Pro tips on decorating, remodeling and the latest gadgets

  • Article by: LYNN UNDERWOOD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 23, 2013 - 3:17 PM

Home-improvement pros share their tips on decorating, remodeling and the latest gadgets.

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Home-improvement pro Sasha Andreev will talk about the latest products and gadgets on Feb. 27, March 1 and March 3.

Every Home and Garden Show has its headliners, and the place to see them in action is the Lifestyle Stage, where national and local celebrities offer live demonstrations on a wide variety of topics. To get the inside scoop on this year’s show, which opens Wednesday, we caught up with three presenters — Christopher Straub, Sasha Andreev and Nicole Curtis.

Christopher Straub

Self-taught designer Straub is an Edina High School graduate, was a contestant on Season 6 of “Project Runway,” has designed clothing collections for retailer Maurice’s and now lives in Shakopee.

Straub at the show: “Runway to Room,” 7 p.m. Feb. 28, 6 p.m. March 2.

 

Q: What’s your presentation about?

A: I’m partnering with Che Bella Interiors to show how fashion and home decor share similar themes of color, print and texture. For example, a model will wear a white sweater I designed with cutouts all along the arm. It will be paired with beautiful white vases with similar cutouts. I’ll talk about illusion elements that are on the runway and in your home.

 

Q: How can someone apply fashion sense to home interiors?

A: Think of your home like a body you dress and accessorize. The clothing is the furniture, and the jewelry is the accessories, like a lamp, pillows and ottoman. Think about color, print, pattern and texture and how that all works together. If you’re wearing a sleek outfit or have a neutral room, there’s more opportunity to dress it up with color and texture. And like fashion, you want a room’s look to be on-trend and not outdated.

 

Q: What’s next for home decor?

A: I’ve seen hints of nautical — which was a hit on the runway three seasons ago. It takes time for red, white, blue and stripes to get reinterpreted for the home. Digital prints from the runway are coming into the home on pillows, fabrics and printed on ceramic vases.

 

Q: What are some basic guidelines to follow when decorating a home?

A: Always bring in three-dimensional texture, whether in a fringe on a pillow, or on a lamp or vase. You need to have a tactile moment in a room. For color, use different shades of the tone you are working with — such as different shades of blue.

 

Q: What’s your design philosophy?

A: Stay within design principles but still have fun. I bought a pair of gold floral high-heel shoes by Alexander McQueen and display them in a glass case as the centerpiece of my living room. I turned them into art.

Sasha Andreev

The local home-improvement pro has renovated his home in south Minneapolis, is a technology expert on ShopNBC network and has a passion for gadgetry.

Andreev at the show: “Innovation Avenue Live,” a presentation on the latest home-related products and gadgets, 6 p.m. Feb. 27, 5 p.m. March 1, 2 p.m. March 3.

 

Q: What are some cool cutting-edge products for the home?

A: The fantasies of the future on TV shows like “Star Trek” are now making it into our homes and gardens. The Samsung Wi-Fi washer and dryer lets you control washing and drying your laundry with a smartphone or tablet from anywhere in the house or when you’re out running errands. But it doesn’t sort or fold clothes — the robots of the future are working on that. The LawnBott looks like a robot that mows the lawn, but at $2,000, it’s a luxury item. Another trend is sustainability and repurposing. There are stone rolling pins made out of recycled polished boulder fragments from Minnesota.

 

Q: What’s the most practical?

A: One Ap Fertilizer by All American Lawn Care. You apply one application in the spring, and it continues to fertilize your lawn for the rest of the season.

 

Q: What gadget are you most excited about?

A: The Parrot Flower Power wireless sensor that measures a plant’s growing conditions, soil moisture, sun exposure and beams it to your smartphone. It’s not on the market yet.

 

Q: What’s a favorite gadget in your own home?

A: Phillips Hue LED lightbulbs. Use an app on your smartphone to change the color of a bulb in a light fixture. You can match the color of a floral bouquet or re-create the ambience of an Italian restaurant you like.

 

Q: Predict the future.

A: Greater automation, greater convenience, streamlined design, sustainability and environmental awareness are all driving product design. I love the idea of utilizing technology to make your everyday life easier and better. You might be a hard worker, but when you come home, you want to relax and unwind.

Nicole Curtis

Super-handy Curtis is the “Rehab Addict” on the DIY and HGTV shows. The old-house advocate saves dilapidated dwellings from the wrecking ball and fixes them up.

Curtis at the show: “Salvage to Sold,” 1 and 6 p.m. March 1, noon and 3 p.m. March 3.

 

Q: How many homes have you rehabbed in the Twin Cities?

A: I’ve done 10, and one was my own home in Uptown. Right now, our focus is on revitalizing north Minneapolis. We want to show people how we get these old homes off the city’s demolition list, restore them using salvaged materials and make them owner-occupied.

 

Q: What are some easy ways to revamp an outdated room?

A: Clean — I use Bar Keepers Friend by the case — reorganize, strip wallpaper and put on a fresh coat of paint. If you have the time and patience, it will make a big difference.

 

Q: What was the lowest amount you’ve paid for a home?

A: $1 for a Dutch Colonial in Minneapolis. The city was going to tear it down. We rehabbed it within $100,000 and sold it in a day.

 

Q: What are some of the your favorite local places to find salvaged stuff?

A: Bauer Brothers — I pretty much have a cot there. If you want clean, organized and heated, go to Guilded Salvage and Architectural Antiques.

 

Q: What’s your favorite part of doing rehab?

A: The nature of the hunt. I love tromping through these old houses — if you refinish and restore them, you will have a masterpiece. I want to educate people about craftsmanship. New isn’t always better, and original is always best.

 

Lynn Underwood • 612-673-7619













 

  • MINNEAPOLIS HOME AND GARDEN SHOW

    What: The latest home products, trends, themed gardens, presentations on remodeling, interior design, landscaping and hundreds of exhibitors. Attractions include a 1,700-square-foot fully furnished “Idea Home” decked out with a spa bathroom and gourmet kitchen, TV-themed gardens and a Naturally Urban Apartment packed with home decor geared for condo and apartment living.

    When: Noon-9 p.m. Wednesday, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Thursday, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m.-6 p.m. March 3.

    Where: Minneapolis Convention Center, 1301 2nd Av. S.

    Admission: $13 for adults; $11 when purchased online; $4 for ages 6-12; free for ages 5 and under.

    Information: www.home andgardenshow.com.

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