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Bathroom Design Concepts

Bathroom Design Concepts

Ever wonder…. What’s going on in SAM’S home??? If so, you’ve come to the right place.

Right now we’re planning to update the bathroom in our Cathedral Hill home later this year and have a few concepts brewing. As most Cathedral Hill homes, it’s pouring with historical charm, tall ceilings, and a touch of beautiful brick accents. We’ve slowly been working on updates over the past year, and the biggest one to be tackled is the bathroom. The bathroom currently has hexagon vinyl sheet floors (no thanks), which are SUPER easy to clean, but it’s time to retire as it’s seen far too many bare feet over its life. Sheet vinyl flooring is great for the perk of cleaning, however for a slippery space, you are more inclined to slip and sprain an ankle. 

These are all my pitiful excuses to update this bathroom because I am a design junkie constantly on the lookout for new projects. And I mean …… it’s a safety hazard for crying out loud. 😉 

(existing bathroom)

Here are the concepts we’re liking so far…

OPTION 1: 

Matte Tan and White Checkered Tile

This concept is inspired by an incredible designer, Sarah Sherman Samuel, you can see above on the top left where she designed a checkered floor and wall situation that is to die for. When I came across similar tiles to these, and at a GREAT price of $4/sf, I knew we needed them in our life. The reason we love this for the bathroom is because it’s warm and not too heavy. It’s busy,  but in a classic way, that in my opinion, will age well and it matches the style of the home so well. It’s matte too, and has enough grout and grip wet floors. Plus, classic checkered patterns have never gone out of style! Cons. None really! Except, The “tan” tile is a little darker than I expected after getting the sample, but I think it would still work. 

OPTION 2:

Calacatta Viola Marble

This concept is also inspired by a bathroom designed by Sarah Sherman Samuel. It’s actually a bathroom in Mandy Moore’s house! I’ve always been obsessed with this marble style, and I want it to be everywhere in every room of every house I walk in. We are worried it would be too much for the small bathroom, but it could also be phenomenal and just enough, too? We could even just do the floors and pair it with white tile on the walls. The reason we love this is because 1. It’s such a beautiful and unique marble and 2. It has the classic historical charm that this house embodies. Like checkered flooring, marble also has been a constant sought after finish for the home. Cons: this tile is 12×24 so the grout lines could be a bit much for the amount that would be covered, it’s double the price as the first tile and last tile, and its marble, which means you have to be cautious of what goes on it so it doesn’t cause imperfections. 

OPTION 3:

Glossy White + Matte Black Squares

I’m not sure who did this bathroom above on the upper left, I stumbled upon it on Pinterest and it stopped me in my tracks (if you know the designer comment and we will tag them!). It’s so classic, neutral, and lovely while also being impactful. We love how the black tile on the floors would be so functional because it won’t show as many imperfections that life brings, and it’s matte so great for slippery floors. I love this concept and I know it would be liked by more people since it is so neutral, which is important for the next home owners. I know we would love it and it would be amazing but is it unique enough for Sam and I’s quirky design taste?!? 

What’s your favorite concept and why?! Let us know your thoughts. We will keep posting our home updates and keep you in the loop for ways you can update your home and to not break the piggy bank!

Elena Esters – Designer

@lena.esters

Sheet Pan Nachos!

Sheet Pan Nachos!

Sheet pan nachos are so simple! They are the perfect meal to throw together at home when you’re craving a little comfort. This recipe has everything you love about your favorite bar nachos but takes layering to the next level. Every chip gets a little love this way! 

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 375°. 
  • Cover a sheet pan with a piece of parchment paper (it makes clean-up a breeze!!!). 
  • Spread a few handfuls of chips out evenly over the pan.
  • Sprinkle half of the toppings over the first layer of chips as evenly as possible . 
  • Cover with a second layer of chips. 
  • Top them off with the remaining toppings. 
  • Bake for 10 to 15 minutes. 

You’re just looking for the cheese to melt perfectly so it won’t take too long. If you want a little extra crisp, use the broiler for a couple of minutes but keep an eye on the nachos so they don’t burn (broilers can be finicky beasts). 

I like to add the fresh ingredients like cilantro and green onions after the nachos are done baking. Adds a little extra brightness to the dish! 

Ingredients

  • Donkey Chips Salted Tortilla Chips
  • Block Cheese (Wisconsin Sharp Cheddar & Pepper Jack shredded at home)
  • Ooey-Gooey Nacho Cheese Sauce (Recipe Below)
  • Pulled Pork (Other great options? Chicken, ground beef, chorizo, steak)
  • Black Beans & Pinto Beans (With two generous scoops of Adobo Sauce for heat)
  • Diced Fresh Jalapeños
  • Chopped Cilantro
  • Minced Green Onion
  • Guacamole (I use Frontera Spicy Guacamole Mix with four avocados instead of the recommended two)
  • Salsa (We keep jarred salsa in the fridge but I love buying fresh salsa from the grocery store as a special addition to our Mexican Nights. Cub Foods makes a great spread of fresh salsas, available in the produce section)

Ooey-Gooey Nacho Cheese Sauce Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 15oz. can of nacho cheese sauce (typically found in the Hispanic or Ethnic food aisle at the grocery store)
  • ¼ to ½ cup Au Jus or Broth 
  • 2 tbsp chopped green chiles (optional)

Directions

In sauce pan, start to heat nacho cheese sauce over low heat. Add green chiles. Mix well.

