DS Tip of the Week: Simple Soffits!

When it comes to design, we often want to to be creative, and… we get a little carried away.  Sometimes it’s best to keep it simple.

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 Dawn Adamec.  Dawn works at our Waukesha store, and helps customers in the area create the homes of their dreams.  She has some suggestions when working with kitchen soffits.  Soffits are installed just above kitchen cabinets, and bridge the gap between the cabinets and the ceiling above.

Dawn explains, “The key to attractive-looking soffits above kitchen cabinets is repetition.  A lot of times people struggle with this one.  Instead of using similar items on top of cabinets, they just put any items up there, and they don’t match!  It looks haphazard and not put together.  Repetition makes it more cohesive and clean.  Also, mix up the textures–like a mix of greenery, metal, or glass decor.”

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As you see in these pictures from a recent home redesign… less is more!  Our designers are hard at work on many more quick and easy design tips for you.  Check in next Monday for another #DSTipOfTheWeek.

Steinhafels Blood Drive: Stuff That Bus!!

The majority of our time at Steinhafels is spent selling furniture–from Corporate, to Warehouse, to Sales, to Customer Service.  We all have one main goal, and that is to provide a quality product and quality service to our customers.

However, on Thursday, June 30 we all have the chance to team up for a different cause–saving lives!  Steinhafels is hosting a blood drive from 2-7 p.m. in partnership with the BloodCenter of Wisconsin.  And we’re not talking a boring old clinic…The BloodCenter’s new Mobile Bus will be onsite at our Corporate Store in Waukesha.

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We know that donating blood can be intimidating, but if you are medically able, and are available that day, we would love to have you sign up.  You can make an appointment online, or contact Meg Cerwin in Human Resources at megc@steinhafels.com.

Here is some basic info about donating blood through the BloodCenter:

-BloodCenter of Wisconsin is a non-profit, Wisconsin based independent blood center.

-Blood is used by a variety of patients including adults and children fighting cancer, those undergoing surgery, premature babies, and victims of trauma.

-Donating blood is a safe, simple process that takes about an hour.

-One blood donation may save up to 3 lives.

-One in every 7 people will need blood sometime in their life, but only 1 in 20 people will give.  One in 5 we know will need a transfusion.

-BloodCenter of Wisconsin is the only supplier of blood to over 57 community hospitals, representing 62% of the state’s population in 29 counties!

There are just 40 slots available, and with our recent growth, there’s really no excuse why Steinhafels can’t ‘Stuff that Bus’.  Have a friend or family member who wants to come donate?  The blood drive is open to the public, so feel free to sign them up!!

Blood donation means something different to everyone.  For some, it’s a duty, and a way to help the community.  For others, blood donation has had a deep impact on their lives–either through a family member or a close friend.  Here are some words from Steinhafels employees who have given in the past, and plan to donate again this year.

Dawn Hinz:  Mickey’s Story

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It’s hard to convey the unbelievable difference your donation can make.  But I’ll try.

On February 21, 2008, my nephew Mickey passed away of AML – acute myelogenous leukemia.  He was 13.

He battled his cancer for 20 months with more courage and grace than you can even imagine.  The cancer didn’t win, Mickey triumphed over it.  He was an absolutely amazing kid, very funny and very kind.  He kept his focus on others around him, not on all the terrible suffering he was going through.

After the first round of chemo (five months in the hospital), the cancer came back.  His only hope at that point was a bone marrow transplant.  Even though a donor was found, getting the transplant still required many months of preparation and an unbelievable amount of blood transfusions.

Thankfully, the blood was there.  He got everything he needed to have the transplant done.

The transplant ultimately failed, and we lost him.  But the fact that the blood was there and the transfusions were given gave Mickey and our family the priceless gift of a little more time:  Time to fly out and visit in the precious few months he was in remission.  Time for him to go back to school for half a semester and be with his friends.  And, at the very end, a little more time to be there together as a family in time to say goodbye.

Please consider donating blood on June 30th.  You have no way of knowing the miracles your gift will bring.  But I can promise you that your gift will be utterly priceless to some family, somewhere.

