On The Home Front – Mark Your Calendar

I’m excited to announce the Times Union Home Expo is only 3 days away! If you are a gardener, DIY’er, project lover or flea market shopper, shop at the 38th Annual Home Expo for creative ideas and connections to make those dreams a reality. Meet A-list local contractors. See the largest collection of luxury and premium kitchen, bath and building products. Find everything to build, remodel or update your home including state-of-the-art appliances, cabinets, tile & stone, windows, doors, solar and other energy saving systems.  The Times Union Home Expo will put you in touch with vendors offering a wide variety of fresh high quality, products and services.

Start your next project here, with builders and contractors that provide will the highest level of customer service you want and expect! Whatever renovation project you are starting or if you are thinking of building your next new home, you don’t want to miss this informative home show.

Be sure to ask our vendors questions and learn the ABC’s of your project! Doors open Friday February 8th at 3:00. Show attendees can find inspirations, products and get expert advice from our many vendors! Please visit Designs by Michele, I’ll be on hand at booth #323 for a free design consultation.  Maybe you need help choosing colors for a small facelift on your home, ask me questions about your impending home update. I’m here to help with design, color, furniture, lighting, window treatments and more!

Providing professional services at any stage of your remodel, an eye for every detail no matter how big or small. I’ll help you achieve the best possible outcome for your next project.

Stay tuned for more exciting Adventures in Styleland, at the Times Union Home Expo! See you Friday!




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

Organic Fusion-Takes Neutrals by Surprise!

One common thread has been evident in all home design trends for 2018; homeowners are looking for ways to break from the mold and be different. In the bathroom, they are relying on tech, tiles and bold accents to make their shower time more interesting. Neutral decors are still popular, homeowners are in love with whites, creams, blues and light browns making a space look modern and elegant. In 2018, neutral bathrooms will still be very much in vogue but with a bit of an organic infusion. With over 100 years of experience in the Albany area,  Bennett Contracting chose a dark vanity in this transitional space to balance the cooler colors with the warmth of real wood.

Fixer Upper, the hit HGTV show uses quite a bit of wood in their designs, introducing warm tones into otherwise neutral color schemes. Natural wood is making a comeback in design, from wood floors to barn beam ceilings and everywhere in between. Whether to create a slightly natural vibe, a modern transitional theme or Urban Industrial, wood is showing up in all the right places.

Bennett Contracting used a mix of different wood species to create a beautiful centerpiece in this kitchen. Just make sure there’s enough contrast to show you mean it, near misses don’t make it. The idea is to create visual contrast between the work island and the perimeter cabinets. If the perimeter cabinets differ from the work island, we might put the same countertop material on both as Bennett did in this newly renovated space.

Are you itching to breathe new life into an outdated or poorly-functioning kitchen or bath?  Before you decide to meet with a contractor gather ideas for what styles, colors and substrates you like. While looking through magazines, tear out photos of kitchens that appeal to you and write what you like about the room in the margin. Then slip the page into a clear sheet protector and insert that into a three-ring binder to create a stylebook.

The Internet is another source for kitchen and bath inspiration. As your stylebook grows, a clear picture of your desired style of kitchen or bath will begin to emerge. That’s helpful for you, but it’s also helpful for the remodeling professionals at Bennett Contracting. Bring your storybook to the Home Expo this year and introduce your ideas to Bennett’s designer Justina! She will go through your ideas with you and get a blush of what you’re after, so that together you can create your ideal space.

Bennett Contracting is located on the second level, at booth 305 at the Times Union Home Expo this year. Kevin Gutman will be there to guide you through your next step, making sure that your next project will be a huge success!

Stay tuned for more ideas, information and design tips with Adventures in Styleland…



Michele Conti


Styling Your Room

Good design can make any room look great, but for the average homeowner picking out the right furniture pieces, fabrics, and rugs for your living space can be a daunting task.  I’d like to share a few thoughts to help you decorate your home. Begin with establishing your style along with correct balance, proportion and scale of furnishings and decor. When it comes to decorating inspiration, a photo is definitely worth a thousand words.


The hardest part for many of us is ‘styling’ your room. We think of ‘styling’ as a way to arrange furnishings and  display the decorative objects that you’ve collected and love. It’s that final touch that takes your furniture pieces from simply functional to fabulous. 

