We Paint Lives Not Houses – CertaPro Painters

Color experts keep an eye out for trends, traveling around the country and abroad, and taking cues from the arts, fashion, pop culture, and the automotive industry, among other areas. I’ve noticed if you ask five experts to forecast the hottest interior paint color for 2018, and you’ll get five different answers.

We all know that when it comes to putting a house up for sale, homeowners are always looking for ways to boost the value of their property. But, besides kitchen and bathroom updates, decluttering room by room and cleaning up the landscaping, one improvement that sellers often overlook is repainting. It turns out a fresh coat of paint in the right color can directly impact the sale of a home in terms of time on market and selling price. 

Hopefully I can help you avoid the “inspiration loop” fueled by HGTV, Pinterest and the hot design blog of the month, and guide you towards picking a hard-working color that can have a mass appeal.

Getting a sensational look in your home is easier than you may think. Contrasting colors can enhance the elegance and sophistication of neutrals and bring out rich undertones throughout your room. To achieve this try pairing understated neutrals with deep colors, like the perfect pairing of wine and food colors also have exquisite mixes. CertaPro Painters has been my go to when recommending a painter. Choosing colors is only half the job when painting, getting a good painter who will make your wall look like creamy cashmere, making every line crisp and clean is the other half of the “pairing”


Dark Grey is one of my favorites darker hues, I love to blend it with a soft white or pale green. Some of my favorites are; Sherwin Williams Gauntlet Grey or Peppercorn. For softer neutrals try Sherwin Williams Svelte Sage or a creamy white like Greek Villa. The contrast of light and dark will draw the eye, giving your home an elegant feel that whispers refinement.

Stop by booth#137, Talk with Terri, Tim or Anna…they can give you an free estimate for interior or exterior painting, I work closely with CertaPro and I’m available for free color consults, compliments of CertaPro! I believe life should be lived in color! Stop by Designs by Michele booth #323 let me know you are working with CertaPro, let me help you coloring your home!



Michele Conti

Designs By Michele

Windows – The Eyes of Our Homes

There is a certain appeal to a home with plenty of windows, even more so for large windows. Most of us would agree that a home with floor to ceiling windows tends to be more desirable than one with fewer and smaller windows. Window World knows the hardest part of the home improvement process is visualizing what the final product will look like. With Window World’s unique Design Software, envisioning new products on your home becomes as easy as a few clicks of a mouse. Simple to use and navigate, the Design Center brings your future project to life. The convenient “Print” option provides a hard copy of your selections for inspiration during your in-home consultation.

Windows provide visual access to the outdoors, allow in natural daylight and can provide fresh air and air circulation. Large windows have plenty of advantages, as listed below. They provide:


1.      Plenty of natural daylight. Especially during the dark days of winter, when some of us are affected by seasonal affect disorder , large windows can allow light to stream in, allowing you to forgo electric lighting while benefiting from natural light. Exposure to natural light is known to help boost energy and moods and generally makes you feel better, while at the same time regulating your natural circadian rhythm, encouraging better sleeping at night.

2.   Passive Solar Gain.  If designed properly, large well-positioned windows can help heat a home through in the winter when passive solar gain the sun is shining.

3.      A way to bring the outdoors in. Large windows can help you feel like you are part of the outdoors even when you’re inside. Studies have shown that views of the natural world have a profound positive effect on our health and well-being. Views of nature help boost our mood and make us happy. The beauty of the outdoors can also be used as a stunning backdrop for your decor.

4.      Functional Art. Beautiful windows are pleasing to look at, make a room appear bigger and add value to a home in the event of resale.

Some other points about large windows:

Design: An architect will take house orientation on the property into account when planning window design. It’s important to address potential glare and/or excessive heat during certain times of the year. Architects can design windows or shading structures that help minimize glare while preserving views. Ideally, in northern climates like ours, large windows should face south or southwest to allow maximum solar heat gain in winter.