Slowly add liquid. Mix well. Continue until desired consistency is reached. 

Allow cheese sauce to simmer slightly. Stir constantly to avoid burning. 

Serve hot.

Use spoon to drizzle cheese sauce over sheet pan nachos. 

The Isaacson Brothers – Nacho’ Average Realtors!


@LindsayGuentzel

 www.lindsayguentzel.com

Ice Cream For Breakfast!

Ice Cream For Breakfast!

Lindsay Guentzel is a writer and television personality living and working in the Twin Cities. She loves everything that has to do with being at home — cooking, gardening, interior design, DIY projects — and she loves sharing ways to make it happen with as little stress as possible. 

You can follow her adventures on social @LindsayGuentzel. 

Celebrate Ice Cream For Breakfast Day on February 6th

The first Saturday in February isn’t the greatest time to celebrate Ice Cream For Breakfast Day when you live in Minnesota (don’t even look at the forecast) but I guess you can’t complain when someone gives you a built-in excuse to enjoy ice cream first thing in the morning, right? 

Over the last few years, we’ve seen a surge in high-quality, artisanal ice cream shops popping up across the Twin Cities. And while Mother Nature might not be cooperating with this celebration (again, don’t look at the forecast), it’s always a good idea to remind you of all the hidden ice cream gems you need to visit. 

Shopping small and shopping local is more important than ever. So whether you pick up some pints to bring home to stock your freezer or enjoy a mouthwatering treat from the comfort of your toasty car, I’m a firm believer that ice cream is always a good idea (one last time, don’t look at the forecast).  

Check out the hours on all of these places before planning your visit — a lot of them have limited their hours because of COVID and winter. 

Honey & Mackie’s

Link: https://honeyandmackies.com/

Out west? Make a stop at Honey & Mackie’s off Highway 55 and Rockford Road in Plymouth. What’s great about Honey & Mackie’s is they are always changing up their ice cream selections so you never know what amazing combinations they’ll have in store for you. Also check out their Valentine’s Day Sampler — available in-store only — which features 12 love-themed ice creams for you to share with your own Valentine (or buy two sampler packs and don’t share, we won’t judge). 

Pictured: The Caramel Brownie Stout, an ice cream made with stout beer from Minneapolis-based Utepils Brewing, brownies and salted caramel. Embed: https://www.instagram.com/p/CKmh814FZT9/

Milkjam Creamery

Link: https://milkjamcreamery.com/

Perhaps the most photographed ice cream in the state, Milkjam Creamery on Lyndale Ave and West 28th in south Minneapolis became incredibly popular both for its magnetic colors and its high-quality, unique flavors. Milkjam balances veteran flavors like Black and C.R.E.A.M with monthly seasonal flavors and even has a D.I.Y. Valentine’s Sundae Kit for sale right now which is the perfect treat for the ice cream lover in your life. 

Pictured: Black, the darkest chocolate ice cream you’ve likely already seen all over social media (it is stunning and delicious). This Milkjam staple is also vegan and gluten-free (Milkjam always has plenty of vegan and gluten-free options on their menu so no excuses for you not to enjoy). Embed: https://www.instagram.com/p/B5d9WO7gxcC/

Bebe Zito Ice Cream

Link: https://www.bebezitomn.com/

Tucked away off Lyndale in Minneapolis’ Wedge Neighborhood, Bebe Zito is the love child of chef Ben Spangler and Gabriella Grant that features chef-driven, small batch ice cream made with high-quality ingredients. The couple, who got engaged and married at the shop, went into business to provide ‘flavor vacations’ to all of their guests — like G.O.A.T Apple Pie (a Cajeta caramel base with roasted apple and cinnamon jam topped with pie crumble streusel) or the Breakfast Club (Fruity Pebbles and Lucky Charms mixed into a citrus vanilla base then topped with caramelized Fruity Pebbles). 

Note: Prior to starting Bebe Zito, Ben — a chef who has appeared on the Food Network for his creations, helped develop some of the most popular ice creams flavors at Milkjam Creamery (including Black, pictured above). And the married team opened their brick-and-mortar store in 2020 which deserves all the applause because life was already difficult enough.  

Pictured: Shop favorite The Crowening with a Valentine’s Day twist — a red velvet Oreo cookie base, malted strawberry cheesecake cookie dough, strawberry Oreos and strawberry jam. Served in a red velvet cone from The Konery. Embed: https://www.instagram.com/p/CK4Ckc_lAwl/

Celebrate At Home

This might be the easiest holiday to celebrate at home. Take your favorite sweet breakfast food — waffles, pancakes, crepes, cinnamon rolls — and add a scoop of your favorite ice cream to the top. Eat, enjoy and then take a long nap Saturday afternoon. Perfection! 

My ice cream recommendations? Ben & Jerry’s Oat of this Swirled (buttery brown sugar ice cream with fudge flakes & oatmeal cinnamon cookie swirls), Talenti’s Gelato Layers in Banana Caramel Crunch, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream in Skillet Cinnamon Roll and Kemps Ice Cream’s Caribou Coffee Java Chunk.

National Bagel Day!

