Concepts for Condominiums
writing the last column about the "Go Green" concept
and products designed to save our resources, I attended the
October 9th Green Expo at Palm Beach State College (formerly
our Community College located on Congress Avenue in Lake
Campus Expo was alive with people who really have extensive
knowledge and awareness of local environmental issues.
the annual energy cost in America to run our primary and high
schools combined to total over 6 BILLION dollars, this amount
easily surpasses the total for books and computers combined .
Palm Beach County now using the EPA Energy Star ratings for
its almost 200 Schools, the key to understanding and reducing
water and air conditioning costs is easier to track and verify
improvements. The past 2 yearís efforts and changes has
reduced energy consumption by 12%, even with the addition of
several new schools.
as energy management has been successful for schools, we as
condo owners must take the time to research possible changes
and spend the extra money up front for the longer term
is so easy to be complacent, especially if water and electric
or both are included in monthly maintenance fees. One has only
to attend a board meeting or look at the annual budget to see
that even indirectly most monthly increases are due to rising
the issue is pool temperature, more lighting than needed and
water requirements for non xeriscape landscaping, we cannot
allow personal entitlement as a reason to refuse to look at
and change things.
choices do not have to be inferior and can lead to products
manufactured and repaired by U.S. workers to help with
economic recovery. Energy management systems, now computer
based, can control and manage a condoís energy needs
probably without noticing the changes.
gave up my flower garden 6 years ago in the change to a condo,
but have become VERY aware of the water needs of balcony pots
to keep them happy. I buy drought tolerant plants that donít
fry in our Florida sunshine and never pour water down the
drain if it could be used for my plants.
the expo, a self contained tower system, using no soil and 99%
water efficient, was displayed and explained. Looking somewhat
Ďstate-of-the-artí but not unattractive on a balcony, it
grows flowers and plants vertically just using water and
nutrients. I am not sure why condo documents could prevent
having one and, with the plants installed, itís quite
attractive. Various sizes are available and can be viewed on
the biggest surprise was a weekly radio program called
"Radio Green Earth" produced by public radio and
focusing on the environment. We can listen to experts on
technology, products and changing everyday tasks that will
help us become greener.
showís hosts are an environmental scientist John Poggi;
radio and TV journalist Jim Jackson, the winner of two Edward
R. Murrow Awards; and Missy Tancredi, a LEED ( Leadership in
Environmental Design) accredited professional who is currently
Vice Chair of the United States Green Building Council / Palm
Beach, Treasure Coast Branch. Each Saturday at 5 P.M. on WXEL
90.7 FM we can hear about the "Green" tip of the
week, new book reviews, and update on any green events in
addition, discussions of marine conservation, endangered
species, and eco-friendly products and recycling take it
beyond the level of community issues. Listen live at
radiogreenearth.org or download any of the podcasts from
all of us trying to do our part with new ideas and methods to
save our Earth and itís resources, I will continue next
issue with easy and commonplace tips to start. I promise youíll
save money along the way.
Should Be The Color For Everyone
writing about the wonderful colors associated with fall, green
doesnít come to mind. Perhaps it should, as there is no
better time to change the way you decorate and live. It is not
really very difficult to make changes and make your condo,
only small steps first toward the Going Green Process, because
it can become overwhelming with all we see and hear. It is
very trendy for manufacturers to include the green message in
their advertising, but condos have a slightly different avenue
to travel than our earth-bound friends living in homes.
to popular belief, stylish eco-friendly design elements are
available for every room of your condo. We do not have to
concern ourselves with solar panels, geothermal systems or
other flashy products with huge costs.
need not be opposed to sustainability. One example is a $50
cork bulletin board found in Crate and Barrel. Upon reading
the product description, the item is made from a sustainable
lightweight cork alternative, caned charcoal polypropylene, so
the additional cost is a result of a new example of going
green. The retailer also has an entire line of furniture
called the Lockport Collection, with soy based poly foam in
the cushions and hardwood frames certified by the Forest
Stewardship Council. Washable slip covers are available in 18
colors and probably include one of your favorites. Green
decorating items are becoming a growing business with other
popular retailers. Pottery Barn sells bowls made of recycled
glass. The Container Store sells newsprint bins made of
recycled paper and storage boxes from recycled fiberboard.
Restoration Hardware features furniture and accessories made
from sustainable harvested Indonesian teak. William Sonoma
announced that 95 % of the paper in their seven catalogues
would come from certified sources.
some green products are more expensive, recent carpet options
that are competitively priced have made their way down to the
big box home stores. Made from recycled material or natural
fibers, it eliminates synthetic chemical based ones causing
vapors and fumes over time and health concerns. Many green
designers recommend eliminating carpet and linoleum altogether
and suggest reclaimed hardwood or bamboo flooring which can be
stained or painted. Bamboo is also made into wallpaper and
furniture. Recycled wallpaper is a hot item in decorating.
Several companies take existing pieces of scrap and torn paper
and turn them into entirely new designs. A further benefit is
that it prevents the wallpaper glue from ending up in a
landfill. Choose area rugs made of cotton or hemp and natural
materials which are already widely available.
suggestion may be familiar to you, but I will continue to
inspire you to make other "Green Changes" in the
next issue. Designers have noted that over 25 % of their
clients want to live and work in a more environmentally
friendly space. Even tiny changes will conserve our resources
and reduce our utility bills. Thatís the green anybody can
Decor for your Condo
you havenít noticed on the Calendar, September 23rd was the
first day of autumn, and to those of us living year round in
Florida, the chance for some cooler weather is very welcome.
After recently coming back from Alaska, the heat and humidity
still with us, has been especially hard to live with.
