Simple Home Ideas | Before & Afters | Beet Chips

Icicle time! It's cold, snowy, and beautiful here in New Hampshire. I love this time of the year because there are very few outdoor chores, it is bright with the snow, and it's a time to cook hearty soups and stews.

Now that all of the holiday decor (and clutter) is put away, it can be the perfect time to take a look around your home and consider simplifying your spaces. I've put together a short step-by-step list to give you inspiration to simplify your home.

I've included a section called "Before and After". People love before and after shots showing room makeovers. Take a look at the before and after of a condo furnished and decorated from scratch.

In the Showroom News section I feature an installation of motorized shades and an upholstery makeover.

If you are looking for a healthy snack, homemade beet chips are it. I personally do not like beets, but amazingly, beet chips are delicious (and don't taste like beets). They are super easy to make, just takes some time to bake them. Enjoy!

Wishing you all a peaceful and healthy 2013.


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Simplify Your Home Step by Step
I am always encouraging friends, family, and clients to simplify their homes. People often make their homes more complicated with too much stuff, gadgets, furniture, and by being disorganized. Use the winter to tackle some of you home's "problems".

This is my dining room, I've done away with the china cabinet long ago. Now I keep it as sparse as possible because I like the visual simplicity. (china is packed away in padded storage - resource below)

Here is my dining room with the table expanded for Christmas. The tip here is to consider an expandable dining table so that your dining area or room can be as roomy as possible for everyday living.

As a starting point to simplify your home consider these steps:

·         Start with the function of your space, not the aesthetics.
·         Know your needs, and wants.
·         Stop buying useless stuff!
·         Purge unwanted, unused, low-quality, and useless stuff. Sell it, give it away, or dump it!
·         Look to maximize underutilized spaces.
·         Maximize vertical space with shelves or bookcases.
·         Organize every closet in your home to make the most of it. This might be a splurge, but it is well worth it. You can do it  on-line or use a local closet organizer.
·         Create simple furniture layouts using less pieces.
·         Make it visually simple with a cohesive color and texture palette.
·         If you can’t do it alone, as a friend to help and tackle it together, and do the same in return.
·         Don’t keep things out of guilt.
·         Keep things if you love them, if they are useful, and if you have a space or place for them.
·         Design your home to accommodate your everyday lifestyle.
·         Don’t oversize your dining room table. If you have a tight space, consider an expandable table so that it can be smallest for most of the time.
·         To seek a solution as yourself “what’s missing”, or “why doesn’t this work”. Then focus on that item or issue.
·         Create an overall plan and tackle it in small tasks that you can finish in a few hours, a day, or a weekend. The key is to be able to finish one task before moving on to the next one.

Maximize every closet! This example of a small closet shows you how much more you can fit in it when it has a multiple rods and shelves.


Closet Place - I use them on all projects in need of closet organization
China storage - save space by not displaying china.

Before & After
Photographs of room makeovers inspire people. They show how spaces can look and function with changes. In this case I am showing a before and after of a condo that was furnished starting with nothing.


This is the overall space. I determined that there were three areas for furnishings.

This was the direction we took, and then developed the furniture pieces as we shopped.

To see more interior makeovers click here.



Custom upholstery makeover with Kravet fabric with a subtle herringbone pattern. Tailored arm covers and ottoman cover provide a neat appearance for areas that get more wear than other areas. We pick up and redelivery your pieces.

These are the chairs and ottoman before. It was time for a change.

To see more upholstery work click here.


Motorized shades are a wonderful solution for multiple window and hard to reach windows. We recently installed ten room darkening shades in a family room with a television. The room darkening shades are a great way to reduce glare to your television so you can watch it during the day. Also a fabulous solution for south and west facing windows that have intense direct sun.  Click here to watch the video of these shades in operation.

Showroom hours are Tuesday - Friday 10 - 3:00 | other times by appointment. Showroom manager Lisa is knowledgeable about the custom products and can assist you as you browse for your home decor needs. Visit the showroom page on our website for vendor links and product offerings.


Beet Chips
4 medium beets, scrubbed and peeled. A mix of red and yellow beets is a great visual.
2 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
Sea Salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with racks in upper and lower thirds. Peel beets and slice very fine with a mandolin. In a large bowl, toss beets with extra-virgin olive oil. The beets should have a very thin coat. Or you can brush each side with the olive oil.
2. Arrange beets in a single layer on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with a small amount of sea salt and garlic powder.

3. Bake until edges of beets begin to dry out, about 20-30 minutes or until the chips become lightened and pale in color. Transfer to a wire rack; chips will crisp up as they cool.
*I like when they curl, so I use a spatula to loosen the chips and flip them as needed to get them to dry out.

If you have a great recipe to share, please email it to me along with your photo of the dish.

Thank you all for your continued business and interest in my design ideas and tips. I'd appreciate it if you referred us to a friend or two by forwarding this email and suggest that they sign-up for my e-newsletters. I truly thank you.


Julie Fergus, ASID (and my husband Tom)
Creating beautiful functional homes for your everyday living with one-stop shopping.

Are you a busy homeowner with not enough time to devote to your home design, decorating, and remodeling projects? Are you and your spouse at odds over design style? Are you overwhelmed with the multitude of choices for home design products?

Julie Fergus American Home designs and remodels, kitchens, bathrooms, and any other part of your home using a highly skilled team of professionals. You can achieve and complete all of your home design projects with one-stop shopping because we have access to everything for your home.

To get you started on creating your dream home or interior, call  603.569.8989 or email us to schedule a complimentary "get acquainted" meeting to discuss your project and to learn about Julie's 7 Steps to Design for Everyday Living.

Visit my website for blog links and more information about my services.