keflex for impetigo

Aluminum Art

Since selling our home in Austin, we have lived in two vacation rentals (furnished homes).  One was in Austin and it was a contemporary 3 story townhouse near South Congress, if you are familiar with that area.  The owner had literally traveled the world and had lots of photography from his journeys.  He chose the coolest way to display his art.


He printed his photos on aluminum and hung them in his stairwells!  I thought it looked so good.  I loved going in the stairwell and seeing the colorful art.  This is a small taste.  It covered a much larger area as you wrapped around the stairs on each floor.

Here is a close up of some of his art from his shop.  He used to sell it printed on aluminum, but doesn’t any longer.



So pretty, huh?  Love the vivid colors.

Here is one more that I took not realizing at the time that my phone camera was acting up.


I am considering doing a wall like this in our new home with photos of our area.

New home?  Well, we haven’t closed on anything, yet and won’t be for a couple of months.  So, I’ll tell you more when I can!  :)

I’m sure you are wondering where you would print on aluminum.  His local vendor stopped printing on aluminum so he recently started using Aluminyze.   They are $30-70 for a 12×12 square, depending on sales.

What do you think of this creative method of hanging your photos?


Hi Sugarplum’s Kitchen and an Update

Do you like patterned tile on a backsplash?

I haven’t been keeping up with blogs lately, so I was several weeks late finding out that one of my favorite bloggers, Cassie at Hi Sugarplum, is moving.  That means she is making plans for the décor in her future home.  And, part of the is a kitchen reno.

I was so excited about the plans she described that I stopped what I was doing and began to flesh them out in a rendering.  Fun!


I think that is where she appears to be going with the space.  Of course, it’s just my best guess from reading her blog entry about her kitchen plans.  Loving the backsplash.    Do you?

Here is the current photo she has posted which is what I started with.

This should be an awesome transformation.  She is keeping the off-white corian counters, but adding the fun backsplash that you see here (which is actually gray), painting the cabinets, adding new trim, adding a bank of drawers and wood floors.

And, just for fun, before I understood the vent hood (or I think I may understand, which means I just used a similar one above), I tried it with a stainless vent hood.


Can’t wait to see it in person!!  This angle doesn’t even show the awesome (I’m sure) lighting that will be part of the design.

Oh, and what is going on here in Phoenix with us?  Have we found a home in Phoenix to buy after relocating from Austin?  We are still in a vacation rental, but we are enjoying it.   We don’t mind it at all.

This is one a sunset from our backyard.


The rental is right across the street from open desert that is so fun to hike in.  This particular piece of desert has lots of washes (creeks) and interesting terrain.


Just yesterday when we were out hiking, we found this fort looking area that kids had made.  Check out the hammock and swing.  Can you find it?  It’s a little bit like a game of Where’s Waldo.


We even have wild burros that wonder around the desert here.  This was a group of 22 burros, but I just got a few in the photo.


Aren’t they cute?

As for houses, we do have our eye on one for sure!  It is early on, though, and doesn’t even have a foundation yet.   I don’t want to share too many details and jinx it.  But, I am anxious to share as soon as we can.  We will see how it goes!


Client Update – Entry

We got a ton of rain here in the Phoenix area two days ago and are due for more later today!  It’s unusual, but areas not far from us at all flooded.  A car even washed down our “wash” (a wash is where the water is made to drain when it does rain a lot though they are usually dry).  Our usually dry wash became a raging river for a short time on Tuesday around noon.  We hope to avoid that today, but time will tell!   Pray for all of those who lost so much in the flood already.

I love getting updated photos from e-design clients as they work on completing their rooms.   For these clients, I just give a written design plan that they implement in their time.  The last update I gave was here and here is the master bedroom design we also worked on.

Check out this entry!


So beautiful!

Below is the original 3d drawing we put together way back in January 2012 for the rooms to show the design direction for the space.  It includes the entry area and family room.  We worked on this via email since it was an e-design.  (E-design clients execute the plan on their own time.)

The furniture is just approximated in the drawing.  But, a drawing helps since sometimes things can look good on a story board, but not in real life.  After all, they won’t all be crammed together in a square that depicts items not to scale.  The objects on a story board end up spread out and life size when executed and that can make it look much different than you thought.


