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When Having a Messy Kitchen Pays Off

When Having a Messy Kitchen Pays Off

OK, so having a messy kitchen almost never pays off, but I love sharing personal posts with you, and I’m not too shy to share my own kitchen chaos. In this instance, my messy kitchen even paid off!

This past March, at the Design Bloggers conference, there was a vendor/sponsor room for the Garden Design Bloggers. Us design bloggers would walk through during breaks to visit and chat.

What caught my eye was this Bright Red range and hood! Not the oh-so typical Stainless that everyone seems to use these days. I had to check it out and learn more.

It’s made by this great company called Tecnogas Superior, and it’s been crafted in Gualtieri, Italy since 1952




Tecnogas Superiore Deco 36″ Classic Range and hood In Matte Red and Chrome


During part of the summer (June 13, 2016 – August 23, 2016) Tecnogas ran a contest on Social Media. “Show Us Photos of Your Messy Kitchen. We’ll choose a total of five winners – one every 10 days.”  They posted on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram.

One of my designer friends, Maureen had a 50th birthday party for my friend Veronika Miller, the CEO of Modenus. She posted back in July that she had one mess of a kitchen . It was the next day after a lively evening and nobody apparently cleaned up before heading to bed. That happens sometimes, right? (I used to clean everything before going to bed, now I’m ok with leaving a few things in the sink.) Here is her winning kitchen:

Messy Ktichen

Maureen’s kitchen won 10 days before mine.


I figured, what the heck? Why not show my kitchen for a chance to win? Admittedly it’s not as messy as Maureen’s (sorry, Maureen!) and some people said they actually LIKED this kitchen (between you and me, if I wasn’t renting this Townhouse, I’d gut it). I find it rather funny that we both have basically the same cabinet and granite color.


Messy Kitchen

Okay, this isn’t terribly messy, but boy is this stuck in the 1990’s.


Often I have papers on the kitchen table and the island, as I am short on space and really need a separate office again. I constantly have to remove the papers so we can eat at the table, or read the weekend Washington Post. Don’t you hate it when you have no room for all your stuff?

Anyway, imagine my surprise when I found out I actually won the messy kitchen contest – ten days before it was even over!

Last Friday this box arrived…I left it there over the weekend – I don’t know why. Monday I went back downstairs and decided to open it. Looked at the label and saw the words: EATALY!

OMG I knew this was from Tecnogas, and this box would contain wonderful Foodie stuff. I found this red box inside.


Messy Kitchen - Eataly box

Oh MY It’s the red box from Eataly! Thanks Tecnogas Superiore ?


Here are the wonderful products found inside:

Messy Kitchens

YUMM! Nougat candy came with this; Mr. B ate that up. He said it was very good.


A happy shout out to my friends at Tecnogas Superiore, for running the contest and for this wonderful gift.

I definitely have a place for these goodies, even though I’m still I’m looking for a place for all my papers. Want to see more from behind the scenes of my (true!) designer life? Make sure you’re following me on Facebook here –https://www.facebook.com/HeatherBatesDesign


Decorating Your Bonus Room? Here Some Ideas to Get You Started!

Decorating Your Bonus Room? Here Some Ideas to Get You Started!

Need Ideas for Decorating Your Bonus Room? We’ve got some for you.

Craft room? Yoga studio? Mini-library? Second office? Guest bedroom? Play room? If you’ve wrestled with countless ideas for your spare space and are still stumped, fear not. Whether you have a small home attic, a basement nook or a loft space that you’re still not sure how to use, no need to worry, there are plenty of ideas for giving that bonus room a fresh look with renewed purpose.

Here are a few fun ways to decorate that surplus space:

A top floor attic:

Here, the attic is converted from storage center to blissful bedroom. Perfect for overnight visitors, this cozy bed works well for children and youngsters. Built-in shelving provides a space for books, toys and artwork, while traditional wall sconces give the room a dose of light. Extra drawers and cabinets offer additional space for blankets, pillows and stuffed animals. A desk gives this room more functionality for operating as a station for homework, craft projects or reading.

bonus room

Image Credit: Image Via Houzz

Have An extra bedroom?