National Bagel Day!

I love bagels. And I’m not just saying that because this is a blog post about National Bagel Day. I’ve always loved bagels. Hot and toasted with a good old spread of delicious cream cheese over the top. Maybe a breakfast sandwich with egg, melted cheese and crispy bacon. An everything bagel loaded with turkey, tomato and sprouts, topped off with a spicy garlic aioli. To me, bagels are the perfect carb vessel. 

When I was 24, I lived a few blocks from Bde Maka Ska in south Minneapolis and my Saturday morning routine in the summer was almost always the same. A large black coffee from Caribou paired with a toasted rosemary bagel with bacon scallion cream cheese from the Bruegger’s on Lake Street. Enjoyed on a bench just feet from the lake, typically with a friend seated next to me as we dissected life’s greatest challenges over a low-key brunch.

When I decided to cut gluten out of my diet, I mourned carbs — specifically, I mourned bagels. I mourned finding an amazing bagel while traveling, an impromptu breakfast from the corner bodega in New York City or a quick lunch at a cute little bistro like proper bagel in Nashville. The old-school delicatessen in Berkeley, ordering a plate full of lox, red onion, capers to load up on a crispy bagel while sipping bottomless cups of coffee. 

Again, I love bagels. 

The good news? The Twin Cities is loaded with amazing locally-owned bagel spots for both gluten and gluten-free bagel lovers and I’ve offered up a few awesome suggestions for you below. The perfect way to celebrate this very important holiday. 

Rise Bagels

North Loop

530 North 3rd Street

Minneapolis

Years ago, I attended one of Rise Bagel’s test kitchen pop-ups. For a long time, sister duo Kate and Jen Lloyd sold their organic artisan bagels at farmer’s markets across the Twin Cities. And then they decided to open up a shop. So they settled in to put together a menu of delicious, unique bagels, cream cheese and sandwich offerings and I was lucky enough to be invited along as a friend’s plus-one to partake in the luncheon. 

Their brick-and-mortar store in North Loop is beautiful. The perfect surrounding for the products they offer. I ordered a large coffee (with an extra shot of espresso) and settled in to enjoy my Smoked Salmon sandwich on a gluten-free bun. This dream of a sandwich combines all of my favorite traditional fixings that scream ‘BAGELS’ — smoked salmon from Northern Waters Smokehaus in Duluth, red onion, cream cheese, capers and dill. 

Rise Bagels is open Wednesday through Sunday from 8am to 1pm (or until they sell out) and they offer online ordering and curbside pick-up. 

The Smoked Salmon sandwich, featuring Northern Waters Smokehaus smoked salmon (IYKYK)
The delicious options at North Loop hotspot Rise Bagel

http://www.risebagel.com/

Hark! Cafe

Warehouse District

430 North 1st Avenue

Minneapolis

Did you know Minneapolis has a 100% vegan, gluten-free, celiac-safe restaurant? I didn’t either until last week when I started doing some research for this post. Hark! Cafe is a brand-new cafe in downtown’s Warehouse District (in the old Rosen’s location on 1st Avenue, for all of us oldies out there). It’s beautiful. Bright and open and colorful, even with the COVID-restrictions in place. 

Hark! is the lovechild of two best friends, Katherine and Lisa, who met in college and now spend their days reinventing their favorite recipes to fit the plant-based, gluten-free lifestyle. Am I vegan? Nope. But I’m open to trying everything. So I went for it with a toasted onion bagel loaded with garlic cream cheese, tofu “egg”, grilled pepper and onions, and vegan cheddar. 

It was delicious. And the bagel — which was the real reason for my visit — was awesome. The texture was like an old-school bodega bagel, nice and crispy on the outside but chewy on the inside. It was a bagel!!!!! (If you know anything about gluten-free baking, you know that texture is hardest thing to nail and these bagels taste just like bagels). 

Hark! Cafe is open for takeout Tuesday through Sunday. 

A tofu breakfast sandwich on a toasted onion bagel with garlic cream cheese at downtown Minneapolis’s newest cafe Hark!

https://www.harkcafe.com/

St. Paul Bagelry

1702 Lexington Ave North

Roseville 

5426 Nicollet Avenue

Minneapolis

St. Paul Bagelry is owned by sisters Dodie and Peggy who opened up their second location in Minneapolis in 2017 after acquiring a cult-like following in the St. Paul suburb. And they make over 3,000 of their New York-style bagels every day.

Besides offering the classic bagel and cream cheese combo, St. Paul Bagelry has a long menu featuring breakfast sandwiches, lunch options and even pizza on a bagel that’s made-to-order (called the bagizza). St. Paul Bagelry bagels are also available at stores across the state, from Duluth to Rochester with a few locations in Wisconsin and northern Iowa as well. 

My suggestion? The MacGyver — hot roast beef, Swiss cheese, garlic herb cream cheese, green pepper and red onion on an onion bagel. 

St. Paul Bagelry’s two locations are open seven days a week with online ordering available as well.

