DS Tip Of The Week: Small Spaces and Sectionals

Proper spacing is a HUGE part of interior design. While this sounds obvious, it can be tricky to pull off, especially if you have larger furniture you want to fit in a small space.

For this week’s Decorating Solutions Tip of the Week, we answer the question, “Can a sectional work in a small space?”

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Jim Mallon is an interior designer based in our Vernon Hills store, and his answer: “Yes!! When you hire a Steinhafel’s Designer and use Decorating Solutions to resolve your space, we can make it happen.”

Jim goes on to explain, “The most important thing is that the sectional will be the only seating in the space the majority of the time. Here’s a picture of my family room. It is 12×15″ with a fireplace and a sliding patio door. I placed the sectional on the only wall I could. I replaced a sofa and a chair with this Steinhafels piece. The seating now accommodates five people. The ottoman, which serves as a coffee table, also has seating when needed… so now we can sit 7 people as opposed to only four!”   

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Wow, thanks for that practical example from your own home Jim! Here’s another picture that illustrates Jim’s tip.

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We post a new, quick and easy decor tip each and every Monday. Check in next week for another #DSTipOfTheWeek.

DS Tip Of The Week: Our “Love/Hate” Relationship with Recliners

Most of us “love” the comfort of a recliner, but many of us “hate” the look.

Where do you stand?

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This week’s Decorating Solutions Tip of the Week comes from Debbie Gray, an interior designer based in our Steinhafels Superstore on High Crossing Boulevard on Madison’s east side.

Debbie explains, “Historically, the majority of recliners tended to be oversized and bulky, making them difficult to incorporate into smaller spaces or with more tailored designs. For years this created a dilemma for both shoppers and designers as they were faced with making a decision between comfort and style – but times have changed!”

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She adds, “The furniture industry listened to the feedback from consumers and came up with an answer to this dilemma – push back recliners. These recliners look like a conventional lounge or accent chair but have a hidden footrest that pops up when you ‘push back.’ Available in styles from traditional to contemporary, in both fabric and leather, they are the perfect compromise. Also referred to as hi-leg recliners, manufacturers industry-wide have added these to their collections. This trend means that there is truly something for everyone – regardless of budget or style. So next time you are replacing a chair or redecorating your room make sure to take a look at push backs. Even the most ‘anti-recliner’ shoppers among us are sure to be impressed!”

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Thanks Debbie for all of that great info! Customers can check out a wide variety of recliner styles at any of our Superstores.

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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VIDEO BLOG: Steinhafels & Pabst Theater Group’s New Project – Home and History at Turner Hall

Here at Steinhafels, our mission is to help customers create the homes of their dreams.

In recent years, we’ve been looking at ways to expand that mission into our local communities. One of those partnerships has been with the Pabst Theater Group in Milwaukee. As long-time members of the Milwaukee business and entertainment communities, it really is a perfect match. The Pabst is known for creating an inviting and comfortable atmosphere for its performers as they prepare backstage, and Steinhafels helps customers create that same feeling in their homes.

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It all started a little more than a year ago, when we worked with the backstage staff of the Pabst on a full-scale remodel project. Our designer worked to keep the character of the space, with some comfy, modern touches. Everyone loved the results, and we’ve heard that performers have complimented that new space many times since the redesign.

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In addition, we’ve partnered with the Pabst on several contests and other fun, social media driven events over the past couple years. It’s been a great way for Steinhafels to get more involved in the local entertainment community, and for both businesses to spread their messages to new audiences.

However, since interior design is the backbone to this relationship, we thought it was time to get another design project going! This time – Turner Hall Ballroom on 4th Street. The Ballroom is located within Turner Hall, a National Historic Landmark. The Ballroom has a rustic, lofty feel, and is the perfect backdrop to an eclectic mix of shows.

The Pabst Theater Group approached us, mentioning the Turner Hall Dressing Room needs some love. That’s when we employed the talents of our Decorating Solutions Interior Designer Jenii Kluver. Jenii loves music, and has an edgy, eclectic style – perfect for this project.

We started with a tour of Turner Hall’s backstage area, followed by Jenii’s design presentation at our Oak Creek store. Check out the Video Blog:

((Keep Reading Below))

TURNER HALL WALKTHROUGH

Any design project requires an initial walkthrough. The Turner Hall backstage walkthrough was a great chance for Jenii to get a feel for the space, meet the crew, and take some pictures and measurements.

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As we mentioned, Jenii was the natural choice of designer on this project because she loves live music. In fact, she recalls a recent occasion that has her loving live music more than ever. “I got engaged onstage at a concert at the Rave, so this is right up my alley! This is just something that means a little more to me – to work on something having to do with music.”