I am feeling displeasure from our summer conditions, I
remember being told that 200 to 300 inches of snow each year
is about normal in the 49th state.
fall is a great time to make some changes to our condo decor
and add some wonderful colors and accessories to create a warm
and cozy feeling, in spite of waiting at least another month
for the temperature to cool down.
create a beautiful autumn ambiance, stay away from plastic and
fake items when the real things are inexpensive and tasteful
and not that hard to find.
you have been thinking about a new color for a room, check out
the Benjamin Moore Fall pallet for 2010. My favorites are Cork
(2135), Audubon Russet (HC 51), and a wonderful soft blackened
green called Wethersfield Moss (HC110). The HC designation is
given to historical colors and you canít go wrong either
with any of the golds or rust tones from that collection.
new accents around your condo, take some time to visit a local
farmerís market and purchase apples, pears, decorative
gourds, acorn squash, nuts and native corn and load a simple
wooden bowl, country basket, tiered cake plate or cornucopia
with these items.
years ago in Ashville, North Carolina, I spotted white
field-grown pumpkins for the first time, and my vintage style
decorating dreams were fulfilled. Local craft stores report
the traditional orange artificial pumpkins have dropped in
popularity up against the white ones. The newest black ones
this year look too much like Halloween and a bit harsh with
most color schemes, but could be appropriate with more
some easy decorating with nature, choose a tall hollowed-out
fresh pumpkin as a container for your seasonal flowers or
carve a small 1" hole in the miniature pumpkins we see
all over, and use them as taper candle holders. You can
alternate similar size pumpkins with pillar candles in
hurricane glass along your dining room table runner and then
scatter fall leaves. If you are lucky enough to get a snowbird
friend to bring you some real leaves, preserve them by ironing
between sheets of wax paper, microwave for a few seconds or
rub a good moisturizer onto the front and back to prevent
their curling. Soaking leaves in glycerin is still an old
standby or press them between pages of a heavy book. If I
drive out of Florida, I always take several old phone books
(getting scarce these days) and a cement block for weight, in
order to dry the many wonderful flowers, leaves and grasses
found along the back roads. If you are lucky to spot Queen
Anne Lace, tie a large bouquet of it and hang upside down in
your car and it will look as good as the dried sold in flower
shops. Add these to grapevine and bittersweet for a very
great autumn choices can include wheat, which was beloved by
the famous fashion designer, Coco Chanel. Wheat symbolizes
luck, prosperity and fruitfulness and the French word for
wheat, "ble" is a slang word for "money".
Chanel, who rose from a humble childhood, tucked sheaths of
wheat behind statues and collectibles in her home and liked to
include wheat in artwork as well. The Chanel 2010 Fashion
Collection included wheat fabric prints from the current
designer, Karl Lagerfelt, as a way to honor Coco Chanelís
love of wheat.
you prefer, stack miniature bales of straw to showcase and
give different heights to the wide assortment of colorful mums
available at all the home stores. If you have space on your
balcony, large bales of hay and corn stalks are sold at the
horse feed stores in the western part of our county. After you
have combined them with other autumn decorations, complete the
look with votive candles or clear twinkle lights.
get in a fall mood, replace your bed linens with some of the
wonderful flannel selections readily available and think about
a chenille spread or blanket.
decorating stores have endless choices of flowers, tablecloths
and place mats, so choose a few colorful basic pieces to start
with and add some wonderful things now available at the Dollar
around your condo for ways to introduce a touch of autumn, and
start a new fall tradition, even here in Florida, to celebrate
the natural beauty and brilliant colors of the harvest season.
Great Souvenir Debate
it meaningful in your decor
just returned from a trip to Seattle and then a wonderful
Alaskan cruise, I saw an endless number of gift and souvenir
shops with their eager buyers. There didnít seem to be any
money worries from the cruisers bringing their finds back on
the ship, and ultimately to their homes and condos.
space and clutter is a big factor, I have ideas for choosing
and displaying things from your travel that you may not have
sister Susan and her daughter have traveled to many countries,
and they started when Alison was very young, to buy key chains
printed with the individual name of the locations they visit.
Christmas, they augment their traditional ornaments with these
special mementos which are easily hung on the tree branches
and they spend many happy hours recalling these trips during
has also been very enjoyable for me, that rather than a
typical souvenir, I can select and add to their collection a
unique key chain from somewhere far away. They look forward to
making this "travel tree" each year. A similar
"travel wreath" would take no precious floor space.
friend with a Victorian styled holiday tree collects unique
and beautiful small demitasse cups, glues on the saucer
permanently and hangs from a vintage ribbon through the
handle. Shells have made a staple Christmas ornament from
trips, but try an item more suitable that blends with your
a rule, stay away from shops and their cookie cutter
selections which all look the same but with varying prices.
Instead, hit the side streets and local flea markets if you
have time. Rather than SPEND money, collect local paper money
and coins which look great framed on velvet. Cut out easily
recognizable images from old postcards and place these also
under the glass. Add these to small matted and framed
groupings of bookmarks and small tourist maps from various
trips. Anyplace from an entrance hall to master bath is a
suitable place for these small personal memories. Many years
ago, cruise lines printed daily individual menus for each ship
and date, and I have seen many elegant dining rooms with these
attractively framed. Often, antique shops have a selection
from local famous restaurants long gone. Each restaurantís
old prices are certainly a conversation starter.
your condo is without much color and you prefer it that way,
you can find small items in glass and crystal which do not
jump out from your existing decor, and can be placed in
cabinets or on bookshelves without looking inappropriate.
is probably a glass penguin from South America, bear or whale
from Alaska or another signature animal to purchase at your
perfume bottles chosen on trips can easily add to a dresser
vignette. Go for either colorless glass or shades of your
favorite color so as not to create a jumbled mess.
years past, kitchen towels were available with popular
locations and a designated towel rack with numerous old travel
towels looks decorative when displayed together.
plates for a wall, chosen on trips, whether with locations
printed or not, makes a hunt for that special new addition a
worthwhile pastime in a port city.
vintage jewelry is your passion, find a beautiful box and keep
a find from each trip spilling out of it. Select and wear one
of the pieces and enjoy friendsí comments about it and
stories from your vacation where it was purchased. It neednít
be more than costume jewelry, but have some significance from
miniatures are your favorite collectable and especially these
days of increasing luggage fees, purchase like items which can
be displayed in a printerís or shadow box in a suitable
size, that can make book ends when assembled. Travel books
already scattered on several shelves would be special and
meaningful if grouped this way.