Below is a straight on view of the entry area design.


Below are the storyboards for the entry and family room.  Next to each other, you can see how they flow.

entrystoryboardnikki2 image

Below the family room was starting to come to life.  She still has more to add though.


Part of the process was giving her a shopping list, but I also let her know which items have freedom within to put her own touch on it or to find a bargain.  For example, with the lamp, the scale is most important, but color can vary and still look good.

Below is the before photo of the family room.


I know, cool house, right?!  It’s an old barn turned house.  She didn’t want to repaint the red accent wall, but if she ever decided to, we did another drawing showing it in blue.


Back to the entry though.  Want to see it again?!

Here is the design.


And, here it is finished in real life!



I LOVE that  white dresser. Those lines are amazing.  She found it on Craigslist.

Looking good!  She says it feels much more inviting than before.  I love seeing her progress images.

The 3d drawings really helped her envision things along the way so she had a clear idea of what was worth trying in the room, as most things were ordered online.  Between that, the storyboard and the written plan, she had a clear direction and was able to execute it on her own, saving a lot of money on a designer!

It was definitely a collaboration between me and the client – what works for her (no sofa in front of the window), what she needs to keep (like the paint colors and sofas), her taste and her budget.  This is why my company is called Hyphen Interiors – it’s a collaboration.  Though be prepared, I’ll be honest with you if you really need to update more to achieve a look you want (right now, fresh and white is in).

If you like what you see and are interested in help with a room in your home, email me at



The move from Austin to Phoenix was a success!   We are getting all settled in and enjoying our temporary rental as we look for homes to buy.

I have been spending a lot of time helping to put together a fundraiser for a friend who is losing her home to mold.  It’s in the form of an online auction on Facebook.

(Auction has ended, and went well!)

I am even donating a gift certificate for online design work!


It’s super easy and open to anyone in the US.  You just comment below an item with your bid.  The highest bidder wins that item.    Just think, you can support a good cause while winning wonderful items!  Shipping is included on most items.

The auction HAS STARTED and runs July 25-29.  Check it out now!!  Items are still way way below retail price.  I’m doing a little Christmas shopping myself.

Below is just a glimpse of some of the items.  We’ve added 146 items so far! (Much more than is pictured.)


So many fun things!

Here are some of my favorites, that I may or may not have my eye on!  A special thanks to all of the shops that have donated!!  (We are still taking donations.)

cowprint2 beenecklacefund

copperbracelet janpillowchev

handbag cufflinks

famtreestamped hoodedgiraffe

dragonflybracelet horseprint

janpillowquat sockhorse

nurseryprints polarbear

texasrecord pillowredeliz

tcar whiteantlers

nurseryprint2 wristlet

Want to take a look and participate in the auction?!    Go to this link and click “Join Group” and start bidding!

Below is another glimpse of some of the items.

You can also find info on the family, what the money goes, to, etc on the Facebook auction page.  There is also a link to a video about my friend’s situation on there.

And, vendor info for these fabulous products and services can be found on the auction page as well.


Thank you so much!!  This is a great opportunity!

(Auction has ended, and went well!)


How We Did Our Estate Sale – All of the Details

We sold our home in March, knowing that we were moving back to Phoenix.


Due to the long move and cost that can ensue, we decided to sell most all of our furnishings at an estate sale, which we held in April.  We rented our home back from the new owners for a few weeks in order to have the estate sale after closing was complete.  That way we did not risk selling everything and then the deal falling through… only to have to put the home back on the market with no furniture staging the home anymore, and nothing to sit or sleep on.

Wouldn’t selling most furniture and decor in an estate sale mean we’d lose money on the items sold, yet we have to re-purchase them once we get to AZ?   Is that smart?


Number Crunching

Let’s run through a quick version of the numbers that we considered in this decision.

It was going to cost $17-24K to move everything (due to needing a van line, having several moves with temporary housing and all, and storage) from TX to AZ.


On the flip side, if we sold everything in an estate sale and moved a small amount of stuff in a UHaul, we’d spend about $4000 for a few individual moves, move help, storage and estate sale costs.   Then, you’d tack on to that the $6000-8000 it’d take in addition to the estate sale earnings to actually re-purchase just the main pieces of furniture and décor that was sold.  (Craigslist helps a lot when re-purchasing items.)  That totals $10-12K for the move this way.

