Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The American Dream

Owning a home is the American Dream! People plan, save and visualize about their America Dream, sometimes for years.  
When you read the word “home” you probably have a picture of your own home that comes to mind. A fond memory and warm emotions accompany those thoughts and feelings. A smile may come to your face as you remember that special Christmas or amazing childhood birthday party at your home. Remember walking into your home and smelling your favorite Christmas cookies being baked or hear the laughter of family members enjoying themselves.
The quote, “Home is where your heart is” sums it all up. It’s where memories are created. Home is bursting with love and is felt for the first time. It’s where YOU got started.
As you can see a house is so much more than mortar, lumber, windows, a roof and some furniture. The walls, patio, kitchen and garage have much more meaning and value attached to them than the actual cost of the products to build them. The American Dream has much more attached to it that the numbers on the house designating the address. Whether you remodel or build-There’s no place like home!
Remodeling your American Dream allows you to update your drab kitchen, expand the bathroom to meet the needs of your growing family or add the home theater, game room or man cave to accommodate all your children’s (or husbands) friends.
Building a “custom” home is a life-long dream that is customized to fit your lifestyle, whether it is luxurious, recreational, modern, contemporary, or southwestern – you name it! When you build a custom home, you have the freedom to decide every detail, from location to size, overarching style to the finishing touches.
As you build, remodel or update your American Dream, it is important to know why you’re doing it. Why build? Why remodel or update? Understanding the reason “Why” you’re doing what you’re doing is the fuel that powers you through your project. It’s what creates the passion for what you’re doing. The “why” is the meaning and purpose behind the construction.
Christmas time can be stress filled. Take a few minutes out of your day to contemplate the above questions. We don't want add more stress to your life right now but take a break from the long list of things you need to do. Like….. pick up last minute things you forgot for the upcoming party or the gifts left to buy for that long lost Aunt somebody. Let go of that for a moment and focus on what your home means to you. Why do you want to make the changes now?
Christmas is a time to remember how grateful we are to have a home to live in. The abundance we have and the multiple gifts we receive every day.
Deeply understanding YOUR "why" will help you stay grateful and provide you focus and direction.

Merry Christmas from Sandy and Laura


Sunday, October 28, 2012

Celebrate Good Times...... Come on!
I've (Sandy) been thinking about ways couples building a home can celebrate or bless their home during the building process.  There's the obvious ways, like enjoying the process of seeing the new paint colors, the new cabinetry, windows, doors and flooring, etc.  Those are good fruits of your labors, but what else can you do to have fun with this new house before it's done?  Things that put joyous energy into this potentially very stressful place and time - that of building a home when dollar concerns and other "bothers" take the fun out of it?

A friend of mine and her husband did a really cool thing as they were building their home!  They hand wrote scriptures from the Bible above the doorways, on the door jams, before the sheetrock and trim was put on.  Their grown children selected scripture meaningful to each of them and their chosen verses were written above the guest bedrooms, etc.  Because the scripture verses would be covered by wood and sheetrock, pictures were taken and the verses rewritten in a diary the couple is writing to record their building journey.  I can just feel the love energy they inbedded into the core of their new home!

We would love to hear from your? Your experience may spark some ideas and bring a smile to our readers faces!
  • How have your celebrated the progress along way of building or remodeling your home?
  • How have your friends or family celebrated or blessed their home?

I know if I were building, I'd like to have dance parties in my newly framed living room just as soon as the floor boards were nailed down! Let's party!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

A Furniture Treasure Hunt

Building a home, re-modeling, updating and/or furnishing your home should be FUN, if not a blast! I work with a couple who says the F word in their house is; FURNITURE!! How funny is that!!

