ON THE LEVEL: Holiday Decorating Trends

We just LOVE Hibbard Construction’s Blog & Newsletter!  Here’s another fabulous post by Tammy Henry, that we thought we would pass along to you – just in time for holiday decorating!

Holiday Decorating Trends

The holiday season is upon us, and it’s time to crawl up into the attic and bring down those boxes of decorations.  Many of us have been using the same decorations year after year, and some of those decorations may look a little outdated by now.  If this is the case, you may want to update your decorations or add some new twists to your decorative flair.

Two trends in particular have been emerging, with very different themes and looks.  One is a more sophisticated theme, while the other stays more traditional. Here are a few must-try trends that will guarantee a fresh festive look for your home.

Seasonal sophistication

Green and red might be Christmas mainstays, but your holiday decor doesn’t have to depend on these two hues alone. This season, look to more sophisticated versions of those classic shades with some other, more versatile tones.  For the sophisticated theme, the colors are rich burgundies, deep golds, dark cranberry and hunter greens as color schemes.  You can focus your holiday decor on just one color throughout or a mix of two or all four.

Table setting

To really set a sophisticated scene, add a new tablecloth or table linens in these rich, elegant colors. Use solids for the placemats and a fun pattern for the napkins to add interest and depth. Salad plates in these shades mixed in with your standard china add a punch of color, while entertaining new stemware in festive, chic hues make a great accent for your holiday table.

Slip on slipcovers

Add slipcovers to your kitchen chairs or change the cushions on dining room chairs. This is a simple but noticeable change.  This freshens up your furniture without having to buy any new major item.

Accessorize accordingly

One of the easiest ways to incorporate a seasonal theme throughout your home is with accessories. Use these colors in accent pillows on beds or sofas, cozy throws or blankets, vases, candles or decorative bowls filled with ornaments in your chosen shades.

Punch up the powder room

New towels in seasonal solids, patterns or festive trims carry through your look effectively. The powder room is one room your guests will use, so don’t forget about it.

Upgrade your drapery

Change your everyday drapery to your new color scheme. Fabrics like velvets or silks add a sense of luxury for the holidays.

Tastefully traditional

The other emerging trend in holiday decor this season is sticking to more conventional decor elements.  At its essence, this means reliving childhood memories and creating new ones for your family.  To make your holiday decorating a  more interactive experience, get inspired with these tips for getting tastefully traditional in your home this holiday.

Think vintage

Incorporate vintage decorations that have a homemade feel to give your decor a more traditional quality. Also think about using handed-down ornaments from prior generations to really add a nostalgic twist.  “A few ornaments that were your great-grandmother’s, or other ornaments that were your parents’ allow you to share stories of past Christmas get-togethers. 

Get cultured

Incorporate your cultural background into your decor this season.  Using ethnic pieces reflecting a family culture creates a very personal, intimate feeling and pride of one’s heritage.

Do a decor swap

Consider swapping ornaments and decorations with family members who are far away and can’t join you for the holidays. This is a great way to warm up your space and make it feel like loved ones are close by, even when they can’t be.

Incorporate nature

Natural elements like branches, leaves, pine cones and berries make simple, charming decorative elements in a traditional Christmas spirit.

Tie in toys

Vintage toys that remind us of childhood, like red wagons, Tonka toys, and old train sets, can be used as accessories or decorations.  Ask your parents if they have some of yours or your siblings’ toys they have kept, or get a new train with the family that will eventually be used in a future Christmas with your grandchildren.

Whatever your tastes may be, there are a multitude of ways to update and create wonderful holiday decorating schemes on any budget.  Get creative and have fun!

Posted on December 1, 2011 at 2:55 pm
Randy and Christy Oetken | Category: Holidays | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

We Have What Santa Wants!

Here’s What Santa Likes, According to the National Association of Realtors and Zillow.com.  But we’ve posted a few suggestions (after the Realtor.org Mag article…) that Santa should add to his Christmas Wish List! Daily Real Estate News  |  December 16, 2010  |  

Rooftop Deliveries: Santa Rates the CitiesZillow.com crunched the numbers and determined the 20 top cities on Santa’s list.

According to Zillow, what makes Santa happy is:

· Percentage of homes with a fireplace (If there are fireplaces, there should be chimneys).

