Thursday, October 31, 2013

Guest post- Workplace Design Trends!

This article is provided by Tara Simmons.

Designing workplaces today is much more interesting than it has been for decades. At Custer, the design team works the latest trends into customer solutions - which often inspire new, thought provoking applications for their spaces. 

We begin by examining the customer’s use of their square footage. Older workplaces frequently have larger individual workstations/offices and few team spaces. Reducing individual square footage and reallocating all or some of that to shared spaces is very common in today’s workplace. These shared spaces can include a variety of individual areas for focus work, very open collaborative spaces, or any combination thereof. Designing a wide range of individual to group settings frees employees to move around the office and work in the areas that will best support the projects they are working on at that time.

Encouraging employees to collaborate is a stated goal of many of our customers, and a properly designed environment can help them achieve this. Collaborative spaces include a variety of seating types, from lounge to stand-up height - which allows a change in posture throughout the day, minimizing stress on the body. Incorporating technology into these collaborative areas is important in making the workplace successful. Outdated offices often lack technology, which can make collaborating difficult and inefficient.

Employees respond positively to inviting environments.  Natural light and views play a big part in developing a more enjoyable working environment which is why glass walls are frequently incorporated into the workplace. Worker satisfaction is very important to us at Custer. 

Individual workspaces have become more compact partly because technology has drastically changed and does not require larger work surfaces. Technology has also allowed workers to become more mobile and less tethered to a specific workstation. Unassigned benching stations are becoming more common for mobile workers and really assist in lowering square footage requirements for workspaces. They can be made available on a first come first service basis or placed on a reservable system depending on the customer’s needs. Those workstations that still incorporate panels or walls tend to have them lowered as it allows for natural light to enter the space and encourages improved communication among employees.

When our customers plan to make large changes in their work environment, we encourage them to have plenty of employee involvement. The more input employees have, the more buy-in they will have for the new workspace. Communication is a key factor to a project’s success. Once implemented, we encourage our customers to orient employees to their new space. Communicating the intent of a new space and all the benefits it brings to the employees will help them understand that the new office furniture and the office itself have been designed specifically for their use. Designing a proper environment and open communication can result in happier employees!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The One Room Challenge- Week 5!

Welcome back to The One Room Challenge, we are now at week 5! If you missed any of my previous posts, you can start catching them up here: Week 1,Week 2, Week 3,Week 4.

Let's get back to business. For this project, I am decorating my son's bedroom from scratch with a very tiny budget. The only two items we didn't buy specifically for this room were the mattress, which was inherited from my husband during his bachelor days and the curtain rod that was inherited from our previous master bedroom. 

Over the last few weeks, I have shown you the painted room and some DIY projects. Last week, we attempted a project but nothing was accomplished but fortunately this week, we are getting back on track.

Remember the branch mobile installation that didn't work because my husband couldn't locate the studs in the ceiling? Well, he bought a new stud finder and it works! Here, I present you my new branch installation!

We used some hooks and clear fish lines for the branch installation. At first, I wanted to make a branch mobile with a few hanging paper airplanes but I felt the small room is getting too busy with all the pieces I am planning to add in later. So, I decided to hang just the branch and call it an art installation instead. I thought it looks kinda cool and I love it so much more without the airplanes.

After moments I hanged the branch installation, my son came into his room. He noticed it immediately and was absolutely in awe and said, "Wow, mommy, the "tree" is BEAU-TI-FUL". I told him it was a branch, not a tree and he told me "the branch is beautiful" a few times in a row. Lol. On the same night, while he was lying on his bed and saw me passed by his room, he said, "Mommy, I can look at the branch". 

A few days later, when I thought he is not interested in the "branch" anymore, he surprised me and said, "Good job, mommy. The branch is so beautiful and colorful" while I was previewing the "branch pictures" on my computer today. (He saw me working on the branch project earlier.) He is truly a sweet little guy and his words made the 4 1/2 hours of work I put into this DIY project truly worthwhile. Honestly, I never thought he would love the "branch" this much so I am really thrilled! :)

Anyway, another project I have completed over the weekend involved the Ikea puppy hooks.

While these puppy hooks look fun and adorable, you might be wondering what else needs to be done, right? Well, my husband thought these hooks will not secure to the wall properly so we will need to mount them to a wood plank first before hanging it on a wall. 

