Lessons Learned in Riverwest Helped Steinhafels Grow

Steinhafels is proud to have its roots firmly planted in the Milwaukee area.  But did you know some of the company’s core values were first established in one of the city’s most eclectic and historic neighborhoods?

Today, Riverwest is known for its trendy shops, restaurants, and bars.  However, the neighborhood boasts a rich history of generations of families growing up in its homes, local parishes and corner stores, and lively parks for children to play.

As you’ll see in the article below… the neighborhood also helped bestow on John E. Steinhafel some of the core values the company continues to cherish today.

Check it out!  Click HERE for a higher resolution version.

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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.

Food and a Flag: Spreading the Holiday Spirit

Steinhafels has always valued the importance of the Holidays, and time with family.  That’s why we are always closed on Thanksgiving, and we are always proud of our employees who go above and beyond to help the community during this time.

This Thanksgiving, Steinhafels wants to recognize our employees and their holiday spirit on two different occasions.

GRAND CHUTE FIRE DEPARTMENT HONORS FALLEN FIREFIGHTER

On November 1, 2016, Town of Oneida Volunteer Firefighter John Brocker died in the line of duty.  The Grand Chute Fire Department was asked to take care of the funeral detail, including the fire service procession from the church to the final resting place.  As part of the procession, it is tradition to have a flag displayed over the procession route for each vehicle to pass under.

A local flag that is usually used for these processions was not available.  As the department was scrambling to finalize the details of the procession, Grand Chute Fire Assistant Chief of Operations Michael DeBruler took a chance and stopped by our Appleton store to see if our flag could be used.

Thanks to a proactive employee, use of the flag was quickly approved, and we were proud to have it displayed in honor of a local hero.  Thank you Grand Chute Fire and Rescue for thinking of us.

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ANNUAL HEBRON HOUSE FOOD DRIVE

Our employees work hard to give customers the best experience possible–so we are especially impressed when they take the extra time to give back to the community, in addition to their “regular” jobs.  That’s the case at our Corporate Store in Waukesha, where the Sales and Support staff banded together for the second year in a row for a food drive for Hebron House.

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For over 30 years, Hebron House of Hospitality has been the largest nonprofit provider of services to the homeless men, women, and children in Waukesha County.

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Steinhafels employees collected money and food, and made the special delivery the night before Thanksgiving.  Check out those colossal turkeys!!

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Thank you to all of our staff for not only being the best in the business, but being good-hearted people.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!!

DS Tip of The Week Celebrates One Year!

Wow, time DOES fly when you’re having fun–like blogging about interior design!

We’re excited to announce that our Steinhafels Decorating Solutions #TipOfTheWeek Blog posts have been running for exactly ONE YEAR.

That means more than 50 great interior design tips are available on our blog site–all at the click of a mouse!

To celebrate this blogging milestone, we’re going to look back at 5 of the Top Tips based on your page views.

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This tip comes from Laura Hoffman, one of our designers in Appleton.

Laura has some advice for organizing all those pesky pillows you have strewn all over your room.  Laura’s Tip:  “I love to stack and build out pillows on a bed or a couch, either with the same color palette, or with different patterns.”

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ELEGANT UPDATES FOR EMPTY NESTERS

It’s the day some parents dream of, and others dread–the day a child leaves the nest!  Some parents will leave the child’s bedroom untouched–with teddy bears still on the bed and band posters on the walls.  However, less nostalgic parents will likely look at that vacant bedroom, and be ready to make a change.

This Tip of the Week comes from Menomonee Falls Designer Beth Kealy.  Beth says you don’t have to completely change your child’s old bedroom, but like your child, it’s time for that old room to “grow up.”

How do you do that?  Beth explains, “Empty nesters can reclaim use of a child’s old room with elegant updates that cut the cluttered look of the past.  Take a room from ‘Catch All’ to ‘Wow!'”

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NEUTRAL BASES

It’s time to look at neutrals in a whole new way.  Beige doesn’t have to equal boring.  Instead, look at it as a tool of versatility!

This is another design tip from Appleton Interior Decorator Laura Hoffman.

