Hire an Interior Designer: Little Known Perks and Benefits

Both new and seasoned homeowners debate whether to hire an interior designer or go the decor/renovation journey alone. As an interior design professional for residential, commercial and my own personal home, I see the value of both options. However, working with a professional designer may provide some little-known perks for your home planning. Here are just a few of those benefits.

Interior Decor Exclusives

One of the great things about my job is getting early access to see up-and-coming items from decor leaders in this industry. While clients eventually get to see available lines of furniture and accessories, they may not have access to some exclusives we designers get. To gain access to them, you may want to hire an interior designer.

Many decor and furniture manufacturers make the decision not to sell directly to consumers (DTC) for several reasons. They might not want to jeopardize relationships they’ve built with distributors, retailers and industry influencers. Doing so could negatively impact the manufacturer’s revenue. There is a rapport that manufacturers build with industry professionals over time. That trust rests in us knowing our clientele and being more secure in purchases than many individual consumers. The good thing is that we can work as liaisons for both the manufacturer and clients! Manufacturers get a more secure transaction, and clients get revered and exclusive decor not available to the public. Everyone wins!

It’s a similar situation with industry Market events. At Market, manufacturers introduce the latest home furnishings styles, trends, and products to industry professionals and influencers. They all converge to make connections, discuss consumer trends, and experience the newest styles and offerings before they’re made public. However, these events are only open to design industry professionals. We get a chance to discover interior items before everybody else. And, as a client of an interior designer, YOU get an edge over other consumers and insight into decor products that haven’t yet hit store showrooms. If having exclusive furniture and decor excites you as a homeowner, you may want to hire an interior designer.

Access to Trusted Relationships

One of the most frustrating experiences one can have when designing a home is hiring a contractor who does shoddy work. Not only can it be frustrating, but it can also be costly and time-consuming. Working with an interior designer may alleviate much of that frustration. We’ve spent years building long-standing relationships with vendors, and we know who will do the best job on your home project.

Interior designers work with contractors from all walks of home design. That includes architects and home builders, painters, electricians and plumbers. We also work with various installation vendors, such as lighting, fabric, carpet, wallpaper, tile, and fixtures, to name just a few. While it would be great to think that all of them are reliable and provide the highest caliber of work, that simply isn’t the case. The great thing about hiring an interior designer is that we’ve already sifted through the good ones and bad ones. And, it is to our benefit as well as yours to get the best vendors for your project. Time is money for us all, and we want to maximize work and efforts for the money spent.

There are alternatives to working with an interior designer, but they’re definitely hit-or-miss options. If you decide to do your home project alone, you’ll always have online reviews and ratings to help guide you. However, you’re at the mercy of ratings given by strangers that may not even be real. If you’re lucky, a family member or friend may have had similar work done that you’re looking to do. They can give suggestions for someone who does decent work. But without any professional accountability, reliability can still be iffy. To get the best overall team of experts, I will always suggest you hire an interior designer.

Enjoyment of a Sustainable Home

I saved for last the most important reason why I think you should think about getting an interior designer. While every designer may not be able to help you in this regard, I’ve made this a priority for all Breegan Jane clients.

As an SFC Ambassador, I want to help homeowners find healthier products and design services, and reduce their environmental footprint. Our natural resources such as wood are not in limitless supply. I want to do my part as a member of the home design industry to preserve these resources for future generations. If homeowners don’t understand the importance of that, I feel it is my job to educate them. We cannot maintain our quality of life or our planet’s ecosystems unless we recognize and reduce the damage we do to the planet each day. If we don’t learn to live sustainably, we will destroy life as we know it, as well as what life could be for those coming after us.

What does that really look like from an interior design perspective? If you consider me when you hire an interior designer, I’ll look to offer decor products that have a low environmental impact. That includes furniture made from sustainable materials such as legally harvested forest products, responsibly produced plantation products, and recycled content. Also, I will guarantee the use of manufacturers that do not use toxic chemicals for treatments, binders and finishes. I can also help you choose furniture pieces that use eco-friendly textiles like organic cotton and vegan leather, as well as naturally sustainable fabrics such as sheep wool, cashmere, down and silk. Of course, you can always research this information on your own. However, I have worked with sustainable products for years, and I can make the process of creating an eco-friendly home much easier.

Will You Hire an Interior Designer?

Anyone can buy furniture and incorporate decor into their home projects. But the professional eye and creative skill of an interior designer can make the effort much more cohesive and fruitful. If you’ve decided you want to work with an interior designer for your next home project, contact me! I’m happy and ready to help bring your interior dreams to fruition.

Foiye: A Network for Home Enthusiasts

There are many reasons why I chose interior design as my profession. Perhaps one of the biggest is that I enjoy helping others realize and create their ultimate home realities. I also love showing the many ways to be imaginative with home and interior design. I’m so excited that I recently joined a network of home and design aficionados that helps me do that specifically for the home enthusiast community. The Foiye platform has quickly become a favorite digital home design platform. I just know it will be your favorite, too!

The Before-and-After Social Media Myth

(Trigger warning: mention of body dysmorphia)

Have you ever heard of body dysmorphia? It’s a mental health condition in which a person spends a lot of time worrying about flaws in their appearance. People may see themselves as bigger or smaller, or differently shaped than they actually are when viewed through everyone else’s eyes. However, these worrying flaws are often unnoticeable to others outside of that person. I recently had a friend tell me she feels like she has “house dysmorphia.” I pressed her about what she meant by that. She remarked that she had seen so many images of other people’s homes, closets, and living spaces, that all looked impossibly perfect and put together. And, she felt as if her home could never live up to those standards and images.

