Dear Claudia: It’s my first December living in Ahwatukee. I am looking forward to decorating my house for the holidays. My question is how can I decorate the house with a limited budget for Christmas?

Welcome to Ahwatukee! The holidays are an enchanting time and decorating your house helps to create a delightful space ready for Christmas and New Year. Certainly, even with a limited budget one can create the desire décor and mood for the holidays.

Start by taking a look at all your Christmas decorations that you already have, make a list of them and sometimes at this time it helps to separate the decorations you no longer like and you can pass them down to someone you know or you can donate them. The second step will be to get some ideas of what kind of décor or theme you would like. It’s amazing how many available options there are of decor for the holidays, take a look at the Houzz website ( for inspiration, they have thousands of ideas.

Final step, after deciding what pieces of décor you need to create the holiday look you desire, shop around and look for deals. Don’t forget there are times that enhancing the look of old ornaments we can reuse them. Try to use natural Christmas tree branches and greenery. You can find it for free sometimes to decorate your mantel, stairway, the table and front door by making a Christmas wreath or centerpiece.

Lastly, I believe almost all Christmas decor themes can use candles; they create that special delightful ambience we all love during the holidays. I have been living in Ahwatukee for 10 years and love the area. Take a look at the amazing Christmas décor around Ahwatukee. I want wish you happy holidays.

Dear Claudia: I would like to remodel my kitchen as soon as possible, however, not during the holidays. What steps should I take to speed up the design process and possibly have my kitchen done by the beginning of the year 2014?

Congratulations, for your new kitchen remodel. I know that this time of year it’s usually very hectic and time seems to go faster. I suggest you start right away with the design process. Start by selecting a qualified professional that can help you. My advice is to work with a designer that can help you design and overlook the entire kitchen remodel to completion.

The kitchen design process can sometimes take several months, it depends on how fast the decision making is made by finalizing the new design drawings and the product selection. You want to take your time by researching the options with your designer and contractor. Once that first step is completed all the products have to be ordered. Cabinetry usually takes the longest; it’s about a three- to six-week delivery date for some companies.

By starting your kitchen remodeling process now most likely you will have everything ready to start the project after the holidays. Your designer and contractor can schedule the demo of your kitchen and prepare the space, if needed electrical work, pluming or whatever the kitchen remodel entails. The kitchen is the space we use the most in our homes. Enjoy your new kitchen.

• Claudia Dabdoub is a resident of Ahwatukee Foothills and owner of D’amore Interior Design Studio. To ask a question for an upcoming column, reach her at (480) 751-9938 or

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