What is a "man cave" and how do I make one as a surprise for my husband for Father's Day?
OWN A PIECE OF HISTORY-
Stop by this weekend!
Limited Edition 911 Flag Pictures Signed by Fire Commission Tom Von Essen & Photographer Jack Ader -
Various Sizes and options readily available - custom orders upon request.
This commemorative must have photo art piece, reproduced as a fine giclee canvas as well as other mediums, is the ideal addition to any home. Long Island photographer, Jack Ader, has captured the essence of American resilience in this poignant reminder of the terrorist attack on New York's Twin Tower, 9/11/2001.
This flag was miraculously recovered from the rubble, and is on display at the Tribute Center in NYC. It has become the iconic image of the 9/11 Families Association. 50% of proceeds of flag sales are donate to the Families Association.
Stop by and meet Jack at Uniquely Natalie.
I’m getting ready to re-do my bathroom which is sorely outdated and don’t want to make any mistakes. Do you have some tips or guidelines to follow?
Thanks so much,
A bathroom redo is great for you and for your home’s resale value, as well. If you are gutting your room, you may have the opportunity to change the layout of your fixtures, but be careful you don’t incur major plumbing expenses by doing so. You could, however, gain more space by changing a corner tub to a straight tub. The days of the tile steps on a diagonal leading up to the tub are over. They were so dangerous and waste valuable space. Some people rarely use their tubs. If you’re one of those and have a tub in another bathroom, you might consider replacing the tub entirely with a terrific large shower with all the bells and whistles. That might leave space for “his and “her” separate vanities, bench seating or even a fireplace (electric) with a T.V. over it. There’s no end to what folks might like to do to their bathrooms.
In addition, there are so many great sinks made of metals or glass, both undermount and vessel (sits on top of the vanity) which create effects from classical to deco to contemporary. Check out magazines to find your style and then head to a local dealer to pinpoint the product and price. In addition, there are furniture stores that offer ready-made vanities with sinks and faucets included. Check their quality as well as cost, however, to make sure you’re getting a good deal.
For practical, easy maintenance bathrooms, I favor tile on the floor and walls (either 1/2 way or full height). Stay neutral in color with your main selection and keep the size of the tile proportionate to the size for the room. Vary direction on floor and walls. For example, if floor is laid on a diagonal, consider walls done straight or visa versa. Add interest with accents (in glass, metal, mosaic and etched, or any other unique feature). Make sure your tile installer orders properly and ask about the return policy on full unopened boxes.
Lighting in the bathroom is very important. Make sure there is ample light to see overhead and over areas by the sink, toilet, shower and make-up area. According to Michael Lichenstein, lighting expert at Lighting Gallery, “A combination of wall sconces on either side of a mirror with a recessed light overhead and in front of you is the ideal task lighting. If this is not an option, the next best choice is sconces on either side of the mirror or above the mirror. Using a recessed light alone should only be a last resort as it creates horrible shadows on the face. To add a bit of mood or romance to the room, consider adding a chandelier or cove lighting connected to a dimmer. These options provide the ideal light level for a nice relaxing bath or shower.”
So, go ahead and create your great bathroom!
By Natalie Weinstein, Allied ASID
I’m ripping up my carpet and putting down a wood floor. I don’t know whether to use real wood or engineered. Is one better than the other? - Susan
Real wood or solid wood is 100% wood from lumber. Because it is solid hardwood and milled, it can shrink or expand with temperature changes or moisture. It is very durable, can be sanded and refurnished for great longevity, but can’t be used in basements or anywhere there is water, like bathrooms.
Engineered wood flooring is made up of layers of wood that are fused together. It’s very stable so it won’t shrink like solid wood and can be installed below ground level so it can be used in basements, ½ baths and baths where solid hardwood can’t. The top layer can be maple, oak, cherry, hickory, birch, etc. and the layers underneath are usually ply wood.
There are different wood species, but there are also exotic woods from which to choose, like Brazilian Cherry, mahogany, tiger wood, sapele, etc. which give a less uniform look to the floor. There are also different plank sizes from narrow (3” or less) to wide planks (5” and more). This also makes a difference in the look. Narrow planks generally are seen in more traditional rooms, whereas wider planks look best in more rustic or contemporary settings.
Engineered wood floors can either be nailed or glued down just like hardwood floors, but it can also be installed as a “floating” floor where the boards are attached to each other and not the existing floor.