The Joni Mitchell at St. Paul Bagelry (Source: @stpaulbagelry on Instagram)

http://www.stpaulbagelry.com/

Like this? Be sure to share it on social media and tag @isaacsonbrothers and Lindsay! And stay tuned for more posts on great places to check out in the Twin Cities.
To learn more about Lindsay, visit her here:

http://www.lindsayguentzel.com


www.lindsayguentzel.com

Staying on Theme in Home Design

Staying on Theme in Home Design

Introducing a few “rules of design” created by designers themselves who are known for “breaking said rules of design”

Ever get super excited about decorating a room and start binge buying a bunch of things that you think will work but when you put it together it all falls flat? That’s heartbreak. You were once on top of the world an hour ago in CB2…and left defeated.  This is a common setback people have when designing their home. It can be so frustrating that you might decide to give up and live with it anyway…BUT, us rule-breakers are rooting for you to power through and see the light at the end of this blog.

There aren’t rock solid rules when it comes to decorating; it’s a lot of trial and error honestly, whether you’re an interior designer or a secret spy (my second preferred career).  Rules can be broken and spaces can still look good, sometimes even more unique than ever. BUT these guidelines are typically 95% successful. So instead of rules, here are some guidelines to follow if you are that person sitting in a room that is just not working and you can’t put your finger on why

Guidelines →

If we could sum up how to stay on theme in a room it would be with balance, variety and repetition through colors, textures, scale and shapes. This is the condensed version of the million principles of design you learn in design school. The core of designing in my opinion. So, if you are considering redoing a room completely, or simply making a few adjustments, keep this thesis handy for reference as you carry on with my top-secret research paper (& feel free to give us an A++).

Organize your thoughts →

First of all, to begin this process we recommend organizing your overall game plan. It’s actually crucial for a great design. Reimagine your space and completely clear your mind of everything in it: the wall colors, the furniture and décor. Let it be an open-minded blank canvas, a fresh breath from the existing items that are battling with each other. Secondly, we recommend taking measurements and drawing out the room to scale so you can play around with a furniture plan. We know you might not be a professional artist or floor plan master, but a pencil, paper, tape measure and mediocre handwriting skills are all you need.

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Developing the aesthetics of your soon-to-be-designer-room is the fun part. Go to Pinterest and start a new board with saving various interior design pictures that you’re attracted to; this could be art, or just simply a picture that represents a color scheme that you like. Creating this will give you a visual language to understand what exactly you want to achieve as far as color and style. Give yourself some time during this step, and come back to it a few times with a fresh mind. If you’re anything like us there might be 10 different styles you’re attracted to, and you can’t seem to marry one. BUT, after pinning your socks off, note what specific things you like about each picture, and what colors you seem to be drawn to the most. Make a decision based on which style and shades you kept coming back to. These pictures sparked your interest, gave you excitement and happiness so why not implement that in your home? Create a space that makes you feel happy. DUH. Happiness rocks. I would choose 3-5 colors including neutrals and stick to those for your color scheme. This visual representation will be great to reference back to if you ever feel like you’re getting off track from the initial design down the road. If you find yourself at a garage sale or a flea market googly-eyed at a vintage piece that doesn’t go with the theme of this room, don’t force it! Stick to your roots, cover your eyes and run out of there. Do you know how many times we’ve fallen in love at a vintage market? At least 1,000 times. There are more sofas in the sea…

If you’re not quite starting from scratch and already have a piece of art or furniture that you’re smitten over and it represents your underlying style and inspiration- pick 3-5 colors from it and there’s your color scheme. (Stick with it friends!)

Find your focal point →

You should pin down a focal point for your room and base the entire design around it.  This will have the majority of the colors you chose for your color scheme. It could be a rug, a piece of artwork or furniture. This is the hard part because you’ll want to try to add all of your favorite pieces but letting the one steal the show, is the way to go! Let that statement piece shine and compliment it with the remaining furniture and décor, always leading your eye back to the focus point. Having too many points of focus calls out for your attention and it can leave a space feeling busy and overwhelming. Opting for one is clear and purposeful.

VARIETY

Variety is so important when decorating and without it, a room will be left feeling drab. When it comes to color, you can create variety by using lighter and darker tones of the 3-5 different hues that were chosen for your color scheme. Spreading these colors around will give you more design freedom and it will offer depth, leading the eye around the room. These colors can be displayed through small décor items on a bookshelf, side table or a pillow, and it will always match the rest of the room since it’s coming from the same hue family that was chosen. You can play with color pairings and go for monochromatic, complementary, analogous or triadic combinations.

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Texture is also crucial when it comes to variety, without it a space feels like it’s missing something… and it’s typically texture. Providing different sources of texture with finishes, textiles, knick-knacks and other décor items the mystery will be solved. Texture typically adds the perfect natural touch whether it’s through plants, woven baskets or a sheepskin throw. Which are all my favorite things. 

Additionally, you’ll want to provide variety through scale and shapes. If you have a lot of squares from architectural details or if your furniture is on the boxier side, make sure to add some other shapes in the room so squares with distinct lines aren’t the only shape that’s being registered. Adding some curves with a couple of sculptural and modular shapes will play with the squares well, providing diversity. When it comes to scale, you’ll want to make sure when you’re decorating and grouping items together that they differentiate in height and width so the different forms can work together in an interesting way. 

