Use Your Personal Inspiration in Interior Design

What are the things in your life you wake up thinking about and go to bed dreaming about? What keeps you going when you feel tired, worn and unmotivated? For me, that’s interior design and helping others. It’s hard to stop talking about the things we love so much, so today we’ll be diving headfirst into my favorite subject: making homes! But, that’s not the only reason I’m asking you to consider your passions and loves. When I do virtual and in-person consultations, I frequently talk to people who want a fresh start with their spaces, but have no clue where to begin. For me, the solution is simple. Start with what inspires you! It’s the best and easiest method for a personalized touch you’ll enjoy for years to come.

History Is the Best Teacher

Rudyard Kipling once said, “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” When we reflect on some of the author’s greatest and most well-known works of art, one can certainly say he had a point! Stories like The Jungle Book have made an indelible impression on our culture, and that just might be the best demonstration of that quote. When we can easily grab for images in our minds, they tend to stick with us. It’s why historical references often make such amazing muses for artists. How fitting is it that their work has also become my muse at times? When I am designing spaces and I’m unsure of what artwork to use, history is a great stimulus. 

Inspiration in Unexpected Places

I often find some of my greatest art in a place you might least expect: the library! I have hung gorgeous prints on the walls of my home, clients and even in commercial spaces that were secured from a library. Some of my favorites feature artwork that isn’t just beautiful to look at, it’s actually geographically relevant! Take this photo below for instance. I originally selected this piece for a restaurant I designed in Santa Monica, CA. It features an image of a woman in a restaurant feeding her pet lion, and even as outrageous as that sounds, it’s not the coolest part. 

The actual photo was taken in a restaurant in Santa Monica so many years ago! This art perfectly tied the history to the space. The restaurant was female chef and female support team driven, so I loved having a piece of decor that embodied a story of female strength and empowerment. I later hung it in my home for similar reasons. If you are looking for ways to personalize your interior design, consider historical references that have a special meaning to you. Do you love a certain decade for special reasons? Maybe your family history can be linked to a particular place or person that you can use as inspiration. These types of ideas make for unique art and decor that not only lend personality to a space, they are also conversation starters. 

Authenticity in Your Artwork

When I’m contemplating how to bring a space to life for a client who feels “stuck” creatively, I begin from a place of curiosity. I ask questions like, “where in the world do you feel most comfortable?” “Are there certain emotions you hope your space will evoke?” As I learn more about a client I acquire enough crucial information to create a design that feels both customized and authentic.

That’s precisely the core of this next tip. Authenticity will shine through the design if you are careful to include components that feel personal. Add decor details that connect to who you are, what you do, or even what you believe in. A skilled interior designer will be able to help you incorporate these in refined but imaginative ways. I’ll give you an example. In my home you will find several prints from the artist Arthur L. Reese. One of my absolute favorites is actually hung right above my bed. It’s an image I have affectionately nicknamed “My Ladies.” I love this print dearly for so many reasons. Mr. Reese was an extraordinary man who came to Venice Beach, California from Louisiana and was hired by Abbot Kinney to “decorate the city.” 

Keep It Connected

This very photo was shot in my neighborhood! I not only love the geographical significance, I feel especially connected to Mr. Reese’s drive to leave his mark on the world. Not only was he an amazing inventor, designer and businessman, he was also one of the first black landowners in the area. As someone with a career in real estate development and interior design, that has always resonated on a deeper level. I relish any chance to educate guests about “The Wizard of Venice”. This piece hangs above my bed and motivates me on a daily basis. I wake and glance up at My Ladies all posed with balls on their backs ready to run the race, and I remind myself that I can take on the day! That’s what interior design should do for our homes, in my opinion.

Travel-Influenced Design

If you have been a reader for any length of time, you absolutely know that my favorite place on earth is Ibiza, Spain. I detail my family’s many vacations to the island on Instagram regularly, because we spend a lot of time there. My adoration for this wildly beautiful island permeates so many areas of my life. I often incorporate it into my design choices. Ibiza boasts 100 miles of stunning coastline, and even from a distance you can recognize the dominant hues of the area: teal and white. 