“House dysmorphia” isn’t a real thing. And, it is in no way the interior design equivalent of body dysmorphia. But I do understand what my friend means. Social media causes so many of us to obsess over before-and-after posts. You know the ones: you get a glimpse of a disheveled space that instantly changes to a perfectly organized area with a finger snap or trendy transition. These clips are always fun to watch. A big part of the fun is that (a) you don’t actually have to participate in the work of it, and (b) it’s an instant transformation. As someone who’s been on television (HGTV, Food Network, Warner Bros. Discovery), I can tell you real life doesn’t happen that way. in order to take a home or space from frumpy to fabulous, it takes entire teams of people working insane hours to make it come together.

The Breegan Jane Difference

While it’s satisfying to see before-and-afters, primarily the after shots, viewers rarely consider that many of those photos are professionally shot. That can play a huge part in the vast visual difference from Step A to Step Z. Doing these home redesigns isn’t as instant or easy as social media makes it look. Yet, they can paint an unreasonable, irrational idea in people’s minds that their home spaces are supposed to look like this. These “instant” makeovers can also give people the idea that their homes fall short and aren’t good enough. The fact is, NO ONE’S home looks like that, not even mine!

That said, one of the things I have always been proud of is being a designer who doesn’t mind showing you everything under the hood of interior design projects. I love giving tips and showing people how things really work, which materials are best to use, and how to save money when it comes to home decor. These are things many other designers want to keep close to the vest. Why? Doing so might prove to be more profitable for them when the average person doesn’t know them.

Whether you’d like my help with your home or feel as if you have the skills to go it alone with a few insightful tidbits, I’m so happy to share those! I use my voice to help people make their spaces beautiful, and to show them how to create interiors that work best for their lifestyles. Living life honestly is a very big part of what I believe to be my modern, approachable aesthetic. I want to help YOU achieve the exact look, functionality, mood and vibe you want in your space. And, I’m so happy I found the perfect place to do just that.

Curious? Read on!

Enter Foiye!

Have you heard about Foiye? If not, you’ll want to get familiar really quickly. It’s the first social entertainment platform COMPLETELY dedicated to home, design and real estate—all under one roof—and it just launched publicly. Foiye is built and updated for and by people who are passionate about all things “home.” You’ll find streaming content, design inspiration, and so much more from design professionals and celebrity creators from around the world. We want nothing more than to create a strong community of people who understand what it means to personalize home and make it an ultimate place of reprieve.

The Foiye platform consists of two primary experiences: the Folio and Stream. Folio pages serve similarly to posts on other social media platforms. They highlight the best images of work from design professionals and real estate experts. Each photo is accompanied by details of the project, allowing viewers to access relevant information about the products highlighted. Stream pages do just that: feature videos of home listings, walk-throughs and design specifics. My Foiye Stream page gives potential clients some great ideas of home and interior design projects I’ve done. It also showcases some of my favorite decor tips I know all home admirers will appreciate. I hope to inspire all participants in the design community to dream beyond what they think is possible.

Why Foiye Is a Favorite

There are so many networks available now that people can use as resources for home design. What makes Foiye different from the rest? Well, it’s a dedicated online gathering place to find all things specifically in the home industry. Oftentimes great home content on major social media platforms gets buried in the latest random trends and viral content. I enjoy that content, too. Sometimes, though, I only want to check out what my peers and potential clients are seeking. Foiye does an amazing job of curating content creators directly working in the home and interior design profession. As a content creator myself, I love the possibilities of one-on-one engagement that abound with Foiye.

I also really like the opportunities I get to be discovered on a networking platform dedicated to my particular field. Being on Foiye means I have a dedicated audience seeking what I have to offer as an interior designer. It’s practically a virtual market I get access to year-round! Increased exposure is never a bad thing for a business or brand, and neither is being able to engage with people who sincerely want to converse and collaborate. Foiye allows me to get all of this and so much more!

If you’re a dedicated home or interior design aficionado, you should give Foiye a try. Be sure to check out my Folio and Stream pages for some great design ideas, and follow other industry influencers at the site. Foiye is just starting, but creators are adding more content daily. I encourage you to check it out and sign up for your free Folio to follow your favorite creators. We’re all here to make you dream bigger when it comes to your home—and then make those dreams a reality!

The Beautiful People

Do you ever wonder what people immediately notice about you? Wouldn’t it be nice if we could learn of others’ accomplishments, personality traits and humanitarian efforts all at the first glance or handshake? After all, those are the things that tell you most about a person, right? We all know that’s wishful thinking. Most people immediately evaluate a person’s beauty. After all, humans are largely visual creatures. Forbes published an article about that very concept, citing that “65% of us are visual learners” and that “most of us process information based on what we see.” So it seems that nature is at work each time we make a judgment pertaining to something we perceive with our eyes. Have you heard of “pretty privilege”? It’s a complex matter that carries with it a unique set of circumstances to navigate. Let’s talk about it.

The Price of Pretty

I know firsthand how valuable and powerful the visual is. It’s central to what I do as an interior designer. But, just as in interior design, beauty that exists only on the surface is rarely enough to meet anyone’s needs. While most of us can agree on that, our world and society both regard beauty (though almost always in the most traditionally accepted form) highly enough that it has become something many strive for above all else. Perhaps one of the most literal demonstrations of pretty privilege can be seen in my earliest years. I was a successful child model in single digits. I worked on national campaigns, and it was never a secret that I had “the look” that scouts were after.

My appearance proved to be profitable, and I earned enough to gain a start in philanthropy and even open my own retail store. Even still, my pretty privilege was always a reminder of the importance our world placed on the outward appearance. People were willing to pay for pretty faces. Being found attractive or unattractive can affect how people are seen and treated in the world. It’s easy to understand why so many go to great lengths to perfect and invest in their appearance.

