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Decor Advice for an HGTV Magazine Sweepstakes Winner

It seems 2016 is flying by in the blink of an eye. And while I haven’t been writing many decor posts, that doesn’t mean I haven’t been working on some exciting decor projects. 

While 2016 may have started out on a bit of a low, there have been a lot of things I’ve really enjoyed doing. Today I want to fill you in on both my rough start to the year, and also one very fun project.

This past January I kicked off the year with planned surgery on my left hip. It makes me feel decidedly old to announce (and live through) this, but I actually had the same surgery on my right hip in January 2015, so I knew what to expect. More specifically, I had the understanding I’d need to be almost completely off my feet for a full month. 

If you’ve ever been essentially bed bound and recovering for an extended period of time, you understand that it is a challenging time having to rely on the help of your significant other, family, or friends. I felt like a burden and was frustrated by how much I had to rely on the kindness of everyone to do routine things. I did keep myself busy binge watching Gilmore Girls (every season, every episode, every.single.one, Go Team Luke!), eating all of the delicious things that so many wonderful people brought as gifts, planning the projects I wanted to tackle once I could walk again, and making my way through several coloring books. Luckily, I had a steady stream of visitors and almost constant companionship from my dependable feline and canine compatriots, which also kept me entertained.

In addition to the activities I already mentioned, I was also working on a project with HGTV Magazine! Back in December, while I was completely dreading the downtime I knew I’d have in January, I received an email from HGTV Magazine about a project they had in mind. They wanted to work with me to create a room design for the winner of a promotional sweepstakes they launched with Diet Coke. 

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About Ashraf Akkilah

Ashraf Akkilah
Architecture and design is my passion. I'm an architect who is interested in building design and decor trends. I'm also interested in sculpture design and landscaping. I'm "outdoor" architect who love to be involved in the project site and supervise finishing and final touches works. I had contributed to many construction and decor projects.

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Whipping Our Foursquare Home’s Exterior Back Into Shape

Though it's been a little quiet on the blog lately, we've been very hard at work on several ongoing house projects. 

The most major of our projects has been our focus on the overall exterior appearance of our Foursquare. As a realtor, I'm keenly aware of curb appeal, and how small differences on the exterior of your home can truly set the tone for how you feel on the interior of your home. But as an owner of a house with wood siding, a large yard, and a lot of plantings around the house, I know what an overwhelming endeavor it can be to stay on top of those items that impact the curb appeal of your home. 

In our case, I'm not so concerned about what people driving or walking by our home think. Instead I'm more concerned with how the curb appeal makes me feel, or how it makes our visitors approaching the house feel. I want our home's exterior to set a tone of relaxation for all of our visitors, and it's hard to feel relaxed when you approach a yard of long unkempt grass, flower beds full of weeds, and significant sections of cracked or peeling paint on the house. After all, it's our goal to have more relaxing evenings like this.

This summer we've decided to approach the curb appeal and exterior maintenance of our home in three distinct phases.

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