Home Tips: 10 Home Décor Crafts to Turn Your Home Into an Autumnal Oasis

Transforming your home into an autumnal oasis could be as simple as focusing on the small accents you’re bringing into each room of your home. When it comes to the changing of seasons, there is nothing more exciting than when summer fades into fall. The leaves are changing, the weather is cooling down, and your coffee order changes from iced to hot. Fall is a time to put your beach towels back in storage, and get back into regular routines. Thus, making it the ideal opportunity to return to your crafting room with these 10 Fall DIY crafts in mind.

1. Fabric Pumpkins

Fabric pumpkins are a fresh way to display seasonal gourds. You can pair sewn faux pumpkins among real ones (some of which you can spray or sponge paint) during this fall season. Imagine — spare branches, scattered leaves, and these pumpkins displayed in your home. Autumnal oasis dreams.

Home Décor Craft: Sew linen, silk, and velvet into adorable faux pumpkins that can be displayed and reused every year.

2. Wheat Cluster

For an easy, lightweight decoration that still evokes the glorious fall harvest, try these dried wheat bundles.

Home Décor Craft: Begin by bundling together three to ten stalks of wheat. Then, wrap the stalks of wheat together in twine. Leave about three feet of twine hanging off the bunch in a tail. Next, cut the stalks to approximately three-inches in length. Repeat for as many bundles as desired. Then, push the separate tails on the twines through a chosen bead, loop all at the end, and tie it into a knot. Hang it upside down on your front door as a creative way to say hello to the fall season!

3. Rustic Woven Lanterns

Thinking of dressing your dinner table with fresh center pieces this holiday season? Look no further with this eco-friendly and chic way to upgrade your dinner table.

Home Décor Craft: Upcycle old mesh placemats by cutting & rolling them into tubes and stitching them along the seams. Place cylinder shaped votives around candles. Wax, soy, or electric candles – your guests won’t be able to spy the difference! Candlelight will gracefully flicker through the loose weave of the hurricane lanterns as you entertain over dinner.

4. Soft Seats

With this DIY craft, dinner isn’t going to be the only warm thing at your table. With these simple slipcovers, you can instantly reinvent dining chairs at your formal dining table over the holidays.

Home Décor Craft: To start, simply drape a finished sheepskin over the back of the chair before securing it with Ultrasuede-tape or cord. Extra fall points for choosing a contrasting cord color. Next, finish securing them to the chair by threading the tie through the sheepskin on each side with a tapestry needle (that will help you create a cuff over the chair’s top). Knot the ends and let them hang loose. Voila!

5. Gingham Knit Blanket

Believe it or not, you don’t need to be an expert knitter to tackle this DIY project; you can make this cozy throw blanket with quick-to-knit strips.

Home Décor Craft: Gather scarves in the colors you want, and sew them together. That’s it! Below, scarves of alternating stripes are sewn together to create a unique gingham pattern.

6. Harvest Branches

We love how easy these fleeced branches are to put together. Specifically how they have the power to add a touch of warm color to any setting you place them in.

Home Décor Craft: Simply pull a bit of fleece roving off a ball, and then press the end of the fiber against the branch. Start wrapping tightly, gently pulling the fleece apart (without tearing it) as you go. Wrap the branches until the piece of fleece runs out. Add more fleece as needed to cover the branch. When adding, wrap over the last inch of wrapped fleece with e.

The friction of your fingers on the fibers and the natural oils form your skin help the fleece stay on the branch and adhere to itself.

7. Pumpkin Spice Scented Candles

If you’re among the camp that counts down the days until you can sip a classic pumpkin spice latte once again, these homemade candles are for you. Poured into orange-tinted mason jars, they throw off an especially autumnal glow in any area you might have in mind.

Home Décor Craft: Hot glue candle wick to bottom of festive colored jar. Bring water to a boil in a pot (filled half way). Reduce to a simmer. Place a different jar with broken up candle wax inside into the pot of simmering water. Water should be about 1/2 way up the side of the jar. When the wax becomes liquid add a heaping tablespoon of pumpkin pie spice. Mix. Carefully pour the liquid wax into the festive colored jar. If the candle wick starts to tilt, secure the wick between two sticks or pencils. Set aside to cool overnight. Trim the wick. Light it up!

