How To Prep for a Home Renovation: Guest Post by

Today we are featuring “Horderly”!

Horderly is a professional home organization company serving the East and West Coasts – and will travel anywhere to implement our trademarked systems.

This February, Horderly will be changing the lives of clients in Alabama and Tennessee. If you want to work with a Horderly professional organizer, simply answer a few questions about your project here and we’ll be in touch.

Specializing in decluttering, organizing and unpacking, Horderly will create and help you maintain a steady, functional home and lifestyle.

In honor of our collaboration with The Wills Company, Horderly wanted to give readers our tips and tricks to prep for a home renovation, to make sure you are organized before the dust flies!

Preparing for a home renovation can be stressful, we get it! The bigger the job, the more you need to prep. Prepping now will make putting the puzzle pieces together at the end of install that much easier!

Take Before Pictures

Home renovations are a big deal!

Before everything gets ripped apart, make sure you take a before photos to commemorate the way your space once was. Your older self will thank you when you want to show your kids or grandchildren what your home used to look like!


Decluttering before a renovation is crucial, and will make life so much easier when you’re moving items in your new space.

At Horderly, we love to edit. You’ll hear us say this a lot! Editing means deciding which items to keep, toss or donate.

Go through each room that is being renovated and take all items out of where they’re currently living. Touch on each and every item to decide whether you still love it and are using it, or whether it can find a better home at Goodwill.

Don’t forget about any items that have slowly crept their way into another space in your home when ideally they should live in this space as well! For example, should some items that have made their way into the hall closet actually be living in the family room? Are there items in your basement that are overflowing from the kitchen? Make sure you’re keeping the whole house in mind while editing an individual room.

The most important part of editing your space before renovations is so that you know exactly what you have and how much you have of it.

Editing your belongings can really put your realistic goals into perspective!

Donate, Then Take Inventory

Donating lesser-used items will make you feel lighter and your space less cluttered! After you’ve edited your space, make a list of everything you’ve decided to keep – and a list of items you need to purchase or replace once your renovation is almost over.

Look at all of your “keep” items and decide which can be stored away and which need to remain accessible. This will help you determine how much storage space you need to plan on creating in your renovated area!

The goal is to create not only a beautiful new space, but also a functional space that can be easily maintained for your family’s lifestyle.

For example, do you need to reconsider that modern entryway table you’ve been eyeing – with no storage for a custom built-in? Should you give up on the idea that you can do all floating shelves in your kitchen?

Consider which design options or built-ins to add to your renovation plans that will provide a beautiful but functional space for your “keep” items.

Sort, Box Up & Label

Now that you’ve decluttered and taken inventory of all items that need to live in the space being renovated, sort items by type and then box up.

For example, if your kitchen is being renovated, box like-items together and label each box accordingly. This is super important so that nothing gets lost and unpacking can be quick and efficient once your contractors have finished your project.

Don’t Worry

At Horderly, we always like to remind our clients that it gets worse before it gets better! Organizing (especially during renovations) is a journey that our organizers are experts on guiding you through.

Try your best not to stress while your home is being pulled apart during renovations. Trust your contractor and know that by the end of the project you will have a beautiful, new space that your family can enjoy.

When in Doubt, Call the Experts

Whether you need help getting organized pre-renovation, need help putting items back into place post-renovation, or whether you want to spruce up your current space without a demo – Horderly professional organizers can help you declutter every inch of your home.

Feel like you need a bigger space or need to move? Think again! Horderly organizers are experts at making the most of each and every inch of your current home. Creating maximized, functional spaces you love is Horderly’s priority and we’d love to help your home feel like home again.

Horderly will be in Alabama and Tennessee this February and are booking up fast! If you live in the area and want to learn more or book a session, reach out to [email protected] for a free phone consultation to have a professional organizer transform your space.

For more information on all things Horderly and more tips on how to get organized, follow us on Instagram and read along with the #HorderlyHabits series on our blog.

Spring Into Summer

Bathing suits from

It’s Porch, Patio and Pool season, and we are ready to party! Can’t wait to mix cocktails, test recipes and gather friends we’ve missed during dreary winter. Now all we have to do is get the Porch, Pool and Patio ready to party, too! The Wills Company can help you shake off the literal cobwebs at your house and prep outdoor spaces for poolside dining or a festive spring fling. Call our Handyman service (615-352-1228) to knock out a punch list of home improvements and spring cleaning, including:

  1. Clean exterior surfaces such as pool decks, screen porches, patios and pathways
  2. Tune up air-conditioning systems before the summer heat wave
  3. Repair torn or missing screens on porches and windows
  4. Replace broken or outdated ceiling fans 
  5. Clean windows and glass in exterior lamps and lanterns
  6. Repair brick and stonework on patios and pathways
  7. Clean gutters after the spring pollen bloom
  8. Touch up exterior paint on house, pool house and garage
  9. Repair garden fencing and furniture
  10. Change hard-to-reach lightbulbs in the eaves

With a Wills Company handyman taking care of the to-do list, you can get down to party planning, which is infinitely more fun. We have a few ideas for that too — all of them involving local products, services and boutiques.