Meg Cerwin

When my now-grown children were young, their pediatrician was a regular donor as well as a bone marrow donor, and he was my initial inspiration for donating blood and joining the bone marrow registry.  As a young mom, it seemed I was constantly aware of struggling families.  Families facing life-threatening illnesses or serious accidents, parents dealing with terrifying futures that I couldn’t even imagine.  My husband Steve and I were blessed with three healthy children, and I knew that donating blood was the least I could do to ‘pay it forward’ and perhaps help one of those struggling families to breathe easier.

There is no substitute for human blood.  No ‘reasonable facsimile’ can be administered during a crisis.  I pray that if my children, or now grandchildren, should ever be in need of

blood, the supply will be there, donated by some unseen stranger also ‘paying it forward’.

Ben Schrader

I’m AB+, so lot’s of people can use it.  Needles and blood don’t freak me out, and I have an excessive iron disease that runs in my family, but so long as I give blood, I don’t need to worry about it.  I also want to set a good example for others, and I understand the importance my blood can be to another person in need.

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Apparently my blood type is the most common type, so it is in high demand and there’s a good chance it will be put to use and help someone!  Personally, I wish I could donate more often, but the Steinhafel’s blood drive ensures that I will donate at least once a year. I see it as a way of paying it forward, just in case I’m even in need of a transfusion, hopefully others donate as well and I’ll be set.

Do you have a story you’d like to share?  Email Stephanie at stephanieg@steinhafels.com.  We’d love to share your story on this blog!!

Now, a little more about that big bus!

The bus features the latest touch screen technology and comfortable standing room for even our 6’5 donors.  It is equipped with two interview rooms and four donor beds, televisions, a cage, and a waiting area for donors.  It also offers a lighted canopy to protect you from the rain and snow as you enter the bus.  You can’t miss it, as it features patients who remind all of us why blood donation is so very important.

DS Tip of the Week: Ditch the Coffee Table for an Ottoman!

When it comes to interior design, sometimes it’s best to go the unconventional route.

For example–the coffee table.  It’s been a living room staple for years.  But who just sits around and sips coffee or tea anymore?

That brings us to this week’s #DecoratingSolutions Tip of the Week.  It comes from Waukesha Interior Decorator Rhonda Vivoda.

Rhonda’s words of wisdom:  “Instead of a coffee table use a big ottoman or a couple smaller ottomans.  Ottomans are great because they can act as additional seating, footrests, or you can put trays on top and still use them as coffee tables.  Sometimes an ottoman can be a storage unit as well!”

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So put your feet up and relax, or sip your tea from a tray.  The all-purpose ottoman is ready for you!  We post a quick and easy decor tip each Monday.  Check in next week for another #DSTipOfTheWeek.

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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: Creating a Conversation Area

Do you love to entertain guests in your home?  Then this week’s #DSTipOfTheWeek is for you!

One of the common mistakes people make is under-utilizing a large room, or having a focal point that’s off-center, leaving extra floor space.  These mistakes often happen in Great Rooms or basements.

Decorating Solutions Interior Designer Michelle Micolta is to the rescue!  She suggests turning that extra space into a conversation area.  She explains, “Conversation areas can be very versatile and useful when you’re entertaining.  You can have two loveseats or settees facing each other.  Another option is placing four swivel or stationary lounge chairs around an ottoman or table.  Finally, if you want to keep it simple, just a pair of accent chairs with a statement table between them would do the trick as well!”

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As you can see from the picture, these little vignettes are a great way to promote conversation, and give your large room a more intimate feel.  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: 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!!

Boot Camp, Steinhafels Style!

We all know the feeling.  You wake up in the morning and you KNOW you should work out, but you have to take care of the kids, walk the dog, make the lunches–it just doesn’t always happen.  You tell yourself you will work out after work, but by the time you get home the family needs dinner, the kids need help with homework, you need to do laundry, or your friends want to meet up.  At this point you tell yourself you will work out tomorrow… and once tomorrow comes the cycle starts ALL OVER again!

