Why Home Customization Is For Me

Homebuyers have a multitude of options from which they can choose when it comes to purchasing the perfect house. The big question they have to ask themselves, though, is what is it that makes the perfect house? It’s different things for different people. As many homes as I’ve been able to design and beautify, I have never found the perfect move-in ready home for my family. So, I opt to create it! Home customization will always be the way to go for me. Here’s why.

Family Friendly Amenities

One of the biggest reasons I opt for home customization is my kids. Having two active little boys running around the house has always required some safety amenities that I have yet to find in the homes I purchased. One in particular I wanted when the boys were small was an aesthetically pleasing baby gate. Baby gates have never really been attractive, in my humble design opinion. So, I got to work on designing and installing a transparent partition to keep my kids safe. Not only was it a practical addition, but it kept the home looking chic and elegant. I’m a mom who believes the needs of her little ones don’t have to blemish the home.

Another home customization that helped me out as a mom was putting a tub in the shower. This helped me keep an eye on my sons while getting clean myself. However, it required several intentional changes in the shower area. First, I had to replace the original tub with a free-standing tub. It was another functional decision that also modernized the entire feel of the bathroom. Free-standing tubs are timeless options that can be extremely useful when you don’t want your bath space to look or feel dated.

I also had to make changes to the shower flooring to accommodate the new tub. I designed the floor to slope towards the drain so that any water runoff filtered into the shower area. I made sure the free-standing tub I chose had adjustable feet. This allowed me to accommodate the slope and balance the tub so it remained level. My plumbing contractors weren’t sure of my vision at all. However, I made believers out of them and haven’t looked back!

Space Functionality

I love entertaining family and friends in my home when I can. I’m talking the works: DJ sets, dance areas, beverage stations, everything! But unless you live in a megamansion, chances are the new home listings in your area won’t cater to THIS level of entertaining. This is where home customization comes into play for my needs once again.

Festive interaction is the key to home entertaining, so I have to make sure the main rooms are open to each other. I need them to function, but I also need them to facilitate conversation and engagement. In one home project, that meant knocking a wall out in my kitchen. The wall as it was made the space feel closed in, but taking it out opened the entire area up and gave it a more light and airy feel. This is something I’ve done in many home design projects for clients, especially if they appreciate social energy in their homes. Taking out walls, or sections of walls, creates space for conversation and connection between guests. For parents, it’s also a way to keep an eye on their kids in the living or dining areas. Whatever you want to facilitate in your home, know you can always create it—even if that means taking something out to bring a vibe in!

The new beach home I’m building as my forever home will be a place for everyone to relax and let loose. I’m excited about the jacuzzi that will be on the rooftop deck. While I can’t wait to enjoy it, I know my sons and their friends will spend a great deal of time there, too. I didn’t want them to feel as if they had to use it with proverbial kid gloves (pun intended), so I created a wet room space to complement the hot tub area. I intentionally used materials in the wet room that were water- and slip-proof to ensure everyone’s safety and peace of mind about using the space with no worries. This is yet another advantage of being able to personalize your home design and layout.

Tech Trends

Technology seems to be changing by the day, but that’s another reason why I make a point to have control of design features in my home projects. The reality is, every home has its own particular needs, and those should be catered to, in my opinion. Lighting is an easy example of that. The lighting options needed for different functions and different times of day may vary, but most homes only offer set one-size-fits-all lighting options. I created my line of lighting choices in various looks and brightness options to ensure clients had options for practically every situation. So whether you want dim and cozy options for watching movies, or if you need brighter conditions for a more energetic work environment, I’ve got you covered!

In another home project, I used different technology features to control the setting of interior spaces. I once used retractable heating lamps that, to the unsuspecting eye, appear to be contemporary lights in the kitchen. They were so gorgeous, but they also served a purpose for the lucky chef who used them. I also used smart glass technology in the home bar area that allowed the windows to frost or become transparent at the touch of a button. This was perfect to create the privacy needed because of the direction the room in the house faced.

Most of these options are almost never available in turnkey homes. As times and trends change, though, they may become more commonplace. Until they are, though, I’ll continue utilizing home customization to create the ideal designs for myself and my clients.

 

Design for Kids

With several years under my belt as an interior designer, I’ve had clients that span the gamut. I’ve done commercial design, large estate design and residential design. Every project comes with its own set of challenges and requirements. I welcome it all! After all, part of the fun of interior design is finding unique and innovative ways to make magic happen within a space. Even still, some of the toughest clients to design for might just shock you. Kids! Design for kids demands a particular approach, and if you execute well, nothing is more rewarding! Today, I’ll share with you what I’ve learned, and how you can nail the design you have planned for your own little ones.

Consider Kids’ Hobbies

If you have been following along with me on social media, you likely know about my new beach home I’m designing from the studs up. This house is going to be our forever home, so I’m leaving absolutely no stone left unturned! When it came to my sons and their rooms, they surprised me with quite a few opinions on how things would look according to their wishes. As I listened, it became clear that my sons were quickly becoming my clients! 

