In recent months we have had so much to deal with, so many changes, some creative, others causing us all to think of ways to stay healthy and productive while trying to strike a balance and to remain positive about the future, post Pandemic.
How do we adapt to these challenging times?
Thank good ness for social media, the internet, daily news, online networking, zoom and video calls, working from home are the new norm.
How do we fill in the time? There is no doubt that Home Improvement. garden, landscaping have all benefited from people being at home more.
We have tried to find new ways of working and new ideas that don’t bust the budget. Tending the garden, planting annuals and shrubs to add colour to our planters, hanging baskets and borders.
What about the inside of our home?
I have been meaning to redecorate our sitting room downstairs for a while. It hasn’t been decorated for a few years.. It was one of the first rooms I painted before we moved in.
This room leads out to our deck at the rear of the house overlooking the back garden.
I must confess that starting a project is the biggest hurdle. It is all in the planning and preparation! plus, the upheaval of storing furniture elsewhere.
So its lovely to sit and see the view from te patio door and long windows.
I procrastinated far too long. Time to roll my sleeves up..
Preparing the room is the most laborious task but, it is essential.
Clearing the room of furniture, wiping down walls, base boards, scrubbing the fireplace, sealing off vents electric sockets windows and open doorways to minimize dust.
we started with removing the fireplace wooden mantle and surround. It was the original fireplace built in the mid 1980s. the mantle had been built to last, so muscle and brute force required.
Next The Red Oak floors were in great shape just needing a refresh. Once sanded and a satin varnish applied we could then start the next phase. The floor we it covered with polyurethane sheets and drop cloths before the ceiling and crown molding could be painted.
The room before renovation
I have never tried to paint or white wash a fire place before. I was surprised at how easy it was and pretty quick too.
This is what I used. Instructions and a video were so easy to follow.
Prior to whitewashing the brick. I spray painted the fire surround and grate with black Rustoleum (heat resistant)
Next a cover to protect the fireplace, prior to painting the walls with www.sherwinwilliams.com Warm Neutrals – Cotton SW 9581.
Over the fireplace I had in mind somethin different. It had to have texture, nothing dark or too patterned. In the back of my mind I kept going back to Shiplap!
This fireplace was screaming out for a mantle, we choose a faux beam curtesy of www.etsy.com
Thank you Mr L for your craftmanship fitting this faux beam perfectly, plus measuring the wall and shiplap planks.
The whole room is so much brighter, warmth coming from the textures and colours of the furniture.
The reason I did not want a patterned wallpaper over the fireplace was this…….. I had another idea!
So to be bold and brave. the well in front of the patio door housed the original tile and a floor mat. Out with the bland old tiles and in their place we both agreed that these tiles would be perfect.
We chose a porcelain tile called San Juan from www.flooranddecor.com to add a little pizazz. A Mexican/Spanish influence to the neutral tones of our sitting room.
Finally our room is finished. Just a few accessories required. Rug a bargain deal from www.wayfair.com. Candles and holders – www.amazon.com The wreath I already had , the porcelain dog we brought from England – family possessions. Wooden shutters and planters I found in www.target.com. Hearth accessories we already had.
What a team we make.
This room is breathtaking.
The ottoman I chose for the colour and pattern, its quirky!
Window dressing eventually we chose light drapes Maddison Park lined white silk with embroidered branches climbing and third of the way up from the hem. www.jcpenney.com
Lamps – Reading lamp we already had, the table lamp was from www.homedepot.com. I had been searching for a hollow lamp so I could put something inside it. As we had greenery on the mantle I ran with the idea of a glass vase and filled it with wine corks to carry on the vino vibe on the hearth.
With the gas log fire burning, a good book, a glass of wine on the chaise lounge relaxing.and enjoying our newly decorated room.
No one could predict what happened in 2020 . A global Pandemic hit us all.
We are all having to adapt in ways that we never in a million years would have predicted.
There have been earthquakes, drought, war zones, flooding, bushfires, strikes, erosions, famine….need I go on?
But this Virus has taken the world by storm literally.
Going back to early last year, we were relatively oblivious.
Its hard to remember exactly what I was doing . I do know that my husband and I had booked our trip back to England to spend time with our family.
It seems rather petty right now to think that I was planning what to take with me, not just clothing, toiletries and sundry, but, gifts for our family including our granddaughter who was then 2 and a half years old.