Sasha Molin is Hospitality Director for PTG Live Events. She showed us the space, and explained what they are looking for. “We mostly wanna use this room to add more seating, make it more appealing, and make it so it can accommodate a variety of group sizes. It’s kind of a commercial space, kind of not.. it’s more personal. It’s definitely cool and different, I’m just excited to see how the room can transform, and how much I can fit into this smaller space, and utilize what we do have.”

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Both Jenii and Sasha agree the history of the building is vital to the design, and they don’t want to take away from that. Jenii says, “I’m excited to give this room a little TLC and have it be more accommodating and welcoming, but still explore the history and feel of the space. We want this place to be a home away from home, and the only way to do that is with some quality furniture and a nice layout.”

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Jenii sets to work taking room measurements and getting some pictures to help with her 3D design renderings. Like any design project, you have to start with the basic logistics/limitations of the room, and go from there. It’s like a puzzle, and our designers are great at solving it!

Sasha was also involved in our Pabst Theater backstage redesign, and is looking forward to this new challenge. “I’m excited to work on a totally different space than the Pabst backstage. This one is smaller, but more open, and there’s natural light!”

DECORATING SOLUTIONS’ IN-STORE DESIGN PRESENTATION

After the initial design consultation, the interior designer takes the information (measurements, pictures, etc) and puts together an in-store presentation for the client(s).

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Jenii works out of Oak Creek, so the Pabst crew paid a visit to our Superstore on South 13th Street right off I-94. Sasha says she was pretty impressed by Jenii’s 3D design presentation. “I thought it definitely made the experience that much better in visual form, and to see a 3D mock-up of how it will look in the room is really helpful.”

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Tiffany Coris does Sponsorship and Marketing for the Pabst Theater Group. She adds, “The 3D program and the presentation were really impressive, really put together. It’s also good to see a couple other options – you don’t always get a feel for how good the first option is until you see other options.”

As a designer, Jenii says the 3D program takes her presentations to the next level. “What I really like is it’s really easy for me to show them WHY I picked out the things I did. They can see how everything looks in the space, and get a spatial idea of how it will look, and just have a face to face conversation and go over the details.”

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Jenii says she usually takes about an hour or so to set up vignettes for her client presentations, print the sheets, and walk the store to make sure she knows where everything is located. That’s the other cool thing about the in-store presentation – it gives the clients a chance to see, feel, and experience the possible pieces – not just see them on a page.

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We’re still working out the final details of the space.. then the order will get processed, and a delivery date will be set! Stay tuned to our Steinhafels blog and social sites, as well as the Pabst Theater Group’s various social media to learn more about the project – and how Jenii will combine Home and History to create the perfect backstage space.

We can’t wait to share the results!!

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DS Tip Of The Week: A Room With A View

Do you have a beautiful view that you’re trying to incorporate into your interior design, but have no idea how to utilize it?  Have no fear–Steinhafels is here to help!!

This week’s Decorating Solutions’ #TipOfTheWeek is all about designing to compliment a view.  Aaron Keller is an interior decorator at our Menomonee Falls store.  He has some simple tips to keep in mind when designing a room with a view.

1) The space should reflect what you see outside, without distracting from the view.

2) Keep the color pallet simple.  This lake condo is calm and relaxing like a day at the beach!

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3) Don’t clutter the space.  Add interest with texture, and stylish shapes in accents and furniture versus adding more.

4) Artwork should be a continuation of the view in color and feel.  Don’t use busy or vibrant artwork.  Again, the view is the main focal point!

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5) Don’t be afraid to bring the outdoors in with twigs or other natural elements to help connect with the view.

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6) Use reflective elements to reflect light to add interest.  Like these vases and art, mirrors are also a great way to reflect light.

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7) Finishes and quality are important–like this dining table set from Canadel!  When decorating with fewer items the items you choose to use are more noticeable.

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8) Always take advantage of the view when placing furniture.  The chair in this photo is a swivel, so you can turn to face the view.

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Again, Aaron emphasizes that less is more!!  The worst thing you can do is to clutter the space.  We post quick and practical decor tips every Monday.  Check in next week for another #DSTipOfTheWeek.

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: Being Mindful of Metallics

Metallics in home decor is very on-trend right now, but is it here to stay?  Accenting with metal as opposed to a pop of color is a great way to dress up and contrast your neutrals in a classic way.  For this reason, decorating with metals will continue to be trendy, and will become  timeless as we look forward in the design industry.