8. Nut Wreath

Celebrate fall’s abundance of almonds, hazelnuts, pecans and walnuts with this festive decoration. Use any hard-shelled nuts, including acorns you gather from your own backyard.

Home Décor Craft: Gather all your nuts, small and large. Begin hot gluing the large ones together to form the shape of your wreath. Add in the small nuts as you go to fill in the spaces. Let cool, and hang on door. Ta da!

9. Embroidered Throw Pillows

Upgrade a pair of store-bought wide-weave cushions by tricking them out with bright neutral yarns sewn directly into the weave.

Home Décor Craft: Grab some of your favorite colored yarn and sew in fun patterns and fringe with a tapestry needle. That’s it. Truly. 

10. Block-Printed Linens

Block-printed linens are costly to buy, but surprisingly simple to make. With some textile paint, muslin fabric, and woodblock stamps, you can create linens that are exclusive and unique.

Home Décor Craft: Begin by layering a paper towel on top of a foam sheet; lay pre-washed muslin fabric on top, and smooth out any wrinkles. Then, pour your choice of textile paint on a plate. Next, dab a sponge in the paint and smooth it evenly onto a wooden printing block with a unique pattern. Stamp it on the muslin fabric. Let dry. Pictured are indigo shades, but you can substitue for any color of your choosing.

4 Ways to Compost

With spring not too far off, it is the perfect time to start some new at-home routines. With California leading the way in green initiatives, we’ve rounded up four simple composting tricks. These techniques will help you reduce waste and aide the environment. The bonus is with these DIY tips you don’t even need a yard to get started!

Composting is a great way to not only reduce how much you’re throwing in the garbage, but it can also keep your trash smell at bay, thanks to having less organic material in that bin. Not to mention how much your plants will love it; if you don’t have a full garden, your houseplants will be happy about it, too. Even city dwellers or anyone without a yard can do it—really!

Before you get started, think about the type of composting you want to do. Cold composting is easier: You simply take organic materials you’d normally throw away —coffee grounds, eggshells, fruit, and vegetable peels—and put them in a composting pile or bin (just don’t add meats, dairy, or fats). Over about a year, the materials will decompose. Hot composting is more complicated, and uses nitrogen and carbon-containing ingredients to speed up the process. Another option is vermicomposting, which is when you use special worms to help the process along.

Don’t let the fact that you don’t have much space hold you back from composting. With a little ingenuity, a proper compost bin can be created just about anywhere.

1. Make your own outdoor compost bin. 

If you’ve got a spare trash can and a drill, you can turn that can into a composting can. You can also build your ownwith welded wire mesh, concrete blocks, or wooden pallets, and you can hide basically any bin behind a simple lattice fence. If you’ve got an outdoor bin, you can also throw in dry leaves, wood bark chips, and grass and plant clippings while you’re taking care of your yard. Make sure to water and stir your pile thoroughly.

2. Make your own indoor compost bin. 

Much like how you hide your trash can in a pull-out cabinet or under your sink, you can hide a compost bin right in your own kitchen, too. Again, you’ll need a drill: Use it to drill holes in the bottom of a metal container with a lid, then place the container into a shallow tray with sides. Give this indoor bin a base layer of a little dirt, and top your food scraps with some damp shredded newspapers (the newspapers will help control smell!). Make sure to stir it every week or so, and keep it covered.

3. Make a worm bin system. 

If you’re composting indoors and still worried about odors, vermicomposting is a great idea. You can’t just use any worms—you’ll need to purchase redworms online or at a garden supplier (about one pound per square foot in your bin). A vermicompost bin should also be kept in a cool, dark place. Start with a base of shredded newspaper or leaves mixed with soil, and get it damp, then add your worms and your food scraps. Vermicomposting is also a great option for beginners—if things get messed up, just dump out your bin outside and start over.

4. Check for community composting. 

If you aren’t into making your own compost, or don’t have the space for it, check to see if your community has its own group composting area where you can drop off food waste. Your city hall might have details, or you can ask your neighbors or post your query on a community directory, like Nextdoor. Your community may even provide biodegradable bags to hold your scraps in between your visits to their composting center.

