We Bring Nature Home…

Spring is right around the corner and with it comes a rebirth of color in your garden! When you combine great garden design, integrated pest management, and proper horticultural techniques, you’ll grow a healthy, long lasting landscape. You can spot the difference right away, when its Grasshopper Gardens maintaining your plants, shrubbery and trees.

Update your front yard or back yard design with shrubbery, gardens, walkways and more…Grasshopper combines environmental science with rich landscape design that’s inspired by nature. They have been helping clients create beautiful green spaces, making their outdoor spaces flow with the existing architecture. Offering not only Lawn Care but,  Design and Construction and Landscape Maintenance. 

Create winding paths, with boxwoods whether rounded, squared off, or snaked through other borders, they can add charm to any garden. The clipped boxwood above leads you down the path which artfully binds the garden to the house.

This Garden Courtyard, with stone pavers framed by low growing ground cover edged with impatient’s, brings you to a relaxing seating area, making this yard an oasis.

All gorgeous gardens begin with a great design. With Grasshopper Gardens your taste, water usage and overall budget are all taken into consideration, Grasshopper can design plant and maintain a great looking garden that you can enjoy for years to come.

This elegant landscape has a variety of perennial plantings that makes its colorful and easy to maintain.

Here is a before and after.

 

Stone Steps leading to the driveway with lush plantings make this area a green space to admire.

Contact them and get started on your landscape transformation!

Let Grasshopper set up your quiet corner, this lush is space overflowing with Tardiva and Annabelle hydrangeas. You can visit Grasshopper at booth 108 in the Albany City Center, at the Times Union Home Expo, let them help you design and install the landscape you’ve dreamed of.

More adventures to come at the Times Union Home Expo!

 

XOXO

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…

 

XOXO

Michele Conti

Designs by Michele

Garage Style

With design moving toward Urban Industrial style, we are looking at clean living using more glass in our homes. Murphy Overhead Doors believes that unique homes deserve unique doors! Great homes come with great views, right? I’m going to show you some really beautiful rooms with a view…Imagine sitting in your family room, in your favorite chair or lounging on the sofa and being able to open part of your wall and let the fresh air in while enjoying your view! Glass Garage doors have been used in residential design more and more.

Commercial spaces have long enjoyed the idea of retractable walls, and adding additional dining and entertaining space when the weather permits. I’m sure you’ve all sat outside a restaurant like this and enjoyed the open-air concept on a nice day or evening.

But residential use of glass garage doors has created spaces where families can gather, where everyone feels welcome and has the opportunity to enjoy the landscape and surroundings.  Murphy Overhead Doors can help you create an extraordinary space that will bring your family and friends together! This design is not exclusively reserved for only the most spectacular locations, your back yard or deck can now be your entertaining oasis.

Regardless of your location, if you’re looking for a great view from your home, stop at booth 105 at The 38th Annual Home Expo, 55 Eagle St. Albany NY February 9-11th, 2018 and talk with Cindy Murphy and lets think outside the box…

Stay tuned for more Adventures in Styleland…

XOXO

Michele Conti

Designs by Michele Booth 323

 

 

 

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!!

 

XOXO,

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…

 

XOXO

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…

 

XOXO

Michele Conti

 

A Warm Welcome to Our Holiday Season…

I found a perfect location for a wonderful Holiday decorating story, my own yard. The first snow of the season always inspires us, reminds us of the rebirth and purity of our earth. As it thaws and melts, it soaks the earth, preparing the ground for an explosion of new life each spring. It falls thousands of feet in silence and lands without a sound, reminding us that Christmas is a time to block out the noise of the world at least for a day.

In our home this year, there is a project brewing.  Our kitchen remodel is in full swing, so this year we aren’t hanging our family ornaments, or glass balls and the snow we will be using is sheetrock dust!! We decided Mother Nature is helping us decorate this year! (Besides, some of us may be a little short on the decorating budget, but that’s no problem!) Just a pinch of creativity, taking inspiration from the different design elements all around us to create an inspired Christmas Theme of our Own. There’s something uniquely special about using almost all natural elements for Christmas ornaments.

The Christmas tree is often considered the heart of holiday decorating. Drawing inspiration from the beauty around us, this primitive tree is simple but worthy of capturing the Spirit of the Season…Homemade hearts cut from birch bark in the yard, grapevine branches twined into balls and pinecones we collected as the fall leaves were raked, all found a place on this humble Christmas tree.

You might find this humorous, but after the tree was trimmed with just the pinecones and the freshly wrapped cinnamon sticks were tucked in among the tree branches, I felt that the tree was done and I could very easily have lived with it decorated with just those two items! The girls felt differently and decided on adding a bit more…

Near our fireplace we used pine branches cut from one of the trees in our yard placed them in a pretty blue pot from the porch. We used adhesive, some flour and sugar and coated the branches. Placed an old Cardinal that was in a box found among our Christmas decorations and placed some pine cones in the lanterns, coated perfectly with sap and they look almost painted, we added some lights and voila!

Sometimes the stress of holiday shopping, finding the right presents for your loved ones and panicking about how to cook a Christmas dinner without a kitchen can make you forget what the holiday season is all about. So, if you’re feeling less than ready for the holidays (like I am) take a moment and look outside today and just Breathe! Be inspired and stay warm…

And stay tuned for more Adventures in Styleland…

 

XOXO

Michele Conti

 

The Sexy side of Design!

With Fall in the rear-view mirror and winter upon us, now is the time most homeowners begin searching for ideas for enclosed patio’s as additional living space. A sun-drenched room filled with expansive exterior windows is certainly an asset to any home. Whether you call it a Florida room, Three Season Room or Sunroom, adding valuable living space to your home is always a good investment. Patio Enclosures is one of areas leading Sunroom and Patio showrooms in Albany. 

With 36-plus years of design experience Patio Enclosures has recently become part of the New Day Improvements family of brands offering the best Sunrooms in the country. Recognized by the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA), Remodelers Magazine, Energy Star and National Building Code for our excellence in the home improvement industry.

While older sunporches are typically three-season rooms (not having insulation or HVAC systems), newer sunporches are often built to be inhabited year-round. Whatever you call this light-filled room, it’s often the most popular space in the house. Patio Enclosures will help you decide if converting an existing porch or adding a new sunporch is for you.

Just because a sunporch is often called a three-season room, there’s no reason to limit it to outdoor furniture and forgo cushy indoor-style upholstery. This beautiful room works for all your family gatherings.

 

Words can’t describe what a sunroom can do for your home and life, get inspired with real project photos, Patio Enclosures will be located at booth 221, Ron DeGraw will be there to answer your questions and for information and scheduling your free estimate and appointment.  Christmas is coming, schedule your appointment before January 2nd, and use the coupon below for extra savings!

 

As always stay tuned for more Adventures in Styleland…

 

XOXO

Michele Cotnti

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…

XOXO

 

M

 

 

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.

 

XOXO

Michele Conti