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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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Monday, August 18, 2014

10 Ways To Update Your Home Without Major Renovations


Today we will discuss 10 different ways on updating your home without having to spend a small 

fortune... We will learn how some small things make a huge difference and show that your home

has gone through a remodeling job.... 

1) Create Open Space In Your Home



According to a Bankrate Study, open floor plans are on the top of the list when it comes to home buying and home ownership. Homeowners want an open floor plan where the kitchen, family room and dining room share one vast open space. Also, formal dining rooms seem to be going out of style.
Here is your opportunity to create space in your home, making  it more appealing to you and to your visitors. How can you do this without tearing out walls, you ask? Actually, making your home seem open and airy can be easier than you think. Sometimes it’s as simple as getting rid of bigger, bulkier furnishings, or moving furnishings around the room to see what placement gives the most open space. If you are attached to the huge armoire, cabinet or other bulky furnishing that is taking up a lot of space, then consider painting it a warm off-white color— this will help it “disappear” into the room, tricking the eye to think the space is more airy and open.

Another trick of the eye that gives the illusion of open space, is mirrors. Mirrors when placed opposite windows reflect light into the room and make the room seem more open. If you have a formal dining room that you really don’t use, then consider turning it into a cozy den, home office, crafting room or library with a reading nook. This will make the current space you have more usable, and creates a whole new room in your home that you never had before (without any messy renovations!).

2) Add New Lighting To Your Home




Proper lighting can truly bring a room to life.  A poorly lit room looks small, dark and cramped, while a brightly lit room appears open, airy and welcoming. There are numerous ways to brighten up your home with lights. Some of the easier methods are as simple as buying table lamps and floor lamps for your home.

Strategically place a couple tall floor lamps in dark corners and watch your room come alive. Layer this lighting with lamps on side tables, making the room feel welcoming and cozy.  Then, if you want to get adventurous, you can replace all those out-dated ceiling fixtures with the stunning modern masterpieces that are available on the market.

Of course, this last part may require you to hire an electrician for installation, but if you’re handy, replacing a ceiling fixture is something that is not too complicated.  Whether you keep it simple with floor lamps, or go all out and replace all your ceiling fixtures —modernize your home with plenty of bright lights.

3) Cabinetry: Update Drawer Pulls and Door Handles





Nothing dates your kitchen and bathrooms more than old-fashioned, worn and dirty handle pulls and knobs. There is no excuse not to update all your cabinet and door handles when it is really so simple to do, and there are so many ways to update your cabinetry.

There are numerous finishes to choose from such as bronze, brushed nickel, aged copper, and shiny stainless.  With so many modern choices on the market it may be hard to decide what best suits your home. Don’t stress too much about the plethora of options, after all, you could always buy one or two different styles to see what works best in the room.
Plus, there are not really any steadfast rules to choosing cabinet pulls and knobs. Essentially, a country kitchen can look chic and updated with very modern stainless knobs, while a modern kitchen can look cool and eclectic with more vintage-style knobs. The design choice is up to you, so get out there and start updating your kitchen and bathroom cupboards today.

4) Update Window Treatments




Windows seem to be overlooked a lot of the time. Homeowners struggle to decide what style would suit the room best, leading them to give up and leave the windows bare or just install simple blinds for privacy.

Here’s the thing— windows beg to be dressed! By leaving your windows bare, you are missing out on a whole spectacular layer of decorating.  While those who are lucky enough to enjoy ocean or mountain views may argue this fact, but even the best of views could be framed by stylish window panels. Windows can be dressed to perfectly suit your style and taste.

You can go bold and graphic with geometric curtain panels, or beachy with gauzy white sheers, or minimalist with bamboo shades—-the options are endless. If you are stressing about all the possibilities, then take a cue from the color schemes that you already have in place. Sometimes the easiest is to simply match curtain panels to the color of your walls— doing this creates a look that goes with any style.



5) Create An Outdoor Room




Does this list have you exhausted? Is your home overwhelming you? Maybe you should just start by simply cleaning-up your main living space. A deep-clean can enhance our mood and make our home more livable (and more importantly inspire us to do more).

It seems obvious but a clean coat of paint can take a room from drab to fab. Consider adding a punch of color on a accent wall, or just touch up  your trim with a clean coat of white paint. If your home already has a fresh coat of paint, then look to other things that could use a touch-up.  Maybe paint your ceiling a cool blue, or bring new life to an outdated piece of furniture with a new coat of paint.

A deep clean and a new coat of paint can go a long way when it comes to revamping our rooms without major renovations.

