Super Bowl LII

We are 10 days away from The New England Patriots facing off against the Philadelphia Eagles for the 52nd edition of the league’s championship game! Which means there are plenty of options for the best party foods and ideas. Here are a few ideas if your hosting this year!


For a healthy dish on Super Bowl Sunday try this Watermelon Helmet Click here for recipe

Let your guest make the calls, use yellow napkins that double as penalty flags!

Play Bingo during commercials and give away cute prizes click here for printable bingo cards

How about some Pigskins in a Blanket

You’ll need something for your  guests with a sweet tooth…Football Ice Cream Sandwiches


Root for your favorite team with popcorn in your colors!

Have fun and stay tuned for more Adventures in Styleland…



Michele Conti

Designs By Michele

Staging Secrets

Staging a home especially when it’s about to hit the market is so important. When it comes to standing out, some homes are simply staged better than others.
So how do you enter the staging game at the next level?

Choosing the right décor in a staged home can be a difficult task. Too much of it and you’ll make the space look cluttered and overdone. Too little and your space may seem sparse and uninviting. What always stands out to me is cohesiveness. When everything flows without being too overdone.
Art hung perfectly and clever furniture placement can make the room seem large. Proper window treatments are a good starting place for the living or family room. Mirrors strategically mounted, are a wonderful way to play off light coming in from windows and bounce it around a room, creating the illusion of more space.

In bathrooms, hang luxurious towels over the tub, keep them white or neutral, clear the counters and place fresh flowers near the sink. It creates color and a fresh sent without overdoing fragrances.

Setting the kitchen and/or dining-room table can help buyers visualize themselves living in the space.
Perhaps most importantly, don’t forget the outside! First impressions are important, so you want to make sure your yard is equally as inviting as the inside of your home.

Neutrals with a pop of color. Some people may love walls that are painted deep blue but some people may not.
Your safest bet when it comes to the hues in your home is neutral-colored walls and furniture, with injections of color here and there. By colorful accessories I’m referring to accent pillows, large art or area rugs.

Colors like silver and turquoise can have a calming effect, and may be quite appealing for prospective buyers.
Remember less is more. Get rid of clutter! Last but certainly not least when it comes to staging and it is essential that your home is spotless if you want to earn top dollar.

Floors should shine, countertops should sparkle and all clutter should be removed. Keep in mind, although your personal items are of great importance to you, photos and personal mementos should be removed. By getting rid of excess items, you’ll also make your house seem bigger, which is appealing to anyone. Keep it simple. Even staged homes can get over-cluttered with items that look nice, but aren’t necessary. Keep it minimal and clutter-free! I hope these tips have helped, if you need additional assistance with your old home or the new home you are looking to purchase, visit me in booth #323, Designs by Michele, at the Times Union 38th Annual Home Expo!

See you soon! Stay tuned for more Adventures in Styleland…



Michele Conti

Designs by Michele

Out With The Old

It’s a new year, and maybe this will be the year that the entryway stays tidy, the toys don’t devolve into chaos, and your clothes are always neatly folded and put away. If you’ve started with a big organizing goal, it helps to break it down into smaller steps. Lowe’s is at the Times Union Home Expo to help!  Located in booth 307, Lowe’s has several items to help get your home in shape for the new year.

Here are a few resolutions to help you organize your home in 2018.

Everything in its place:

An object can’t be organized if it’s doesn’t have a home. Designate a spot for everything, commit to keeping it there, and get your honey and kids on board too! When your organizing storage for items you use daily, pay attention to where things tend to land. If shoes and coats are always piled by the front door, embrace this trend and get a coat rack, and/or bench to corral the clutter. If magazines, catalogs and papers end up on the kitchen counter, add a pretty wicker basket so they stay in one place. It may not be your first-choice spot, but in this case, the path of least resistance will most likely lead to success.

Bring something in, Take something out

Trade new for old, but get rid of the old! Use this rule for clothes, toys, kitchen gadgets, magazines ect.  If something comes into your home, it should be replacing something else, not adding to the clutter. Resist the urge to hold onto your old jeans, shoes or coats “just in case” there’s a day when you need to wear  beat-up cloths or shoes for some reason. Encourage your children to donate toys they’ve outgrown when an influx of new stuff comes in on their birthdays or Christmas. You can only use so much stuff.

