As we approach the new year, now is the ideal time to plan for what’s to come with 2019! Many of us have new year, new me goals that tend to focus on ourselves (body, mind, health, etc). But what if you added one more new year, new you goal that included the interiors you utilize? Especially your home and work space?
Interior Design Basics
Interior design isn’t just about aesthetics, although that is definitely a key aspect to my designs. As an interior designer, it is also my responsibility to design spaces that promote the health, safety, and well-being of those using the spaces I design. Interior design combines the art of design (aesthetics/visual beauty) with the science of design (understanding the basics of the human body and mind).
Interior Design Matters to our Health
According to the EPA, Americans spend approximately 90% of our life indoors. Our physical and emotional health is influenced by the spaces we utilize (think home, office, etc). These spaces should promote relaxation or productivity (example: bedroom or office), stimulate our body and mind in a positive way, and influence a variety of other health and wellness aspects for the people using the designed spaces.
Establishing Your 2019 New Year, New You, New Home Goals
Take note and make a list of how you feel in the spaces within your home and work. Are there any areas you go out of your way to avoid? Any places you head to and spend the most time in? Take a deep look into why these spaces draw you in or push you away.
As I’ve mentioned in earlier blog posts, bringing nature indoors and proper lighting are part of the puzzle of creating spaces that enhance your well-being. But there are other factors, too.
If you feel anxious walking into a specific room or area of your home, I recommend spending time de-cluttering that space.
Designate Activity Zones
Make sure you have established areas that are specifically geared toward rest (mind, body) and various activities. Try not to have a meditation area as the same place you intend to be active.
Research the colors you intend to use for each space or activity zone. Ideally, the colors being used on paint, furniture, bedding, etc. should complement the activity taking place. Example: don’t use bright or sharp colors in spaces for rest, relaxation, or sleep.
Once you’ve evaluated all your spaces, think about what you need to do to change or update them. This list you have established is now your 2019 New You, New Home Health Goal list. Next, figure out which are most critical to you, and in what order they should be dealt with. Once you have that, break it down and start planning quarterly, monthly, and weekly goals. By breaking it down, you are creating smaller, more obtainable goals. Making it easier to accomplish! Once you have your plan, share it below — let’s help each other be accountable!
Need or want some professional assistance? Schedule a free virtual coffee chat with me, here, to get started!
As I’m sure you’ve realized by now, dogs and animals mean a lot to me and are a huge part of my world. If you haven’t already, click here to meet my personal herd! Because of that, I’m often asked about the groups or organizations that I recommend, so I’ve compiled a list for easy reference. This is a living post, meaning that I’ll continue to add and update, as often as I need to. This list includes local, national, and global organizations. And, without further ado, here are my top rescue organizations to support!
Rescue + Freedom Project (R+FP)
The R+FP is a US based non-profit organization dedicated to rescuing survivors of unique captivity and cruelty and telling their emotionally compelling stories to prompt social change and celebrate a #RescueLifestyle.
Since 2010 the charity has been freeing survivors from laboratory experiments, senior and special needs animals from shelters, and victims of horrific abuse from around the world.
No matter what the condition, the location, or the expense, the Rescue and Freedom Project stands at the ready to rescue, rehabilitate, and repeat.
My Thoughts on rescue + freedom project
Several years ago, my best friend brought this organization to my radar. We had our first beagle, and I was learning about the horrors associated with beagles and testing laboratories. Since learning about Rescue + Freedom Project, I have made it a mission to educate my friends and family, and make choices every day to support cruelty free products and companies. Much of my education has come from this organization, and I applaud their efforts and am proud to watch them grow on a global scale.
Lost Dog & Cat Rescue Foundation (LDCRF)
The LDCRF helps homeless pets find their way into loving homes through rescue and adoption.
We offer same-day adoptions and two-week trial periods.
ALL pets are spayed or neutered prior to adoption.
Over 30,000 lives saved since 2001.
My Thoughts on LDCRF
This organization has a huge place in my heart because two of our herd came from them. The first adoption was Pebbles, July 2012. And then a few years later, Maggie 2. They have a huge following in the area, too, and it’s obvious why. Our family highly recommends this organization!
Fun fact, before I adopted Pebbles, I purchased a tee shirt as a fundraiser for this group. I didn’t even realize it had been for LDCRF until several years later when I was cleaning out my closet. That shirt is still proudly hanging in my closet today!
Dog World Rescue (DWR)
We are a “dog-centric” all volunteer rescue organization that provides pet adoption in VA, MD & DC.
