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About Alexander Calzadilla

Alexander Calzadilla is a Cuban male originally from Philadelphia, who has happily called Miami his home since moving here at the age of 15. He attended Southwest Sr. High School and Florida International University, ultimately receiving his Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration. While in college, he began working as a paralegal for the Law Offices of Jeffrey E. Reichenbacher, a position he kept for seven years after graduation. He subsequently worked at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius Associates before landing at Costa Nursery. After distinguishing himself with many accomplishments, he was promoted to the position of Director of Specialty Products, which included the orchid, bonsai and lucky bamboo departments. When Alex was first put in charge of the three departments, they ranked near the bottom. By the time he left Costa after seven years, Alex had transformed the floundering departments into unqualified successes, posting record earnings, sales and profitability. In 2008 Alex was named the Costa Employee of the Year. Alex now puts his formidable prowess as a businessman into his newest venture, Avant-Garde Home Furnishings, LLC, serving as Managing Partner.

About Avant-Garde

We offer home furnishings and decor for every area of your home,both inside and out, always striving to bring you the most current design elements being used by today's top designers, at a fraction of their retail cost. Whether you are completely redecorating an area of your home, looking for the perfect accent piece to finish off an existing room, shopping for a unique gift, or simply "window shopping" to get design ideas, Avant-Garde is the place to go for everything modern & contemporary for your home.

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Saturday, March 24, 2012

Tips and secrets for your home

Tips and secrets for your home

Tpday I am sharing with all of you odd tips and secrets on how to make your life better in your home by giving you small secrets and tips on everything from itting a small office in your closet toy revamping your bedroom and creating a spa like environment..
Read on and enjoy today's post and pics..
Unexpected places to fit a modern home office.. 
032112_homeoffice_cover.jpgA workspace to call your own at home is a luxury that many of us wish we had the space for. Sometimes we just have to get creative in where we tuck a home office, such as under the stairs, in a loft, or any random space we can find. Here, we explore even more ideas for fitting a workspace into your home, in places that otherwise might have been overlooked.

In Nooks & Crannies
Sometimes you just have to make do with what you have, and if it's a tiny underused nook in your home, what better way to make better use of it than to repurpose the space into a home office? There are so many wonderful exampleshere, there, over yonder, and more!
032112_homeoffice_shutters.jpgIn the Living Room
This gorgeous space at hides the home office in plain sight right out in the living room. It can be closed off when not in use by big shutters that fit quite well with the aesthetics of the room.
032112_homeoffice_laundry.jpgIn the Laundry Room
The laundry room can serve double duty without looking like a utilitarian space.
In the GarageIf you've got a big enough garage, convert part of it into a home office space. You can paint and decorate the space so it's not an ugly unfinished garage. Make sure there's proper ventilation for your car exhaust and proper carbon monoxide detectors so you don't pass out from the exhaust fumes!
Common Items as Unusual Bedside Tables
If you're short on space, cash, or move a lot, try swapping traditional nightstands with something else from your home. Go "shopping" in other rooms and get those creative juices flowing. And you'll have a few less things to haul come moving day. Need some inspiration? Check out some ideas after the jump.
• Extra storage or seating. Chairs, poufs, ottomans, and benches work as bedside tables and are great to have around when entertaining. Try items that can also be used to hide extra linens or off-season clothes, like crates or trunks.
• Get crafty and DIY small space solutions. Even a regular table can become an interesting nightstand. If you have one table and need two, don't go shopping, cut it in half! Hang a bucket to hold the necessities, or stack those back issues and use it to rest the current copy.
• No matter how weird, you can make it work. A drum, a cheese box, a fireplace, a garbage can: people have used strange items as bedside tables. As long as your find isn't too much shorter or taller than your mattress, it's fair game.

How To Make a Modern 'Faux' Headboard with Wall Mounted LightingSMALL SPACE BEDROOM SOLUTION

Our bedroom is so small that we had to choose between making room for night stands and a bed frame or having room to walk on both sides of the bed. Find out how $50 in hardware, a drill, and some patience became a space maximizing, faux headboard with bedside lighting.
faux headboard
Two swing lamps, a long towel rod, and three ceramic eggs from Ikea mounted to the wall above the bed were enough to make a faux headboard. The key to making all this work on plaster and lathe walls was making sure that everything was well connected to the wall.
Toggle Bolts and Wing Anchors
In order to make sure that we didn't tear the lights out of the walls from daily use, I used toggle bolts and wing anchors to securely fasten the swing lamps to the wall. I knew we would want to adjust the lights and that would put a lot of stress on what could have been a very delicate connection in a fragile plaster wall. The wing anchors connect to the plaster wall behind the lathe which keeps the fixtures from pulling out of the wall. It also helps them feel secure when we move them.
An unexpected bonus to this faux headboard solution was that it reduced the amount of stuff we used to think we needed by the bed. There are only three little ceramic eggs now so only essentials are out.
The disadvantage of a wall mounted light is that one must deal with the cords. As you can see, I haven't dealt with them yet. The switch for these lamps is along the cord, so it cannot be completely hidden and There isn't a good way make them disappear into the wall. Can anyone share suggestions on how to tackle this last part o fthe project?

