DS Tip Of The Week: Furniture and Windows

It doesn’t feel like it, but winter is just around the corner.  Even though it’s cold outside, it’s still nice to have some natural light in the home, and use our windows to accent our decor.

This week’s window-themed Tip of the Week comes from Decorating Solutions Designer Linda Patti.  Linda has been with Steinhafels for more than 25 years, and has decorated more than 700 homes!

Linda’s tip focuses on the correct way to place furniture in front of a window.  She explains, “When placing furniture in front of a window avoid obstructing the window.  Keep the back of the furniture low, especially if it is a focal point.”

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Our designers are hard at work on many more quick and easy design 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.

PILLOW TALK

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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AFTER:

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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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DS Tip Of The Week: Thanksgiving–Embrace Your Imperfections!

Just in time for Thanksgiving… a Decorating Solutions’ Tip Of The Week with a holiday flare.

Thanksgiving is a time to gather with family near and far.  There is the tendency to want everything perfect for their arrival, but sometimes imperfection is better. After all, it IS family time–we all know that can get a little messy anyways!

This week’s #DSTipOfTheWeek comes from interior designer Anne Sperry, who’s based at our Steinhafels in Kenosha.

Anne has some simple tips that can make a big difference.  She explains, “When you don’t have enough chairs that match to go around your dinner table, it is fun to mix and match all sizes and colors to represent all sizes and personalities in your family. Same goes for china, glass, and silverware as well. It is fun to have each guest bring a place setting that has family history and share the memories of each piece as you say your prayers of thanks. Also set a place at the dinner table for a family member that has passed and is greatly missed each year. Place their photo on the chair and have family tell their favorite stories throughout dinner.”

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So don’t settle for the perfect match at your Thanksgiving table. Welcome in the odd and mismatched pieces–like the imperfect souls we are.

Happy Thanksgiving to all! Check in next Monday for another #DSTipOfTheWeek.

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: Decorating to Promote Serenity

Thanksgiving is in a few weeks, and then Christmas is just around the corner.  Are you starting to the feel the stress of the “holiday creep?”  Maybe it’s time to take a step back, and take a deep breath.

One way to inspire relaxing thoughts is by creating a calming environment.  This week’s Steinhafels #DecoratingSolutions Tip of the Week comes to us from all of our designers, buyers, and sales associates who work to make shopping in our stores an enjoyable and relaxing experience.

Take a look at this picture taken in our Waukesha Corporate store.  It makes me relaxed just looking at it!  That’s because tones inspired by sky, sea, and sand can make you feel calm and restful.

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In fact, according to Color Wheel Pro, the color blue slows human metabolism and produces a calming effect.  Blue is strongly associated with tranquility and calmness.

So go head and feel “Blue”… it might just make you feel better on this busy Monday leading up to the holidays!

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

DS Tip Of The Week: Comfort and Style Don’t Have to Be Mutually Exclusive!

Are you looking to redesign your room, but don’t know where to start?  You’ve come to the right place.  It’s time for another Steinhafels #DecoratingSolutions Tip of the Week!

This week we look at how to combine high style and cozy comfort.  Those may sound like two very different design strategies, but they don’t have to be!

This week’s design tip comes from Anne Hildreth, an interior designer the Steinhafels in Vernon Hills.

In a recent article in the Daily Herald, Anne explains, “Reclining furniture is very popular today but current recliners don’t look like the overstuffed, bucket seated ‘Bubba’ furniture of the past.”  She adds, “Today’s recliners are often high-end pieces with tailored arms and backs that also happen to be designed to recline and are very comfortable.  Many are custom-made so the homeowner can choose exactly the arm, seat depth, back height and footrest they want, as well as the fabric or leather they prefer.”

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Another thing Anne is seeing is that people are showing more personality, and choosing eclectic looks.  She says, “People are mixing fabric and leathers on chairs and sofas within the same room to keep in interesting. That sleek, matching, all leather look from the 1990’s is gone.”

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In addition, Hildreth says cocktail tables are largely being replaced by cocktail ottomans… which don’t necessarily need to match the sofas and loveseats they accompany!

So go ahead and break some rules!!  You can check out more of Anne’s article HERE.

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: 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.

DS Tip Of The Week: Fall Vintage Finds & Family Heirlooms

Its fall, and you have likely been enjoying brat fests and flea markets under the sun. You stumbled upon a plethora of interesting vintage finds…but now what?  Should you store them in boxes in the garage, or keep them exposed in piles in hopes of getting divine inspiration later?

Have no fear, your #DSTipOfTheWeek is here!  This week’s entry comes from Decorating Solutions designer Anne Sperry, who is based in our Kenosha store.

Anne says the first step in designing with found items is finding a simple stage on which to tell your vintage story. She explains, “Elegant glass shelving in a curio cabinet, a streamlined etagere, or a stacked set of vintage boxes will do. Then start grouping your collections as if staging a choir. Like goes with like. Think paperweights in bloom, or brass accessories as a family. Limit it to one vignette per shelf, that way each group looks intentional and not cluttered. Start with tall in the back and move to shorter pieces in the front.”

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When it comes to wall hangings, Anne has some advice as well.  “Vintage fabrics, button or pin collections, and prints can be framed simply and arranged as a collage on the wall. Set several pairs of ideas and sizes in 3’s, 5’s or other odd numbers, and balance each side of center as if each piece has a weight by color or size and left and right balances each other. (Lay the ideas out on the floor before putting holes in the wall!) There you have it…the perfect display of your new vintage finds.”

Our designers are burning the midnight oil coming up with many more unique and easy design tips for you.  Check in next Monday for another #DSTipOfTheWeek.