Three Month Rule

Decluttering has rules that you can follow. If you haven’t used something in 90 days, and don’t see yourself using it in the next 90 days, get rid of it. You can adjust your time limit—maybe three months is too short, so it needs to be six, or a full year, but creating a rule for yourself and sticking to it can take the guesswork out of deciding what to keep. Anytime you can make a plan to follow, your life gets easier, too.


End the day with a clean sweep:

Even if it means going to bed 10 minutes later, make a point to tidy every night before you go to bed, so you can wake up to an uncluttered house. That means finishing up the dishes, clear your counters, hang jackets and pick up the shoes. It doesn’t take long, especially if you do most chores ahead of your bed time. This gives you the chance to start fresh in the morning instead of waking to clutter and just adding to it the next day.

Keep Items of Beauty and Worth

Donate, this is the one thing we don’t do enough of. If you don’t truly need it in the next 30 days, pass it on! If you don’t use it or don’t like it get rid of it! Be intentional about what you keep, next time you see a book on a shelf or something in your closet that makes you feel “eh,” just put it in the donate box.

As always, stay tuned for more Adventures in Styleland…



Michele Conti

Designs by Michele

No Secrets With This Agency

2001 Central Insurance Agency knows that remodeling your home is a big undertaking and making your dream home a reality is hard work. The CIA team are available to help support your project and make sure your confident that the project will happen safely and you’re covered in case of “mayhem”.

But before you hit the hardware store, here are some tips that can help you think through how to make your renovation plans and home insurance work together to protect your family better.

Start a file:

Save quotes, estimates, invoices and receipts to update your homeowner’s policy as well as your home inventory. Take Pictures “before” and “after” pictures will help your insurance agent update your policy. As a designer I always like to see the transformation, and show your friends and family.

Questions for your contractor:

If you’re hiring a contractor for your project, ask them for a copy of their general liability insurance certificate, as well as their property and workers compensation insurance. Just as reviews and recommendations help you feel confident that you’ve got the right team for the job, checking that they’re covered helps you relax throughout the remodeling process.

Keep Track:

As you update your home inventory keep track of additional items you’ve purchased to fill your newly remodeled space. Like appliances, antiques, art, tv’s maybe your honey has purchased a new piece of jewelry for you…

Security System

Discounts available:

Ask your 2001 agent about eligibility for discounts on your homeowner’s insurance rate due to your remodeling project. You may qualify for a discount for installing home security system or fire alarm systems.

Consider extra coverage:

Whether renovating or remodeling add extra coverage in case the unexpected occurs. Coverage for water damage, if you are removing your roof and a sudden storm occurs, or if you’ve taken up a temporary residence while your home is being renovated you can add coverage for theft or vandalism of personal property.


Inspired to start a new remodeling project? Need advice on how home owners insurance can help or even save you money. Be sure to check with your agent to make sure that your homeowners coverage is doing all it can to protect your hard-earned dream.

Get more valuable advice for your home when you visit 2001 Central Insurance Agency in Booth # 276 at the Time Union Home Expo!


Stay tuned for more Adventures in Styleland…


Michele Conti

Power Up!

Too often we live by a sort of “out-of-sight, out-of-mind” mindset about our home fixtures. This time of year, with snow on the ground, and ice on the wires we are reminded of how important it is to consider a standby generator. Home generators are one of the most useful pieces of equipment any home owner can have. Arket Electric and Generator is proud to provide affordable residential and commercial electrical solutions to their customers.


Prices have come down dramatically in the last few years. Finding a little extra money coming in with tax season? This is a great home improvement to consider particularly living in upstate NY where we’re able to contribute to this story, having frequent power outages. We are no strangers to being without power for over a week at a time. It’s times like these that you want to have a first responder Generac Generator. This backup generator immediately kicks into gear when the lights go out, and has been powering our home for the last 5 years.

Having one the best home generators supplying power to a sump pump, refrigerator, or a furnace can seem like a luxury when everyone else is struggling without any power at all. Other people in our neighborhood will still be huddling in the cold, searching for candles, and struggling to connect to the outside world. But when the next outage occurs we will be comfortable, and carrying on as usual thanks to Arket Electric and Generator and our Generac generator!