Colorful totes from Epergne
  • Update your beach towels with a collection of candy-colored Turkish T’s, available at Ash Blue
  • Show off a pair of timeless Brownlee Bathing Company swim trunks, available at 
  • Set a festive table, with tablecloths, napkins, vases and other accessories from Epergne
  • Load poolside platters with cookies from Christie Cookies, Dozen, D’Andrews Bakery, or Hey Sugar
  • Grab a few growlers from local Yazoo, Fat Bottom, or Jackalope Brewery
  • Fill a cooler with popsicles from Las Paletas
  • Add sparkle to your cocktails with handblown highballs from Reed Smythe & Company
  • Spritz yourself with Thistle Farmsnatural geranium oil bug spray, the essential scent of spring and summer in Nashville!
The Classic Turkish-T available at AshBlue (child NOT included)
Get your sugar some sugar!

Spring is here and summer’s close behind. Call The Wills Company Handyman at 615-352-1228 to get your Pool, Porch, and Patio ready for the season.

New Kitchen, New Year!

It’s NOT too late in this holiday cycle to ask for the kitchen of your dreams—even with shiny colorful appliances, terrazzo countertops, and all the modern undercounter gadgetry—so why not use the holidays to plan for a new kitchen in the New Year?

This kitchen got a refresh with paint and new countertops that didn’t break the budget!

The first step in designing and building your fantasy kitchen is as easy as calling The Wills Company. It’s fun—and free!—to start a conversation with lead designer Ridley Wills about what your dream kitchen could look like.

When you meet with Ridley, he’ll ask three questions:

  1. What problem do want to solve by renovating your kitchen?
  2. What do you like about your existing kitchen?
  3. What features do want in your new kitchen?

Perhaps you would like a banquette?

Your responses to these questions will guide the design/build process, and there’s no better time to mull the answers than during the holidays, when you’re using your kitchen more than at any other time of the year.

This season, when you’re prepping, baking, decorating and entertaining, pay attention to your patterns and habits in the kitchen. Where do you spend most of your time? Who’s with you?  What appliances and gadgets do you use the most?

Next identify the challenges.  Where do bottlenecks occur?  Where do you bump into things?  What bugs you…color, cabinets, countertops?  Drowning in recycling?  What about compost?  Are you storing heavy cast iron pots on a top shelf?  Lugging pots of water from sink to stove? Is there room for guests to help or are you cooking alone in the kitchen instead of collaborating with family and friends?

Now, let’s talk about what works well. What are the best parts of your kitchen that you’d like to preserve, highlight or expand?

Gorgeous marble and a custom stainless hood make this space sing!

Finally, it’s time to daydream. What’s on your wishlist? Do you want double ovens and dishwasher drawers? Or a sofa, big-screen TV, and drawers to stash your collection of takeout menus? Island or peninsula? Farm table? Banquette? Wine cooler? Coffee counter? Appliance garage? Pet station?

While you’re at it, what colors and finishes do you like?

Cozy up with a book by the fire while your soup simmers on the stove!

Start a virtual bulletin board on Houzz or Pinterest. Or pin actual magazine clippings on an actual bulletin board. You might even decide you want to install a bulletin board in your new dream kitchen. Or a chalkboard mural. Or a whiteboard. See, the creative process is working. You’re one step closer to the kitchen of your dreams. Now’s the time to take the next step: Call Ridley at The Wills Company at 615-352-1228 to get the conversation started.

Happy Holidays, from our kitchen to yours!

Cookie-Cutter No More: Reimagining Old Designs for a New Millennium

Recently, published the below article where Ridley is interviewed on how to best update houses from the era of the “suburban surge” – 1980-2000.  Thanks to the author Stacey Wiedower whose words we reprint here.

Tray ceilings, wainscoting and carpet, carpet, carpet. In the late ’80s and throughout the ’90s, home construction saw a massive surge as American suburbs expanded. Square footage soared, but design didn’t advance at quite the same pace.

It was the era of the McMansion, when houses went up as quickly as builders could turn them around. And inside, homes of this era have a lot in common.

“I think Nashville was behind the times, style-wise, and many houses even built into the 2000s are really ’90s or late ’80s houses,” says Ridley Wills, founder of Nashville design-build firm The Wills Company. “Every house had these brown, thick finishes, lots of roofline, lots of architectural features going on.”

BEFORE: This carpeted stairway bound by wooden bannisters is classic ’80s design.

AFTER: By getting rid of the sharp angles and wooden handrail, and swapping out wood for iron for the bannister, this reimagined staircase has a more refined, updated feel.