finally, all the pictures and what to do to with them. We all
know they can be made larger and matted for a wall. In our
smaller condo rooms, the display of various bright colors with
our existing decor can often be too overpowering and not look
well. With the ability now to edit and Photoshop with our own
computers, we can convert our travel pictures to sepia or
black and white images which then look amazingly different,
upscale and stylish and enhance any decor. A touch of black
and white is a staple in any good room setting. Experiment
this way with your pictures and you WILL find a place to
proudly display your efforts.
some of the long forgotten "must haves" from
previous trips will spark a new plan to get them from out of
the closet to become decorating pluses. A new survey has found
it is not the new things and toys we purchase which give us
pleasure, but memories of places and different cultures we
have visited and explored with our loved ones.
your favorite trip and make the memory real again from
treasures and trinkets you rediscover and have around you, no
matter how small the condo space you call home.
- Don't Just Store - Your Artwork
that the Antiques Roadshow has packed up and left South
Florida for another of the 6 cities that make up the 2011
season shows, I thought about all the antiques and
collectibles going back home with their owners.
your treasure was NOT found to be valuable enough to pay your
childís college tuition or provide you the "good
life", where can it go?
would say, half of the people in the appraisal line had
artwork. At best, these will go back into hiding in the closet
of an air-conditioned room. Since we condo owners have neither
attics or basements which are the most damaging to paper and
canvas, common storage rooms which come with our units
sometimes become their permanent home. While under the bed has
long been the place for unhung artwork, this can be acceptable
if stacked frame upon frame, as this will give some
general rule for the cleaning of an oil on canvas is 15 years
and is done by a good restorationist.
murky oils are transformed when years of dust and smoke are
removed. Many times, this accounts for a previous painting,
being given star billing afterwards. If you are hanging an
antique picture in your condo or just had to purchase one at
an auction, look closely at how it was previously hung
older frames have two screw eyes with the wire merely run
through the eye and then wound back upon itself. This is not
the way, and over time the weight can cause this to loosen and
the picture come crashing down. For the picture to hang
correctly the screw eyes should be about 65 % of the distance
of the frame as measured from the bottom. Using a heavy
braided wire, run it through the eye TWICE and then form a
knot with the hanging wire and twist the remaining as before.
Allow for slack and cut the wire 6" longer to tie the
other side. Pick a wall out of direct sunlight, especially in
Florida, and use two hooks for very large paintings to prevent
hanging off center.
designers prefer artwork which is in harmony with the style
and colors of a room. Art collectors feel any period or
subject matter of good art can be correct. If I am working
with a client who has a great amount of existing paintings, I
try to hang the correct size in areas around a room. If you
are hanging a collection of pictures, the spaces between
should be the same vertically and horizontally and not more
than 2'í apart. Fill at least 50% of the space above a sofa
or low piece of furniture so the picture doesnít look lost.
Since fireplaces are rarely in condos, placing a large piece
of art sitting on a dresser or buffet can be perfect,
especially for heavy paintings and frames.
that we have our pictures taken care of, I will share a
British Roadshow story with some finds from last yearsí
a London Roadshow a lady brought in a much loved painting
inherited from her mother who was the housekeeper in the home
where it had originally hung. She remembers it since she was a
child but was shocked to hear the identity of the artist to be
Alice Havers and value to be over $30,000. Since she couldnít
even afford insurance for it, it auctioned at twice that
a Derbyshire Roadshow, an admitted jewelry addict, brought in
a bag of brooches which cost her $50 at auction. The appraiser
went through them and estimated their value about $125 each
and the lady appeared quite happy with her good find. Upon
closer look at a pink brooch, it turned out to be genuine
Faberge, which would appraise at least $15,000. The
overwhelmed owner politely asked if her friend might hold her
hand after hearing the news.
small brown bottle decorated with a spiderís web of silver,
enamel, pearl and moonstone was brought to the Roadshow by a
man whose dad had purchased it in 1950 for a few pounds. He
was told there are photos of this item in the Victoria and
Albert Museum, but the piece had been missing for most of the
20th Century. Famous Victorian designer William Burges made
and previously owned the small bottle appraised to be worth up
my Roadshow South Florida Event now a fond memory, I may have
seen on the long line for appraisal, an owner with a equally
wonderful story. January 2011 isnít that far away to know. Iím
sure to be watching. About.com has an alphabetical list
of collectibles and in and my next commentary, I will choose
some with suggested ideas for creative display.
we live in an area with outdoor activities year round, we donít
feel compelled to go somewhere else just for fun in the sun.
With temperatures at 90 plus degrees, many would just as soon
be comfortable in their air conditioned condos.
in 2005 and gaining more popularity by 2007, the buzzword
"staycation" was added to the Miriam-Webster
Dictionary in July 2009. It is predicted during 2010 over 50%
of vacations will be spent at least part at your home.
our economic conditions causing many to forgo lengthy trips,
and airports and the long security lines very dehumanizing, a
vacation at home can offer welcome relief from the stress of
letís make clear what a staycation is NOT Ö A vacation
where an individual stays in their condo to do chores, finish
projects and sits around watching TV. Donít allow laundry
and cleaning out of your closet to fill the free time.
start planning, write down all the places locally you have not
visited and group them by location. Get a Palm Beach County
Visitorís guide and check out your local Chamber of Commerce
Website. You might be surprised to find great must-see
activities that you didnít know about. Buy tickets for
sporting events. I always feel guilty about our Florida
Marlins, with their empty stadium, when other teams are at
capacity. Even with the hot weather, one game could be the
start to appreciate the fun of being in the stands.
the time to compare and purchase quality patio furniture and
new sun loving plants you put in attractive colorful
containers. Read a book youíve been meaning to ó all of
it. On your staycation, you have the luxury of time to sit
back, relax, and immerse yourself in a great book. Whether
your taste runs to the bestsellers, or travel titles, a
staycation is your opportunity to mentally visit other places
and times without interruptions.
a new skill. Take a cooking class, learn yoga, or explore a
craft youíd love to master. If you are going to stay home,
then stay home and do something.
you love antique and thrift stores, make a map for a day of
all the ones you never have time to explore.
a spa day whether using all the things in your bathroom
cabinet or an appointment for at least a half day of
biggest thing to avoid is checking your business e-mail or
letting your mind drift into the schedule when you return to
your job. Donít let the "sites" you visit only be
on the Internet.
many of these things may seem simple, the most important
factor is make a "wish list" before hand.
those who enjoyed a staycation over the Fourth of July
weekend, there were many activities our local Palm Beach
County cities planned for the celebration.