· Percentage of single-story homes (This presumes that Santa would prefer single-story homes so there’s less likelihood of a workplace injury).

· Weather (Snow and clear days are desirable, and rainy days are undesirable).

· Percent of homes with children (Santa enjoys spreading cheer to all the good girls and boys).




 Vintage 4620′ 4/3 Craftsman in Prestigious Historical Fort Grounds. Grace, Beauty, & Charm… all necessary ingredients in this creation. Architectually restored to preserve yesteryear’s beauty with all of today’s amenities.. Relax on the front porch & feel the tranquility as you gaze into the beautifully manicured grounds. Guest Quarters, shop & plenty of parking. Lake, park & downtown nearby. http://www.realestate-browser.com/viewdetails.php?nid=77398&mls=10-6537

 Lot size (A bigger lot often means a bigger roof and more room for Santa to land all those reindeer).

The top 10 Santa-pleasing cities were:

1. Colorado Springs, Colo.

2. Wichita, Kansas

3. Los Angeles

4. Dallas

5. Oklahoma City

6. El Paso, Texas

7. Minneapolis

8. Phoenix

9. Albuquerque

10. Denver

Source: Zillow.com, Whitney Tyner (12/14/2010)


Hey, Santa!  Come visit us when you’re done this year.  We’ll help YOU “Own The Lifestyle“!


Posted on December 17, 2010 at 3:45 pm
Randy and Christy Oetken | Category: Activities, Coeur d'Alene, Downtown, Holidays, home, Idaho, Lake Coeur d'Alene, Market News, Real Estate, Shopping | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Browser Says: Don’t Forget the Pup This Christmas!

Browser” is howling to all his Peeps:  Don’t forget the Doggie this year! 

And just ’cause he’s such a great guy, he’s found a great recipe site for you to sniff out.   Lots of really yummy “looking” things for your favorite four-legged friend.  They’d probably smell great, too!

He’d also like to do a little growling.  His life has been “no treat” for the past year.  Literally.  A year ago, he was hospitalized for pancreatitis. (We were really concerned about him for a couple of weeks, but he pulled through.)  Poor boy!  Now his diet is very restricted.  No more puppy treats for him…

Sometimes it just puts him in a “down-tail” mood.  If it weren’t for his Friends …and Going Outside…and Snow-Mobiling…his life would be so dull!

So bake up a batch of one of these Doggie Treats for someone you love.  (We’ve included a recipe below.)

And, some time soon, will you stop by our office to cheer up our old boy?

Cluck-A-Doodle-Doggie Treats


2 cups Flour
1 cup cornmeal
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup chicken broth
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons fresh, chopped parsley
1 cup cooked chicken livers, chopped



Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Combine flour and cornmeal in a bowl.  In a large bowl add the egg, oil and broth and mix.  Add the flour mixture about 1/3 at a time and mix well between additions.  Add chopped chicken livers until well incorporated into a stiff dough.  Turn out dough onto a lightly floured work surface and kneed for about 1 minute.  Roll out to a thickness of about 1/2″.  Cut into shapes using a cookie cutter dipped in flour.  Place on greased cookie sheets. Bake treats for about 15 minutes or until firm.
Storing Dog Treats
In general you should store dog treats the same way you would homemade people cookies.  That being said, there are two main variables that determine storage time – the amount and type of fat in the recipe and your local weather conditions.  If your recipe uses fats such as butter, or meat bits or juices then it will be more prone to rancidity than a recipe that uses some vegetable oil or shortening.  Your treats may mold or spoil much faster in humid or very hot climates. 
Refrigeration and Freezing –  Refrigeration will prolong the life of more fragile dog treats. Make sure to store in a tightly sealed container or zip lock bag.  You can also freeze most treats in zip lock freezer bags.  Allow to thaw completely before use.
Posted on December 15, 2010 at 11:11 am
Randy and Christy Oetken | Category: Activities, Browser, Holidays, Real Estate | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Welcome to our Home…at Christmas

Especially during Christmas, our hearts long for the simpler days when a holiday was antipated not so highly for the piles of gifts, but simply for the chance to spend time with friends and loved ones.