My Thoughts on DWR
While none of our pups came from this organization, we strongly feel that Pebbles brought DWR into our life for good reason. During late spring, they had a beagle that looked and acted so much like Pebbles. We met her and unfortunately she wasn’t a good fit for the house or herd, but by the end of the summer she did find her forever home with her foster family. When DWR says they care about their animals, they truly mean it. We met the organization’s leader during that meet up, and I was beyond impressed by her. I’ve stayed following her and the rescue ever since then, and I can see how much she loves and cares for every single dog and family she brings together. I’m definitely glad Pebbles brought DWR to our attention!
Make sure to check in on this blog post occasionally to see if we’ve added any additional organizations! And if you’ve got a dog and/or cat rescue or organization you’d like us to be aware of, let us know in the comments!
I’m so blessed and thankful to have had the opportunities and experiences this year that led to where I am now. It’s because of all of you that I get to share my love of dogs and design, and that they do actually belong together. 😉 Over the past year, I’ve developed even stronger friendships and relationships, which have also guided me here. And so, today, I’m celebrating all of you with this #shopsmall offer. Details below!
I know life is probably pretty hectic since we’ve officially started the holiday season of 2018. But, believe it or not, now is the perfect time to start thinking about those home improvement projects you’re considering for 2019. Whether you’re looking for advice and answers or planning to hire out design services, together we can set up a plan of action! By determining your goals and timelines, it’ll be much easier to decide what steps to make next.
Are you in need of some design or decorating advice? Are you DIYing and want to run some things by a pro? Or are you in need of clarification on where or how to begin your home improvement journey? If you answered yes to at least one of the above questions, then this #SHOPSMALL offer is PERFECT for you!
Plus, this offer makes a fantastic gift for your loved ones or friends! If you plan on gifting this consultation, I’ll send you a gift certificate with the offer details on how to schedule with me. Just let me know during the purchase and I’ll make the arrangements!
Step 1: When you’re ready to purchase, click this link to place your order. All payments will be processed through my scheduling service, Calendly and PayPal; you do not need an account to pay through PayPal. Although a booking date is required to move forward with this purchase, you will have the opportunity to reschedule, if needed. If this is going to be a gift, make sure to schedule the appointment AFTER you plan on gifting this to the recipient. Please email me at email@example.com with any questions.
Step 2: I will contact you within 48 hours of purchase to confirm and welcome you to my client family. Please watch for this email, which will be sent from firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “SBS 2018 Online Video Consultation”.
#shopsmall Offer details:
This offer ends Monday, November 26, 2018 @ 11:59pm Pacific time. Fee is non-refundable. Please be sure to pay the $222 consultation fee in full by Tuesday, November 27, 2018. Consultation must take place before January 31, 2019.
If you’re looking to sell your home or if your home is on the market, check out these home selling tips below. From the eyes of an interior designer!
I’m one of those people who loves to see what’s on the market regularly. Partly to get exposure to new neighborhoods and housing developments in the area. But, also to stay up to date on trends in the area, especially among buyers and sellers.
It may seem like an odd thing for an interior designer to care about, but what I’m looking at is what attracts buyers and what motivates sellers. Because at the end of the day, if you’re updating your home at any point of home ownership, you want to be sure you’re spending money wisely. Not just for your benefit right now, but for resale in the future. I value my clients’ time and money, and I want to make sure anything I suggest will benefit them right now and when they are ready to sell.
Here are a few of my top tips when listing your house. Things that I regularly see and can often pinpoint why a home isn’t selling. Price plays a factor, of course, but ensuring that you have buyers actually wanting to tour your home is another piece of the puzzle.
Let in natural light
I get it. We all want privacy. We all like to keep our nosey dogs from yelling at the neighborhood dogs walking near(ish) to the house. (Maybe just me?). But one of the biggest turn offs for buyers is seeing a dark and depressing space. If you do nothing else during picture day and showing appointments, make sure your windows are open and letting the light and view in! Humans naturally crave to see nature, as mentioned here. Open windows with a view are an easy way to showcase this in your home.
Get professional pictures taken
We all know that first impression is a huge deal when selling yourself for a job, meeting new people, etc. And it is just as critical for your home, too! Think about it from the buyers side. If or when you’re looking at homes, which ones do you gravitate toward and which ones stand out? It’s usually the ones with better photography. Make sure your realtor understands the importance of good photography. It doesn’t matter if your home is magazine ready, if your pictures aren’t a good first impression, it’ll just get skipped over and forgotten.
Decor and personalization
I am absolutely not telling you to hide who you are in your own home. But, I will tell you to bring it down a level or two. Too much personalization is overwhelming for buyers. And they often can’t overlook it. I don’t think you need to completely neutralize your home, just to sell it. But, I do believe simplifying is key. Your goal is to get a buyer to come in and envision living in the home. With their things. That doesn’t mean get rid of everything, and in fact I highly do not suggest you do that either. The key is to find the right balance of you still living there and allowing the buyer to feel right at home. Need assistance with this? I offer home selling consultations (in person for local to Northern Virginia or online for anywhere in the US) just for this type of thing! Contact me via email (email@example.com) or schedule a 15 minute virtual coffee chat to learn more!
