Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Gift That Keeps on Giving - Noah's Magic Shoes

I feel so blessed that I have had the life I have, and because of that I feel compelled to give back every opportunity that I have. Giving people hope and helping others isn't that hard - sometimes it's as easy as just thinking about where you are shopping or making a purchase.
Nothing touches me more than violence to another living being, and the I have been very fortunate to have been introduced to the Genesis Women's Shelter in Dallas.The work they do is amazing, and what hurts me the most is how much of a need there is for safe havens like Genesis.
But back to giving back. Over a year ago Director Jan Langbein shared a story with some of her group about a boy who had come to live at one of the Genesis shelters. This six year old boy had never owned a new pair of shoes, and when he received the new pair of red sneakers he proclaimed that they were magic because the treads on them allowed him to walk up a slide backwards. From that story "Noah's Magic Shoes" came to be.
This beautifully illustrated book is truly a labor of love, and 100% of the proceeds benefit the Genesis Women's Shelter. You can purchase a copy for yourself or to share on the Genesis website. I shared my autographed copy that I purchased at the NorthPark Center event to my daughter who is a teacher. There are classroom lessons on the website prepared by Dr. Larkin Page, Professor of Children's Literature.
Make a difference this year by sharing the story of "Noah's Magic Shoes" - it is a gift that will truly keep on giving.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Excitement Builds Around The Opening of The New American Home

I just saw an article in Nation's Building News today about The New American Home.  This publication is the official online newspaper of The National Association of Home Builders, and is available to you if you are a member of this amazing organization.
If you are not a member, please feel free to contact us - we'll get the information to you that you need in time to join us at the International Builders Show and tour the home!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Pixie Dust

I just returned from a magical week in Orlando. Someone said they scatter pixie dust at the airport when you arrive, and I'm starting to believe them. Not only was I able to take part in a home that will probably be one of the the high points of my Lifestylist® career, but I was also blessed to spend some very special time with my kids and grandkids and share my Lifestylist® approach with them. Being a Lifestylist incorporates life and style, and getting creative in the kitchen is definitely part of that.
As part of the staging for The New American Home, I purchased a large amount of beautiful granny smith apples to add color and lifestyle to the kitchen. After we were finished with the shoot, I thought why not recycle them and make a pie with the grandkids? Neither of them had tried making a pie before, and with Thanksgiving being only a week away I thought this could be a great time to make their first.
Jenna may only be 8 yrs old, but she loves to cook and is really good at it. She has taken part in the Jr Chef Camp at the Gaylord Texan that Chef Joanne teaches, and was excited about trying out her culinary skills making a pie. Many adults would be daunted by this task, but Jenna dug right in. After teaching her some basic knife skills and precautions, she peeled and cored all of the apples herself. Brother Christian decided to help us make the crust, and we made a huge mess (sorry Trish!) but I'm sure it was a day that they will always remember.
I am so grateful to have the loving, supportive family I have, and the amazing clients that believe in me and what I do. Here's to the start of a holiday season filled with hope, happiness and lots of pixie dust!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Recycling Model Homes

Welcome to my world. With budgets getting tighter every day, builders are looking for ways to cut costs but still increase sales. One way to do this is by renovating and recycling model home furniture and accessories they already have.
This makes a lot of sense, but when employees or decorators are used for this task that don't understand merchandising, there's a good chance you won't get the desired results.
Youngs Homes in Hobbs, NM asked me to come down and help them with their model home center a few years ago and had the right results - sales and traffic increased without it costing them a fortune.  Since then they have brought in some new models, and realized it was time to look at re-modeling what they had. Employees had helped where they could to decorate the new models, but they just weren't getting the desired results. The Home Idea Factory was given the task of creating some Lifestylist Designed models using only the furniture that they already owned to keep costs down, but we did add some "personality packages" of artwork and accessories to add the lifestyle that was missing and keeping buyers from becoming emotionally involved with the homes.
I'm going to share a few examples of what we accomplished in the next few weeks, but this will give you an idea of the results.
This beautiful Champion Home has everything a buyer could wish for - 9 ft. ceilings, transom windows, a fireplace, and a dream kitchen with  stainless appliances and vent hood, and an island. From the inside and out, people would never guess this is a factory built home. As a matter of fact, it offers more options and upgrades than most site built homes do! The family room had a rock fireplace, and they even showed a front bedroom as a study. The house had furniture in it, but needed some lifestyle added to it.
By raiding the warehouse (notice the gold parsons chairs in the warehouse photo) we were able to pull the colors together more and add warmth to the home. Artwork and accessories highlighted the buyer profile for the area - ranchers - and furniture was re-arranged to emphasize how livable the floorplan is.
This is one of the higher priced homes that Young's sells, so we wanted it to feel that way. Buyers are now comfortable enough in the home to sit down and enjoy the home, and interest in the home has increased dramatically.
If you would like to discover how a Lifestylist Re-Designed model can help your sales, contact us at: answers@lifestylist.com