Your compost is ready when it’s not giving off any heat, and it’s become dry, brown, and crumbly. Use it to feed your garden or potted plants, and watch your plants live their best lives!

Courtesy of: Better Homes & Gardens

All-Natural Easy Home Cleaning Tips

If there is one thing we pride ourselves on in LA, it is clean and natural home living. Rather then perusing the household products of your local Whole Foods, we’ve listed below 10 easy ways to use Vinegar as your go-to cleaner.

As an all-natural, all-in-one cleaner, white vinegar really does work wonders in terms of making your home look spic and span. In the kitchen, it cleans out your coffeemaker, removes hard water stains on your glassware, and rinses down your waste bins. In the laundry room, it keeps your colors bright and your whites whitened. Have a pest problem? You won’t for long with the help of white vinegar. It works as a repellent against ants in places where they like to crawl and hide (think: your patio, porch, or picnic table). Pick it up once, and it will become your new go-to cleanser.

-Martha Stewart

Deodorize the Room

Unpleasant odors lurk in the carpets, rugs, and upholstery. To remove these musty smells, fill a dish with half an inch of white vinegar and leave it out in the room until the smell dissipates.

Click here for the step-by step

Dissolve Rust

To clean sharp edges on a dirty knife or pair of shears without cutting yourself, pour white vinegar over the blade. Then sprinkle with coarse salt and rub with a cork. Rinse with water and wipe dry to prevent rusting.

Keep Colors Bright

If you think that the colors of your clothing may run in the wash, try this time-honored treatment: Pre-rinse laundry in a solution of distilled white vinegar and cold water, using 2/3 cup vinegar for each gallon of water. Let the garments soak for up to 15 minutes, then wash and dry according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Click here for a step-by-step

Clean the Faucet

Cut through the crusty buildup of mineral deposits on your faucet with this trick: Soak a paper towel in full-strength white vinegar, then drape over the buildup. Leave for about an hour, then scrub scum away.

Wash Your Windows and Mirrors

Reflective surfaces such as these should have a streak-free shine. You can make your own cleaner by mixing one part vinegar and one part water.

Sanitize Your Garbage Disposal

It’s no surprise that a trash bin can harbor the worst odors in your home. But a rinse-down doesn’t always do the trick. After rinsing with fresh water, use a long-handled brush to scrub the inside with a mixture of white vinegar and warm water. Rinse once more and let dry.

Remove Hard-Water Stains

Use a clean rag to rub each piece with distilled white vinegar. This will remove the hard water’s calcium and magnesium buildup. (And don’t worry—the items won’t smell like vinegar once dried.)

Clean Bath Toys

Wash bacteria and mildew from bath toys by giving them a bath of their own: Fill a bucket or large bowl with warm water, adding 1/2 cup white vinegar per gallon of water. Soak toys for 10 minutes, then rub gently with a sponge and allow to dry. The acetic acid in vinegar cuts through dirt buildup and works as a natural disinfectant.

Save Your Shoes

Leather and suede are some of the hardest materials to maintain. Stains can easily result when our shoes come in contact with rain or salt. To rid your shoes of unsightly salt spots, rub them down with a paper towel dampened with white vinegar, which dissolves the salt.

Shine the Silver

Silver is easily scratched and tarnished. Restore its sparkle by gently buffing your pieces with vinegar and a soft cotton cloth. Finish by rinsing and drying your silver with the cloth.

Courtesy of: Martha Stewart Home Living

Fire prevention and safety tips for your home

There’s more to fireproofing your home than just keeping a fire extinguisher on hand and testing your smoke alarms. It’s important to take some time to keep your home safer.

 According to the latest report by the National Fire Protection Association, 77% of all fire deaths occurred in the home in 2017. Almost all fires are accidents, and most are preventable—with fireproofing.

Here are some tips to consider when it comes to fire safety in your home:

Kitchen

According to Federal Emergency Management Agency, (FEMA), cooking is the leading cause of residential building. The best way to prevent this is to never leave things unattended, especially on the stove top. If you plan on using the oven, make sure to set a timer if you must leave the room. Also, regular oven checks are a good idea!