Laura suggests, “Design the base of your room in neutral color hues, then add your pops of color with pillows, throws, art, candles, etc.  That way when you get tired of a certain color, or want to add your seasonal color scheme you can give your room a whole new look in a few minutes!  Simply replace those candles, pillows, and other accessories with similar items of a different color.  Your room will look totally different and very put together, with little work involved.”

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BRINGING DESIGN TO LIFE WITH TEXTURES

Designer Rhonda Vivoda is based in our Corporate store in Waukesha.  Rhonda likes to bring her designs to life with rich textures.

Here are Rhonda’s Top Three Ways to add Texture to a design project:

*Use an area rug over carpeting.  It anchors the room, along with adding color and texture.

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*Throw Pillows.  These are an inexpensive way to change the look and feel of a room.  They add pops of color and different textures.

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*Gorgeous Greenery.  Real or artificial always adds softness to a room and can add a different texture.

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TANTALIZING TIFFANY LAMPS

One of the most important accessories in a room is a lamp.  The way light can alter the look of a room, or bring out the colors of paint or furniture truly is remarkable…all with the flip of a switch!

This one comes from Interior Designer Colleen Rome.  Colleen works at our Greenfield store, and helps customers across Milwaukee create the homes of their dreams.

As Colleen suggests, you can create patterns and colors simply with Tiffany lighting.  She goes on to explain, “Tiffany lighting can add nice warm ambiance to the room, and you can use them with other types of lighting to create a certain feeling for a nice dinner or special occasion.  Best of all–they never go out of style!  They can be used in all different settings from transitional to traditional.”

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As you see in the pictures, the colors of the lamp truly bring a sophisticated and artistic look to the room–while still remaining casual.

Thank you for making our first year of #DSTipOfTheWeek a success!  We look forward to bringing you many more Unique Tips and Trade Secrets in 2017.

 

Design for a Difference 2016: The Rainbow Project

Steinhafels has been taking part in Design For a Difference-Madison for a couple years now. Steinhafels is often thought of as a Milwaukee company, but we are proud to serve the Madison, Appleton, and Vernon Hills communities as well.

Design For a Difference is a national campaign focused on design makeovers for charities.  Thanks to organizers like FLOOR360 and BRAVA Magazine, Madison has been a staple city for the project for the past two years.  This year, the charity chosen was The Rainbow Project, which helps children and families in crisis.  Our designers oversaw a complete redesign of the center’s “Observation Room.”

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Steinhafels Decorating Solutions designers Mari Johnson and Patti Stindt were asked if they would like to donate their time, and take part in the project this year.  They hit the ground running!!  Designer Michelle Kahl, who is a newer addition to our design team, also helped out.  And of course, Steinhafels was so proud to donate a large portion of the facility’s new furniture.

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Sharyl Kato is a Child and Family Therapist, and Director of The Rainbow Project. Kato and her staff worked tirelessly to make sure this redesign was a success.

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We talked to Mari, Patti, and Sharyl about the overall experience.  Check out their reflections below!

MARI JOHNSON, Steinhafels Decorating Solutions Interior Designer

-What has been the best part about being involved in the DFAD redesign this year?

MARI:  The best thing about being part of the DFAD this year was working with a very talented group of designers.  We may be “competition,” but we came together and the result is unbelievable. Also, it took me completely by surprise that just by asking people in the community for help how many of them stepped up. In particular Tom Colby from the Elks, who connected me with The Carlson Company and the electrician, Jon Potter.  Target Corporation gave me a $100 gift card to buy a kid’s table and storage bins, and Cindy from Cindy’s Custom Interiors donated fabric and labor. In addition, when I went to purchase rope lighting at Menards, Becky Zahn, a Zone manager gave me her Menards card to make the purchase.  Just wow! Not to mention all the donations of toys which was the idea of our sales associate, Laurie Krueger.

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-Has this experience helped you use your design skills in a new way?

MARI:  This opportunity helped me use my design skills to make a different space than someone’s home, beautiful!  It’s very unfortunate that there is a need for a place like The Rainbow Project, but they do such a important job in our community. So if we can make it somewhat easier for the therapists to perform their jobs, how great is that.

