DS Tip of The Week: The Awesome Ottoman

Need a change in your home design?  Are you having designer’s block?  It’s time for another Steinhafels’ “Decorating Solutions” Tip of the Week!

You may think of an ottoman simply as a boring, cumbersome storage unit in your living room, family room, or game room.  If you do, you are greatly underestimating the power of your awesome ottoman!!

Here’s a tip from Interior Designer Aaron Keller.  Aaron works in our Menomonee Falls store.

“Ottomans are a great way to pop up the center of a room.  An ottoman has multiple functions: Put your feet up to watch TV, take a seat and relax, or put a tray on it and use it as a coffee table.  They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, with fabric or leather options.”

Check out some stylish and simple examples below!

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

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DS Tip of The Week: The Design Power of Nature

It’s time for another Decorating Solutions Tip of the Week!  

This week we bring some of the outside… indoors!  This is the perfect time of year to collect pieces of nature like pinecones, nuts, pine needles, and acorns for various indoor projects.

Here’s a tip from Madison-based Interior Decorator Hannah Peller:

“Utilize nature for a unique piece of art.  The height and depth of branches give a room great visual interest!”

Tune in next week for another #DSTipOfTheWeek!

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Steinhafels Presents: Decorating Solutions’ TIP OF THE WEEK!

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If you’re anything like me, the prospect of interior decorating is COMPLETELY overwhelming.  From color coordination, to furniture placement, to choosing focal points… it can all leave your head spinning!  The great thing about design though is that there are no set rules.  There are some general principles, but overall, interior design is based on intuition, personal taste, and creativity.

For those of you who are still feeling uninspired–you are in luck!  Steinhafels offers an interior design program called Decorating Solutions.  Our designers have years of real-world experience, which they pass on to their clients.

Decorating Solutions is all about creating the home of your dreams, but what if you are just seeking advice on a small project?  After all, not every decorating venture needs to be an epic task.  That’s why we’ve come up with a new concept, the Decorating Solutions’ “Tip of the Week”.  Every week on Monday morning we will post a new tip from one of our talented designers.  You can check out our blog, or go to our Facebook or Twitter pages to find the link.

These tips will be just that–quick tips.  Nothing too elaborate or overly detailed.  These are meant to be a fun way to engage our customers, and a way for you to get to know our designers a little better.

This week’s tip comes from Laura Hoffman, one of our new 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.”

Check it out!  And tune in next week for another #DSTipOfTheWeek!

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Madison Makeover: Design For a Difference

A few months ago Steinhafels was invited to take part in a project at a non-profit center in the Madison community.  Steinhafels is often thought of as a Milwaukee company, but we are proud to serve the Madison, Appleton, and Vernon Hills communities as well.  Each community is unique, and gives our company a chance to engage with people from all walks of life and backgrounds.

The project we took part in is called Design For a Difference.  It’s a national campaign focused on design makeovers for charities.  This year one of the charities chosen was the Center For Families in Madison.  The center offers instruction, support, emergency child care, and in-home visits and resources to parents in need of some extra help.  The goal is to help those parents create a safe, healthy, and nurturing environment for their children.

So where does Steinhafels come in fit into this picture?  We’ll explain in a few minutes.  First, as you can see from these pictures, the center’s Respite Center was badly in need of a makeover, including new furniture.

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The Respite Center provides crisis child care 24/7.  You may be asking yourself, ‘What does decor matter as long as the children have a warm roof over their heads?’  Well, it matters a lot.

Meg Miller is the Director of the Center For Families.  She explains, “People under stress often have to get help from places that are considered shabby, because that’s what nonprofits can afford.  But it matters to people to be respected.  For parents to bring their children to a strange place–it relieves stress a bit to know they are in a nice place.”

Madison-based company FLOOR360 spearheaded the redesign project.  FLOOR360 provides residential and commercial flooring services across the Midwest.  FLOOR360 chose the Center For Families as the Design For a Difference charity for 2015, and hit the ground running.  Thanks to Brava Magazine, Steinhafels learned about the project, and instantly wanted to get involved!  It was a match made in heaven, as the designers were in need of several high-impact furniture pieces–including a sofa, loveseat, ottoman, and desk.  We’ll get to those in a minute!

Co-lead designer Caren King was integral in working with Steinhafels to find the PERFECT pieces to match the design theme, which is a “park” setting–focusing on bright oranges and greens.  King adds, “I wanted the whole space to flow, even though we had thirteen designers.”

Those 13 designers worked for months coming up with plans, and tracking down the needed materials from various companies across the community.  Then, at the beginning of October, they transformed the center in just 9 days!!  As you can see in these pictures–the transformation is jaw-dropping!

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Miller was in awe when she saw the finished product.  As she says with extreme honesty and sincerity, “We’re used to, ‘It’s good enough, it’s good enough for people who are poor,’ and what we have now is better than good enough!”

The big reveal event was a success!  Parents and children who attend the Center also had the chance to see the new space for the first time.  King exclaims, “It’s unbelievable.  Just seeing the families come in today… it was overwhelming to see their response.”

Oh, back to the furniture part… here’s a look at our furniture in the new space.  As you can tell, the pieces are already making themselves at home!

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For Steinhafels, it’s humbling to be involved in projects like these.  The furniture we donate is just a small part of something so much bigger than any of us.  Each year we give back to the community by participating with more than 100 local nonprofit organizations.  We are excited to now include the Center For Families in that list, and look forward to many more projects in the years to come!