Keep the clutter to a minimum. Kitchen counters tend to be cluttered with many flammable items such as paper towels and oven mittens. Make sure to keep these things away from the stove tops.

Bedroom

Make sure to clean out closets and storage places regularly. Piles of clothes and papers can create a flammable hazard the can spread fire quickly.

Avoid draping clothes on top of lamp shades. The heat of the bulb can ignite clothing instantly.

Use electric space heaters and blankets that are approved by nationally recognized testing laboratories.

Electrical and Appliances

Between 2010 and 2014, U.S. municipal fire departments responded to an average of 45,210 home structure fires involving electrical failure or malfunction.

We all do this from time to time, but leaving an appliance on, like the dishwasher, can increase the chances of a fire. Appliances can short out and spark, which can turn into a disaster if you’re not at home.

The National Fire Protection Association suggests you only use one heat-producing appliance (such as a toaster, coffee maker, etc.) plugged into a receptacle outlet at a time.

Plug major appliances (Refrigerators, stoves, microwave ovens, etc.) directly into a wall receptacle outlet. Extension cords and plug strips should not be used for these items.

Do not put electrical cords against the walls or under furniture where heat can build up.

Never leave your home with the dryer running.

Don’t overload an outlet with too many things plugged in.

Clean out dryer lint traps and replace filters on your vacuum.

Have your wiring checked out, especially if you live in an older home.

Insurance

In addition to your fireproofing efforts, make sure you know your home insurance or renters’ insurance policies in case of a fire.

Three Design Tips To Help Maximize Your Small Space

Looking for ways to get creative with a small space in your home? Low on square footage and just want to find ways to make your space feel big? Don’t worry, we have some solutions for you!

Here are three design tricks that will help maximize your space.

Choose the right paint color

Being thoughtful in your paint choices is very important! Traditional colors like white, cream, and light gray are great choices and will instantly give the impression of more space. These colors will provide a clean look and will make your room feel more expansive.

You can also create a visual openness overhead by simply painting the ceiling white. You’ll have a welcoming space in no time!

In addition to the traditional colors, you can also go bold with dark colors. Highlight a small room by making a cozy-like environment with navy, black, and dark gray colors.

Get creative with storage

Small spaces hardly come with great storage. Creating clever storage solutions can help keep clutter out of sight.

The kitchen is one place you can get clever with when it comes to storage:

  • Hang wine glasses beneath your cupboards
  • Keep cleaning supplies out of sight by attaching holders to the backs of cabinet doors
  • Consider an adjustable cooking area with roll-away islands and pantries.

Also, don’t forget about the walls! This is a great place to add shelving and also hang big items like bicycles.

Consider multitasking furniture

When your floor space is limited, it’s important to choose furniture that have multiple functions. Consider pieces that have hidden storage or that you can store when not in use.

For example, if you can’t fit a dresser in your bedroom, try adding crates under the bed for clothing. An ottoman is also a great piece that can easily transition to a bench or even a coffee table.   Limited space doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice style. With creative solutions, you can go from a cramped space to an inviting space with room for all.

That’s so 2018! Design trends to ditch this year.

With only a couple weeks left in the first month of the year, there is no better time to ditch some of those 2018 home trends. While certain statement pieces will last through the seasons, the round-up below are so last year! So read below and start off fresh in 2019!!

1. Gallery walls

Photo by Tim Barber Ltd Architecture 

It’s time to cool it with nailing 20-piece photo collages onto our walls. Instead, make a bigger splash with one large piece that leaves an impression.

“I love family photos, but the stark black or blond wood frames—thank you, Ikea!—that we’ve put up on the wall are a little, well, not trending,” says Los Angeles home designer Kim Gordon.

A wall full of little frames, Gordon says, fails to make a statement and ends up being overlooked and ignored. Plus, those frames will just accumulate dust and fingerprints.

In the new year, Gordon says the tedious clutter will give way to “big, potentially colorful, and absolutely impactful” art that wows—think charcoal sketches or watercolors—“anything to relieve some of the monotony.”

