Since first impressions are both important and lasting, it's not unusual for someone to get a last-minute makeover before a big event.
What the beauty shops do for people, Carla Griswold of Carson City is doing for home interiors.
To prepare a home for a party or enhance its marketability when it's put up for sale, Griswold performs one-day interior redesigns.
Lorraine Porter turned her Reno home over to Griswold recently because Porter plans to do a lot of entertaining and wanted her home looking its best.
"When I walked in afterwards, I couldn't believe what she had done and couldn't have envisioned myself what she did. It shows how creative she is," Porter said.
"She made the living room area conversation-friendly. She brought it close together so it was a place people want to be."
Griswold's service differs from a typical interior decorators because she is not trying to sell any furniture, accessories or wallpaper to her clients.
"I work with what they already have in the home, looking at it with a fresh eye to put everything at its best advantage," Griswold said. "People have the things they like, but they often don't have them placed so they work well together."
For Porter's living room, dining room and staircase area, Griswold called in Colleen Meiners of Sun Valley to help her and the pair started by systematically removing accessories from the room. Silk plants, pictures and wall hangings, collected china and books were all carefully placed in adjoining rooms as the woman bared the walls and surfaces.
"This gives me a clean palette to work with. I've already 'shopped' the other rooms to see what else I have to work with," Griswold explained."
When the job was done at mid-afternoon, the couch and love seat had been turned and pulled close to a low table to create a conversation area.
A seven-foot-tall display cabinet fronted by a dramatic single pane of glass was moved from the dining area to become the focus of the living room. Several small items were displayed in the lighted cabinet and the area was embraced by a number of foliage displays gather from throughout the home.
The area around the dining table was more because the cabinet had been replaced by a smaller side table and it seemed as if guests would feel more comfortable moving around the space.
The stairway that overlooks the living area was newly highlighted by a woven hanging moved from the dining room.
Porter said Griswold had talked with her about which items in the home had special or sentimental meanings for her.
"My dad is a master wood craftsman, so I told Carla about some of his pieces. She featured them - a carved tiger and the hall tree - and made them very visible," Porter said.
"She takes those things that are really important to you and she enhances them, puts them in a better light so people will see them and say, 'Oh my gosh! What a neat piece! Where did you get it?' "
"The best thing is that she doesn't give you a list of things you need to buy just to do what she wants for your home. She works with what you have.
"I've been in my home about a year and I had sold most of my old stuff, just keeping the most important things. I was working on a budget, too, and Griswold said her base service of spending three to four hours on a couple rooms costs $250.
"If that's what we arrange to do and it takes longer than that, of course, I wouldn't charge more," she said.
Interior arrangement has become is own discipline with the Interior Arrangement and Design Association providing standards, training and certification. Besides her IADA certification, Griswold's qualifications include her experience and current employment doing visual arrangements inside retail stores in Reno.
"I also help people as they are moving in to a new home. It's really helpful if you're downsizing into a smaller home or from a house into a condo or apartment," she said. "People can have a hard time deciding that items to keep or sell because of years of attachment or emotional connections. I can look at the items for their functionality and visual appeal."
Carla Griswold Interior Arrangements