Arket Electric will be camped out at booth 119, at The 2018 Home Expo and they’ll “keep the lights on” for you.

Stay tuned for more Adventures in Styleland…



Michele Conti

Designs by Michele

Renovation Financing You Can Bank On…

Well, it’s been a few days since I’ve posted here on the blog, and what better way to say hello again than to share some before and after photos.

The secret to getting a renovation just right is to do your homework!  Research is the key to getting what you want. Study magazines and books to get an idea of the look you want. Visit friends, family members and colleagues who have renovated recently. Consider your lifestyle and the needs of your family, both in the short and long term. Discuss your project with a designer or decorator for contractor recommendations.

Living Room Before
Living Room After








Once you have a firm idea of the kind of renovation you would like to undertake, it is time to decide how you are going to pay for it. Trustco Bank is at The Home Expo to help with questions about how to finance your next project. If you are thinking of using outside funds, discuss your borrowing needs and options with Trustco Bank. You will probably find that there are many financing possibilities to consider, from personal loans and lines of credit to home equity loans and homeowner’s mortgages.

Are you planning a renovation? Times Union Home Expo is offering smart solutions for your home project! Whether you are building your dream home or simply sprucing up your present home, Home Expo 2018 has the consumer in mind!

There will be hundreds of exciting exhibits, that will display the best in home products, technology and services of every description. Visit one-on-one with builders, mortgage lenders, realtors, decorators, landscapers and more. From hardwood flooring to home theater systems, you can find the latest in product technology and design.

We look forward to seeing you at our new location, the 2018 Times Union Home Expo will be hosted exclusively at the new Albany Capital Center 55 Eagle St Albany NY 12207.


Friday, February 9, 2018 | 3:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Saturday, February 10, 2018 | 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Sunday, February 11, 2018 | 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

See you Soon! Stay tuned for more Adventures in Styleland…



Michele Conti

Designs by Michele


Dream Decks

When you want to enjoy more outdoor time a deck, pergola, or patio may be just what you need. There are many styles that can help you achieve the beautiful and relaxing outdoor space you’re trying to create. For example, you can choose from a multi-level deck, a gazebo, curved deck or an elegant pergola. RM Fence and Deck are at The Times Union Home Expo this year to create your outdoor space.

It’s kind of hard to enjoy your deck when it’s wide open to neighbors. Maybe you want to enjoy an intimate summer evening, or sunbath free from onlookers’. Or maybe you just prefer the comfortable feeling of knowing nobody can see you even if you’re just eating or reading. Love the thought of a fence but don’t want to feel boxed in or claustrophobic? One thing you can do is build the top of the six-foot fence with a foot of lattice, keeping the airy feeling while still maintaining privacy.

These are a handful of things you can do improve the privacy of your backyard living space other than adding bushes to trim or trees that can become overgrown. A tall solid fence is probably the best way to completely isolate your deck or patio for maximum privacy.  Ask RM Fence and Deck for information on different types of fencing material, they can help you choose what style and material will suit your needs.

Decks can be free standing or detached from the rest of your home or you can choose a deck that is attached, such as a wrap-around deck. When you choose RM Fence and Deck, you’ll have plenty of options regarding the design of your outdoor space as well as the materials that are used to build it.

Where will your new deck be? RM Fence and Deck will be in booth 205, on the second floor of the Albany Capital Center, come talk with their friendly staff and start building your dream deck.

Stay Tuned for more Adventures in Styleland…


Michele Conti

Designs by Michele

The Case Of A Room With A View – 3M Window Film

In the heart of upstate NY is a beautiful home with breathtaking views, an absolutely stunning place! Built in the early 2000’s this home has million dollar views… but unfortunately the same windows that made this spectacular view brought along serious energy costs. The massive heat gain in the summer made it hard to keep cool. Just as concerning was the heat loss in the winter.


American Sun Control has several options to combat these problems the sunlight was causing. The home owners were considering shades, but the cost of maintenance, needing motorized units for the high windows plus repairs coupled with trying to clean the shades ended that thought.

Rob Bouchey explains that with the 3M Sun Control Window Film, the windows would reject heat, block glare and protect the beautiful view that was designed for this house and was the reason homeowners purchased this home.

