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.”



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.

DS Tip of the Week: Lovely Layering

Design is all about different dimensions, and creating illusions.  Whether it’s fashion, visual art, or interior design–one of the easiest ways to create some contrast and dimension is through layering.

Sounds easy enough right–but do you really understand WHY layering works so well?

It’s time for another Steinhafels #DecoratingSolutions Tip of the Week!  This week Vernon Hills-based Decorating Solutions interior designer Brian Mueller breaks down why layering is so important.

Brian explains, “Layering is key.  If you have light floors or carpet in a room and want a lighter sofa, you need to ground it with a darker area rug and then do a lighter sofa, darker pillows, and so on.  On the flip side, if you have darker floors you would want to do a lighter area rug and darker sofa, lighter pillows, etc.  This will create contrast and balance in a room.”



That’s all for now!  Check in next week 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.

Blood Drive Bus Summer 2016

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


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.

Andrew Steinhafel

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.


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.”


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.





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.”


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.”

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!”


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.”


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.


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!”

designTOTW image APRIL Michelle Micolta

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.