February 6, 2014

What is inside the Box?

Think of your house as 'the Box.'  What is in your box?  Is it cozy, cluttered, spare, dreamy, what?  Do you want another box?  A different sized box?  Do you entertain in your box?  Can you change your box?  Can you afford your box?  Can you afford to do anything with your box?  ...This sounds like a Dr. Seuss book, right?!

When I look at a project of any size, on any home, I always ask these questions...and more.  Even if you just want to paint a room, I ask a lot of these questions.  Chances are what you do to your home is predicated on the answers to these questions, both short term and long term.  These answers are unique and constantly changing, so it is a moving target for people like me (whose job it is to help define the answers and bring them to life).
This is a home that was up for sale!  Really, people list their homes for sale and do nothing to make them appealing.  Not only would I not like to purchase this, I would not want to call it home in it's current condition.  The 1990's called and they want this box back!  

With paint, clean-up and new carpet this home catapulted into another era...entirely.  If this was my box this is how I would want it to be.  So, my point is to live in your box in a way that suits you.  Most of us would rather live in a home that has some semblance of order.  If your home is cluttered, chances are you are frazzled and can't seem to catch up.  If your home is clean and organized (not perfect!), you feel at ease coming to it each day.  

We can dissect your box one section at a time or look at the overall picture and create a long term plan.  Planning is the key to all of it.  Failing to plan is planning to fail!  This can not be emphasized enough.  If you are painting your bathroom there are many things to consider.  Of course, color is what we all go to first but, it is only one part of the plan.  Your bath box has 6 sides.  Four walls, the floor and ceiling (plus all of the other horizontal surfaces like counters, toilet, bath).  All of them need to be addressed as a part of the project.  All six sides need a cohesive and congruent plan to make it a successful project.  It is so sad to go to the time and expense of updating or renovating a room and not get it right!  Below is a bathroom that needed paint and editing, not much more than that.  These pictures are the same bathroom...
can you believe it?

White walls with a little stenciling on a wall.  Lots of stuff (I cropped the yucky stuff out)...again, this house was listed for sale!  It is a Jack & Jill bathroom, so it is a little tricky to keep it functional for everyone but, that is what the cabinets are for.  It's crazy how under-utilized those darn things are!
Here is the same bath after it was painted and cleaned.  No comparison in look and feel.  It does not have to cost a lot of money to do this!  I will share a picture of one of the bedrooms adjoining this bath.  I don't have a before because it was just a storage room with lots of boxes.  You'll get the idea though.
It does not have to be complicated or expensive to integrate pieces of design and decor from one room to the next, if you plan for it. 
It is your box so, how do you want to live, work and play in it?  
Ask for help because there are people like me that want to help you live in 
comfort and style, your style! 



January 16, 2014

genise plessas designs: Stepping into 1st Qtr.

This morning I woke up feeling kind of crummy (head cold).  So, my plan for the day was to stay in, drink warm liquids, take cold medication and clean up files on my laptop.  The first email in my inbox was a short video from Robin Sharma*.  If you have not experienced this guy...do it!  He is, of course, marketing his business strategies but he gives a lot of great content for free (which keeps me interested and going back for more).

It was an important video to watch because I have been in search of a tool/guide to help me define how I want to live my life going forward into 2014.  I did set some goals for myself, personally and professionally at the end of last year.  Good step. Accomplished both goals!  Yay for me, but now what?  I set myself up for success in baby steps and realize that is important, but need MORE.  Now, I am going to fly past those "January" goals and step into my "First Quarter" goals!  Baby steps...so gone!

I am going to develop 3 key habits in the next 90 days.

1) Join the 5 a.m. Club.
Get up every morning at 5 a.m.  I must have the discipline to conduct my business during regular business hours.  I work with contractors a lot and most of them start work by 7:30 a.m.  I must be prepared and ready to begin my work day at that time, too.  The personal benefit will be to spend time with my husband and family when they are available in the evening and on weekends.  I see NO negative effects by making this change and realize it will have great potential benefits.

2)  Read for 30 minutes everyday.

 I think reading is good for my soul and my mind.  It really does not matter if it is a trashy novel or an inspiring motivational book, it is good to escape into inner thoughts that reading takes me to.  This will ground me and help me seek out a variety reading material on a regular basis (I read very fast so I can gobble up a lot of material, at a rapid pace).

3)  Journal daily experiences.

This will be the hardest habit to build into my day.  I have tried journaling many, many, many times.  This time I have focus and purpose to my journal entries.  I will write about what I learn and experience each day and include my "to do" list for the next day.  I have used the Mary Kay Ash '6 most important things' list for years.  When you are working from home and want to keep your sanity, this list is a life saver and lets you get some sleep at night.

Now, don't worry...I won't be posting journal entries on a daily basis or calling my friends and business associates at 5 o'clock in the morning!!  Just be on notice that this is a change in the environmental factors that influence my creativity, my energy, my awareness of positive attractions.  I am very excited to get started.

Link to Robin Sharma's video:

January 7, 2014

Goal or Resolution?

