From the category archives:

Interior Design

Only fools rush into this major DIY undertaking.

Painted cabinets are ruling Pinterest these days, since intrepid DIYers love the idea of updating their kitchens with only a few coats of a new color. It seems like a no-brainer project, but this undertaking actually has many potential pitfalls. Avoid these blunders to end up with cabinets you can’t wait to show off:

Read More at 11 Big Mistakes You Make Painting Cabinets

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Over the years, home trends come and go. What was once ultra cool is now outdated. Remember those lovely 70’s orange countertops, or avocado green appliances? Most buyers today would shiver at the sight of them, but a simple kitchen remodel could be a home owners saving grace to successfully selling their home and having the buyers jumping for joy. While renovations can help your home sell faster, don’t expect to get much of that money back.

Each year Remodeling magazine comes out with a Cost vs. Value Report which highlights remodeling projects across the nation and by region, comparing their cost to the value retained upon sale of the home. The Twin Cities is one such region which gets its own specific report. Lucky us!

According to the Minneapolis report for upscale homes, the project topping the charts for greatest % of return is siding replacement with fiber-cement board. The next two top projects are garage door replacement and window replacement (vinyl). In contrast, the top projects for mid-range homes are minor kitchen renovations, front door replacement, and the addition of a deck.

It’s interesting that the areas of the home always thought to be the best renovation projects are not the chart toppers. Kitchen renovations get only 57% of their original cost for high-end homes, and one of the lowest bangs for your buck is a master suite addition. Of course home owners want to “live” in their homes and therefore will always do projects that makes their lives simplier, or more luxurious, not necessarily concentrating on if the project will be a good return on their investment.

If you are planning on a future remodel, and want to get an idea on the resale value of your efforts, take a look at the report. If you want to renovate your home for yourself, then does it really matter what the return on investment it? After all, replacing that roof might only get you 39% of your money back, but I am pretty sure having a dry home would trump any desire to recoup your costs.


One of the benefits for those who build distinctive luxury homes is the financial ability to include fantastic designs into their home. Some relatively easy accessories to add are unique lighting features that set a home apart from the normal metal fixtures available in today’s market.
Unique Lighting Fixtures from Elk Lighting
Bi-Plane Fighter Pendant Light from Elk Lighting

Take for instance the above light from Elk Lighting. Their novelty lighting fixtures range from airplanes, sports, space ships, and of course my husband’s favorite, the hockey rink with nets and scoreboard included. Elk Lighting is based out of Pennsylvania and has been in business since 1983. They offer a huge variety of lighting fixtures that pay attention to design and value, striving to provide anything but ordinary. If you get a chance, look through their website at the variety of lighting option available for your project.



Color Trends in Lux LivingWe all love color. Just some of us trend towards specific hues over others. For instance, I’m a blue gal, but red catches my eye too. I just painted one of my bathrooms a grayish blue, giving it seashell accessories, but my bedroom has red bedding and linens, with large floral accents. But many of us like to stay trendy, and seeing as trends are constantly changing, what is going on in the world of color today?

  • Turquoise and Blue– Forget bold and neon blues, a touch of gray is coming into the tone, with more relaxing shades taking center stage. I am seeing a soft turquoise color in custom window treatments and in furniture upholstery, not to mention accessories.
  • Embroidery– looks like embroidered pillows and linens are a new trend, adding a touch of lux to solid colored bedding and furniture, some having beading as well.
  • Shine – to add an extra touch of sparkle, some fabrics have a sheen to them or metallic highlights
  • Browns – while I am not a big fan of brown, the chocolate browns are still hanging around, some with a touch of copper.
  • Grays – we’re talking pale gray colors on walls and furniture which give a calming effect. This let’s you add bright colored accessories for a dramatic look.

What ever the trends are, don’t let it hinder you from picking the colors you love. It’s your home, so enjoy the trends that fit your lifestyle!


If you need some high quality furniture for the room you are redecorating, or you just moved into your brand new home and need some goods to fill the space, then look no further than the International Market Square in Minneapolis.

For three days, November 5-7th, the American Society of Interior Designers is presenting the Annual Designer Sample Sale, where luxury furnishings are being sold at a 50-80% discount. Admission is free and open to the public so make sure to save the date and have fun shopping!


If you have ever been to a Motley Crue concert in the last few years, you would know that their stage theme is absolutely fantastic. The reason? They create an environment that not only tells a story, but they evoke emotion and engage the fans. I attended a concert a couple years back, and while not a raving fan, had a fantastic time. How could you not with all the fire works, dancers, music, and fun?

In the soft real estate market today, homes are taking longer to sell, and many times, home owners are reducing their price to get someone, anyone, to take the home off their hands. Sadly, many probably wouldn’t have to undercut themselves if they looked to Motley Crue for inspiration.

Excuse me? Motley Crue?

Yep and for obvious reasons. Buyers want to walk into a home and immediately feel like it is theirs. They want to be inspired…they want to see fireworks.

The best way to do this is to “stage” your home. While many of us might think our home is decorated just fine, nothing could be further from the truth. Those walls that are painted a deep purple…gotta go. The 1980s wallpaper with Paisleys…gotta go. The little figurines you collect which are scattered throughout the home…gotta go.

Why? Because a home looks better when it is depersonalized and neutral. If you want to see some great before and after shots of staged spaces, and get an idea of the difference staging your home can make, please visit this site. The effect staging has on a home that is for sale is obvious once you see these photos. What emotions come over you? Would you want to buy these homes if you saw them in the “after” state?

I would have to say yes. Staging a home will not only make your home show BETTER, it most likely will help your home sell FASTER, and for MORE money. Here is an idea I want to leave you with. Instead of reducing your home $5000 or more, why not look into a consultation with a professional home stager? With the little money you spend on staging your home, you could actually net more in the end and walk away with a great story on how you sold your home in a market when so many other sellers are failing.


Designing a luxury home doesn’t have to stay local. There are many places across the United States where you can view high-end items to decorate your home with. Take for instance The Merchandise Mart in Chicago. If you have never been there, then you are missing out and should stop by on your next visit. Many times you have to come with an interior designer just to get in, but now there is a new area open to the public.

To find some elegant pieces, check out the Luxury Boutiques, which take up about 100,000 square feet and consist of 30 showrooms. You can find just about any type of style to fit your taste, and the nice thing is, there are designers available to help you pick your palette.

If you don’t want to travel, then you can visit the smaller version right here in Minneapolis. Near the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden is the International Market Square. Happy shopping!


Yes, I took a break this weekend from blogging. It was just too beautiful to sit in front of a laptop typing away. I know you all missed me. So here I am, at almost midnight, typing away, and I stumbled upon this bit of humor.

If you know a luxury home owner who has everything, I highly doubt they have one of these in the thrown room. What it is is a Swarovski crystal encrusted toilet. I just don’t know about this “luxury” item. Feels like I should have a matching disco ball light above. At a cost of $75,000, you be the judge if you want one in your home.


I feel like I live in a world for Indiana Jones when I walk out my front door. There are ice stalactites hanging from every eave of the roof line. Some are a couple feet long like this nice one. Needless to say but I am trying to make sure I don’t slam the door and cause all these weapons to come raining down on me. Where is Jones when I need him?


If you missed my newest addition of Jennifer’s Homes by Design magazine, drop me a line with your mailing address and I will be sure to send you a copy of the June/July issue. The August issue will be coming out in a month, so if you would like to be added to the mailing list, just let me know! (Don’t forget, it’s FREE!)