Realizations at the Airport

This wonderful life of mine involves and requires quite a bit of travel, and most of it is for work. It’s rare that I go a month without flying the friendly skies for some speaking engagement or TV production. On this particular day I was walking through the airport to my terminal, more than ready to get back home to my boys after working across the country for the last few days. With a five hour flight ahead of me, I prioritized comfort.

Listen, you might be the type to hop off a plane impeccably dressed with not a single hair out of place like the characters of Sex and the City, but I, my friends, am not. Instead, I donned my most lived-in yoga pants, a no-labels sweatshirt and flip flops. I even accessorized this lovely ensemble with my typical corded (yes, you read that right) headphones. I was laser focused on all the work that I planned to get done while waiting for my plane as I briskly walked through the airport.

The Beautiful People

Why is it that when we put a ton of effort into the way we look: hair, makeup, clothes, we never see anyone we know. But the day we’re in our most “mom bod-accentuating” outfit we run into everyone from our 5th grade teacher to the business acquaintance you met two years ago at a gala? WHY? I know I’m not alone in that. 

As I’m going over deadlines in my mind, I run into not one, but two of my most beautiful friends. They’re both wildly successful, and it’s always nice to get a blast from the past and reflect on how far we’ve all come in our lives. But I’ll be honest. For a second, I thought to myself, “I look like crap!” After snapping out of that, I enjoyed a quick chat with my friends. But that made me realize so much about the role beauty plays in our society. My friends caught me at somewhat of a vulnerable moment. I was less “polished” than usual, and maybe for a split second I was self-conscious. But I remembered that these same people had seen me at age 22 in sparkly dresses and stilettos with shiny hair and bouncy tight, youthful skin. They knew who I was with or without the “polish.”

Face Value

When I consider pretty privilege on the surface, I guess I’m someone who has had it my entire life on at least a few levels. It can be a strange thing, beauty. That’s mainly because so much of it depends on things we really don’t have anything to do with. My face and curls were given to me by people I don’t know. And while I work out, my manageable weight/metabolism and body shape are all a product of my genes. I learned via a breast reduction at 18 that what I didn’t like, I could change. My beauty? It was once regarded so highly that it became a career. Back then I didn’t realize that none of those things were the reasons for the friendships I was able to make. None of those things were the reasons I was sought after for my creative mind and spirit. 

It took me some time to realize that beauty is simply a gift. It’s a fleeting and sometimes exhausting thing handed to us by genetics. But beauty doesn’t exist in only one form, and it shouldn’t be dictated by the preferences of a few people. In examining my own experiences with pretty privilege, I’ve reassessed my definition of beauty, and it involves much more than dress sizes and “glass skin.” 

Beauty In All its Forms

There is nothing wrong with taking care of your body and face and doing things to ensure you look and feel your best. My friends’ bodies were proof that they’d both been very disciplined in their fitness and health journeys. I’m so proud of them for that. I just never want to lose sight of the fact that growth in this area for me involves caring for both the outside and the inside. Toned muscles and smooth skin can be aspirational, but so can the weight on our grandmothers’ hips or the kink in their spines that proves how much they’ve had to bear for their families. One of the most attractive things to me has always been smile lines! They tell the world you laugh and smile. They let others know that you regularly hang out in the sunshine. There are just so many amazing things to consider on your hunt for beauty. Why would you limit it to only the few features and proportions that someone else declared acceptable?

Redefining Beauty

Beauty often comes with its own consequences. I have many tales of unwanted attention, being objectified because of my pre-augmented breast size, or just being underestimated altogether. I can say that I love my outward appearance, but I can also tell you that it isn’t what I’m most proud of these days. I’m proud that my body carried and birthed two humans. I am proud of the friendships I’ve been able to foster that don’t require some currency of “hotness.” I’m proud of the career I have due to my hard work and determination. I’m proud of my charitable heart that yearns to help those who are less fortunate than I am. To me, all of those things make me beautiful. 

There will always be beautiful people in the world. Some of you may even be the beautiful people. While we admire the presentation so many lead with, let us never grow so dependent on what we see that we never go beyond the surface. What a shame it would be to not notice all the beauty that lies right beneath. There’s a privilege in connecting hearts, too.

Putting the “DREAM” in Your Dream Home!

I’ve designed more homes than I can count in the last ten years. As an interior designer, I’m usually consumed with the needs and desires of my clients. While I don’t mind that one bit, creating a dream home, MY dream home, is different! I can be completely guided by my own preferences, and when the world is your oyster, nothing can take the joy out of design! If you’re ready to create YOUR dream home, I have a few helpful tips to keep in mind.

Expand Your Style Selections

Here’s the first revelation you should have about your dream home, and it should drive every decision you make: this is YOUR home. The ideas about YOUR dream home should come from YOUR DREAMS! What’s more, whatever style you have or had in past homes doesn’t necessarily need to show up in your new space. You really are starting with a blank canvas!

When I started designing my dream beach home, I’m sure I shocked a few people with many of my layout choices throughout the space. My guess is because I made some unique decisions regarding the layout and decor. I love my “modern, approachable luxury” style that includes some signature style elements people recognize by now. However, that doesn’t mean I am bound by those style choices. Just because I love clean, contemporary design doesn’t mean I have to use that in every project. Quite the opposite. For my new dream home, I’m actually incorporating some boho chic elements in the rooftop area. I might even decide to incorporate some influences from my travels to Ibiza in other areas. It will all be cohesive and maintain my modern, approachable luxury aesthetic. Whatever you choose, remember that your dream home should be a chance to express your own personal design style.

Design Norms? No Such Thing!

I’m asked all the time what design trends people should look forward to. I love trends, and I think it’s interesting to consider what’s on the horizon. But when you’re creating your dream home, you don’t have to follow what the experts suggest. It doesn’t have to meet the standards of anyone else. There are no rules that say you’ll be penalized somehow if you don’t.

