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.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Lifestylist Advisory on Inexpensive Summer Projects

Summer is officially here, and many of us are wondering how to keep the kids (or guests) entertained. When I was much younger, we used to go to the beach on Lake Erie with my Aunt Julie who is an artist. She always had great ideas on how we could do art projects using found objects, and we used to love making animals by gluing river rocks together then adding color and faces using Sharpie markers.
When I started my first company - Memory Merchandising - I wanted to stand out from the crowd so I made all of my own business cards using rubber stamps for an imprint that I then tinted using Prismacolor pencils. I've been told that people still have kept some of those because they thought they were so unique.
Today while I was web surfing I found two great websites full of ideas that can keep all of us busy for the entire year, if not more!
Sharpie Uncapped is a really fun site that has all kinds of ideas on how you can get creative with a Sharpie. I personally love the mugs, and think I may be heading out to Staples today to buy some new colors and play. I also love how they play up the talents of various artists and how they are really embracing the art community. If we had more companies like this the world might become a more colorful place.
Prismacolor has an amazing site as well, and I can't wait to spend more time on it. You can upload your works of art to be showcased on their site, and a feature I really love is the color coordinator. You can use a virtual color wheel and they will tell you which of their products matches that color.
Congratulations to both of these companies for having websites that just aren't about selling but offer great information that anyone can appreciate and use. I have some thank-you cards I need to send out - think I'll be trying some of their ideas and making some handmade ones! Lifestylist Designed greeting cards here I come!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

'til Midnight at the Nasher

The good and bad news is that this Lifestylist® is super busy! Lots of new homes to design and give the Lifestylist® Designed touch to, products to develop, animals to rescue... there just never seems to be enough hours in the day. Life seems to be moving at warp speed, and before you know it summer is gone and I never took advantage of some of the great events Dallas has to offer.
When I heard about the series the Nasher Sculpture Center is holding this summer I decided it was time to slow down and take a night to sit under the stars. The 'til Midnight at the Nasher series is such a great idea - every third Friday through October you can go to the Nasher and enjoy a concert and movie in their garden. If you haven't had the opportunity to visit the Nasher it is a must see, and their garden is complete with beautiful works of art that are a joy to experience. You bring your own blankets to sit on, and beverages and food are available from the Nasher Cafe catering services provided by Wolfgang Puck.
Every evening is a different theme, and last night was the Wizard of Oz complete with a showing of the film. Emerald City - a 14 pc band entertained us and had everyone on their feet for most of the evening. The theming also carried through to specialty drinks such as "The Great and Powerful Oz", "Flying Monkey" and "Over the Rainbow". The very talented Lisa Stewart does a lot of photography for the Nasher, and she was in the know enough to pre-order a picnic basket for us which was an amazing deal. A bottle of great wine, salads, cheeses, bread and strawberries with a decadent dark chocolate dipping sauce made me a very happy participant in the evening.
Another great opportunity was that a guided tour of the Nasher was included as part of this event. Other museums in the area including the Dallas Museum of Art and Crow Collection made this event a true block party and you could take a progressive museum tour through all three. We had so much fun I did something that I've been thinking about doing for quite awhile - I became a member! This is the best way to truly take advantage of all the Nasher Sculpture Center has to offer.
It was so much fun to see young and old, people from every walk of life coming together to celebrate the arts. I can't wait until next month, and now I'm hoping my kids and grandkids will be able to come and enjoy an evening as well.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

New Champion Homes are XTreme!

We did it! With a lot of help from the wonderful team at Champion Homes of Texas, Lifestylist Design Inc. was able to complete 4 model homes in a week's time. And the response has been tremendous - retailers have been flocking to the Champion Sales Center to see these amazing new XTreme floorplans.
This week really proved to me what a difference a great management team and leadership can make in the success of a company. I can't say enough about how everyone stepped up and did whatever needed to be done. Even though we had to work on Saturday and Sunday in 100 degree weather there wasn't one person who acted like there was any place they would rather be. The loyalty to their company and attention to detail really shows in every home that they build as well. No matter what price point the home was, it was still XTremely well constructed and I would be proud to call any of them my home.
If you are looking for and XTreme Home to call your own you should check out these new homes. Contact Marc Medders at 800-414-2605 for more information and tell him The Lifestylist® sent you!