One of the first things I did was ask about how they would actually use the space. You might know that we do quite a bit of mediating in our home. The boys use visualization tools for many purposes. So, we visited the house, which was pretty much a construction site. We walked into where each of their rooms would be, and I asked them to sit and imagine what they would be doing a year from now. One after the other, they talked about things like sketching or DJing. I listened intently for clues on how my kids saw their spaces. Then, I began the process of adding details to help achieve their visions. Things like custom drafting desks, extra outlets for DJ equipment and even furniture with compartments for prized possessions topped my list of interior design work I would need to embark upon to meet these goals.

Sometimes Kids Know Best

When you allow space for conversation around the way kids see their needs, you also allow creativity to flow in new ways. It may be difficult to imagine a child knowing more about how interior design might benefit them than we as adults might, but learning from my kid clients has opened up a world of wonder to explore. I’m glad I took their hobbies into consideration, and I know they will benefit greatly from it, too. If you’re planning a child’s bedroom, ask them what they want to do in that space. If your child loves to sew, factor in a station for it. If they love puzzles, have you created a place to store the pieces or hold a work in progress? These are the types of features that take ordinary kids room design to the next level. You can love the look of the space and satisfy the needs of the kiddo, too!

The Disposition of Design

Recently, I was asked about what I predicted in interior design trends for 2024. I talked about seeing a rise in “dopamine decor”, and why that was going to be a big deal this year. While I’m more of a timeless than trendy kind of designer, selecting design details that lift your mood will always be a good idea. I have always remarked about the power interior design has to influence the way people feel in a space. I wanted to keep that at the forefront when I was creating spaces for my boys in their new home.

Tap Into Kids’ Feelings

Far too often, we design spaces based on our adult visions and goals. We think about all the ways wallpapers, paint colors and decor will make a room shine. But, what about the kids? Shouldn’t they have a bit of say regarding how their private spaces will look and feel? I think so. Once again, conversations with the boys helped facilitate the next steps I took to create their rooms. One of my sons really craves the feeling of security and coziness in his bedroom. So, I leaned into that and incorporated elements that would usher in a warm and safe vibe. Everything from the colors, to the style of bed and furnishings are catered to making him feel comforted and snug in his space.

 

My other son is quickly moving into a new phase of his childhood development where individualism and personality are starting to take center stage. He had a very distinct idea for his bedroom walls, and let me tell you I was not the biggest fan at first. He wanted graffiti! His modern approachable luxury preferring mama was unsure of how to make that work. Once I understood why he wanted it, I worked with a local artist to create a masterpiece that ensured my son felt heard in his desires. We design a room that allows him to be the cool kid he truly is. 

Where Personality Meets Functionality

Typically, when we decide to remodel or renovate a space, we place a heavy importance on the appearance of the area. Everyone loves the fun part—the picking out knobs, tile, art and so on. But, we all know that none of that matters if the utility of the space is lacking. You wouldn’t want a kitchen counter made of material that wasn’t food safe, would you? That same attention deserves to be given to kids’ design as well. When I worked on the Iconic Home presented by Architectural Digest I was asked to design a little girl’s room, and I tapped into all the amazing things a little eight year old Breegan would have swooned over! I included a ballet barre in that space because I wanted the room to encourage movement. 

If you have energetic little ones, don’t build a space that requires them to treat things gingerly! A functional space for spry kiddos inspires their bodies into motion and is able to support that kind of activity. So, how does one design for kids with this kind of functionality as a priority? You can select furniture that can be climbed on, add features like hammocks, swings or even areas for a bit of roller skating! You don’t have to have a huge space, just focus on taking advantage of existing square footage. 

Keep It Neat

All parents will understand the struggle of asking your kids to keep their rooms clean. If it’s a never ending battle you can’t seem to win, let’s design for kids in a way that might just alleviate that problem! If you have a child who has trouble staying organized, they might thrive in a space with dedicated storage. My kids did well with cubbies for their items and a routine to put things away when they arrived home each day. I preach about baskets with lids and ottomans because they’re great ways to hide away things without creating eyesores. Consider this approach with your kids’ rooms. Be intentional with your furniture purchases with their habits in mind. One of my sons tends to be a bit messy, so we are deliberately keeping his design simple and minimal. With less stuff comes less mess, right?

Listen, of course we want every area of our homes to be gorgeous and curated. I’m a mom who has always believed kids room design didn’t have to lack sophistication and beauty, so I totally get it. But, if we want to successfully design for kids, we must put their needs above our own preferences. If you hire a professional, you can easily find clever ways to merge the two! Contact me today if you’re looking to create a fabulous space for your kids. Let’s get started! 

The Benefits of Meditation

Life can get hectic for us all. It absolutely does for me. With television and media appearances, design projects, building my own home, raising a family and trying to find time for myself, “hectic” can be an understatement sometimes. Thankfully, I learned early on in my maturing how important meditation can be to help maintain balance in my life. Here’s why—and how—I practice meditation with my family.

