DS Tip Of the Week: Mixing Woods. Go Ahead–It’s OK!

Happy 2017!!

How about a Steinhafels’ Decorating Solutions Tip of the Week to start your new year off right!

When redecorating, do you feel stifled by the “rules” of design?  Do you have designer’s block?  Jenii Kluver is an interior designer based at our Oak Creek store.  Today she tackles the concept of mixing woods.

Jenii explains, “People tend to feel the need to match all of the wood colors in their rooms. However, as long as you stick with the same tone of wood (cool, warm, etc.), you can mix and match your wood tables, chairs, cabinets, trim, and flooring.  Just don’t go overboard–you still want it to be visually pleasing!”

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Jenii and all of our talented designers can help you with projects like this one.  Just stop by your local Steinhafels!

Our designers are hard at work on many more quick and easy design tips for you.  Check in next Monday for another #DSTipOfTheWeek.

DS Tip Of The Week: A Modern Twist on the Classic Dining Set

Mixing wood and metals in home decor is very on trend right now.  Accenting a wood piece with metal hardware, like metal knobs or handles on drawers and doors, are a great way to make it pop!

Get out the notepad and jot down these pointers.  That’s right… it’s time for another Decorating Solutions Tip of the Week.  This week’s tip comes from Interior Designer Anne Hildreth, who works at our Vernon Hills store.  As a designer, Anne loves to look at what your architectural elements have to offer, so she can enhance the look of your home.

Anne’s Tip:  “Use this Belino Accent Chest as a server in place of what traditionally would come with a dining set.”

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Its clear glass doors, distressed finish, and antique brass hardware make it perfect for displaying in your eat-in kitchen or dining area.  You can store your extra dishes and utensils in this unique cabinet, rather than a drab old cupboard!  Find the chest online HERE.

Design options are endless if you’re willing to try new looks.  Our designers are hard at work on many more quick and easy design tips for you.  Check in next Monday for another #DSTipOfTheWeek.

Behind the Scenes: Salvation Army’s “Toy Shop”

Steinhafels has been partnering with the Salvation Army for years to help collect donations for the organization’s annual “Toy Shop” holiday toy distribution event.  CBS 58 has also come onboard, and it’s been a great way for all of our organizations to band together to help kids in Milwaukee’s inner city have new toys for the holidays.

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We got the chance to actually walk through the Toy Shop at the Salvation Army’s Distribution Center on N. 60th Street in Milwaukee.  We got a behind the scenes look at what it’s like for local parents to walk through and pick out some truly awesome toys!

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The toy shop is a well-oiled machine:  “Sorters” organize the toys that come in, “Stockers” man the toy stations and keep them overflowing with items throughout the event, and personal “Shoppers” actually walk around with the parents and help them pick the best toys for their kids.

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The event runs three days:  Friday 12/16, Monday 12/19, and Tuesday 12/20.  Over the course of three days, about 3,000 families will walk through, getting toys for about 9,000 kids!!  Of course, this doesn’t happen without a massive staff of dedicated volunteers.  About 1,100 volunteers will work the event.  If you are interested, they are still seeking volunteers for the Tuesday morning shift.  You can find more information ONLINE.

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This was Berenice Aguayo’s first time at the Toy Shop.  She has three kids ages 6, 5, and 2.  She couldn’t believe the great selection at the Shop.  A little something for all kids.  She said, “My kids like everything.  My boy likes mathematics, and my little girl likes anything with bright colors.”

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Linda Chaplin was Berenice’s personal shopper.  This was her first time volunteering at the Shop.  The local mom explains, “I think it’s always good to step out of your comfort zone and help others.  The more you step out of your comfort zone and help others, the smaller your problems seem.”

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And the shopping experience wouldn’t be complete without dedicated Stockers like Ann Michaels.  This is her second year working the Toy Shop.  She learned about it through work, and says she’ll definitely do it again next year.  “It is fun.  It’s really great to see the faces of everybody, and the toys they get for their children.”

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Isn’t that truly what the holidays are all about?  While it’s great to receive gifts–it’s the smiles on kids’ faces and people giving of their time to help others that exemplifies the reason for the season.  Thank you so much to all of our Steinhafels shoppers who have donated toys and coats over the past few weeks, and all of our employees who make sure these various outreach projects go smoothly.