House Tour: Rich and Leah

leah moss main.jpg
Name: Rich & Leah Moss, three children, one Mexican exchange student, and, until very recently (sniff), a fierce Rhodesian Ridgeback named Koa
Location: Silver Spring, Maryland
Size: 1800 square feet
Years lived in: 3 years — owned
With 3+ years worth of Apartment Therapy posts under my belt and the thick skin to prove it, I decided that it was high time to invite you all in for a proper tour. Unlike most homeowners, we didn't buy our house for its style or even its location. We bought it for its neighbors. Yup, that's right. We're unabashed followers, so when the house next door to my sister and her family went on the market, we turned starry-eyed and began envisioning endless BBQs, daily cocktail hours, and cousins growing up together.
leah thumbnails.jpg
While the neighbors remain awesome (we've since recruited other friends to join the block too) and the cocktail hours do not disappoint, the house itself has been a lesson in patience. When we moved in, it had seen better days, and so the majority of our budget was eaten up correcting some of the more unglamorous aspects of home-ownership like a failing plumbing system, shoddy "upgrades," and poor insulation. However, going slow has had a positive effect on our decorating process, and perhaps, even on our life. Living in our house before making any purchases (we went without a sofa for months and still sleep on a mattress on the floor) allowed us to develop a style that suits our taste as well as the vintage character of our 1940s house. The result is a mix of earthy, retro, reinterpreted family hand-me-downs, and DIY projects that resembles us and feels like home.
I'm not going to lie though, there have been some sad times along the way. As a decorator, writing for a design blog, working in the design industry, and basically living and breathing and losing sleep over decor-related matters, there were days when I would come home from working on someone else's house, and want to pull my hair out...or at least open a huge credit card and start furnishing the hell out of my home. However, now that I'm more or less on the other side— with a house that feels comfortable as soon as I walk in the door— I hope that anyone in a similar position can stick it out, and help their home form around them little by little. Saving up for big purchases and searching for deals—rather than going into debt on impulse buys that you only sort of like— is so satisfying, and the financial freedom and unique personality that come with it are worth it!
For more detailed information about each room, check out the full gallery and captions.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
Style: Rustic vintage resourceful. Our style has evolved as we discover or inherit interesting things and find ways to build rooms around them. Rich likes neutrals and clean surfaces. I like old, imperfect, sturdy-feeling things. Most of the spaces I'm asked to decorate for clients around the DC area are formal, tailored, and traditional, so I think at home I tend to sway the polar opposite: super casual andundecorated.
Inspiration: Our favorite places around the world (where we are also lucky enough to have family to visit whenever we can): the Southwest US, Ecuador, and Maui. In each of these places, our families' homes share a similar feeling of peacefulness and simplicity. Rich spent a lot of his youth on his family's ranches in South America, and that rugged aesthetic has totally influenced our style. Also— in case you couldn't tell by the abundance of branches everywhere— nature! We'd live in a tent in a heartbeat if it were in a beautiful spot. with good neighbors.
Favorite Element: The neighbors, of course! In the house itself, we like how well built the house feels. We like the plaster walls, the hardwood floors, the solid wood doors and old doorknobs, and the wide baseboards, all of which used to be standard fare even in our dime-a-dozen post war colonials, but are obsolete in today's cookie cutter new construction.
Biggest Challenge: Aside from working within a budget and having to save up for things we really want, I am a DIYer to a fault and perhaps see potential in things a little too often, which means I have approximately onezillion projects at all times. Also, I have a hard time balancing my conflicting desires for spare simplicity and that "curiosity cabinet," collected feel.
What Friends Say: That it's totally us, or that we must be out of our minds to own a white couch, or that we're suffering from cobbler's children syndrome. But, my favorite comment has come from a 5 year old who said it "feels like a nature walk." I'll take it!
Biggest Embarrassment: The basement, our last frontier. Still a little random, mostly empty, and littered with kid toys daily.
Proudest DIY: For Rich, it's a tie between the blue stone patio and the dining room table. Mine is the mantel-turned-headboard...although my rubber mat block-print rugdoes make me feel like a thrifty genius whenever I look at it thanks to all your nice comments.
Biggest Indulgence: The house itself. We're totally blessed to be in our 20s and able to afford a house that allows us to live comfortably within our means and work our dream jobs.
Best Advice: William Morris's maxim: "Have nothing in your home that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful." And, the notion that "simplicity and luxury are not mutually exclusive," which Maxwell included in Apartment Therapy's mission. That has totally resonated with me, especially since working in the design industry where that idea is pretty foreign.
Dream Sources: Too many, but my top three are Ochre, Brook Farm General Store, and Baileys Home and Garden.
Resources of Note:
    • Living Room: Benjamin Moore: Linen White • Dining Room and Stair Well/Upstairs Hallway: Benjamin Moore: Glazed Green • Kitchen: Benjamin Moore: Patriotic White • Craft Room: Benjamin Moore: Barely Teal, • Main Floor Bath: Benjamin Moore: Tapestry Beige • TV room/Guest Room: top half: Benjamin Moore: Simply White, bottom half: Benjamin Moore: Van deusen blue • Basement: Benjamin Moore: gray sky • Leah & Rich's bedroom: Restoration Hardware: Pale Silver • Girls' room: Behr: Valley Mist • Baby's room: Benjamin Moore: Van deusen blue • Upstairs Bathroom: Benjamin Moore: South Beach