2. Industrial kitchens

Photo by PowerSmith Design 

Three years later, and we’re still ringing the closing bell on this exhausted look. It seems old habits (and Edison bulbs) die hard.

So, we’ll say it again for the people in the back: Industrial chic is played out. It’s time to flip the switch on cage lighting and aggressively exposed pipes and beams.

“More often than not, [this look] fails and lacks the authenticity the designer is ardently trying to create,” says David Shove-Brown of Washington, DC–based architecture and design firm //3877.

Industrial kitchens are “not the most inviting place to be the heart of your home—more like living in a Costco,” O’Neill adds. “So, unless you are a professional chef, let’s retire this trend.”

Make the swap for lush, opulent hues in the kitchen—deep (almost black) greens and blues, and dark woodwork—and lean on matte metallics for contrast, recommends Debbie Schamberger of Elite Kitchen & Bath.

“Gold is strong for hardware, faucets, and lighting fixtures—a soft gold, like Champagne,” she says.

3. Boho accessories

Photo by We Are In Our Element 

We can already hear the boos and hisses on this one, but Portland, OR, designer Justin Riordan isn’t having it.

“Boho has to die,” he says. “It’s totally flippin’ over.”

You know what we’re talking about: The macrame wall hangings, the waxy-fake succulents (“You’re not fooling anybody,” Riordan says), and your Moroccan lanterns all had a good run, but it’s time to rein it in.

“You can, of course, continue to buy $19 batik pillows at Target, but stuff like that is just fodder for your next garage sale,” Riordan says. “It comes on really fast and goes away really fast.”

If you just can’t tear yourself away from that gypsy-soul-world-citizen vibe, Riordan suggests channeling those feelings into an authentic piece that reflects a real ethnic tradition—say, a kilim rug—and building the room around that.

4. Word art

Photo by Bach Homes 

We know—we can’t believe it either, but the word art trend is still happening. In 2019, however, the pros are determined to make it finally stop. Even if you can live, laugh, and love with the best of them, those words don’t belong on your walls.

“Any text art hung in the home meant to be positive just comes across as cheesy and predictable,” says Jessica Boudreaux, an interior designer in Miami and New York City. “Stuart Smalley called, and he wants his signage back.”

Ana Cummings of Ana Interiors agrees: “It’s about as hokey as you can get.”

5. Kitchen islands

Photo by Havlicek Builders Inc. 

But isn’t the island sort of ultimate #kitchengoals? Diana Blaszkiewicz, an associate with TTR Sotheby’s International Realty in Washington, DC, doesn’t think so. Her clients increasingly want to ditch the kitchen island, and she’s happy to oblige.

“They’re bulky and often don’t provide adequate storage space; plus, they’re very easy to bump into in the middle of the night,” she says.

In lieu of an island, situate the dining table closer to the kitchen, Blaszkiewicz recommends, or use modular, moveable storage instead.

6. Gray everything

Photo by Creative House Zone 

Will 2019 be the year we do away with gray?

“From walls to napkins, from Florida to Maine, it has been all about gray for so long now, I can hardly remember when it snuck in,” O’Neill laments.

“Because we’ve concentrated on cool grays for so long, it just feels dated at this point,” Riordan adds. “Everything I see in that palette just feels really cold to me.”

Plus, gray has become the go-to neutral for home staging—and that means this hue often “screams ‘newly flipped,’” Blaszkiewicz notes.

That doesn’t mean neutrals are out, but designers are ready for a shift to warmer tones, like sandy taupes.

7. Over-the-stove microwaves

Photo by Mabry Construction, Inc. 

Certain residential features are the brainchildren of home builders—notinterior designers. Such is the story of microwaves situated above cooktops.

“It was never a good design choice,” Cummings says. “Microwaves are so ugly, to put it bluntly.”

The microwave-over-the-range setup is not even functional, says Doug Lewis, a kitchen and bath remodeler in Richmond, VA. The combo’s popularity is driven entirely by the need to economize space—and it sacrifices the ventilation capabilities of a full-size hood vent (as opposed to the scrawny item built into the bottom of over-range microwaves).