So, on our trip to Home Depot earlier, we bought a wood plank for this purpose. I brought in my measurements and was ready to ask one of the Home Depot associate to help cut a wood plank according to the dimensions I wanted. Luckily for us, we found a wood plank close to the size I needed for about $2, so we bought it. It was in its raw state so I painted it in a glossy white using the leftover paint we had in the garage. I didn't sand or prime it but it worked fine. I did paint over it a few times (not for coverage reasons) but to get the brush strokes as straight as possible. I will admit, I am quite the perfectionist. :)

Dried, painted and ready to go!

The screws are in!

All done, exactly the way I wanted!

Let's take a look at my check list again!

1. Put together an art decal project. Check! (Need to fix the peeling parts.)

2. Make a branch mobile. Check!

3. Find fun hooks for Isaac's clothes and backpack. Check!

4. Buy art frames and hang artwork. (Art frames bought, artwork haven't been hung yet.)

5. Shop for DIY project materials. Check!

6. Shop for toy storage. Check!

7. Shop for more accessories. Check!

For the big reveal next week, I will need to clean up my son's room (it's very messy), hang stuffs (artwork, curtain wire and clock), fix the art decal problem, style and photograph his bedroom. It's a lot of work but still doable, I think. Hopefully, nothing crazy comes up at the very last minute and mess up my plans in the process. Fingers crossed. 

Remember to check out the rest of the participants from The One Room Challenge below. I am sure they are making a wonderful progress in their rooms as well!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Product review- Downlinens Pillows!

I am in desperate need of a new pillow and was very excited when DownLinens contacted me to review their Plush Perfect Gel Fiber Pillows

DownLinens is an online retailer offering high quality comforters, pillows, bed toppers, blankets, throws and down alternative bedding products at affordable prices.

For this review, I decided to get the Plush Perfect Gel Fiber Pillows (overstuffed)(set of 2) in the King size.

Here are mine. They came in a pair, which is a bonus!

To be honest, I am very particular when it comes to my pillow. When the pillow is too soft, I will feel dizzy in the morning so I always pick the firmest pillow at the store when I am looking for a replacement.

Having said that, how do my new, luxury overstuffed gel pillows measure up? Overall, they feel very plush, ultra soft and has a medium firmness. Hypo-allergenic and made with breathable materials, they are easy to wash, too.

Although my new gel pillow doesn't have the firmness I was looking for (this is personal preference, of course), I would still consider it a wonderful pillow because it offers good support for my head and neck. I also find my new pillows great for propping up in bed. The best of all? The pillow has the softest feel and envelopes the sides of my head comfortably.

No two sleepers are alike. If you are looking for a soft, plush and comfortable pillow with slightly increased support and firmness, then this pillow is for you! You can now get yours at 15% off, just use the discount code: ITSGELTIME15 during checkout. Happy shopping!

*I received this book to review for free but the views and opinions expressed are entirely my own.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

And the winner of the giveaway is ..........

I am happy to announce the winner of the recent giveaway brought to you by DecoraUSA.

I used to pick a winner and here it is! The lucky winner who will be receiving a $200 DecoraUSA store credit is

the lovely Brooke from Inside-Out Design.

Congratulations, Brooke! I will email you soon. Thanks to everyone who entered this giveaway. Have a fabulous day, my lovelies!

Guest post- Home Accent Lighting Design Ideas!

This article is provided by Lacey Chic.

There are many different home accent lighting design ideas both for inside and outside of your home. When decorating the interior of your home, you will need to know what accent lighting is and the different types of accent lights. When designing the exterior of your home, you will need to know some different types of outdoor accent lights and the best places to install them. 

Indoor Accent Lighting

Accent lighting is a light directed to highlight things in a room such as art or decorative objects. A good accent light will be subtle, so people will notice what you are illuminating and not so much the way that it is lit. Ambient lighting is the basic lighting in a room. Never just rely on a bunch of table lamps for this. They would not provide the most ideal illumination. Other lights you should not rely on for ambiance are floor lamps and ceiling pendants.

Types of Indoor Accent Lights

Track LightingA monorail style light system in a hallway to create an instant art gallery effect for your wall pictures.