 

That being said, throw out all the so-called design norms that many people adhere to. We as a society are quick to conform to certain ideas just because they’ve always been done that way. I chose to break the mold with my new home project. I didn’t buy into the notion that a bedroom has to look a certain way, or that bathrooms have to include certain elements. My kitchen will have two separate sink areas. I also decided to put a washer and dryer in my boys’ bathroom, along with some other eccentric elements. As a matter of fact, I designed my kitchen with no upper cabinets. But here’s the thing: I have very specific reasons for these design decisions, and I’m not concerned about what others think about these choices.

I learned a while ago to think about home design like the latest fashion. What’s on the runways in Milan and Paris sets the stage for what you see in retail stores. But you don’t have to go buy those things if your preferences differ. You have the option to select clothing that makes you feel good in your skin. Our homes are just as much an expression of who we are, what we like visually, and how we want to feel. “Normal” is however you define it, nothing more, nothing less.

Living Life Honestly

My point in suggesting you do exactly what you desire for your dream home is based solely on one thing: living life honestly. Your home should be created with the same intentionality as every other decision you make in life. It should be directed by what is best for your lifestyle and preferences at the core. Why two sinks in my kitchen? Typically the nanny is at one with my kids, and I might need to be at the other at the same time. The washer and dryer in the boys’ bathroom will help them learn to do their own laundry. These are practical for my household, though they may seem outlandish for someone else. And that’s the joy you should get when building YOUR dream home.  You get an opportunity to custom design everything and get every minute detail done to your personal liking!

Ask yourself, “How am I going to actually, honestly live in this space?” Then, design around those answers, even if that means other people won’t get the layout or design decisions. If the layout works for you, that’s what should go. So what if no one gets your purple-colored study? It wouldn’t necessarily be something I wanted in my home. However, if being in your purple study fills you with peace every time you walk into your dream home and spend time there, who’s to say you shouldn’t do it?

A Forever Dream Home

I hope everyone gets an opportunity to create a dream home replete with everything their heart desires. If you haven’t checked out the behind-the-scenes Instagram reels of my new dream beach home, you should. I’m definitely breaking traditional rules of what “home” should be, and I hope you’ll find some ideas to help you do the same for your dream home!

Honest Parenting: Myths About Structure

Have you checked out my Instagram reels lately? On Mondays and Fridays I get totally candid about everything from my design decisions, to my life as a mom. Social media cares so much about portraying impossibly perfect imagery, but I prefer to keep it real with my audience. Being honest about the truths we face in day-to-day life is what allows us to connect to one another in a very real way. Long ago I committed to living life on my own terms, and that includes how I raise my children. Though others might find my methods somewhat controversial at times, I have never regretted my decision to embrace honest parenting in a major way. If you’re curious about what that means, this is the blog for you!

The Unconventional Life of Breegan Jane

Chances are, if you’re here you probably know at least a little about me. I have always been different. I’m a biracial woman who was transracially adopted as a child by white parents. That alone makes me a bit of an anomaly in many people’s minds. But, that’s not where my uniqueness ends! I own my own design firm, and I’m an interior designer who specializes in custom, luxury design. That means I have celebrity clients. I’m also a TV host with more than eight shows on the Warner Bros. Discovery network. 

I’m sure you’ve guessed by now that all of that keeps me incredibly busy. As if that wasn’t enough, I’m not only a mom, I’m a single mom. Simply put, my life is full! But I’m not complaining. In fact, I prefer it that way and I have an uncommon attitude regarding life balance that helps me successfully navigate my sometimes chaotic life. Even still, you can imagine that this combination of life circumstances would make things complex for anyone. I have had to be deliberate in my quest to make honest parenting a priority.

To Each Her Own

One thing is for sure, once a woman gets pregnant she will never lack in parenting recommendations! I’m sure other mamas out there will back me up on that one. The “bump” becomes a magnet for unsolicited advice, both good and bad. 

People have often given me flack when it comes to parenting regarding the perceived lack of structure I provide for my sons. Notice I said “perceived.” That’s because while perception is powerful, it isn’t always factual. My schedule doesn’t look like the average working mom’s because of the type of work I do. I travel a lot for work. I’ve been on close to 30 planes just this year! I work long hours at various times of the day and sometimes night. Those factors might feel unstable to someone else, but we have always managed to provide routine and healthy expectations for my children. I have been diligent about putting systems in place that ensure my boys have structure and discipline in their daily lives. As a result, I’ve seen them both thrive. 

What Does Structure Mean in Parenting?

Like many other aspects of my life, I could never have imagined my career would take this trajectory. It’s such an amazing feeling to have these experiences, but they have caused me to redefine what it means to have structure in my life. For us, honest parenting means raising sons to be well-adjusted and adaptable. 

I know many parents cling tightly to bedtime schedules. For them, structure requires teeth to be brushed at a certain time and bodies to be in bed at another time with lights out, sleep sound machines on and doors closed. And listen, I get it. Training your children in this way allows them to read the signals that alert and ready them for bedtime each night. It alleviates the headache that bedtime can sometimes be for parents. But this isn’t the only way to give your children structure, and my life is a testament to that.

Honest Parenting in Action

From the very beginning of my parenting journey I was adamant about my stance that my children needed to fit into MY life, and not the other way around. Of course I knew my life would change when I became a mom, but it didn’t need to stop altogether! I intentionally kept the same noise volume in my house when I brought my babies home from the hospital. Now, they can sleep through anything! I traveled with my kids even as infants, and I was never afraid of messing up their schedules. You see, in my opinion, structure isn’t just putting the baby to bed at the same time each night. Structure is teaching my boys that no matter where we are, they can and will follow my lead. I call myself “the home maker” because I make homes. Home is anywhere we are, and I instill that in my boys. 

