Life is Like a Box of Chocolates

Life is like a box of chocolates -you just never know what you'll find in the middle. If you would have told me 10 years ago that I would be "decorating trailers" I would have called you a liar. But here I am in Hershey, Pennsylvania working on some homes for a manufactured housing show and I can't think of anything I'd rather be doing.

Why manufactured housing instead of traditional built homes? Manufactured / PreFab/ Modular/ FactoryBuilt homes are cool! In this crazy semi-homemade world where we've been told it's OK to take shortcuts, it's nice to see homes built the way they should be built - with attention to detail, engineered, and built to suit the customers lifestyle.

Where will I go from here? I'm looking forward to seeing this type of building grow into its potential, and being able to be a part of the success.

It Can be Easy to be Green

As a Lifestylist®, I realize that there is a lot more to creating a home or office environment besides making it look pretty. Lifestyle, budgets, and what's important to you and your family play a large part in what you should be considering when you are working on making your house a home.

Often when people decide to purchase a new home they think that to make it look as good as the model home that they fell in love with they'll need a king's ransom to be able to afford all new furniture, artwork, and personality pieces. To show how you can buy on a budget and recycle at the same time, I have teamed up with @Home Builders and the Ronald McDonald House to do an entire home that will be furnished and merchandised with gently loved items that have been donated to the Rochester, NY organization for their annual ABC Sale.

Always up for a great challenge, I wasn't sure what to expect when I visited the warehouse that houses all of the donated materials until sale day. With it being so early before the sale, they have just begun to get donations so what I saw was just a preview of what there will be in October. It was amazing! The selections they had were so unique that hardest thing for me when I design the home is going to be making a decision!

Being green and recycling doesn't have to just be about solar energy or spending a lot of money on fancy equipment. It can be as easy as giving a vintage rocking horse a new home or specifying new carpet like Shaw offers that is "cradle to cradle" recyclable. If we all made an effort to just buy one or two items for our new homes at a thrift shop or Salvation Army store, imagine what a difference that could make in our landfills.

I'm looking forward to sharing my @Home Builders show house journey with you but be warned - when you see the treasures that can be found at sales like this you'll be joining me with UHaul in tow at the sale!

Customer Service?

This has been quite a month - I've been busy finishing up some really exciting projects and getting ready to start on some new ones that I can't wait to share with you. As a result of all of this I've been doing a lot of traveling and putting together various marketing materials. As always seems to be the case, if you have to get something done or be somewhere at a specific time Murphys Law comes into effect.

One of the new opportunities I am working on is an incredible opportunity in many ways. One of my favorite clients - @Home Builders is building a home in Rochester NY that will be part of the 30th Homearama that the Rochester HomeBuilders Association puts on every year. What makes this home so special is that we (yes, I've been asked to be part of the team!) will be decorating the home entirely with furniture, artwork and accessories that have been donated to the Ronald McDonald House for their annual ABC sale. The concept is to show people how you can blend old and new with fantastic results as well as being able to save more of your budget to invest in your new home. I traveled this week to Rochester to meet the rest of the team and to start choosing which items I want to use in the house, and it couldn't have been a better example of the best and the worst on hwo to treat yoru customers.

Northwest Airlines used to excel in how they treated their patrons which is why I gave them my loyality in the past, but for some reason remembering that as customers we have a choice of how we want to spend our hard earned dollars has doesn't seem to be as important anymore. Out of five different flighta that I had booked for this trip, so far 2 have had employee or maintenance issues that have made me miss my connecting flights. How as this handled? Poorly, especially since they lost my luggage on the way to Rochester, and on my 6 am flight this morning the flight attendant that was old enough to be my father couldn't figure out how to use the coffee maker so we all spent the should have been 50 minute turned into 2 1/2 hour flight caffine free. Instead fo making an effort when we landed to help us make our connections we just got a "sorry, we'll try to get you on the next one".

And then we have a company like @Home Builders. I don't think I've ever met a more devoted, delightful team who obviously enjoy what they are doing. One of my sayings is that "no is not a word in the English vocabulary" and the @Home team is a perfect example of this philosophy. I heard stories of how they have gone above and beyond to help their customers get what they truly want in their new homes. They also understand giving back to the community, and the Ronald McDonald House showhouse is a perfect example. I'm thinking when I come back to instal the home I may be driving instead of taking Northwest again though - not only because of how I've been treated on this trip by them but also because I'm seeing a UHaul in my future to bring back some of the treasures I all ready have my eyes on from the donated items!