For more information and video of the big reveal event, check out the NBC15 story at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_LS7Ux8cBfw

 

The Stories Behind Your Furniture

What do you get when you take a former news producer and tell her to write a furniture blog for one of the top furniture retailers in the state?  At first, sensational headlines like, “Dining Room Tables On Strike”, or “Breaking News: Leather Couch Gets A Scuff”, come to mind.  Don’t worry—that won’t be this blog.

OK, yeah, so furniture isn’t always the most exciting topic out there.  I get that. But it is beautiful to look at, fun to buy, and in some cases, it can tell a pretty awesome story.

As a journalist, I am all about telling stories, and as I’ve learned through the years, a story doesn’t always have to be of the “If It Bleeds It Leads” variety.  In fact, the best stories I did during my time in TV News were usually the stories that didn’t dwell on death and destruction.  They were just good, relatable, PEOPLE stories:  The local organization offering job opportunities for the visually impaired; The guy fighting cancer whose goal was to complete his ‘Bucket List’; Or the local woman whose ancestors were on the Titanic.  They were unique, Human Interest stories you couldn’t see anywhere else.

I hope to make this blog fun, relatable, and informative.  I’m still learning about all things furniture, so we can learn together!  In upcoming blogs I will talk  about things like home design trends, decorating on a budget, how to pick the perfect mattress, and other topics we can all relate to.

I also hope to share some of the personal stories of people who work here at Steinhafels.  Being a family-owned, locally operated business since 1934, there are so many cool stories behind these walls.  I hope to share some of them and get feedback from you, our loyal customers.

The one thing I’ve noticed through my first few months at Steinhafels is that furniture is a very emotional purchase, and each piece means SOMETHING to someone.  So for this initial blog entry, I decided to reach out to folks on Facebook, and ask them about the furniture in their homes.  I asked them to tell me about a piece of furniture that tells a story–whether it’s a piece they have now, or had in the past.  I received some very heartfelt, genuine responses, and I’d like to share some of those entries and pictures with you now.

Brooke:  “It may not look like much, but this rocking chair with matching ottoman was my great grandmother’s.  When we had our first child and I told my mom I wanted a rocking chair, she said I should take this one.  She said my great grandma would love to know it’s still used for rocking babies to sleep.”

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Beth:  “I bought a mission-style futon from a warehouse sale Christmas Eve in 2002.  Put the full size futon in my Honda Civic, which surprisingly fit everything. That futon has gotten me through a lot.  Family still sleeps on it and it doesn’t look aged.  Best piece of furniture and $125 well spent!”

Lindsay:  “Oddly enough, my husband and I still talk about a recliner we had in Milwaukee.  We found it in the alley by our apartment and hauled it upstairs.  It was well-worn and definitely “broken-in”, but he never used it as a recliner.  He would perch on the edge and our old dog Jake would snuggle up behind him.  Best chair ever.”

Jackie:  “I love our “settle”.  We just call it a loveseat since most people do not know what a settle is.  I love it because the neighbor where I grew up had one like it, and that is why I bought it.  It always reminds me of her, and I’m certain she would have picked it out if she was shopping too.  She passed away 7 years ago.”

Kristin:  “This was my grandparents’ rocker that they rocked all of their grandchildren in.  The rest of our nursery furniture is white, but I didn’t want to paint over the worn away arms.  I love that my grandparents hands wore away the coloring on the arm rests.”

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Leona:  “I bought our kitchen table when my husband and I were dating in Alabama.  It was unfinished and I stained it a dark mahogany.  I had to totally sand it down and refinish it this summer (partially because my husband used it to anchor a carpentry project), even though it doesn’t fit in our current dining room.  I also redid the chairs that go with it.”

Mike:  “I still remember how at 22 I had to save a whole year to buy my first bed and mattress (my first furniture purchase).  I was living in Chicago and took my savings to Marshall Field’s and found what I wanted.  On delivery day, I took the day off to wait for the delivery.  I made myself a wonderful dinner (with wine…a splurge), took a shower so I’d be all tidy and clean (just like a little kid on bath night), and finally (and proudly) crawled into my new bed, new mattress, and new sheets.  It was a personal triumph.  Years later, parting with the bed and mattress was tough, as I realized I had become attached to the memory of that magical first sleep, and that first true adult purchase.”

Rachel: “This bed belonged to my grandmother–it’s an antique I believe is about 200 years old.  It was the only thing I wanted when she passed.  I have the fondest memories of her in it:  Sleepovers, watching TV, and just the best conversations.  The bed was such a cozy spot, I even used it as my safe place in therapy as a kid.  Canopy is all original.  I can’t wait to have my own family and fond memories, and pass it on to the next generation.”

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Karen:  “My husband has a 100-year-old chair from his great grandma. It is in the basement and needs to be reupholstered.  He loves it because it belonged to his relatives.”

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Marty:  “I still own the dressers and such that were my late wife’s starting as a middle schooler in the mid 70’s.  Can’t part with them.”

Kala:  “My bedroom set has been in my family for years.  My grandfather made dressers for my aunt, then I got them.  The furniture is more than 50 years old. And I have my mother’s vanity.”

As you can see, meaningful furniture runs the gamut–from big ticket items to smaller accent pieces.  Steinhafels wants to help you create your own memories by making each purchase–large and small–truly mean something.

Stay tuned… I plan to blog often about all kinds of topics, and any feedback is appreciated.  Thanks for reading, and maybe, just maybe, this blog will make you look at that old sofa in your living room, or that gaudy lamp your grandma gave you, in a whole new way.