Rapallo Condo in West Palm Beach, had an Annual Party with
Dinner before the start of the fireworks, and dessert
afterwards. The location right along the seawall of Flagler
Drive provided some of the best viewing in West Palm Beach.
For this writerís staycation, I wouldnít want to be
Wild West Theme Sure to Please
you and your Condo neighbors are tired of the same cocktail
party format for next season, I highly recommend trying a
Western theme for your event. Having just experienced the fun
and novelty last month and sharing some photos below, here are
some ideas to make your planning as easy as a "horse
drawn to water."
of all think rustic, old lanterns, metal washtubs for ice,
easily found bales of hay, and my very favorite, Margaritas or
other drinks in Mason Jars. Ask guests to bring their own
decorated Mason jars for an immediate conversation starter.
Optional western clothing perhaps a "Denim and
Diamonds" description makes for a pre-planning buzz, at
least among the ladies.
food, plan a Buffet Round Up with the main selection such as a
Cowgirl Burger or Whiskey Pork Chops and have sides donated by
willing "Ranch hands." To make large party room
decorating easy, products called Scene Setters are available
locally or online. Sturdy plastic Old West borders, saloon
doors, panel or barn door siding on 50í rolls are affixed to
painted walls using a product called "Sticky Tac"
(get the white color) with no harm when taken down. Endless
posters and signs are available that are Western themed and
cheap (on clearance) Treat-filled piŮatas to hang are shaped
into boots, horses, tractors and pigs.
looking for Western decorations, I came across three
restaurants in different parts of the country and found new
ideas as well. Best known is "Cowgirl" for those
Snowbirds returning to N. Y. Open since 1988 on Hudson Street
their signature Dessert is "Baked Potato Sundae."
Martha Stewart features the directions on her video archives
and for part of the secret, the potato is 3 scoops of ice
cream shaped, and frozen and covered with cocoa. Add all the
topping and chocolate sauce and the effect is truly amazing.
is a "Cowgirl Restaurant" in Santa Fe NM, and
Southeast Austin, Texas, which offers a Sandra Bullock Club
Sandwich and you can book a Bubba and Babe Texas Wedding.
sure to add unshelled peanuts in straw baskets, a dart board
contest with bandana-tied treats as prizes, and paint your own
wooden horseshoes! Add the old standby Wagon Wheel and you can
stand back and watch your Condo neighbors hoping the party
See pictures from this event at The
Windows Make Stylish Decor
is always nice to get calls and feedback from our Condo
News readers and I now know some new crown molding
products have gotten the blessing of "This Old
House." My neighbor Phil called to say, I should check
out the recent TV program which discussed "clip-on crown
molding." An easy search online led me to discover
several installation systems I was unaware of.
polyurethane trim products, commonly called "faux
molding" have been around since the Ď70s they still
previously required installation which required angled cutting
of inside and outside corners. Mistakes on a cut could be
costly and disappointing.
snap-on patented technology avoids all corner matching and
offers other benefits; no need to locate studs in the walls,
nail holes to fill, can be pre-painted or stained before
applying and can be easily removed for wall color changes. It
even touts it can be used in another condo later on, much like
some countries used to take the free standing kitchen cabinets
and early 1990s manufactured simulated floors often referred
to as "floating floors." While thatís a bit of a
stretch for this Designer, the opportunity to glue a fastener
to the wall while perched on a ladder seems doable. Some of
the clip-on systems do show brackets attached with screws,
much like those for bookshelves, but my success level with
that method would be greatly diminished. Corresponding
moldings clip into the pre-cut corners and lengths that are
joined to butt together along the wall and meet another
pre-cut inside corner piece. A bit of paintable filler and
voila, your crown molding. With further pluses of no chance of
warping and no heavy traditional wood to hold up for nailing,
give these products a serious look.
to my window product suggestions, wood blinds with up to
3" slats are hugely in favor in South Florida condos
replacing more costly wood shutters. They are not available
longer than 96 inches and remember, the wider the slat, the
more daylight comes in. The standard aluminum blinds are
available to 196" and endless colors to match your walls
but they come across as much more office like and
contemporary. If your are going for stained wood blinds, be
sure to take your floor color, easily matched with stain
sample cards. If your windows are lucky enough to have
beautiful white molding, continue the white in your blinds. A
big NO to the horrible plastic wands that yellow and crack in
our Florida sunshine. Instead, ask for cords that tilt on one
side and raise on the opposite side cord. Nothing gets more
annoying than trying to figure which cord does what when they
are hanging together.
I touched on in the last article, pleated shades are either up
or down but stack almost out of sight under a valance. Roller
shades will be around longer than many of us but for complete
blackout, which many prefer, they are still the best choice.
Newer thermal shades with a mechanized system respond to
changing temperature and light and then raise and lower on
shades are not chosen as frequently, but cotton duck gives the
beachy washy feel liked by many. Consider one for a master
bath using outdoor Sunbrella which does fine with a daily
drenching. Fabric matching your upholstery gives and an
elegant, harmonious but more formal effect. The once popular
balloon shades are best left to guest rooms and hung as high
to the ceiling as possible so they open up more glass below
completes products for you condo for daily opening and
closing, but drape ideas, suggestions, and yes general rules
will follow soon.
correction in the percentage of condo dwellers who use
interior design services ó most surveys suggest 47-50 % and
not 5% . While I was in Atlanta, the Wizard was supposed to be
minding the store and some how let that mistake get in!!