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Model Homes That Sell

Anyone who has ever spent time in a model home has heard a buyer ask the sales person where they can purchase something that they see in the home. More often than not, the builder and sales team don't have any idea, and that memory point is lost.
Lifestylist Design recently did a home for American Custom Builders that was a "ready to go home" - everything in the home was purchased within 10 miles of the home or was available online. By keeping the number of stores used to a minimum, buyers were easily able to see how they could make their new home look "just as good as the model home". All of the furniture used was from a local Ashley Home Store, and buyers purchasing one of the homes received a discount on their own purchases after they closed on their home.
Take a look at a video we just completed of the home and see for yourself how beautifully this concept can be accomplished.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Sharing is Caring

One of my favorite things to do every year is entering the State Fair of Texas cooking contests. Being a Lifestylist to me is about all of the ways you can live your life with style - not just design.Not because I want to win, but because I really enjoy sharing all of my entries with different workers at the fair afterward. These are the people who really enjoy my cooking and know it's made with love. Officer Stevens is usually by the entrance we use every day, and after she tried my peanut parries she was hooked. I've never won a ribbon with these, but I keep entering because they are the favorites of Chuck and Linda at the Chili Parlor and we've become good friends because of them.
When I brought Officer Stevens her cookies on the last day she said that we had no idea how much our sharing meant to her - and how nice it was just to have people appreciate her. There is no ribbon that can ever top that great feeling when you know you are doing something for the joy of it, but others get to share that joy as well.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The New American Home: Orlando 2011

I've been attending the International Builders Show for over 20 years now - where does the time go? It's something I look forward to every year, not only as a place to catch up with all of the friends and clients I've made over the years, but also to check out what's the latest and greatest in home design.
The convention floor can be overwhelming - the exhibits are huge and you want to check out every booth so you don't miss anything. I always rest up before the show because I know when I'm there I've got a lot of walking to do. Thank heavens for the digital age though - before you used to pick up catalogs and information as you went, now we can find a lot of that information online.
When the convention was in Dallas I was asked to be the designer and Lifestylist® on The American Home Of the Year - a project with Home Magazine, Home Depot, and Crate and Barrel. It was an honor to work with builder Steve Brooks and his team at Grand Homes, and working on it developed my love of doing editorial work.
This year the International Builders Show is back in Orlando, and the National Association of Homebuilders has asked me to be the Lifestylist® on The New American Home! This is the 28th year that a New American Home has been built to showcase innovative building products and technologies, and including a Lifestylist® on the team is definitely new!
The home is only open to attendees of IBS, but I wanted to share some of the really interesting and unique ideas that are being incorporated into the home as well as introduce you to the very talented team that is responsible for the home.  If you haven't signed up to attend IBS yet and you are a member of NAHB, be sure to sign up here so you can see the home in person. I'll be blogging about the progress of the home on my Home Idea Factory blog - please follow the progress of the home there!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Champion Homes Gets Social

I just found out today  Champion Homes has a Facebook page that they are getting ready to add a lot of information and photos to. When I went to check it out, I found photos of the Lifestylist® Designed home we merchandised for them at the Tulsa show and heard that there will be more photos to come of the Texas Show. If you haven't "liked " this page yet be sure to do so - that way you'll be one of the first to see all of the exciting new changes.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

