Luxe Loft: Collaboration with Fireclay Tile

Laid-back Luxe Inspired by a Minnesota Artist

My collaboration with Fireclay Tile is live and I could not be more excited to share the finished product with you! The "Luxe Loft" collection offers a blend of laid-back luxe using moody jewel tones and grounded neutrals. This is downtown style placed a against a backdrop of rich hues, organic finishes, and lustrous accents.

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A sculptural painting by the incredibly talented Sarah Lund Art (based out of Stillwater, MN) was the inspiration behind the concept.

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This stunning set of tiles includes a new glaze color by Fireclay Tile, Boundary Waters. The depth and richness of the color is gorgeous so definitely check it out.

Read the full Story, learn some of my favorite design tips, and order samples on the Fireclay website!

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Home Office Design Tips for Entreprenuers

My Top 5 Interior Design Tips for Your Home Office -Guest Post for Identité Collective

It's hard to believe but I've actually spent the majority of my Interior Design career as a self-employed creative entrepreneur. Not only have I learned a lot about business over the years, I have learned a lot about what it takes to efficiently and productively work from a home office.

Working from home and still getting the work done is a struggle for many entrepreneurs which is why I'm so excited to share the guest blog post I wrote for The Identité Collective, a full service creative studio serving boutique lifestyle brands. In this post I'll share my top five interior design tips for creating a productive and inspiring home office. 

You'll also get a a never-before-seen peek into The Indentité Collective founder's new home studio, including links to her favorite office furniture, decor and gadgets. If you like bright, white spaces you want to see this home office!

These tips work for everyone, no matter how much space you have in your home. Get my best home office design tips for entrepreneurs by clicking here

Simplify Design Decisions - A Quick Tip I Learned From Tim Ferriss

Free up mental energy and create a space you love with an efficient decision making process I call "No 7's Allowed"

Did you know that, on average, you make approximately 35,000 decisions daily? If you're remodeling, building a home, or even just giving your living room a design refresh, the number of decisions you have to make becomes even greater, and it can be exhausting. If you've read my post on Design Decision Fatigue you know it is a real thing!

Now, think about if you let yourself get caught up in the time-suck of indecision. You repeatedly say "no" because there is the lingering thought "what if there is something better?" Or, you might find yourself saying "yes" to items simply because you don't want to look at one more thing. With so many decisions in a project, ranging from mundane to meaningful, how do you make informed, yet efficient, decisions? 

Decision Making Tip Tim Ferrriss

One approach I've encountered is to ask yourself "Is this a HELL YES or a HELL NO?" I can kind of get behind this, but not entirely. First, H-E-Double-Hockey-Sticks isn't in my daily vocab - I just don't have that kind of edge. Second, there is a lot of middle ground between those two options. What if it is a Hell Maybe?? When Tim Ferriss shared his simple tip for decision making on The Good Life Project podcast it appealed to me immediately.

All you have to do is rank whatever it is you are considering on a scale of 1-10. The important part here is that there are no 7's allowed! Think about it, if you rate something a 6 it's barely passing and should be a no. If you rate something an 8 or above you know you're feeling petty good about it. Sevens lead to ambiguity and indecision. When you're working on a design project you want to decide if you love it or if you leave it, because eventually, you will live with it. Take the time to consciously consider your options, commit to making a decision, and find yourself a little closer to enjoying your dream space. 

Leave me a comment and let me know how "No 7's Allowed" brings clarity and efficiency to your design decision making. 

DIY Guide to Jump Start Your Design Project - Free Download!

Feeling stuck and don't know where to start your design project? Download this DIY guide today!

When it comes to a new design project the dreaming stage is fun, but when it's time to actually make a plan it's easy to get stuck in overwhelm. And we have all experienced what can happen when we feel overwhelmed - nothing. So how do you taking your design project from dream to reality? Subscribe to my newsletter and get instant access to to five easy steps you can use to jump start your design project, take action, and finally enjoy your new space!

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Interior Design Blogs with the Best Product Roundups

Let these interior design blogs narrow down the choices and do some of the shopping for you!

The vast number of interior design ideas and products available on the internet is an amazing opportunity for consumers to find the perfect piece for their space. At the same time, it can be incredibly overwhelming, not to mention time consuming, to sort through all of the options. This is one of the reasons I love finding interior design blogs with product roundups and design guides. This cuts down on the leg work, narrows down the choices, and provides a starting point. This can be really helpful, especially if you are not working with an interior designer who would typically take on this role. It's also an excellent way to find new resources and online shops that fit your aesthetic. Today I'm sharing some of my favorite interior design blogs for product round-ups. 