I set a goal before the end of last year.  This is a goal, not to be confused with a resolution.  I wish I had made a resolution because I could just ignore it when it gets to hard.  I can't do that because I set a goal.  It matters, in my mind, to make that distinction.  My goal was to create a website for my business, which is now on life support due to economy/no building/no remodeling/no budget for a silly designer/everyone is a diy'er situation.  I love what I do and really want to put the energy in to doing business again and expand my horizons.  So, like all good business women and men, I set myself up for success, set that goal and am determined to get it completed before the end of January 2014.

I didn't get back to work until January 3rd, which does not seem like too much grass has grown under the proverbial goal but we are talking about a website---of which I know nothing about creating---have attempted before and failed---am worn out just thinking about getting started on.

For expediency, I am going to fast forward a few sleep deprived days and reveal that I do in fact have something online that represents a bonafide website.  It is not complete yet but I have hope.  Now, I am going to post a link to my site for your gazing pleasure but whatever you do don't look at the Blog link on the menu.  It will confuse you and make you think you are part of this evolutionary process.  You sadly, are not. It is the result of my inability to figure out how to link my old blog with my new blog.  Which is why I am not blogging on my website right now!


I have 23 days left to figure this out.  In the mean time, I will be working on a new project in Rancho Cordova, CA.  It's a kitchen remodel.  The cabinets and appliances are ordered so now it is on to the jewelry of the project (granite, tile, hardware).  Let the good times roll!

July 2, 2013

The 90 percent rule

I often accuse my husband of completing projects up to the 90 percent mark and then he loses interest, momentum or something.  Well, the truth is I am just as vulnerable to the 90 percent rule as he is!  A case in point is my kitchen island.
Isn't this pretty?  It is probably about 70 percent done but hey, who's calculating!  The top two drawers and that side of the island is completely painted.  I still have to wax on the finish I want to create but have decided to wait until all of the painting is done before I start waxing.  I made my own chalk paint using gesso and paint.  It works really well but is a little rougher than I wanted.  Maybe less gesso next time.  Anywho, I keep telling myself if I do one door/drawer a day I will be done in a week.  I did work on it two weeks ago but I started the project about 2 1/2 months ago (maybe longer :).  I take my time with these things...ha!  I lose interest because it does not go as quickly as I want it to.  With this project, however, I must carry on and keep painting because it is in the center of my open kitchen :)  More updates to come...

Lost in space!

My intent when I started to blog was to give an inside look into the mind of a "creative" person.  I have learned something about myself that is keeping me from blogging.  I don't think the things I do require creativity or that anyone would find me particularly interesting.  You see, for me it isn't being creative;  It's just being me.

So, here is what I have been doing, besides cleaning!

I just finished an artist's rendering of a street sign for a nominee for Honorary Mayor of Fair Oaks, Steven Danford.  I hope he can pull this off because it would be a beautiful gateway into the old Fair Oaks Village.

I have framed and hung some retouched thrift store art I purchased many years ago (I left them unframed for about 15 years...not to quick in deciding what frames would enhance the pictures).  The floral picture had to have some of my color magic added because the flowers were a hideous pink color---very sad looking.  Now I have them hanging in my kitchen on each side of the pantry door with a couple of other items.  Really creates some balance and symmetry.  The pictures were the same size so the matching frames really helps to harmonize them.
This is one of the first thrift art paintings I purchased for $1.20.  The fruit bowl has paint check from too much paint but I love it!  This one would be hard for me to part with...but I might if I found something that appeals to me more for that spot.

This is such a perky little picture now with vibrant flowers.  It was dull and boring before--too bad I don't have before pictures but, it too was purchased many years ago for $.50.  I hope the artist doesn't mind the redo and I love the weight of the full blossoms in the undersized vessel.  I like to think it was intended to look like it is overflowing with heavy flowers.

Here is one of my recently reworked art pieces.  I don't remember how much I paid for it but it was from a thrift store.  It was done in 1977 by Mary Murphy, but alas, I had to cover her signature.  I wish I had thought to take a before picture!  Darn it!  Well, what I did was sand off some of the finish to knock the gloss down and enhance the blooms with more contrasting colors.  When it was nearly dry I removed some of the color.  This left areas where you can see layers of paint remaining.  Then I took some antique gel and slathered it on.  Waited about 5 minutes because it was about 105 degrees outside, then removed as much of the antique gel as I could.  Now, you would never know it was done in 1977!  Should I frame it?  I don't know...

We will be painting the master bedroom soon, now that I have decided on a color!  I have been living with patch marks all over the walls for more than a year so I am ready to git-r-dun!!  
This is the bedroom before...
Mid-project with all of the curtains down.  I don't think I am putting them back up.  Too hard to keep them clean enough for my allergies!  Not sure what to do about all of the windows in this room...hmmm.  
The color will be a little lighter but same tone in order to keep the shades.  Stay tuned!

March 29, 2013

Bright, tight, white grout!