New Lifestylist Designed Models for Champion Homes of Texas

We just finished part two of the Extreme Model Home Challenge and I couldn't wait to share the results! Champion Homes of Texas is doing an incredible job bringing truly affordable homes to market that are full of amazing options. It's hard to believe that these are budget conscious homes - all of the extras add up to a lot of value.
We had three weeks to add the Lifestylist® Designed touch to these homes and it helps to have great companies that help us meet our deadlines. What was really important to us as far as the merchandising went was to use the right color and scale with the furniture and accessories to show people how they could live in these homes. Even the smaller home has room to do a dining set to seat 4, and the larger home featured a great room large enough to fit a huge leather sectional that will be perfect for football watching parties.
There were too many great ideas in these homes to put in one article, so we are going to do a few separate stories to share the different features. If you want to take a look at these homes in person you need to do it quickly - customers are already fighting over the merchandised smaller home so they probably won't be at the plant for long. For more information contact Marc Mmedders@championhomes.com

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Lifestylist Designed: Using Area Rugs To Add Color

Today is an absolutely perfect day The weather has cooled off to where I'm thinking about changing my home decor to suit the cooler temperatures. - it sounds like a lot of work, but a few changes can make all of the difference in how you enjoy your home. One of my favorite ways to warm things up is with area rugs.
One of my designers with Shaw Living just sent me a copy of their 2010 introductions and they are stunning! Whether you are looking for a bold, urban look or a more classic pattern they have something for you and the colors are right on trend.They also have rugs in their Ever-Touch yarns which feel amazing underfoot or make a great place to lay down and watch the football games.
With hard flooring surfaces becoming more popular every day, and area rug is a great way to add color and warmth. This is a model home for American Custom Builders that was Lifestylist® Designed, and you can see what a difference it made adding this Shaw area rug. It was a long, narrow space and the rug helped add color and define the space. In The Home Idea Factory I have summer rugs that are lighter and in more coastal textures, and in the fall I bring out my area rugs that are in deep, rich colors. Add a few new pillow covers and a throw on the sofa and I'm ready to go!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Z Gallerie: From Soap to Sofas

Finally! The cooler weather is almost here and the stores are filling up with beautiful new accessories and goodies to seasonalize our homes with. As a Lifestylist® I like to constantly be on the prowl for what's new and exciting, and get an idea of what people are really buying for their homes.
I love Z Gallerie - they are my favorite "go to" source when I am working on a new model home. They are masters at offering personality pieces that help make a room or home memorable, and they also stock those big exciting works of art that you can never find when you need them. But on a recent visit they made me think of them for something I hadn't purchased from them in the past - furniture.
Z Gallerie started out in 1979 as a family run poster shop which has quickly grown to include 54 locations in 18 states! Their beautiful stores have expanded into becoming a one stop shop which make it easy for consumers to get everything they need for their home in one place. The stores are organized into different color stories which make it easy to find everything you need. They offer great accessories and furniture that are so unique people would think you had them custom made.
Speaking of personality pieces, as soon as I walked in the store I fell in love with two chairs I think I'm going to have to have - "Eddie" and "Bella". Eddie was just stunning in leather that was the perfect shade of teal, and Bella was a pearl grey fabric that was just sexy. You know you found something you must have when you can't stop thinking about it, and that's the case with these two chairs.
Make Z Gallerie a destination for your next shopping trip, and let us know what you fall in love with.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Lifestylist® Designed Cafe Gets a Bobby Flay Throwdown

I am so excited! I just learned that Bobby Flay traveled to Tucson and had a "throwdown" with the Matias family at Teresa's Mosaic Cafe. This is a restaurant that we did the interior of, and as with all Lifestylist® Designed challenges we spent a lot of time getting to know the family and their needs before we came up with a plan.
Teresa's is all about family and the wonderful handmade food so the interior had to have as much personality as the family does. To do this we designed tables made of handmade tiles - thousands of them all that we made by hand. It was an extensive amount of work but the results were definitely worth it.
The episode airs on the Food Network - check out dates and times for your area.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Homearama Returns to Rochester, NY