Fabric: Kufri - Samarkand - Purple & Pink

Fabric: Kufri - Samarkand - Purple & Pink

Style by Emily Henderson
If you don't follow Style by Emily Henderson you need to start. Whether you are looking for kid friendly sectionals, dining tables for every style, or the perfect office chair, this blog is a great place to begin. Roundups aside, Emily Henderson produces beautiful content, sharing her design process and vision in an authentic way. 

Design Sponge
Design Sponge is the first design blog I discovered and it continues to be a favorite. Not only does Design Sponge offer great roundups such as 10 Shops for Affordable Artwork and 10 Online Wallpaper Shops We Love, there are amazing home tours, interviews, and design related essays that you won't find anywhere else. 

Lark & Linen
Jacquelyn Clark, the interior designer behind Lark & Linen, has established a gorgeous blog over the years. Clark shares helpful roundups for items such as ready-made throw pillows, beautiful brass pulls, and the best gray paint colors. You'll also find posts on entertaining, fashion, and more.

Studio McGee
The husband and wife duo behind Studio McGee design beautiful interior spaces and produce an equally beautiful blog. You'll find a collection of decor highlights such as their favorite flushmount lighting, dining chairs, and cabinet paint colors.  Studio McGee also has an online shop that I recommend checking out. 

What are you favorite interior design blogs? 

5 Tips for Designing a Room or Home with Your Significant Other

Create a space you both love and enjoy the process!

For the most part my husband and I are on the same page when it comes to our design aesthetic. But sometimes he proclaims his love for a particular piece or style and I find myself going "uhhh" in hopes that he forgets about it and we can move on. Anyone else experience this? It might be the occasional difference of opinion or you may fall on drastically different endpoints of the design spectrum, but there is no question that designing a space with a significant other can be a challenge. So, what do you do? How do you reconcile two people's different tastes into one, cohesive whole? Today I'm sharing five tips on how to successfully design a space with your significant other and keep everyone (mostly) happy. 

Fabric: Susan Connor New York - Artemis - Lake

Fabric: Susan Connor New York - Artemis - Lake

1. Create Separate Mood Boards
Begin the process by creating separate mood boards. This allows each of you to independently narrow in on what you love and provides visuals so that everyone is on the same page. What you might refer to as "modern" might mean something totally different to someone else. In a full room image make note of the specific elements you're drawn to. You might love the sofa pictured but your S.O. could be totally distracted by the flooring. If you'd like tips on how to best create a mood board check out this previous post, How to Create and Use a Mood Board

2. Consider Your Priorities and Areas of Compromise.
I guarantee there will be things you will disagree about during the design process. Decide which priorities or specific items are non-negotiable and also consider where you are willing to compromise.  Share these with each other and respect where your partner takes a strong stand. No one likes to feel forced into a decision. 

3. Compare Notes and Create a Design Framework
Gather up your top inspiration images and share them with your partner. Start to look for common and complementary threads such as color palettes, materials, and the overall feel of the space (ex. casual vs formal, calming vs energetic, etc). These don't need to be exact matches, mixing styles can actually add interest to the overall design. For example, a sleek, modern chair can add an unexpected twist to a traditional interior. After you've honed in on your joint style, take time to create a design framework from which you can work. 

4. Make New Purchases Together
Commit to making major purchases together. You can shop together or put one person in charge of gathering options for joint consideration. That way no one feels like they are "stuck" with something the other person purchased. 

5. Consult Each Other When Discarding Old Items
When dealing with items that you already own, remember to be empathetic to the sentimental value material items can hold. If your S.O. really wants to keep something and it's not your taste, try to find a middle ground. Perhaps the piece could go somewhere in the home you seldom use. If you or your S.O. struggle to part with sentimental objects, check out this past post, Why We Have Too Much "Stuff" - Part 3 - Sentimental Objects, for ideas on how to enjoy the object without actually keeping it. 

It's easy to get caught up in wanting to get your own way, but remember, what's most important is that both of you feel at home for years to come. Blending styles adds interest to a room, and if done with care, collaborating with your significant other on a design project can actually be fun!

What's the biggest challenge you face when designing a home or room with a spouse or significant other? 

Color Crush: Earthy Green

6 Unique Color Combinations for Earthy Greens

Lately I can't seem to get enough of earthy green colors. From my closet to my home decor....I want it everywhere! Which is why it's today's Color Crush. As I started playing around with earthy green color pairings it was hard to stop because there are so many ways to use this versatile and timeless hue. 