Today, a different sort of revolution is taking place in the residential landscape, with a focus on smart design. Instead of maximizing space, it’s about taking the space you have and using it to its max potential. Instead of mirroring your neighbor, it’s about infusing your space with your own unique personality.

In other words, cookie-cutter is out.

That’s why, for The Wills Company, these ’80s, ’90s and early-2000s houses represent not a page from the design past, but an opportunity for the future. More and more clients are coming to the firm asking for a revamp of their homes’ tired ’90s-era style.

“We’re doing one right now with big, huge rooms and a big, huge, circular staircase,” Ridley says. “It’s a young couple in there, and they said, ‘What do we do with this?’ They’ve got four boys, and they needed more room.”

The goal for The Wills Company is to help the family open up the space while also minimizing adornment and lightening the finishes — essentially, taking that 1990s space and making it read 2018. “They have one of everything in there — a little bit of this and a little bit of that. It’s a hodge-podge of styles,” Ridley says. “The more we can simplify, the better off it’s going to be stylistically.”

Certain features of ’90s-era homes, like built-in TV niches, are over and not coming back. Others, like tray ceilings and built-in bookcases, will cycle in and out of style. But for a house that reads right now, overloading on architectural detail is out, Ridley says.

“We did another house off Granny White,” he says. “It had more vaulted ceilings than you can imagine, and that’s very typical of that period. We kept the high ceilings but got rid of all the fancy detailing, and that helped.”

BEFORE: Note the multiple levels in this tray ceiling.

AFTER: The same bathroom has scaled back crown molding while the ceiling height remains unchanged.

Something else that helps is to focus drama into one room or one feature so it makes the intended impact. For example, in a 2018 space you might see a charcoal fireplace wall in a house otherwise painted all white. In the ’80s and ’90s, though, drama exploded from every surface.

“Every room does not have to be vaulted and uber-special,” Ridley says. “Focus on where you want that drama to be, and let the other spaces be less. It gives the space that has drama all the more drama. When you do every room with a vaulted or tray ceiling, it gives no specialness to the rooms that do have it.”

We all know openness is the hallmark of modern-day design. On every HGTV show, in every shelter mag and on every home design blog, open and airy spaces abound. And typically, the first thing a homeowner charged with updating an ’80s or ’90s space wants to do is open it up.

That’s important, Ridley says. But the renovation also needs to fit the size, shape and style of the house. “You can be more communicative between the rooms, but you need to let it be the house that it is,” he says. “Don’t try to turn it into a New York loft because it’s not going to be a New York loft no matter what you do. Edit it down. Get rid of some of the fussiness of it.” That alone, he says, will help the space feel more open.

Another way to open up a space is to focus on its entry point. In many ’90s-era homes, for example, rooms with 10-foot ceilings are accessed by 6-foot, 8-inch doors. “Sometimes just raising the doors helps in these rooms to open up the space,” Ridley says. The same goes for bathroom countertops, which trend several inches taller than in the ’80s and ’90s.

BEFORE: French doors and a relatively short archway (in comparison to the tall ceilings) make the space feel cluttered and claustrophobic.

AFTER: Getting rid of the French doors shown in the “before” shot and heightening the archway are both impactful ways to make the space feel more open.

BEFORE: Note the recessed lighting and the height of the bathroom countertops.

AFTER: The recessed lighting was swapped out for tasteful sconces, and the countertop is slightly higher, a simple swap that makes a big impact.

BEFORE: This is a textbook ’80s his and hers bathroom — a luxury of the era.

AFTER: The same space has an updated feel thanks to a new, taller countertop, modern fixtures and new flooring — a tasteful blend of both hardwood and marble.

Flooring is another fix that can help turn a tired ’90s design into a modern-day space. In the ’90s many rooms were carpeted, including living rooms, dining rooms and sometimes even bathrooms. Now, hardwood rules the day. Adding hardwood flooring, painting wood-tone trim and changing out light fixtures and hardware are easy updates that go a long way, even without a full-scale renovation.

Another easy update, of course, is paint. The jewel tones of the ’90s and Tuscan hues of the 2000s are out, replaced by cool neutrals like white, cream and gray. “Paint can make a huge difference,” Ridley says. “Edit down, get it cleaner, get the lines and details consistent throughout the house.”

The 1980s, he adds, were the era of “Dynasty” and “Dallas” and “Falcon Crest.” He credits (perhaps blames) these nighttime television dramas for giving rise to an era of “more is more.”

“It’s all of that era – sequins, beads,” he says. “Everybody was trying to create that in their own house. That’s fun from a nostalgia standpoint, but everything doesn’t have to be the fanciest thing.”

