Wedding in 6 Hours!

20190706 083150

Imagine yourself a bride on your wedding day and you walk into the reception hall, and nothing's ready!  This was what a Mr. Mann's Design client saw 6 hours before the ceremony.  The bride's maid of honor wanted to 'surprise' the bride with a wedding.  She asked the bride what theme she would like the wedding to be.  The bride chose 'beach'.  For expert help, the maid of honor contacted Craig Mann to design and produce the wedding which would prove a challege since the wedding was in the middle of the country in Iowa thousands of miles from the beach!

Continue Reading

Fashionable Predictions

From what I’ve been trending, I’m ready to make predictions about what we’ll be seeing, wearing, and eating.  Trends are cyclical as generations come and go.  So it makes sense that the latest generation is probably not aware of the previous styles. What is old becomes fresh to the eyes of the naïve. 

What do you think of these predictions?

  1. Sunken living rooms. Both comforting and sexy, I love the drama sunken living rooms convey. They do look a bit dangerous in the dark, but good lighting solves that.  I’ve seen them convert into an entire bed area for your extra ‘guests’.  How naughty.
  2. Pleats I hate them, but I think there will be a revolution against tightly fitted clothing and slim fits.  They will be hemmed shorter, just to irritate people further.
  3. Filipino food. Oft derided or limited to duck embryo, more and more Filipino restaurants are featured in urban areas, such as Maharlika in New York City, or Irenia in Orange County or Bad Saint in Washington, D.C.  The food is an interesting balance of flavors not normally tasted: tart, bitter, salty, sweet.  It makes for a fresh perspective on cuisine.
  4. Shoulder pads. Maybe not the gigantic shoulder pads of the 80’s, shoulder pads are a subtler recreation.  Also associated with plunging necklines, they confidence in the person wearing them.  Ready for battle!
  5. Wood. Gold and silver all done, now it’s wood’s turn.  Except in modern interpretations such as patterns and mixtures of wood types.  Look out for parquet and chevrons.

Mr. Mann Goes to Europe: The G's

Continue Reading

Mr. Mann's Design- the Novel

I wrote a short story decades ago, which I lost when a computer technician erased my hard drive.  It was a story of discovery and transformation, and the good and bad things that happen when those occur.  I'm resurrecting the story for the millenium, but incorporating the story with a fictional character, Mr. Mann.  I wanted to do this to add another layer of depth to the thought that goes into our brand.  I'll be adding chapters as I complete them....


Mr. Mann’s Design- the Novel

Water from a summer afternoon downpour, like a biblical deluge, streamed down James Clark. He stood motionless on the sidewalk on Market Street just steps from the entrance from where he worked, oblivious to the wetness around him. Droplets pooled on his short brimmed beige hat, creating mini lakes which then cascaded down the wrinkles of his youthful face which got a little too much sun in his younger years as lifeguard at the Jersey Shore and later as crewman for Pennsylvania. The stream continued to the collar of starched white shirt, inside to his starched white protective undergarment so that the dampness penetrated from both the outside and the in. This created the illusion of multiple layers of clothing disappearing into flesh. His red and blue rep bowtie, replete with his Ivy League insignia, usually stood proudly and puffed, but now withered and wilted with each drip. His rope belt was cinched snugly around his taut waist, providing a dam of sorts initially to prevent overflow from the rivers above. But that too gave way, and the refuge of his khakis were soon soaked especially around the outline of his backside, textile clinging futilely to his rower’s legs and calves. His socks and brogues probably received the worst of things, being his last receptacles, with his feet swimming in what amounted to be leather jars.

Bounding towards him, hop skipping puddles like the triple jump, Warren Cruz was late for work. He normally ate lunch at Planet Pancit in his favorite seat at the counter in front of the cook with the other customers. This day however was filled with soup seekers from the damp weather and he had to wait longer than usual for a seat. He was prepared for the weather at least. A hoodie army jacket raincoat formed the first line of defense, which just came just at mid-thigh. His Japanese selvedge denim jeans were stiff and water repellent enough to protect his long legs. His jet black thick hair, although covered with the hoodie, was pomaded with styling gel which also did double duty in the downpour as a sealant. His shoes were vulnerable, however, being a leather/canvas slip on combination, but his agile sprint, along with masterful puddle footwork, helped him preserve their integrity.