Meditation: Myths Versus Reality

What is meditation, really? A simple definition describes it as a practice that involves focusing on clearing your mind using one or several mental and physical techniques. I could name so many ways in which meditation has positively impacted my life. But first, I think it’s important to debunk some common myths about what it is and isn’t:

  • Meditation is time-consuming. I don’t have time. The reality is, none of us do. We’re all busy with the day-to-day things. But just like things we make time to do—exercising and working out, visiting friends and loved ones, and even household chores—meditation requires an intentional decision and consistency to be most effective.
  • Meditation is too complicated. I don’t know how. Honestly, there’s no one way to meditate “the right way.” In fact, many people traditionally spend quiet time in meditation, but there are other forms of practicing meditation that work just as well. Some meditate by going for walks and keeping attention on their feet. Others play music while focusing on being present and mindfully aware. The “right” way to meditate is the way that works best for you to stay grounded. That’s the only rule.
  • Meditation is for people who need to relax. I don’t need it. It’s great if you are relaxed and have found balance in your life. But meditation offers so much more than relaxation. Studies have shown it can aid in sharpening your intuition and making better decisions. No matter how tranquil your life is, we can all benefit from that!

Get where I’m going here? There’s virtually no reason why you shouldn’t try to incorporate mindful meditation into your life and daily routine. The benefits outnumber any reasons or excuses not to.

My Family and Meditation

People wonder why I’m such a fan of neutral colors and textures in my interior design. What many may not realize is the visual aesthetic is only half the reason. A good designer knows that brighter colors bring energy to a room, while more neutral colors bring a more soothing and calm ambiance. It’s why I use those colors throughout my home, but in other home projects I tend to use them in bedrooms. My mind feels less chaotic and less cluttered when surrounded by those color choices. Making time for meditation has a similar effect on my mind and emotions.

As an on-the-go creative, my schedule can get complicated quickly. What’s more, I don’t tend to sleep a great deal because of my unconventional career and hours. I can often find myself in several time zones a week because of travel obligations. Don’t get me wrong; I wouldn’t trade my career for the world. However, I deal with more than a few life-disrupting factors that, if not managed, could cause issues with anxiety. Meditation helps me bring everything back to center and focus on what’s important at any given moment.

When I say “any given moment,” I mean just that, both for myself and my kids. Any mom who has raised boys knows they can be curious, rambunctious, always moving little firecrackers. They like to run all over the place, jump off things, pick up random items, and get into general mischief. I decided years ago that they needed meditation, also. Even at a young age, they know how to get themselves into comfortable positions and focus on personal mantras to center their thoughts and energy. They’ve been known to meditate by themselves, even in busy airports and parties. Whenever they need it, they do it.

Get Started Today

If you want to make meditation a part of your lifestyle, there are so many great resources out there for you. A simple Google search will provide so many easy tools and tips for beginners, but there are also apps like Headspace that provide guided meditation practices for newbies. The basics, though, require several things: a calm, quiet place; a set time for the activity; a focus on breathing, the body and your thoughts; and a commitment to be kind to your mind while you train to be more intentional and present within yourself.

Meditation may sound complicated. Trust me; it’s not. You only need a little patience with yourself. Give it a try, and I promise you’ll feel better about yourself and things that impact your mental and emotional well-being.

Breegan Jane’s 2024 Predictions in Color Trends

What is it about new beginnings that gives people such a boost? Everyone has a bit more pep in their step at the beginning of each year. The new year’s energy is invigorating, and in 2024, that even applies to color trends in interior design! Let’s dig into a bit of what you can expect to see in the coming months.

Dopamine Decor

Architectural Digest defines dopamine decor as, “Brilliantly bold colors and patterns, eclectic prints, inviting textures, and a nostalgia-infused, unmissable vibe…” And that’s a perfect way to put it! Dopamine is the feel good hormone we associate with pleasure, and in 2024, people are finding new ways to infuse their spaces with colors that bring them joy and leave them feeling uplifted and happy. 

I think 2024 color trends are going to make a huge splash with big bold colors and large prints. Design will take a detour from the demure and understated and lean more towards the avant-garde. I’m a lover of neutrals, but I absolutely adore striking pops of color that bring life and spirit to a room. I love that people are prioritizing the types of design that speak to their hearts and elicit the kind of sensations they seek in their homes.  I’m looking forward to more of this in this year.

Blues and Greens and Teals, Oh My!

Paint isn’t going anywhere this year. In fact, I believe it’s likely that we will see shades that feel aquatic. You can expect color trends to feature deep seafoam, teals, navy blues and other hues in the blue-green family. Don’t look for pastels. Instead, I think people will opt for these colors in the medium to dark range. These blues and greens are stunning when you want to give a space an especially distinct personality and identity. Jewel tones are definitely in, and any color that reminds you of water ultimately has a relaxing effect. That’s always a win.

