Archive for November, 2011

Christmas Décor – Allison from Spicer and Bank

Today, Allison from Spicer and Bank will be sharing with us how she decorates for Christmas in a warm environment.  Allison is an interior designer with a masters in the history of decorative arts.  After working at high end design firms in NYC, she now lives in Singapore.  It’s all yours, Allison!


Hi there! Allison here from Spicer + Bank and I am so happy to be here today on Kristy’s beautiful blog. I live in Singapore and since it will be my first year spending the holidays here and I am so excited to share my ideas for holiday entertaining and decorating in the tropics! Lots of us live in warmer weather climates and I think beautiful design often draws inspiration from natural surroundings. The winter holiday season can be lovely and festive even if there are palm trees instead of pines outside your window!

Here are my 3 favorite ideas for holiday designs which are fresh, festive and just a bit tropical!

{1} Bringing in a pop of lime green! Greens, white and a bit of silver is so festive but also perfect for the warm temps outside.

{2} Pile on the candles – they bring such warmth and a wonderful ambiance and are great indoors or out. I especially love the effect of masses of smaller candles!

{3} Go local with your centerpiece! Try using foliage native to your home, I adore all the oversized tropical leaves we can get here in Singapore and a lush bunch of them would be the perfect substitute for holly or traditional flowers.

Lastly here is my dream list for fresh holiday accessories!

{1} Votives

{2} Wine glass

{3} Silver tablecloth

{4} Feather wreath

{5} Placemat + napkin

{6} Green vases

{7} Glass canisters

{8} Champagne holder

Wishing you a wonderful season in cold weather or warm!

Thanks for so much having me!

{images via 1 / 2 / 3}


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Now and Then – Amanda from Love and Renovations

I’m excited to have Amanda from Love and Renovations share how her style has changed over the last few years.  I think we can all look back at photos from past years and wonder what we were thinking and my, how things have changed, hopefully for the better.  Wait until you see Amanda’s style evolution.  Take it away, Amanda!


Hi Hyphen Interiors readers! I’m so excited and honored to be guest posting here today! I found Kristy’s blog back when her amazing painted chair was floating all around the internet, and I’m so glad I did. I’ve been reading ever since, and I’m thrilled that she’ll soon be moving to my neck of the woods!

I’m Amanda from Love & Renovations, and I thought I’d share a glimpse of how my husband and I have evolved in our design style in the past few years. We recently moved from a tiny duplex in our college town to our own home in Austin, Texas, and it blows my mind every time I look at old photos to see how much our style has changed.

First up, let’s check out the living room. Here’s the living room in our duplex:

The living room was tiny, and we had it filled to the brim with (very traditional) oversized furniture. Once we moved and had a bit more room to spread out (and got some new furniture!), we were able to create a room that’s a much better fit for us!

The major changes include a sleeker, more modern sofa, tons more room to spread out, some pops of color with new pillows, and our orange ottoman. (that we actually created from the coffee table you see in the old living room!) We love the new look for our living room – but it still has a long way to go! We’ve only been living in our new home for four months, so it should evolve even more as we add in some colorful curtains, some wall treatments, and a few more accessories here and there.

The other major change in our style can be seen in our master bedroom. Brace yourselves, ’cause this one is a huge change. Here is our master bedroom in the old duplex:

And…the new house:

Big change, right? We love the bold color on the walls, the colorful bedding, and the fact that this room is infused with so much more personality than our old room! Like the living room, it still needs some work – we have plans for painting and reupholstering our headboard, and we’re in desperate need of some art for the walls, but we’ve got a pretty good start!

I’m finding that the biggest change that we are seeing in our style over the years is that we are become much more confident in what we want, and much less “safe” with our choices. We’re choosing pieces that make us happy, even if it means taking a bit of a risk. When we first brought our bedding home, we thought it was going to be way too much for our room since we have such a bold peacock blue on the walls, but once we put it on the bed we realized that it fits the room perfectly – a design choice like that is definitely not something we would have been brave enough to try a few years back!

I’m hoping that over the years as we continue to get settled in our home we’ll become even more sure of ourselves and our style. I can’t wait to see how our home grows and evolves as our style changes – and I’m hoping someday our home will feel even more “us” than it already does!

Have you seen an evolution in your style as you become more comfortable with your design choices?

Thanks for sharing!  I love your diy ottoman!  Can you even believe it’s diy?  Fabulous!!  My design style has definitely evolved and still is… in my next house, I plan to change things up again.  How has your style changed?


Christmas Décor – Aubrey from All Things Bright and Beautiful

I hope you had a great holiday!   Did you get shopping done?   Have you started to decorate for Christmas?