This offers the perfect space for a home gym. Whether outfitted with fancy equipment or simple bands and balls, this space will inspire fitness dedication. A few mirrors, a table and a television are all the must-haves for a private gym. Pilates, yoga and cardio are all options in this sleek and simple upstairs health studio.


Bonus Room Image 2

Image Credit: Image Via Beazer

Are you an Inner Artist? Use your bonus room:

Play Picasso in a space dedicated to canvas and color. An art studio is the perfect solution for unused space. Ideal for garages, storage sheds and attics, this creative center will be the perfect spot to experiment in painting or drawing. A workbench, art supplies and good light is all that’s needed to create more than a few stunning masterpieces.

Bonus Room Image 3

Image Credit: Image Via The Alfano Group

Bookworms Rejoice, we’ve got you covered too!

Forget storing books all over the house or watching them collect dust in the basement. A home library offers the perfect spot for storing and displaying tomes in a pretty and practical fashion. Floor to ceiling shelving gives this space plenty of room for beloved books and favorite stories.

Bonus Room Image 4

Image Credit: Image Via Homedit

A Bonus Room Transforms into a Man Cave:

The ultimate game room meets man cave, this space is ideal for sporting events and parties. With reclining leather seats, multiple television screens and a bunch of art in the way of autographed jerseys, this is a male fantasy come true. A fully stocked bar gives this basement space even more luster for anyone desiring a few refreshments during the big football game.

Bonus Room

Image Credit: Image Via Epic Man Cave

Kid’s Need a Space to Call Their Own:

Parents will find a large playroom to be a dream come true. Perfect for containing toys, games and art projects, this space will be like permanent kiddie camp. A couch, clothing racks and cubbies offer a spot for kids to hoard treasures, while a large television is good for mid-day meltdowns and movie time. Paper lantern lighting adds a fun and whimsical touch to this adult free zone.

Bonus Room

Image Credit: Image Via Pinterest



Thanks so much to Amy for offering to write this guest post about what to do with rooms that vex you the most. ?

Some of us get bonus rooms in new houses, or have an often unused room in an older home.

Ideas rift through your mind, but never come to fruition. So you end up using it to store things you don’t need.

This post helps you narrow down your choices from the bonus room menu.

Guest Post By Amy Spagnola for LuxeDecor


Fraud, Fake Clients, and Interior Designers

Fraud, Fake Clients, and Interior Designers

FRAUD. You hear about it all the time: Debit and Credit cards, bank accounts, property sales, you name it. Never before has it hit the interior desgin biz.

This year so far, I’ve had two different bank debit cards hacked and my Facebook personal page hacked – which is getting more common. You know that one, as usually you are already friends with a person, and you go to check the page and the header is black – like deep outer space. Big clue that this is not your friends page, right? DUH!

Well, let me tell you how easy it is to initally fool an Interior Designer.

For me, I’ve been contacted THREE times for potential projects. Two “clients” from England, one from a “client” working in oil work (an oil rig most likely) somewhere between the UK and Norway (oh! you mean this North Sea?)

Should these countries have hit my radar sense? Not necessarily. I’ve had a few military clients moving back to the US, who’ve purchased a house, and I get 3-4 glorious months with no one living there to work my magic! My contractors like that too.


Fraud #1 From England:

A lady contacted me, saying her hubby had a new job in my area so they were moving back with their 7 month old to a condo they’d purchased. She wanted to pay me $2200, to meet delivery men and tip them and unpack all their furniture, art and such and get it all set up before they arrived in a few weeks. I thought, Why not help them? She sent me a check. Now it get’s interesting.

The check came in a 2 day usps mailer from Miami. Yes Miami – not England. Only a check was in there, nothing with the condo address. The check itself? $3600.00 drawn on a bank in Ohio for a Brewery, LLC! I called up the bank, gave them the account# and they told me funds to cover the check were NOT there.