Kitchen Impressions

When we think of color in a home, the kitchen isn’t always the first space to come to mind. 2024 color trends will change that! We’re not leaving the heart of the home out of the chromatic conversations! I think we will start to see these spaces take on a life of their own with refrigerators and cabinetry in bold colors and countertops and backsplashes with interesting stone variations. Don’t forget that stone has so many different types of veining! It’s an excellent way to bring in more color without going overboard on one of the largest surfaces in your home. 

2024 is looking splendidly vivid! I think we’re all tired of the typical and mundane; so color, the stage is yours! I’m even adding splashes of it to my new beach home! Stay tuned to my socials to see it all unfold. Until then, let me know what hues you’re looking forward to seeing more of this year!

The Value of Homeschool Hybrid Programs

John Dewey was once quoted as saying, “Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.” Years ago our parents hoped the lessons presented in textbooks would set us up for the best careers and life plans available. Now that many of us are parents, we want the same thing for our kids. I know I do. More than that, though, it has been important to me to ensure they have the right learning environment and applications that cater to all I feel will be important to their development, based on who I know my kids to be. Wanting a more deliberate hand in that, I opted for my boys to become active in a homeschool hybrid academic program. Here are the benefits of this decision I appreciate as a parent and mom.

Life Skills vs. A Traditional Curriculum

My sons enjoy being a part of a homeschool hybrid program versus a traditional academic curriculum, and I love it for them. One of the primary reasons I appreciate it is because I get to have more control over what my children learn. Yes, the classic “reading, writing and ‘rithmetic” are all important to a child’s learning experience, but there are other things I feel are just as important that aren’t highlighted as much.

I want my sons to enjoy their childhood years. However, I really want them to be prepared for many of the bigger adult decisions they will have to make, also. Take budgeting, for example. Being financially aware is a daily task for everyone in the “glorious” world of adulting, but many traditional school curricula don’t teach foundational principles of finances. My sons’ homeschool hybrid program involves taking financial literacy classes that explain the importance of saving, understanding liabilities and assets, and so much more. I’m sure many parents are reading this thinking young kids won’t get such concepts. But they do! Ironically, they’re learning more than some adults do in their lifetime! This is the value of being able to have a say in what my kids learn.

Along with practical skills, I want both of my boys to develop strong social skills. From my own experiences, and from observing my son’s conventional classes, the traditional school environment tends to focus more on independent work, sitting at desks and relegating kids to being receivers of information from one source: the teacher. While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, I realize my sons learn best in unconventional ways and settings. Our hybrid learning program includes a great deal of social group learning, which I think is an important part of being a successful adult. Collaboration is at the heart of my profession, as well as many others. I think it should be emphasized more in foundational learning courses. Plus, the lessons and activities in our homeschool hybrid program allow students a great deal of hands-on applications, exploring nature, and moving around. It’s not necessary, but it helps to facilitate more meaningful experiences for my boys. They appreciate it, and so do I.

Flexibility in Schedule

My job is unconventional in several ways. Television hosting has me traveling across the nation and sometimes overseas. The hours I work as an interior designer can run the gamut from the wee hours of the morning to the late hours of the night. And many other professional responsibilities may have me working in foreign lands quite often. The average parent would be concerned about kids traveling and falling behind in their coursework if they were in this situation. Because I use a homeschool hybrid program that is extremely flexible, I don’t worry at all. I can take my boys with me!

We all learned how useful virtual applications were during the pandemic. Well, they still work post-pandemic! My boys are able to take their schoolwork virtually anywhere! It’s not uncommon to see me with my sons in an airport, them with their headphones on and computers open ready to work away. We’ve used airport lounges to get schoolwork done, Market events, poolside cabanas, you name it! Plus, the homeschool hybrid model allows me to ease any frustration or worry about absences, potential learning gaps due to missed classes, or their retention of information. Though they don’t always travel with me, they are able to, and that’s a big plus in my book.

Extracurricular Activities

While traditional schools offer an array of extracurricular activities for kids to enjoy, my talented two have different ideas of how they want to enhance their creative minds. This is another way homeschool hybrid programs greatly benefit my boys and me.

Both of my sons have figuratively dipped their toes in various activities, including, surfing, soccer, basketball, and gardening. But their current favorite extracurricular activities have to do with their love of music. So, they’re taking a few classes centered around that: voice, piano and guitar lessons, to name a few. They’re also taking DJ lessons, which they’re smitten by. I haven’t found any traditional schools that offer DJ lessons, and that’s yet another reason why I’m glad I chose this route for my sons.

Music classes offer so many different personal enrichment benefits for children. They help build patience, confidence, and coordination, among other things. But music enrichment is also good for helping to develop social skills, teamwork, creative thinking, and so much more. Will they be the next Pavarotti or Diplo? I can’t say. But I know they will have had the experience and will be able to make a sound decision about that part of themselves they want to develop. It’s so self-empowering, and I love that.