Thank goodness we did get chance to see them all the year before on vacation in Gran Canaria September 2019.
Consequently. our 2020 trip had to be rescheduled from May to December.
Visions of Christmas with the family. Christmas Eve around the Christmas tree, opening gifts on Christmas morning. Family time.
All of us were so looking forward to getting together..
Obviously, that did not happen either.
Where I would normally be shopping for holiday and the latest fashion trends, it appears that we have migrated towards casual comfort items such as loungewear, PJs, jogging bottoms and hoodies being the sought after clothing items.
Who Knew that most of 2020 we would spend indoors?
Who knew that travel would be limited?
Who knew that retail shopping would be literally non-existent in person?
Who knew that the internet would be your best friend?
Who knew that D.I.Y and gardening would be so popular?
Starting in January 2020 I wanted to shop for boots! I had in mind what I was looking for, brown or grey knee length suede boots with a small heel, just a chique pair of boots, a pair that wasn’t the price of my mortgage payment.
I perused the malls frustrated and empty handed.
Normally, I would wait till our trip back to England where I love perusing the shops to update up my wardrobe for the seasons ahead. Nothing too ostentatious or expensive. I know I would find what I was looking for and the joy of trying on clothes, shoes and boots. Don’t you just feel so fulfilled carrying those bags with the name of the store emblazoned on the front, all wrapped in tissue paper.
And then I woke up to find everything had changed.
Would shopping online be the answer?
However, there are some things a woman must be able to try on as sizes often vary, so it’s a bit of ‘pot luck’ ordering online.
Not to be disheartened I decided to wait till we could get back to the UK later in the year. Who knew that wouldn’t happen either.
At least I thought, I could order more simple things such as pajamas, underwear and a couple of tops from my favourite stores in England who ship to the USA.
Namely, Marks and Spencer, Next, Bravissmo among others
Who would have thought that choosing blinds/shades would be so difficult?
After recently redecorating our sitting room, all that is left to do is to choose a style that we both can agree on for the windows. Seems simple enough?
This room opens out to our deck and Pergola. There is a central patio door with sidelights. Windows on either side that require addressing. It is important the light filters in so no dark blinds shades or drapes.
So much choice! So I chose several swatch samples. I had 3 styles in mind:-
Faux wood/bamboo Roman Blinds/Bali Blinds
Patterned Roman Blinds
The fabric swatches we chose for Roman Blinds looked lovely on the small swatch however, too busy pattern wise when I looked at the bigger picture. They were also the most expensive. The ones with no pattern – just too plain for this room.
Bamboo blinds I love as we had then installed in a previous house, but, I felt they were too dark, even though they were available in top down, bottom up, therefore, adjustable.
Cellular blinds we have on in the guest bathroom, again quite plain but I did like these as they let the light. There was also an option for top down bottom up too.
Roller blinds too boring!
Drapes? I wanted a change
So where do we go from here?
Watch this space as we venture out (masks on) to find more examples for our lovely room.
Why are the closets in the majority of houses too small? Are the builders short of space or are they trying to control our shopping habits?
Either way its not one size fits all!
Generally, there is at least one closet per bedroom, generally a larger one in the Master to accommodate two people. We have 3 bedrooms in our home and 4 closets plus a bonus room over the garage that has another storage space/closet. None of them are very spacious, 2 of them can be best described as cupboards.
I can not function in clutter, its claustrophobic to me.
I am on a role right now since we are still staying at home during this Pandemic. Last weekend we both tidied our garage after recently repainting the inside.
I opened the door to a storage closet in my office space in the bonus room above the garage to be faced with more clutter.
I had forgotten what was in there.
It was somewhat of a dumping ground I am ashamed to say. Tile and carpet samples, paint charts, family photograph albums, Christmas/birthday cards, a fold up table, a dining table insert (extension), Jewelry, Handbags, Scarves and much more!
As you can see the contents of the closet covered the floor. Where did all that come from?
Sometime later, I had one huge dustbin bag of rubbish to be disposed of. Two bags of clothing, handbags etc to go to charity!
The end result is not perfect but definitely an improvement.
Next our Master Bedroom closet needs a purge. Clothing and shoes!
Now if only I could get my husband to do the same.
When you are contemplating selling your home for sale, how important is it that you market it properly and present it in the best possible light?
Selling or buying a house is by far the most expensive transaction you will ever make. So, why wouldn’t you want to do your best to make it happen?
