Monday, June 4, 2012

Wheel of Life - Home Environment Interview

I am so thrilled to have an expert in home decor with us today.  You probably all know Carol-Anne from Use The Good Dishes (it's not about the dishes), but you're about to get to know her a little better.

Carol-Anne started working as a Home Stager about 10 years ago, but took the awesome step to incorporate her own business over a year ago.  She started blogging at the end of January 2011, and in her spare time (lol), she works at a consignment store (see below).



Carol-Anne describes her career life:

Aside from Staging, I also work at a Consignment Store called, “The Singing Lady” (the owner is a choir director and a terrific singer!). I was a customer there, then sold some of my painted furniture there, then they asked me to work for them. I LOVE the store and am thrilled to work there.



Staging is my passion, but the workload tends to be ‘seasonal’...people aren’t listing their homes for sale in the dead of winter or the heat of summer, so the job at the store is perfect for those periods. During the busy season for staging, it’s absolutely crazy for me to do both jobs! In addition to this, I have some clients that I help with organizing issues, and some that I help to decorate their homes once they move into them (after staging their homes for sale). I love all of my jobs, but can’t quite figure out how to clone myself!  The Consignment store allows me to be around lovely, interesting things all day, without feeling like I have to own them all! Also, I’ve learned SO much about so many things....furniture styles and periods, china, crystal, art, wood types....I can’t even begin to tell you how good this is for my middle-aged brain to learn so much at work every day!


How important do you think it is to have a home environment that reflects your own personal style?

My entire blog is built around the idea of having a home that reflects who you are and makes the most of what you have ~ however small or inexpensive that might be.  Using the nice things you do have. I think that people should be able to ‘read’ your personality in your home as soon as they walk in the door.
When I work with clients and ask them about their furniture, I’m always amazed at how often they’ll tell me, “Oh yes, we’ve had the sofa/table/light fixture/whatever for 20 years, but I’ve never liked it. I inherited it from my mother/the previous owners/whomever and just never replaced it.”  Having furniture that you’ve ‘inherited’ from someone else is great....unless it doesn’t reflect who you are. That’s just crazy!

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How do you personally incorporate your signature style into your home environment?

I realized that I’ve never actually thought about having a ‘signature style’, until I answered this question, so thanks for that! I guess my signature style could best be described as ‘modern-cottage-vintage’. Does that make sense? I love lots of colour and love the mid-century vibe....with a little ‘country’ thrown in.  And I’m very big on changing things up to reflect the seasons. I also like a little whimsy. The designer whose style is closest to mine is Sara Richardson....I wish I had half of her talent!
Something about changing things up with the seasons is crucial to my life. I find that it makes you more conscious of your surroundings, (and therefore your life!) when you change things up every 3 months or so. Obviously I don’t mean getting all new furniture every quarter, just changing up the pillows and a few accessories is enough.
I’m a complete freak and incorporate my signature style into EVERYTHING! I ‘decorate’ my computer desktop background and change it with the seasons. I even buy air freshener spray for the bathroom that I change with the seasons.  Truly a freak.

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What are some of the easiest changes a person can do to make their home their own?

The most obvious one is to paint. Other than that, adding art to the walls and accessories here and there that reflect your personality are the best ways. I rented for the first 10 years of my adult life and people always commented that my apartments always looked like I owned them, because I would put personal touches everywhere to make them look like my home, not just the place I kept my belongings.

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If a person rents, do you have any suggestions for decorating that don't involve permanent changes like painting, for example, that might not be allowed in a rental property.

I’m a big believer in hanging curtains, and pictures (using 3M Command Strips if you can’t make holes in the walls), and then filling the space with your personal items. These things can be taken with you when you move out and yet will go a long way to making the space your own.

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Do you have any resources that are your favourites for decorating and for decorating on a budget?

I love Ikea for the way they allow people on a budget to access the trendy, beautiful things that they might not be able to afford otherwise.  I also love Home Sense (Home Goods) for their ‘seasonal offerings’.


Do you have anything further that you would like to share about the importance of or the how-to of home decor? (if you don't, I'll just leave this question off, lol).

The whole reason for the name of my blog (and for my life philosophy, really) is because when one of the most important people in my life died, I discovered that she had all of these lovely things that she’d never taken out of the packages ~ she was waiting for a ‘special’ occasion.....she died without ever using them. Use your good dishes and your good linens and have your good life. Don’t wait for a special occasion. Make today an occasion.  {Sorry for ranting, but I see this when I stage people’s homes all the time and it makes me really sad. }


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I love the philosophy that Carol-Anne brings to light on her blog - don't save the special things for special occasions.  Live now!  How inspirational.  


A big thank-you to Carol-Anne for taking the time to shed some light on the importance of having your home decor nurture you and support your goals.


If you want to connect with Carol-Anne:


Use The Good Dishes blog
Facebook
Twitter
Email

9 comments:

Tina Bradley said...

Enjoyed this interview! And, Carol-Anne's philosophy truly speaks to me. T.

Danni Baird @ Silo Hill Farm said...

What a great interview and a great reminder! I don't keep very many things that I don't love, but the ones I do love could use a little sprucing up to make me love them more! My home is my happy place and nothing makes me happier than walking through my front door! (Although I do need to paint my front door!!)

Melanie @ bear rabbit bear said...

great interview! She is so knowledgeable!

Adrianne at Happy Hour Projects said...

Ahem. Carol-Anne, please come over and help me pretty up my place. I just do not have the eye to envision what will look good! I know it when I see it but I have trouble with the potential!

New End Studio said...

Wonderful interview and her photos at home are so lively and happy! I'm guilty of keeping inherited things, don't want to offend, but they really ought to go. lol

MiMi said...

That bathroom is awesome!!!
She needs to come stage my house. :)

Kadie said...

I love the advise on changing up your decor with the seasons. I always look at that as a big pain. But she's right a few pillows and touches here and there would make me or aware of my surroundings. I adore her style. And the final thought of Making today an occasion should be on an inspirational print!!

peli said...

thanks for a very interesting post...im off to check out her blog!!!

ps...i have to say that every time i see the peas on the top of your page i get a big smile on my face...such cute and funny little peas... :D

Carol-Anne (Use the Good Dishes!) said...

Thanks so much for the interview, Terry! I really enjoyed it and love hearing what your readers had to say in the comments.

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