I've used Benjamin Moore paint swatches as a starting point but I also encourage you to think beyond painted walls. Experiment with these color palettes using fabrics, furniture, and accessories. 

All paint colors in this post are paired with Courtyard Green (546) by Benjamin Moore. 

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Benjamin Moore Paddington Blue

Pairing 1 - Energetic Blues
Benjamin Moore Paddington Blue (791)
An intense blue adds a lively punch to an earthy green. This particular blue reminds me of the semi-precious stone, Lapis Lazuli, another gorgeous color found in nature. 

Benjamin Moore Springhill Green

Pairing 2  - Yellow Greens
Benjamin Moore Springhill Green (412)
An earthy green paired with a yellow green is reminiscent of the tone on tone color palette found in foliage. Pantone named Greenery, a yellow green, the 2017 Color of the Year. Popular home decor products using this combination include palm tree and tropical prints on wallpaper and fabrics

Benjamin Moore Heirloom

Pairing 3 - Blush Pinks
Benjamin Moore Heirloom (023)
Blush pink or "millennial pink" continues to be a popular color and it pairs perfectly with earthy greens. If you love blush pink as much as I do, check out a previous Color Crush post to see more color palettes using blush pink

Benjamin Moore Tomato Tango

Pairing 4 - Red Based Oranges
Benjamin Moore Tomato Tango (CSP - 1145)
Red based oranges add a zesty twist to earthy greens. This is an easy way to add an unexpected pop of color to a room. If this red-orange feels too energetic, an alternative pairing is a burnt orange with more of a brown base. 

Benjamin Moore Smokey Taupe

Pairing 5 - Earthy Neutrals
Benjamin Moore Smokey Taupe (983)
Grays continue to be the neutral of choice. Try a warm gray to balance out and enhance an earthy green. 

Benjamin Moore Dalila

Pairing 6 - Sunny Yellows
Benjamin Moore Dalila (319)
A sunny yellow paired with a earthy green feels like a daily dose of summer indoors. Sunshine year-round, what more could you want?

 

Which color combination is your favorite? How would you use these color palettes in your own home? 

Designer as Client: Why I Choose Quartz Countertops

Quartz countertops allow you to spend more time enjoying your home and less time worrying about common spills and maintenance.

Whether I’m designing for myself,or for a client, it’s important to ask how much time, money, and effort am I or the client willing to be spend on maintenance.  As a busy mom of two I’m always on the lookout for products that are beautiful and easy to maintain. Below I share why quartz countertops are one of my go-to kitchen and bath materials.

Interior Design by Desi Interior Design ( The New Victorian Mansion Bed & Breakfast )

Interior Design by Desi Interior Design (The New Victorian Mansion Bed & Breakfast)

No Ongoing Maintenance
The main reason I love quartz countertops is that they are so easy to maintain - quartz requires no periodic sealing, polishing, or reconditioning. If left unsealed or not maintained on a regular basis, stones such as granite, marble, and soapstone are easily stained and may be permanently damaged by something as simple as a spilled glass of wine. Quartz is very stain resistant making it perfect for kitchen and bath applications.  

Daily Cleaning Ease
Cleaning quartz countertops is as easy as wiping them off with mild soap and water. Because the product is non-porous and stain resistant, you never have to worry about the surface harboring bacterial from raw food or soaking up a spill that you didn’t catch right away.

Strength
Quartz counters are made by combining 93% natural quartz stone with a small amount of resin binder and colorant. This creates an extremely hard, strong stone that is stronger that granite or marble, and is very scratch resistant.

Unique Colors, Patterns, and Finishes
Whether you want a pattern that mimics natural stone or are in the market for a color not found in nature, you’re likely to find something that fits your aesthetic.  Cambria, a leader in the quartz industry, recently launched a matte (vs polished) finish that offers a previously unavailable low-sheen look with the same great performance.  

If you’re interested in seeing more examples of quartz countertops I highly recommend checking out Cambria, Caesarstone, and Silestone.

Questions about using quartz in your kitchen or bath project? Leave me a note and I'll respond!

How to Create a Personalized Design Framework for Easy Decision Making

Putting constraints on design decisions can actually allow you freedom and focus

Between Instagram, Pinterest, and design blogs there is an infinite amount of inspiration from which you can draw. While this is amazing in so many ways, it can leave you feeling overwhelmed and lacking focus when it comes to designing your own space. Even as an interior designer I can fall into the trap of loving everything and having a hard time committing to anything. Today I'd like to offer a design approach that puts constraints on your design decisions. While this might sound limiting, creating a set of personalized design rules provides you freedom and focus within the framework you create.