Solid hardwood floors can be stained and refinished many times over the course of many years, whereas engineered floors can only be refinished once or twice. The cost may be more, but not always. The conditions of your existing floor may affect the cost as well. If you are planning to install the floor yourself, engineered wood floors are more user friendly, but I would advise that you get a flooring expert to give you an estimate, as well.
There are also laminate floors which mimic the look of real wood (ceramic, or stone, etc.). They are less costly and have a top layer that protects the floor, a layer that is a photograph of wood, stone, etc., an inner core and a backing. It is durable, but obviously cannot be refinished like a real wood floor.
Remember, your flooring decision will be one that will last you as long as you live in your home, so while budget will certainly be a factor, choose wisely for the long haul and for your particular design style and location in your home.
It’s been an interesting 2016 so far. Past clients have been calling for redesign, add-ons and move-outs! (I guess that’s bound to happen when you’ve been a designer as long as I.) Others have decided to add a second home in Florida and I am being taken along on this journey, as well. All of which is part of why I love what I do. This progression shows me that people value their homes and want it to keep up with every age and stage of their lives. As a young designer, I wanted perfection in every aspect of design for my clients. Today I know for sure that the feelings your home evokes are even more important. How you feel about your home and how it makes you feel have become for me, the essence of good design.
I have often heard people say they’ve gone to someone’s newly decorated home and it “felt” wonderful as well as looked great. Sometimes people have the opposite reaction. The decorating may be updated and even expensive, yet it was not warm, welcoming or even comfortable. I remember my parents’ home when I was a little girl. People loved coming there and it was truly a gathering place. Yet it was neither lavish nor expensive, but it “felt” good.
So what makes a home feel good? Is it a good space plan? Is it colors that work well together? Is it furniture that is scaled well to the size and height of a room? Is it art and accessories that embrace the space, yet leave room for the people? Is it that walls and windows become part of the whole environment adding the needed finishing touches? Is it a place where people can have fun or relax or escape? Or is it all of the above? Of course, dear reader, you already know the answer. A home that combines all these elements of good design will also have the right “feeling” for both home owner and guest. Notice we did not say expensive, although it is certainly easier for both designer and client if there is more latitude in what can be spent. But spending more does not necessarily ensure a better result. A good shopper is a good shopper – and just like no one knows if the pearls are real worn on that basic black dress, no one will know how much the budget was for your well designed room.
So - what feeling does the change of season evoke in you? If you’ve got the urge to do some spring cleaning and redoing – go for it – that’s sweat equity that will surely pay off and give you a great start. Then perhaps you’ll have the next urge to make your home a more welcoming place for you and those who enter. This spring, go with the feeling and see how great your home can make you feel.
I’d love to do some things in my home, but I don’t know where to start. I know what I like, but I get very overwhelmed. Every part of my home seems to need to be redone. My house is a small 70’s, 3 bedroom L ranch with a finished basement and nothing has been done since we had our kids and now they are teenagers! Thanks for your help – Cheryl
You are not alone! But if you take it step by step, you will make progress. First make a plan (of priorities) and then a plan (floor plan, that is). Look at your rooms and see how they meet your current needs. Remember your old living room can now be a den and your kitchen (I’m assuming it was never redone) can now be open to a casual dining room with a center island dividing the kitchen/dining room if you remove the wall between. If this plan works for you, get some estimates for removing the wall and getting new cabinets (and perhaps new appliances). They will be your major expenses. Your existing furniture can be used as placeholders and you can purchase new when money is available. If you don’t mind putting some “sweat equity” in the mix, you and your family can repaint the space for a great spruce up. If finding the money to do your largest project is difficult, perhaps a home improvement loan or line of credit might be arranged, especially if there’s not much left on your mortgage.
My advice, if you’re overwhelmed, is to bite the bullet and get assistance with the largest project first. If you spend money in dribs and drabs when you have it for smaller changes, you might never get to the one that will make a really big difference and add value to your home now and when you decide to sell. I know you won’t believe this – but once you begin to tackle the hardest project first, your confidence will soar and you will look forward to the next one and be willing to wait for it to happen. Good luck and remember how important your home is to your family. Positive changes in it affects everyone, so go for it and don’t be afraid! Professional help is always there if you need it.
Natalie Weinstein, Allied ASID
As we look back at 2015 – on our accomplishments and our intentions, we now get another chance to move ahead. Perhaps in the past few weeks you were able to reflect on friends, family and other special people who have loved and inspired you throughout the year. In your gratitude, perhaps you’ve also been thinking about ways to be a better person to yourself and others in 2016. On a Sunday past this January, we had a gathering at Uniquely Natalie for a seminar in which Roy Franks, my fitness guru, Jennifer Pabon, our knowledgeable nutritionist, master chef and caterer Filomena Lombardi, and I talked about ways to begin anew.
