Thursday, February 22, 2018

Happy 7th blog anniversary!

In a blink of an eye, my little blog has turned 7! My blog actually turned 7 on Feb 13 but I totally forgot it until yesterday, thanks to a week of celebrations (Valentine's Day and Chinese New Year), lots of cooking and heavy feasting. :)

Fun, exciting and wonderful opportunities continue to come my way, some I gladly welcomed and some I have politely declined. The most thrilling experience were from design clients who came back again and again to ask me for design help. One client even offered to fly me out of state to design her beach home! It means one thing. My design clients trusted me enough to transform their homes and I did something right. As a decorator, I couldn't ask for more!

On another happy note, my blog has reached another milestone yesterday. Over the course of 7 years, my blog has garnered over 10 million pageviews, believe it or not! Without your love and support, my blog wouldn't have come this far so I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to all of you who continued to follow and read my blog. I would also like to thank my dedicated readers who take a moment from their busy lives to drop me an encouraging and positive comment from time to time. I feel so blessed and grateful to all of you!

I will try my hardest to find the chicest, most beautiful and most inspirational interiors to share with you everyday so I hope you will continue to stay with me. 

Thank you my fabulous readers, you are super awesome!

With Design, It Is The Little Things That Can Make Or Break The Look!

This post is provided by Katherine Smith.

It is the little things like this that can bring down your whole design if you are not careful. Here are a few of the little things that can make or break your design:


You have a pristine room with beautiful tile floors and a white linen sofa. Then a nasty cockroach crawls across the smooth stone or the alabaster fabric, creating a black spot on your design. Ditto for spiders, scorpions, or any other kind of pests.

Joshua's Pest Control in San Diego says that you need to develop a pest control plan well before you notice that you have pests. Once you have an infestation, the pests can be much harder to remove. But if you treat your home ahead of time, you can keep the pests from ever entering.


A jumble of wires behind your entertainment center or your desk just looks like a mess. It will be a blight on your carefully designed room. That messy pile of wires will make the room look more cluttered and decidedly less stylish.

There are many ways that you can hide those wires. The best way is to plan for the wires in your design, such as by choosing an entertainment center that has closed spaces where the wires can be hidden, such as drawers and cabinets. You can also hide wires by hiring an electrician to run them through the wall or to put an outlet closer to where you need it. You can also minimize wires by minimizing the number of devices in a location. Do you really need an Xbox and a Wii?

Generic Light Fixtures

You might not think that simple light fixture in your hall makes that big a difference to your overall design, but it does. All those generic light fixtures that you might think blend into the background actually detract from the full potential of your home's decor.

The best interior designs are planned to the smallest detail. The light fixtures should be chosen to complement the decor not only with their style but also with the ambiance they create. Different fixtures can change the light level in the room, which can have a profound impact on the atmosphere.

Shoddy Workmanship

Nothing looks as good as good workmanship. You do not want to look down at your custom made farm table and note all the ways that it is flawed, from that little puddle of stain in the corner to the screw sticking out on one of the legs. Nor do you want to be enjoying a bath in your huge garden tub and look over and see crooked paint lines or loose window trim. 

Make sure you hire the pros to do your home repairs or renovations. If you want to do some of the work yourself, make sure you take on only those jobs that you can do well. No one is going to praise your work if it does not look good, and your efforts could actually bring down the profile of your home.

There are dozens of other little things that can bring down your home design, ranging from ill-chosen throw pillows to a misplaced accent chair in your family room. It is important that you think through every aspect of your design carefully and that you pay close attention to the details. You will be looking at your decor every day, and you will notice the little flaws that are there. Over time, your guests will notice, too, and you will feel very self-conscious. You may even stop inviting people over as often because of it. 

Take your time with your design planning or work with a professional to make sure you get it right.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Barrier And Soil Treatments For Termite Control!

This post is provided by Jesse Hughes.

Your home is probably the most expensive item you have purchased. You can expect it to last for the rest of your lifetime.

Unfortunately this is not always the case. Termites are one of the biggest threats to any home. This is because they can exist in your walls for long periods of time without being noticed. For this reason they are able to cause a huge amount of damage.

In fact, it is estimated that termites cost in excess of $5 billion dollars of damage every year.

There are in excess of 2,000 types of termites found across the world. Just 50 of them are found in the states, the only state they have not yet been found in is Alaska.

No matter where you live, if you think you might have a termite problem it is important to talk to your local pest control expert about termite control.

Dealing With Termites

The three main types of termites to concern yourself with are dampwood, drywood and subterranean.

A termite is usually between ¼ and ½ inch long although the kings and queens are often found to be as long as 1 inch.

They eat any cellulose based material. In general this is any type of plant life. As wood is originally plant life it is an excellent source of food for them; all they have to do is reach it.

Unfortunately this means that your home is an excellent target for them.