BALANCE 

Balancing with color can be just simply contrasting an object with another object and pairing them together. Colors combos that work for this are: black/white, warm tones/cool tones, and shiny finishes/matte finishes. If you have a room that is overwhelmingly white and dark blue, you should add some warmer tones like a camel brown leather ottoman and wood tones throughout. If you’re crazy for the cozy woods, oranges and reds (raising our own hand here) add white, black, or navy to balance out those warmer tones. When it comes to balance we’ve also learned to never forget to add shine in a room. Add brass, silver, black steel, and glass to even out the solid colors and textures. If you find your room is looking heavy or you have a smaller room, opt for a glass top table instead of a colored one so it’s not so visually heavy.  

Making sure you have enough texture in a room is one thing, but balancing it out in the right spaces through textiles and décor will add so much togetherness to a space. If there’s a solid sofa lacking texture, add fuzzy pillows or a sheepskin throw. If you are noticing your bookshelves are mainly solid and smooth vases, add some interest through plants or add a small wicker basket. If you have a velvet or mohair accent chair go for a leather or wood footstool to balance out the textured fabric. If your bookshelves are a sophisticated black metal you can add whimsy décor, organic shapes and funky plants to balance out the simplistic modern lines.  

As far as scale and shapes, balancing the big furniture items with each other is crucial to make the room work. Double-check that your furniture isn’t too big in scale because you don’t want you or your guest to feel crammed by large furniture.  Negative space is good and not something to not be afraid of. If possible, sofas shouldn’t be directly placed on the wall. Either float sofas or at least pull them a couple of inches off the wall. Paying attention to the corners of rooms is often overlooked you can make a room feel perfectly balanced if you have the corners filled out; If there’s a floor lamp on one end put a tall plant on the other, or vertical art pieces. Recognizing the shapes of your furniture so you can counter the accent pieces next to it in the opposite shape. Pairing different shapes next to each other like a contemporary boxy sofa with a round ottoman, compliments the space well. 

REPETITION

Our brains love repetition, especially in design. It registers as something familiar so recurring colors, finishes, textures, sizes and shapes are always pleasing to the eye.

Spreading out these elements thoughtfully, while working in rhythm with balance and variety is what really creates a cohesive space that you will not want to leave. 

————————————-

Bottom line, following these so-called ‘rules’ will create movement and equilibrium throughout the room you are designing and, throughout your home. Noting these details will steer you away from the common speed bumps that come into play with home design. Reevaluating your space doesn’t always issue a new reno project, but making sure your home is on theme and captures your preferred aesthetic is worth investing your time with minimal costs. You spend a lot of time at home. You should feel relaxed and the most comfortable in your own space instead of ignoring rooms that need extra love. We are all about being thrifty; Thriftier than the norm, but you know what’s great about finding amazing things for your home?…Finding amazing things for your home from the thrift store that’s $3. You’d be surprised what you find! GO THIS WEEKEND! WE MIGHT SEE YOU THERE!                   ————————————–

Creator and Designer: Elena Esters → @lena.esters

How to Stage Your Home to Sell ! On a Budget!

How to Stage Your Home to Sell ! On a Budget!

Staging your home to sell can seem like an expense you don’t particularly want to endeavor, however it can increase the value of your property and get it sold faster…pretty brilliant aye? Well, this is all possible after a little process of decluttering, depersonalizing, deep cleaning and decorating. (Say that 3 times fast) Helping potential buyers fall in love with your home takes more than your average home cleanup day, BUT it’s a practice worth completing and we’re here to help make it easier + budget friendly. *Hand Clap*

Most sellers have mixed feelings about changing their home to sell, why change when it’s already decorated perfectly by them, the masters themselves?! It’s important to not take into account your personal style and to be open to show off your home in the best light to the masses.

Declutter, Depersonalize, Deep Clean, + Decorate

Declutter

Typically the most time consuming, yet essential task to this process is decluttering your home. This can feel overwhelming if you’ve lived in your home over a long period of time. BUT, don’t assume buyers won’t take a peak inside that drawer in the very back corner that gets opened once a year. Yes, this means it might be time to consider cutting down your 359 kitchen gadgets to your top 340.5 *Gasp* In all seriousness, it is hard to detach yourselves from the items that you consider possibly needing one day. However, a clean and emptier home= a bigger home where homebuyers can imagine their life and personal items in it. A good rule of thumb is to go through every drawer and every closet and try to reduce about half of what is in there. Go room-by-room and start by clearing everything off the floor besides basic furniture; this includes toys, baskets and anything living under the sofa, bed or end table. Next, remove everything from all surfaces, from your kitchen counters to your end tables. Then move to the treacherous insides of drawers, cupboards, and closets. You want homebuyers to notice how roomy these storage areas are so they will see the potential room for their own items. Lastly, if there’s furniture in rooms that don’t have a specific purpose, relocate them to a more useful spot or set aside for storage.  

Depersonalize

Homebuyers want to feel like it’s their home when they walk in and though the family pictures from Disney World and your taxidermy collection are lovely, they might have to be set aside in this phase… Depersonalizing is broadening your audience, so sticking with neutral and universal décor is always a win.

Deep Clean

A deep cleaning may come naturally to you and if not, you might want to consider hiring a professional cleaner for help. You can expect homebuyers to be eyeballing everything from baseboards to the creepy depths under your sink, so every detail must be accounted for!