Not Better or Worse…Just Different

Please don’t mistake my decision to homeschool my sons with a statement I haven’t made. There’s absolutely NOTHING WRONG with traditional public and private schools. Millions of people have gone through state or national requirements for public education and have been extremely successful. It’s just that I know my boys, and I understand where traditional programs don’t necessarily cater to THEM in some areas. Hopefully your takeaway will be to assess your children’s needs and make a decision for yourself what would work best for them. If you want to give a homeschool hybrid program a try with your kids, I highly encourage it. You might find it’s just the right fit for your little learners!

 

Breegan Jane’s 2024 Predictions in Furniture Design

One of the most exciting parts about entering into a new year when you’re in the world of interior design has to be all the new trends that come with it! Everyone has their predictions about what will take design by storm, and it’s always fun to see what turns out to be true! Humans are, by nature, sort of group thinkers. We like to arrive at a consensus where possible, and the concept of trends reinforces that idea. However, trends aren’t just about conforming to what others are doing. Instead, they’re about watching the marketplace and the industry to see what’s hot! Tastemakers are always keeping their eyes on the next big thing, and so with that, let’s dive into furniture trends of 2024!

2024 Furniture Trends: Shape

It’s virtually impossible to look at a room and take in its design without noticing the largest items in the space. Those items are usually furniture. Shape plays a significant role in influencing not only the look of a space, but the design style of it, too. Last year, curves and fluidity were everywhere. We saw a lot of what I like to call “kidney bean” sofas. They featured soft and rounded edges that often had a bit of an irregular shape. I have used them in home designs often. In 2024, the shape of furniture will take a sharp departure from those curves and lean much more towards geometric shapes. I think we will see furniture designers take an almost architectural approach with constructing pieces. I look forward to seeing striking sculptural couches, chairs and tables. 

Freedom in Furniture in 2024 

How many of you remember having a traditional two or three seater sofa with the defined back cushions? Most of us have owned those or had family members who did. While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with them, I think we will see a shift in the design towards modular sofas. You might already have one in your home! Modular sofas come in pieces. They grant you the freedom to arrange them in whatever configuration works best for you.

You might be wondering why this matters. Well, after a rough couple of years of little to no contact with people outside our households (remember social distancing?), we have all embraced gathering like never before! Whether you’re planning a party, a meeting or a family dinner, you want to ensure you always have enough seating for everyone invited. Modular sofas allow you to take a piece that might otherwise be used as an ottoman for your feet, and use it as an additional seat. No two rooms are made the same. Modular sofas are able to morph as needed into the space you have allotted for that type of seating. I think we will see more people opting for these transformable pieces in 2024.

Attention to Texture and Construction

Now this one is something I don’t think ever went out of style, and I doubt it will in 2024. I think one of the biggest trends in furniture will revolve around textures! Bouclé certainly had its moment in 2023, and I totally understand why. The curly looped fabric is delightfully soft, and it especially looks nice in white and shades of cream. In 2024, look for trends to punch it up even more with texture. I think we will see lots of tufting and velvet, both which are always timeless. We will also see more performance fabrics, a plus if you like to host frequently or have young children prone to spills. Don’t be surprised to see more exposed metal framing, and even pieces of raw wood. All in all, I think furniture will be fun to interact with, and I’m excited about that.

If you’re looking to purchase furniture in the near future and you want to know what designers and design enthusiasts are predicting to be “on trend”, you’ll find that manufacturers aren’t holding back! They are indulging in fun, innovative details that feel both functional and avant-garde. I think we’ll all be making statements with our spaces in 2024!

 

The Trust Tree: How I Build Trust With My Kids

Watching kids grow older is bittersweet at almost every turn for mothers. We love the “newborn scrunch,” but we’re so happy when they sleep through the night. We’re sad when they begin to walk, but happy that means they’ll be out of diapers in a year or two. Moms are thrilled when children can help do things like bring small items from another room or feed themselves without food spilling all over the place. But that makes us sad at the same time because we realize our babies aren’t babies anymore. Yes, motherhood is the land of contradictions! But it’s also the most rewarding thing in the world. We get to birth little humans and teach them to put good out into the world. Getting to that place is more than what many of us could have ever imagined. Being able to build trust, from child to parent and parent to child, is a big part of that. Now, no one can teach you how to do that with your young child. It’s something you learn and experience step by step.

Trust And Your Little Ones

One of the most important life lessons I’ve taught my sons is the importance of trust in our relationship. Teaching young kids what trust is can be a bit of a challenge, but it is necessary nonetheless. Trust lessons for us began with a mantra I call “more manners, more freedom.” My sons first learned the value of manners and being kind, both inside and outside our home, as toddlers. They also quickly learned the rewarding results of independence and freedom that follow, if they exhibited said manners and kindness. The ulterior reward, the boys learned as they grew, was a stronger confidence in them, which deepened their sense of pride and self-esteem. Trust, a by-product of showing manners and goodwill toward others, became a building block upon which we all began developing a strong relationship with each other.

