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  • December 27, 2022 1:42 PM | Jeanne Fox Alston (Administrator)

    Janet Schiesl

    Basic Organization

    If your to-do list is overwhelming or ineffective let’s check it. If you feel as though you never cross anything off your list, here are three strategies that may help you turn your to-do list into “done”.

    1. Make sure you only put tasks on your list that will take less than an hour. If it will take longer, break it down into several steps. Accomplishing one step at a time will get you to the same final goal.
    2. Take emotion off the list. If there is a task that has been lingering on your list because you are agonizing over it, just DO IT. Tackle a hated task first thing in the morning and get it over with. Accomplishing your least favorite chore first will make the rest of the day flow.
    3. Be clear on how long something will take you and schedule a time to do it. If you don’t make time to do each task, it simply won’t get done. Scheduling will help you to be realistic about how much you can accomplish on any given day.
    For more information, contact Janet Schiesl.

  • December 27, 2022 1:07 PM | Jeanne Fox Alston (Administrator)

    Samara Goodman

    Samara Interiors

    Warmest wishes for a happy and healthy holiday season! What better way to stay warm during the holiday season and all winter long than by cozying up to the warmth of a fireplace? This issue looks at numerous client fireplaces that Samara Interiors has updated over the years. So grab some hot cocoa and enjoy these fireplace transformations – we hope they will spark delight in you on these long dark winter days!


    Many clients ask us to refresh their homes from a traditional style to a transitional one. There are many ways to do this, including replacing some furnishings, switching out accessories, and, as these clients have done, renovating their fireplaces. 

    TRANSITIONAL design is a blend of traditional and contemporary styles that, when done well, evokes a curated-over-time yet up-to-date aesthetic. 

    In these three homes, we updated the fireplaces by designing and incorporating contemporary finishes. Below are the zoomed-in before & after photos, along with a zoomed-out whole room view to see how the new streamlined fireplaces are still cohesive alongside the clients' traditional furnishings.


    Have you ever wondered about the step-by-step process of a complete fireplace renovation? Here is a peek behind the scenes during a fireplace transformation. The 'before and after' photos can be seen below.


    This client asked us to update all of the fireplaces in their home with clean lines in order to coordinate with a broader home refresh. We designed minimalist mantels and updated the surrounds & hearths with granite slabs for the matching living room and den fireplaces. Before, after, and zoomed-out pictures below. The faux log GAS INSERTS were replaced with modern glass stones. Bonus: new gas insert technology offers more heat output options than ever.

    For more information, contact Samara Goodman.

  • December 27, 2022 1:01 PM | Jeanne Fox Alston (Administrator)

    Janet Schiesl

    Basic Organization

    At this time of year, we are all inundated with catalogs. Everyone is trying to make their pitch and sell you that special something for that special someone. I, myself, receive several catalogs that feature kid’s toys and my children are past the toy stage. I also receive multiple catalogs from L.L. Bean and J. Crew and there isn’t a preppie person in my family. By ordering items on the internet, I know that I get my name on mailing lists that eventually will fill my mailbox with all this paper that I am not interested in.

    Well, here’s what I do to counteract these mailings. I deposit all the catalogs in a pile, as they enter my home. As soon as the holidays are over (and the catalogs slow down) I visit a great website Catalog Choice. Here you can opt out of mailings and stop solicitors from contacting you. You will need the contact information on the back of each company’s catalog to opt out. Catalog Choice makes it simple and secure to opt out of unwanted advertising material and protect your privacy.

    It’s great! You will see your mail pile reduce in size and do something small for the environment all at the same time.

    For more information, contact Janet Schiesl.

  • October 16, 2022 3:41 PM | Jeanne Fox Alston (Administrator)

    Janet Schiesl

    Basic Organization

    Did you know you can responsibly dispose of expired medicine?

    When you throw unused or expired medicine in the trash or flush it down the toilet it ends up in our rivers and streams. Don’t do this! Protect our environment.

    Contact your local pharmacy and ask if they will safely dispose of your old medication. Or gather all your old medication and visit an American Medicine Chest Challenge location near you.

    The FDA website asks “Is your medicine cabinet full of expired drugs or medications you no longer use? Your medicine is for you. What’s safe for you might be harmful to someone else. The best way to dispose of your expired, unwanted, or unused medicines is through a drug take-back program.”

    “The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) sponsors National Prescription Drug Take Back Day in communities nationwide. Many communities also have their own drug take-back programs. Check with your local law enforcement officials to find a location near you or with the DEA to find a DEA-authorized collector in your community.”

    For more information about how the FDA suggests you dispose of expired medicine read this article.

    If you must dispose of expired medicine then the American Pharmacists Association recommends these steps for safely disposing of medication.