Decorate …while keeping your personal style out of it

You should be extra minimal with furniture and accessories throughout the home to let the new homeowners have the mental space to visualize their own items in place. A budget friendly tip for staging your home to sell is simply utilizing your current furniture in a newway. Think about focal points in each room and what will sell the house, like that amazing brick fireplace or the stellar view outside. Place your furniture around these features to highlight them. As far as accessories, use what you already have like old books or pottery to add texture and color. Go flower picking in your back yard and place little bud vases around. If you are feeling stuck when it comes to decorating surfaces like bookshelves and tables, a good rule of thumb is to group items in odd numbers, especially groups of 3, with varying widths and heights. Accessories are the perfect opportunity to add a pop of color to make each room special and memorable for homebuyers. Add color with art, pillows/throws, or a beautiful rug. If your current items aren’t cutting it, run to IKEA for all the wonderful cheap knick-knacks. Another golden spot is the THRIFT STORE; there are so many treasures there for bookshelf and table staging

Paint

If your walls seem dingy or subpar, you may want to consider painting for a fresh new look! Painting the main common areas such as the living room, kitchen, dining room and hallways all the same color makes a home feel larger. Going with a neutral color, like white or light gray, creates a clean blank slate for the new family moving in. We recommend going with a bright white for baseboards, like Chantilly Lace, and a warmer neutral for the main walls. Here’s a list of our favorite neutrals by Benjamin Moore below:

Room-by-Room Guide for Staging

Living Room

If your current sofa could use a face-lift, a slipcover could be the answer, or if we’re only dealing with a small stain, try covering it with a colorful throw or pillow. The living room is a place that homebuyers envision how they’ll be spending their free time, so make sure the furniture sizes are proportionate for the area, and that it embodies a relaxing social environment. When it comes to accessories, start with a clean surface and add minimal colorful décor items- you don’t need much! Small vases, pottery, books, and plants are great for living room décor. If you need plants, check out Target for faux and Trader Joes for live. Other accessories such as pillows and throws should also add a little color and texture to the space. Play with groupings of 3 pillows on one side of the sofa, and throw a blanket on the other side for good measure. Place a couple of books and a candle on the coffee table for the finishing touch.

Kitchen

The kitchen should feel fresh clean and organized, so make sure all cupboards are clutter free and in an organized fashion. This may mean reducing the number of cups and other dishes down to one set, even though they are behind closed doors. Removing everything from the countertops including items like toasters and coffee makers help emphasize the more important features in the kitchen. A couple of wooden cutting boards, cookbooks, and a jar of bright fruit will do just the trick. 

Dining room

Experiment with your dining room table and chairs to make sure they are placed in the most practical way keeping in mind the flow of traffic. Typically homeowners are looking to entertain, so take advantage of the space if it’s available. To set the mood of a functioning dining room- set the table with colorful dishes, cups, and napkins along with a top of the line centerpiece (a.k.a. flowers from ya yard!!!)

Bedrooms 

Attempt to gender neutralize the bedrooms- ditch the princess bedding and monster truck posters and go for a spa-like mood to make these rooms feel like a sanctuary. You want these spaces to feel as cozy and relaxing as possible, so the fluffier the bedding and pillows, the better. Whites, blues and greens are great colors for the bedrooms, so keep these colors in mind when choosing bedding + pillows, too. Add a lavender candle and a good book to the bedside table and you’re set. Tranquility complete

Bathrooms

The bathroom should be SQUEEKY clean with almost everything put away. So, staging these rooms is a piece of cake. Keep all personal items and toiletries packed neatly under the sink, and stage the bathroom counter with fluffy white towels and a decorative bar of soap.

Office/ Extra Rooms

If you have extra rooms that don’t have a specific purpose- give them one! Whether it’s a guest bedroom or an office, give homebuyers an idea of what they can do with these spaces and how much potential they have. It doesn’t have to be decked out in accessories and furniture, but a known purpose is necessary so it doesn’t seem like wasted space.

Mudroom

If you have a mudroom, this area can be a big selling point for homebuyers, so make sure to highlight it! Remove all personal items that aren’t neatly packed away in a basket or closet, and have a few pairs of your favorite sharp looking shoes neatly placed. If you have hooks, hang a snazzy leather or denim jacket on them to set the scene. Functionality and organization is key!

Our Last Two Cents…

It is recommended when selling your home to have the best marketing for it. Getting professional pictures taken is a way to really sell your home and you need to show off all your hard work anyway! A couple of tricks to capture the best pictures and wow the crowds are to make sure every light is on and all the window blinds are up for optimum natural light, a high priority homebuyers look for. & Lastly, some yummy snacks and nice tunes for your guests can never go under-appreciated. Happy house selling!!

Created by the amazing Elena Esters – @lena.esters

The Art of DIY Flower Arranging

The Art of DIY Flower Arranging

Freshen up your space with easy, quick and inexpensive flower arranging

Key Elements to look for with flower design –>

 TEXTURE + COLOR + SIZE VARIATION

Grab some fresh flowers at your local grocery store, flower shop or YOUR BACKYARD!

Different types of flowers you should look for:

  • Bigger blooms: (ex. Hydrangea)
  • Smaller blooms: (any flower clusters)
  • Greens: (ex. Eucalyptus, Italian Ruscus, Palms)

Arranging

Step one: Find vases around the house- you can use pottery, mason jars, pitchers, basically a whole lot of stuff- get creative! The thrift store is a great option if you are coming up short- almost all the vases used here are from the thrift store. If you are looking for bud vases, Michaels always has a good selection.