Today, Aubrey from All Things Bright and Beautiful is joining us to share about Christmas décor.  If you haven’t met Aubrey, you’re missing out.  Take it away, Aubrey!


What is *up*, party people?!? It’s Aubrey from All Things Bright and Beautiful!

You might be wondering why I am greeting you all like a 90′s rap song…it’s because I’m about to talk about holiday decorating, which gets me in the mood to P-A-R-T-why?!?  Because it’s the HOLIDAYS!!!

Don’t lie, you are as stoked about this as I am (c:

So I’ve been gathering up fun ideas for decorating things up like a champ…

I would love for it all to turn out like this:

…But let’s be honest with one another (I mean, we’ve know each other for like, 5 seconds, so I feel like I owe you that), my house will probably *NEVER EVER* look like this!

But I found some ideas that have me so excited like Santa on a cookie high:

A new twist on an old favorite…love the look of the book pages, quirky and vintage…

You could make the felt balls any color you wanted, but how adorable is it in multi-colored???

Absolutely adorable and festive…such a darling “upcycling” project!

Easy and even better…easy to take care of!

You could cover these babies in whatever your creative little mind can come up with, and they will be crazy adorable…

I love these wreaths…just a few (or a hundred) shatter-proof ornaments, a wire coat hanger, and some ribbon and bada bing, bada boom, AWESOME WREATH!

I’m so proud of myself for getting a head start on thinking up holiday ideas…I’ll be even *more* proud if I actually do the projects!!! hehehe!

Thanks so much, Kristy, for letting me play here today, it’s been fun!

Thanks so much for sharing with us, Aubrey!


Christmas in Germany – Barbara from Haus Design

Hope you enjoy hearing a bit about Germany’s Christmas traditions today.  My sister lived there with her family for four years a while ago and I have a friend, Toby, who is from Germany.  Not to mention, most of my ethnic heritage is German.  So, I’m excited to hear what Barbara has to say!  She has traveled the world, having been to over 40 countries.  Take it away, Barbara!


Hi Everyone! I’m Barbara from HausDesign and I’m so happy to be here today, covering while Kristy is knee deep in her move.  Kristy is a relatively new blogging friend but from the moment I discovered her blog I admired her style and the way she writes…so I was hooked right away!

I offered to write a little about what Christmas is like in Germany since some of you may not be familiar with it.  Christmas is huge in Germany, but not in a commercial way; rather it is steeped in traditional & simple celebrations along with nature-based decor that I really love and admire…

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The lead up to Christmas involves lighting four candles in a sequence of four weeks for “Advents Saison”.  These are beautiful wreaths sitting on top of a table in people’s homes usually decorated with cloves and other seasonal items.  The red and white mushroom is a symbol of good luck:

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Children count down the days until the “Christkind” comes to bring them gifts on Christmas Eve with an Advents Calendar:

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St. Nikolaus (sound familiar?) comes on December 6.  The night before, children leave a shoe (no not wooden ones :)) outside in the snow.  When they wake up in the morning he has left behind a small gift, some oranges, chocolate coins and nuts.

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Cookies aren’t usually part of the culture here, except at Christmas, when a large variety (and quantity!) of cookies are baked by the family and given as gifts to friends:

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Christmas in Germany wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the Christmas Markets.  Usually by December it is snowing so visitors drink gluhwein, a spiced mulled cider, to keep warm!  Munich has many beautiful markets – this one is in the main city square:

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I thought it would be fun to include a few pictures of interiors that represent the beauty of Germany’s take on a natural Christmas:

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I hope you enjoyed this little trip to Germany!  Please stop by and say hello if you have a minute.  :)

Thanks for having me Kristy and best of luck in Texas!


Thank you so much for sharing with us!


Christmas Decor – Guest Post from Simple Dwellings

I know, I know, it’s not even Thanksgiving yet.  However, we also know it’s time to start getting prepared for Christmas.  So, today, though you may be traveling or cooking in preparation for tomorrow, I hope you can take a breath and begin to wrap your mind around Christmas.  I’ve invited Amber to share with us today. 


Hi, I’m Amber from Simple Dwellings.  I was so excited when Kristy asked me to guest post while she got ready for her move!  I have loved her blog ever since I saw her amazing painted wing chair project!  For me, this fall has flown by- I cannot believe the holidays are around the corner. So today, I thought I would share some of my favorite holiday decor images to help get me motivated with my own Christmas decorations!

Source: via Simple on Pinterest

Source: via Simple on Pinterest

Source: via Simple on Pinterest


Now I am in the spirit! I had to include the last chevron image, since it reminds me so much of Kristy’s blog!

