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Monday, September 28, 2015

My Top 5 September Favorites!

My Favorite Pin:
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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:
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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:
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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:
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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 you!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Let's Shed a Little Light!

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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! 
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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. 
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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. 
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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!
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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 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! 
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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 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 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!
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 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 you!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Creating an Entire Room on a Consignment Budget! Part 1

Inspiration Piece
Can it really be done?  Can you find everything, and I mean everything, you need at KalamazooKitty to start and finish a room beautifully?  Of course!  This, however, isn't news to me since I use items from my store everyday to decorate homes across the Kalamazoo area.  I also hear customer after customer tell me that their entire home has been furnished by KalamazooKitty!  So if you have never been to either location, you should know that both stores, combined, equal about 18,000 sf of furniture, accessories, art and more.  With thousands of items at each store, it is not only possible to completely furnish a room from KalamazooKitty, it is possible to completely furnish a home!  This post is part one of a two-part post that will feature the items this week, and then the furnished room next week.  In this case, a bedroom!  So I started out this morning, before the stores opened, in search of an inspiration piece.  I like to find the piece that will be my jumping-off point first, then the rest is easy.  So I found this chair! It has a beautiful color palette of red, navy blue, and yellow.  I totally love navy blue right now, so this was perfect!  With this chair in mind, I set off in search of a twin bed or headboard.  After looking through many great options, I settled on an old barn door for the headboard. 
Industrial Lamp
Black Lamp
Unique, fun and a little Industrial Chic; it was right up my alley!  On a side note, you will not find mattresses at KalamazooKitty (that would be gross!).  Next on my list was lamps. I found two industrial ones for next to the bed, two black ones, and also a floor lamp.  I'm not a huge fan of the shades on the black lamps, but we have lampshades for sale as well, so I can always find another option.  You may be wondering if I always shop in such an orderly way?  The answer is YES!  At KalamazooKitty, there is so much to see that I can only hunt for one item at a time, or I get completely distracted and overwhelmed.  Moving on...bedding was next on my list.  I found a brown bedskirt and a red quilt.  We don't have a ton of bedding in the stores because we are quite picky about it being basically brand new or we just don't accept it all.  Time for art!  I found a giant black and white bird, some sweet black and white drawings and a huge old white window.  My next target was storage.  I needed a dresser or two, and some nightstands (all are pictured below).  I opted for a beautiful black buffet to use as a dresser to add some character to the space, as well as a creamy yellow dresser for more storage.  A mid-century bench for the end of the bed and some accessories will finish off the room nicely.  Wow!  I can already see it in my head.  It will be eclectic, trendy, warm and inviting!  Feel free to browse through the photos of the items I mentioned (pardon the arrangement of the photos...I can't seem to line them up!), and tune back in next week to see the finished room!  All items shown are for sale at the Portage Rd. location.  DISCLAIMER: If an item from my list sells this week, I will replace it with another, equally awesome, piece from KalamazooKitty!
This is from you!

Floor Lamp

Large Bird


Black Buffet

Vintage Clock

Old Books

Red Quilt

Side Table

Mid-Century Bench

Old Crates

Wood Ladder


B/W Drawings
Old Dresser

Side Table

Live Plants

Old Metal Tray

Old White Window (look closely)