Fabric: Shumacher - Abstract Leaf - Indigo

Fabric: Shumacher - Abstract Leaf - Indigo

Create your design "rules" or framework using these two easy steps:

1. Identify Key Words to Describe the Predominate Style
What is the design style that you are continually drawn towards? Examples of interior design styles include modern, contemporary, classic, traditional, transitional, eclectic, industrial, vintage, minimalist, mid-century modern. Choose one or two words (ex. modern-vintage) that resonate with you and use these as your guide as you make decisions. If you need guidance on defining your design style a mood board is a great tool. Read my post on how to use a mood board to define your style here. 

2. Select a Core Color Palette
Limiting your color palette to three core colors is an easy way to create a cohesive look. Select one neutral, one main color, and one accent color. Feel free to vary the tints and shades within the palette to create interest. For example if your main color is navy you can include other shades of blue such as a blue-gray or a bright robin's egg blue. If you need some inspiration for your core color palette, Color Snap by Sherwin Williams is a great place to start. Simply upload an image you like and the tool with turn the image into a color palette using Sherwin Williams paint. 

Some of you might be concerned that these constraints will make your space boring. However, I assure you that within this framework there are many ways to add interest to your space. Consider design elements such as scale, balance, texture, and line to create an aesthetically pleasing mix. While there is freedom to express your style, the framework keeps you focused. This makes design decisions much easier saving yourself from design decision fatigue and a paralyzed state of indecision. Your result will be a cohesive design scheme for you to enjoy. 

Give it a try and let me know what you think. If you have any questions, please leave a comment below and I'll send you a response!

How to Create a Floor Plan and Furniture Layout That Works for You!

Have you ever made a furniture purchase only to realize it doesn't fit in the room or the scale is completely off? Not only is this a waste of time, it can be a waste of money. There could be a significant return shipping or restocking cost, or you may not even be able to return the piece! Whether you're designing a living room, bedroom, or office it's important to plan out the space before making purchases. To do this I recommend creating a scaled floor plan to guide your decision making process. A scaled floor plan allows you to focus your efforts on finding the right size, shape, and type of furniture. This doesn't need to be a fancy furniture plan completed on the computer. It can be as simple as using graph paper (one square equals one foot) to draw out the space and potential furniture options. You can even use painters tape or cardboard cutouts to mark the furniture dimensions and layout on your floor. 

Below are my top 6 designer tips for creating a floor plan and furniture layout that is both aesthetically pleasing and functions well for your daily life. 

How to Create a Floor Plan and Furniture Layout Designer Tips

1. Measure the Room
Start with the general perimeter measurements, ceiling height, doors, and windows. If doors or windows open into the space mark the direction of their swing. Lastly, note the width and height of any doorway opening the furniture will need to pass through in order to get to its final space. 

2. Measure Furniture You Plan to Keep
You probably have a general sense of how your existing pieces fit into your current setup, but you need to know how they will mix with new items. When measuring existing furniture, don't forget about arm and seat height. For example, you don't want to find out your existing sofa seat height is much too low for resting your feet up on the new ottoman. 

3. Identify the Types and Quantity of Furniture
Questions you should ask yourself include how many people will use the room, how much storage do I need, do I need an area rug to soften a hard surface floor? If you need help thinking through this step, read my post on the Five Function Questions to Ask Before Starting a Design or Remodeling Project.

4. Consider Traffic Patterns and Clearance
How are people going to enter into, move through, and settle into the space? Utilize furniture placement to invite people in at certain points or direct them around an area. Allow for enough clearance around the furniture. I prefer at least three feet of clearance going around major areas of circulation. Remember to be mindful of fixed items such as kitchen countertops, built-ins, or pillars. 

5. Create Activity Zones
Identify what activities you want to take place in the space and think how the furniture types and placement can facilitate these activities. Will this be a space for entertaining, intimate conversations, or a cozy nook to curl up with a new book and a cup of coffee? Each scenario requires different furniture pieces and layouts. 

6. Play with Scale and Shape to Create Balance
As you start to layout the various pieces take note of the visual weight. If the furniture feels cramped there may be a disproportionate number of large-scaled items. Alternately, if the pieces appear to be floating in the space they may be too small and need to be anchored by a more substantially sized item. You can also play with mixing linear and organic shapes to add interest and variety.