Here at Steinhafels, we understand employees have busy lives outside of work with family and friends.  We also know the importance of doing all we can to help our employees lead healthy, balanced lives.  This is why we offer a comprehensive Wellness Program for all medical plan participants.  Our Wellness Program includes an onsite gym and seasonal Boot Camp sessions.

Today, we’d like to focus on Boot Camp.  For some, Boot Camp has a negative connotation of a drill sergeant instructor who works participants to the bone while showing no mercy!  At Steinhafels, we try to offer a boot camp that is convenient and comfortable for our employees.  And now that the weather is improving we get to “camp” outside!

Steinhafels Boot Camp starts right after the work day, so participants don’t have time to go home and get relaxed or distracted by other chores and commitments.  It’s fast-paced and all over by 6 o’clock, so participants can get home to their families.  Instructor Jenna Marcotte is tough, but she truly cares about her “campers.”  Jenna is also a wife and mom, and lives in the Milwaukee area.  We asked her a few questions about what it’s like to teach Boot Camp at Steinhafels.

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Steinhafels:  First off, tell us a little bit about your personal training experience?

Jenna:  My name is Jenna Marcotte and I am the bootcamp instructor here at Steinhafels.  I have been in the fitness industry for 11 years. I have a degree in Exercise Management from the University of WI-Eau Claire.  I worked at a Women’s Health Club outside of Boston for 5 years where I was a personal trainer, small group instructor, and taught weight training classes.  I have taught Boot Camp classes for the last 6 years at various places and have trained private clients as well.  I am certified as a personal trainer through the National Academy of Sports Medicine.

Steinhafels:  What is Boot Camp, and why is it such a good workout?

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Jenna:  Boot Camp is a circuit style class that incorporates both strength and cardio-type exercises to keep the heart pumping and help build muscle at the same time.  Anyone can do it because I always give exercise modifications for different abilities or injuries.  It’s a great way to help people lose weight and gain strength!

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Steinhafels:  Why do you like teaching bootcamp, and what do you hope people get out of it?

Jenna:  I love teaching boot camp because it’s fun to help people push themselves farther than they would push themselves, and I get to help them work towards their personal goals. Everyone has a great time together, and it’s nice to be able to help relieve stress after a busy work day.

Steinhafels:  Do you primarily work with Corporate Wellness Programs?  Why are Wellness Programs so important?

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Jenna:  This is actually the only Corporate Wellness Program I am doing now.  I have a 2 year old and a 10 month old that keep me busy.  Wellness Programs are very important because  they offer employees an easy way to stay healthy at work.  Many people work long, stressful hours and the body and mind need exercise as an outlet.  This helps people stay out of doctor’s offices and lowers insurance costs.

Steinhafels:  What do you like most about the Steinhafels Boot Camp?

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Jenna:  The relationships with the people!  I have had many of the same boot campers over the last 4 years and they are my friends now.

Don’t just take Jenna’s word for it.  Here’s what a few employee participants have to say about Steinhafels Boot Camp!

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Anne:  I love boot camp for many reasons.  I like the group workout for a change of routine.  I have also gotten to know a lot of people from different parts of the workplace.  For me, it is more challenging and pushes me more to work out with a group of people who are also pushing themselves.  It can be very challenging at times, but we’re all in it together!

Amanda:  Jenna is a great motivator.  Her coaching and encouragement provide me with a much better workout than I could achieve on my own.  Even when you think you’ve held your plank as long as you possibly can, she gets 10 more seconds out of you–10 seconds you didn’t even know you had in you!  It’s fun to hang out with coworkers outside of the office, and I love that every class is unique.  We never know Jenna has in store for us other than a tough workout!

Amy:  Boot Camp is a good stress reliever at end of the day.  In addition to helping us stay in shape with exercise, Jenna also provides us with some nutritional tips.  It’s also a great way to get to know and maintain relationships with co-workers.

Judy:  I love boot camp as it is tailored to all ages and physical ability.  People may exercise, but if you are not doing it correctly it is not as beneficial.  Jenna guides you without making you feel foolish.  If this 62 year old lady do can do it, anyone can!

DS Tip of The Week: Back to Black

Are you design-illiterate?  Do you feel like any time you try to improve the look of your room, you make it look worse?  You’re not alone!  Most of us don’t have a true eye for decor.  But there are some simple things you can do to make it a little easier on yourself.