That saves us $5-14K.   Quite a bit of money saved!

As you can see, in the end, it made sense to sell most everything and start over.


So, what all are we taking with us and NOT selling?   Computers, clothes, some tools from the garage, kitchen items, a bed, a table, the breakfast room chairs, the pub table and chairs, tv stand, and that’s about it!

Estate Sale To Do List

Back to the estate sale…  Actually, first we had a garage sale and sold a large portion of non-furniture items.  Then, we had the estate sale and sold furniture and décor.  So, it was a two phase process, but today, I wanted to give the rundown of how we did the estate sale, as it was much more complex than a garage sale.

Here is the basic rundown of the order of things.  But, after that, I’ll give more detailed tips and info on how it was actually ran.

1.  Get organized.
Decide what you are going to sell, what you will donate, what you will give away, and what you plan to keep.

We sold most furniture and décor (we left the armoire for the new owners), gave away a lot of odds and ends including plants, paints, a grill, a smoker, craft supplies, books, and so on.  We donated about 8 large boxes worth of stuff.

2.  Make an inventory list.
Make a list with the item description, price, and an item number.  This is not fun, but it will keep you organized and will help you run numbers.


3.  Run the numbers.
Decide if the numbers make sense for you to have an estate sale before you move.  Keep in mind the effort of finding and buying the new items if you sell a lot.  For us, having an estate sale saved us money.  It may be different for you.

4.  Set dates and times.
It’s wise to have an estate sale for two days, and to realize you may need to make time for a few appointments for purchases after that if things are still left.  The first day, you will keep prices the same.  The second day, you will discount items that are left that you for sure want sold.  We chose to hold our estate sale on Saturday from 9:30-4 and on Sunday from 10:30-4.

5.  Get help.
Figure out how much help you will need and recruit helpers.  You will need one person to man each room, plus a couple of guys to help move and load things, two people at the checkout, and someone handling the entry for the first few hours.  For me, that meant at least 10 people, once we consolidated some upstairs rooms.

Below is the actual floor plan of the home we sold.  (We love that floor plan.)  We printed it and wrote the name of each worker that was in each space.


6.  Pack.
Pack up all of your personal items.  You do not want an estate sale attendee to try to buy something you intended to keep.  Make sure all drawers and closets are empty.  Keep your personal items in a separate room during the sale.  All items left out should be for sale.

7.  Purchase supplies.
You will need price tags, estate sale signs, name tags, a cash box, receipts, money for change, pens, and index cards.

8.  Market the sale.
Post about the sale on Craigslist, on area Facebook groups, neighborhood sites and by sending personal emails.  Make sure everyone knows at least a couple of weeks in advance!!  I made a web page that was all about the estate sale that gave many of the details about how it was going to run.

We also sent out price lists to anyone interested.   That way, people who were shopping in those price ranges would come.

9.  Price every item.
I bought Easy Peel stickers by Avery and printed the price, item number and description on them.  I labeled every single item in the house that was for sale, no matter how small.  We sold things from tissue holders to rugs to sofas.  Note that these prices are more like you’d see on Craigslist, not at a garage sale.  This is an estate sale, different from a garage sale.

10.  Set rules.
Set rules for the sale.  Will you allow children?  Will you allow pets?  Will you allow large bags?  Figure out how you want to run things.  I’ll go over how we did it below.

11.  Put signs out that morning.

12.  Brief workers the morning of the sale.
Go over all rules and answer questions.  Make sure everyone is on the same page.

13.  Enjoy!

2014-03-24 12.38.08 2014-03-24 12.41.33

How We Ran Our Estate Sale

We had a lot of compliments on being organized, so here is how we ran things.

Though I was asked in at least 350 emails to pre-sell items, we did not pre-sell anything.  The rule was that you must come to the estate sale on the day of the sale to make a purchase.  Why?   A couple of reasons – I didn’t have time to meet people for individual items but more importantly, we were located far enough away from downtown that it was very important that there were enough items at the actual sale to draw people in!   If I pre-sold things, I probably would have had half of the stuff left by the time the estate sale happened, and it may not have been a big draw.