Setting the Expectation

When Kingsley and Kensi were little and we were traveling, I developed a no-fail method to put them to sleep. I discovered that when it was bedtime, if I could cradle them in my lap and bounce them 60-90 times, they would always go right out. I would do this anywhere. Whether it was a closet, a bathroom or a room, this mama did what she had to do. It worked every time.

Familiarity is a big part of structure for children. But, we as parents have the ability and right to define what that means. If it looks like my children are able to adjust easily to unique situations, it’s because they are! And that’s by design. Structure doesn’t have to mean the same crib every night. It can also mean traveling across the world to the same place three times before the age of six! Honest parenting is exactly that. It’s honest. There isn’t a right or wrong way to be a parent. We’re all out here doing the best we can. My advice is to figure out how to give your kids a healthy lifestyle with expectations they can count on. Make it work for YOU, and don’t feel shame if your way doesn’t look like your neighbor’s. Healthy, happy kids are the goal, and that’s what I’m determined to raise!

Artwork in Interior Design: The Visual Checkmate

The interior design industry is incredibly multifaceted. The field includes and requires creativity at every level, and I’m always my most authentic self when I can indulge in the artistically stimulating. You likely already know I enjoy clean, modern design. That said, I like to complement sleek, contemporary interior decor with fantastic and elegant visuals. Those usually come in the form of great pieces of artwork. Here are some unique ways you can incorporate art in your home decor!

Art that Inspires

Why have artwork in your home and workspaces, you may wonder? There are so many reasons. For me, seeing art vitalizes and inspires me throughout my day. It makes me smile, causes me to think, and motivates me in my personal development. Can art do all of that? It can, and it does!

When I wake up, the first thing I see is a piece of art that I strategically placed over my bed. The portrait, taken  by Arthur Reese, shows women who I affectionately call “my ladies.” They’re on the beach at a starting line poised to race.  As I open my eyes, I have a beautiful reminder to embrace the day with a running head start and go after my goal with mental fortitude.

I even use wallpaper as artwork in my home. On one wall I have a jaguar, which is one of my favorite animals. While the design works perfectly in the space, I chose that particular wallpaper because I love what the jaguar symbolizes. She’s the queen of the animal kingdom: smart, lethal, and calculating. She hunts day and night; similarly, I try to take advantage of every opportunity to make moves for my family and business. The wallpaper art highlights a piece of me, and I love to think about that as I pass it daily. These are just a few ways visual works of art impact and inspire me.

Custom Art

Using elevated decor makes it easy to create a luxurious aesthetic in your home. In fact, luxury doesn’t have to be expensive at all, especially when it comes to artwork. It can exist in select customized pieces that are specific to your space. It all depends on what you want to achieve. 

I enjoy having one-of-a-kind elements in my home. A simple way to create that with art is by commissioning artists to make personalized pieces for you! I decided to do this because I didn’t want cookie-cutter, mediocre visuals in my home. What do I mean by that? Oftentimes people get so set on bringing in specific colors to match their decor that they settle for art that isn’t necessarily what they really want. It happens all the time! Big-box retailers are full of artwork that may fit particular color combinations but lack style in the actual “art.”

With customized, commissioned work, you get art that not only coordinates with your decor but is impactful, too! I wanted a portrait of my two sons created, so I commissioned a company to design it. I love the final presentation of it! It is a simply gorgeous piece of art, but it is also a great keepsake that will stand the test of time. It captures a moment in my boy’s growth and development. I will always cherish that as a mom.

Art with Heart

Clients who have children frequently ask how I display my kids’ artwork without it clashing with my design and decor. It’s a funny but real question. Let’s be honest, parents: not everything our kids make in school is a Picasso-level or Louvre-worthy masterpiece. And that’s completely fine! We love all of their creative artwork as if they were.

I’ve found a really cool and sophisticated way to display my kids’ art in our home. I have them create art on paper and place them in inexpensive but beautiful frames. Often I’ll have the pieces matted, which adds another layer of uniformity to the presentation. My kids get to be a part of the overall home design, and that means so much to me. As a mom and a creative, I appreciate the empowerment opportunity this creates.

Once everything is framed, I showcase their work throughout my home. That could be in a gallery wall collection, on the counter, or on the credenza. This is my favorite art to display because it has sentimental value. Sure it beautifies the home, but the personal, intrinsic value means so much more.

Using art in your interior decor isn’t difficult, but it should all revolve around your personality and ideals. The sky’s the limit with how you can achieve that, and I’d love to help! Contact me today, and let’s talk about how we can incorporate some fantastic art into your decor!

Residential vs. Commercial Interior Design

How did you know you were meant to do what you do? Was it a feeling? Did the skills required come exceptionally easily to you? I wasn’t someone who knew immediately that interior design would be my path. What I DID know was that I had an insatiable urge to create. I was always artistic, and that gift would prove to be impossible to deny. My propensity toward the imaginative is something that feels inescapable, inevitable. When I began flipping properties and later designing homes, I knew I was exactly where I was meant to be. As my experience grew, so did my desire to tackle larger projects. To date, I have used my talents in both the residential and commercial design arenas. I love them both, but they involve quite different trains of thought from me as an interior designer. This is how they compare.

Residential and Commercial Interior Design

I am often asked in interviews how I got started in interior design. The answer is always lengthy because my beginnings weren’t linear. I designed book bags for my friends, opened my own retail store and more before I worked in the design field. But, people aren’t always aware that I worked as the creative director of a luxury yacht manufacturer, or that I redesigned an airplane hangar. I had several unique opportunities that set the stage for my interior design career. Working in residential design at that point wasn’t a surprise. Venturing into commercial design presented challenges I hadn’t yet encountered. 