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Happy Holidays from our Steinhafels Family to Yours!

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Fun fact:  This is the 81st year for “Toy Shop.”  The Salvation Army has been doing a toy distribution since 1935!!

DS Tip Of The Week: Trade the Paint for Paste!

When it comes to design, we often go with what’s “safe” and easy.  This often applies to our walls and our automatic go-to:  Paint.

Our designer tip:  ”Stop being attached to paint and start considering WALLPAPER!”

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This week’s Decorating Solutions Tip of the Week comes from Interior Designer Elena Moraru.  Elena works at our Madison Beltline store, and helps customers in the area create the homes of their dreams.

We love how Elena likes to break some of the typical rules of design!  She suggests, “If you are bored with your Sherwin Williams or Benjamin Moore in your home, I highly recommend creating accent walls with some beautiful wallpaper.”

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Elena admits it requires a little more work than rolling some paint onto the wall, but as she explains, “The result is 10 times better looking than a boring painted accent wall.  Wallpaper right now comes in spectacular patterns and textures–there are a lot of options that are unbelievably beautiful.  You can create a very dramatic space with wallpaper, visually it can have a huge impact on how you perceive your space.”

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Our designers are hard at work on many more insightful tips for you.  Check in next Monday for another #DSTipOfTheWeek.

The Day Things Got a Little “Ugly” at Work….

Here at Steinhafels we have some of the hardest workers in the business.  It’s nice every now and then to let loose, get out the old scissors and garland, ornaments and lights… and let the creativity flow!

As you can see, the results got pretty ugly during our Corporate Office Ugly Holiday Sweater Contest.  This year was the 2nd go-around for the now annual event.  The first year saw 16 participants–more than double that number took part this year.

We asked organizer and Accent Furniture Buyer Jenny Kordus a few questions about this new office tradition.

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Why do you love ugly sweaters?

I love Ugly Sweater parties in particular because people get really creative, or pull out sweaters from the 80’s & 90’s.  Or borrow clothes from their moms.  So there’s usually a fun story behind everyone’s outfit.

How did this tradition begin?

My office decided last year to throw the Ugly Sweater Party at the last minute.  We had such a good turnout that we decided to make it an annual thing.  We love everything about Christmas – the decorations, the food, etc….but especially spending time with family and friends – in this case our work family!

How does something like this help build a spirit of teamwork?

Steinhafels is still a great “small” company, even though we are getting bigger and bigger.  A party like this brings people from different parts of the company together.  You can get to know someone you haven’t met yet, you can “razz” your friends, and it puts everyone (even Scrooges) in the holiday mood!  Even if you don’t want to wear a sweater, you can come and vote and enjoy the treats.  It’s an easy way to put a smile on everyone’s face for the day.

2016 Winners

Brightest: Anne Barforth

Best Homemade: Amy Swenson

Ugliest Overall: Amy Swenson

Now–start planning for next year–Jenny already has a list of categories!

Happy Holidays everyone.

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 HOLIDAY SWEATERS TAKE 2!

Our awesome Corporate Store Sales Team also had a holiday sweater party– complete with a potluck of yummy snacks.  We love to promote a professional, yet festive environment at our stores!!

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DS Tip Of The Week: The Power of Contrast

Are you looking to give your home an updated look?  One of the main things to look for is the element of CONTRAST within the space.

This week’s #DecoratingSolutions interior design tip come from one of our Chicagoland designers.  Michelle Micolta works in our Vernon Hills store, but her experience spans across the globe–working on installations in cities like Las Vegas, Dubai, and Sao Paulo!

Michelle gives us an inside look at her process.  She says, “Once I nail down the flooring and wall color in a room, everything else becomes a game of, ‘Is this piece of furniture/accessory contrasting enough against its environment?’”

She goes on to explain, “If everything is one color, the space will start to look monotone, and everything will blend into each other too much.  It will do nothing for the eye.  If you focus on contrast as being the number one priority in your design, your end effect will feel balanced and connected.”

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We post thoughtful tips like Michelle’s each week!  Check in next Monday for another #DSTipOfTheWeek.

