October 21, 2017

Two Home Redos. The Gift that keeps on Giving.

Amid the hustle and bustle of everyday life, home has become a personal refuge.  We live in a crazy world and our home should be our sanctuary.

Disorganization takes away from the tranquility of our personal space. Here are two upgrades that are sure please and calm.

Separate Laundry Room:

A well-organized laundry space is the “gift that keeps on giving”. You can enhance laundry room space by installing shelving and cabinetry surrounding the washer and dryer. It does not have to be expensive; it’s the perfect DIY project. Consider what can be stored in that space: laundry detergent, other household cleaners, an iron and an ironing board, towels, bedding, and of course, dirty laundry.Add bins or baskets for instant clothes sorting. A big enhancement, if there is room, is the addition of a rolling table for folding laundry or doing arts and crafts projects.

Smart Storage:

For smart storage I recommend dedicated towers or cubes for each member of the family even one for pets. Add names to them and place them near a widely used entrance. They are great for creating a convenient system for sorting jackets, backpacks, mail, keys and leashes.

Have you used your talents lately?

This recent economic upheaval  has taken many of us, and put us in a position to do some soul searching in regards to what we should do next. This could be a real blessing in disguise. How many people have buried what they do best under an unfulfilling career, and ignored latent talents? I have had to do different jobs for practical reasons, but I have nurtured what I love the most.   I must say my #1 talent is creating wonderful renovated living spaces.  I am one that must be doing something all the time. I operate this way almost  to the point of it being a fault! My work is only as good as the effort I put into it! Even when I am sitting down at the end of a hard work day, my mind is strategically planning my next working day. Why do I give so much time to my work?  Because I love it! It makes me feel good to utilize my talent and I can see my accomplishments. My passion doesn’t always pay me money, but it always offers me satisfaction! Fostering your talents, and seeing yourself mature past another time in your life, is incredibly rewarding.

I challenge each of you to focus on your talents. Yes we all have something that we do better than the average person. We are all gifted in some way! Putting energy into your talents will not only make you feel good about yourself but motivate you to do something that pertains to that talent. So no matter how big or small your talents are, use them! We are only as good as we allow ourselves to be! Spend time using your talents and I promise you will feel awesome about yourself and what you can accomplish! Yes we are all average people, but each of us have something we do that makes us above average and shine.

 

EcoSmart. Organic Insecticide

Here at Southernsmarts.com we are always on the look out for new products that are good for our environment and safe for our furry friends. Upon a trip to my local Lowes store, we found yet another product we would like to introduce you to.

EcoSmart Organic Insecticide. Now there is an organic insecticide that is safe around children and pets and will not harm the environment. EcoSmart Organic Mosquito fogger is made form a patented blend of organic plant oils. It kills fast and repels mosquitos and other pesky flying insects for hours, without any synthetic toxins or harmful residue. Its safe. Its effective. Its smart. Naturally

The fresh natural pleasant scent signals it’s working.

Upon using this product ourselves here at Southernsmarts.com we found it to be all it stated to be. Plus the scent was very pleasing and lingered for up to 8 hours.

Thanks for visiting and y’all come back now. You hear.

Steven J. Chaberek

 

Finally, Tv for Me.

Thanks for coming to visit Coopers Pet Corner! My parents just bought me the best thing ever!! They found out about a new TV channel just for me! ( No more waiting for pet food commercials..) It is called DOGTV, and it keeps me company when they have to leave me alone for a little while. A few smart folks with a lot of degrees got together, and found out what we dogs really like to watch and listen to, and made is something special for us! We can listen to music, that dogs like. (none of that bad people music).  We can watch our friends play, and see our other friends at home with their families. It makes me feel good. I don’t get depressed, or bored, and the time goes so fast. Before I know it my parents are home! It started August 1st, with Direct TV, and is only 4.99 a month. Cheap compared to all the dog toys I like to destroy!

I am glad you took some time to come and see me. I hope you and your dogs can enjoy DOGTV!

DOGTV has a facebook page, and a website. dogtv.com. You can also preview DOGTV on YouTube.

Hot Staging Trends in 2013

The clutter is cleared. The house is clean. Now, what accessories and accents can you use to make a room look fresh and modern? Try chunky woven blankets, reflective surfaces and tangerine combined with neutral shades.

Other Ideas:

Mother Earth Inspired Elements. Nature is popular this year. popular color palettes are reminiscent of natural elements-reds found in earth and soli, blues of the sea, lush greens of the rain forest, and neutrals that draw from the softer, textured look of eggs, seashells, and sand. the natural tones are being paired with color accents, such as Tangerine. Also look for accessories that incorporate natural elements such as woven baskets, leather stools and cotton towels.

Fabulous Faux. Think zebra stripe rugs or leopard print votives. But beware: use animal prints in small doses only.

Digital Fabrics. Framing a piece of digital fabric is a great way to create an inexpensive piece of artwork. Try textiles with fern or tree branch patterns.