Both types of interior design allow me to dream up amazing ways to bring a space to life. However, the approach I take must differ in order to satisfy the needs of a space. When I design a home, my focus is largely on what one or two people want and how their family will exist inside that space. A space like a restaurant will be frequented by many people from all over. Every design choice has to be carefully thought out so that the space is comfortable and functional for all. It’s equal parts thrilling and complex, and I’m always up for the job!

Family Basics

When you hire an interior designer, one of the first priorities is selecting materials that suit the project. Of course we all want things to look beautiful, but I design spaces to be aesthetically pleasing and liveble! When I’m selecting countertops for a family with young children, I’m careful to choose materials that won’t etch if it comes into contact with juice. I ask questions about the kinds of textures the homeowner appreciates, and I mesh their hopes for visual appeal with easily cleanable fabrics. I want to know if the family has a baby or young child that takes naps during the day, because that will determine details like light-blocking curtains. Those are just a couple of ways I consider design for residential properties. Commercial interior design necessitates a different set of priorities when it comes to materials selection. 

Universal Utility in Interior Design

A wide section of the general population will visit a place like a restaurant, so I have to think about the way a space will be used by many, as well as how materials selection can add to or detract from the goal of the space. This is especially important when the goal is serving people and/or making money. 

I designed a bar for an upscale restaurant in Santa Monica, and I took an unconventional route. Rich wood graced the top of the bar and elegant marble on the front. That allowed the delicate stone to be less of an issue when it came to food and drink contact. But, that’s not the only reason for the unique material placement! I wanted the space to feel like a local watering hole, a place with an air of familiarity, without sacrificing the slightly ritzy atmosphere. The wood felt like something to easily pull up to and enjoy a beverage, but the stone remained eye-catching and refined.

Have a Seat

How many times have you spotted a sofa that you just had to have for your home? It has the perfect look and exact color that you want. You’re so infatuated with this piece that you don’t even care if it’s comfortable, because you’re planning to place it in that formal living room that nobody ever uses anyway. We’ve all done it. We all know what it’s like to make a dream purchase that will complete the look in our homes. People book an hour consultation with me and often ask me to help find that dream decor item that they’ve been dreaming about for their homes. I’m always happy to oblige. After all, you need to LOVE your space, and I’m always thrilled knowing my clients will walk through their doors each day with smiles on their faces when they see how stunning their homes are. That’s my job when I’m in residential design. 

The priorities shift when I’m designing a commercial space. I want the seating to be comfortable for everyone who will spend time there. That means the chairs must have the right amount of cushion, but be able to withstand long durations of sitting. It also means selecting fabrics that won’t stain, and won’t tear or rip easily. Some designers don’t believe you can have it all. To that, I say “bring it on!” Beautiful seating that features durable design is possible, and I’ve used it several times over. I loved the leather banquette seating pictured above. The color felt warm, and the tufting added a sophisticated touch. Patrons were always comfortable while they enjoyed their meals, and the staff had an easy time wiping them clean. That’s the way I mix function with style when my design will benefit the masses.

The Allure of Art 

When I sit down with clients to talk about what they want out of their spaces, they often speak with such passion. They describe the imagery they’ve held in their heads with vivid details. Those conversations rarely finish without the mention of some art piece, color palette or wall covering. That’s because art and color have such an immediate impact on us. We choose soothing tones when we want a tranquil atmosphere, brighter ones when we wish to feel invigorated, and crisp, cooler hues when we want a clean feeling in a space. Color is one of a designer’s most powerful tools! My residential clients seek my expertise in choosing the best colors for their home offices, the right wallpaper to use in their powder rooms, and the perfect piece of art for that space right above their beds. They want their homes to make the right impressions. 

So it should come as no surprise that art and color in commercial interior design are equally as important. When I’m designing a space, every element I incorporate is an opportunity to positively affect the crowds who gather there. This is especially true in restaurant design. They say people eat with their eyes first. That’s a neat way of saying that appearance counts! I believe we can shift the energy in a space with the art included. I once took a portrait of a chef’s hands in action, and enlarged it to cover an entire wall. It felt immersive and dramatic. The moment you entered the space you were immediately transported into the mood deliberately created by the environment. 

Intuitive Interconnectedness in Design

I have talked about UNICA before, and although it isn’t a commercial property, the 41,000+ sq ft estate is definitely designed to host large numbers of guests. The bar lives on the wellness floor of the property and can be seen from multiple levels. I wanted to tie in characteristics of both floors and create a design that felt cohesive. I commissioned a piece from an artist that featured elements reminiscent of smoke and water. This perfectly linked to the floors with views of the fireplace and waterfall! 

Choosing art for commercial spaces is a delicate dance of finding attractive pieces that can somehow appeal to a multicultural, multi-generational audience. That’s not easy to do! I have found great success by integrating art with historical significance to the geographical location of the property. I also suggest using art that has the ability to begin conversations relevant to the space. Sounds simple, right? It is! Don’t overthink it. Determine what you want people to feel within the space. Do you want to spark philosophical thoughts? Sensations of comfort? Exclusivity? All of those things can be achieved with the art, colors and decor you select.

I don’t think I could ever choose a favorite between residential and commercial design. They both allow me to stretch my creative muscles in amazing ways. Designing for one means total control over every element. I get to go as subtle or funky as the client desires. Commercial design requires an entirely different way of thinking that considers the preferences and ideals of many. It’s challenging, but the reward is sweet!

 

Process and Passion – My Interior Design Journey

Oftentimes I think about who I am as an interior design professional, and I stand amazed at the many opportunities I’ve enjoyed as a creative. There’s the old saying about doing what you love and not working a day in your life, but there’s also this quote I found recently:

“The man who loves walking will walk further than the man who loves the destination.” —Unknown

With each project, I am fueled primarily by several things: the challenges set before me, doing my job impressively well, and creating a well-designed room or space. But because I love what I do, I feel like I gain so much more out of the entire experience–each and every time. Here are just a few of those things.