Historians often tell of a bygone era, when Christmas was a day to receive visitors into our homes.  Hosts would “lay out”  an abundance of sweets and savories, ready to welcome their guests, and Townsfolk would promenade from house to house, greeting one and all, enjoying the food and the companionship of their friends and neighbors.

We’ve come a long way since those days.  And while we’re  a bit sad about the passing of such a warm tradition, we wondered if you might enjoy a tour of our home at Christmas?

We would offer you a cookie or a warm cup of Christmas Cheer if we could, but we do hope you’ll find yourself “at home” in our photo tour  – as well as in our hearts – this holiday season.

Welcome to our home. May the blessings of this Christmas Season be yours!

Posted on December 13, 2010 at 2:36 pm
Randy and Christy Oetken | Category: Browser, Coeur d'Alene, Holidays, home, Idaho, Lake Coeur d'Alene, Real Estate | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

REALTOR® Magazine-Daily News-No Foreclosures Over the Holidays

Daily Real Estate News  |  December 6, 2010  |  

No Foreclosures Over the Holidays
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are freezing all foreclosure evictions on the mortgage loans they own or back from Dec. 20 through Jan. 3.

“If the property is occupied, our foreclosure attorneys will suspend the eviction to provide a greater measure of certainty to families during the holidays,” says Anthony Renzi, executive vice president of single family portfolio management at Freddie Mac.

Most of the large banks, including Bank of America, J.P. Morgan Chase, and Wells Fargo, already observe a moratorium through the New Year, unless the foreclosure involves an investor who chooses not to observe the holiday policy.

Source: CNNMoney, Les Christie (12/03/2010)

Posted on December 9, 2010 at 2:57 pm
Randy and Christy Oetken | Category: Foreclosures, Market News, Real Estate | Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Crafty Ideas for Winter Curb Appeal: Home & Design: REALTOR® Magazine

We can’t help it!  It’s December 6 and Christmas is in the air!

Randy and Christy spent most of yesterday afternoon “sprucing” up some holiday pine swags (pun intended!) to deliver to clients who just purchased new homes. 

Since we’re in full Decorating Swing for the holidays, we thought we’d just pass along a few tips we learned yesterday afternoon.

It’s E-A-S-Y to make your own holiday swag, especially in our part of the world.  In fact, you may have all the materials you need in and around your home already.

Of course, this time of year, real (or “genuine imitation”) pine boughs, wreaths and swags are available almost anywhere – even in some grocery stores.  We suggest that you may save some $ by looking in your own yard.  Perhaps you have a tree or evergreen that could use a bit of trimming anyway!

Same goes for pine cones.  After you find them on your property, decorate with spray glitter or flocking material or maybe even a light dusting of white or metallic spray paint.

Next, raid your holiday wrapping center for ribbon, raffia, or bows, themed “picks” & ornaments to adorn your handiwork.  Get creative! Use your imagination and ingenuity to give your wreath or swag your personal touch.

We suggest using green florist’s wire to secure the pine boughs together into a pleasing arrangement.  Wired ribbon makes for quick and beautiful bows.  Other “mechanics” include use of glue guns and ornament hooks.

Keep in mind that decorating with evergreens is perfect any time of year.  If you’re careful with theme and colors, your handiwork could serve your outdoor decor needs well past the holiday season.

In the real estate business, we call furnishings and decor “staging”.  We all like to “stage” our homes for those ideal Christmas and New Year parties, for sure.  But have you thought about how to best stage your property to make it attractive for potential buyers?

As an Accredited Staging Professional, Christy Oetken can help you make the most of your home’s floor plan, color scheme, furnishings, and decor.  Put her to work for you today!

For other ideas on maximizing your property’s Curb Appeal during the Holidays and beyond, visit

Crafty Ideas for Winter Curb Appeal: Home & Design: REALTOR® Magazine.

Happy Decorating!
Randy, Christy & “Browser”

p.s. This picture of Christy and “Browser” was taken at our Coeur d’Alene home, above Coeur d’Alene’s Bennett Bay.

Posted on December 6, 2010 at 10:29 pm
Randy and Christy Oetken | Category: Activities, Browser, Coeur d'Alene, Free, home, Lake Coeur d'Alene, Staging | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,