Step two: Look around your home and see what you need- maybe your end tables are looking bare or you need the perfect centerpiece for your dining room… or all the above! These spaces may need color, height or texture. Simple bud vases with a pop of color are great to put on bookshelves, your bathroom vanity or around the kitchen.

Step three: Cut stems according to the height of the jar you’re using. If it’s a wider mouth, you’ll need a lot more flowers than if it’s the skinner mouth that most vases have. Keep in mind that you will want the flowers to have varying heights for depth. It’s all about balance!

If you’re doing a couple bud vases, they don’t need much! 1-3 flowers will add the perfect touch. You can put these little colorful guys anywhere around the house to add a little something extra.

If you’re wanting to do a larger arrangement for a centerpiece of some kind, and have no idea where to start- here are some guidelines: start with the bigger blooms, like the Hydrangea, and put the smaller blooms around it, keep doing this process until your vase is getting full but not too tight, then add the greens! You can manipulate the greens by putting them all around the bottom edge so they can hold up the flowers in the center.

Lastly, the trick to keeping fresh flowers fresh, is to change the water once a day! No “flower food” needed. Another top-secret tip is if you have Tulips, put a couple pennies in there and they will last longer than if you didn’t- trust me!

Bottom line- flower arranging is pretty forgiving. Play around with the colors, and heights until you find something you like. If you do it a couple times, it’s a piece of cake and having them around your home really adds a fresh and natural touch. So go hit the back yard and freshen up your spaces!

P.S- If you are wanting to add fresh greens to your home, and even if you aren’t, you should get fresh eucalyptus for your shower. Tie the branches around your shower head and the heat and steam will help activate the essential oils and it can help reduce stress. It’s pretty spectacular. You can get fresh eucalyptus at your local Trader Joes or flower shop. There’re also a couple subscriptions now that deliver fresh eucalyptus to you every month, so you don’t even have to go in public- SCORE!

Content Creator: Elena Esters

My new best friend, Euphorbia Trigona.

My new best friend, Euphorbia Trigona.

The time of year where the pasty skin that has been in hibernation for months is exposed to the rays of the sun. The first sunburn of the year is almost brag worthy. Whether that be a terrible farmers tan *Sam Isaacson* or bright red shoulders. We are proud of that first sunburn just like that nostalgic feeling of being proud to end that last day of school. Summer is here and oh we are so ready for it.

For most Minnesotans this means we are outside. Any chance we can get because we do not take this for granted. So let’s talk about how to bring that summer vibe into your beautiful home. There is a new shop in town that is a haven for desert vibes in the middle of industrial Minneapolis. An exceptional pocket of sunshine with a cement exterior that holds lush and prickly life inside. Mother (formally known as Madre) is exactly what Minneapolis needed. A smooth and eye pleasing interior that holds and houses multiple cacti and other plants. Each one with their own personality and attitude to match any homes interior decor. But, which one to choose?

It was a difficult decision. We found ourselves saying, “Oh, he’s so cute…Oh wow, she’s a statement!” It was a perfect way to spend a lazy Sunday in the heat picking out a cactus just right for the interior of the home we were purchasing it for. It had to have character, class, be a little funny and extremely tough.

Finally, we found it. A Euphorbia Trigona. Also known as an African milk tree. It was perfect. Planted in a terra cotta pot and standing upright with about 3 different stems. This guy was ours. Upon purchase you will receive a booklet on how to take care of your beloved new friend, no over watering. This is our kind of plant. This is a “non-planters” dream!  

Not only is this unique cactus a great addition to a home, but will be in your family for yours to come. Like a child, but not really, but kind of.  So with that, we left Mother with a new family member and buckled him in safely in the back seat and onto his new home.

Check out their instagram page @shopmother

Location: 2400 N 2nd St, Minneapolis, MN

Tues – Sat 11am – 7pm & Sun 12pm – 6pm

Content Creator: Leah Isaacson

BOO!

BOO!

BOO! Did we scare you? With Halloween weekend upon us, we wanted to list out our Top Three all-time favorite horror films. Not sure where it all began, but in the Isaacson household growing up, we loved our scary movies. Yes, we’ve pretty much seen them all. Hey, some of us were only 5 years old when we saw 1968’s Night of The Living Dead. Does that make us weird? Sure. But we have made it a family tradition by usually scoping out the newest Hollywood hub bub flick at our favorite theater in Minneapolis, The St. Anthony Main Theatre. We brainstormed and came up with our three favorites to share with you. We aren’t about the gore here, yes of course we all know to watch Friday the 13th or Halloween. But we’ve come up with three that you might’ve forgotten about, or never heard of. Don’t watch alone. These films will sure to spook you to your core. So cozy up in that beautiful living room of yours and lock the doors. Happy Halloween!