LED Accent Lighting –LED accent lights are more energy efficient and come in a variety of styles. They are a great idea for kitchens, stairwells and behind your TV. LED lights turn an ordinary room or area of your home into a tasteful and elegant styled area. If you use your accent lighting effectively, you will without a doubt add comfort and character to your home. Some ideas include simple plug-in puck lights under the kitchen cabinets, track lighting in a hallway or mini accent lights above wall art or family photos. LED lighting can be used in any room as well and under furniture or along the bottom of cabinets to add subtle character and intrigue to any room.

Outdoor Accent Lighting

There are many different types of outdoor accent lighting ideas you can utilize to add flavor, coziness, and uniqueness to your home’s appearance. There are landscape lights, post and pier lights, outdoor wall lights, outdoor ceiling lights, patio lights, LED strip lights, and many more.

Type of Outdoor Accent Lights

Landscape LightsLandscape lights light up your yard or selective areas of trees, bushes, foliage, etc. They can also light up water or ponds if you have bodies of water. 

 Outdoor Wall Lights Wall lights provide beautiful illumination to areas of your home’s exterior walls and can also provide security at night as well.

Outdoor LED LightingLED lighting can also add beautiful subtle highlights to your home. They can be used anywhere you would want accent such as: around the base of your house, alongside the roof trim, alongside a walking path, and on patio railings. Mini recessed LED pathway lights are great when used to light up outdoor walkways or areas of your driveway.

When these indoor and outdoor accent lighting designs are used together, it will surely add comfort, uniqueness, safety and security to your home.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The One Room Challenge- Week 4!

Today is week 4 of The One Room Challenge! I really appreciate being included as an ORC participant, thanks to Linda from Calling It Home, the creator and organizer of this wonderful challenge. If you have missed previous posts, you can check it out here (week 1)here (week 2) and here (week 3).

Last week has been pretty eventful. My son, Isaac had a flu along with a fever, runny nose, cough and chills and had been staying home for almost a week. He wanted to go to school so badly because he had been missing his friends and teachers. Fortunately, he is completely recovered from fever. However he still has a mild cough. Anyway, we also celebrated our 8th year anniversary last weekend. 

Even with everything that goes on in our home, I still hope to finish another project to show you this week so we made a trip to Home Depot to get some hooks (to hang the branch mobile) and a plank (for another project for the room) and Ikea to get the following:

We bought a curtain wire and some clips and planned to use it to hang my son's artwork. My budding artist is proud of his work and loves to stick his creations on the walls so I think this item will be a great solution to organize and showcase his work!

These puppy hooks are so adorable, I couldn't resist so I get it in every color (except pink). We already had some storage boxes for my son's toys but we need more. So we bought more.

We already bought the frame last year.

I actually have another toy storage in mind but my husband really wanted the one above so I gave in. For the storage boxes, I really wanted the white boxes but my husband insisted that we get the colorful ones for practicality reasons. Again, I gave in. 

You see, my husband is the paying 'client' here and as his 'decorator', my job is to work with his ideas and budget while trying to execute the vision I had for the room. Also, with a husband, you pick your battles, right? 

Initially, my husband refused to let me paint the room white for practicality reasons (Do you see a pattern by now? Yup, I married Mr. Practical) but I insisted. For a second, I wanted to let him have his way but I knew white is the only way to go! My vision is to make this small room looks fresh, bright and airy! Will I design the room differently if everything is up to me? Definitely! He wanted the room to look more child-like and colorful and I wanted the room to look chic, sophisticated and whimsical so I try to incorporate his ideas with mine, all while maintaining a very tiny budget for this room. 

This week, my plan is to hang the branch mobile that I had made earlier. However, my husband couldn't locate the studs on the ceiling so the branch mobile didn't go up. We ended up with a ceiling filled with drilled holes. He just bought a new stud finder yesterday so hopefully the new one worked better than the old one.

I wish we made some progress this week but like I said earlier, it has been an eventful week so there is not much done besides getting a few items from the big box stores.

Hopefully, we will get more done next week!

Don't forget to check out the rest of the participants from The One Room Challenge below! I am sure they made more progress in their rooms than mine!

P/S: Come by and enter my current giveaway for a chance to win $200 store credit from DecoraUSA! Today is the last day for entries!