homearama-house-013.jpgI'm so excited - only one week until I head to Rochester to start installing the Homearama showhouse with the Ronald McDonald House! Pete, the super-fantastic contractor on the job had the house not only done on time but it was done early. @Home Builders has a great area on the website that shows the house coming together. They were having a volunteer meeting at the home tonight and I can't wait to hear all of the comments.

Donations are still pouring in and the Rochester community has been very generous. Ronald McDonald House is an amazing organization and this has been a great opportunity to help them. We now have two incredible artists that are donating their time, The Ronald McDonald House volunteers have hundreds of hours logged picking up and renovating the donations, and Realtor® Lorelei Smith is ready to help the lucky owner of this wonderful home sign the papers to make it theirs.

homearama-house-018.jpgThis is a recent donation that was just meant to be. The chaise is covered in original vintage handpainted velvet with spectacular fringe at the bottom, and the best part is whoever is the lucky bidder on the master bedroom is going to get to own this beautiful vintage jewel!

homearama-house-015.jpgAnother wonderful item that will be in the master bedroom is the armoire that has been lovingly restored. One of the things that makes it unique is all of the organizing areas in it that I've never seen before in an older piece.

I'm counting the days until I can start putting everything together and share the progress with you.

Lifestylist Design - It's All about You

Happy Memorial Day! This was a wonderful family filled one for me - I drove up to Oklahoma City to spend the day with my parents, sisters, and their families.

This month I've been very busy doing model homes across the country for Patriot, and also working on my new Lifestylist Design products that will be launching in January. It's been really exciting to see the Lifestylist program come full circle, and to see how people have embraced the concept and made it their own.

My sister is the perfect example of what Lifestylist Design is all about. It should be about you - your life, your loves, your discoveries, not some designer or other persons interpretation of how they think you should live. I was finally able to get up here to see the new home that she and her family have been working on, and it's spectacular! And the best thing about it is that when I walk in the home, or even when I drive up to the home there is no question that this is an active outgoing family who loves life and are individuals. From the start my sister refused to get "typecast" into a specific style or theme. Instead she incorporated things that they saw on various trips, items that were gifts on very special occasions, and was wise enough to encourage her subcontractors to be partners with her on this journey. The result is a marriage of craftsmanship and character that will never be replicated the same way again, just as my sister is a one of a kind.

"Rules" are meant to be broken, especially in the design world. The next time someone tells you what you can or can't do with your home tell them that you practice the Lifestylist Design philosophy where what you love is never put in question.

Flower Power

Summer is here, and with it come all of the housekeeping that has been neglected that can't be ignored anymore. My garden is in, the windows have been washed, and finally the pool is painted (again). I can't wait to take advantage of all of the outdoor areas here at The Home Idea Factory and continue my quest to have my home live up to it's potential. One of the things that attracted me to my home is that it needed so much work I knew I'd never run out of projects!

hostas-010.jpgAfter living in Tucson for 10 years I was anxious to give my green thumb a try and see if I could replicate some of the gardens that my grandmother was known for. She was a huge influence on me, and some of my fondest memories are of Silva working on our vegetable gardens at the lake that we planted Memorial Day weekend or her cutting gardens that were as unconventional as she was. On some of my visits back to the family farm in Erie, Pennsylvania I dug up some roots of her plants and brought them back to Texas to see if they would grow, and some of them have done well. Unfortunately the raspberry bushes that we used to spend hours in the middle of eating to our hearts content didn't like the clay soil in this area and didn't make it. But the hostas are thriving and the seeds that I gathered from her hollyhocks have helped me establish the garden that I've always hoped for.

lifetiles-pot-011.jpgThe front garden that used to be a weed patch now boasts a riot of colors and includes hollyhocks and sunflowers that reach to the sky. Our latest patch of feral kittens uses it as a safe haven and I love watching them play hide and seek in the hostas.

I hope that you all are enjoying a beautiful Memorial Day!

Own a Piece of Kodak History

Western New York is such a unique part of the country and is rich in history, especially in the Rochester area. It's absolutely beautiful almost any time of year but I have to admit my favorite times are lilac and corn seasons.

Rochester is also the home of the Kodak corporation and camera junkie that I am when I'm in that area I try to go to as many flea markets and thrift shops as I can to find the perfect addition to my growing collection. At one time my collection was over 400 still and movie cameras but I've thinned it out a little and some of my very lucky builders got some very cool cameras in the theming of their model homes.

I've been keeping in touch with the wonderful Ronald McDonald House volunteers that have been gathering goodies for our Homearama house by @Home Builders and as luck would have it a wonderful woman donated a large collection of cameras and Kodak memorabilia that had belonged to her late husband Leonard Coleman.

When I collect I try to learn as much as I can about where the items came from or who they belonged to so when we were able to learn about Mr. Coleman I was thrilled.

Leonard Coleman was an avid collector and had a life-long love affair with photography. His collection had included over 2,000 cameras, most manufactured by Eastman Kodak and some manufactured as early as 1890. Mr. Coleman started his career with Eastman Kodak in 1948 as a messenger when he was 17 years old. He worked his way up through the company and retired as a vice-president in 1990.

Mrs. Coleman has been very generous with sharing the amazing collection that her husband had put together. Much of the collection was donated to the George Eastman House, and thankfully she has also decided to share some of the collection with The Ronald McDonald House ABC Sale and with us!

If you love photography and cameras as much as I do, the home and the fall sale will be one that you won't want to miss. All of the collection will be either be included in the rooms that are auctioned after Homearama or in the ABC Sale. As soon as I have more information how you can bid on these items I'll share it here.

It's a Kodak World

Sometimes things just happen for a reason, and today was one of those days. A perfect Spring day with colors that in Texas we only get to enjoy a few weeks a year, my Homearama house that I'm designing for @Home Builders just keeps getting better, and there was a great article about Kodak and the digital age in the NY Times.

I was busy updating one of my blogs last night and came across an entry that I had written about Hewlett Packard and my frustration with the printers I had purchased from them and their disinterest in customers, customer service and the quality of their product. Hey - they are HP and they own the market - why should they care?

So here is the story about Kodak and how they are really focusing their business to compete in the digital age and I couldn't agree more. Here is a company that understands what customers look to them for - images - and they are taking that into new areas that they haven't been competitive in before. It was a eureka moment for me - my point and shoot digital camera is a Kodak that I turned my camera snobby nose up at when it was recommended to me and now I can't imagine life without it. This Lifestylist® is going to turn these five lousy expensive HP printers that I got talked into and that"Sam" can't seem to get to work into planters and go out to check out a brand that is as all American as the town that it is headquartered in.