House Hunting

I'm sorry for the shortage of posts this week. I spent the last half of the week out of town house hunting. While walking through each house, I took furious notes. I had made a large checklist before heading out of town. The checklist was broken down by the types of rooms I needed. Each room was rated by size, storage, layout, current decor and overall functionality. Some rooms had extra criteria such as the kitchen, laundry room and bathrooms.

My checklist worked wonderfully for each house. I walked through and was able to objectively measure how each home would fit my lifestyle. But then I went to the last house, and I realized my checklist had one huge flaw. I forgot to rate the homes on how they felt - how they made me feel when I walked in.

Buying a new home is more than just a functional purchase. In many ways, it's like falling in love. You just know when you've found the right one.

But don't let those feelings get in the way when negotiating a price. Then you'll get screwed.

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Posted by Meghan Carter on Saturday, May 3, 2008 in MusingsDecorating Tips.

Where Our Mothers and Design Sense Intersect

The May issue of Domino Magazine had a wonderful letter from the editor about how our mothers influence our decorating decisions. It shocks me seeing how decor styles were passed from my granny to my mom and then to me. No, they're not exactly the same, but we all like golds and greens, have a flair for bringing nature indoors and somehow can't live without flowers. And I'm guessing you can see the same trends in your family.

Maybe we bring pieces of our mothers' styles into our homes because it brings a sense of comfort and familiarity to wherever we are. Maybe it's just genetic. Either way, more than likely we decorate somewhat like our mothers. And while it's fine to decorate like her, just don't fall into the trap of trying to impress her. That pretty much never ends well. Decorate for you ... After all, it's finally your house and your rules.

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Posted by Meghan Carter on Wednesday, Apr 30, 2008 in Musings.

Are Home Ratings Helpful?

I had a viewer write in the other day and tell me his story about having his home rated. He uploaded a picture of his family room to a Web site to see if the room would get the coveted five stars or thumbs up or whatever the standard was. Instead of getting constructive criticism, he was blasted for being plain and told to change what was in his room.

So he did. And then he wrote to me a little later because he wasn't sure if he liked the changes.

This happens quite often with decorating. We make decisions about color and fabric that we like. Then we ask our friends and family what they think, and trouble ensues. It's not their style. The fabric is too bright. Did you really buy that sofa? And now that home rating Web sites, such as Rate My Space on, have sprung up, the problem has gotten even bigger because there are more people we can easily reach who will hopefully give us approval.

But is approval really what we need? As far as I know, that person from Chicago and the other from Sacramento don't live in your home. So why does their opinion matter. It's you that you have to please. It's those who actually use the room that should like it - not the millions of people using a ratings Web site. And sure, the chance at a perfect 5 star review might be a tempting reward after the hard work of decorating. But in the end, the best reward is you liking the room. You walking in and loving what you see. And you seeing the people in your home love it as much as you do.

So go and pick what you like, and forget about everyone else. For all you know, you might hate their homes if you had the chance to peak in.

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Posted by Meghan Carter on Monday, Apr 21, 2008 in Musings.

Why Do You Decorate?

It's a question we rarely ask, but should.

Knowing why we decorate will make us better at it. Decorating is like anything else in life. Understanding your motivation - your goals - will give you direction.

Instead of having to guess - why you like that color, which chair is best for your situation or how you should arrange your furniture - you will have a concrete reason serving as a guide for every decision you must make.

So here are some common reasons why we decorate. Have fun understanding your motivation, and I hope it helps you become a better decorator.

I decorate to create an environment that stimulates learning/ sharing/ love/ happiness.
I decorate to impress others.
I decorate to show off my accomplishments/ talents.
I decorate to prove to myself that I can accomplish something.
I decorate to express myself - my likes and dislikes, my emotional state, my loves.
I decorate to make my home more functional and easy to use.
I decorate to stimulate conversation.
I decorate to challenge myself.
I decorate to increase the value of my home.
I decorate because I think I'm supposed to.
I decorate because I like things that are pretty.
I decorate because it makes me happy.
I decorate because I want my children to grow up in a beautiful environment.

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Posted by Meghan Carter on Friday, Apr 18, 2008 in Musings.

Where are All the Pretty Ice Tea Makers?

Is there no love for ice tea fans? I've been searching and searching for a beautiful ice tea maker. And each year I run into the same problem: there aren't any. The only ones available are the standard plastic models that break and stain way too fast. Trust me, I know. On more than one occasion I've had to duct tape my plastic pitcher together in order to get my ice tea fix. And I don't see an end in sight.

At least not this year. But I'm hoping that the current influx of electric tea kettles (That by the way have been used in the UK for years. Yes, they are laughing at us.) will bring a few high-end ice tea makers in with it.

In the meantime, I've decided to help the cause on my own by increasing the number of ice tea addicts (and thus, the demand for beautiful ice tea makers). Given that it's spring, converting coffee lovers to ice tea shouldn't be too hard - especially, once they know the secret to the perfect ice tea. Yes, that's right I'm giving you the secret to making the best ice tea ever.

Use multiple types of tea. It may sound crazy, but mixing multiple types of tea together creates a deep, rich tea. The current blend at my abode is 7 orange and sweet spice tea bags, 4 green tea bags and 3 English breakfast tea bags. Try it. You'll love it.

And then, please send Krups a letter asking for an ice tea model...

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Posted by Meghan Carter on Tuesday, Apr 15, 2008 in Musings.




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