Window World is located in booth #209, this year at the Times Union Home Expo in the Albany Capital Center. Stop in and start seeing the world through the eyes of your home…

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

With The New Year On It’s Way…

With a fresh year underway, last years trends behind us and new ones on the horizons, its time to set new goals for 2018! As we think of our private resolutions, we look forward to hear from our favorite designers and creatives to see what they hope to achieve in the year to come. We look for the color of the year, wood tones, tiles and home trends that will make their debut!

This year will bring back some drama, I mean I’ve been living in the land of neutrals and straight lines for too long now. Don’t get me wrong I love neutrals, but it’s time to reintroduce some curve, pattern and drama!

Invite bold choices into your home! The most inviting homes are a collection of memories. Therefore, this year it is my goal to take the time to search, to travel, dig and shop small and unexpected antique stores and salvage shops near and far to integrate more vintage finds in all of my projects, including my own home.

Happy 2018! Get Ready were only 6 weeks away from the 38th Annual Times Union Home Expo!!



Michele Conti

Bringing Beauty Back Home…Cleaning Up


All home renovations are at least a little disruptive, but a lot of them can really cause your whole home to become a giant mess. We’ve had a few DIY renovations that definitely fall into that category, but this latest one has definitely been the messiest, dirtiest renovation so far. You often need to be extra aware of your cleaning tactics to keep your home clean during a renovation and this has definitely been the case for us with this latest kitchen project we’ve been working on.

My wonderful amazing husband took down the wall between our Kitchen and Family room while I was Christmas Shopping the weekend after Thanksgiving and when I got home, this is what I saw…

We (or should I say “I”) decided real-quick that we were not going to want to live with all the sheet rock dust, so we stepped our game up right then and there. So here are some of our favorite tips for keeping your home clean during a renovation if you’re going through the same thing!

Insist On Ending Each Day On A Clean Note

Gabe makes a pretty big mess throughout the day while he’s working, but he always puts everything away and runs a vacuum over the area before calling it a night. I asked him what his best tip for keeping things from getting too messy in the rest of the house was and he said “Marry a construction manager who takes really good care of his work area.” Ha. He’s right though. Whether it’s you who is completing the work, or whether you’ve hired it out, having the discipline to leave your work area clean at the end of every day really makes such a difference.

Block the area off

Unlike the first day I came home lol Gabe always blocks off the work area. You won’t be able to contain dust and debris 100% no matter what you do, but if it’s at all possible, consider hanging plastic over doorways that separate the area you’re working in from the rest of the house. It may look a little extreme, but it will really make a difference. Dust will still spread, because dust is tricky like that, but it will probably only be mostly within a few feet from your plastic-covered doorway and you’ll be able to vacuum that right up.

Dust Every Day

Dust is a pesky thing. It often builds up slowly and you don’t notice it’s there until you really notice it’s there. When things get to that point, it can be a pretty big job, which can seem fairly overwhelming and frustrating when you’re also busy with a renovation project. You may not know why at first, but your whole home can feel kind of icky during a renovation and that’s usually because of the dust that somehow seems to make it into all the far reaches of your home. If you keep up with your dusting, even just for a minute or two each day, things will definitely feel more normal and under control in your home.

Vacuum  and Mop like Crazy

I hate to sound like a broken record here, because I feel like I mention this as an important step in so many cleaning situations, but vacuuming and mopping really is key. When it comes to keeping your home clean during a renovation, your mop and shop vac are your best friend!

We like to keep our vacuum out and right next to our work area at all times during the renovation project. We make sure to use it multiple times a day to keep on top of things. Keep the attachments handy, when Gabe is cutting into the sheet rock I’m right next to him holding the vacuum with the widest attachment as he is sawing and screwing into the ceiling catching as much dust as possible! At night I pass a damp cotton mop to pick up whatever dust is left on the wood floor and tile…


We cleaned up for the Holiday and put some furniture back in place, (just for a day)

If you’re about to renovate, this is not the time to make yourself frustrated, just take the half hour at the end of the day to clean up.  Being able to avoid even just a little bit of the stress and disruption that often comes with a home renovation will allow you to enjoy the process of creating a more beautiful home for your family rather than dreading it. Keeping your home clean the way that you’re used to is definitely the first step in the process of reducing your renovation stress!