Trust And The World

Wanting to build trust with my kids is one thing. The reality of building trust with them in this wacky world we live in is something altogether different! And therein lies one of the hardest parts about trust when it comes to young kids. We parents know how crazy everything is outside of the homes we raise our children in. Kids most likely have no clue about the real dangers that lie ahead of them. There’s oftentimes a huge disconnect between what we know the world to be and what our children want it to be: harmless and carefree. My young sons, for the life of me, could not understand why I did not allow them to roam around the streets of Venice Beach as freely as they did when we traveled to Spain. Walking ahead of me, to them, was the same thing in both places. I knew it certainly was not.

Trust will undoubtedly mean there will be difficult conversations, both for the kids and us parents. I never want to instill fear in my kids. Ever. But I do want them to be aware of the not-nice people and situations that exist throughout the world we live in. Going to a public bathroom may seem like an ordinary thing to my boys. But when I know they could encounter predators or drug paraphernalia with such a simple visit, it becomes something more. I wish I knew the right way to define the exact line between sheltering our kids and teaching them some of the harsh realities of our world. That answer will vary by situation and parental relationship. But, it will most certainly require a foundation of trust for everyone involved.

The Trust Tree

One way that I’ve been able to build trust with my kids is a concept we call the Trust Tree. It’s a verbal test/commitment used to allow my sons to perform an activity and, if done successfully, build trust with me that grows like a tree. It’s simple but effective!

Recently at one of our favorite staycation resorts, my oldest son quietly announced to me, “Trust tree.” That was my cue to listen to his proposition, set some parameters around the request, and, if granted, see if he followed through with all that I asked. He asked if he could go the lobby by himself to get something in particular. I asked him how long he thought it would take him and reviewed some of our family safety rules. Once I got satisfactory answers from him, I let him go to the lobby to retrieve the item. He came back in less time than he anticipated, and he followed the set rules. He obtained what he went to get, and he honored the parameters. But he also earned more of my trust and showed maturity. It was a small act, really. But bigger opportunities will arise for him to build trust, and I will know I can trust him to do the right thing based on the trust tree he has grown with me!

But Can Mom Trust Herself?

The final piece of this trust puzzle—and we moms will deal with this—is knowing how to build a trust tree for and within ourselves. There are so many lessons we parents want to instill in our kids. It will literally take a lifetime to know if we did it right. As much as possible we want to believe we raised confident, intelligent, aware, cautious and brave humans who will make significant contributions to the world with integrity and compassion. All of those ideals start with and are rooted in…trust. Know that you are doing your best with your little ones when you are intentional with how you build trust with them. Their future will prove the same, so start growing your trust tree with them—and yourself—today.

Optimizing Your Home Design for Hosting

Another year is winding down, and in a few days almost everyone around the world will be celebrating the turn of the new year. There will be parties and socials, sparkles and sequins, and many gatherings of families and friends. Beyond New Year’s celebrations, I’ve always loved throwing soirees and hosting gatherings. I’ve even been known to throw some amazing kids parties! For me, hosting is a personal passion. There’s something about creating an event that fosters a good time and vibe with loved ones. And if you’re like me, you want to consider your home design to ensure you have the right interior elements to accommodate the ultimate social event. Here are a few things to consider for optimizing your home design for proper social hosting.

Spruce Up The Kitchen

Much of the entertaining and hosting I do in my home starts in my kitchen. It’s the heart of every home that I’ve owned. In my mind food and beverages bring people together and help to facilitate camaraderie and conversation. If you need a starting place for optimizing your home design for hosting guests and friends, I would start in this space and with a few specific suggestions.

There’s one primary word to consider as you begin thinking about hosting an event in your home: capacity. Do you have all you need to comfortably receive the number of guests you’re looking to invite? Better yet, can the appliances you have accommodate the event you want to throw? If they don’t—and you want to regularly have events in your home—you may want to consider some appliance upgrades.

Photo courtesy of jennair.com

I say that from experience, specifically with my refrigerator. One of the things I absolutely love about the new refrigerator in my new dream beach home is the customization available for it. The Jenn-Air appliance can be designed with 1, 2 or 3 columns and a myriad of configurations for freezer and refrigeration needs. If you begin hosting regularly, you need to be sure both your refrigerator and freezer have the space you need for food and beverages. Chances are you will need to replenish more frequently than you would if you only cater to just you and your family.

Speaking of freezing, many people don’t realize how much people partake in beverages during the average social event. And, there’s nothing worse than trying to enjoy a lukewarm beverage when you’re parched. Ice is a small element at a party, but there’s a noticeable difference when it isn’t available during an event—TRUST ME! I had an ice maker installed on my rooftop deck for that very reason. I never want an event I throw to be jeopardized because beverages cannot be enjoyed by my guests. Some may consider an ice maker a luxury; I say it’s a great option for optimizing your home design for hosting.