As Cruz rounded the last corner to work, he didn’t see Clark standing motionless in the rain, and had no idea of the series of events that were about to unfold.

Tips for Staging Your Home


7 Lakes Country Club

Tips for staging your home
By Craig Mann, Interior Designer

When getting ready to sell, staging is a great avenue for any new or existing home. It’s important to make sure future buyers can see themselves living in the home. Here are some simple tricks to help you along the way:

A little dusting goes a long way: It’s obvious, but not always done. Make sure your space is clean. Dust and clutter only distract the eye and give a negative impression. Remove shoes and clothing from sightlines, and make sure the kitchen is cleared of food and crumbs. People will look in the oven! Here’s a tip of the trade- in your bathroom put your toilet seat down and covered. Replace dirty towels with clean ones, and use fresh soap. Make the bed. No one ones to feel awkward in the bedroom!

Simplify floor plans: Remove excess furniture, chests, cabinets, chairs or tables. Configure Floor plans so the buyer can get around easily to get a feel for the space. Less furniture will give the feeling of space and larger rooms. Pull furniture away from walls. To make your room look larger, float furniture in cozy conversation groups. Staging is also great for those odd or awkward spaces in your home. For example, for a space that is off the kitchen, create it into a breakfast nook or set it up as a little home office space. Give the buyers something to think about. Sometimes it can be a selling point.
Don’t oversimplify because keeping some furniture in house can give the buyers an idea how it would look when totally furnished.

Stay with clean colors: Stay with neutral colors. Whites and neutral will give an appearance of a larger room. There’s nothing wrong with a using color as contrast on featured walls, but keep it on the lighter side and avoid any color that is jarring. Keep the colors true to the architecture. For example, bright white may great for a modern home or room, but would not be the best choice for a Tuscan style room where a creamy butter color would be better.
You can always add pops of color from accessories you might choose.

Creative kitchen and bathroom updates: You don’t have to spend a lot of money to update your kitchen and bath. Replacing an old lighting fixture. Repaint old cabinets, maybe something lighter and brighter. Replacing new cabinet knows and drawer pulls can make a difference. Keep it clean, light and bright.

Spacious closets: Buyers will peek inside your closets. Closet space can be a make or break point for these buyers, so show your closets to their full advantage. Make sure they look clean. A fresh of paint won’t hurt. Remove anything that is musty or smelly and consider a light fragrance to mask any closet smell. Clear out excess clothing or goods, and aim to free up about 20 to 30 percent space in each closet. This gives the impression your closets are very spacious.

Simplify accessories: As much as you love them, this is the time to put away all those family photos and knick- knacks. Everything should look clean and spacious. Personal art is important in any home, but may not connect with new buyers. So replace them with mirrors which are a great alternative. They maximize light and make rooms look larger. Floor rugs should also be removed. Potential buys like to see wood floors and tiles.
Dining tables can be set. Use white plates and pop it with a colorful napkin.
Pops of color can also be used in throw pillows or blankets.
When it comes to eye-pleasing accessorizing, odd numbers are preferable, especially three. And scale is important. Just remember, it’s about the room, not the accessory.

Accent lighting: Make sure you turn on all the lights when your showing your home. Remember you are creating an atmosphere. Make use of dimmers or adjust wattage to create drama, especially in small spaces. Light up dark corners with floor lamps. Make sure the bulbs are bright and clean! Change out dark lamp shades to lighter brighter shades.

These are some things I have done to successfully stage homes to sell which I hope you find helpful. Remember keep true to your architecture and simplify your space so your buyer can see themselves living in it. I have no doubt using these simple tips you will be on your way to a successful sale. Of course, if you need professional help, Mr. Mann’s Design can do this for you at reasonable cost. You’ll recoup your investment with a ‘sold’ sign! Staging