Embracing the Journey

I think about the quote above and picture two people literally walking down a path. The person most concerned with the destination may be focused on specific things. He may be concerned with directions or landmarks to help him determine how much further he has to go. Or, he may be considering how long it has taken him. Maybe he’s considering what needs to happen when he gets where he’s going. That person may miss many things the lover of walking takes notice of, like the vibrant colors of the foliage, the different sensations felt walking on grass versus concrete, or the soothing sensation of cool breezes that massage the neck.

I can definitely say I am one who would love walking, proverbially speaking. When it comes to home and interior design, there’s so much more for me with a project than the finished presentation. There’s something invigorating about visualizing something from nothing and working through multiple stages to bring that vision to fruition. With each step and element, I give more of who I am. I learn something new about who I can be. That kind of insight will always be priceless.

Push, Stretch, Grow

One of the by-products of appreciating the process versus the end result in the interior design industry is recognizing my own personal and professional growth. I think that happens because I am able to focus on the why’s and how’s of things that get done, and not just that they got done.

Growth is inevitable because I get to focus on what I learned that I didn’t know initially. I discover what I could have done differently, etc. Those notions allow me to push myself beyond my comfort zone. Stretching myself always produces strength in the form of self-empowerment. In one of my biggest projects to date, I pushed myself farther than I ever have, in more ways than one. I managed a larger team, and I was responsible for handling a higher-than-normal volume of materials for the interior of the space. While I’m super excited about how the project turned out, I’m grateful for all I experienced that catapulted my creativity, drive, knowledge, and confidence.

Lessons Learned in Interior Design

Most people go to work every day with the sole purpose of working towards a goal. I can honestly say appreciating the process, the journey, is the primary reason why I’ve enjoyed such success in interior design. It’s why being an interior designer sincerely makes me happy and brings me joy. While I will always fight for the end product to be what the client wants, “success” for me isn’t just in successfully finishing homes and spaces. There’s such satisfaction in all the things I learn along the way. I even appreciate the temporary frustrations from things that didn’t work out. I glean what I can, build professional relationships, take lessons learned to the next project, and have better experiences with each venture.

Whatever you love doing, whether it’s your professional occupation or hobby, raising children, etc., I challenge you to fall in love with the process of doing that thing and not just the end goal. Your outcome is almost always guaranteed to be magnificent—and much sweeter. Even if things don’t work out as you planned in the end, there are so many gems, lessons and valuable takeaways during the process that will make everything worth it.

Book an Interior Design Consultation With Breegan Jane

One of the things I love to do as an interior designer with the years of experience I have is to debunk popular myths regarding my industry. We talk a lot about the power of design here on my blog, but I regularly hear in conversations with others that they believe they could never afford to hire an interior designer. I’ve also heard things like, “I just want to change one thing,” and “I live too far away from the designer I want to work with.” There are so many assumptions regarding interior designers and what we do, and many of them are false! I work with a company called The Expert, and it allows me to help clients from all over the globe with their interior design woes. It’s also much less expensive than you probably think! I’ll tell you how it works, and why you will want to book with me for a consultation today!

Why Should I Book an Interior Design Consultation?

In the last few years, the number of hours Americans spend at home has increased greatly. That won’t come as a surprise to any of us, considering we’ve lived through a pandemic. I’ve been on numerous panels talking about the multitude of ways to optimize our homes for the unprecedented amount of multitasking we’ve required of them.

For many, the need to redesign their spaces came as a direct result of those needs. Others simply wanted a change. Let’s face it, it’s easy to get tired of looking at the same furniture, colors and artwork day after day. Whether you desperately need a reworking of your space to save your sanity, or you want a more inspired and aesthetically pleasing space, scheduling a consultation with me is the first step to getting exactly what you want out of your space. It’s easy!

Scheduling an Hour With Breegan Jane 

If you have been interested in getting my assistance with designing your space, working with me is more convenient than ever before. Head to my website and you’ll find an option on the “Design” tab to book a consultation. You’ll then be directed to select a video consultation. That’s right, I can now serve you no matter where you live. Virtual consultations allow me to be anywhere in the world and inside of your home at the same time! I am available for on-site consults as well. You can contact me directly for that purpose at the number or email address found on my site

When your appointment time arrives, my attention is all yours. You will lead with your concerns, what you want my help with, and what area. I tell clients that our consultation will always benefit from you being physically in the space you want redesigned. This way you can walk me through it and point out specific elements. It isn’t mandatory, but it’s something to keep in mind prior to our appointment.

What Can You Hire Me To Do?

Many people believe that you must need a major renovation project in order to hire an interior designer, but that’s simply not true! Of course, I always suggest trusting a professional when it comes to complex undertakings like replacing your flooring, selecting and installing countertops, or extensive remodels. These jobs require a specific kind of expertise. I am available to help with all of these things. But, I’m also able to assist you with smaller projects as well! 

If you’re stuck on what kind of furniture a room needs, which paint color to choose, or maybe you want to change up your kitchen without breaking the bank, I can help you with it during our consultation on The Expert. I am even able to help you with item selections and shopping lists for your spaces. Booking a consultation with me is more à la carte than one-size-fits-all. Your time is precious, and I’m always excited to help you achieve exactly what you desire for your home. 

What Does Breegan Jane Specialize In?

The world of interior design is vast. No two designers have the same specialty. It’s always nice to know a bit about the background and proficiency of the person you’re hiring. A great deal of information regarding my experience in interior design can be found on my website. I also share my tips, tricks and design projects on my social media. I specialize in luxury residential design (3,000 sq. ft – 42,000 sq. ft), design build, room layout, materials selections, finishes and more. 

