can you spend a fortune on a fan?  YES!  Do you have to?  NO! 
Found on Oddee.com
Check around town, go online and do your research.  Chances are you will find an awesome replacement fan without breaking the bank.  In the event that you never use your existing fan, or you decide you would be fine without one, by all means switch it out for a chandelier! 
Again, make sure it is large enough for the space and provides enough lighting and ambiance to make your room come to life.  In addition to overhead lighting, add plenty of lamps and/or sconces around the room for reading a book or knitting a Christmas sweater.  Avoid matching your lamps, unless you pair two together on a sofa table or piano.
If you can tackle the lighting in those few rooms in your home before the holidays kick in, you will totally impress your guests!  It will also help your holiday decorations sparkle and give you just the right light you need for baking Christmas cookies with your kids.  Be sure to take before and after pictures and ALWAYS email them to me so I can join in the excitement of an updated space!

This is from Kalamazoo...to you!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Creating an Entire Room on a Consignment Budget: PART 2


Consignment Bedroom AFTER!
Where do I begin?!  This was so much fun!  My post last week (read here) was a shopping trip through the Portage Rd. KalamazooKitty location.  My goal...to start and finish an entire room on a consignment store budget.  Before I dig into the details of this bedroom, I want to mention that some of the pieces I chose for this room, sold last week.  Because of that, I took another stroll around the store and found some great replacements, and I couldn't be happier with the results!  Again, everything (except the mattresses) in this room came from KalamazooKitty.   Did I say room?  It is really just a corner in the back room of the store!
Before
Red, Navy & Cream Chair
So let's take a closer look at the pieces I chose and why.  The inspiration piece of the bedroom...the red, navy and cream chair!  This chair set the look and feel of the room, which made it easy to pull the rest of the pieces together.  Paired with a throw, small pillow and magazine rack, it is now the perfect place to read your favorite blog first thing in the morning :).
Although the chair set the stage for the room, the headboard stole the show!  This barn door is the perfect size for a twin bed, but turned horizontally and hung on the wall, it would make a great guestroom headboard for either a full or queen.  It is clean and still has the original hardware at the top!  The two simple, black and white drawings flank the headboard and make the room feel like it has evolved over time.  The bed is adorned with some gray and cream pillows, a gray coverlet and a beautiful handmade wool blanket.  Made locally in Kalamazoo, this blanket is stunning!  We also have a pink and a gray one at the Portage Rd. location right now.  Moving on...
At the end of the bed is a gray patterned upholstered bench with a couple of primitive pillows.  The original bench I chose for this room was for a queen bed, however I was limited on space, so I went with a twin. 
Wool Blanket in Cream
Tucked under the bench are two vintage suitcases.
Not just for looks, you can store old photos, yearbooks or tax papers in these beauties!  On either side of the bed I went with unmatched "nightstands".  Have you ever seen me match anything?! 
Barndoor Headboard
Remember, bedroom "sets" should never be purchased if you want your room to feel cozy and lived-in.  Always mix it up with stained pieces, painted pieces, old and new.  The table on the left is an incredible antique that has been painted black and stenciled, then distressed.  The legs and curves on this piece are amazing!  It is also the perfect height next to a bed. I find that most people have nightstands that are far too low for comfort and style.  On the right is a two-tiered, antique table with cream paint and a dark stain.  It is sturdy and offers a comfortable height for a plant or lamp.  Speaking of plants, the large Baby Tears in a gray pot was just the right size for this sweet table.  Yes, we have live plants...at both locations to boot!  The plant would not be complete without the sleepy owl that sits just beside it.  The industrial lamps from my last post didn't make the cut because they sold.  I'm not at all surprised because those lamps were super cool!  I replaced them with an old wood arm lamp with a cream shade.  Sharing the surface of that black side table, is a pair of gold birds and some old novels.  As we move around the room, you will see a collection of reclaimed pieces making up the wall next to the bed.  The massive, beautiful buffet in black is the perfect piece for a large wall. 
Lampshade Light Effect
Pillows & Art
It offers storage and beauty all in one!  Above it, I placed a huge old window with many panes.  It fills the wall without overwhelming it.  The large newspaper bird rests against the window, and an old metal tray holds a vintage brush and candle.  Set off with the two black lamps and a retro clock, this buffet makes quite a statement!  I found the woven shades for the lamps in KalamazooKitty as well, and they cast the most incredible shadows around the room!  Leaning against the large wall to the left of the buffet, sit two old ladders and a red, navy and cream throw.  This brings the color from the chair over to this side of the room, making it all work together beautifully.  Last, but certainly not least, is a deep red woven rug under the foot of the bed.  Every bed deserves a rug!  It anchors the room and pulls all the colors and textures together.
And there you have it...a complete bedroom using all consignment store pieces!  Whether you are on a tight budget, or you just want a lived-in comfortable look, consignment store shopping is the way to go!  All these pieces are back on the sales floor at the Portage Rd. location and available for purchase. 
Light Shadows from Lampshades
Not sure how to pull this off for yourself?  Just ask!  We are there to help in any way we can.  And by the way, this type of look, and many more, are what you can expect with KalamazooKitty Home Staging.  Don't try to sell an outdated home!  I can bring your home back to life so it sells quickly and for more money!  Shop consignment to live, or shop consignment to sell.  Either way, your home will be beautiful; done on a consignment store budget!

This is from Kalamazoo...to you!