Hire the right person or team
The absolute best thing you can do when selling your home is finding the right person or team dedicated to selling your home. Meet with them. Make sure they have similar belief systems as you and that they see you as a client and person, and not dollar signs. Will they maintain a relationship with you outside of this sale? Do they truly care about you and your family? It makes a huge difference to know someone has YOUR back on a professional level.
If you’re in the Northern Virginia area, I highly recommend the Ron & Kelli Team. And while I should add that Kelli is my mom, I strongly believe in the dedication and passion that this team has for real estate and their clients. It’s not just a job or career, it’s their life. They eat, breathe, and sleep real estate. I have watched them build friendships and strong bonds with their clients over the years. They’ve been invited to numerous parties, weddings, and so much more. To work with them, you become family.
it’s ok to ask for outside help
Getting ready to sell your home can be overwhelming. And it’s absolutely ok to look for professional help outside your real estate professional(s). Remember, you want your home to set the best first impression it can to those who are house hunting. Sometimes, it helps to have a neutral 3rd party come in and offer guidance. If your budget doesn’t have room for you to complete the renovation(s), you still have options. Technology today provides ways to show updates, without the hefty expense or extended timeline to complete the project. Instead, ideas can be shown to potential buyers digitally, and can show potential of what your home can become. Other options include virtual staging to show empty homes with ideal furniture and/or various suggestions on color schemes. Just make sure to clearly note that these are not actual images, but professional suggestions.
Final Thoughts for selling your home
Feeling stuck or want a neutral party to help get your home in top selling shape? Contact me for a home seller’s consultation. I promise, I won’t tell you to toss everything and start new. But, I will walk space to space, room to room with you, while discussing your budget and timeline. And then, I’ll figure out the best plan of action just for you!
Disclaimer: This blog post contains affiliate links. I may earn a small commission to feed my hounds. if you use these links to make a purchase. You will not be charged extra, and you’ll keep my pups happy! It’s a win for everyone, really.
“Yuck, you smell like a dog!” “But I just changed the cat box!” “This house needs aired out!”
Do any of these sound familiar? Are you desperate to get your home smelling fresh and clean? Then this blog post is for you! Keep reading to find out how you can combat that dog and cat smell.
While I will be sharing a few products that I highly recommend, I first want to point out some simple home maintenance and pet care tips. The time frames for these will vary in each household, but it’s a routine that you should develop for your home ASAP.
Household maintenance: HVAC system
It is critical to perform household maintenance on your home, especially in maintaining the life of your HVAC system. Your filters need to be changed multiple times a year. The exact number varies depending on your type of filter or situation (multiple animals, only one animal, location/seasons, etc). But, definitely change at a minimum 3 times a year or every 4 months. Some, however, need to be changed every 2 months or even monthly.
I also suggest that you have seasonal check ups on the system twice a year to make sure it’s running efficiently and properly! Ideally, before the first time you turn on the AC or the heat. This will help you be proactive on any problem that could occur with the function of the unit. And, you can also utilize this time to get an education from the technician on your exact system’s needs. Ask during your maintenance visit or locate the manual for the unit to determine the correct size of filter you should be using. This will also determine how often you need to replace it. Getting ducts cleaned is also a good idea, but I’d advise that you discuss with your technician for their recommendation on how often.
Quick tip: purchase the number of filters that will last you for 6 months to have on hand. Add to the calendar on your phone to alert you when you need to change the filter. Is it monthly, bimonthly, or every 3-4 months? Set an alarm in advance so you don’t forget. And before you put the filter in, write the month/year on it so you can be sure to know how fresh it is, especially if something happens to your calendar reminder.
household maintenance: home care
Make sure you are vacuuming, sweeping, mopping, etc regularly in your entire home. This will help you remove pet hair and dander so it doesn’t build and set in to hard to access places. Also, don’t forget to vacuum furniture, wash bedding, and anything else your pets come in contact with on a regular basis. Check to see if your furniture fabrics are the best or the worst to have with pets!
groom your pet
Regularly groom your pet to help combat the smell. Brush them often, especially during the transition months from hot to cold and cold to hot. Most dog breeds and some cats will shed their winter and summer coats as they prepare for the incoming weather! Plan puppy/kitty spa days (at home or at a groomer), too. During the warmer months at our house, we typically give the dogs monthly baths to help combat that dog smell; and then every other month once it cools down.