Anything that we were keeping, including all packed boxes, was kept in one bedroom with the door shut.  Out of the way from shoppers.  In other words, things that were not for sale were separated from things that were for sale.

We allowed folks to line up out front before the doors opened.  They started arriving about an hour early, I believe.  We then let 10-15 people in at a time.  That way, it’s not overly crowded, no one is fighting over anything or running, etc.  It’s safer for everyone.

Each person was met outside the front door and given an index card and pen.  They were instructed by that worker to write the item number of anything they want to purchase on the index card and to take it to the checkout once they are ready.  Do not remove items from the room.  A receipt is required for that.  Once an item was purchased, the buyer showed their receipt to the estate sale worker in that room and were able to take the item then or pick it up before the sale ended that weekend.

We had one worker in each room with a name tag on.  That worker could answer questions about items and how the sale worked.  They also checked receipts and marked things off of an inventory list as they were sold.

If someone wanted to offer a price lower than we were asking, they did so by bidding.  They wrote their contact info and bid on an index card which was turned in at the checkout counter.  If the item was still left at the end of the sale on Sunday, we contacted the highest bidder.


We insured that receipts were not faked by having a specific form and by writing them in a certain color of ink.

When items were sold, the worker in that room would view the receipt and mark that item as sold with a red circular stickers (dots).  An item could not be carried out of the home without this red sticker.

There was also an inventory list posted on the wall in each room.  The workers would mark off any items sold so that customers could easily see what was left.

We only accepted cash.  Checks can be cancelled.  Money orders can be faked.  Cash only.

It’s common for those who frequent estate sales to come in with post-it notes and mark items as sold by sticking them on items as they walked through.  We had a strict policy of no post-it notes.  Why?  We didn’t want an item to say “sold” and then the person who put the post-it note on it to never purchase it and in that process, another buyer to miss out.

We also didn’t allow pets, kids under 10, or large bags inside.

All sales were final.

As people purchased items we marked them off of the inventory list by highlighting that row in red.  That helped us to know exactly what was still available.


Conclusion/ Lessons Learned

Everything went super well.  Our workers were amazing!!  I am so very thankful for each of them.  They really made it run smoothly.

We sold just about everything!  I’m not going to lie though, it was A LOT of work.  Much more than any garage sale that I’ve ever done.  It’s your entire home that is prepared.  And, with the work of also arranging a move, it’s a lot to handle.  But, it’s definitely the right decision in many cases.

The first day was the most chaotic, but we still had a lot of traffic the second day and sold quite a bit then as well.

I did learn a few things though:

– I had the inventory list organized by room and in alphabetical order by item description.  However, since customers were writing down item numbers which started with the first letter of the room and then were followed by a three digit number, it was hard to find that number at times.  The numbers weren’t in perfect order on my spreadsheet since I added things here and there.  So, next time, I’d organize the inventory list by item number not by description.  That would have sped things up.

– I would have two people at the checkout line.  One marking down inventory and the other working on the receipt and taking money.

– I would also take photos of the event!  That was my biggest regret.  Nothing to document the actual sale.

– Though every person who entered our home was told that if the door is shut, that room is not part of the sale, they still opened closed doors.  One lady took several of my personal items to the checkout counter to buy.  So, I’d actually put a sign on every closed door as do not open.

– I used Easy Peel stickers that are supposed to be able to be pulled off easily and re-stuck.  They worked great on some things, but stuck more to others leaving residue.  Next time, I’d try to use tags any time I could.


So glad to have the estate sale (and the separate garage sale) finished.  But for us, the moving isn’t over.  We are currently in a vacation rental in Austin with stuff in storage, soon to move to a vacation rental in Phoenix.  And, then we will set out to find the right home to buy.  I expect that to take a while!

Have you ever done an estate sale?  Have you been to one?  What are your lessons learned?

Did you have any crazy experiences?  All of our customers were great, but we did hear about stories where customers cut dryer lines and scratched furniture…

By the way, the new buyers of our home purchased a good amount of the family room furniture and all of the appliances.  So, that’s pretty cool that that got to stay with the house!!

Would you ever sell most all of your furniture like this?


My Top 10 Turn Offs When Searching for a Home

What are your big turn offs when buying a home?