Even if your home screams ’90s on the outside, inside it can be a clean-lined, relaxing retreat that speaks to the modern era. “Your house is not going to be this uber-modern home on the outside, but the interior decorating can be,” he says. “Interior design can go a long way in a house like that, and it’s worth investing in the decorating.”

For example, he and his team recently worked on a house with a giant living room with vaulted ceilings and an ornate center staircase that divided the space — in other words, drama from floor to ceiling. The homeowners struggled with where to place the furniture.

“There was no wall good for seating, and no one wanted to sit in there because it was so cavernous,” he explains. “So we made it into a grand, wonderful dining room. You can consider repurposing rooms — they don’t have to be what you thought they were. And the dining room is an example of a room that can move — it’s just a table. Most new houses don’t even have dining rooms.”

Along these lines, Ridley’s number one tip is to take the cues your home is already giving you, apply your taste and style, and think about ways your house can embrace the way you live. Pare it down to the essentials — that’s what modern living is really all about.

“It’s on a case-by-case basis,” Ridley says. “It’s also about simplifying. What do you like about the house? Let’s work with that.”

To learn more about The Wills Company, visit

5 Ideas for House, Head, and Heart

Nashville’s Independence Day celebration is as famous as our hot chicken.  We like The Nashville Guru‘s lineup of events for 2017 which can be found by clicking HERE.

But once the fireworks are over, it’s time to get serious about summer.  Where to begin? Try these ideas:

1. Let your house work while you play.

Planning a trip out of town? There’s no better time for those house repair and maintenance jobs that get in the way of life lived at home. Consider your empty house a rare chance to sand and refinish hardwood floors, re-caulk bathroom and kitchen tiles, or repaint indoors. Skip the dust, the fumes, and the “Oh no! You weren’t supposed to step there yet!” That’s a vacation in itself.

2. Pitch a tent.

Change your point of view, and the most mundane spot – your own backyard? – might reveal its exotic side. When did you last count lightening bugs for fun? Or examine the stars in your own slice of sky? Let our good Nashville crickets sing you to sleep? We’re definitely inspired to try.

3. Jump the Line.

Today, it might feel like summer lasts forever, but September is already in sight. Fall is Nashville’s very best time to tackle your house’s bigger challenges: exterior painting, roof replacement, wood trim clean-up, and masonry work all go better in those hot, dry weeks between August and the holidays. That’s the best time, too, to inspect and service your furnace, and to scour gutters and downspouts for leaves and debris. Pressure washing and window cleaning get your home ready for the decorating and entertaining that close out the year.

Don’t wait!  In the new boomtown Nashville, there’s no such thing as last-minute scheduling for non-emergency work. High-quality experts and craftsmen – the only professionals we’d send you – are in tremendous, historic demand SO THE TIME TO SCHEDULE THIS WORK IS NOW. Call us to make a plan. We promise: you’re not even early.

    Don’t let this happen to your house-project list!

4. Lighten your load.

Right now, our favorite summer accessory is this handsome Bagster, the “Dumpster in a Bag” from Waste Management.

Buy the bag empty from our local Hart Ace Hardware, then take it home and fill it with all that junk – and you know it’s junk –  you just keep moving from spot to spot: from closet to attic, from basement to garage. Kitchen utility drawers, old toy chests. Mud room cubbies and the dining room (mail) table. And when you’ve purged your life of the 3,300 pounds (yes, that’s 1½ TONS) of junk and debris that’s been weighing you down? Waste Management will come pick it all up and take it away. Forever.

The Bagster accepts:

At $149, the Bagster’s not cheap. But imagine the space and peace you’d reclaim from a true clean sweep. Kind of like building a new wing on your house. Learn more at

5. Crack open your mind.

We love the wild frontier that is popular culture these days. But it takes discipline and a radical curiosity to resist the urge to experience only what we already like and understand. So this summer, we’re going out of our way to expand our horizons. Here’s how:

  • (Skip this bullet if you’re under 30) Ask a teenager to share a playlist of the music he likes, or a video game she thinks is interesting. Promise not to mind any provocative language or images, then really settle in and pay attention.
  • Explore international news outlets. We’re making a habit of checking in on The Guardian of London (, the London Times ( We’re not promising a full-out read every day, but even scanning headlines (or a quick Twitter check) can remind us we’re part of this larger, complex world – and it’s not always just about us.
  • Treat yourself or a loved one to a session on MasterClass, the instructional website where artists and legends share insights about their life and their craft. Learn “Comedy” from Steve Martin, “Country Music” from Reba McIntyre, “Performance” from Usher, “Cooking” from Gordon Ramsay, “Acting” from Kevin Spacey or Dustin Hoffman. There’s a long and varied list of Master Classes to choose – coming soon is Annie Leibovitz teaching “Photography” and Diane Von Furstenberg on “Building A Fashion Brand.” Browse the possibilities at

Serena Williams teaches Tennis, on