When someone puts their house on the market we dont always know the circumstances behind making that decision, so it is important whether you are a Realtor or a Home Stager that we act respectfully in the best interests of the client.
There is no doubt that staging a home can make a huge difference in terms of time on the market and sale price.
Adopting a “Buyers Mindset” is not always easy especially when the seller has become very attached to the property.
Potential buyers need to be ale to visualize themselves with their belongings in the property. Therefore, if the house is vacant and empty of furniture the house can feel devoid of warmth and that homely feel. Instead it can present of being cold and bleak.
Empty rooms may appear smaller that furnished rooms, that makes the potential buyer wonder if their furniture will fit.
Empty rooms can loose definition and buyers maybe confused as to the purpose of the room. Buyers like to be able to identify the purpose of each room, if its vacant they may not be able to figure it out., i.e.is it an office or a dining room.
Buyers want to see a home that is inviting from the outside in. They can imagine themselves and their family surrounded by their own furniture and accessories living there.
Staging a Home Versus a Vacant Home – Staging wins every time.
According to The National Association of Realtors 83% of buyers found staged homes easier to visualize as their own property.
Your home should be inviting to prospective buyers from the moment they park outside your house to the moment they leave. Creating a happy experience that encourages buyers to put in an offer.
The temperatures have cooled down after a long hot summer.
Time to look at your wardrobe for the Autumn/Fall/Winter
I have a few things that will be making an appearance again this season, however, I cant resist adding a few extra pieces to my wardrobe.
Recent acquisitions include:
Shadow Leaf Blouse by Cabi. A size small is a perfect fit for me, love the sleeve design with the added cuff. Pair with black Jeans, Denim or an evening trouser.
A classic Skinny Jean from Cabi perfect with these animal print boots, although I didn’t order these. What about that coat as a statement piece?
Not the coat or boots, playing safe with these Cabi black cinch skinny jeans that will pair with anything, dress up or dress down.
This gorgeous laser cut scalloped dress (high at the front longer at the back) a steal from Shein. Green isn’t a colour I normally wear, but it’s time to experiment.
A soft tulip hem sweater from Shein, that will work with pretty much anything from Jeans, to maxi skirts or tailored pants.
Leather and suede side buckle ankle boots from Marks and Spencer are so comfortable, once again a staple piece for all seasons.
I have these in a mink colour from a couple of years ago, I chose a wide fitting therefore, a size down from my normal size. I have worn them constantly and they are so versatile. When I saw the black ones online I dd not hesitate to add them to my collection
Now I am not saying that these items will be the only ones I add to my Autumn/Winter wardrobe as I have a yearning to find a classic Camel Coat! So watch this space.
Where do I shop?
Shoes and boots mainly when I go back to the UK – Carvella, M & S, Moda In Pelle, Charles Clinkard. Underwear and swimwear – Bravissimo and Marks and Spencer, Clothing- Apricot, M & S, Zara, Cabi, Shein, Next, Macys, TJ Maxx and lots more, I love to bring something back from holiday too.
What are your favourite stores to shop?
What clothing items are you looking to buy currently?
Are you an online shopper or a high street a try on in store person?
Do you have a particular designer that you follow?
Our son found this resort for a family holiday, celebrating our daughter-in-laws 40th birthday and our granddaughters 2nd birthday.
I have to say we really didn’t know what to expect and we were more than pleasantly surprised when we arrived around 8 pm local time, after a long journey from the United States via Amsterdam. We were ready to freshen up, enjoy a meal and a couple of cocktails. A pleasant surprise awaited our accommodation for the next 10 days a Junior Suite, an upgrade, so beautiful with a huge balcony, master bedroom, master bathroom with a walk in shower and soaker tub.
Eager to meet up with our family we ventured with the help of a resort map to find our way out onto a deck that led to a bar and an a la carte night restaurant named Akara.
It really wasn’t until the next day though that we could see more of the resort and we were not disappointed. This resort catered for couples, singles and families. Boasting bars, restaurants- buffet, lunch and night a la carte, relaxed and fun pools (I think I counted 5 different pools) each with a different theme, a gym, a kids club, playground and so much more.
The Resort had been beautifully designed with an African theme hidden amongst the Jungle foliage were hidden animals – Elephants, Hippos, Zebras, crocodiles.
And if that wasn’t enough, step outside the resort to find even more restaurants and bars overlooking the sea.