  1. Neutrals For Large Pieces – The sofa and arm chairs are likely to be your biggest investment pieces in a room, get them in neutral colors to give yourself the most flexibility. Anchor the main pieces of furniture in the space to define the area; if your space is large, a great cost effective tip for carpet is to use an inexpensive large sisal rug to cover most of the area.    
  2.  Color –  is an obvious strategy when styling, and as a general rule, I recommend editing down your colors to three or four. If you want to add a punch of color pick 2 smaller accent chairs in a vibrant shade or print, which gives you more flexibility than a bright sofa . Pull accent colors from the rugs, window treatments, or art in your room.
  3. Shapes – Thoughtful space planning means setting up enough side tables and coffee tables for the seating you have, so that there is a place for guests to set a glass down but it’s important to have a mixture of shapes. If you have a very angular console table, mix in some round shapes, like lamps, sculpture, or art. Most of the seating furniture is angular, the side and coffee tables in a round shape are a nice counterpoint.  Don’t match the tables either – it’s much more interesting visually to mix and match different materials and shapes.
  4. Balance with Accessories –  One of the most important strategies when you’re styling any piece is to vary your heights. This helps your eye move around which creates a more interesting arrangement. If you have a tall lamp, use something shorter, like a stack of books for balance. Mix lots of different finishes and textures across the furniture piece you’re styling. If you have glossy, ceramic lamps, add something with a chippy paint finish or a raw wood. You don’t want everything on your table to be either shiny/polished/glossy OR patina/roughness/grain. You want some of both.
  5. Negative Space – The power of nothing. No matter what you’re styling, leave some negative space. Group items together (maybe a set of musical instruments on a short stack of books) and leave some areas of your table empty. This applies to art on the wall, blank space or a wall without anything is like a comma or a full stop in a sentence. The opportunity to just stop and enjoy the moment! As a result your room will feel more balanced.

I hope I inspired you! Thank you for letting me share some of my tips with you today, and as always…


Stay Tuned for more Adventures in Styleland.



Michele Conti




Feast-Worthy Dining Rooms for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and what better way to get in the spirit than to round up some of my favorite dining rooms on the market. No matter the size of your gathering, these dining rooms will serve as the perfect backdrop for spending time with family and friends. Bernhardt Furniture, Hooker Furniture and Universal Furniture have something for everyone at every price point. Come See me at The 38th Annual Times Union Home Expo for order details on furniture for your home!

Bernhardt Sutton Dining Room, Curry and Company Lighting

Dining rooms are not only a place for dining but a space for gathering and nightly conversations. It is now the heart of the house (as the kitchen is the HUB!) They’re where we host holiday gatherings, have rambling long convos with our friends and family, and where we throw impromptu dinner parties. They’re the setting for some of our favorite family memories. Hmmm… I can smell the Holiday Turkey cooking and see it on the table!

My Own Norman Rockwell Family Photo
My Own Norman Rockwell Family Photo

The chandelier lights the room in a casual but stylish ambiance that invites you in to relax and stay awhile and Enjoy! Chandeliers come in a variety of shapes, sizes and materials. Whether they’re dripping in crystal with ornate details and tiers of elegance or boasting an out-of-the-box modern design, chandeliers just know how to tie a space together.

Bernhardt Modern Rustic Dining Room
Hooker Dining Room Furniture


Universal  Dining Room Furniture

Thanksgiving is extra special to me.  I like to think I have a thankful heart every day of the year, but this year with so many new and exciting things happening in design I’m grateful to be able to share some beautiful spaces with you!!

Stay Tuned for The 38th Annual Times Union Home Expo, coming this year at the all new Albany Capital Center, 55 Eagle Street, Albany, NY 12207

Michele Conti
Designs By MicheleAdventruesinstyleland.com DATES & HOURS

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.


$5.00 Adults (online or at the door)
FREE Children ages 14 and under accompanied by a paying adult.


$8.00 Adults (online only – SAVE $2.00)
$10.00 Adults (at the door)
FREE Children ages 14 and under accompanied by a paying adult.


$14.00 – Includes all 3 days.

Where are my tickets? I’m unable to find my e-ticket!

Click here for instructions on how to find your e-ticket for the event.


Albany Capital Center
55 Eagle Street
Albany, NY 12207


Parking is available at the Times Union Center garage.


Click Here.


Beyond Wolf and Viking …The winner is BlueStar

Renovating your kitchen? Culinary functionality of kitchen appliances combined with magnificent design aesthetics are key elements in creating your dream kitchen. But taking the plunge on choosing a dream luxury stove can be more overwhelming than buying a new car.

Pro appliances are pricier but tend to be more durable and powerful, and they are designed BEAUTIFULLY. For serious cooks, heavy entertainers and large families they are a good choice.
Read more “Beyond Wolf and Viking …The winner is BlueStar”

Appliance Trends 2017 and Beyond..


I always get asked by those who are thinking about updating or renovating their kitchen, “what are the latest trends?” “What do I need to include in my project so that my project will last and be current for many years to come?” While most people don’t want to be too trendy in an area as expensive and as permanent as a kitchen, everyone does want to have the latest and greatest appliances that will keep their kitchen looking fresh and up to date for many years to come. At Adirondack Appliance they have been selling appliances since 1929. Technology, innovation, design and performance are all key factors for them when selecting their brands and they are careful to choose products tailored to the needs of their customers.

My recommendation for 2017…

Read more “Appliance Trends 2017 and Beyond..”

Completely Custom…Beautifully Done Design


In today’s world of cookie-cutter design and ticky-tacky construction, “custom-built” most often means getting to pick standard cabinet pieces and colors that someone puts together to fit standard room spaces. Homeowners who want to give their existing kitchens a makeover often replace the old cabinets with new ones. However, for homeowners who truly want to give their kitchens a unique and elegant touch, custom cabinets are the right choice. John Lis, owner of Normanskill Custom Cabinet Co., has been handcrafting custom pieces for over 30 years in residential and commercial applications.
Read more “Completely Custom…Beautifully Done Design”