We started with our homes and how it makes us feel and shared thoughts on what we’d change if money was no object. We had a wish list and needs list and discovered that some easy fixes would make us feel a lot better. Then we’d actually be willing to wait for the bigger projects if we put in some “sweat equity” to get our homes in shape.
We also talked about what happens when there are improvements in our home and discovered the real connection between our home and ourselves. When the kitchen is improved, we want to improve our cooking and eat healthier, which is the best way to lose weight, feel fit, and start an exercise program that works for you. The circle of discovery went ‘round and ‘round as folks were really getting the connection – and learning from the experts. (If you missed the seminar and want to access the “take-aways”, please go to www.uniquelynatalie.com.)
While renewing and redoing begins in the New Year with resolutions, remember it is just beginning! And to continue with new beginnings, here are a few tips if 2016 is the year for a home renovating project:
We love feedback on our store, our events, our sales and service...Here's one we just received...
Thank you so much for Sunday's seminar at Windows on the Lake. It was my first time attending and I thoroughly enjoyed and hope to attend many more.
Thanks Marian...you made our day!
By Natalie Weinstien, ASID
Long Island building and rebuilding is on the rise. Homeowners are now, more than ever, inclined to purchase “fixer-uppers” for less money and undergo renovations, especially kitchens and baths, with the help of certified designers, architects, and contractors to improve the value of their investment and get exactly what they want. Homeowners are finding their style on the internet before shopping or seeking design advice. Homeowners have become more inclined to go “green” because green product costs have gone down.
Because there are so many more over “55 communities”, seniors are staying on Long Island and downsizing as well as buying smaller homes. Many are giving or “selling” their homes to children who couldn’t really afford to live here. (Now seniors are babysitting their young grandchildren so both parents can work to afford a better Long Island lifestyle.) Seniors are also renovating their homes to accommodate returning adult children (and their families) who are not able to purchase a home yet, allowing them to save for one.
As a new high end furniture consignment store owner, I see young people as well as older people buying good quality previously owned furniture, online and at the premises, to meet their budgets rather than buying new poorly made cheap furniture. But younger homeowners are not interested in keeping the “collectibles” of crystal, china, Lladros, etc. that their parents and grandparents amassed. The value of these items, therefore, has gone down and those who have become collectors are buying these items for a fraction of their original value.
Unfortunately, there is a trend, today, towards “disposability” - the notion that nothing needs to last. “We buy cheap, have the kids wreck it, and then throw it out and get something else.” Some big box stores promote the savings, but there are no savings because there is no value. Instead it promotes a generation that doesn’t appreciate quality and its worth, and doesn’t care for or take pride in their homes. The role of the professionals in the design world, more than ever, should be to educate the public – to help them know the differences in what they are buying and opt for quality as well as value, understanding the true worth of their homes as a way to empower and nurture all who live there. The good news is – we’re making progress!
By Natalie Weinstein, Allied ASID
In all my years as a designer and speaker, January has represented the clean slate and the time to make and try not to break New Year’s resolutions. The top of the list for everyone, of course, is clean up the clutter and start a diet and exercise program. For me the first is easy, the second, not so. While each of us has his own demons, we are all best intentioned. Then things happen. Life gets in the way and we drop the ball.
So as we begin the anew, let’s explore the ways we can keep our new year’s resolutions and reach our goals.
Here’s a great way to get started at our FREE EVENTS!
NEW YEAR, NEW YOU
Sunday, January 10, 2016 11am - 1pm
Uniquely Natalie Quality Consignment
176 2nd Street St. James, NY 11780
Change your body, health, look & home!
Start the New Year with Natalie and you will not only get help in creating a better environment in your home - but a new and healthier "you" as well. Natalie's invited some of the best Long Island professionals to show you how to look and feel fit and healthy in the place you love best ~ "your home".
RENOVATE AND RENEW YOUR HOME BRUNCH
Sunday, January 31, 2016 10:00AM - 1:00PM
Windows on the Lake
235 Lake Shore Road
Lake Ronkonkoma, NY 11779
Join us for our annual gathering at Windows on the Lake. This year’s topic is sure to please. We will have many of our "go to" sources in the room to answer all your questions. Nothing is off the table!
However, what will be on the table is YUMMY! Windows on the Lake always provides us with a brunch spread like no other. So please join us, have your questions ready and your belly ready for some food!