“With those, you’re maybe getting 25% venting function,” Lewis says. “Plus, it’s just an awkward height for younger or shorter people to use. Ever tried to reach over your head to get hot soup out of the microwave? Not good.”

So what’s a space-starved homeowner to do? Undercounter microwaves are gaining popularity, Lewis says, and a growing number of cabinet manufacturers offer designs that accommodate them. You can also mount your microwave under upper cabinets while still preserving that precious counter space.

8. Microfiber upholstery

Photo by LuxWest Interiors 

For years now, microfiber has been the hero of home furniture—an affordable and practical choice for its durability. So durable, in fact, that this vaguely suede-like fabric is ready for a rest.

Why? Most microfiber furniture can make the overall design of a room appear dated and cheap, says Beverly Hills, CA–based designer Kita Williams. And while it’s not impossible to find a microfiber piece in a modern shape, aren’t you ready to try something new?

“Err on the side of caution, and stay away from microfiber,” Williams says. “Stick with linen, leather, pleather, tweed, and canvas-type fabrics.”

Courtesy of: Realtor.com

New Year’s Resolutions for your Home

1: Streamline the stuff

One of the best and least expensive ways to feel better about your home is to clear it of clutter.

Each year most of us acquire a mountain of stuff. Without some regular purging, cabinets and drawers get jam-packed and it becomes hard to find the things you use and enjoy the most. (All that clutter also makes your house look dated and dirty, designers say.)

This year resolve to go room-by-room periodically clearing anything that you don’t use, wear or love and donate it to charity. After that, think twice about what you bring in, says Antoinette Nue, an Atlanta consultant who specializes in helping people simplify and go green.

“Fill your home with the things that raise your energy level and make you feel good, and get rid of the things that drain your energy or are broken,” she says.

Stash useful (but not beautiful) items such as DVDs, remotes and those kicked-off shoes in simple woven baskets. Group similar items together on sleek trays, says Stuart McCormick, a designer with Liz Levin Interiors in Washington D.C.

Clear your counters of everything you don’t use on a daily basis. And get ready to breathe a little easier in your own home. 

2: Make it safe and sound

Your home may be beautiful, but is it safe?

First, check your house for radon. This colorless, odorless gas causes about 21,000 lung cancer deaths each year from the radioactive particles it traps in your lungs as you breathe, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. One in every fifteen homes has elevated levels. And with test kits costing as little as $20 at your local hardware store, there’s no reason not to get right on that.

While we’re on the subject of deadly gas, make sure you install a carbon monoxide detector on every bedroom floor in addition to fire detectors. If a chimney flue or furnace vent gets blocked or leaks, carbon monoxide could back up in your house and kill you. Like a radon test, this is a small investment — $40 or more — for such an important safeguard.

Watch out for dryer lint. We know you clean the little trap inside the door, but most people neglect to clean the vents and ducts behind the dryer. Lint may seem innocent, but it’s highly combustible, according to the U.S. Fire Administration, accounting for more than 15,000 building fires a year.

Make sure your house can breathe. Many people’s bathrooms and attics aren’t vented to the outside (or the vents are covered over with shingles.) This makes you a prime candidate for mold.

And if you’re considering a remodel — and your home was last built or remodeled before 1978 — consider testing for lead paint and asbestos flooring. It will have to handled properly during removal, or particles can be released into the air for you to ingest.

3: Shrink your bills (and your carbon footprint in the process)

When people think of going green, they often think it takes solar panels to make a difference.

Not so, says Bob Schildgen, who wrote the “Hey Mr. Green” column for Sierra magazine. It just takes a little old-fashioned common sense.

The best place to start is by cutting your energy usage in your home:

– Remember your mom’s advice and switch off the lights when you leave a room.

– Turn off your air conditioner when you leave the house and dial your heater down to 55 degrees at night.

– Install LED bulbs and low-flow showerheads.

– Turn off your power strips and/or set your home computer to revert to sleep mode when not in use.

– Water your yard less. Put in drought-tolerant landscaping if necessary.

– Give composting a try. Your garden will thank you.