One of the aspects of design where people falter most is color.  It sounds simple, but color truly can make or break a room.  Here’s a recent article on The Power of Color featuring one of our buyers.

Many of us want to incorporate as much color as possible in a room.  We often think of bold, bright colors like blue and red.  However, as designer Andrea Odishoo explains, don’t be afraid of the color black.  Andrea is part of our Decorating Solutions program, and is based in our Vernon Hills store.

Black is a mysterious color, often associated with fear and the unknown.  It also conjures up feelings of power, elegance, and authority.  If used correctly, and in conjunction with the proper colors, it can be very effective–but you don’t want to overdo it!

As Andrea explains, “Every room needs a touch of black to ground the color scheme and give it depth.  Black intermingles with almost any color–gives a space a sense of elegance, and commands attention in a room.”

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So don’t be afraid to get back to basics… and go back to black!  Our award-winning designers are constantly coming up with quick and easy design tips for you.  Check in next Monday for another #DSTipOfTheWeek.

DS Tip Of The Week: Where to Start When Redoing a Room

Are you looking to give your space a new look, but don’t know where to start? Redoing a room can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be… if you look at it as a step by step process.

Designer Katie Ryan is an interior decorator on our Decorating Solutions team.  She works at our Steinhafels store in Menomonee Falls.  Katie says it’s all about keeping it simple, and only tackling one step at a time.

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She suggests, “Work with staple pieces that have neutral base colors and can be versatile in different accent color schemes.  This example shows a blank boring room with a couch and recliner.  Start building around these pieces… incorporate an area rug (for a pop of color or pattern), side tables, lamps, and storage ottomans.  Storage ottomans are a great way to add color or pattern to a room, but can also be used for seating.  Next:  Window treatments!  You don’t have to spend a lot of money to make a statement with a pop of color or pattern on drapes, which can also coordinate with your accessories.  Here we have shades of blue–a very popular color right now.  Lastly, accessories:  Adding pillows, a throw blanket, and trays for the ottomans.”

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That’s the basic timeline for redesigning a room!  Not too tough right?  We post a different quick, easy, and practical decor tip each Monday.  Check in next week for another #DSTipOfTheWeek.

 

Customer Service Goes Green!

Steinhafels has been committed to sustainability and environmental sensitivity for years.  Thanks to advances in modern technology, we are continuing to stay ahead of the curve.  We have put several best practices into place to be sure we are operating as cleanly and efficiently as possible.

The main improvement our customers will see is that our Customer Service vans are now powered by natural gas!  Currently, we have multiple natural gas service tech vehicles.  We are also exploring the possibility of using natural gas trucks as we phase in new delivery trucks in the future.  Natural gas is a cleaner alternative to traditional fossil fuels.

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We are also working to save energy at an internal level.  We use the latest technology to make sure our HVAC system runs as efficiently as possible, and to monitor energy use.  Overall, we are seeing a savings of 38% on our energy usage.

Recycling continues to be one of the most effective ways to prevent waste, and cut down on pollution.  Steinhafels’ distribution center in Waukesha recycles cardboard, plastic, wooden skids, paper, mattresses, and florescent light bulbs.  Steinhafels also recycles furniture, and donates usable parts to charitable organizations.

Check out some of these fun facts:

-Steinhafels recycles almost 1,000 tons of cardboard annually.  That is equivalent to 17,000 trees!

-Recycling 1,000 tons of cardboard saves more than 9,000 cubic yards of landfill space.

-One thousand tons of cardboard recycled saves enough energy to power a TV for 31,000 hours.

-Recycling corrugated cardboard cuts the emissions of sulfur dioxide in half, and uses about 25% less energy than making cardboard from virgin pulp.

-Steinhafels currently recycles more than 80,000 lbs. of plastic each year!

-Much of the recycled plastic ends up as low-grade plastic lumber, which may be used in furniture.

Steinhafels is excited to see what the future holds as we continue to do our small part to help protect our planet for future generations. Thank you for your interest in this important topic.