This is the standard fraud where criminal believes you are ignorant enough to deposit the check, which then bounces, and the criminal contacts you and tells you they sent too much money and want the difference paid back. Luckily I didn’t deposit the check. The police told me since I didn’t do anything with the check, they couldn’t prosecute, in case it was a real person who would be harmed by false accusations.

Turns out this lady’s name is well know in our line of business. We have a very active FB Group ?


Fraud #2 From England:

A man contacted me and  told me there was NO kitchen in the house he was buying and wanted me to design and procure every thing for the project. He would be traveling most of the summer to Hong Kong, so his assistant would arrive shortly to oversee the project here. He wanted to know what the cost would be so he could send me a retainer to get strated on the project.

Oh yeah, I was told he and his wife were deaf. No radar sense going on at this point. Being a designer, I had umpteen questions for him about what they needed, including the need for this lighting system where lights flash on and off when something is wrong. He never ansewered my questions, nor gave me a street address, which was supposedly in my area.

Then he sent me this photo for how he wanted his kitchen to look:


The New-Build Farmhouse Kitchen, by 1909 Kitchens in the UK

OHHHKAAAAAY! Now? My radar sense was on HIGH ALERT STATUS. In my little corner of the world, there is NO kitchen that looks right out of an English movie.

How did I figure this out?

Simple, really. Pinterest, Baby! I uploaded the photo and searched the image on Google. BOOM, There it is. Told the “client” This is a fraud and I’m on to you. He never contacted me again.

I found out later, that he had approaced other desginers with the same deal, but for a master bedroom. Oh, forgot to mention he told me he got my name from the NKBA  Turns out they knew about this particular scam when I called them.

Ready to move onto Fraud #3: Somewhere between UK and Norway, the Oil Rig Guy


The North Sea

Let me stress again, even though I’d easily sniffed out the fraud with the first two scams, this was much more diffcult. Took me 16 days and about a month of texting, after moving from emails to texting. That was vexxing, because…

How do you get sms text messages off your cell phone for documentation? Mobikin is your friend here. I have a Samsung Note 4, which you’d know if you read my post about Samsung Products and my love for them. I didn’t want to lose my phone to the investigation!

I have finished all my sluething and have all the documentation I need for the IC3 complaint I filed with the FBI. If you are the victim of online fraud go here to file your complaint. I cannot divulge the details, since this is an active investigation.

How Do I vet my clients?

By using the oh-so-pervasive Big Brother is watching YOU, social media. You know to Google yourself to see what information is out there, and this is where I always start. Then I use Facebook, and LinkedIn –  maybe even Twitter



Clients usually call me first. If you contact me vie email from my website or LinkedIn, or message me on my Facebook Business Page, I will ask you to call me. Once you do, I will ask for the address and a date to meet you at your house.

If you are not on Social Media for some reason, that is fine, but you need to provide me with other identification from now on. I’ll still need your address, and phone call.

If you are overseas, I will requrie the extra step of a Skype call, Facetime, or Google Chat. You will need to GO TO YOUR BANK to place an International Wire to my bank.

Best part of all these fraud cases? The deputy who came to my house called me a very prepared citizen. He told me most people are not like that. I told him, this was due to not only my accounting background, which requires eyes on everything, but my devouring of Robert Ludlum’s Spy novels as a 13 – 15 yr old.

Hit up your local library or download them. Some of his older books were made into movies – as well his Jason Bourne Series.

I am a very kind person. I give people the benefit of doubt. Now that I have been through all of this in the first 5 months of 2016, NOTHING will get past my radar sense anymore.

Your asking me, “And this benefits me how?


I am your advocate. All of my team is vetted. I have liablitly & Errors and Ommissions insurance policies.

We’ve got you covered so you can trust not only the desgin process to be the outcome you desire, you CAN trust my business and the trades I use.

Contact us here We’re excited to get your next project started!