And now for the current exterior of our home:

I am still in fall mode, and I need to switch gears ASAP! I guess I am feeling more inspired to begin now- are you?? (To see my DIY tutorial on the painted topiary pumpkins, go here.)


Thanks so much for sharing, Amber!  I’m not going to decorate for either holiday this year, believe it or not. My move is right in the middle of it all.  So, between people viewing my house, closing on the house, packing and moving, there is no time left in there for decorating.  Next year for me! 


House Sold, But With A Twist

We listed our house on 10/29.  Had 7 offers by 10/31.  Accepted an offer and closed on 11/18.  Wow!   Is that some sort of record?  What a whirlwind, especially since we originally just put it on the MLS to “test the waters.”   So much for that, it’s sold!


Praise God for a smooth and quick process!   We will be renting our house back for about a month while we go through all of the many logistics of moving.  We found an awesome rental in Austin this weekend. So now we have a place to go when we move.   Just got back from Austin!

There was one unique thing about this process, though.  What I’m about to tell you is a bit of a well kept secret…   I’m hoping it will help any of you needing to sell a home in this tough economy save a little money.

With this home and the last home that we sold, we did what is called a “flat fee listing.”    We used Congress Realty, a local company, this time.


If you’ve ever sold a home (this is our third), you know that it can get pricey since the seller is responsible for their closing costs and both agent fees.  Many times, the sellers are even responsible for the closing costs of the buyers.

What is a flat fee listing?  On a regular sale, you pay the listing agent 3% of the sales price and you pay the buyer’s agent 3%, for a total of 6% (of the purchase price).   When you do a flat fee listing, you are no longer responsible for the 3% to the listing agent.  Instead of the 3% to the listing agent, you pay a flat fee upfront which is usually $300-1000.   This can save you thousands of dollars, depending on the sales price of your home.

For example, on a $100,000 home, as the seller, if you pay the total 6% for both agents, you’d pay $6000 in AGENT FEES.  If you only pay the 3% (to the buyer’s agent) plus the flat fee listing (instead of the 3% to the seller’s agent), you’d only pay about $3500.  That saves you $2500 on a $100,000.  This increases if the value of your home is more…

Is it difficult?  What do you do differently?

It’s easy, but you do have to be willing to put a little bit of effort into it.  Mainly, you will need to negotiate your own offers and deal directly with buyer’s agents.  However, all paperwork is provided.  Otherwise, it’s not much different.

It is not distinguishable from any other MLS listing.  This is the difference from doing “For Sale By Owner.”  It is on the MLS and has a regular sign out front.  Nothing looks “homemade.”

Most agents will discourage flat fee listings because they feel like it takes money from them.  But, it is actually a good and quick way for them to make extra money.  And, if you are someone who needs to sell a home and enjoys negotiations, it is a great way to save money.

Ready for the nitty gritty details?

The process went something like this.  20 simple steps.

1) We clicked “List Now” on the website.   Then, filled out our basic information.

2) They emailed us a listing agreement to fill out saying what services we wanted.  We ordered it to be listed on the MLS (and various websites that go with that), extra photos, a sign for the yard and was going to get a lockbox, but we never had to…   You can order what you want – which means you can get as much help as you want.

3) We faxed them back the agreement as well as a form that I filled out about the details of our house.

4) Next, we emailed photos for the listing.   You are responsible for your own photos.

5) The listing agent listed it about 24 hours later and we started getting calls immediately.

6) The sign was delivered and went up in about 24 hours, as well.  It had our phone number on it, as did the listing.  So we received all calls.

7) We manned the phones and scheduled appointments for potential buyers to come through the house.  We answered the door and welcomed the buyers in and let them wander around with their agents.  All agents left cards with us so we could verify who they were.  If we had an electronic lockbox, they’d just put their code in, it would record their identity.  And, we wouldn’t have to be there to let them in or show them around.   I enjoyed meeting everyone, though.

8 ) If they seemed interested in making an offer, I would explain that it’s a flat fee listing and we’d be doing all negotiations ourselves.  So, please email any offers directly to me.  Many copied our flat fee listing agent on their offers, which was fine.  Prior to this moment, they had no indication it was any different than any other listing.  And, this information didn’t seem to bother or deter anyone.

9) We got offers via email.  We wrote back to each thanking them, sent a floor plan and told them what to expect.

10) We collected offers through Monday night.

11) We then wrote to the top three offers to ask for their best and final offers by the next morning.

12) Once we got the final offers, we sorted through them and accepted an offer.

13) Signed the purchase contract.

14) We sent the flat fee listing agent a copy of the signed contract.

15) The flat fee listing agent marked it as under contract in the MLS so people wouldn’t continue to call for showings.