    • Sofa: Urban Retreat • Leather chair: Restoration Hardware Outlet • Linen chair: Crate & Barrel • Coffee table: Crate & Barrel • Etagere: Roost • Side tables: Target • Sconce: Restoration Hardware • Drapes: canvas painters drop cloths • Art: the bull painting and the woman carrying the calla lillies are from Quito Ecuador where Rich grew up. Ecuadorians must have art in their blood. There are some seriously awesome artists there and whenever we go visit we pick up something new.

    • Table: Rich built it! • Chairs: craigslist • Etagere: Roost • Sideboard: the now defunct Storehouse Furniture outlet (sniff!) • Art: the photos of the buffalo and the horse are by a Durango CO (totally living there someday!) based artist, Claude Steelemen, the other photographs are antique prints of small business entrepreneurs in Mexico City given to us by Rich's dad who is a total globetrotter

    • Pendant lights: Seagull Lighting • Tile: Mosaic Tile in Rockville, MD

Leah & Rich's BEDROOM
    • Headboard is a DIY • Dresser: Old Lucketts Store • Portrait painting is by Leah's mom, Judy Kearns. • Jar painting is by Nicole Bourgea • lamps: IKEA • Drapes are canvas painter dropcloths • the rug is made from multiple IKEA signe mats

    • Beds: Old Lucketts Store • Desk was Rich's great-grandmother's, knobs are from Anthropologie • Roman shades are made from Target sheets • lamp was a DIY

    • Mini crib was from a consignment shop in Indiana. We painted some bars white. • Leather chair was Rich's grandfather's office chair. It's perfect because it's comfy, cleanable, and it rocks. • Frames are from IKEA and Target. • Mirror is a DIY • Rug: IKEA • Blanket is by Jenna Rose. I won it in a giveaway from one of my favorite blogs,the Design Pages. It is the softest blanket ever!

main floor BATHROOM
    • Oversink light fixture: Shades of light • hand towel: Oliver Dunn, Moss and Co, Catherine Roberts • Shower Curtain: discontinued fabric sample from a textile showroom where I used to work • the mirror hails from my in-laws garage. It was peeling when I found it, but after I scraped off all the excess I fell in love with what was underneath, so it stayed. Most people assume it's still in progress but I think it gives the whole bathroom the casual wabi sabi feeling that i'm after • pedestal sink: kohler • faucet: Restoration Hardware outlet. It's from the "vintage" collection, and I love this faucet. Seriously, it makes washing your hands feel like a luxury.

upstairs BATHROOM
    • Shower curtain: Target • Bath mat: Target • Sink: IKEA • Faucet: Kohler

TV room/Guestroom
    • sectional: craigslist • Rug was a DIY • Blue pillows: Restoration Hardware Outlet • Stripe Pillows: DIY from Calico Corner's Primitive Stripe Linen

Craft Room
    • Table: DIY • Chairs: the streets of DC • Globe Pendant: DIY

leah moss main 5.jpg
There's no denying the wonders that a little natural light can bring into a home. But due to tight spaces, strange layouts or close neighbors many of us are stuck with artificial light. Day lighting company, VELUX, recently set out so solve this problem with their new product, the Lovegrove Chandelier, which can be installed anywhere and is powered by the sun.
Created by award-winning industrial designer Ross Lovegrove, the chandelier is the company's more creative alternative to the standard sun tunnel. The fixture can be installed in any space that needs natural light and has room above to connect the tunnel from roof to ceiling.
The tunnel reflects light from the exterior down to the light fixture, which softly distributes natural light throughout the room. The chandelier's light intensity and angle is adjustable, and according to VELUX generates as much light as a traditional 60W bulb — all without any electricity. If you already have a standard VELUX sun tunnel in your home, you can simply swap out the existing diffuser with this new chandelier for an updated look.
The VELUX sun tunnel by Lovegrove received a medal at BATIMAT 2009, and it was the recipient of the "red dot design award - best of the best 2010" award for the highest design quality.

Hope all of you enjoyed the many interesting items presented...

AG Home Goods

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