Your Guest Room Upgrades Before the Holidays
the Thanksgiving Holidays over and the turkey and guests all
gone, now is a good time to evaluate how you fared with the
guests staying in your Condo home.
of us wish we had purchased a 2 bedroom unit but during the
previous market the difference from a one bedroom was
considerable. Unfortunately for resale, it is now possible to
get a larger space for the same 2005 price. But if you love
your building and view as I do, here are some suggestions
before the next Holiday to better prepare for "relatives
and refugees" from the cold weather.
suggesting extra items like towels, lovely soap and magazines
are standard fare in a guest room article, consider putting an
iron and board (yes people still iron) in the closet you have
partially emptied beforehand and stocked with good hangers.
addition of lamps with a 3-way bulb and a universal TV remote
for each bedside table are welcome. A fluffy robe, alarm clock
and accessible outlet to charge cell phones and a pen and pad
will be most appreciated. Along with the oft suggested fruit,
stock a basket with individually packaged puddings and fruit,
some health bars and bottled water which no longer is expected
to be chilled. Anything usually put in a childís lunch box
is great and can keep for the future guests as fruit can sadly
spoil so quickly.
decision for bedding is a most important one and will vary
depending on the other uses besides guests. A good mattress in
a must and helpful comparisons can be found on
consumersearch.com or sleeplikethedead.com, an unforgettable
name that makes me smile. Always opt for as large a bed as
your room and budget can handle. The option of the much
maligned trundle bed puts 2 twins in less floor space.
is always the sleeper couch which has improved through the
years and now many contain an air mattress for comfort. For
information on the newer air beds, the New York Timesí Home
section ( November 26th ) compared 5 air beds and discussed
the features to shop for. The original low lying style is now
replaced by queen sized ones that measure 80'í long with an
attached headboard. Several inflatable options exist but be
sure to get an automatic shut off. With horizontal air
channels or a surface dimpled with pockets of air, the flat
vinyl slab feeling is eliminated. The writer suggested a
quilted mattress pad made an enhancement and world of
sleeper ottomans made by Lucy Au of Montreal, allow a fold out
sleeper placed under a window and available in all sizes. The
multifunctional surface top helps if your room is also a home
that we have our bedding with 2 quality pillows for each side,
we should eliminate all thoughts of additional throw pillows
which have to be moved each night. Extra blankets should be
easily found, if needed.
our South Florida sunshine, the need for light control and
privacy should be given important research. I have turned to
Wholesale Vertical, an advertiser in the Condo News, with a
29-year history, for suggestions. With the unexpected huge
cost of shutters, the faux horizontal blinds have gained
popularity. Pleated cellular shades covered by sheers or not,
can be quickly raised out of sight but the resultant direct
sunlight is a problem. The newer roll up sun control shades
allow you to see out but offer little night privacy. A heavier
version is opaque and room darkening.
the still versatile vertical blind option is chosen by 60% of
the customers at Wholesale Verticals, according to Jean, the
owner, and Tina, her assistant, who will come out with samples
and recommendations for window treatments.
the Holidays getting near, you still have time to select and
install verticals in 5 working days. If you have extra tall
windows and high ceilings, the cost for this product is very
reasonable compared to other choices. The textured and endless
colors available, make a visit by Tina a sure way to get
exactly what is best for your condo home. For light control,
nothing compares for making a guest room the quiet respite for
an afternoon nap. When verticals are pulled back, an
attractive side panel can hide the slats and a decorative
fabric valence above the head rail softens the room. The
owners of Wholesale Verticals will guarantee their mechanism
for as long as you own it, though there is seldom repairs
needed. Ordering additional slats can also give a feeling of
security if one is damaged.
often hear a design client say they just want something white,
but the amount of different whites available is truly amazing.
Grays, yellowish and beige whites should be chosen in the room
with the wall color, and seldom is the selection of brite or
appliance white the final one. Faux wood verticals have added
another option for sliders and French doors and look great
with matching faux horizontal blinds for the additional
windows in your condo..
sure to know about all the new product options from a
reputable local company such as Wholesale Verticals. It will
take away the stress of making a color mistake or incorrect
our guest room window treatments in the hands of the Design
Wizard, we can look forward to the other nice additions for
in mind the most important ingredient for a guests enjoyment
is a warm, relaxed host and hostess with a flexible schedule
and not hovering or apologizing over every detail or omission.
During this beautiful season there is no place better than
Florida to visit. Take the time to enjoy everything just like
Wholesale Verticals is located at 6001 Georgia Ave., Suite 10,
West Palm Beach, FL 33405. Phone: (561) 585-1485.
above are samples of verticals available at Wholesale
by Jimmy Shir.ey
your Condo is fortunate enough to have a social, party,
meeting room, or anything else you might call it, this area is
most often under-used by owners.
is probably too late to think about fall or Halloween decor,
but the holidays and return of your snowbirds are eminent.
Many buildings have a year-round Social Committee to plan
various events, but if not, this is the year to try to get
something planned. Letís start with the rock bottom needs
for your party.
the financially difficult times we are seeing all around us,
there are some in every condo who feel there are not enough
funds available and just letís wait till next year. This
feeling is the direct opposite of the need to seek the comfort
and pleasure and uplifting experience we can get by
a majority of people feel that a SUCCESSFUL party needs to be
"ELEGANT", an event decor that is original and
authentic gets a strong second vote.
reading the New York Times Thursdayís HOME section,
two well known designers expressed the freedom we should
express which can get lost in expensive and unnecessary
Bailey, who has been chosen by Ivanka Trump to design the
decor for her October 25th wedding, describes his starting
price for one of his functions for a client as "a
lot." For entertaining at home, he favors a less
expensive, less complicated approach. He adds that having a
party requires only 2 things: the hosts must get over the idea
that everything must be perfect, and setting the mood and tone
for the evening is directly responsible for its success. This
is certainly to be kept in mind during meetings for your condoís
events. Is imposing your style on the party more important
than the collective ideas and good will you are looking for?