I have long correlated my feelings of serenity and tranquility with the relaxation I feel when I’m in this area. I have allowed that powerful influence to guide what I do with certain design selections. You can see that in my love of white bed linens, white stone elements, white furniture and pops of teal. If you visit a spa or a luxury resort you’ll likely notice the prominent colors will be shades of blue and white. It only made sense to incorporate similar features in spaces I want to feel delightfully relaxing. 

Lean Into Cultural Influences

I talk about timeless design often, because it not only feels elegant and elevated, it saves my clients money! Following trends is fun, but having to switch out decor furniture and fixtures with every turn of the design tide can get expensive! If you love to travel, don’t hesitate to add pieces from your favorite destinations in your home. These additions will always feel classic. Think about the cobblestone streets of Rome. They are one of the iconic features of the region that immediately conjure up stunning images in our minds upon mention of the name. I like acquiring items that feel traveled. You don’t need a passport stamp to India to hang a beautiful tapestry on your wall. Textured neutrals made from organic materials are especially interesting to the eye. Culturally rich artifacts can enhance the design of a space in an unparalleled way.

I’ve always believed that interior design has far more power than we give it credit for. It can set a mood, tell a story, disarm a stranger or simply be a place of safety and comfort. To genuinely make it yours, don’t shy away from including bits of YOU in the curation of the spaces you call your own. After all, the things that inspire you will always be the best foundation for tailored design. Contact me on The Expert for tips on where to start. I’d love to help!

Friendships: A Natural Evolution

How many times have you heard millennials (and you too, Gen Z!) complain of the difficulties of making friends? It’s something I see on any of my social media platforms practically everyday. Now, to be fair, there are some contributing factors that deserve mentioning. Byrdie says adult responsibilities, today’s “hustle-culture era”, and fewer age-specific curated activities are to blame for a decline in the number of new friendships. I definitely agree that the ever-changing life stages and phases play a huge role when it comes to making friends. But in my case, making friends hasn’t been a problem. I have, however, earned a new respect for the evolution of my existing and new friendships. I think some of my readers may be able to relate. Let’s dig in and discuss in today’s blog.

We’ve Got Something in Common

I can remember almost a decade ago around the time I was pregnant and even shortly after I gave birth. Entering that juncture felt so new and foreign, and I longed for connection with others who were also sharing that same experience. I found comfort in friendships with other first time moms. Upon realizing that so many other women were seeking that same sort of “safe shared place,” I even started a podcast with a fellow mom to discuss all the things we had in common in hopes of creating community and helping others. That’s often the basis of a lot of friendships. We find people who have things in common, and we build on those mutual experiences and feelings. These are beautiful friendships that can last, but they, too, go through their own kind of progression, and that’s normal.

I like to think of it this way. For me, parenthood was like freshman year of college. It’s a new experience everyone is having all together at the same time. In those moments, you believe it’s going to be this way forever. But five years later, some friends are going off to grad school across the country, some are moving back home, others are backpacking through Europe. The friend group is splitting up, and life all of a sudden looks incredibly different from what it did when you first met. This doesn’t have to mean those friendships die out forever. They just take another form. That group becomes more like the class reunion crowd rather than the everyday dorm-mates. I think it’s important to embrace that evolution. 

Pinpointing Priorities in Friendships

Late last year I was interviewed by a magazine, and the reporter asked me about one of the biggest personal changes I’ve noticed in mindset as I get (slightly, lol) older. I remember saying something to the tune of, “I don’t need to be the coolest girl in the room anymore.” I thought about that sentiment as I considered the ebb and flow of friendships throughout our lives. That statement spoke to my changing priorities. Simply put, as I grow, so does my thinking. And honestly, yours probably does too. Growth inevitably leads to a shift, and when it comes to relationships, that can often mean that our friend groups get rearranged.

The Journey From Questioning to Confidence

When you’re younger and less experienced, it’s easy to make assumptions based on a snapshot. It can feel like certain people have it all together. Come on, you know that feeling. You see those women who seem to always be so polished, with perfect hair and perfect clothing. It might even be aspirational! Getting swept up in being a part of the cool crowd is easy when you feel like the whole world revolves around impressions and perceptions. 

As my children have gotten older, my priorities have become crystal clear. I want to provide a beautiful life for my children, ensure my family is healthy, and take care of my own mental health. I care less and less about how I am perceived—especially when it’s based on superficial qualities. I’m way too busy building my empire and loving my family to care about someone else’s version of faux perfection. Does that make me selfish? Perhaps. In my world it makes me focused. When I began identifying the things that were important to me I found that I started attracting the right people. We’ll get into that more later. 