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-Why is it important that businesses and employees give back to the communities they serve?

MARI:  It is important for everyone to give back to the community.  We all live here.

PATTI STINDT, Steinhafels Decorating Solutions Interior Designer

-What has been the best part about being involved in the DFAD redesign this year?

PATTI:  The best part Is to help provide a healthy and positive environment to encourage the feeling of safety, support, and healing for those that have been traumatized.

-Has this experience helped you use your design skills in a new way?

PATTI: It has been a great pleasure to partner with other designers that have different specialties to provide a cohesive space.

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-Why is it important that businesses and employees give back to the communities they serve?

PATTI:  We all should feel a sense of ownership to help those in our community that need it most.

Sharyl Kato, Director, The Rainbow Project

-How did you first feel when you found out Rainbow Project was chosen for this year’s Design for a Difference?

SHARYL:  I was shocked and elated and jumping up & down & hugging everyone & screaming!!  I was so elated because you have no idea how much our clinic needed repair.

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-Describe what The Rainbow Project does, and why it’s so vital to the Madison community.

SHARYL:  We offer a wide range of prevention, early intervention, treatment, & crisis services, specializing in trauma recovery for young children (infants through 10 years of age) and their families.  We work with families who have experienced child abuse, neglect, domestic violence, community violence, victims of crime such as break-ins, severe accidents, fires, natural disasters, grief/separation & loss, drug endangered children, child sex trafficking & victims of pornography as well as medical trauma.  We provide best-practice, evidence based approaches working with children, caregivers, families & other agencies, service providers including schools, early childhood programs, hospitals/physicians, homeless shelters, substance abuse programs, first offenders, substance abuse programs & other sources.  We have been providing effective,  innovative, state-of-the-art services for 36 years & were ahead of our time, doing work that research is finally validating as valid science.  We are proud of our service model involving play therapy, family therapy, parent education, in home work, children’s & parent groups, community networking  & collaboration as well as community education & consultation services.  We have served over 10,800 children and 10,500 adult caregivers.  We focus on younger children because they are at highest risk for developing post-traumatic stress disorder increasing their risks for criminal behavior, poor academic performance, substance abuse, mental illness, violent behavior, unemployment & homelessness.  Trauma can negatively impact brain development & neuroscience, yet research indicates that specialized positive consistent interactions such that Rainbow staff provide & promote in the community, can reverse that damage.  And we observe these successes every day.

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What has the process been like watching the building be transformed over the last few months?

SHARYL:  The process has been so very amazing.  The Design 4 A Difference volunteer team embraced Rainbow so totally.  The focus, attention, & appreciation for our work, our environment, what we do, the caring for our mission and the population we are devoted to serving–was so deeply moving and appreciated.  We involved the children and families we serve early on to provide input on what they already liked about our space & what they would like to see added or changed so that they were a part of the planning process too.  The process and anticipation was building with every day!  The well-planned, thoughtful meetings & the caring and concern to get our input was so consistent throughout.  Over time, the initial exhilaration & excitement has transformed and actually deepened as we “live and work” in our new space!  We see clients both children and adults be so in awe of the space.  Squeals of laughter & delight, so many ‘Wows’ and ‘Ohhhs’ and ‘Ahhhs’  as they tour the new space & discover the changes.  A child who normally does not express himself kept repeating & exclaiming with amazement….’this is shocking, this is shocking!’  And another child jumped into the huge pillows exclaiming he wanted to stay in the room forever.  The children & families are careful & respectful of the awesome toys & furniture.  They are aware that this was done for them & they are grateful.  As victims of trauma, our clients may view the world as mostly not safe & caring so when folks do something so incredible voluntarily, it alters their view of the world and of themselves as valued.  Nothing can substitute that in their healing process.

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Describe the feeling you had when you first saw the project all finished?

SHARYL:  Shock, Excitement, Overwhelmed, but mostly Grateful. It is the intensity and magnitude of those feelings that were most meaningful.

Steinhafels was so honored to be a part of this project.  Can you tell us a little bit about the room our designers remodeled, and what you love about it most?  