DalTile Listens

There are days (actually most of them!) when I love being a Lifestylist®, and this week was a great one. I was able to work with the amazing team at Champion Homes of Texas and finish the XTreme Model Home Challenge, then I was invited to the corporate headquarters for DalTile to view some new products they are working on.
Honestly, I don't know why more companies don't ask for our help - being able to give input to DalTile helps all of us in the long run. They get to learn about what we need and haven't been able to find, and by learning about what DalTile is working on I'm able to be sure that my clients know about these amazing new and current products so they can take advantage of them as well.
DalTile has always done an amazing job of understanding the needs of designers and builders and delivering beautiful products that are exactly what the homeowner is looking for. After spending a few days with their team, I think I know know how they achieve this - they listen. The innovative new products they will be launching that we got to see are obviously the product of really listening to and understanding the lifestyle of today's buyer. With more people wanting the ease of maintenance that tile affords as well as it being so family and pet friendly, tile is going to become even more important in tomorrow's homes. I can't give everything away, but soon you will be seeing tile that is so simple to install even I could do it :) and they are using new technologies to produce glass and mixed materials into mosaics that are worthy of being hung in a museum, but you will be able to easily install them in your own home. It was like they could read my mind - things that I had only dreamed about being able to use in my homes will soon be a reality.
Tile can be very intimidating to a novice homeowner, and with so many beautiful choices it can be very hard to choose what is your favorite. DalTile has helped take some of the guesswork out of this by having an easy to use website full of ideas. They also have design centers around the country that are staffed with some of the most knowledgeable designers I've ever worked with, and they are full of inspirations on how you can use tile to create your own dream home. They were very helpful to me when I was working on the new Design Center for @home Builders that will be opening soon - if you have a chance to stop by you should. They also helped me design the great kitchen backsplash for the new model home that just opened at Frisco Ranch for American Custom Builders.
Now it's my turn to listen. I would love to hear about how you have used tile in your home. Feel free to contact us at: answers@lifestylist.com and share your beautiful rooms with us!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Shopping at IKEA The Lifestylist® Way

We are making progress!
On of the toughest things to do when you have to merchandise or stage a home quickly is find the right furniture for the space. I don't like to stock furniture because then you end up putting things that just aren't quite right into a space because you have them. Lucky for me, there is an IKEA in the area so after having no luck even with being able to rent and make budget for this client, I decided to see what I could find online. IKEA is truly a lifestyle, and as a Lifestylist® I know this is a great resource for designing homes with lots of personality.
In the last few years, the IKEA website has become very user friendly. It's well organized, easy to find what you are looking for by room, and they also have great inspiration photos which can be a huge help. A new to me feature is the Shopping List. You can add an item in your shopping list and by doing so and entering which store you'll be picking up at the site will then prepare a list that not only has a photo and cost of the item, it will also tell you specifically where in the store that item will be! If you have ever been in an IKEA store you know that because of the size of the stores and all of the great room vignettes it can easily take you an entire day to shop. But you'll never go hungry -they all have a great cafe that is as reasonably priced as their furniture in them and also a take out area if you are eating on the run.
With the help of the website I was able to make out a very detailed plan for each home and know exactly where I would find it and if it was in stock. When I arrived at the store I was able to pull everything and get it to the delivery window in 2 hours so I was thrilled! I think that was a record for me but I stayed focused and only bought what I knew I needed. When you are working on XTreme Homes with XTreme budgets the key is to only buy what you know you need or your budget can go off target in one shopping trip.
For you all not used to the IKEA experience - be warned - their great pricing comes at a cost. Most of their merchandise is "Flat box" which means it is designed to take up the minimum amount of space when it is being shipped. After you purchase the item most of it will have to be assembled, even the sofas so keep that in mind if you aren't especially great with a screwdriver. They do have outside companies you can contact to put your items together though but this would drive up your costs. The other thing is that you are literally shopping in a warehouse, and you have to pull the merchandise from the shelves and bring it up to the check out lines. This may not be a problem if you are only buying a wicker chair, but if you are buying houses of furniture be sure to bring help and a truck to take it home in. I used their delivery service but didn't have a great experience so I'd only use this as a last resort.
Everything got delivered yesterday, they are finishing up the houses today and hopefully I get to start making them look like home tomorrow! Can't wait to see how they end up.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Shades of Green

Tony Lucas, the designer for Palm Harbor Homes and I had a great conversation when we were in Las Vegas for the MHI Congress and Expo. We were talking about the green revolution and what consumers are willing to pay to "do the right thing" and Tony used a great term - Shades of Green. We all want to make a difference, we just do it in different shades.
Living and working in a 1942 factory helps you find out quickly how important energy efficiency is, and amazingly enough there were some ideas that were designed into my home that make a lot of sense today. I always wanted a concrete home, and the Idea Factory is made of cement blocks and stucco. It really helps with sound and it does tend to keep the heat in during the winter and the cool in during the summer. We had no insulation anywhere and with a flat roof it was hard to add but we did.
The Idea Factory came complete with a 1956 Carrier air condition that used water cooled freon - similar to what many commercial buildings still use. the water takes the heat away from the air by the freon, travels outside and is then cooled by traveling across fins that let the air cool off the water. The cooled water is then returned to the system and the process starts over again. This is a very amateur description of the process, but I knew nothing when I bought this place but after the first summer I quickly found this system was worth keeping.
Imagine doing the inspection of your new home and having the inspector see this wood, falling apart structure that is a main component of your air conditioner. Obviously they were not very excited - water and raw wood are not a great combination. I saw it as a Lifestylist® Designed challenge, signed all of the papers and it was mine! Fortunately I have great team members that are used to my ideas, and we came up with a new design sculpted out of concrete and metal that is not only functional but a work of art as well. With hard work, a lot of head scratching and even more creativity today we started it up and it is purring like a new machine!
This is my shade of green - incorporating form, function, elbow grease and paint to come up with a system that has cut my cooling bills by over 60%.  Plus it looks great and I love the sound of it outside my kitchen window. I can't wait to do more green projects to my home, but until I can afford more I am very conscious of  how shade can help my bills and letting the trees overhang my roof, keeping the cooling up or heat down to save on utility bills when I'm not there, and turning off lights if I'm not in the room.
What is your shade of green?