Diversity and Discovery

I was born and raised in Southern California. That, along with my very unique childhood, set the stage for a true appreciation for diversity. I can find people from more cultural backgrounds than I can count just walking around my neighborhood, and I love that. As someone who spent a good deal of my younger years as a child model, on missions trips with my parents, and in one of the most diverse regions of the U.S., it has always been important to surround my children with a mixed bag of people and relationships. Our friend groups today aren’t just ethnically heterogeneous, they are varied in almost every way!

I love that my boys are witnessing their mom have friendships with other moms, with single guys that regularly accompany us on vacations, with business partners, with nannies who become more like family and more. You just meet people along the way at weird points in life who become your tribe. That’s invaluable.

Vulnerability as a Vehicle to Companionship

I mentioned earlier that I worked to build a motherhood community when my kids were very little. Well, once they got older and I became a single working mother with tons of entrepreneurial pursuits, I had less and less time to make friends. I felt secluded. Our life was…different. We traveled the world, even with the kids. I had a different kind of career. We just didn’t play by anyone’s rules! The ways other moms were making friends didn’t work for me. I couldn’t grab a coffee and croissant after carpool, and often, that sort of thing was required in order to maintain social status in those groups. It didn’t take long to realize I simply had no interest in that. So I ditched the shame I felt for not “fitting in”, ignored any judgment and set out to find my own group of “strange” people.

I’ll never forget the night after I hosted one of the first gatherings of Kingsley’s friends at our home. The kids had a blast, and the adults were warm, funny and kind. Interacting with them felt natural and refreshing. I cleaned up, put the boys to bed and settled down with a glass of wine. Deep in introspection, I sent a text to the group of parents. I thanked them for not only making the night a fun time, but also accepting me even though at times I felt like a bad mom who was disconnected from all the happenings while everyone else seemed so plugged in. My vulnerability was met with empathy and understanding. They got it. They got me. They got us

Genuine Connections

Our homeschool hybrid bunch is filled with individuals who have become our trusted tribe. They love the kids, and they have home environments I want my kids to be in. We don’t talk or see each other every single day, but we rely on and confide in one another. I also treasure my legacy friendships with the highschool friends, mom friends and others I’ve met and linked with throughout my journey. We share genuine connections. That’s what I desire from my friendships at this stage in my life. So when friendships start to change, when those who were once so integral become a bit distant, don’t hold on so tightly that you miss what’s on the horizon. It might be exactly what you need. It was for me.


The Best Smart Devices for Your Interior Design

Our needs as humans are constantly changing. And, as our needs evolve, so should the places where we spend the most time: our homes. We can practically create and live in any size house we want nowadays. But here’s a question, though: are we maximizing available options INSIDE our homes? In the 21st century, smart devices are making that easier by the day. I love showing clients all of the technology available for their homes that will make life easier, more efficient, and more sustainable. Here are some of my top considerations.

Smart Lighting

Interior design encompasses so much when it comes to a home. Many people still believe that hiring an interior designer is laborious and expensive. Nothing could be further from the truth! In fact, when it comes to incorporating smart devices into your home design, many options will cost you very little in time and money! One of those options includes utilizing smart bulbs.

In their most basic definition, smart bulbs do more than regular light bulbs in that they can sense and interact automatically with their environments, other users, or technology. And, they can be controlled via voice commands or accessed remotely via a phone or other device. The “smart” technology within lighting has advanced tremendously over the past few years, and it has improved people’s quality of life in a myriad of ways. I appreciate smart bulbs because they’re easy to install—just like regular bulbs. Many of them have the capability of changing colors instantly! This is a great way to complement your decor and even change the aesthetic without altering anything else in your space. With a neutral layout, you could practically have a different color tone every day of the week—or moment in the day!

Some bulbs can even positively impact your health and wellness! I’ve installed circadian lighting in a few projects, and clients have loved them. Circadian lights are designed to control the temperature of lighting to ensure the brain functions its best when the environment is brighter and rests when the environment is dimmer. Unlike the dimming and tuning options of LED lights, circadian lights hit specific light spectrums that regulate functions in the body. This could help you get better sleep, be more productive, or even improve your mood. These lights are smart devices worth looking into if you’re looking for home resources to help regulate your body.