Once complete, a scaled floor plan can act as a road map providing clear direction as you complete the room. Keep this furniture floor plan on hand while shopping so it's easy to reference the size, quantity, and shapes you need. You'll stay focused on the task at hand and save yourself from the frustration of purchases that simply don't work in the space.

What are the biggest challenges you face with floor plans and furniture layouts? 

5 Function Questions to Ask Before Starting a Design or Remodeling Project

Consider these five function questions before diving into your design or remodel project to make a lasting impact on the longevity and impact of your new space. 

When designing a space, whether you are remodeling a kitchen, or getting some new furniture for the living room it's easy to jump to the pretty picture, inspiration-gathering part of the process. But in order to get the most out of your new space you must consider function. As an interior designer I not only uncover my clients' aesthetic, I am also a detective. I ask probing questions to get to know my client's preferences and needs so that a space not only looks good on install day, it functions for everyday life in the long run. Today I'm sharing my top 5 questions used to uncover the functional requirements of a space. Consider your answers to these questions when working with a design professional or when working on your project solo. 

Fabric: Marble in Smoke by  Rebecca Atwood  

Fabric: Marble in Smoke by Rebecca Atwood 

1. How many people will use the space (both on a regular and occasional basis) and who are the main users? For example, you are a family of four that likes to watch movies in the living room on Friday nights. You'll want to have enough comfortable seating that faces the television to accommodate all four of you. On occasion, the kids will have friends over for movies. This means you'll also need some less permanent seating to pull in as needed. Potential solutions include chairs from an adjacent space that are easily moved or a big pile of floor pillows that are brought out for this occasion. Aside from quantity of people, the type of people is also important. The way a toddler utilizes a space will be very different than an empty-nester. 

2. How is the space used and what are the main tasks done in the space? Are there secondary tasks to consider? In a kitchen the main ask is usually cooking. However, within this general task there can be variation. For example, if you are a passionate cook you'll place priority on certain features over others and may want additional work surfaces. Secondary activities that need to be addressed may include space for nightly homework or working from home. 

3. What level of durability does the space require? Are food and drink likely to be spilled on the dining room chairs (hello children!) or is it a more refined dining environment for adults only? Also ask yourself how much upkeep are you willing to do? Be honest :) In an ideal world you might be committed to resealing that showstopping stone yearly, but in the hustle and bustle of everyday life will it actually happen? There are many beautiful, low maintenance items to select from if that's what you need. It's simply a matter of planning for minimal upkeep rather than realizing you need it after the fact.  

4. What currently does NOT work in the space? What DO you like about the existing space? Use these answers to inform decisions during your design project planning. It's easy to get bogged down in what you don't like or doesn't function well, but there may be elements that do work well. You'll want to take note of these too so they can be incorporated. 

5. Are there any special needs that should be considered? Perhaps you are petite and would benefit from a smaller scale chair with less depth. Or maybe your home office would benefit from a particular set up that is unique to your job. Consider how you would ideally function and move about in the space and work backwards to find the right solutions. 

Scrolling through Instagram might be more fun, but considering these function questions before diving into your design project can make a lasting impact on the longevity and impact of your new space. Are there areas of functionality in your space you struggle with? Let me know in the comments section and I'll help you uncover potential solutions!

Designer Secrets to Selecting a Paint Color You Love

Based on years of experience as an interior designer, I share my paint selection tips that will decrease overwhelm and ensure that you select a color you love! 

Painting is a relatively easy and inexpensive way to update a room. However, selecting the perfect paint color and finish can be challenging. Last week I wrote about the emotional resistance that can arise when selecting paint, which I tie to our internal fear of getting a major life change "wrong."  Today I'm going to give you some practical tips, based on years of experience as an interior designer, that will help make this selection feel less overwhelming and ensure you end up with a color you love. Below are my top five designer tips for selecting paint colors. 

Designer Tips Paint Color Selection

1. Start with a reference point
If you aren't sure which color direction to go in a room look to the colors you are drawn to in the items you already own. This could be a piece of art, an area rug, throw pillows or other accessories. Pull your favorite color from these items and start to consider the options within that color family. If you are redecorating an entire space, leave the paint selection until other major elements are selected.  There are an infinite number of paint colors to select from, while items such as area rugs or upholstered furniture pieces might be more limited. Save yourself some trouble and wait until the end of your selections to select the paint.

2. Consider how you want the room to feel
Color plays a big role in how a space feels. For example, do you want your room to feel light and airy? Go light.  Or do you want the room to feel intimate and warm? If you are going for the later, consider a deep, saturated hue.

