54 The Queens Courier • at home • AUGUST 18, 2016 for breaking news visit www.qns.com AT HOME YOUR HOME AND “FEELINGS” It’s been an interesting 2016 so far. Past clients have been calling for redesign, add-ons and move-outs! (I guess that’s bound to happen when you’ve been a designer as long as I.) Others have decided to add a second home in Florida and I am being taken along on this journey, as well. All of which is part of why I love what I do. This progression shows me that people value their homes and want it to keep up with every age and stage of their lives. As a young designer, I wanted perfection in every aspect of design for my clients. Today I know for sure that the feelings your home evokes are even more important. How you feel about your home and how it makes you feel have become for me, the essence of good design. I have often heard people say they’ve gone to someone’s newly decorated home and it “felt” wonderful as well as looked great. Sometimes people have the opposite reaction. The decorating may be updated and even expensive, yet it was not warm, welcoming or even comfortable. I remember my parents’ home when I was a little girl. People loved coming there and it was truly a gathering place. Yet it was neither lavish nor expensive, but it “felt” good. So what makes a home feel good? Is it a good space plan? Is it colors that work well together? Is it furniture that is scaled well to the size and height of a room? Is it art and accessories that embrace the space, yet leave room for the people? Is it that walls and windows become part of the whole environment adding the needed finishing touches? Is it a place where people can have fun or relax or escape? Or is it all of the above? Of course, dear reader, you already know the answer. A home that combines all these elements of good design will also have the right “feeling” for both home owner and guest. Notice we did not say expensive, although it is certainly easier for both designer and client if there is more latitude in what can be spent. But spending more does not necessarily ensure a better result. A good shopper is a good shopper – and just like no one knows if the pearls are real worn on that basic black dress, no one will know how much the budget was for your well designed room. So - what feeling does the change of season evoke in you? If you’ve got the urge to do some spring cleaning and redoing – go for it – that’s sweat equity that will surely pay off and give you a great start. Then perhaps you’ll have the next urge to make your home a more welcoming place for you and those who enter. This spring, go with the feeling and see how great your home can make you feel. Editor’s Note: Natalie Weinstein is an Allied ASID, IDS interior designer, talk show host, author, speaker and president of Natalie Weinstein Design Associates in St. James, NY, since 1973, and owner of the newly opened quality consignment shop Uniquely Natalie in St. James, NY, where you will find fine furnishings and accessories for your home. Visit www.nalieweinstein.com, for full service interior design. Join www.nataliesclub. com for FREE and get professional design advice along with FREE seminars, tips, learning products and discounts. Listen for Design Tips by Natalie on WALK 97.5 FM. For more information about NWDA, please call 631-862-6198 or email at info@natalieweinstein. com. For more information about Uniquely Natalie Browser’s Club, call 631-686-5644 or visit www. uniquelynatalie.com. Natalie Weinstein Allied ASID Q & A Dear Natalie, I’d love to do some things in my home, but I don’t know where to start. I know what I like, but I get very overwhelmed. Every part of my home seems to need to be redone. My house is a small 70’s, 3 bedroom L ranch with a finished basement and nothing has been done since we had our kids and now they are teenagers! Thanks for your help – Cheryl Dear Cheryl, You are not alone! But if you take it step by step, you will make progress. First make a plan (of priorities) and then a plan (floor plan, that is). Look at your rooms and see how they meet your current needs. Remember your old living room can now be a den and your kitchen (I’m assuming it was never redone) can now be open to a casual dining room with a center island dividing the kitchen/dining room if you remove the wall between. If this plan works for you, get some estimates for removing the wall and getting new cabinets (and perhaps new appliances). They will be your major expenses. Your existing furniture can be used as placeholders and you can purchase new when money is available. If you don’t mind putting some “sweat equity” in the mix, you and your family can repaint the space for a great spruce up. If finding the money to do your largest project is difficult, perhaps a home improvement loan or line of credit might be arranged, especially if there’s not much left on your mortgage. My advice, if you’re overwhelmed, is to bite the bullet and get assistance with the largest project first. If you spend money in dribs and drabs when you have it for smaller changes, you might never get to the one that will make a really big difference and add value to your home now and when you decide to sell. I know you won’t believe this – but once you begin to tackle the hardest project first, your confidence will soar and you will look forward to the next one and be willing to wait for it to happen. Good luck and remember how important your home is to your family. Positive changes in it affects everyone, so go for it and don’t be afraid! Professional help is always there if you need it.
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