August 4, 2016

Two Home Redos. The Gift that keeps on Giving.

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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?

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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.

 

Deck+Stain=COLOR!

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I know. Everyone dreads having to stain or restain their decks.  We recently had to tackle this project while creating a new outdoor living space for ourselves.  I don’t know about you, but we have tired of the myriad of browns that are available.

Upon searching for a stain for our deck project, we were happy to find color as an option.  The  green we chose set up a beautiful green blue hue that created quite a wow factor in the yard, and harmonized beautifully with nature. It also gave us the opportunity to use the color for accent pieces on our outdoor furniture, and inspired some beautiful container gardens.

So, next time you have to stain a dreary deck, think color!

 

 

 

 

 

 

EcoSmart. Organic Insecticide

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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.

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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

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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.

 

 

A Simple Painting Tip for Your Plaster Walls

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As many of you know  we at Southern Smarts love our renovating projects. We also love old  houses, and bringing them back to life is a passion for us. There is a simple DIY  painting tip when painting plaster walls in an older home that can hide a multitude of sins where settlement issues become apparent.

The simple answer is a good quality of “Flat” finish paint. When using a semi gloss, high gloss or eggshell on old plaster you will find any blemishes are highlighted and become extremely visible. A flat finish paint definitely camouflages the imperfections on the surface of the walls.

Now we know the best way to take care of this would be to “Skim Coat” the walls and sand. But hiring professionals to do this can be expensive. If you are looking for a quick fix that is extremely economical, it is as simple as the finish of the paint you plan to use.

Hope you find this quick tip helpful and thanks for visiting us here at Southern Smarts!

 

EMPATHY (What is it and do you have it?)

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              I have recently discovered, that there is a theory that only certain people are born with empathy. In relation to sympathy, which is a harmony of feeling, empathy is a deeper, more vicarious connection to another’s experience. It is one of the best character traits to have, but it is possible that if you were not born with it, you will never have it! It could be that possessing true empathy is like being born with blue eyes!
           We all experience disappointments in some people. Their lack of connection to a myriad of individual situations is frustrating at best. But this plausible idea has been an epiphany for me. It has freed me from some of my relational prostrations, and made me realize that some may not be capable of walking in another mans shoes.
This lack of empathy can also lead to the not so favorable trait of righteousness. If someone cannot relate to another persons experience, then that posture is ripe for judging.
     So for those of us out there that nurture, and are in touch with their ability to empathize, we need to share it, and if we don’t get it back from someone, then maybe that person is not capable of the gesture. Lowering my expectations for the empathy exchange, has freed me from much disappointment. If your empathy tank is low, be conscience of filling it up, trying on some different shoes, and adding on a new intense awareness for a richer life.     Stephen Spurling

New Life for Old Lamps.

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Lately I have had lamps on my brain. Big ones, small ones and everything in between. In addition to the utilitarian reasons we use lamps, I have found they do have personalities all their own, and can make a statement in any room. One afternoon as we were cleaning out my mothers attic after her passing, I came across this old pair of Ethan Allen lamps from the 60′s. They were solid wood with a dark stain and I remembered seeing them  in our living room as a child. They certainly were very fashionable for the time, but now needed some serious revamping.

Those of you that have followed us here at SouthernSmarts.com you all know I do enjoy designing with color.  For inspiration on this project I used the sea. I love the beach, and thought they would make some interesting table lamps for a smart beach place. Always budget conscious I was going to have to create something with minimal cost.

First, I sanded them with a fine grade sandpaper so they would hold a good primer. I used a spray primer applying very light coats until they were completely covered. The faux brass base and top had to go. I used a high gloss off white paint applied with a small brush, while being careful not to leave brush marks. It was now time for color, and after much thought I decided to use a wonderful turquoise semigloss interior paint that I happened to have in the garage. I did not want a heavy painted finish, as there are some wonderful markings on the lamps themselves, so I decided on a Turquoise wash. I used a little paint and thinned it with water and applied the color with a small rag, carefully controlling how much paint went on at a time. Upon reaching the desired effect I was through.

The next step was a bit difficult. I had to find the perfect shades. I looked everywhere, and finally on my last stop at my local Target, I found them. The shades remind me of the horizon as you look out over the ocean, and they could not have been more perfect.  They were 14.99 a piece, and my wallet was happy.

The final touch were these little beads I had found at a cool shop in Southport and have  crystal droplets that turn them on and off by pull chain.

I now have a really cool pair of lamps that I can’t wait to take to beach.  And the fact that they were my moms makes them that much more special. I feel like I have a part of her there, and I  can’t put a price on that.

Cheers! Chabby

                                                                                  

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

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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 ;-)