We’ve worked hard to develop a business model that could be effectively tailored to almost everyone’s needs in interior design. While we specialize in large-scale projects, we are also available for design decisions, even when you have a local interior designer already in place. We have eliminated the need to hire our team for your entire project. Instead, you can pinpoint exactly what you’d like our opinions on, and we’re happy to help!

We spend so much of our time inside our homes, making memories, loving our families and transitioning through the various stages of life. I believe these spaces should be safe havens that rise up to greet us when we walk through our doors. I’m passionate about helping others achieve that for their spaces. If you’re ready to design your home for the life you want, contact me today and let’s begin!

Wellness in Interior Design

If you’ve been following along with me on social media, you know that at the time of this blog I’m currently in my favorite place on earth. You guessed it, I’m in Ibiza, Spain! This year alone I’ve been on more than 20 planes for work, and I’ve lost count of how many projects have been on the docket. It’s all been incredible, don’t get me wrong. But, it’s also been incredibly tiring and hard on my mind and body. With all that my career, motherhood and life in general require of me, it can be tough to remember to put aside dedicated time for wellness. I’m willing to bet the same could be said for you, too. More and more, my clients are seeking ways to incorporate wellness in their interior design. If you’re wondering how to do that for your spaces, I’ve got the info you need!

Wellness as a Priority 

Let’s face it, our lives are busy. Perhaps they’re busier today than ever before. For most, if not all of us, the pandemic turned everything upside down. One day we’re all going to the office, having dinner with our families, and socializing with our friends. The next (or at least it felt like it), we’re locked down at home with no clue when it would all end. Overnight, our homes became our everything! Work, classroom, restaurant, entertainment center…our homes had to transform into all of those things. Adjusting to that alone presented an enormous challenge for all of the world. 

Wellness by Definition

During the height of the pandemic, I noticed that people wanted to redesign their homes, but the motivation was different than it had ever been. Suddenly, the inquiries were less about pure aesthetic changes, and instead, they focused on versatility and comfort. That was the first clue that wellness in design had now been moved to the top of most people’s priority lists. Merriam-Webster defines wellness as: the quality or state of being in good health especially as an actively sought goal. Most people think of wellness in terms of physical and mental health. In actuality, wellness is more comprehensive. It requires an approach to a lifestyle that places great importance on nourishing the body in a healthy way, stimulating and engaging the mind, and caring for the spirit.

A Multi-Dimensional Approach

Dr. Debbie L. Stoewen* says there are eight dimensions of wellness, including: “physical, intellectual, emotional, social, spiritual, vocational, financial, and environmental”. So you see, wellness isn’t just one or two aspects of our lives. It is the whole of them. Taking care of ourselves shouldn’t be put on the back-burner. These bodies we’re living in are the ones that allow us to take care of the kids, to climb the corporate ladder, to empower others, and to exist in this world without crumbling every day. We must be deliberate about establishing healthy habits in order to achieve the mind/body/soul results we desire. But, how does interior design factor into wellness? I’m glad you asked.

Wellness in Interior Design

Shelter is considered one of the most important of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Our homes should promote peace and wellness. I use interior design to do exactly that. One of the first considerations when it comes to wellness in design is color. I don’t just love neutrals for the versatility they offer. I appreciate the way they impact the feeling of a room. In color therapy, white is used to soothe and purify. I’ve often told clients that using white and other soft neutral tones in a space allows your mind to unwind and relax at the end of a chaotic day. I suggest painting walls in a crisp, cool white hue. You can also select whites and creams for other large surfaces in your home like countertops, for a cleaner look. The space will feel calming and uncluttered. That’s what we all want when we enter our homes.

Lighting is a huge part of facilitating wellness in a space. We use lighting to establish mood. Think about the differences in the way your office looks compared to a hospital, then compared to a romantic restaurant. The contrast is huge. That’s because businesses select lighting fixtures and bulbs that create the feeling they want. When I’m designing a space I like to take advantage of the existing ambient light. Using windows to maximize sunshine is always a great thing, but when that isn’t readily available, I rely on alternate methods. I used circadian rhythm lighting when I designed UNICA. In the photo below it looks like the bathroom is pink, but it’s actually the lighting! Circadian lighting can be used to work with the body’s natural rhythms in order to ensure we get the right amount of light for our internal systems to function best.

Engaging the Senses

Have you ever wondered what makes visiting a spa so…pleasurable? You might be audibly screaming, “the massage!” right now. But, there are likely a variety of factors at play. Did you know that smell is the most developed sense a fetus has in the womb? It’s no wonder that scent is so closely tied to our memories. When we recall our best memories, and sometimes even our worst, we often speak about how something smelled. The perfume someone was wearing, the scent of the tires on the road after an accident, or the charred scent that lingered in the air after a fire, for example. Our brains process smells in special ways. So while that massage feels euphoric, you’re likely also responding to the scent of the body oils and the incense wafting through the room. 

Our experiences in various places are also impacted by textures. Have you ever walked into a store and spotted a pillow that you just had to go touch? Our senses drive us towards certain things and away from others. In interior design, we can use this knowledge to aid in creating wellness in our homes. Use decorative diffusers throughout your home with fragrances that smell delightful. Select furnishings that are lush and inviting. Velvet has the advantage of both appearing rich and sumptuous as well as feeling that way to the touch. I encourage clients to use pieces in their homes that will elicit those types of positive reactions within themselves.

Wellness isn’t just the latest buzzword. It’s a right we’re all entitled to. We spend so much of our lives and important moments right inside our own homes. They should be places of rest and rejuvenation. If yours isn’t, consider making a few of these modifications. Don’t know where to begin? Schedule an hour with me here, and let’s chat! I’m ready to help.

 

 

 

*Stoewen DL. Dimensions of wellness: Change your habits, change your life. Can Vet J. 2017 Aug;58(8):861-862. PMID: 28761196; PMCID: PMC5508938.