Who Sells The Best Towels?

One of my favorite lifestyle items that many people don't think about is towels. Think about how many times a day you use one, but when it's time to make a purchase we spend more time worrying about cost and color than value. A typical family of 4 owns 15 towels, and we tend to hold on to them longer than maybe we should. My parents own a lake house and received 20 beach towels that were promotional items at least 10 years ago and we still use them!
My favorite store to buy towels from is JC Penney. They always have sales going on, but you can get a luxurious bath towel in beautiful current colors for under $10.00. As a Lifestylist® and model home merchandiser I buy a lot of towels for my job, and JC Penney is always my first stop for this purchase. Their sheets and bedding can't be beat as well. Instead of buying all of your towels the same color, try buying coordinating colors. That way you can mix and match, and each family member or house guest can have their own color so you'll always know which is yours!

Should I Buy an Old House or a New One?

Great question, and as a Lifestylist® the first thing I would say is that your purchase should have a lot to do with your lifestyle.
My Home Idea Factory is truly a printing factory that was built in the 1940's that I love, and the advantages are the architecture and details like the solid oak floors, acreage and location close to town that I could never afford at today's prices. But with that comes the reality that a lot of my time is now spent maintaining my home - my single pane windows let in the cold in the winter and heat in the summer, lack of insulation means that it's really hard to have a constant temperature, the roof is always leaking and the heat and air guy is on my speed dial. And now that freon has become more regulated I can't even find what I need to keep my AC cool and happy.
A new home has it's advantages and disadvantages as well. The great news is that you have a warranty and someone to call if you do have issues, your appliances and home are probably at least energy star rated and everything is new! If there is a disadvantage it might be that everything is new, but if you are a great shopper finding unique elements that you can add to your new home can give it just as much character as The Home Idea Factory has without the headaches.
When I talk about the Home Idea Factory, I always say "it's all about You." Do you have the time, energy and resources to keep up an older home or would you rather have a new home where you don't have to worry about maintenance for the first few years? It's about your life. your style. your way.  No matter what your choice is, what is important is that it's the right home for you and your family.

What Is The Difference Between Decorating, Staging and Merchandising?

Decorating is a general term that has to do with adding furniture, accessories, drapes, or whatever is needed to a home. Most consumers would "decorate" vs staging or merchandising their personal homes.
Staging and Merchandising should be the same thing if done properly with the goal being to design a home to help sell it. There are many merchandising firms (including mine) that specialize in re-merchandising a model or doing it on very tight budgets. The key for both should be we are there to sell homes - period. If the builder (or Realtor®) isn't selling a home we are all out of business.
Right now we all have to be creative to survive. I recently did a home for a builder where we teamed up with the local Ronald McDonald House and did a model completely with donated, gently used items. We got tremendous press, over 25,000 people toured the home and we raised a lot of money for a very worthwhile charity.
If there is a difference between a Merchandiser or Stager I'm thinking that a Merchandiser provides more long term solutions and ties in with the marketing of the home more and a stager is more of a short term solution.

I Need Suggestions For a Unique Hostess Gift

If you want to make an impression the next time you are invited to an event or to someone's home, go green! This rosemary tree not only is beautiful to look at, but it's also very aromatic and will be useful to the home chef. Customize by decorating to highlight their lifestyle - in this case a chef (and cat lover!).
Rosemary trees /bushes can be found at speciality grocers or at your local nursery. If the host has a cat, endear yourself to their four legged family members by bring along some potted catnip as well.

Where Can I Get More Information on Modular Housing?

This is a question that gets asked frequently.
A consumer that is a proud owner of  a Patriot modular home was trying to find a source for information on the modular building process so she could help educate potential buyers.
This was a very intelligent consumer who realized up front that the more information she could share about “her product” the better chance she would have of getting full asking price for her home.
When you are trying to provide information on a product, a great place to start is any industry organizations that specialize in that product. For manufactured and modular housing, I recommend the Manufactured Housing Institute. Their website is full of information and they can also refer you to state chapters that can also assist you in getting the word out that modular housing is a great choice.

What is a Mobile Home?

A mobile home by definition is a manufactured home that was built prior to 1976 when the manufactured housing changed from using their own voluntary industry standards to building using the HUD Code (Federal Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards). People purchased mobile homes because they were built to be moved - most were built as one unit - and they were very cost effective. Because of this many people used them in “trailer parks” - areas where they could lease their land and utilities and the homes were typically not put on a permanent foundation.
It amazes me how many times the media to this day talks about mobile homes, but in their minds they are discussing any type of manufactured housing. That’s why I’m here - to help change people’s minds and attitudes about todays manufactured housing.

Why Should I Hire a Lifestylist?

One of the questions I always get asked is exactly what is a Lifestylist®, and what is unique about the Lifestylist® Lifestyle. The second most asked question is what makes me a Trailer Diva!
The Lifestylist philosophy is about "Life Celebrating Style". Our clients life and style is what dictates how a Lifestylist® works with you. My favorite example is I had a client in Phoenix, Arizona that was a major Phoenix Suns fan, and their team colors are orange and purple. The client wanted their entire home done in these colors. What they wanted is what they got, complete with a child’s room with a hardwood floor striped like a basketball court. They wanted to stylishly celebrate their interests and love of their home team and we did!
I just spoke to a friend who’s dog just dug up their entire garden and her daughter slammed the door on the neighbor’s hand - all in about 30 minutes time. Her needs and lifestyle are completely different from my son - no kids, no dogs, and lives in front of his computer. What my style is wouldn’t work well for either of them which is why I need to understand the client and what their “hot buttons” are. It’s takes extra time and sleuthing to achieve this - many times the client has trouble putting into words exactly what they are looking for but they know it when they see it. I take the responsibility very seriously - a person’s environment can truly change their lives in a positive or negative way. If someone is happy in their home their quality of life improves.
Next to being a mother, becoming a Lifestylist® is one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done. I’m looking forward to expanding the concept and what it offers in the years to come. - we will be launching a new food line this Spring!

What is DIVE IN?

Champion Homes has taken buying a new home to to the next level with the introduction of DIVE IN - a way to design and customize your own home online or with a sales agent.
DIVE IN (Design Interactive Viewing Experience) offers a collection on plans that let you choose different lifestyle options, flex spaces, alternative kitchen designs and other choices that allow the customer to design a home that is truly a home of their own.
Kevin Flaherty, VP of marketing for Champion Home Builders said this is the perfect tool for retailers to help their potential buyers design their new home.  “When it is used with a tablet computer, the sales experience grows exponentially with the ability to provide the customer with all the information they need to make an informed buying decision in a unique, concise and captivating manner.”  We loved interviewing Kevin and Phyllis Knight - Chief Financial Officer of Champion at the recent MHI Congress and Expo, and their enthusiasm about the factory built industry is contagious.
We are proud of the Lifestylist® Designed model homes we have done for Champion, and we are looking forward to doing more in the future. This video can show you the difference a Lifestylist® Designed model home can make.