Now that our home in Austin has sold (and so are most of our furnishings!) and we are living in a vacation rental, we are in home search mode!  Heading back to Phoenix!   The land of sunshine, swimming pools, consistent weather and where it’s a short drive to other awesome places like the Grand Canyon, San Diego or Sedona.

image  image

Do you love to look at houses for sale?

I love it and get frustrated all at the same time!  I can’t avoid taking a detailed look at every finish in the home.  One wrong choice of tile and you can ruin the whole look.  I get so frustrated with homes that I would love if it wasn’t for a few specific design choices.  (And, nope, we are definitely not wanting to remodel.)  I’m not talking about paint colors and easy to change things, I’m talking fixed elements.

What I mean by “fixed element” is something that can’t be easily changed and is fixed to the house.

image image

I promise, I don’t examine the choices of friends when I visit them.  I’m too busy talking and having fun.  I realize it’s their home and is about what they love…  Plus, if a person is there with me, I’m easily distracted like that.  Put a person in the car with me while I’m driving and oops, accidents may happen.  Did I just admit that?  Well, it’s kind of true.  I get caught up in what the person is saying and I forget about everything else, fast.

But, when looking at homes to possibly purchase, I zoom in on every detail.  After all, this is one of the biggest investments I’ll ever make.

Come along and look with me and check some homes out that I’ve seen on the MLS and see what some of my biggest pet peeves are.

The home below is not bad, right?  I like it from a distance.  Sure, maybe I’d change the paint color a bit or have different furniture, but it’s nice.

image image

It’s an updated home built in 1996 in a desirable area.  But, let’s take a closer look at some of the remodeling choices they made that would drive me crazy if I lived there.  (Since I do have a choice of which home to buy, I get to be picky about what would drive me less crazy.)

What in the world bugs me about this beautiful home?

The cabinets are white which I love, the granite isn’t bad.

My biggest turn offs when searching for a home are:


1. Quality Tile that Doesn’t Work in the Space.


There is a lot of tan and the design world is steering away from so much tan…  but, I could probably get past that, even though a large portion of the tan is in fixed elements such as flooring and the countertop.   It’s not the tan elements that turn me off.

It’s when there has clearly been a remodel, quality tile chosen, but the tile just is not a good choice.  Take a look at the tile on the backsplash.  Though the backsplash involves subway tile which is my current preference, the tile color just doesn’t work well with the granite and the decorative strip down the middle makes it way too busy overall in combination with the granite and subway tile.

Because these are fixed elements, they are not cheap to replace which means you must decorate around them.  I see where they were going with their choices, but I keep thinking, why didn’t their designer tell them not to do that?!  Did they have a designer helping them pick these elements?

What do you think of the bathroom tile below?


Again, it just doesn’t work well together.  The style and the color are off when combined.

The thing that makes me sad is that these are quality materials.  They just aren’t combined well.  It could be so fabulous!!

Isn’t it amazing how just one bad design choice can ruin a whole look.  I see where they wanted to go with it and it could have been so fabulous!!  And, could have been the home for us…  but I don’t see us redoing any of the fixed elements like flooring or backsplashes.

Just a one or two hour consult with a designer (with the right designer… not meaning me) would have been well worth it and would have made this home sell so fast!


2.  A Change in Flooring in an Open Space.

This is the same house as above.  Obviously, these people have some good taste.  Look at the furniture below.


It’s a wonderful basic palette on which to build texture and color.  Well done.  I love it.  But, that flooring!

My biggest pet peeve as a home buyer is a change in flooring in an open space.  Just keep it consistent throughout if at all possible.  A change in flooring can really confine where you can place furniture, not allowing flexibility.   Not only that, but it stops the eye and cuts the space up visually.  That right there really ruins any interest that I may have in the home.

Should you want to make it all the same, it can be very difficult to match after the fact.

There it is again in another home!


And, one more for fun.  Look closely and you can see more wood flooring in the background.  This flooring choice many times results in a runway look!


I could post examples of this all day long!  There are so many.


I didn’t even like that the flooring changed to tile in the kitchen of our last home, though the entire rest of the first floor (except bathrooms) was wood.