Your eventís decor becomes the environment to feed,
entertain and hopefully, fondly remember after the bills are
are some things to keep in mind for your condo event or even
your own personal party.
first what you might chose to serve whether finger food,
buffet or the more difficult sit down menu which I donít
personally recommend. What ends up is individual tables of
friends oblivious to newcomers. This completely defeats one of
the benefits of a social evening. Many times the gruff or
difficult resident at a board meeting, where money and
maintenance fees are at stake, turns out to be a lovely guest
at a party.
a definite theme or season to start your planning. At the
least, choose major colors to make shopping easier. It also
helps for turning down a residentís well meaning donations
of old decorations if the color isnít right.
around your condoís landscape for greenery or flowers you
can feature or incorporate in your decorating. No luau should
be without arecas or palm leaves tucked in your sconces or
nestled in a chandelier. Without any tape or wire a lavish bow
on a wall sconce with floor length streamers sets a holiday
feeling for little money. It is still a wonderful cost saving
idea to place hibiscus flowers on your tables which even out
of water will stay fresh till the last guest goes home.
visual repeats and layers in your details. Try to gather at
least 20-30 different candlesticks or bud vases for additional
of 3 or 5 work best together.
Chic guru, Rachel Ashwell, embodies the beauty of imperfection
in her products and home entertaining. She feels late 2009 is
the prime moment for things that derive their style and energy
from comfort, sensuality and hunkering down with friends and
loved ones. Recovering from her firmís bankruptcy this year,
she has a new book, Shabby Chic Interiors: My Rooms,
Treasures and Trinkets and new flagship stores in
Manhattan and her home town Santa Monica with London to be
open next year. Her relaxed style and hominess help a
generation of young women to make a personal statement of
their style in their entertaining. Rachel and Martha Stewartís
rule of not having to iron linen table napkins is still a
stretch for me.
all the research for party ideas and purchases just a click on
the computer away, the enormous amount of choices can make any
event original and compatible with the room and guests at your
condo party. Designer Preston Bailey expressed that it is
always an honor for people to tell him they recreated a party
from pictures shown in his books.
you have any specific questions or comments, the Party Wizard
can be reached by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please type "Question for the Party Wizard" in the
Decor Not Found in a Store
could be more festive than the Black and White Gala Ball which
took place on Friday October 2nd at the President County Club
at Land of the President? From the receipt of the white satin
beribboned invitation, the over 100 guests knew they were in
for a memorable evening. Host Jack Gold from the Consulate
planned the party with family and friends and titled it a
"Celebration of Life" for Jackís 85th Birthday. A
large screen was carefully integrated with the decor to show
photos of Jackís life and he summed up his many years
"the result of a guardian angel watching over him to help
reach this stage of his life." Friends honored the
occasion with a generous contribution to the Sariasher Center
of Integrated Medicine for Cancer Center at Good Samaritan
Hospital in West Palm Beach. It is a favorite of Jackís and
has a long list of patients whose health and future were
restored by the many healing treatments offered there.
to accept for the Cancer Center was its Director, Corrine
Donaldson. Jack has been a resident of Palm Beach County for
over 30 years and has a full schedule of daily activities and
enjoying his friends. For that fact itself would be a reason
of the President condominium residents Jack Gold (Consulate)
and Barbara Phillips (Envoy).
by Wallace Waldon
was chosen to create a decor at the President Country Club
compatible with the theme introduced by the exquisite
invitation. Using black and white elements was very easy, but
I was also asked to decorate the large foyer and ballroom to
represent the long-gone elegance of a late 18th Century home
using interior design principles to create an intimate
background. With silky black material to drape across the
ceiling and the 6 large chandeliers, the size of the room was
proportionally reduced for the number of tables. Using Creative
Feng Shui, I placed all elements to encourage the Chi of
living energy to flow through the ballroom.
reshaped the floor layout with tables not in rows but to
create curves and offsets so people become aware and focus on
detail. To lighten up the corners and dead end areas, I angled
large folding screens and added plants and lights which
separately highlighted each of the 4 mannequins dressed in
the landscape and golf course were just beyond the floor to
ceiling windows, I placed palm trees against the window glass
on the narrow outside balcony. Soft existing lighting didnít
focus on anything. This is especially a difficult problem for
ocean view condos as well, and I will give some suggestions
next issue. I refer to it as staring into the big black beyond
outside. Plants bring harmony and balance to the room, so more
live trees softened each doorway, screen and column as well.
& Linda Eustice of Tarpon Springs, FL, with party Footman
Alan Dawson, of the Club's Gold Staff.
among the elegantly dressed guests dancing to the wonderful
music provided by Alan Kan and vocalist Stephanie Harper and
Cocktail hour music of Vinny Dullisse, there were many
Condominium Board Officers. The list includes Jaynt and Fig
Pockros, President of Envoy; Inez and Leo Brown, Pres. of
Consulate; Rachael and Fred Shapiro, Lincoln Director; Dr.
Terrin Blank and Gertie Kleinkamp, Envoy Director. Janice
Schultze of Rapallo North looked outstanding in a beaded and
feathered gown and was escorted by Don Boswell, President of
Coconut Cove of Lantana. I also had a chance to chat with
Dooley Hoffman, whom I previously met among those in former
Florida Governor Kirkís political circle.
guests were welcomed by a stunning period costumed and white
wigged Footman and I dressed for my dual role as "Lady in
Waiting" in a huge skirted black and white ball gown.
party Footman was perfectly played by Alan Dawson of the Clubís
Golf Staff, and it was fun that he personally knew most of the
the dessert and customary singing of Happy Birthday, I
prepared castle-shaped cakes lit with sparklers for each of
the 10 tables.
enjoying cake and coffee, a montage with an individual picture
of most of the guests present played continuously on the large
video screen. A beautiful final good night for Jackís 85th
issue, I will use examples of how your Condoís Social Room
can have new potential and achieve the best holiday parties
this coming season.