This couple hates to go furniture shopping: they loath it.  If they never go inside a furniture store again, that would be wonderful. So, my job as their interior designer is to furnish their recently renovated home, top to bottom. Because I am committed to making this process as much fun as possible, for them and for me, I arrive at their home once a week when they are not there, and place furnishings.
When they get home from work, it's a furniture treasure hunt!! I leave notes here and there throughout the house. They are tickled when they come home and have surprises all over. They love the discovery of new pieces placed just so. They don't always keep everything, but most pieces work really well. It takes a lot of pressure and stress off of them, freeing them up to HAVE FUN!
This is an example of turning a challenge or possible conflict into a solution. If you find yourself in a situation where conflict is just around the corner, consider the following idea.
·        Your spouse, partner or kid is not your enemy. You are working together toward something you both want. Focus on the goal; not the obstacle.
Once you remind yourself of this, find three different ways to solve the problem. It’s good to have more than two choices so it doesn’t feel like and “either, or” situation. You may actually come up with more than three ideas, but if you’re in a hurry three options is helpful. If you get stuck, ask another person for their ideas.
For this couple and me, it was a WIN WIN for all! It is a terrific way to celebrate the accomplishment of furnishing a home when it started out as a damaging “F” word, now it’s an enjoyable “F” word.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Bleak and Outdated

Carol knows it’s time; time to do something with her bleak, outdated kitchen, low functioning bathroom and depressing master bedroom. Her internal conversation goes something like this.

“Remodeling and updating is overwhelming! When I think of how my husband and I will get along during this disturbing process; I just put the whole thing out of my mind..again. Steve and I had a hard time just agreeing on paint for the kid’s bedroom. It’s just not worth it to tackle updating or remodeling. Yet, something really needs to be done, if only to keep the value of our home up. Interest rates are good right now!

I wish this wasn’t such a touchy subject with my husband. Oh, well….maybe someday he’ll bring it up on his own. How come I’m the one who always brings it up?”.

This is a common scenario, not only in home remodeling; but also in other areas of life. How do you talk about touchy subjects? How do you bring up hard to talk about issues? With Steve and Carol there is a history in making decisions together that didn’t go well. It is challenging to leave that history behind in order to move forward. Here are a few questions to ask if you find yourself in a similar place.
1. How important is this to me? Rate your response from 1-10. 1 being not important and 10 being very important.

2. How important is this to my partner? Rate his.her response.

3. Is the timing right? How are the interest rates? Do we have the resources (plan, time, money and supplies) to do this now? If not, is there a better time?

4. Am I willing to learn from history, take a risk and move forward?

Carol could bring up the conversation like this. “I know we had a hard time picking out the paint for the kid’s bedroom. We argued a lot, but I think I would like to work together to update our house; to give it another try. We have such a wonderful home and I think by updating, we could add substantial value to it. The interest rates are low now and I think it’s a good time. This is important to me. Would you be willing to talk with me further about this?

Sometimes acknowledging the previous frustration without blame can lighten the power of conflict. Then focus on the reward and ask to partner with one another to move forward is empowering to all involved.

Bleak and outdated becomes promising and brand new!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Great News!

It is exciting to announce that Sandy Berendes and I are writing a book together. Sandy has had the dream to write a book sharing her 30+ years experiences and wisdom in interior design. The name of the book is Love Under  (Home) Construction. Three solutions to building (or remodeling) your home without demolishing your relationship.

Most of you have heard a comment like this, "You're building a home? That's going to be stressful. Hope you have a strong relationship because my friend built a house and then got divorced". Not sure the above quote is accurate or a just a myth. But we want to help prevent this from being a reality! Building or remodeling a home can be nerve wracking AND a wonderful experience.

In our book we will provide tips on how to avoid the pitfalls and obstacles that can destroy a relationship. Through real life stories we provide you with examples of roadblocks and messes in the building of a new home or remodeling. You may find yourself in some of these stories.

Our greatest desire is to help you the reader prior to remodeling or building your dream home. Over the years, Sandy has witnessed couples successfully reach their goal. We want to share what they did that worked and give you hope!

As a therapist, life coach and co-author, I offer possibilities on what to do different from the stories shared in the book, bring a bigger perspective into the deeper issues of what could be going on in each situation and to celebrate and build upon wins!

We will be providing chapters from our book for you to read and offer your suggestions to us. Thanks for being direct, encouraging and truthful in your input!

Extremely excited,

Laura Longville and Sandy Berendes