I’m sure all of you have, like myself, had a “what was I thinking” moment. As a designer with hundreds of consultations under my belt, I often thought about writing a book entitled “What Were They Thinking!” So going forward with the benefit of hindsight, I’d like to share with you some past questionable choices of my “not yet” clients in hopes that you can cross these off your list.
What was I thinking when…
I could go on and on – but I had to save at least the next several hundred for that book I’ll be writing. I know many of you chuckled at some of the things on that list because you would never do them, but try comparing a few to your list where the first item might be: “I’ll buy the cheap one now because I’m only going to change it in two years anyway.” (How many of those are still in your house years later?)
Life does get in the way of the best laid plans – but some of us don’t even have a plan and that’s grounds for trouble. So, dear readers – remember that common sense is a great partner in good design as well as in life.
I didn’t imagine when I opened Uniquely Natalie, our quality consignment store, that I would enjoy the interaction with our customers as much as I do. Every week, as our reputation grows, more & more interesting and diverse people enter - and leave as new friends. This past weekend I met a couple, clearly, very much in love. Both, already grandparents, met on the internet, he from California and she from Long Island. And – as true love always finds a way – he left everything behind and came to be with her. When they visited Uniquely Natalie on Saturday, they were looking for a kitchen table. (Their charming new first home together had nothing but a bed, which is not a bad beginning.) When they left on Saturday night, I offered to visit them Sunday morning to check out their digs before the shop opened. By the end of Sunday, they had “designer consignment” furniture for their entire home and were awaiting delivery Monday morning!
I truly believe that I have always been blessed with a sixth sense and that an invisible decorating fairy sits on my shoulder. This Sunday, as I opened my shop, that fairy and I magically found the perfect carpets, sofas, tables, chairs, lamp, ottoman, and butler’s server. As I drew up a floor plan and moved the various items into a viewable vignette to make it easier for them to see my vision when they arrived, I thought about the “second time around”. They had come to my shop looking for “good” things at “good” prices. They wanted to begin their journey in life together with this shopping adventure and were as excited as any young couple first starting out. What a joy for me to see how happy they were with their new possessions - and how excited!
Their history before they met, like the history of all of their pre-owned new possessions, really doesn’t matter. What matters is that the right people and “things” found each other the second time around. It’s so nice to know there is still romance, love, and a little magic in the world. Ah – I love my job. Happy Valentine’s Day!
Be sure to clean up and store all seasonal paraphernalia in an organized fashion ready for re-use next year. Don’t delay. Now’s the time for major renovations plans, as well. Note: Look for outdoor furniture sales.
It’s a good month to keep the house warm and cozy for you and your guests; fireplace ablaze, afghans and throws readily available, a good book handy, kitchen inviting with the delicious smells of something warm and nourishing. In short, curl up and enjoy winter on Long Island.
Note: Check out white sales.
This is definitely the month for spring cleaning of closets and cabinets, re-organization of book shelves and planning for warm weather renovations and redecorating projects.
The new gardening projects (outdoors or in) should be the forefront of your home planning, as well as plumbing and repair work, to keep you house looking young and fresh. Color change can make a big difference. Paint is the least expensive decorating tool with the most.
Outdoor rooms, patio furniture and general replacement of old and worn furnishings can prepare you for summer fun without hassle if you start early enough. Check sprinklers and air conditioning. Is the pool ready to be opened and the lawn furniture cleaned?
If you plan your vacation in this month, make sure your home is secure. Are fire and burglar alarms working, has mail been rerouted and are your sprinklers set so you don’t return to a brown lawn?
Take a weekend “antiquing” on Long Island and find a unique and special something to enhance your home. Also shop the white sales for great bedding buys.
Once the kids are back to school and the golf clubs and tennis rackets are almost put away, think about the fact that Thanksgiving and the holidays are only 8+ weeks away! Pre-plan for home for home renovation and decorating projects now.
Decorating for fall is in! “Do” your porch with bales of hay, pumpkins and scarecrows, gourds and mums. You’ll smile every time you open your front door!
Your holiday shopping list should be dwindling by now. Treat your home to a holiday gift (new TV, mattress, closet organizers, new set of kitchen dishes, bath accessories) that your whole family can enjoy.
This busy month takes you outside your home a great deal. So enjoy it when you’re there with friends and family or alone by filling it with light and love. It can be your safe harbor from the busy world around us, if you take the time and effort to make so. Get rid of the clutter and put “stuff” where it belongs. Bring home a bouquet of flowers, some new throw pillows or floor runner. Treat you home as an extension of yourself – you both deserve it!