Welcome to Homegirls. You'll find a sassy sampling of décor and design tips, frank conversation about everything from holidays and homekeeping to home improvement and our picks and pans of new products, stores and events.

Contributors: Kim Palmer, Lynn Underwood, Connie Nelson, Kim Ode and Nicole Hvidsten.

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Posts about Decoration and design

Guy-friendly design

Posted by: Kim Palmer Updated: February 5, 2013 - 11:56 AM


Man caves are so last century! Today, manly style influences are inching up from the basement and making themselves comfortable all over the house.


As a reporter who talks to a lot of homeowners about their new homes and makeover projects, I've noticed that I'm talking to more men than I used to. Some guys still delegate "decorating" to their wives and girlfriends, but more men appear to have informed opinions about design and how it can make a home feel like home.

Increasingly, guys are expressing those opinions to influence the design process, and often taking the lead on design projects -- such as a Twin Cities man who hired a designer to put a masculine spin on his formerly feminine interiors (www.startribune.com/lifestyle/homegarden/146480965.html).

"In 2013, interior design will begin to mirror male preferences like never before," declared Freshome, a design and architecture blog that last week published its "Top 10 Most Talked About Interior Design Trends." (http://freshome.com/2013/01/29/top-10-interior-design-trends-for-2013/)

No. 1 on Freshome's top 10 trend list: "A New Relationship Between Men and Interior Design." Men in developed countries are spending more time at home than in the past, sharing childrearing and household chores, according to the blog, with the result that they're exerting more influence on their surroundings.

The proliferation of design-oriented TV shows, magazines and web content also has to be a factor, in my opinion. More guys are being exposed to design principles and conversation -- even if they're just accidentally seeing or hearing the shows that someone else turned on. With more exposure comes more opinion and insight.

How will male influence play out in home decor? Expect to see more "functionality over 'cuteness,' less-flashy colors and sober furniture details," according to Freshome. And this is good news, from an aesthetic standpoint, because it creates "visual  balance" that makes both sexes feel at ease.

What do you think? Are guys as a group getting more comfortable with -- and more opinionated about -- home decor? What does guy-friendly design look like at your house? And does male-female balance make for better design? 



Resale, resale, resale

Posted by: Lynn Underwood Updated: February 1, 2013 - 3:36 PM

Realtor Magazine just came out with 13 Hot Home Trends for 2013.

 They’re guidelines for agents who often advise their clients on how to make  their home a “must see’ when they put it on the market. An agent’s mission is to have a potential buyer exclaim “I love it!” when they walk in the door –  because an offer isn’t far behind.

I’ll sell my home someday. But I’m not going to wait until a month before I list it to break the bank to fix it up and make it better just for someone else to enjoy. Better now than later to get new carpet, paint over the black marks and replace the 1990s light fixtures  And it;s sure to boost  the resale value in the long-run.

Here are some of Realtor Magazine’s design trends to turn buyer’s heads.
Outdoor Living Rooms: These all-weather porches are furnished and decked out with fireplaces, entertainment centers and bars. I’m hoping I can talk my husband into screening in our existing deck -- but first we’ll have to power wash and stain it,

Automated home systems: They’ve come down in price and control the heart of the home -  temperature, lighting, electronics and security -   with a single device. Too high-tech for me. I’m replacing a drawerful of remotes with one universal remote to run the TV, DVR and DVD player.

Themed interiors: Decorating rooms with a distinct theme is making a comeback with British-style motifs all the rage.  I’m checking online for sweet closeout deals on souvenirs from last summer’s London Olympics.

Green minded:
Not Pantone’s color of the year - emerald -  but energy-efficient, recyclable and water conserving  products.  My bathrooms’ getting a new low-flow shower head.

Stylish updated kitchen
: The popular “transitional” look - it’s not too traditional or too contemporary — won’t  send buyers running for the door.  It seems like every kitchen makeover on TV and in magazines is awash in whites and grays. It shouldn’t be to hard or costly to paint my 1990s golden oak cabinets a crisp clean gallery white.
Is resale on your mind?  What’s your plans to boost your home’s livability for today and for future buyers?

DIY: How far will you go?

Posted by: Nicole Hvidsten Updated: January 30, 2013 - 8:10 AM

I like to dream big.

There are stacks of dog-eared magazines, websites bookmarked and books bought all with the hope of helping my house stay out of the dreaded "outdated" category. And although my hopes are high, my budget isn't. I'm constantly looking for things I can do myself (or under the guidance of my handy parents) to give new life to my aging house. But where do you draw the line?

Cabinets: While browsing in my local hardware store, I happened upon Rust-Oleum's

This DIY kit is on my short list.

This DIY kit is on my short list.

Cabinet Transformations kit, which promised refinished cabinets for about $75 or so. Considering I live in a sea of 1990s honey oak, this had my attention. The looks were appealing, the instructions didn't scare me and online research yielded some pretty cool results. The verdict: This is now on my short list, but I'll try it in my bathroom first. MUCH easier to hide mistakes in a master bath than the kitchen.