3. Get samples
This is the fun part, but have some restraint. Just because you can take home all of the samples doesn't mean that you should. The more you take with you the greater the chance you will feel overwhelmed when you get back home. Start by pulling lots of options but see if you can narrow things down before leaving the store. If you can, bring your reference point (or a photo) to the store so you can easily eliminate options that are clearly not going to work. 

3. Hang samples on the wall to narrow down your choices
Once you have a few front-runners, tape the samples to the wall. It's important to hang the samples on the wall because that's how you will actually experience the color - not looking from above if they are spread out on a table. Remember, adjacent colors can change your perception of a hue. Isolate the particular swatch in consideration and hang something neutral, such as a blank piece of paper, behind the swatch if necessary. 

4. Consider finish
Finish is both a practical and aesthetic consideration. From a practical standpoint, a matte finish is not as durable as an eggshell finish but it is easier to touch up. A finish with a higher sheen wipes clean easily but it will emphasize imperfections on the wall. With that said, paint technology continues to improve and the matte finishes are getting more durable. Showrooms such as Hirshfields are a great resource on the latest paint types. From an aesthetic standpoint using multiple finishes can create interest and variety in the design. 

5. Test the color(s) and leave up for at least one day
Do a test sample on all four walls in the room you are going to paint. I recommend doing all four walls as the color can actually look different depending on its orientation in the room. Look at the samples throughout the day to see what the color looks like with different light sources (natural vs artificial) and at different times of day. Certain color undertones may be highlighted or be less noticeable depending on these factors. You'll want to make sure the color appeals to you at all times. 

A last piece of advice is to not over analyze. There are so many colors available it's easy to drive yourself crazy. Remember, you can always repaint! Do you plan to repaint any rooms in your home? What are the biggest challenges you face when committing to something new for your home? 

PS - If paint selection or other home decisions are stressing you out I share my tips to prevent design and remodeling decision burnout in a past article which can be found here.

"Seasons" of Decorating

Designing for this "Season" or Stage of Life

I've never been much of a seasonal decorator in the traditional sense, and that is not the topic of today's post. The seasons I'm referencing are the seasons of life that we pass through as time progresses. From being single to being married, and from welcoming your first born to becoming an empty-nester, the seasons of our lives affect everything from lifestyle to relationships. These seasons of life can also dramatically affect the way we live in our homes and the requirements we place on a physical space. Since having our children I now understand, and have come to embrace, what it means to design for this season or stage of life.

Photo by Lemon Drop Photography

Photo by Lemon Drop Photography

This concept hit me on my first project back from maternity leave. I was in a pinch and had to bring my three month old son to a client's install. As my son became fussy I took him out of his carrier and held him while the client and I walked around the loft to discuss art placement. As most infants are prone to doing, my son abruptly spit up - splat - onto the new area rug I had just delivered. Oops. As I panicked to find something to clean the mess, my client, in a mater of fact way, said "it probably won't be the last time someone throws up on that rug." This man was single and was referencing a future party that would likely have a start time that is way past my bedtime. We were in different seasons of life.  

Now that our son is a toddler spitting up is the least of my concerns. His ability to run, jump, and do it all in a mater of seconds means the season we are in right now involves making sure nothing is too precious or pointy - goodbye glass coffee table. Everything is stain protected, nothing is easily tipped over or breakable, and I look forward to the day I can put our side tables back in the living room where they belong (side tables are not meant to be used as a climbing apparatus!). Does my home look Pinterest perfect? No it does not, and I'm ok with that.  I choose to embrace the way this season of life looks, for it is just that, a season. Some day my son won't want to dump his trucks all over the living room. I'll be happy to have that space back but I'll also miss this period where imaginative play is at its peak. I also recognize that as he grows there will be new design requirements. Before I know it I'll be incorporating a homework station into the kitchen and we will have a mudroom full of gear for his favorite extracurricular activities.

While your home is a reflection of yourself and your tastes, it is also very much a reflection of your season in life. And, just like anything in life, the current stage is ever-evolving. As you evolve, as your seasons change, so must the spaces in which you live.

What season of life are you in these days?

Do You Suffer from Design Decision Fatigue?

Interior Design and Remodeling Projects Require You to Make So Many Decisions - Prevent Design Decision Fatique (DDF) with these Designer Tips

When my husband and I purchased our first home we moved from a one bedroom apartment to a five bedroom house. I didn't fill our entire house at once, but I did have to make a substantial number of purchases in order to at least fill some spaces so we could have people over and offer them a comfortable place to stay. Did I mention we were planning to host Thanksgiving and a holiday party just a month or so after moving in? No pressure there.