In general they will cross your yard and then get into your home through cracks, around pipes and wires. Once inside they can start eating your wood and, unchecked, will work their way round your home.

It is worth noting that termites need damp conditions to survive. If you have a leaking gutter or downpipe then your foundations will be permanently damp, allowing the termites in.

Barriers And Soil Treatments

It is important to take as many precautions as you can to ensure the termites never reach your home:

1. Repair any leaking gutters and pipes, this will prevent the termites from having somewhere comfortable to live.

2. Remove excess plant cover and wood mulch, especially near the walls of your home.

3. Make sure all water drains off and away from your property.

4. Seal all entry and exit points around pipes and wires.

5. Keep any wood products away from the outside of the house.

6. Regularly inspect your outbuildings and decking.

7. Screen your vents, this will allow the air to move but prevent termites getting in.

8. Treat your wood with a wood preservative and insecticide; this will make it less appealing or even deadly to any termites.

Perhaps the best tip is to create an area that the termites simply cannot get across.

To do this dig a trench round the outside of your home. It should be six inches deep and six inches wide. Then soak the trench with a good quality termiticide. Making sure the soil is loose at the bottom of the trench will help ensure it soaks in properly.

You can then close the trench in, or preferably fill it with concrete to make an effective barrier. Then all you need to do is stay vigilant.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Top Trending Decoration Tips For Your Living Room!

This post is provided by Matt Lee.

Your living room is the go-to space for relaxing after a long day, spending time with family and friends, and entertaining guests. Since this room is often the host of get-togethers and likely where visitors will spend most of their time, it is important for this space to really shine.

Decorating a living room can be a little intimidating, but by following a few of these trends you can create a fresh, inviting atmosphere.

Bold, Dark Furniture Adds Drama Without Coming Across Cold

When dark walls are too intimidating or not an option, a solution is for your furniture to add drama. Dark-toned or classic Mission-style Amish living room furniture look substantial and really add structure to a living room, without making the room feel smaller or cold as dark painted walls may. The matching look of a set is very attractive, just be sure to decorate around it with more eclectic pieces that go along with your style. 

Incorporate An Unexpected Color In Your Decor

So much of home design focuses on very similar color palettes, particularly a range of neutral grays, beiges, whites, and browns. Consider bringing an unexpected color into your living room in the form of a bold emerald green or a jewel-toned amethyst. Such shades are not so common, and therefore are memorable, and really add a touch of richness. An easy way of doing this is added colored pillows or a throw over a sitting chair, but do not be afraid to have a chair or sofa reupholstered in a new shade.

Touches Of Natural Wood Creates Texture And Dimension

There is nothing like real wood to add texture, warmth and dimension to a boring living room. Though a driftwood coffee table or furniture is obviously a great route, consider covering the main wall in reclaimed wood wall panels or go for a very luxurious look with wainscoting. Both can be added to structurally sound walls easily but look as if your living room went under a serious remodel. Reclaimed wood is eco-friendly and offers that incredible aged wood look that is highly sought after.

Minimalistic, Unique Lighting Fixtures

Minimalism always seems to be on trend, but recently has flowed into lighting fixtures. Matte-finished metal lighting fixtures that hang as pendants draw the eye in and are a great way of making a statement without the living room looking cluttered. Simply finish the rest of the room with recessed lights. Do not forget about including dimmable lighting to really set the mood. 

Smarten Up Boring Walls With Personalized Art

A living room without art is simply not a finished space. Rather than buying expensive art or spending time searching for the perfect frame for your photo, go the route of custom canvas prints instead. Not only can you print classic pieces as well as personal photos you have taken yourself, but they also come in a variety of sizes. Being so lightweight, canvas prints are easy to hang, look casually chic, and allow you to create a beautiful gallery-style art display.

Although any and all these tips can apply to essentially any settings, if you are starting from a bare room it is worth it to settle on a theme (i.e. industrial, farmhouse, urban, etc) prior to making big purchases. 

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Basic Invite- Truly Custom Invitations!

If you know me well enough, you would know that I am a huge fan of beautiful paper goods. When I am at the mall, I always visit the greeting card store even when I have nothing to buy. I like admiring and soaking up the stunning designs found in greeting cards. 

In my opinion, pretty greeting cards are very similar to artwork. They are created with great imagination by the hands of talented artists; with size being the only difference. Needless to say, after each trip to one of these stores, I always feel inspired!  The love for gorgeous paper products is real, y'all!

With that said, I can recognize a good paper product instantly. Take for example Basic Invite, a site which specializes in high quality, perfectly customized stationery, which I was introduced to recently. Contrary to its name, Basic Invite is anything but basic! They offer a wide range of gorgeous, elegant and stylish invites for all occasions dedicated to weddings, babies, special events, etc.

Check out some of the fabulous and creative invites from their site!

Aren't these totally swoon-worthy? So what sets Basic Invite apart from others, you may ask?