What tips do you have for keeping your home clean during a renovation? Let me know! The renovations around here are pretty much non-stop, so I can always use a few extra tricks!

Stay Tuned for more Adventures In Styleland…



Stuck In Room Rut? Traditional to Transitional

I once heard a colleague say the power of injecting well placed contemporary accents into a design is like little shots of Botox around the house. You all know someone or maybe you have a room that is stuck in time. Like a museum it starts to somehow feel stale, as if someone set up a velvet cord across the area. It’s like you need to hit the REFRESH button!

Most of us will feel as if this is a massive task, we need to start over completely because they are just frozen in their interiors…Well, I think with just a few design short cuts you can freshen up your dated space and give your home that much needed facelift. The real beauty of mixing contemporary furnishings in with traditional ones is that your home can evolve as you do!

Tips and Tricks:

Pair Old with New – If your beautiful Harding dining room is stuck in the past, place a modern rug underneath and it will give a nod to your past and present.

Be A Rug Trader – Replace a traditional oriental with a rug that has a more modern pattern. This lattice pattern takes the room in a whole new direction. Transitional rugs often take a traditional pattern and blow up the scale.

Interior Colors – Trending still from warmer to cooler wall colors, use deeper tones this year and mix them with neutrals, like the warmer white with darker shades of greys in this room. Darker colors have a more modern vibe, keeping this room in vogue…

Lighting – Outdated light fixtures do nothing to enhance a the appeal of a room. Homeowners are sometimes reluctant to change a fixture as they have to sometimes hire an electrician to install the new lighting. But what an upgrade for your home! Usually its nothing more than finding a handyman to help you exchange your fixtures and go from drab to fab!

Tap Into Current Color Trends – Removing the hunter green walls and throwing warmer grey’s into the room, to mix with the natural elements like the contemporary leather sectional, creates a rejuvenated space.

 Adding a rustic element by using a reclaimed wood clock above the fireplace blends this family room with updated accessories. To bring the room along further we replaced the old chair with a tufted accent chair, removed the heavy bookcases and this room took on a whole new look!

Brighter and lighter, remember less is more. Declutter your space and it will elevate your room and your mood! Get ready, Christmas is right around the corner, breath some new life into your home!



It’s the time of year when we New Yorkers deck our halls with merry colors and lights for the holiday season!

Stay Tuned for more Adventures in Styleland…


Michele Conti


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


Build Fast, Build Better – Fox Blocks

As building codes demand homes with tighter building envelopes and continuous insulation, home builders and consumers are looking for building strategies that deliver performance without paying a premium. That’s why homes built with ICF’s are becoming a popular choice in many climates.

Fox Blocks has been in business for 32 years, building sexy, well-constructed commercial and residential ICF foundations.  Insulated concrete forms (ICFs) are cast in place concrete walls that are sandwiched between two layers of insulation material, usually expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam insulation foams.  The foam blocks are stacked as interlocking blocks (like LEGOS) connected with steel reinforcing rods. They offer well-insulated, airtight energy-efficient building enclosures. Also, ICFs are a great fit for regions prone to severe weather because of their strong impact resistance.

Building with Fox Blocks ICFs it’s easy to design your dream home or business, while keeping LEED, green building and energy star in mind. With Dramatic labor reductions of up to half the normal building time. Because when you build with Fox concrete wall forms you are doing 5 steps in 1: insulation, vapor barrier, air barrier, studding and sheathing all in one step. This can save you on labor, time and money as you are ready to finish inside and out.


Commercial Use

Any way you slice it ICF’s (Insulated concrete forms) are structurally superior to most other building materials. Buildings that incorporate the use of ICFs have an expected life of 200 years or more. Today, as more and more commercial building owners, architects, contractors,
lenders and investors discover the cutting-edge value of ICFs, a 30+% annual growth makes it the most rapidly expanding building system in the U.S.  Along with systems for easy mounting of finishes and channeling of utilities, the insulation remains in place with the concrete to provide ICFs’ advanced economic, thermal, safety, environmental and comfort benefits.