SHARYL:  The room Steinhafels remodeled is one of the most important because after the waiting area,  it is the first room they come in for their initial consultation.  We are aware of how stressful it is to come to ask for help.  To make something private very public.  It takes courage to seek help when they are in such pain and stress from trauma.  So we want to be sure we are as sensitive as possible to that apprehension.  The lighting, the playhouse, the warmth and welcoming feeling is so perfect!  The interior designers truly understood.  We appreciate every item, object & thought that went behind everything.  It was so very touching and healing for all of us.  The gifts that will continue giving include the beautiful & irresistible toys that were given to the children here.

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Finally, how is this project going to help you serve families even better?

SHARYL:  For one thing, the magnitude of this magical transformation that was given to the Rainbow Project makes us more determined than ever to continue our work to make you all proud of your investment in time, energy, resources, labor, & heart.  The impact on staff is multi-fold.  When surrounded by creative stimulating environments, it makes us all more energetic, motivated, creative & definitely more positive, efficient, organized!!  The attention to self-care products in the break room & OUR ROOMS!!!!  The results way surpassed our expectations.  We do not feel alone in the tough work we do.  We are not used to the attention & appreciation as we do our work every day!  It was challenging to get used to that.  We feel we can conquer the world!!!  Thank you does not seem adequate enough.  We have all observed progress with our clients.  A child I work with has made more gains this month than in over a year.  The environment is peaceful, welcoming, inviting, nurturing.  It is their place, it is our place.

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Teamwork Through the Tummy!

We’ve all heard the saying “The Way to a Man’s Heart is Through His Stomach.”  Well, the same can often be said for our co-workers.

Here at Steinhafels we are all about family, and families are all about food.  Most days you can find some sort of random communal offering on a table or counter in our offices–cake, cookies, bagels, chips, dips, pizza–you name it, we’ve got it!

So it’s no surprise that our staff in Appleton took it to the next level, and held a Chili Contest!

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Sales Manager Susanne Stilwell first got the pot simmering for the idea.  She explains, “In the summer we had a potluck, and people liked exchanging recipes.. and chili came up, but of course in the summertime that’s not what you think about.”

But it’s perfect for the fall!

So the store held a Chili Contest for any employees interested in entering.  As you can imagine, it was a great success, and even helped with team building.  Susanne says, “It brings everybody together and gets them to talk about something other than work.  And you might recognize one of your sales co-worker competitors on the floor as a real person.”

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It’s also great to see this team-building activity at the newest market to join the Steinhafels family!  The team plans to bring the contest back next year, and make it an annual event.

Some of the entries even got prizes!  Here’s a list of the lucky winners.

-Meatiest Chili (Cyndi VanLanen)

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-Best Overall Chili (Julianne Kanugh)

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-Spiciest Chili (Sarah Chaignot)

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-Wimpiest Chili (Nancy Sargent)

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Are you hungry yet?  The temps are falling and it’s prime season for comfort food… and fellowship.  If you didn’t take a prize this time, you’ll have plenty of time to practice during these cold, winter months.

DS Tip Of The Week: Treat Yourself! Elegant and Affordable Comfort

When you hear the words “elegant” and “furniture” together, another word probably comes to mind: “Expensive.”  While that can be the case, there are ways to decorate your home elegantly without breaking the bank!

This week’s Decorating Solutions #TipOfTheWeek dares you to live and serve yourself in a more upscale environment.  It comes to us from designer Elena Moraru, who is based in our Madison Beltline store.

Elena explains, “We do not live in a time anymore where you need to make millions to afford a luxurious lifestyle. Manufacturers like Bernhardt make exquisite, beautiful, and high quality furniture that is super affordable. You can live a life full of joy and color and have furniture around you that will uplift you every day.”

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Sounds nice right?  Elena adds, “The detail in the wood grain, the craft in the metal shaping and the tones of the fabric textures can create a space that elevates you emotionally every single day. Bring some more color, texture, and beauty into your space–so you can enjoy life and create an environment of well-being for yourself!”

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Do you like this uplifting tip? Our designers are hard at work on many more tips for you.  Check in next Monday for another #DSTipOfTheWeek.