    • Keep the medication in its original container to identify the contents.
    • Cross out your name and prescription number for safety.
    • For pills, add salt water to dissolve them.
    • For liquids, add cat litter or dirt.
    • Seal the container and secure it with duct tape.

    Every little bit helps in protecting our environment.

    For more information, contact Janet Schiesl.

  • October 16, 2022 3:25 PM | Jeanne Fox Alston (Administrator)

    Samara Goodman

    Samara Interiors

    This glamorous pink powder room was a topic of conversation at a client's recent party. 

    A younger guest remarked that she aspired to have a STATEMENT BATHROOM like this one day. Which got me thinking, why wait for someday? Below are photos of some Samara Interiors statement bathroom projects and our thoughts on why we love to make a splash in the bath. We hope this article inspires you to take the plunge too!


    A favorite room to decorate in clients' homes is the powder room. I often tell clients that this is a perfect place to create a JEWEL BOX of a room for all to enjoy. This small space can be a place to express your creativity in a more adventurous way than you would elsewhere in your home. We commend these courageous clients that defied convention. The statement bathrooms below are admired and enjoyed by the homeowners and their guests alike.


    In these two bathrooms, we chose bold window treatments to complement the wall color and further the fearless fun! Whether you select a PATTERNED fabric for a Roman shade, a solid colored honeycomb, or some other wonderful window covering, it is sure to wow.


    Paint and wallpaper are not a requirement for creating a captivating bathroom. These three bathrooms started out neutral and we used bright art and ACCESSORIES to make a striking statement. Art is always a fantastic place to find the color inspiration to go bold.

    For more information, contact Samara Interiors.

  • August 18, 2022 11:19 AM | Jeanne Fox Alston (Administrator)

    Janet Schiesl

    Basic Organization

    This month it is important to work with your budding student to get them ready for the big day.

    First day of school - how exciting!

    Every child is different, so you need to focus on what is best for your child.

    Will they adapt well to getting up early, getting dressed, and being out the door?

    A new morning routine should start a few weeks before the beginning of school so that it will be one less new thing to conquer.

    Do they know where they are going?

    Visiting the school and classroom, if possible, before the first official day will help ease the nerves of most little ones.

    Hopefully, you’ll be able to meet the teachers, walk the halls, and check out the playground and the cafeteria.

    Discuss their new schedule with them.

    Will they go to a before or after-school program?

    Where will they be picked up and dropped off?

    By whom?

    How will your family’s evening schedule change?

    Do you need to set aside time for homework?

    Will bedtime change?

    This takes work from all involved.

    You will have the most success if you have a plan and begin implementing it before the big day.

    For more information, contact Janet Schiesl

  • June 27, 2022 6:40 PM | Jeanne Fox Alston (Administrator)

    Janet Schiesl

    Basic Organization 

    Do you know that we receive more mail in one day than our grandparents received in a month? These days, it seems like an endless task.

    The post office does a pretty good job of delivering a pile of decisions to you every day. On average, it takes ten minutes a day to sort through your mail and make those decisions. Should I keep this, can I throw away that? Do you have the time to ponder these questions for every piece of mail you carry in your home? Do yourself a favor and make helpful changes now.

    Decide to toss the junk as fast as you can. Pretend those envelopes have been sitting in your oven all day, instead of your mailbox, ready to burn your fingers. Remember “stop, drop and roll”. Use this lesson, ‘stop’ at the trash can or recycle bin, ‘drop’ the fliers, coupons, and anything else that’s junk, and ‘roll’ away with the important stuff. You should have much less in your hands to deal with.

    Try this method with the mail that has piled up inside your home. Instead of ten minutes a day, try adding five more minutes to that time to make it fifteen minutes to help get through the backlog. Slowly you will see the pile decrease until it is gone.

    Use these unsubscribing services to alleviate some of these decisions:

    For more information, contact Janet Schiesl.

  • June 27, 2022 5:54 PM | Jeanne Fox Alston (Administrator)

    Janet Schiesl

    Basic Organization

    have a small collection of glass vases. You know that kind that you get filled with delivered flowers. they are nice, but not as nice as the few crystal vases that I own. I never want to just toss them, so usually, I donate them. But every once in a while I want to keep them. How about you? Do you do the same?

    Here are 10 ideas to repurpose those glass vases.

    1. Use a vase outside to house a fat candle. The glass will prevent the flame from being blown out by the wind.
    2. Collect coins inside a vase. Place it near the front door and encourage everyone to toss their spare change inside when they enter the house.
    3. Serve a summer salad in a vase. You’ll make a beautiful presentation by layering a salad in a glass vessel.
    4. Use a vase as an ice bucket or to keep a bottle of wine cold for a party.
    5. Place a vase on your bathroom vanity to store jewelry or makeup inside.
    6. Replace your utensil crock near your stove with a vase for a modern look.
    7. Re-purpose a collection of vases on your desk to hold office supplies like pencils and pens, paperclips, or rubber bands.
    8. Display a collection by filling a vase with marbles, seashells, or whatever you love and want to show off.
    9. Decorate for the holidays by displaying jelly beans in the Spring and Christmas tree ornaments in the winter in a glass vessel.
    10. Offer healthy nibbling by placing fresh fruit in a vase and leaving it on your kitchen counter.