Party Wizard and I will start planning it right away.
last issueís commentary on the merits of "Simple
Decor," I was belatedly introduced to the concepts of
Wabi-Sabi (pronounced wah-bee-sah-bee), the Japanese art of
imperfect beauty. Though an ancient concept reaching back to
the 15th Century, it sought to oppose the lavishness,
ornamentation and overuse of costly materials. Wabi-Sabi is
the art of finding beauty in imperfection and authenticity.
Its principles contradict the sleek, mass-produced culture we
find ourselves in and seeks to bring a subtle spiritual
component into our homes and lives.
tied to Zen Buddhism, Wabi-Sabi asks us to set aside our
judgment and need for perfection and focus on the beauty of
things as they are.
of the examples of this way of thinking is choosing wood over
plastic, stone over polished marble and wildflowers over
you want to make over your condo for joyous living, this
design theory finds beauty in the unconventional.
enthusiasts (wabibitos) are described as people who have pared
down their life and willingly have a smaller home and drive a
hybrid or compact car. Original design in possessions avoids
the furniture groups and prefers unique individual pieces. The
home accessories surrounding us should inspire positive
memories not based on dollar value.
beliefs include the principles of incomplete and impermanent
designs which allow your home to change and grow to support
changing life-style and emotional needs.
following are 10 easy steps which can introduce Wabi-Sabi into
our daily life:
Quiet your home because of the noise generated by cars, motors
and machines or the family in the next condo; replace ill
fitting sliding doors and old windows and install cork floors
or carpet while choosing window draperies that help absorb the
Create a personal corner of a room, favorite chair or unroll a
special rug to give yourself dedicated space for quiet
Un-clutter your condo one drawer or closet at a time. Promise
to spend 15 minutes each day editing your possessions and give
away an item for each you bring in.
Appreciate imperfection. Donít throw out your much-loved but
chipped vase or the old table with the scars from your
toddlers. Begin the journey by finding real antique elements
not faux distressed.
Take inspiration from natureís palette. The subtle colors of
tan, grey, gold and rust create the serene Wabi-Sabi look.
Make it yourself. Nothing compares to the satisfaction of
using something you made, but perhaps more important is the
calming and centering act of stitch upon stitch that no
machine can match. If youíre not crafty, make a collage or
dry flowers or create an indoor garden.
Bring nature indoors. Wabi-Sabi flower arrangements follow no
rules. Whether in an old bottle or rusty watering can, the
result should be fresh and honor the current season.
Give your condo a soul with a sepia tone photo of your
grandmother, your motherís embroidered linens or your
Study the masters of this design philosophy. William Morris,
Frank Lloyd Wright and Ray Eames all seemed to be influenced
Believe in the candle trick. Come home at the end of a long
day, the dog on the sofa and breakfast dishes in the sink.
Come through your entry hall which needs repainting, turn off
the lamps and light some candles. Nothing can look bad when
the setting is glowing and candles flickering.
to the Wabi-Sabi tea ceremony, practice daily rituals in your
home. Fill your interior design space with tranquility and
what YOU feel is beautiful. Allow this new blueprint for your
life to create your own personal retreat.
Decor Can Be Spectacular
that we understand the basics of color and texture in
decorating, what if you choose to describe your style as
"Simple." In design language, the terms
"minimalist" or "pared down" seem more
appropriate. One example would be to have less seating in your
condo living room if you only have one or two guests. Perhaps
you have a large designated home office, when you frequently
come home too tired for night time work projects. You might
then wish to simplify your decor to be more in line with your
term "Simple" can merely mean an absence of knick
knacks, and not overstuffed with elements which take away from
a feeling of peace and serenity.
decorating can also mean transforming a condo with 4 walls and
furniture having 4 legs into something personal and unique.
process of decorating isnít easy, and the hard part is
knowing or finding out what you like to surround yourself
with. For many, the word decorating suggests perfection and
our purposes lets choose the definition to be comfortable and
truly livable. Challenge the thinking that how we choose to
live "doesnít matter."
many people today have signed on to a disposable decorating
are only purchased and valued if new and ready-made, not hand
crafted or refurbished or even the newest term
"recycled." London textile designer, Anna French,
suggests going into a flower shop and choosing the colors and
flowers you are attracted to and make a bouquet to purchase.
She then recommends going back to your home and placing the
colorful bouquet in different rooms. For a small amount of
money, you can test your color preferences in your own space.
many designers, the start of a living room redo is
"simply" the sofa. If it says comfort, generally the
rest of the room will follow. Because of its being the largest
piece of furniture, it should be selected before paint or any
additional fabrics. A colorful, patterned existing rug might
be the only exception to this order for selecting things. Easy
decor can be accomplished by symmetry, pairs of chairs and
other items. Often, it is best to put everything in a room
where you think it will go, and edit and weed out the excess.
decorating is more problem solving than just pretty colors and
is about how to live well in a given space, especially a condo
with limited square footage. Though large tile floors unify
and are preferred in our South Florida climate, this takes
"Simple" to a fault. The softness and scale of area
rugs create intimate spaces when faced with an open floor plan
and few walls.
up a large space allows enjoyment of decorating elements with
space between for the eye to rest. We are spared looking at a
jumble of style messages on top of one another. Simple
decorating allows a beautiful view from a window to speak to
us without requiring an answer. Nature never stops changing
and we can learn to value that about our own life.
possessions create the sparks for imagination and ideas for
Lincoln said that our favorite things are the mystic cords of
our memory. Often ignored in the rush to redecorate our
bedroom, we forget the need to create a soothing and
restorative space that is the first image in the morning and
last at nightfall. Our plan should be to have the least but
most beautiful essentials around us. Sadly, the computer desk
and oversized TV screen are the message sent today.
our condo rooms to become "Simply the best," allow
ample storage space but make a promise to get rid of things no
longer used. This alone can create new enthusiasm for
decorating changes. Even small improvements are worth making
and will increase the enjoyment and quality of our life.