You can check out Michelle’s gallery of work on her Instagram!

BLOG REWIND! Coats For Kids & Paying it Forward This Holiday Season

As Steinhafels and Fox 6 get ready for a new era of ‘Coats For Kids’… we look back on one of our most inspiring stories from last year.

We all love Vince Condella, but now that he’s retired, Meteorologist Tom Wachs is taking over!!  Tom and some dedicated volunteers will be at our Corporate Store in Waukesha on Wednesday, December 7, collecting your donations from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.

The first 200 people to come through the drive-thru donation line, and donate at least four (4) coats, will get one (1) pair of ticket vouchers to see the Harlem Globetrotters on New Year’s Eve (while supplies last).

No need to park or get out of your car – just drive on up.  It’s quick and easy, and most importantly, you’ll be helping kids right here in southeastern Wisconsin.

Now, let’s take a look back on our Coats for Kids Blog from last year… about a woman who truly took her donation to the next level!!

Yvonne’s Story (First Published 12/23/15)

Condella’s Coats for Kids‘ is a passion project that Steinhafels has been proud to support over the years.  The program is a community-wide effort to collect new and gently used coats for children in Milwaukee’s inner city.

Steinhafels has always been committed to community, so it was a no brainer to team up with Fox 6’s Vince Condella to help bring this project to a new audience. Each year the Salvation Army, Fox 6, and several other local businesses work tirelessly to make sure Coats for Kids is a success.

However, none of it would be possible without the fine people of Southeastern Wisconsin.  Hundreds of coats are collected every year–from Fox 6 viewers, to Steinhafels customers, and anyone else who is looking for a way to give back. Every year it’s humbling to see the generosity overflowing, just like the bins holding the coats!

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One of those generous people is Fox 6 viewer Yvonne Ondrejicka.  She wrote Vince Condella an inspiring letter.  We’d like to share a few excerpts of it with you to help you get in the holiday spirit!

Yvonne writes, “I just wanted to tell you about a wonderful event that my law firm, Whyte Hirschboeck Dudek S.C. runs every year for employees.  It is called ‘Whyte Lights’ and each employee receives $100.00 in cash to ‘pay it forward’ in any way the employee pleases.”

Paul Eberle is the Chief Executive of WHD, where the Whyte Lights Program is in its 4th year.  He explains, “Simply put, it was the right thing to do.  Good companies invest in their employees as well as in the communities they serve.  They reinvest profits to support many of the underfunded nonprofits that provide the last safety net to the poorest among us. They donate employee time and talent to improve our schools, support our arts groups, and sustain critical civic organizations. By giving employees the opportunity to do something good with $100, Whyte Lights allows each of them to make good corporate citizenship something very personal.”

Yvonne goes on to write how she has always donated to Coats for Kids, but was disappointed this year because her daughters are grown, so she doesn’t have any extra coats. That’s when she had the bright idea to use her Whyte Lights money!

She says, “The next evening I went to 3 different Goodwill stores in my area (Waukesha).  I took my time at each one and found wonderful winter coats and vests in every kid size imaginable.  After the third store, I counted how many coats/vests I was able to purchase with $100.00 and I had over 20 items! … Last evening I went to the Steinhafels Superstore in Waukesha and brought in all 7 bags of coats.  People looked at me kind of strangely and asked if I brought all those bags.  I then told them the story of how they got there.  People were just astonished at the whole idea of an employer giving each employee money to ‘pay it forward’, and what a great idea it was to do this.”

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Eberle was thrilled to hear about Yvonne’s use of her $100.  When asked about it how it makes him feel, he says, “In a word, awesome!  Purchasing coats from Goodwill to help keep children warm this winter, while simultaneously benefiting the nonprofit, which provides training, employment and supportive services for people with disabilities or disadvantages seeking greater independence, was a wonderful way to spend $100.  Yvonne rocks.”

We are so happy Yvonne shared her story with Vince, and with us.  What a great way to take a little initiative, and turn it into a thoughtful and meaningful gift this holiday season.

If you have a story like Yvonne’s, let us know!  Feel free to leave a brief comment and/or contact info in the Comments section of the blog.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS FROM OUR FAMILY TO YOURS!!!

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