4: Work out a weekly system for keeping your house clean

Here are a few tips for keeping the mess under control from Jeff Campbell. He is the author of the book Speed Cleaning and owner of the Clean Team housekeeping service in San Francisco.

Daily: Dishes go in the dishwasher every night – no excuses! Dirty clothes go in the hamper and jackets or clean clothes are hung in the closet. Bring everything back to its assigned place.

Weekly: Clean your entire house, using these tips:

– Keep all of your cleaners in a portable carryall that moves with you from room to room.

– Focus on one type of cleaning at a time. It’s faster, Campbell says. Wipe down fingerprints on all of the cabinets, for instance, before moving on to spraying and wiping counters. Then move on to windows and mirrors and appliances. Once that’s done move on to sweeping and then mopping floors.

– For optimum efficiency, enlist the help of your family. If you can, divide the jobs among at least three parties. One of you can do the dusting/vacuuming and changing beds. The other can do the bathroom cleanup, leaving only the kitchen and trash emptying for you to handle. The upside? You can get the whole house done in 45 minutes, Campbell says. Leaving more time on the weekends for the park or the movies.

5: Get your place ready for entertaining

Each year most of us vow to spend more time with family and friends. To make you feel like inviting people in, why not give the areas you entertain in a little update?

You don’t have go for broke here and invest in a new kitchen remodel. All it takes to get a fresh new look is a little bit of rearranging and a few updates, says designer McCormick.

One easy update that makes your home seem more “finished” is the addition of plants, she says.

“They bring in new energy and help clean the air,” she says. “And it’s a great way to decorate if you’re on a budget.”

Pulling out a new accent color from your existing decor can make the whole room seem fresh. Pick an underused color in the room and add more of it in the form of a new pillow or throw to update your look, McCormick advises. A colorful rug or runner can also help anchor your space.

Lastly, take some time to rearrange your furniture so it is oriented in conversation groups and not just facing the television. That just might up for chances for real conversation and connection in the New Year.

Courtesy of HGTV

Rodeo Realty's Studio City agent Laura Piller-Plourde sales home of “Let’s Make a Deal” host Wayne Brady

Game show host Wayne Brady has sold his Sherman Oaks home for $2.65 million. Laura Piller-Plourde of Rodeo Realty Studio City listed the modern residence, which made headlines in the Los Angeles Times.

The updated home is located behind gates up on a private drive. Built in 1954, the one-story property features hardwood floors, high-beamed ceilings, and a skylight-lit entry within the open floor plan.

The home comes with five bedrooms and five bathrooms. The house also contains a living and family room, a chef’s kitchen, a dining room, and an office.

Outdoors, there’s a swimming pool and spa, a barbecue center, fire pit, and a grassy play area.

To read the LA Times article on this sale, click HERE.

Rodeo Realty and Centek Capital hosting fundraising event to help HIV/AIDS and transgender youth

The Laurel Foundation’s annual EAT. DRINK. DO GOOD. event will be held on Sunday, May 20, 2018 from 2 – 5 p.m.

Rodeo Realty and Centek Capital are two of the sponsors for the fundraising event.

This year, the event will be held at a spectacular mansion in the iconic bird streets. The stunning Sunset Strip View Estate is listed by Joe Babajian and Timmy Woods of Rodeo Realty Beverly Hills. Gloria Shulman, founder of one of California’s leading lenders, Centek Capital, is opening the doors to her home to help The Laurel Foundation increase the number of children and youth served in 2018.

The goal is to send 60 transgender/gender non-conforming youth and 105 children affected by HIV/AIDS to summer camp. Funds raised at the event will help The Laurel Foundation reach their goal of $80,000—which will send the 165 youth to the summer program.

The afternoon will include California wines, beers, spirits, non-alcoholic beverages along with local well-known eateries. In addition to the tastings, a DJ will be spinning classic sounds of summer. VIP admission to the event includes a private tour of the home. For more details on ticketing, visit www.501auctions.com/eatdrinkdogood.

For more details on the estate, visit www.1646bluejayway.com.

