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: 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.

DS Tip of the Week FLASHBACK: Dark and Daring

Here’s a #DSTipOfTheWeek FLASHBACK… just in time for Halloween decorating season!

Are you sick of the typical off-white, beige, and pale blue walls found in most homes?  While these light colors tend to open up a room, some people like to ‘mix it up’ with darker shades like black, deep blue, or red.  There is a way to use dark paint, without giving your room a somber feel.  

It’s time for another Steinhafels’ “Decorating Solutions” Tip of the Week.  This week’s tip comes from Waukesha store based Interior Designer Rhonda Vivoda.

Rhonda assures us, “It’s okay to go dark with paint in a small room, it will give it a very dramatic feel.”

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So maybe it’s not a great idea to transform your living room into a deep blue sea… but go ahead and be a little daring in a bathroom, guest room, or den!

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 BRAVA Night Out Style: Mixing Patterns

For this week’s Tip of the Week we go on the scene to our Madison Beltline Store.

That’s where we recently hosted a BRAVA Magazine Night Out called #WineAndDesign.  One of the design sessions taught attendees how to mix patterns.  Decorating with patterns can be tricky.  You don’t want to overdo it, but you also want to highlight your unique style.  

Decorating Solutions designers Patti Stindt and Mari Johnson did an interactive “Before and After” demo, demonstrating how you can transform a boring and blah room just by adding a few different patterns and textures.

BEFORE:

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Patti explains that you don’t want to be matchy-matchy, and Mari says that bringing in different textures is a great way to mix patterns.  The ladies do add that you want to stay within the same color tones when you mix patterns… but overall just have fun with it, and don’t be scared to get creative!

AFTER:

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You can check out some video of Mari and Patti’s demo HERE.

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

 

DS Tip Of The Week: Monochromatic Color Schemes, and How to Make Them Work!

It’s time for another Decorating Solutions Tip of the Week!  This week we are talking color, and how to make a single color scheme visually appealing and robust.

Elena Moraru is new to our Madison store, and we’re excited to have her on board.  She loves to incorporate a client’s personality into her design projects.  Color is a great way to show personality, and Elena has an interesting tip for us!

She explains, “A way to bring interest and fun to your space is by going monochromatic with your decor.  I am not talking about a boring monochromatic scheme. You can use a color but in 3 different shades of it, like the green in this particular space. The trick is to use it in different textures. Every shade of this particular color should be in a different element with a different texture.”

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“As you see, there’s green paint on the walls, green pillow fabric, and the green tone of the plant is  used as an accessory in the tray over the ottoman. In order to accomplish success with such a concept it’s also necessary to support it with neutral textures surrounding space.  Don’t be afraid to use texture!  Most of the time texture screams louder than color, and creates a more visually interesting space–plus it softens and warms it up more than any other element.”

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Tune in next week for another #DSTipOfTheWeek!

 

 

DS Tip of the Week: Tantalizing Tiffany Tinting

Sometimes design has very little to do with the big-ticket items, and more to do with the accessories.  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!

Get out the notepad and jot down this helpful hint.  That’s right… it’s time for another Decorating Solutions Tip of the Week!  This week’s tip 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.  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: Balancing It Out With Built-Ins

You know you wait all week for this moment… it’s time for another Steinhafels #DecoratingSolutions Tip of the Week.

The great thing about home decor is that most of it is easily changeable.  You get sick of it, change it up!  However, that’s not so easy to do when it comes to built-ins.  Built-ins are permanent decorative or storage items–like cabinets, shelving, or window seats.  Since they are permanent, it’s crucial they are done with as much precision and imagination as possible.

Julie Thompson is a designer at our Corporate store in Waukesha.  She has a simple but important tip when it comes to built-ins.  Julie explains, “Add built-ins on the end of a long narrow room to help square it up.  Often a long narrow room is hard to set up if it isn’t long enough to set up two separate areas, or has a central focal point like a fireplace on the long wall.  A built-in can help even things out.”

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Don’t be scared to try something new!!  Form and function come together with gorgeous built-in shelving… as long as it’s done properly.  Check in next week for another #DSTipOfTheWeek.