Get out the notepad and jot down these pointers.  That’s right… it’s time for another installment of “Decorating Solutions Tip of the Week!”  This week’s tip comes from Interior Designer Michelle Micolta.  Michelle works at our Vernon Hills store, and helps customers in the Chicago area create the homes of their dreams.

Michelle’s Tip:  “Accessorizing with metals is pretty straight forward.  Stick to one metal in a room, similar to how you would style your jewelry for your outfit!  Don’t be afraid to think outside the box, especially when trying to tie the look of your chosen metal into your furniture to give the room a completed look that flows evenly.  For example, start with your casegoods–your  cocktail and end tables.  Look for metals in the color family you are after.  Unique accent chairs can offer pops of metal in the frame, or lamps can almost always effortlessly tie in all of your colors, materials, and styles.  Don’t forget artwork that features a metal inside the art itself, or in the frame.  Nailheads on sofas and chairs are also a great way to tie in your metal accent, since nailheads are often available in a variety of colors/metals.”

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As you see in this picture… the options are endless!  Our designers are hard at work on many more quick and easy design tips for you.  Check in next Monday for the latest edition of #DSTipOfTheWeek.

Fostering and Furniture: One Family’s Furniture Story

If you have kids, you know what a number they can do on a home… especially the furniture.

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Now, imagine having 32 kids through the years!!!

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A New Berlin family has opened their home to foster kids for 25 years.

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This is their Steinhafels furniture story.

Kathy and Pat McLaughlin have been married for 42 years.  Kathy, a neonatal nurse, says after they had their third child, she still wanted more.  “Pat had said, ‘Maybe, let’s see.’  I said, ‘Well, how about fostering?’  He said OK, and we ended up adopting 3 more children.”

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Kathy admits fostering wasn’t always easy.  The children ranged in age from infant to teenager, and some had special needs.  However, Kathy feels the experience has enriched the entire family.  She explains, “There’s always room for one more, and they bring so much joy to the rest of the family, and it helps the rest of the family to recognize the hardships some people have.  All of my children have become more tolerant of individuals who are struggling–whether it be emotionally, substance abuse, or neglect.  They’ve learned to really look at people and give them a chance.”

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Kathy is proud to say that many of her ‘kids’ have gone on to be successful adults–from graduating, to establishing impressive careers, to marrying and having children.  These days, Kathy and Pat are adjusting to being almost empty-nesters!  One of their adopted children still lives with them.  Kathy admits it’s been quite a change.  ”It was a very busy house, and now it’s so quiet.”

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As part of the couple’s new beginning, Kathy is working on redesigning the home, room by room, starting with the family room.  Given her large family, buying quality furniture was always a worthwhile investment for Kathy.  She has been a loyal Steinhafels customer for decades, and explains, “We always purchased a better quality furniture just because we knew how rough it would be with all the kids.  We had to do a lot of rocking, a lot of sitting, a lot of comforting, counseling–and that was all done in the family room.  We would sit in there together.  The kids did homework in the family room.  We would play games a lot.  On holidays we would have an average of 50 people.  A lot of the foster kids would come back, and bring their families.”

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Kathy didn’t have to look far to find an interior designer for the family room.  She hired Lori Green, a Designer with Steinhafels’ Decorating Solutions Interior Design Program.  As you can see from these pictures, the redesign project was quite a success!

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“The new furnishings have changed the entire feel of the lower level of our home. The furniture adds comfort that we truly needed,” Kathy gushes.

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Kathy admits that hiring a designer also allowed her to take a few risks.  “It’s wonderful.  Sometimes as a consumer you’re afraid to mix colors and blend colors, and to have them say, ‘Let’s try this,’ it’s beautiful.  They’re not afraid to go that extra step.”

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Many couples downsize once they hit their 60’s, but Kathy can’t imagine selling her family’s 3,000 square foot abode…yet.  The home has too many memories, and her children and grandchildren need a place to visit.

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So the redecorating project is far from over!  As you can imagine, after raising 32 children in the home, some of the rooms have seen better days.  Kathy says, “I’m really wanting a new kitchen set.  The boys have basically broken every chair.”   I bet moms with boys who are reading this blog are nodding their heads at that comment!

Kathy adds, “My next goal is the living room.  The furniture we have in there is some cheap stuff because we didn’t have money for anything else.”

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Kathy and Pat have worked hard to get where they are today, and they look forward to a future full of family, furniture, and fun.  As I talked about in my first blog, furniture tells a story.  For this special family, that story is one of love and acceptance–and a lot of wear and tear on the sofas through the years!!

Do you have a Steinhafels Furniture Story? Tell us about it!  We may feature you in the next blog.  Leave your contact info in the comments below, or email stephanieg@steinhafels.com

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.