Diet, allergies, weather (rain, snow), health, breed, etc. can all play a huge factor in the pet smell. If you have specific questions about your pets, talk with your vet to find the best solution for you both. With litter boxes, make sure you’re cleaning it out daily. Scooping the pieces out that need it and adding some fresh litter to what’s left. It seems to be the best routine in my experience, but your pet may be different and require a different routine. Just like with humans, our pets are unique and have their own specific needs.
suggested items to purchase
Add items to your home that can help you combat the smell. Plants are a great option, but please do check out the ASPCA’s website for a list of poisonous plants.
Another option, and personal favorite of mine, are small air purifiers that plug in to a wall outlet and have a filter you can remove/change as often as necessary. I highly recommend this one from Amazon. They have specific refills for pets, tobacco, etc. You can even set up a subscribe and save order so you can install, plug in, and forget until the new filters arrive!
We have two on the main floor (where the dogs and humans hang out the most, two on the lower level (in the main rec room area and the bedroom where the at least a few of the dogs sleep regularly), and then three upstairs (main loft area and two bedrooms where at least a few of the dogs sleep regularly). There are many other options out there, but I love these! They are quite compact, plug in directly to the wall outlet, easy to change the filter, and easy to mask or hide wherever they’re installed. Plus, units and filters are pretty reasonable! We’ve had at least 3 of these for over 3 years and then purchased the others when we moved into the large home 3 years ago. And they’re still going strong!
I tend to avoid anything with scents for a few reasons. The main one is that many of the products on the market today that have any scent/parfum added to them, will also have formaldehyde in the product. Check the ingredients of anything you plan to use with an added scent; it’s pretty shocking how many products have that ingredient. Formaldehyde is not something I want to inhale. And, I most definitely do not want my dogs to inhale it either.
Earlier this week, I discussed the “Best Fabrics for Pet-Friendly Spaces”. Now it’s time to chat about the worst fabrics for upholstery in pet-friendly spaces and why! Scroll down to see my “Worst Fabrics for Pet-Friendly Spaces” list!
In my research to see what others online are saying, I noticed several resources say that silk is pet hair resistant. While that may be true, silk is a very fragile and high maintenance fabric. It can easily stain, rip or tear. And it doesn’t respond well to liquids, making it very tough to clean, too. Due to these factors, and the expense (!), I personally do not recommend silk on upholstery. And, depending on the client and the space, I often don’t recommend it at all in a pet-friendly space (i.e. window treatments or pillows, etc).
While a luxurious upholstery fabric, Velvet, is another fabric I don’t recommend. It is a high maintenance and delicate fiber for anyone, but especially pets. It’s super easy for the fibers to be damaged and crushed. Any rough playing, cleaning, or scratching/digging on the fabric can permanently damage the fibers. Professional cleaning is also recommended, and that can add up quickly! And on top of all that, pet hair clings to it like a magnet!
The Loose Weaves category include many types of fabrics. These include linens, cottons, tweed, chenille, and many other open weave upholstery fabrics. The looser the weave, the more likely these fabrics will snag or unravel. Claws easily get caught in the fibers, while dirt, hair, and dust get trapped. And, over time, that trapped debris embedded into the fibers, will cause the furniture to smell. It is best to save the open weave fibers for machine washable knits or fabrics to use as accents in your space, like removable pillow covers and blankets that you can easily and regularly clean.
Americans spend an average of 93% of their time indoors. And as humans, we crave nature; we respond well to it. Plants help cleanse the air around us. They bring life to a space (literally if it’s a plant 😉 ). These are just a few reasons adding natural elements can enhance your space and living experience!
So how do you bring natural elements into your space? It can be pretty easy, and you may already have this covered and not even realize it!
Evaluate the Elements of Nature around your space:
Do you have any natural wood elements: flooring, furniture, decor? Do you have windows in your space? Can you look out into nature (think trees, plants, water elements, etc.)? Are there stone elements in the space (granite or marble, certain tiles that are made from natural stone materials, fireplace surround with stone, etc.)? Do you have indoor plants or flowers (potted or an arrangement/bouquet)? What about artwork or wall-covering that has leaves, water, trees, or variations of these in an abstract design? If you have any or all of these elements, congratulations, you’ve accomplished this step!
If you don’t have any, or if you want to add some additional elements to your space, look around and see what you could add to increase the natural elements. I absolutely love to get fresh flowers at the farmer’s market in the summer and I’m developing a huge addiction to succulents (hello Plant Nite!!). I also LOVE shopping for fun and unique planters or vases for them (home goods and target are my go to spots for these!!). Etsy also has some very creative wall or hanging pieces for succulents. Often mixing materials to bring in various natural textures.
You should have fun shopping for natural elements, and looking at them should bring a smile to your face!