Almost Unlimited Colors - Basic Invite is one of the few websites that allows customers almost unlimited color options with instant previews online. Once you select a design you can change the color of each element on the card to over 180 different color options so you can make sure the card is exactly how you want it down to the littlest detail. This is what we feel sets us apart from almost any other online stationery company and is what we feel is our biggest draw.

Custom Samples - Basic Invite is one of the few websites that allows customers the ability to order a printed sample of their actual invitation so they can see exactly how it will print as well as the paper quality before they ever have to place their final order.

Over 40 Different Colors of Envelopes - Basic Invite is just as colorful with our envelopes as we are with our invitations. Customers can choose from over 40 different colors when it comes to their envelopes so that they can make their invitation stand out even before it is opened. All of our envelopes are peel and seal so the envelopes can be quickly and securely closed.

Address Capturing Service - Basic Invite offers an address capturing service that allows customers to simply share a link on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any other form of social media to request their friends and family’s addresses which will be stored in the customer’s account and can then be selected during the design process. Basic Invite offers recipient address printing at no cost on all Christmas card orders.

Foil - Foil holiday cards are available in gold, silver, and rose gold. Customers can choose flat or raised foil on all of Basic Invite’s foil designs.

The amount of customization offered on their website is unbelievable! Whether you are looking for wedding invitescustom made birthday invitationsinvitations for sweet 16Basic Invite has you covered!

At the moment, Basic Invite is offering 15% off with coupon code: 15FF51 so be sure to take advantage of this wonderful offer before it's gone!

Disclosure: I have received compensation for the publication of this post.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

How To Finance A Home Improvement Project!

This post is provided by Katherine Smith.

If you would like to finance a home improvement project, then you have to be clear on your reasons for doing it. While you may look forward to the end result, you will also have to endure noise and dust as a work crew hammers and drills for weeks on end.

Reasons To Improve Your Home

There are many possible reasons why you might want to embark on a home improvement project.

It is possible that this is your first home, and although the home mortgage terms were highly favorable, working well with your income, budget, and cash flow, the house fell below your expectations. However, with just a few changes that you can clearly envision, it will be just perfect for your needs.

It is possible that you need a home improvement because it is absolutely necessary, or perhaps because a recent hurricane sweeping through your neck of the woods damaged your home.

It is possible that you just want to live in a nicer home, perhaps one with a more spacious and functional kitchen or one with a guest room so that your family and friends do not always have to sleep on the floor when they visit every holiday season.

Regardless of your reason, let us look at some ways to get the money you need to improve your home.

1. Help From Uncle Sam

You may be able to get government assistance- if your home improvement happens to be tied to making your home more eco-friendly. This assistance will not be in the form of a loan but as a tax credit. The Federal government will give you up to $1,500 in tax credits for energy-efficiency upgrades, for instance, if you upgrade your home to use Energy Star appliances. You can get even more credits if you tap into the solar energy incentive program and are interested in installing solar panels and solar water heaters. You may also be able to get additional rebates from state and local government programs.

2. Contractor Financing

You may be able to get financing from a contractor. If you are working with a big contracting service, it is possible that they have a financing division or work with a lending agency and can make a contractor loan. You just have to make sure that you are being charged a fair rate.

3. A Home Equity Line Of Credit

If you have equity in your home, consider getting a home equity line of credit. You can use your home as collateral to borrow a percentage of the equity in your home. The upside is that your interest rates will be much lower than alternative choices because they will be to the prime rate. Moreover, if you have great credit, you can borrow as much as need up to your credit limit. The downside is that it is not easy to qualify. For one thing, you should have put a large down payment; and, for another, you should have lived in your home for a long time. You will also have to pay for your home to be inspected. Additionally, it is not a fast process. It may take almost two months to be approved; although, if you are lucky, it can take just a month.

4. A Personal Loan

Finally, there is the option of getting a personal loan from a company like Credible. This is preferable to putting everything on your credit cards. You will have a lower interest rate. Additionally, it will be a fixed rate, not a variable rate. If you go this route and can get a personal loan, you have to be careful to figure out a realistic repayment plan based on your current budget constraints. While you can get a personal loan from your bank, you may also want to look into alternative lenders. If you have good credit, it is fairly quick and easy to get an online lender to offer a personal loan. Besides getting your money faster, you will probably be able to borrow at a lower rate than a bank loan.

5. Avoid Going Over Budget

Although most homeowners believe that the toughest part of embarking on a home improvement project is getting the money to do it or finding the right people for the job, the biggest challenge is actually staying within budget. Yes, you probably have a plan in place on how much you are willing to spend and a good idea of what you can get for the money, but when you start shopping you are surrounded by many beautiful, high-quality things that would look perfect in your home. Usually, these are only just a little out of your price range and you start to scheme about how you can stretch your budget just a bit.