It's hard to believe it's already time for Homearama again - where does the time go? But this is the perfect time to visit Rochester - the produce season is in full swing, perfect weather and it's also a great time to be thinking about decorating ideas to warm up your home with.
This year this annual event will be held at WaterSong in Penfield August 14th - 22nd. Sponsored by the Rochester Homebuilders Association this 9 days will not only highlight these 5 beautiful homes but there will also be an abundance of wine tasting, cooking demos and decorating seminars.
Lifestylist® Design has teamed up with @home Builders three different years to participate in this great event, but my favorite home was definitely the Ronald McDonald Show House we did a few years ago. We teamed up with the amazing group of volunteers from the Ronald McDonald House and merchandised a home using furniture, artwork and accessories that were donated to Ronald McDonald for their annual ABC Sale.It was truly a Lifestylist® Designed home -  I spent three months going over images they would send me of new donations and digging through their warehouse to find the perfect items for this home and by the end we did!
It was a fun challenge to show how you can do a beautifully decorated home using only "gently cherished" items. The best part was @home Builders then did an online auction and visitors to the home could bid on each room. All of the proceeds then went to the Ronald McDonald House Charities. From this, the dinner auction prize and other events that @home Builders did with the home they were able to raise over $25,000 for the charity. To see photos and get more information about this show house, check out the website we designed for it.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Simplify Your Life While Helping Others

It's hot as heck here today - the 1st day of August and it's supposed to reach 106 degrees! So today instead of even trying to do anything outside I decided to work on one of my new goals and start simplifying my life and style.
Have you noticed how easy it is to make impulse purchases now and how things just start piling up? I think I inherited a little of my parents recession-fear mentality and it's hard for me to pass up anything free like the little soaps and shampoos that you get in hotels.  As a Lifestylist® I'm always picking up cool and unusual items that I plan on using for staging or merchandising a model home - thanks heavens the Home Idea Factory has lots of storage or I'd be in big trouble!
Last week I was fortunate enough to be invited to The Family Place - an amazing resource for abused women and families. I serve on the board for HomeAid / HomeBuilders Care in Dallas and we just built new apartments, a clinic and a school room for them and it was so rewarding to see what we were able to accomplish. We were also able to meet some of the women who live there and what a difference the Family Place has made in our lives. As we toured we also found out what a great need they have for some of those things I've been collecting and today I'm going to start simplifying my life to help them with their fresh start.
Ronald McDonald House in Rochester, NY is another charity very close to my heart.  A few years ago we did a home that was merchandised completely with items that had been donated to the charity, then auctioned off to benefit Ronald McDonald House. I'll be forever grateful to the volunteers and Rochester community who donated such beautiful items to work with!
Towels, sheets, bath products, diapers... these are all things we may have an abundance of but don't want to throw out the ones that we don't use as much anymore. Stuffed animals that we tend to collect at fairs and in crane games would be cherished by a child that had to leave everything behind to get to safety.
It feels so good to clean away some of the clutter and know that these items are going to help someone else. The less you have to organize the easier it will be!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Lifestylist® Designed TX Lake House For Sale

Looking for the perfect home to enjoy lake front living all year long? Look no further - this beautiful 5 bedroom home is what you have been searching for!

Lifestylist® Suzanne Felber and photographer Lisa Stewart visited this week to stage, photograph and help the owner market their home. See why Lifestylist® Marketing can give you the edge you are looking for to help you sell more homes.

Take a look at the You Tube video of the home, or contact Norma K. Smith for more information.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Lifestylist Designed Home Debuts in Frisco, TX

American Custom Builders is inviting neighbors and interested buyers to it's Sneak Peek Sunday today from 1-3pm. Take advantage of the opening to view our latest Lifestylist Designed home and see for yourself this fresh approach to home building and design. All of the furniture is from the local Ashley HomeStore and consumers can go and purchase almost everything they see in the homes themselves. This new marketing approach to model home merchandising is proving to be very successful - come and see the results!