With so many decisions, from backsplashes and cabinet hardware to headboards and bedding, I found myself, someone very accustomed to making these decisions daily, becoming overwhelmed by my own project. Between filling the spaces in our own home I was pouring myself into my interior design business, bringing the very best of my skills to my clients. By the end of the day I didn't have any bandwidth left for my own home. I found myself stalling on some decisions and making other decisions simply because it was the easiest choice in the short term. I was suffering from Design Decision Fatigue (DDF).

Designer Tips Prevent Burnout During the Design and Remodeling Process

Even though furnishing a home is not a life or death decision, it's a lot of decisions and decisions require mental effort. The unfortunate news is that we all have a limited amount of mental energy to expend in a day. I'm guessing you have a few other things on your plate. With this in mind, here are my top tips for avoiding Design Decision Fatigue and preventing burnout during your next project.

1. Create a Mood Board or Inspiration File
This little bit of extra effort up front will pay off big time in the long run. Start to collect images (from magazines, Pinterest, Instgram, etc) to bring awareness to your personal aesthetic. As you proceed, patterns will emerge reflecting your tastes and what you are naturally drawn to. Throughout the design process, refer back to the Mood Board. Do your selections fit with your vision? If yes, move forward. If not, consider an alternate. Need more convincing? Check out my article Why You Need a Mood Board for your Next Design Project.

2. Stop Second Guessing Yourself
Once you make a decision stick to it. It can be hard enough to make the decision for the first time so why torture yourself with revisiting the topic over and over again.

3. And Stop Polling the Audience
Once you have a better understanding of what you like, trust your instincts. Ask a friend if you are really torn between two items, but remember, you don't need anyone's permission to love what you love.

4. Give Yourself a Deadline
Set a reasonable amount of time to make decisions and work towards that date. This can be a day you put on the calendar for your knowledge only or you could set a more public goal of inviting friends over for dinner. Having a deadline ensures that you can't keep looking for something that might be incrementally better. At some point you just have to make a decision.

5. You Don't Have to Do It All at Once
It's not the end of the world if your space is not 100% complete before you share it with the world. If you have the major pieces in place and the thought of accessorizing is causing you stress, take a step away and gradually pull together finishing touches as you're inclined. This can be more fun anyways as it allows you to collect items when traveling or are out and about and find something especially striking.

Are you suffering from a case of Design Decision Fatigue? If so, I'd love to hear your challenges, questions, and antidotes!

Why You Need a Mood Board for Your Next Design Project

Creating a Mood Board for Your Design Project Will Help You Discover Your Signature Style and Keep You Focused

Anytime I start an interior design or remodeling project I begin by creating a mood board to narrow in on the design direction. New to mood boards? They are a visual tool, often in a collage format, that can consist of images, text, and/or tactile samples. Mood boards can be physical, with items placed on one big board or gathered in a central binder or folder or they can be created digitally using Pinterest or another online source. Mood boards have long been used by the design professional but can be extremely helpful for anyone starting a visually driven project. I like to think of mood boards as the first piece of homework you do in preparation for a project. Mood boards can be an excellent way to discover your signature style and they also keep you focused once you move into the implementation phase.

Above is a mood board I created while dreaming up some ideas for a master bathroom remodel. I used a new website, called  TRAYS , to compile the images. It's a user friendly, no-tech-skills-required option that will create a beautiful mood board to reference within minutes.    Image Sources (Clockwise):  Settecento New Yorker Glazed Tile ,  Gray Vanity 1  (via Pinterest),  Gray Vanity 2  (via Pinterest),  Cambria Countertop & Benjamin Moore Paint ,  Southern Hills Brushed Nickel Cabinet Pull , and  Hinkley Lighting Abbie Sconce .   

Above is a mood board I created while dreaming up some ideas for a master bathroom remodel. I used a new website, called TRAYS, to compile the images. It's a user friendly, no-tech-skills-required option that will create a beautiful mood board to reference within minutes.

Image Sources (Clockwise): Settecento New Yorker Glazed Tile, Gray Vanity 1 (via Pinterest), Gray Vanity 2 (via Pinterest), Cambria Countertop & Benjamin Moore Paint, Southern Hills Brushed Nickel Cabinet Pull, and Hinkley Lighting Abbie Sconce.   