Sometimes we forget to look outside our very own doors for unused space. Even if your home doesn’t have a large front porch or amazing backyard patio—there is still space to be used. You just need to be inventive.

You can create an amazing outdoor space by starting with an outdoor rug to define a “room” outdoors. Then add a couple comfortable outdoor chairs and throw cushions, a small fire pit, some dangling string lights — Voila! You have a added a new “room” to your home.

If you want to get fancier you could put down some brick pavers or flagstones, then layer it with the outdoor rugs, chairs etc… Or you could go all out and install a large pergola, drape the sides with privacy curtains, add an outdoor heater, some music, some wine….yes, this sounds like a great outdoor escape. The pergola install may take the weekend to accomplish, but it would be worth it come Sunday evening when you unwind outdoors with your glass of wine.

6) Landscape Your Yard




Landscaping is too often overlooked.  We plant one or two trees and assume we are done. However, curb appeal is greatly affected by  the design of your landscaping. While not all of us have a green thumb, it can be easy to make a couple raised garden beds, or plant more trees and flowering shrubs.
Begin with a visit to your local greenhouse. Staff at these stores are full of advice and knowledge about local plant life. Ask them what plants thrive best in your area and, more importantly, what plants are the easiest to care for. Most of these garden centers have a landscape architect on staff who can design a landscaping plan for you, as well.

It is best to start slowly by adding a couple flowering shrubs to your front yard, and then add a small raised bed around a walkway or front door. Remember to layer the heights of plants with the tallest in back, and read the planting directions for spacing and projected heights. With time and patience, you will have a beautifully landscaped yard.


7) Add Easy to Install (And Remove) Wallpaper




This is not your Grandmother’s wallpaper. No, we are talking about all of the amazing new removable wallpapers that are currently hitting the market. We are also not talking about those tacky wall decals that say, “Always Kiss me Goodnight”.

Rather, the new lines of removable wallpaper come in amazing patterns and graphics that will make your room look like you hired an interior designer (and spent a fortune). These wallpapers are easily removed by simply peeling them off (without harm to the wall underneath) and most can be reused.
For an easy weekend project, consider covering the main wall of your bedroom with a peaceful pattern, or consider a living room update by covering one wall with a funky geometric patterned paper. There are numerous online stores where this wonderful wallpaper can be purchased. Just be sure to read the fine print and buy the brands that are top-of-the-line and remove easily.


8) Spruce-Up Your Bathroom





Bathrooms get dirty and dingy quite quickly. Begin a bathroom overhaul with a thorough cleaning. Yes, not a lot of fun, but the shiny result will give you new motivation to spruce-up the rest of the bathroom.

Once the room is clean, look to the outdated knobs, light fixtures, vanity, faucets, and shower curtains. By simply changing out one or two of the most outdated items, you can make your bathroom look modern and new. A coat of paint can really go far in a bathroom, as well.
Look to the bathroom below and notice all the shiny white painted trim and blue walls; the modern cabinet pulls; the cool lantern light fixture; the modern faucet; the plush towels, and  the pretty plants—-these all add up to a brand-new bathroom, without  tearing out cabinets, walls or sinks.

9) Make a Man Cave






Men are uniting everywhere— in their man caves. While some of us girls don’t get it, men really like to have a man-cave to escape in, a room to call their own, a room to drink with the guys and watch the game in peace. Who can blame them? It really does sound like a great escape.

Men, here are some tips to creating the ultimate man-cave. First, find a space in your home that you can use, whether it is the basement, the garage, or an outdoor room or outbuilding such as a shed. Then you need to decorate it and make it  your ultimate escape. Add a TV, a pool table, a fridge, a bar, some darts, comfortable chairs, rugs, pillows, music…etc Getting the picture? Make it home.
There are a lot of companies that customize garages into amazing man-caves. They install flooring, wall units, and sound systems, essentially turning the garage into a new room in your home. Ladies, maybe we can do the same with a craft room?

10) When In Doubt Just Clean and Paint



Does this list have you exhausted? Is your home overwhelming you? Maybe you should just start by simply cleaning-up your main living space. A deep-clean can enhance our mood and make our home more livable (and more importantly inspire us to do more).

It seems obvious but a clean coat of paint can take a room from drab to fab. Consider adding a punch of color on a accent wall, or just touch up  your trim with a clean coat of white paint. If your home already has a fresh coat of paint, then look to other things that could use a touch-up.  Maybe paint your ceiling a cool blue, or bring new life to an outdated piece of furniture with a new coat of paint.

A deep clean and a new coat of paint can go a long way when it comes to revamping our rooms without major renovations.


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