    In what ways do you repurpose your collection of glass vases?  Or are you ready to donate them to your local charity?

    For more information, contact Janet Schiesl.

  • June 27, 2022 5:19 PM | Jeanne Fox Alston (Administrator)

    Samara Goodman

    Samara Interiors

    Have you ever wondered how to incorporate family heirlooms and sentimental furnishings into your home decor in a way that looks updated and intentional? At Samara Interiors, we love expertly blending old and new items to create beautifully curated design. 


    Curated design appears as though the decor has been collected over time and put together with a sophisticated design eye rather than overly planned and straight off of a catalogue page. Well-curated interiors are carefully and intentionally pulled together. This Thoughtful  planning results in interiors that reflect the homeowners personality, a.k.a. client-centered design, and with clients loving their spaces. One client told us that they "feel happy every morning" when they come downstairs and see the space we designed. Another client told us that they feel relaxed each time they arrive home and open their front door. Other phrases, such as "It's so us!" and "I love that my grandmother's chair in that new fabric works in my space," let us know that we have accomplished this goal.


    What is the difference between antique and vintage items? Put simply, an ANTIQUE is an item that is at least 100 years old. VINTAGE refers to a younger item, typically at least 20 years old. In the article 'New Uses for Old Things' in Worthwhile magazine, Sarah Reeder of Artifactual History Appraisal offers fantastic suggestions on how the most commonly encountered antique and vintage furnishings can be repurposed in a new way. In the well-curated living room below, we strategically mixed the client's INHERITED items, such as the stunning art and beautiful dark wood furniture, with a contemporary rug, sofa, and custom-designed new fireplace. In the art-inspired dining room beneath, the client's antique grandfather clock was just the right size to flank the doorway in perfect balance with the modern artwork. Bonus – having sentimental pieces such as these invokes meaningful memories.


    Creating a well-curated look involves thoughtfully picking out new furnishings and mixing them with older items such as art, furniture, and accessories. Often, these are items that you already own and love. The 'How To Incorporate' box below highlights our top three tips. For a one-page GUIDE with specific examples on blending the old and new, please see this Samara Interiors Decor Guide.


    When a client does not already own antique or vintage decor, we rely on the Samara Interiors 'Design Style Assessment' to determine the client's design likes, dislikes, and style. This allows us to acquire antique and/or vintage decor that reflects the client's personal taste. Starting with a BLANK SLATE  is a 'problem' that we love to solve! It allows us to shop in some of our favorite places such as auctions, vintage shops, and antique shows. For many clients, we seek out original art that complements their style and elevates the depth of the decor, such as in the images below.


    This phrase, attributed to the British sitcom Ab Fab, is a fun one to keep in mind when decorating. To us, this humorously captures the principle that a home looks best when it appears as though it has been curated over time. Not every home needs furnishings that are technically older than the homeowner, but a well-curated home will definitely not look as though all furnishings were recently produced and purchased. 

    For more information, contact Samara Goodman.

  • May 22, 2022 1:46 PM | Jeanne Fox Alston (Administrator)

    Janet Schiesl

    Basic Organization

    May 22, 2022

    Recently, I was on my way to a client’s home. We were finishing up the transformation of his home office. Like many of my home office clients, he had compiled a bunch of mismatched, inexpensive pieces to furnish his office space. This client is a busy man with lots of paperwork attached to the various business ventures he is involved in. He was in great need of different furniture that would make his space function better.

    Why do we do this?

    We spend on the furniture that fills the rooms of our homes that we seldom use, like a formal living room and dining room. Typically these are spaces that we use for guests. At the same time, rooms that we spend hours in each day, hold our cast-offs. The stuff we didn’t want to get rid of but doesn’t really work for us.

    What does this say about how we are treating ourselves?

    If you spend a lot of time in your home office each day or you live in the family room or kitchen, look at how you are “living”. If you are putting up with furniture that doesn’t work for you it is probably making your life harder and more complicated. Think about changing things around. You will immediately see and feel a difference.

    Yesterday’s client now has a completely transformed office, with well-functioning furniture pieces. This will make it easier for him to work. Not to mention that the space looks great and he will probably enjoy the time he spends in the space much more.

    It has me thinking – maybe my home office needs a change?

    For more information, contact Janet Schiesl.

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