Door County Redesign: A Homeowner’s Perspective

While most of our business is in southeast Wisconsin and northern Illinois, Steinhafels is happy to help customers across the Badger State.  One popular area for out of town business is Door County–a place where people go to escape the worries of everyday life, and enjoy time with friends, family, and the great outdoors.

One of our goals with ALL customers is to help create the homes of their dreams–from apartments, to condos, to family homes, to lake houses, vacation homes, and everything in between!  Our Decorating Solutions interior designers log thousands of miles driving across the region to help clients in all geographic areas.

So I decided to tag along with designer Dawn Adamec for a 200-mile jaunt to Door County, to help with the install of furniture for a Cedarburg family’s summer home.  The condo is nestled into a cozy spot on a picturesque Door County golf course.  David is a husband and father simply hoping to have the place feel a little more like a true home away from home.  He explains, “The whole space is supposed to feel comfortable and casual.”

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As you can see, the condo looked fine before, but didn’t really look like HOME.  It was somewhat stale and lacked character.  So the family came to Steinhafels for help.  Since Door County is a hike, Dawn did all of her preliminary designs based on measurements and pictures of the condo.  She never stepped inside the condo before delivery day!  Sounds intimidating right?  Dawn says she was up to the challenge.  “It’s a fun challenge, not a scary challenge.  It’s like a puzzle, and figuring out how the puzzle pieces are gonna look together.”

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The challenge:  To create a comfortable space that isn’t too beachy, or too overdone.  Dawn also got some input from David and his wife, which was key.  “They really just showed me a couple of pictures of things that they’d seen and they liked, and I just kinda figured out how to link everything, and that’s what this is,” she explains.

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Contractors came in beforehand to make some structural changes to the space.  Then, it was time to add the furniture and accessories!  Here are some pictures of the step by step transformation.

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As you can see–the design colors are pretty mellow.  It’s all about textures and creating depth.  David was happy with the progress.  “All the different color combinations, and textures and styles, and materials–that’s what I like.  And I think blending that all together, and seeing it all come together–we couldn’t have seen that without Dawn.”

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Dawn admits it’s a pretty neat feeling to be on the scene when clients see their new spaces for the first time.  “It’s cool to see physically what I had in my head.”

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David has a demanding job, and says it will be nice to get away to his ‘new’ Door County abode!  He laughs, “Having Dawn’s help has been huge in making it feel like home… I mean it feels more like home than our home home!”

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David also raved about the Decorating Solutions design program.  He explains, “Dawn was easy to work with, communicated well with us, and kept it super simple and painless.  We didn’t spend a lot of time at the store.  We identified what we wanted so we didn’t have to hang around for hours with our kids in the store, trying to figure out what we wanted.  And it’s really a great value.”

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Dawn also helped pick some of the structural elements the family didn’t buy at Steinhafels–like light fixtures, hardware, and paint colors.  That’s the beauty of working with a Steinhafels designer–they have experience in ALL areas of design, not just furnishings.

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Well, after writing this entry I feel like it’s time to book a getaway to Door County.  If you have a summer home, or beach house that needs some love–let us know!  Our designers love to expand their horizons.  Now get outside and enjoy this weather.  We only have it for a few months!!

LINK TO PHOTO AND VIDEO GALLERY:  Hear from the designer about the process!!

DS Tip Of The Week: Refresh Your Bedding

You know you wait all week for this moment… it’s time for another Steinhafels #DecoratingSolutions Tip of the Week!

This week we look at ways you can give your bedding some extra character and substance, without spending hundreds of dollars.  Our Decorating Solutions Interior Designers are constantly using simple techniques to make dramatic changes that will help your space seem new again.  This week’s tip comes from Interior Decorator Hannah Peller.

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Hannah has some advice for ‘refreshing’ your bedding.  She suggests, “Layer in the same color with various patterns and textures for a transformed look.  This will appear inviting and luxurious.  Bedding should be relaxing and uncomplicated, so make sure whatever you pick is practical.  An easy way to achieve this is by getting different colored duvet covers for your quilt, and using various shams.”

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Check in next week for another #DSTipOfTheWeek, and sweet dreams!!