With 2018 getting underway why not resolve to have a more energy efficient home this year? While your homes windows open your space to natural lighting, warmth and views of the outdoors there are also downsides. Unfortunately, these same windows open you up to high energy costs, heat buildup, excess glare and premature fading of interior furniture.

Implementing a high quality window film solution can improve the comfort and increase the energy efficiency of your windows and allow you to bask in the sunlight worry free.


American Sun Control is at the Times Union Home Expo on the first floor of the Albany Capital Center, in booth 125. Visit with Rob, he has all the 3M products available to review, make an appointment to install 3M products on your windows and enjoy the view…

See you soon, stay tuned for more Adventures in Styleland…


Michele Conti

Designs By Michele


Whats cooking in Kitchen Design…

When it comes to designing a kitchen professional chefs often feel the same way we do, they’re limited by space and budget. But they know what they need and are less likely to be seduced by the romance of useless gadgets and crammed counters. Talking to Mark at The Cabinet Shop we touched on the subject of space and function. As a designer, I feel that an efficient kitchen is designed for economy of movement.

Most homeowners (and chefs) are more passionate about counter space than professional appliances. I like to create space for plenty of chopping, rolling out dough and prep space. Mark Wagner of  The Cabinet Shop agreed with 25 years of designing and crafting custom kitchens he knows what’s working in todays kitchen design. With more and more kitchens installed in open concept spaces, the current layouts are using more lower cabinets and larger islands for optimal counter space.

White done right…white kitchens will never go out of style. You’re more likely to grow tired of bold colors so stick with accessories you can swap out, kiss your walls with color. If your taste changes so can your wall color! It’s an inexpensive way to make that change and white cabinets will support whatever new color your heart desires..


This small kitchen has ample counter space and an open concept with a lot of personality! Consider your backsplash as another place to add a pop of color when using white cabinets. Bolder personalities tend to choose a countertop with big movement adding more interest to the solid wall color and white cabinets.

Setting up your kitchen for entertaining is key, we don’t want to be hidden away or separated from the party anymore! I find one level islands are best for entertaining as well as food prep. Islands have more than doubled in size from the smaller 5ft island to grand 11ft islands making the most of expanding valuable counter space.

My advice is tear down those walls! Talk with Mark about cabinet color layout and ask me if you want additional help with design. The Cabinet Shop is in two locations this year, booth 101 located on the first floor and booth 231 on the second floor of Times Union Home Expo in The Albany Capital Center 55 Eagle St. Albany NY 12207.


As always stay tuned for more Adventures In Styleland…



Michele Conti

Designs by Michele

Quartzite Fantasy…

With the new stylistic choices in countertops being light grey and white stones, a multitude of quartzites are the most optimal materials to use. It should be noted that granite countertops differ largely from quartzite and contains flaws you won’t see in granite. There are many selections to choose from include: Taj Mahal, which is one of my favorites!

Sea Pearl, which features the palest of gray background accented with soft brushes of darker gray with hints of off white. This beautiful natural stone brings a sense of elegance and sophistication to any project.

Fantasy Brown, this gorgeous stone has beautiful hues of grey, white, and brown make this natural stone look like a work of art.

With White Macaubas you’re able to obtain the look of marble without its porous qualities and maintenance.

Last, but not least is Symphony, this elegant and subtle stone has a cream, beige, off white background with light veins of brown and grey. An excellent choice for use in kitchens and baths.

Where granite is an igneous rock found more abundantly than quartzite, deep in the earth’s crust, providing the base for the many continents’ sedimentary rock, quartzite consists of a larger volume of quartz than granite; under heat and pressure combined, quartzite is formed from sandstone and quartz, and with the amount of pressure undergone, empty grains of sandstone are stuffed with quartz. This means quartzite is actually harder.

When in need of a premium kitchen countertops, Klassic Stone can help give you the results you’ve always wanted. Whether it’s for quartzite or granite countertops, at Klassic Stone you can find the most reasonable and simple pricing for products.

At Klassic Stone their staff are experts in fabricating custom countertops, vanity tops, etc. Specializing in templating, fabricating & installing kitchen counter-tops using Granite, Quartz, Quartzite and Marble. Specially trained in all quartz products. Talk with Kim and Lori they will be in booth 229, on the second floor of the Albany Capital Center at the 38th Annual Home Expo.


Stay tuned for more Adventures In Styleland…



Michele Conti

Designs By Michele