Countertops: Rust-Oleum appears to want to conquer your kitchen, as it also has a Countertop Transformations kit. This kit will take those laminate countertops with stains, burns, chips and knife marks and turn them into countertops with the look of natural stone. At this point I'm sitting on the floor of the hardware store, reading every bit of information I can find on this (thank you, smart phones). Could it really be this easy to get "new" countertops? Reviews are mixed. The verdict: A little too bold for me, but would love to hear from anyone who has tried it.

Tiling: I have various family members who have embraced DIY ceramic tiling, and I'm officially jealous. This is the one skill I'm dying to learn. I would tile the world -- or at least my kitchen backsplash, a wall in my bathroom and the floors in the bathrooms and laundry. The verdict: This is at the top of my DIY bucket list. I've been meaning to sit in on one of those classes at the home-improvement stores, but fear I might need a private tutor.

Flooring: If it were up to me, I'd have hardwood flooring throughout the entire house. Alas, I'm the only member of my family who feels that way. We tried to install TrafficMaster's Allure flooring in my basement, but that was an epic fail, and it wasn't entirely the fault of the flooring. I know people who have had great luck installing laminate and hardwood floors, but I don't know them well enough to "invite them over," which is code for "please help me." The verdict: Not a path I'm ready to travel.

Painting: There's nothing I won't paint. There are so many things I cannot do, it bothers me to hire someone to do something I actually CAN do. Granted, a professional probably won't leave little dabs of paint on the ceiling. And I would certainly call in the big dogs if I wanted a special effect or had cathedral ceilings. The verdict: All DIY.

What are your limits, and what are your successes? Please share!

Star-struck at home?

Posted by: Kim Palmer Updated: January 29, 2013 - 4:23 PM


During awards season, a lot of us have celebrities on the brain. We're inundated with tidbits about Jennifer Lawrence's peekaboo SAG gown and Jodie Foster's cryptic speech and whether "Argo" will trump "Lincoln" at next month's Academy Awards.

After the Oscars, all the buzz about who got snubbed, and who looked hot -- or horrendous -- on which red carpet will quickly disappear.

But the homestyle industry now seems permanently star-struck year-round. When the celebrity-branded furniture trend  first reared its head, many thought it would be a short-lived fad.



Yes, many big-name brands have come and gone (Elvis bedroom sets, anyone?) But the broader trend of hitching home goods to a star appears to have survived the recession and is still going strong. 

Just in the last year, we've seen the launch of Brad Pitt's high-end furniture collection, Justin Timberlake's "curated" line of art and accessories for HomeMint, Nate Berkus' Target launch, and the Kardashian sisters' "kollection" of bed and bath products for Sears.

We've had furniture and home goods headlined by jocks (John Elway, Steffi Graf/Andre Agassi), fading glamour girls (Cindy Crawford, Kathy Ireland, Jaclyn Smith) and moguls (Martha Stewart, Donald Trump).


We've even had furniture branded for dead celebrities (Ernest Hemingway, Humphrey Bogart, Elvis) and people associated with dead celebrities (Princess Diana's brother and her former butler).


It's a safe bet that the High Point furniture market in April will feature at least one new collection with a famous name and face attached to it.

I don't get it, frankly. I want my home to reflect MY style, my family members' style, not the style of some famous person I know only from the pages of People magazine. Although I suppose if I fell in love with a particular piece I wouldn't let a celebrity brand stop me from bringing it home.

So how about you? Are there celebrity home collections you like? Have you bought anything for your home with a star's name on it? And if you were a furniture maker, what famous face would you try to partner with? 

Sweet Dream Home

Posted by: Lynn Underwood Updated: January 25, 2013 - 12:52 PM

Have you taken the video virtual tour of this year’s HGTV Dream Home?  Every year, it triggers the question “If I win, would I leave Minnesota and my family and friends and move in?”  I was on the fence about last year’s remote Utah lodge, but this year my answer is “heck, yes.”


 All it took was a photo of the tropical wood front porch furnished with charming woven chairs to make me fantasize  about living in the “coastal cottage” on Kiawah Island, only 20 miles from Charleston, S. Carolina.  The marshland surroundings and nearby Atlantic Ocean give it a “walking on the beach with Nick Nolte in Prince of Tides” kind of  feeling.

The house is just my style  -  old-fashioned beachhouse-cottage architectural details on the outside and a clean-lined modern aesthetic on the inside. My to-die-for space is the second floor loft awash in a “tidal blue” color palette and suspended above the great room. And on hot and steamy evening, I’ll sip a cocktail on the back porch surrounded by southern palmetto trees and an Infinity Plunge Pool that’s lit up at night.

The builder/designer thought of every amenity for Southern comfort --  the structure can even withstand hurricanes. That’s a relief.

I'm going to enter twice a day at www.hgtv.com and www.frontdoor.com until the Feb. 15 deadline to win the completely furnished home – plus $500,000 and a GMC SUV to sweeten the pot. Eight-one million dreamers entered last year.

What do you think of this year’s charming potential life-changer on the S. Carolina coast?

Photo provided by HGTV.



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