 

The Babadook (2014)

Don’t judge a film by its name. Yes, when this movie first came out, Director Jennifer Kent knew the name sounded silly. But that was her intention. She wanted it to have a name that was something that a kid could easily make up. The Babadook is no joke however. Even the director of the Exorcist, William Friedkin, said it was one of the best and scariest horror films he’d ever seen. Woah. The acting is absolutely phenomenal and the slow emotional build up in the film is what keeps you wondering and guessing what will have next. Watch until the end and you will be thinking about this film for months.  A widow who is sticken by the grief of the loss of her husband, is finding it hard to cope with her out of control son, whose behavior seems to be getting more out of control. When a book suddenly appears in their house called, “The Babadook”, the son states that he’s been seeing this Babadook at night. The Babadook may be a villain, but the film explores the difficulties of parenting and the emotional pain of grief.  https://youtu.be/k5WQZzDRVtw

 

The Shining (1980)

Based on Stephen King’s 1977 novel, The Shining. The film is about an inspiring writer and recovering alcoholic, Jack Torrance (played by Jack Nicholson) who accepts a job to be the off season caretaker of the isolated historic Overlook Hotel in Colorado with his wife Wendy and son Danny. Danny possesses the psychic ability to see the hotel’s horrific past along with the hotel’s cook. The film explores the slow build up to Jack’s insanity. This film has epic scenes that are burned into memory and not to mention the most famous line from the film, “here’s Johnny”. In which Jack Nicholson improvised while filming. This movie is an absolute classic in our family and yes, we have seen it multiple times, but something about watching a character slowly grow more and more insane is not only fascinating but also intriguing. Who wants to take a trip and stay in room 217? https://youtu.be/5Cb3ik6zP2I

 

The Witch (2015)

The Witch in no way relies on jump scares, gore, or any other sort of silly monster to keep you watching until the end. Instead it takes its time to meticulously stir the pot to build up to its demonic and monstrous end that will leave you saying that was the best ending to a horror film. The film takes place in 1630s New England when a family is banished from the Commonwealth because of a religious dispute, are forced to build a farm outside of a secluded forest. Even though the film is set in 1630 New England, it feels modern in its implications about oppression, misogyny, and distrust. Winner of the Best Director prize at the Sundance Film Festival in 2015, this will sure to become one of your top horror films of all time. https://youtu.be/iQXmlf3Sefg

Now your electricity bill has increased because you will sleep with the lights on now…

I will leave you with Tony the Vampire…

 

 

Content Credit: Leah Isaacson

ICE. CREAM.

ICE. CREAM.

It’s time Minnesota. It’s finally that time. Where we can finally feel the warmth of what is that? Oh yes, the sun! It’s officially summertime and we couldn’t be more ready. Every year we deserve an award for getting through those unforgiving winter months and then the tease that is called spring. What better way to treat yourself than to an ice cream? Even though we will for sure eat ice cream when its -20 degrees out, but it’s more fun when you can actually sit outside and enjoy it. We scooped out (punny!) two uniquely different ice cream shops in our beloved Twin Cities that will have you drooling by the end of this blog post.

The first stop on our ice cream escapade was to Wonders Ice Cream Shop in Saint Paul. Wonders Ice Cream Shop is Minnesota’s First Rolled Ice Cream Shop. Now if that isn’t special, I don’t know what is. Not close to Saint Paul? No worries. Wonders Ice Cream has shops in Blaine, Maple Grove, Burnsville, and Mall of America! Woah. Why did we pick the Saint Paul location? Rolled. Ice Cream. Taco. You read that right folks! At the moment these fiesta wonders of the world are only available at their Saint Paul and Maple Grove locations. The Rolled Ice Cream Taco has a chocolate waffle cone in the shape of a taco shell that is then stuffed with your flavor of rolled ice cream and the toppings of your choice. We chose vanilla as our ice cream and toppings included bananas and strawberries.

 

What is rolled ice cream? It is a popular treat in Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, and the Philippines. The ingredients are laid out on a surface that is about -20 degrees Celsius. Once all the ingredients are prepped and evenly distributed, it is pushed with a spatula that turns it into rolls. They are placed in a cup and topped with any ingredient you could imagine. We also tried the Cookie Monster one of their signature menu items. Topped with Oreo’s, chocolate chip cookies, and we added Teddy Grahams for good measure. Get on the bandwagon because rolled ice cream is the treat of your dreams this summer. Plus it makes quite the Instagram post. Check out their website HERE!

 

Our second stop was to MN Nice Cream in Northeast Minneapolis. I mean the name in and of itself should make you smile. This place is all about the toppings. Glitter people. Glitter! Edible glitter! This place is Instagram heaven. Not only is every scoop of ice cream Insta worthy, you have plenty of backdrop options to choose from, adorable pastel striped colored walls, a neon ice cream sign, and not to mention their ice cream trucks that sit outside in the parking lot.

 

We ordered the waffle cone with Trix, vanilla soft serve ice cream, and loaded on those toppings with glitter, sprinkles, and Fruity Pebbles. I guess you could call this a breakfast dessert, not to mention the size of this thing was as big as our heads. Scrumdiddlyuptious! Location is prime here being next to Able Seedhouse + Brewery. There are plenty of benches to sit on outside and parking is ample with having a parking lot right across the street. Go simple with the ice cream or load on the toppings. They also offer Vegan ice cream! There is something here for any ones taste buds. Check out their Facebook page HERE!

 

So get out there and treat that sweet tooth of yours! You deserve it. Happy summer folks!

Brotherly love…??

 

Content Creator: Leah Isaacson