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HOMES Sunday, September 23, 2012



The Grand Rapids Press

Classified: Real estate ads. PAGE G4




Designers and stylists Maureen Anders and Adria Ruff used a palette of mint, aqua, yellow and lime green for a gender neutral baby shower in Tega Cay, S.C. Incorporating handmade elements such as wool pompoms, simple printable paper decor, and using paper, marshmallows and cake decorations as centerpiece “flowers” is an inexpensive and creative way to create a unique display.



f you’re throwing a baby shower for a relative or friend, creating a suitably festive atmosphere is part of the fun. Some people go all out by hiring an event planner, while others go more simply, taking the do-it-yourself route. Whether you’re nurturing an elaborate party plan or just want a little inspiration to get started, the Internet opens the nursery door to a wide range of ideas from baby shower experts. Here are a few with their favorites: Maureen Anders and Adria Ruff, who run the Anders/Ruff event planning company in Charlotte, N.C., recently went with a color scheme of aqua, mint, lemon and lime for a gender-neutral shower. Mint and orange, gray and yellow, and aqua and coral also are on trend, Anders says, and even black and yellow — for a “baby to bee” theme. “‘Gender reveal’ showers are really popular,” she says. The guests don’t know if it’s a boy or a girl till the mom-to-be cuts the cake and reveals a pink or blue interior. Even the future mom can be in on the surprise; party planners can have the ob-gyn contact the cake baker with the information. Book showers are another hot trend: Guests bring a children’s book to help

build the new baby’s library. Party planners A Good Affair, in Newport Beach, Calif., created a “Peter Rabbit” and “Pat the Bunny” theme at one recent baby shower, in Anaheim, Calif., with vintage rabbit books as dicor. On the pregnancy website The Bump, Allison Micarelli-Sokoloff suggests a “Goodnight, Moon” theme, with dark blue and white polka dots and hanging silver foil stars. Blue lemonade with star-shaped fruit, a round cake with dark blue icing and white dots, and starry sugar cookies as favors round out the party elements. For an activity, she suggests gathering each of the poem’s items: mittens, a toy house, etc. and having each guest list them in the order they appear in the story. For their gender-neutral party, Anders/ Ruff used colorful yet inexpensive yarn to make decorative pompoms, gift ties and flowers. They dipped marshmallows in colored chocolate and candy pearls to make table displays, and served tinted macarons and paper-cone popcorn. Designer and party planner Sunny Duran got inventive for a twins’ baby shower in Ramstein, Germany. Inspired by Dr. Seuss’ “The Cat in the Hat,” she decorated with book images and typography, and served green egg salad and goldfish in a bowl. “I wanted everything to have a very playful feel. My favorite part of the book

is when Thing One and Thing Two run through the hall with kites,” she says, so she ran kite banners around the space and used the motif on labels. The Cat’s red-and-white top hat became the party cake.

More baby shower tips

Research a theme. Websites such as Hostess with the Mostess, Catch my Party and Any Given Party have dozens of detailed ideas. Don’t try to do everything yourself. Farm out the sweets-making to bake-savvy friends. Printables are a great way to coordinate all the elements of your theme, with banners and tags. For about $10, you can download artwork from one of’s talented designers and print out as many pieces as you need. Choose a favor that’s unexpected and useful. Anders and Ruff made tiny pickles and packed them in recycled baby food jars with a cute label. There also were color-coordinated candies in spice jars. A food gift’s always appreciated and will be remembered longer than a cheap tchotchke. Save money by buying latex balloons instead of pricier Mylar ones. And with food costs averaging about 40 percent of many shower budgets, opt for a DIY cupcake bar instead of a big cake and offer finger sandwiches, cheese and fruit instead of fancier fare.


Destined for great views THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Though Plan HMAFAPW1711 from would This floor plan released by Homeplans. com has a great room, sundeck and verandah, and would be perfect in a scenic setting. AP

look beautiful anywhere, it’s perfectly suited for a lot with a view. Two levels of decks — the

bottom one wrapping nearly all the way around the home — give both sunny and shady places to kick back and relax. Inside, the great open spaces match a casual lifestyle. An unfinished basement offers an additional 1,008 square feet. The upper level is reserved for the super-spacious master suite, which is really more like a studio with its private balcony and deluxe bathroom with a jet tub and separate shower. A large walk-in closet has space even for bulky winter clothing. When its time to socialize, head downstairs to the great room. Here, window seats and a gas fireplace create a welcoming atmosphere, and the open kitchen serves up snacks on the counter. The cooktop faces out, so

you won’t miss a minute of fun while preparing food. A guest room accesses a full bathroom, with a door to the porch nearby.


Bedrooms: 2

Baths: 2 Upper floor: 896 square feet Main floor: 1,008 square feet Total living area: 1,904 square feet Standard basement: 1,008

square feet

Order this plan

To build this house, order a set of construction documents at or call toll-free 866-772-1013 and reference the plan number.

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