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.”

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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.

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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.”

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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.”

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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!”

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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.”

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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.

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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: Where to Start When Redoing a Room

Are you looking to give your space a new look, but don’t know where to start? Redoing a room can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be… if you look at it as a step by step process.

Designer Katie Ryan is an interior decorator on our Decorating Solutions team.  She works at our Steinhafels store in Menomonee Falls.  Katie says it’s all about keeping it simple, and only tackling one step at a time.

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She suggests, “Work with staple pieces that have neutral base colors and can be versatile in different accent color schemes.  This example shows a blank boring room with a couch and recliner.  Start building around these pieces… incorporate an area rug (for a pop of color or pattern), side tables, lamps, and storage ottomans.  Storage ottomans are a great way to add color or pattern to a room, but can also be used for seating.  Next:  Window treatments!  You don’t have to spend a lot of money to make a statement with a pop of color or pattern on drapes, which can also coordinate with your accessories.  Here we have shades of blue–a very popular color right now.  Lastly, accessories:  Adding pillows, a throw blanket, and trays for the ottomans.”

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That’s the basic timeline for redesigning a room!  Not too tough right?  We post a different quick, easy, and practical decor tip each Monday.  Check in next week for another #DSTipOfTheWeek.

 

DS Tip Of The Week: Cut the Clutter

We all strive to keep a clean and neat home because we take pride in our living space.  Even more, keeping things tidy is also a way to give your home a truly designer look–without having to go out and buy tons of new furniture and accessories!

Get out the notepad and jot down this helpful hint.  That’s right… it’s time for another Steinhafels Decorating Solutions Tip of the Week!  This week’s tip comes from Interior Designer Jenii Kluver.  Jenii works at our Oak Creek store, and helps customers in the southeast section of Milwaukee create the homes of their dreams.

Jenii’s tip is pretty simple:  “Removing clutter from surfaces in your home will truly give it that designer look.  Stick to a few accessory pieces on each surface, and keep things off of the floor for a clean and minimal look.”

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As you see in this picture… 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: 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.

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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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

 

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.