3.  Messy Rooms.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve taken photos of a space and been too lazy to make sure the pillows are perfect or a lamp cord is out of the way.  But, when I see a straight-up messy space on the MLS, which is a place where you are hoping people who see it want to buy the home, yikes!

Let’s take a peek at a few examples below.


I’m not saying this is messy for everyday use.  But, when trying to put your best foot forward to sell your home, it’s pretty messy.

Let’s look at a few more.


It’s probably best to do the dishes first, before taking the picture.




Will this make me not buy a home?  Not in the sense of not realizing that the room can be cleaned or that I’m not buying the furniture… But, it can in the sense of being worried about the quality of upkeep throughout the home in general.  If you neglect a room when you are marketing the home for sale, you may neglect other things that need to be fixed.  I like to see attention to detail when I’m buying a home.


4.  Carpet Islands.

This actually is similar to the change in flooring.  A lot of AZ homes do what I call carpet islands.  They stop the tile and create an “area rug” by adding carpet instead of tile in the middle of a room.

The problem with this is four-fold.  When the carpet starts to look horrible, you have to actually rip it out and buy more and a carpet install for one small space can easily run $500 or more.  Also, it doesn’t allow a rug to add color to a space.  The third issue is should you want to continue the tile, it’s really tough to match up years later.   And, lastly, it limits furniture placement.

Let’s look at some examples.





5.  Orange or Honey-toned Oak Cabinets.

These read cheap, from the 80s or 90s and in need of an update.  If the cabinets are still nice and are a good scale for the room, then just paint them.

Let’s take a look at some examples ripped straight from current MLS listings.





6.  Fake Plants Everywhere.

This is not something that will keep me from buying, but man, think about the dust that has collected!!   It’s best to just take them down.





7.  This Particular Pattern of Granite.


What’s so bad about that granite pattern?  It has pink undertones in it.  And, those are the worst to work with when decorating!!  See this post for more explanation on that.


8.  Bad photos.

Do agents really post things like this?  Maybe these are for sale by owner?

I’ve seen even worse out there, but these are currently on the MLS in Phoenix.  Keeping it real.

What is with that baseboard/ wall?


Is this wallpaper peeling off?


Why is there a half of a man in this blurry photo?


Talking about blurry, how is this?


A little too close up.  All you can see is a corner of a room.


Similarly, why the corner of the garage?


These images are just dark and tough to see.

image image


9.  Carpet in the Bathroom.

Enough said.



10.  No kitchen Photos.

I’m so on to them when they neglect to show the kitchen – the most important room arguably.  And, usually the most expensive.    The kitchen must be pretty bad.  I skip over any house like that.

Below is a home where they showed the kitchen, but this was the only photo of it.


Remember, these were not all time worst photos on the web, these are just current listings in our price range.

Do small things like this stop you in your tracks when searching for a home to buy?

One thing that will absolutely stop me at the door is a strange smell of any kind.  No thanks.  But, it was hard to really list that one with photos.  What stops you?

What are your pet peeves?

Send me your favorite MLS pictures!


Interview for a UK Blog

I had the honor of being a featured designer on a UK blog.  Check out my interview with them here.


The company creates hand-crafted, custom furniture.  Check out their products as well! 


Home Goes on the Market Soon! Full Tour Here!

**UPDATE 4/2/14:  Home is sold.**

Surprise!  We are moving again!  More details to come on where we are heading.  I wanted to share a full tour of our home with you guys, with the exterior and all!  I rarely share exterior shots.  But, these are some of the photos that will be going on the MLS soon.  (Pardon the dead grass, being it’s still winter.)


Here are the basics.

· 3855 Sq Ft
· 4 Bedrooms
· 3.5 Baths
· Office
· Media Room (only room not completely decorated)
· Game Room
· 3 Car Garage (tandem)
· Wood flooring
· 1.74 Acres












Family Room









Kitchen/ Breakfast







Master Bedroom








Top of Stairs



Game Room




Guest Room


Guest Room-31


Guest Room-74


Craft Room



Craft Room-081














Hope you enjoyed the full tour.  We adore this home and will miss it greatly.  Help us find some awesome buyers by sharing this post on FB, through email, etc.   It should go live on the MLS in the next week or two.  Email for updates.