Textures for your Condo Decorating
color choices have been explained and color schemes suggested
in my last commentary, the next question is, "What is
your Condo style now or you wish it could be?"
you have the finances and time before the holidays to form
some mental picture of a room you would love, but this might
seem more difficult than even choosing a new color scheme. Itís
easy to say, "Find the style that suits you best and find
most comfortable,íí but creating that in your condo is a
far more difficult task. Keep in mind, just as in choosing
colors, there are certain suggested rules to follow. Some
people search for an indefinable thing which they cannot
describe with words, but will know when they see it. This may
take a lot of leg work, but there is nothing wrong in
purchasing things which give you pleasure to have around. The
judgement call is whether it is the right size and scale for
your room. This requires accurate measurements and even a
simple floor plan to make a purchase with more certainty. I
always find it a bit strange if I am in a decorating or
furniture store, and I overhear a sales person ask, "how
long is the wall" or "how high are your
ceilings" so they can offer more help regarding a piece
of furniture or artwork being considered. The customer may
either have no answer or the "probably about" words
in response. Unfortunately if something ends up being
incorrect, a little more time for measurements might have
prevented a mistake.
new condos already have a built in style especially with
granite and more contemporary fixtures and lighting in place.
This can take more skill and experience to incorporate the
existing elements with another decorating style. A condo with
a wall of windows and wonderful view is usually best with
simple natural colors and furniture when decorating .
your condo is boxy or without any architectural features you
need to add your own touches of character. Be daring and hang
a rug, a piece of tapestry or a large decorative screen you
might already have. Though wallpaper has fallen out of favor
for a while, there is a great deal of instant style that it
can accomplish. Even a novice can be successful with papering
an accent wall to start. Often just looking through sample
books can inspire a new direction.
you find you prefer a monochromatic room, varying textures can
enliven the effect and overcome a possibly boring room as a
result. The thicker the texture the softer a color appears.
Glossy wall surfaces are brighter and a color seems softer in
carpeting. Consider using a range of textures particularly if
you have selected a white pallet. I have seen many beautiful
rooms dressed only in white but multiple textures created all
the interest in the room.
tile or wood floors are easiest combined with strong textures
such as linen, cotton and irregular weaves in fabric and
marble floors usually need silk, velvets and soft fabrics to
work together. Overstuffed furniture seems more inviting and
comfortable but the simple lines of modern furniture need not
seem harsh if covered in a soft fabric. The hard lines of tile
and granite in a bathroom play beautifully with soft color
fluffy towels. Berber carpeting and Oriental rugs create
texture of their own. Even the selection of plants whether
silk or real can offer texture from the leaves and plant
textured throw on a sofa or bed is often simply the star of
throughout history have combined textures and many patterns
together and the results can be seen in fine homes and
museums. With a little bit of time and help from your own
personal decorating wizard, your condo can become all that you
dream of. Just promise yourself to get started!
Language of Color for Your Condo
we continue to understand design principles, consider the
emotional language of the colors you chose. Color is a
powerful and personal factor that can either help your
temperament or not ! The colors you choose to surround
yourself with can help you relax or add to your daily stress.
there is no easy formula for coming up with your personal
color scheme, colors are classified into two big categories,
warm or cool. If a color has yellow undertones it is
considered warm. With blue undertones, a color is called cool.
Donít let a color scheme determine your style but use your
favorite combination and vary the tones from lightest to dark.
Find a fabric and pick out at least two main color choices and
up to three accents. This formula will also work with a
beautiful piece of artwork. In design, the word
"cohesion" refers to a room that is pulled together
well. If you select a few key colors and elements such as
shape and material, any room can be more "cohesive."
a quick look at qualities associated with a particular color.
Red is an action color, bold and can raise your blood
pressure. It can stimulate your appetite and often it is
chosen for a formal dining room. Softer shades ranging down to
pink give a sense of well-being and happiness.
Orange comes across warm and friendly but also has the
greatest emotional impact. The softer, deeper tones of rust,
terra-cotta and peach offer a restful haven and very suitable
against our bright Florida light.
Yellow makes us think of a sunny day and paler shades
are uplifting to live with. It is also reflective similar to a
bright light and it is thought to be the first color a baby
notices. Yellow appears brighter than white so is very
suitable for a dark room or one facing north. Interestingly,
legal pads are yellow for a reason as it stimulates the mind
and thought to improve memory.
Green is the color of optimism and known to reduce
blood pressure and help us feel balanced and restful. Classic
darker greens are not trendy but stand the test of time and be
safe and dignified. Brown with greens are a good combination
and occur in nature all around us. It is often referred to as
an earthy feeling. If we are attracted to lime or grass green,
we like bold, bright, high energy rooms, but it is generally
best used as an accent color.
Blue is voted as the favorite color in America and most
associated with water. It is very suitable for our
Intracoastal condos and very hot summer months. It is very
calming and blue is known as a "de-stressor." Like a
favorite pair of worn jeans, it speaks of comfort and
tradition. Like other classic choices, a blue decor will never
go out of style and mixes very well with most other colors.
Purple is creative and off beat with dark purple
denoting royalty. It is a color which will grab your
attention, but too dark and muddy, it can be dreary and
depressing. Known mostly in contemporary furniture, the
lighter shades of lavender, lilac and violet are restful and
romantic and very easy to decorate around. Use great care in
adding purple It is best to apply to a surface which can be
repainted instead of a counter top or other hard surface which
will be around long after our color taste might change.
Artists, musicians and extroverts are drawn to this color
which encourages creativity as well as our spirituality. The
combination of red with purple is very popular.
our condo decorating, often there is no architectural element
as a focal point. Through the use of different color paint it
can appear that the Decorating Wizard has made a house call to
you. Even better, close you eyes and imagine the most
beautiful place you have ever visited. Try combining those
colors and the Decorating Wizard may soon be out of a job.
Condo News print newspaper is published every other Wednesday. It is circulated throughout Palm Beach County, from
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