Warmer, Safer, Quieter, Stronger, Healthier, and Saves You Money….

The motivation to life a simpler life is not only about saving money, but also about making a smarter decision for your budget and lifestyle. Stop in talk with Jefrey Martusewicz about using Fox Block for your home or commercial construction projects.


Stay Tuned for more Adventures in Styleland…






2018 Design Trends Are In…

There are  several key trends that will heavily influence home design in 2017-2018 and beyond. With retailers always eager to stay ahead of the curve, they look to these trends for a style advantage – a look that sets them apart in the sea of sameness.  What they have found are style stories as inspired as the shoppers that purchase them, covering themes old and new—and everything in between.



1. Windows

There’s just something about a home that’s well-lit. It’s livelier and has a certain character you can’t deny. This is the reason why you need to install huge windows to let more of the sun’s light into your home. Your interiors will benefit from the additional brightness to drive any trace of gloom away. Plus, everything will seem warmer and being motivated will be no problem at all.

At the same time, using window frames that have a minimalist design will really look astounding inside your home. These frames highlight your windows without causing any further distractions. This design element will really look amazing and complement your outdoor landscapes or gardens well. Window World is the areas largest replacement window specialist, and one of our vendors again this year at the 38TH Annual Times Union Home Expo, for information on how to start your new year on the “Bright Side” let Window World help install new windows in your home!

2.  Wallpaper

When 2018 hits, wallpapers will be the hot trend. This kind of design element will be homeowners’ preferred choice to add flair and style to their homes. Better clean and prep your walls as soon as possible folks. Get them ready for a new wallpaper so your new year will come in style. Stout offers Wallpaper by Brewster. This one of my favorites Zen Choon Mica Chip…

Simply Stunning!

Greenery and Botanical wallpapers continue into 2018, Scandanavian prints are some of the Hotest designs for 2018!

3.  Brown and Beige

2018 will be the year when brown and beige make their comeback and invade the interior design scene. These colors are far from the bold ones some people choose inside their homes. At the same time, they are also different from cooler grey shades because they exhibit an earthy warm tone for your home. Brown and beige exude a sense of quiet strength and calmness that is commonly associated with elements of the earth. If you’re looking for new colors to place inside your home, brown and beige are your best bets for 2018.

This Sam Moore Livingroom with Hooker Palisade Display Cabinets located in back of the sofa create a comfortable casual space in earthy tones that make you want to cozy up with your martini and good book. Wall color is SherwinWilliams Loggia. Contact me for information on this and other Sam Moore and Hooker Fine Furnishings.

4. Modern Magnificence

It appears that the color trend is coming to a soft close. Color was almost completely devoid at this years fall High Point market and neutrals reined supreme.  Soft colors and forms are the hallmark of modern art-inspired decor, which provides uncommon energy, movement, and emotion in the home. Look to abstract and geometric motifs punctuated by spiked shapes and Mondrian and Rorshach inkblot-inspired offerings, all combining to create masterful contemporary compositions. Handcrafted or sculptured, metallic finishes provide the perfect backdrop for a spirited yet organic feel.  Uttermost and Revelation are two of my favorites for Home Accents and Art.


2017 will soon bid us goodbye ad 2018 will usher in a whole new year that’s full of possibilities. No matter what you choose for your home, any of these interior design trends will certainly add a touch of style, luxury, and relaxation to your place. Don’t get left behind and start planning right now and mark your calendar for February 9-11, 2018!


Keep Reading for new Design Trends this year at the 38th Annual Times Union Home Expo, see you at the new location, The Albany Capital Center, 55 Eagle Street Albany, NY 12207 (518) 487-2155.


As Always Stay Tuned For More Adventures In Styleland…



Michele Conti

518 852-4185

The Simple Transition…Tile and Wood

Open floor plans are very popular today, all the rooms mixed in one is a regular thing. You can accentuate your areas using various space dividers, accents and floor covers. Tiles in the kitchen, wood in the living room, concrete in the entryway… but how to make a transition between them in a cool way? Here are some new desing ideas that may help you.

Read more “The Simple Transition…Tile and Wood”