Ample Surface Space

While seating is super important for entertaining, it is equally important to make sure you have enough surface space in your home for hosting a social event. I’ve found people highly underestimate the space they need when they have a number of guests over. People will always want places to congregate that don’t require sitting or retiring themselves to a table.

My family has always enjoyed gathering around counter areas like kitchen islands. Why? My guess is they always have places to put drinks and appetizer plates down while conversing or socializing. And, countertops and islands are larger and don’t confine people to smaller, more quaint tables. Those can be reserved for people who prefer private or more intimate conversations. I’m a fan of occasional tables for the same reason. If you serve food while hosting your event, realize that people may not want to hold a plate in one hand and their drink in another the entire time. Optimizing your home design when it comes to being a good host may mean something as simple as providing more space for your guests.

Providing ample surface space may also mean considering details like catering trays for your events. When you bring in staff to assist with private parties, it would be a good idea to consider what your caterer may need in terms of space. Refrigeration options like the aforementioned appliances are always good, but other options may not be designed to accommodate catering trays similarly. Always remember: if you take care of your caterer, they will take care of you!

Lighting

Lighting sets the mood and tone in a space and should be a high consideration for optimizing your home design for hosting amazing events. Incorporating smart bulbs is an inexpensive way to bring dynamic aesthetics to your home. Many of these bulb options can sense and interact automatically with their environments or other users—even other technology. Plus, they can be controlled via voice commands or accessed remotely via a phone or other device, so accessibility won’t necessarily require an electrician or other professional. Investing in smart lights can help you control the energy throughout your event. You can start with brighter lights and adjust them as the party progresses. The options are pretty limitless!

Decor

When it comes to your decor, I know as an interior designer the impact it can have on all visitors to your home. As a host of a multitude of home gatherings, I can tell you nothing creates more conversation among guests than using your decor to make your space feel personal and to tell a story your guests are interested in knowing or hearing about. Incorporate personal decor in the entryway. Place personal photos on console tables. Hang unique art on the walls. These will almost always spark guests’ interests and give them a feel for who you are in your space. These will give your space personality—YOUR personality. There will never be a greater representation of the host in the home. Never negate the storytelling power of your decor. Trust me.

The New Year will be exciting, but as with other holidays, it will come and go. Your home and opportunities to entertain guests will happen throughout the next 365 days and beyond. Consider these suggestions for optimizing your home design for hosting great events in your home, and you’ll be the reason—and your home the destination—why people want to enjoy their next night out!

The Breegan Jane x SAVOY Lighting Collection!

I’m elated to announce the Breegan Jane x Savoy lighting collection that will be formally introduced in January at Dallas Market’s Lightovation! The pieces in the Breegan Jane x Savoy collection are designed to saturate spaces with modern approachable luxury, while also creating an experience that mimics the euphoria of traveling to your favorite destinations. All details are thoughtfully and carefully composed and curated, culminating in a collection that is no less than sublime. 

The Magic of the Mediterranean 

Many of my new collections draw inspiration from the eternally charming Mediterranean region so you can bring the beauty home—no passport needed! Ibiza, Spain and the surrounding areas have long served as my muse. When I visit, I’m instantly immersed in what feels like comfortable, relaxed luxury. The shimmering teal waters, the creamy white buildings, and rich textures abound. The gift of what I do is in the power to capture a feeling with interior design and infuse a space with it. 

Allow me to show you just a few!

 

The Grecian

This charming cascade of branches is decorated with leaves crafted from stained natural coco shell pieces. The hand-crafted Champagne Mist finish adds a richness and texture that is sure to stun.

 

The Atlas

Dramatic, eye-catching olive branches shine in this organic look, which is finished by hand in Grecian Gold. Offered as a chandelier and a pendant. 

 

The Pharos

These golden-hued fixtures with a luxe sheen are easily statement makers in any space. Their coned shape feels welcoming and simultaneously elevated. The Pharos collection features pendants and chandeliers in various formats.

 

The Nomad

This stately fixture, reminiscent of a sun setting on a beautiful summer’s day, is elegance manifested. The nomad in all its linear glory is ideal for spaces that require larger fixtures and would be delightful in any room!

At the heart of light itself is its ability to show the magnificence of things which might otherwise appear…dull and lifeless. Lighting for the designer is an instrument used to create an immediate impression on those who enter any space. A significant part of the story your space tells as well as what it exudes is in the lighting choices. I’ve designed a line of inspired, exceptional fixtures that I can’t wait for you to experience.

We’re just getting started. There is SO much more to see in the Breegan Jane x Savoy collection, and I will be revealing it all in January! Please join me at Lightovation, and follow me on all social media platforms to stay updated on everything. It’s going to be a wild and beautiful ride!