Not your grandmothers Doilies. Add lace in subtle ways-on top of tablecloths or paired with bold colors. Traditional quilts and crochet peices are also popular.

Faded Area Rugs? Vintage is in Vogue! Instead of ditching that old Asian rug, use it as the foundation for your rooms color and aesthetic palette. Add modern artwork and accessories that compliment vintage pieces.

Opposites Attract: Think silk with suede, furniture with studs, “shiny with vintage”.

Touch the Sky: Think about clouds and water when choosing reflective white, blue and silver objects and hardware. Mirrors are great for staging as they make the room look much larger. Also consider mirrors in other ways, such as for a tray holding a tea-cup and saucer or on a wall in an area where there isn’t a lot of light.

Bottom Line: Have fun and let your creativity shine.

Chabby. Southern Smarts

Photo courtesy of Elle Décor.

 

 

Art in the Heart

        Art is a wonderfully subjective thing. I have visited many world renowned museums.  I pondered the Mona Lisa, wished to twirl after a Lautrec,
and spotted a Seurat, { no pun intended}.. But art really is about the heart. It does not have to go in a portfolio, and it does not have to impress the guest. It does not even necessarily need a frame. It just needs to go where you can see it, feel it, and love it, and let it well, make you happy.
 We have a treasured painting from a dear friend of our rescue dog Cooper. Let me start out by saying our friend is quite talented, but she knows us, she knows our dog, and she transferred the two elements into a fabulous portrait that is absolutely, one of our treasures. Another local artist we have highlighted , has taken her vibrant personality, intelligence, and love of the outdoors, and painted that onto her canvas.  I just want to put the joy I see in her art, and all her wonderful color under my pillow, and let it soak in…
Paintings can fill up a wall, or they can fill up your soul. You do not have to stand on a marble floor in a long gallery to fall in love. Find a local artist , it might even be a friend, and share their passion. Encourage them and make them share their gift with you. Proudly put their work on your wall or under your pillow.. and when you look at it and know it was from them, it will guaranteed, touch your heart.
Laine Neese is an avid golfer, philanthropist, and artist in Burlington ,NC. More of her paintings can be viewed at her website, http://lainefranis.blogspot.com/2011/07/pet-portraints.html.
Bett Huggins is a nurse anesthetist, and  artist . Her work can be seen at Ellen Taylor Gallery at The Vista, in Columbia, SC.
Andi Bartruff writer/contributing editor

Finding the Joy in the Journey.

When life suddenly scaled things down with the subtlety of an F5, I had to regroup on most things. Gone were the days of chartered boating, upscale resorts, and divine city dining. This lifestyle change may have adjusted my itinerary, but it has not changed my wanderlust, and curiosity for what may be around the next bend. Therefore, In my travels, I have reached out, and made incredible journeys into my own.

Locally, I have discovered an ethereal coastal compound for wild horses, that have inhabited this extraordinary island for hundreds of years. I happened on a bird sanctuary, that rehabilitates birds of prey, and fosters and guards its local eco system. I have toured  historic buildings to better understand my local history. I have happened on locally grown treats at state highway roadside markets, that make it more than worth the diversion. I have found characters in small, rural towns, that have turned their passions into content for national documentaries.  I have enjoyed views from day hikes that can be postcard perfect, and sunset kayak excursions on local rivers, that would be worth a much longer trip.

I am grateful for the five star resorts, and the first class seats, and all the luxury of a different time. But for now, I am tuned into a fresher, deeper, and more mature adventure. I am enjoying rich and simple discoveries in my own backyard. “The Joy of the Journey”

Andi Bartruff

Contributing Writer/Southern Smarts

 

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From a Sows Ear to a Silk Purse. Oak Island Beach Cottage.

In 2004, I was on the hunt for a beach cottage. I did not want something that someone else had already renovated I wanted to put our own spin on it. The deals are out there, especially now with the real estate market being what it is today. Having a sweet summer, weekend, or retirement getaway is quite affordable if you are willing to put that old “sweat equity” into play. That’s exactly what we did. When I was looking there was not much on the market that I would term affordable. One weekend I was invited to a friend’s home on a quiet and quaint barrier island off the NC coast, Oak Island. My friends had purchased property there and really wanted us to do the same. While we were searching we came across this horrible little “shack” on a double lot on the beach side of the island. It came complete with a junkyard on one side of the lot and the house, well it looked like it was a tear down.It had to be one of the worst properties I had ever considered. Rotten siding, decrepit porch, built out of cinderblock, and the interior was a mess! When we say a mess, one cannot imagine that the smell of cat urine and the fleas jumping on our legs were the only stimulation that we got as we toured the place with our Realtor.

Through vision and flea bites we could see the good bones. The home had vaulted beamed wooden ceilings and a fireplace. The kitchen, which appeared to be an addition, was large in comparison to the rest of the cottage. There was a partially built side addition with a large window in the front. It had a large backyard full of the islands name sakes, live oaks.