I have had many friends come over to my house and look at the size of my kitchen counters with envy.  They have marveled at how white the grout is on the counter-tops and want to know my secret.  I have no secret---just good old fashioned elbow grease and a desire to keep them from looking icky!  I learned from my mother the importance of taking care of what you have to increase its longevity.  I have just finished cleaning all of the white grout on my counter-tops   From the picture below you can see that is a LOT of grout.  So much so, I have to break it up into three stages!  If it didn't break it up I wouldn't be able to use my hands for anything for a week.  When we had this house built 11 years ago, I never thought about how much time I would spend cleaning this stuff...And I should have because I grew up in a home that had just as much tight white grout as this one (maybe a little more).

My Kitchen...standard tile, white appliances and oak cabinets, 

in all of their glory!  Eleven + years old

So, what is my point here?  Well...I have a couple of points to make.  First, the finishes on porcelain tile today are not the same as they were in 1970.  They are not as durable as they used to be due to a variety of factors (most of which are due to environment regulatory changes).  I will admit we had the standard garden variety Dal-Tile tile installed because I did not want to pay the builder one dime more than necessary since, I knew I would be changing it out for something chic right away.  Ha!  Famous last words.  That is also why I have oak cabinets (which I was going to paint immediately).

Second, over the years I have bleached, scrubbed and worn down the grout and tile to a point where it needs to be replaced.  Yes, I am a maniac regarding having clean counter-tops.  I have discovered that I can no longer clean with bleach due to allergies and scrubbing alone will not keep the grout white and free from stains.  Now, I have discovered LA Totally Awesome Grout Cleaner.  I have no idea what is in this stuff but it does not make me wheeze and my counters look totally awesome :)  It even gets the chips and cracks in the tile clean which makes them slightly more tolerable.  I do keep the dogs outside while I perform my surgical procedure on the grout.  All I have to do is spray it on...wait 15 minutes (the bottle says 5 minutes but 15 is better)...go over each grout line with an old spin brush tooth brush (larger brushes cause too much spatter and I don't like to have to clean furniture and floors after I am done)...then wipe it clean and dry.  Voila!  I do this about once every six weeks to keep everything looking fresh.

Third and final point is, whenever I think to myself I am going to change out something that is semi-permanent in my home I need to think again.  The truth is I will do my best to work with whatever I have until the last dog is hung, so to speak.  I simply can not rip out something that is in pristine condition no matter how much I dislike it.  My choice is to work around it and make it work until it's useful life has reached the end.  Unfortunately for me, my economic standing forces me to wait a while longer before replacing my counter-tops.  Such is life... Did I mention I get this cleaner for $1.00 at the Dollar Tree?

February 26, 2013

Airing Dirty Laundry

Ok, we all have laundry...dirty laundry.  I am here to air my dirty laundry.  I have a single story home so I definitely have an advantage over you two story home folks!  But, I will disclose how I do laundry and still manage to watch soap operas while eating bon bons.
This is the one I use

The first thing I do is start with a rolling three bin laundry sorter.  Whites, jeans, towels is usually how it goes.  I roll in to the two other rooms that have hampers in them and sort the clothes in each room.  Off to the laundry room I go.  Weeeeee!

Once I am in the laundry room I load the washer and take a few minutes to clean the floor and countertop.  There is nothing worse than dropping something on a dirty floor after you have cleaned it and let's face it the laundry room generates a lot of dust and stuff.
No this isn't my laundry room but I couldn't get a good picture of mine (too small)

Now, my strategy is simple:  Only go into a room with something to drop off or something to pick up.  So, I wait until I have my first load of laundry out of the dryer before I do anything else.  I watch the clock but, if I am really engrossed in doing something else, I use the alarm on the dryer to alert me when it's time to go at it again.  I rarely and I mean rarely let a load of clothes sit in the dryer.  I do this for two reasons.  First, I don't like to iron and second, it merely prolongs the agony of the laundry plight.  When the dryer is done I fold everything and then I put it away, in drawers or on hangers.  When I go into a room to deliver the clothes I strip the bed and put on clean sheets.  I make the bed too because if I need to set anything down I don't want to have to make room with my hands full. I only have three beds to make so I spread it out over each load so that I don't work up a sweat!  The last loads I do are the sheets.  It is really not too bad using this method because I am able to get a lot done at once and yet still have plenty of time to get on Facebook or write another Blog. I am not going through piles of wrinkled laundry or stuffing mountains of clothes into drawers at one time...you all know what I am talking about!


Then, before the day is through, the cycle starts again!  It is perpetual.  This the exciting life I lead but, at least I have it down to a science!

Now that I have posted this, I have decided it is time for my laundry room to get a makeover.  When we put in the stacking w/d a couple of years ago we took away some folding space I had on the dryer.  I did not think it would be important since I have a small slice of counter to fold clothes on...well, I was wrong.  This afternoon my husband was cleaning out a storage unit we are getting rid of and hidden behind some of my old business stuff was a wonderful piece of formica counter top that will fit perfectly over the washer and dryer, if we unstack them.  It is exactly the 33.5" width we need with lots of length to fit snugly in the space.  The reason it has to be 33 1/2 inches is because the dryer vent is the new style that is required to prevent lint fires.  I did not realize that either when we had these units installed.  Lessons learned.  So, the counter will go down and the cabinets back up over the w/d and I am gonna get nuts and paint it too.  Hmmm, what color??  More decisions to be made.  I'll post a picture when we are done!