Romanticize Your Life With Interior Design

It wouldn’t be a stretch to say the last several years have brought with them quite a few challenges and struggles for people around the globe. So many lost loved ones due to the pandemic, lost jobs, saw prices of everything skyrocket, and the list goes on. It’s just been a difficult time for our world. I receive messages all the time from people sharing stories of how their mental health has been negatively affected by all the issues surrounding them, and my heart goes out to every single one. I’ve long said how much interior design allows me to tap into the many parts of myself and what I love to do. One of those things is helping others build a better life for themselves or improve the way they function in their everyday lives. The way you design and adorn your space can contribute to the way you feel in major ways. Today I’m going to talk to you about romanticizing your life with interior design, because you’re totally worth it!

Revolutionize Your Routine

If you spend any amount of time on social media, you have most likely at some point scrolled past a woman talking about how she has decided to “romanticize” something in her life. It’s usually something unremarkable like a walk, or coffee in the morning. The concept stems from the idea that ordinary things can take on a completely new and idealistic meaning if we are only willing to see them in a new and improved light. Now, this might sound ridiculous for the more practical among us. But, I urge you to wait before jumping to judgment. After all, isn’t a significant part of interior design taking a space and making it better looking and better functioning? Why not use design to enhance your life in fresh ways?

Breegan Jane’s bathroom BEFORE

When I redesigned my former house, one of the first things the contractors said when they spotted the skylights was, “These are outdated. We should get rid of them.” I immediately let them know I had big plans for those beauties! I wanted to create a moment in my spa-like bathroom and place a tub under the skylight so I could unwind under the stars. I am doing the same thing with my dream beach home. I have a stunning gold Thompson Traders tub that will sit among beautiful white and gold stone, perfectly positioned under a skylight. After a long day I can sip wine, light a few candles and bathe with the glow of the moon and stars. I can’t think of a better way to end the week. 

Breegan Jane’s bathroom AFTER

Mundane to Magnificent

Use interior design to your advantage. If you’re a morning person, consider spending extra time selecting a nice bistro set you can place by a window to enjoy your breakfast while watching the sunrise. Do you enjoy working out? Redesign your gym to look like a commercial one. Get inspirational images and quotes printed professionally to hang on the walls, or invest in a small sound system to blast motivational music. Love juicing? Create a nook in your kitchen with beautiful appliances and sleek glass bottles. Make your life grand in small ways and watch your mood improve. Interior design choices can make you start to look forward to ordinary moments!

Interior Design for the Life You Want

I’m having so much fun showing you the step-by-step process of building my family’s forever home. It’s always fun to read the reactions people have to some of my more unique design features. For instance, I am opting to hang actual mirror ball lighting fixtures in my kitchen instead of your more standard pendant lighting or chandelier. Why, you ask? Because my family adores music and dancing. We don’t go a week without a dance party in my home. I have big plans to host major gatherings where we dance on the kitchen island with the sparkle from the disco balls bouncing around us! Dancing and music lifts our mood, helps rid the body of anxious energy and it’s just fun! I want my space to reflect the kind of life we live, and interior design is an excellent vehicle for that.

 

Feeling stuck in an area of your life? How can you inspire change with your environment? Perhaps you have always wanted to start your own business. Is there a room you can transform into an office space? No need for major renovation projects, simply take advantage of multi-use furniture like murphy beds and put a desk in your guest room! Paint your walls in your favorite color or put statement wallpaper up that energizes you each day, and start that entrepreneurship journey!

Ditching the Standard

There will always be voices telling you what you should do with your space. Everyone from experts, to family members to complete strangers will dish out advice. Although likely well-intentioned, only you know what would best suit you and your life. Interior design should make things more efficient. It should make your space feel like it rises up to greet you when you enter. The modifications that have that kind of influence? Well, that’s up to the individual. I am designing my primary bedroom with an unusual layout, because I want to prioritize the view of the ocean. Is it something that my clients would want? Maybe not. But it’s perfect for Breegan! Those are the types of preferences you have to tap into when you’re romanticizing your life.

If you’ve always wanted to be the house everyone comes to for the most extravagant parties or gatherings, design for that! Are you the quintessential host? Design a kitchen that offers various seating arrangements, spaces for serving trays and a good flow for foot traffic. Who says you have to wait for a major holiday to throw the shindig of the year? Pick a theme, decorate and send out the invite list! 

Romanticize Life

I’m installing a hot tub on the roof of my home along with a wet room and ice maker, all because I want my boys to have a place to splash around with their friends. I want to invite my friends over and sip champagne and specialty cocktails as we catch up. For that, I need ice! Ignore the naysayers regarding your interior design. You define your own standard. 

Life is too short for boring. Small things really can be special, and your interior design can help with that. Put fresh flowers on your table for lunch and use the good china. Splurge on that marble table that reminds you of your favorite hotel in Bali. Create spaces that allow you to live life on your own terms! If you’re ready to romanticize your life, contact me at The Expert today! I’m prepared to beautify your spaces and get you on the road to splendid living!