 

Where to See Life-Size Gingerbread Houses in Los Angeles

In 1812 Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm published one of their most famous stories. Hansel and Gretel are left to stave in the woods by their cruel mother as their woodcutter father is unable to provide for the family. The children search for home and come upon a house built cakes, candy and gingerbread. The proprietor turns out to be an evil witch who lures them inside with the intention of eating them. Ultimately the children trick the witch, trap her in the oven she’d warmed for them, make off with her fortune, and return to their loving father. The mother, who died a mysterious death in the children’s absence, is now out of the picture for good. The surviving trio lives happily ever after.

Now you might think that the popularity of this macabre tale is what solidified the gingerbread house as a cultural symbol of Christmas, but that’s just a part of the origin. Gingerbread itself had been around for centuries preceding Hansel & Gretel. Europeans had long used the spiced bread to create artistically shaped cookies, elaborately decorated with icing.  In Germany, bakers had been constructing little houses out of gingerbread since at least the 16th century, according to food historian Tori Avey, particularly around the holidays. The 19th century fairytale only enhanced the gingerbread house’s existing popularity and today they’re a ubiquitous harbinger of Christmas cheer.

As hotels and malls have worked to outshine their rivals in gingerbread house construction, some houses have gotten larger and larger to the point where the average adult can comfortably stroll inside. Contained within you’ll find no evil witches, just delicious, seasonal cheer. And you don’t have wander through the woods of Germany to find life-size gingerbread creations. In fact there are a few you can check out right here in Southern California.

Let’s a take a look.

Beverly Wilshire, A Four Seasons Hotel

At the Beverly Wilshire a life-size, 8-by-12-foot gingerbread house can be found in the lobby. The house’s skeleton is made from wood, but the entire structure is covered in gingerbread made at the hotel, all cut and rolled by hand. To make this much gingerbread, Executive Pastry Chef Chris Ford and company started baking in August. Construction of the house took another three weeks. The house is brushed with gold dust, and the doors and windows are painted with chocolate. Over 1,000 gingerbread cookies have been fixed to the walls—some brightened with red, green, or white fondant. The roof is made out of 40 gallons marshmallow, which presents the illusion of a snow-topped cabin. As one might imagine, it smells pretty good inside. Its purpose throughout the holidays is a gift shop, open daily from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Here, one will find a variety of confectionary treats including chocolate trees filled with fillings, chocolate truffles, and emoji gingerbread men. -> More information

Beverly Wilshire Gingerbread House

Photo via Eclat Public Relations

JW Marriott L.A. LIVE

Over at the JW Marriott L.A. LIVE, another gingerbread house stands to rival the Beverly Wilshire’s. The open-faced “Santa’s Tavern” smells equally delicious and has a bar where cocktail tastings occur daily from 4 to 5 p.m. (I had a gingerbread mule, and can report it is tasty.) Pastry Chef Alex Vacher has used some 1,300 pounds of dough to create this holiday oasis, bedazzled with dozens of cookies and icing piping. A small lounge adjacent to the bar has an electric fireplace, hung with stockings. A TV behind the bar plays holiday classics. It’s so adorable, even the Scroogiest of Scrooges will find themselves impressed by the 1,200 hours of work that went into this festive lodge. Santa’s Tavern is open through January 2. -> More information

JW Marriott Gingerbread House

Photo by Juliet Bennett Rylah

The Great Wolf Lodge

The Great Wolf Lodge in Anaheim also has a life-size gingerbread house, up until December 31. The house is comprised of 663 pounds of dough, 50 pounds of icing, and 135 pounds of candy. It also sits up to 10 guests at a time for a sit-down meal. Reservations are currently sold out, though day-of cancellations may open up new spots. They require a $10 fee, which will be donated to Ronald McDonald House Charities, plus the cost of food. -> Great Wolf Lodge

Beyond Southern California

Outside of L.A., there’s also a life-size gingerbread houses in Madison Square Park in Manhattan, while Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco boasts the largest in the state with their two-story house, complete with a dining room that seats up to 12 guests. The record for the largest gingerbread house, however, was set in 2013 in Bryan, Texas, where it seems like I’ve heard everything is bigger. This house, which came in at 39,202 cubic feet, broke the previous record held by the Mall of America in Minnesota.

Story by We Like LA.