In many ways, a mood board becomes a guide or set of loose rules you can refer to, and follow, throughout the life of a project.When you get distracted by shinny objects take a look at your vision - will this complement and enhance the overall aesthetic or is it simply a distraction? With so many decisions to make (even with a small scale project) you'll want to maintain focus to avoid what I like to call Design Decision Fatigue (DDF). I'll share some additional tips on how to avoid DDF in an upcoming post.

Not only can this aesthetic-focusing technique be applied to interior design, it can also be applied to other areas of life such as branding a business, updating your wardrobe, or planning a creative birthday party. Below are my top tips for creating and successfully implementing a mood board for your next project.

1. Gather Anything that Catches Your Eye
Grab a stack of magazines or books or head to the internet. Start to collect anything that catches your eye in relation to your end goal. The images can be color palettes, specific furniture or lighting items, photos of full rooms or even text evoking a feeling or emotion. Make sure to note the image source - down the road you may what to purchase something specific and then you'll know where to source it. It's best to set a time limit on this phase or you can easily get sucked into the vast amount a material available or get stuck on this daydreaming phase and never take action.

2. Take a Break
Take a step away from the images for a few days and then go back to reassess and pair down your imagery. In images with multiple items crop or cut out anything you don't like so your vision is clear. Eliminate anything that you've grown stale on. If it can't sustain your interest after a few days it certainly won't stand the test of time. Also eliminate anything that clearly does not fit your lifestyle.

3. Identify Major Themes
Review the remaining items and aim to identify a few major themes. Is there a certain style or color palette you gravitate towards or have you pulled 10 images of a similar chandeliers?  Even if you are drawn to a couple of different styles there are typically some common threads. Perhaps you tend to like geometric patterns over floral or are always drawn to the color blue and there is no trace of red.

4. Make it Portable
If you have a an actual board, take a photo. Loose sheets? Make a binder. Using Pinterest? Download the app on your phone.  You'll want your inspiration on hand so that it is easily referenced. The exercise of creating a mood board can be beneficial in itself, but you'll receive the most benefit by referring back to it on a regular basis.

If there are multiple decision makers (ex. a significant other or a business partner) you can start by doing Step 1 and 2 individually. Once each party has paired down their desires, come together and work through Steps 3 & 4. See where there is overlap and see where there are disparities. Look for images and items that speak to both of you so that as you move forward everyone is invested and on the same page.

Have you created a mood board for projects or are you new to the process? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Rethinking a Room's Purpose - Interior Design Tips to Reimagine Underutilized Spaces in Your Home

What to Do with a Room or Space in Your Home that You Don't Use

Do you have a room or transition space in your home that goes unused or is used infrequently? Wouldn't it be great to get more function out of the space you already have, not to mention eliminating the feeling of a dead zone in your home? Think for a moment. If you could add a room to your current home, what would you add? Do you wish you had a dedicated area for working from home, an area to cultivate a hobby, or an area where the kids can do as they please? Which of those activities do you think you could incorporate into an under-utilized room or space in your home?

New Purposes for Underutilized Rooms in the Home

Rooms to consider are a formal dining or living room, only used when it's your turn to host Thanksgiving, or a grown child's bedroom that is only used for an occasional weekend visit. Less obvious spaces to consider include an extra closet, a space under the stairs, or a nook along one of the home's transition areas. The room pictured above is a space in my own home that I'm considering converting. It used to be the "library" where we would read on the weekend. Now we would like an additional play area for our growing family and this might be just the space (stay tuned...).

If you are converting the function of a stand-alone room the top task you have is shifting your mindset from the old function to the new. If you are adapting a space that is an integrated portion of your home, e.g., incorporating a home workspace into your living room, you'll want to make sure that the new addition feels intentional and blends with its surroundings. Below are three tips for creating a cohesive aesthetic between an existing space an its new purpose.

1. Consider color palette. 
Piggyback off color choices from adjacent rooms or choose a complimentary color scheme to what already exists. This will allow the spaces to connect visually even if there are different functions occurring side by side. 

2. Invest in storage.
I'm a fan of organization to begin with, but if you are going to place an office or a playroom on your main level be sure to have a way to calm the chaos  when needed.  

3. Don't get stuck on the type or style of furniture you "should" have in a particular area of your home.
Choose pieces and finishes that reflect what works best for you. Function and style can co-exist! 

Today I encourage you to think about your home in a different light. What possibilities could exist if you disregard the intended purpose and start to envision your room as a space that serves your unique needs? Instead of trying to force a space to be something that doesn't fit you or your lifestyle, embrace the freedom to make your home your own!