As you view the before and after photos you will be able to get the drift on how bad this little place was. The cottage is built predominantly with cinder block which is good from a possible hurricane perspective, but aesthetics on the interior with cinderblock walls was not going to work. To counteract this problem I decided to stucco all the interior walls. this was a daunting task, with potential for serious “carpel tunnel”.  I can tolerate  a little pain for fashion.

As budget was minimal we were going to do all the work ourselves, and had 90 days to bring it to completion. With this being a “fun house” I decided to let my imagination run wild where color was concerned. I selected a wonderful light green named ‘Independent Gold” with Sherwin Williams paint for the living, dining and small den. For the kitchen, I decided on a bright purple,  a periwinkle blue for the Master bedroom, and a bright gold for the guest room. With cement floors and a limited time frame, we decided on a glue down wood parquet for the floors as carpet was a non option with kids, sand etc. The small den had wood planks for flooring, and I painted them a bright white high gloss. For the exterior we were going to go with bright coral for the body of the house, purple for the peaks, and “Atlantic Green” for the shutters. We would  trim the house in white. We also added a deck on the right side and front, and built a covered front porch with decorative molding. The house felt dark, so we resolved this problem by using full French doors on the front and side entrances.  This enabled bright sunshine to enter the house, plus gave the house a real beach bungalow feel. For the interior, to keep the space feeling as open as possible, I opted to use full french doors for the bedrooms as well. For privacy I installed shades on the back of the doors so they may be closed for guest and family. This kept the interior bright and open.

Once all the construction work was complete, it was time to address furnishing the place. Now I am a flea market tag sale kind of guy. I knew I had some great old things in the basement, that with a  little updating and paint, would be fun, economical, and downright interesting. I wanted the place to have personality, be chic, welcoming and comfortable.

Upon arriving back in the city, I started my quest to get the house ready for my first week at the beach. I stopped by my local shops and found some very interesting fabric remnants.  I painted lamps and table,s and made three upholstered headboard which I covered with a plain off white canvas purchased at my local home improvement store. All I have to say is thank goodness for electric staple guns. They sure make the job a lot faster and with greater ease.

The end result is a great stylish little beach retreat that brings me more joy and relaxation than I could have ever imagined, and it cost a fraction of what I thought.  As a matter of fact. my beach neighbors loved what we had done so much, they asked us to consult as they prepared to redo their little cottage. We will be posting a story on that renovation in an upcoming article.

Remember style and comfort do not have to cost an arm and a leg. It just takes a little imagination. And if you find yourself cruising down Oak Island Blvd, feel free to stop by “Not The Hamptons ” and say hello. The iced tea with a hint of mint is always chilled. 🙂

Chabby 😉

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Is Your Ratio Of Happiness?

I realize that we all think about our happiness, but what if we counted the percentage of  time we weren’t. I have a formula that has always worked for me, remember, we are just pondering  my perspective.  I strive for 75% of the time… I must be happy. I allow 25% for all the crap that I cannot control. This is my way of keeping my life and the direction of my life in check. I always think about this every morning… Saying “Stephen, you have to find happiness in at least 75% of this day” And believe me it’s not always easy… sometimes I am left with nothing but to start the day all over again!  I am determined to live my best life. Making the effort to find happiness in my life is so important that I really don’t want to give up even 25%!  But, I realize that my life will never be perfect, so this is why 75% is so precious to me.

Think of your happiness in terms of a checkbook, if the balance falls too low, we take the necessary actions to correct  the balance, a transfer from savings, working overtime, etc. So… if your happiness falls too low, take the necessary action to correct your “balance.” Live your life in the black, not in the red! I mean set a realistic ratio for yourself and try to live it.

I know a lot of you may think this is just hogwash, but think about your happiness in terms of percentages. Putting a number on it will only inspire you to make the necessary changes.  Set a goal of happiness for yourself, and if you fall below that number, make the adjustments! After all it is your life, your happiness, and your checkbook!   Stephen Spurling

A Porch Is A Porch

        This house needed to be what I call “un-remodeled”. Years ago someone thought it would be a great idea to enclose the front porch…NOT! I think that a porch is a porch… and that thinking goes double if you live in the south! Just look at the curb appeal of this open front porch, and then look at the  picture of when it was enclosed!  I have never had so much fun subtracting heated square footage from a house! The hardest challenge of this improvement project was returning the interior brick back to its orignal color. When they enclosed it, they left the brick walls exposed on the inside room  and painted them white. I know your thinking I had the brick sandblasted, but I didn’t. I painted it with a like color matching the exterior brick. I used a paint sprayer and then a sponge with a slightly lighter color of the brick to match the existing brick. I of course had to build a corner support (column) and add a handrail.

Yes, these are drapes that you see hanging outside. Drapes on a porch create temporary privacy, intimacy and they just look great! Okay… a secret about the drapes… they are not drapes. I bought painters canvas drop cloths at Home Depot. They work great as they are made to be water-resistant and that helps to keep them from getting dirty and moldy. Besides they are cheaper than buying fabric at the fabric store. I think the pictures tells the whole story as to whether I did the right thing  on this “un-remodel” project… Stephen Spurling