16) We could then get the seller disclosure forms or anything we needed from our flat fee listing agent’s web page.  He gives you a login where you can get any paperwork you need.  However, in this case the buyer’s agent sent us what we needed each time and asked us to sign it.  So, we were set.

17) Got through the inspection and appraisal.  Be sure to check in along the way to make sure all is going well and moving forward fine.

18) Closed just like you would with any home sale.

19) Let the flat fee listing agent know when things are closed and recorded within 1 day so he can mark the MLS listing appropriately.

20) Requested that the sign is taken down.

That’s it.  Not much different than listing with a regular agent.  You could do an open house yourself, make flyers to put by the sign, etc, if you wanted.  We didn’t need to.

The flat fee listing agent was there to answer any questions.  They have an office here so it’s a local company that agents recognize.  They do regular sales, so nothing stands out as odd.

And, it helps to have great buyers and agents to work with.  Both times we have been lucky in that regard.

Another tip is to price your home well.  Go as low as you can.  If it’s worth more, traffic will come in and the offers will be according to market value.

Hope that is helpful to you someday should you need to sell your house and save some money in the process.  We enjoyed it both times we did it.

Have you ever done a flat fee listing?  Would you?


House Project – Guest Post from Blooming Hydrangea

Today we have Ange from The Blooming Hydrangea.  She is going to share one of her recent projects with all of you.  Enjoy!


Hello Hyphen readers, I am so glad to be here today, helping Kristy out while she’s packing up and moving! What an exciting time for her and her husband. I know all too well how the packing and searching for a new home can go as our family just moved across state lines this past June.

One of the first projects I had in mind for our new home was turning our front entryway closet into a cloffice.  If you don’t know what a cloffice is, it’s a closet office.   I was really  missing our cloffice from the last house and was tired of my counters having piles of papers on them. The hubby wasn’t really on board with the idea because he was concerned about guest’s not having a place to hang their coats. While browsing pinterest one day, I found the solution to our coat dilemma, a shelf with hooks that my hubby could build for me!

Source: via Ange@thebloominghydrangea on Pinterest

While the cloffice was the first project I wanted to start on, really the entryway needed to be finished first. I started by painting the back of the door black so that the fingerprints from our children and also paw prints from our dogs would be less visible.


Next we removed the bi-fold doors from the closet and the wire shelving from inside along with our vacuums and other miscellaneous stuff we had  hidden stored in there. We decided to start painting all our trim white and will also start replacing all the doors with six panel hollow core doors. 


We had a place for guests to hang their coats but what to do with all the gear like purses, hats, gloves and scarves?  I grabbed a bookshelf that was in my daughter’s bedroom, spray painted it black and then purchased two baskets from Hobby Lobby for storage for the guests.  I also had a white mirror that I spray painted gold and hung above the bookshelf so you can check for stuff between your teeth before answering the door.  You never know who might come knocking. 


We thought perhaps a white banister and railing might not be the best idea with four children in the house so we opted for a black banister and hand railings. I really like how it ties together with the door.


I just love the shelf and coat hooks, so simple yet adds a nice touch to a boring hallway. Above the shelf I wanted to add some family photos in black frames. My friend Monica from Read My Walls not only did our family photo shoot but she also sells these beautiful frames for the pictures. They come in a variety of sizes, shapes and colors, perfect for any decor and also make a great gift! They were the perfect touch and I can’t wait to add a few more pictures to the grouping and maybe even find something to cover up the security system! If you have any ideas for that, send them my way!


This wall is so hard to photograph because it’s in a hallway and I don’t feel like I can do the shelf or the frames justice.  My camera has seen better days, I’m hoping Santa is nice to me this year and brings me something that starts with a C and ends with an A.

For the finishing touch we purchased a gray area rug from Kohl’s.  I liked the rug and hopefully it won’t show as much dirt as a lighter color rug would.  So far, so good, even the Schnauzer and Goldendoodle approve!

Here are a few final shots next to each other.  Just pretend the green tape and oak trim aren’t showing in the photo of the stairs, k?  Great! 

Thanks for coming into the entry of my home and letting me share one of the quickest and easiest makeovers we’ve done!  Always make a good first impression, even when it’s entering your home!  Thanks for having me today Kristy, it was an honor to be here!

Thanks for sharing, Ange!  What a difference.  Love the thoughtfulness that went into it all.  That cloffice is awesome.  Be sure to check her blog out!


Versace for H&M

Versace is launching a new line at H&M.  The new more reasonably priced line launches on Saturday!   It will include home items as well as clothing.

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Will you be waiting in the lines to get your hands on the collection?