Smart Appliances

Beyond lighting options, your appliances can also be smart devices worthy of incorporating into your home design. While they may possibly be more of an investment, their benefits can greatly increase your home’s look and functionality.

I’m a designer that believes you can never put a price on comfort, especially as it relates to how hot or cold you and your family are in the home. Trane, a leader in heating and air conditioning systems, has some great smart thermostats that enhance temperature regulation in the home. There are so many great benefits of installing a smart thermostat, the first being the ability to control your home temperatures while you’re away from the house. This will allow you to maximize energy when you’re planning to be home and not waste it when you’re away. Some of Trane’s smart devices allow you to program up to four separate temperature schedules to provide comfort all day. Others give you the freedom to create various zones in your home with options to control heat or A/C in each one. Talk about flexibility!

When it comes to smart devices in my home design, I’m most excited about how I will be using smart technology in my kitchen design. My new JennAir range and refrigerator will be the ultimate in smart home innovation. Both the functionality and the visual design of each appliance are fully customizable, so I can practically cater each to my family’s lifestyle. I’ll be able to connect them to my Alexa and Google assistants for voice activation. I can also use temperature probes to detect when food is done without opening the oven. I will also be able to control the temperature, humidity and ventilation of the refrigerator with the touch of a button! How’s THAT for smart technology?

More Eco-friendly Smart Options

I’ve used other smart devices in home projects (and even my own home) that have not only made home and interior design much more enjoyable, but they’ve also helped conserve energy.

I have really enjoyed using Legrand’s switches and outlets in my home for a number of reasons. First, they’re visually stunning! They offer so many options with a modern contemporary feel, a perfect addition in my home decor. But they also offer a host of energy-saving choices that have worked well for me as a designer and mom. Motion and wave lighting sensors ensure all unattended lights are off. I know they will automatically switch off after sensing no one in the room after a certain amount of time. Legrand’s Night Light devices sense changing light and turn on in dark settings. As night turns into day, they turn themselves off. I feel much better about energy efficiency with these additions to my home design.

Water conservation is extremely vital when you live in a place like Los Angeles, so I’ve been keen on using smart devices to help achieve that, also. Thankfully, Kohler has been a leader in innovative plumbing options, and I love so many of their offerings. Can you imagine having a voice-activated faucet that dispenses the EXACT amount of water you need? Hello, Jetsons! But this isn’t the future—this is available for your home design today! Other options include touchless and motion-activated faucets and toilets that use UV light to automatically clean surfaces. It may sound crazy, but it’s all here for you and the home of your dreams!

Not sure where to start? I can help! Let’s chat about what you want and/or need most, and how we can collectively make your home smarter! The future of home design is now, and I’m ready to assist you in bringing your home innovation ideas to life!

Create the Perfect Outdoor Living Space

“Summertime and the livin’ is easy.” While it’s not quite summer yet, spring has made its presence known in a major way! I love it when the warmer temperatures begin to roll in, because for my family and friends it signals the start of all the fun outdoor activities and entertaining we get to do. Of course, one of the keys to enjoying this time of year has to be curating the right environment for the action! If you’re feeling lost on where to start, I’ll outline a few design details that will undoubtedly create the perfect outdoor living space for you and your family.

From Interior to Exterior Design

I get asked a lot about where the trends are headed when it comes to outdoor spaces. I always start by addressing the largest change I’ve seen, and that has everything to do with the frequency and fashion of usage. That’s a cool way to say that we are all designing our exterior spaces around the way we live in new and interesting ways these days. For quite some time, patios, rooftops and decks were relegated to occasional use, mostly for recreational needs. People put basic items there like chairs and maybe a table. But, clients rarely focused much of their budget in these areas. In recent years the outdoor living space has boldly moved from being an afterthought to being a home highlight. As a lover of the outdoors, I can certainly understand why.

Your patio, deck or rooftop isn’t just a random part of your house that you put on the backburner. It’s a feature that can bring great value to your property and enhance your quality of life! I suggest to my clients that they treat these spaces as an extension of their indoor living rooms. Consider the level of care you dedicate to ensuring your living room feels comfortable, inviting and accessible. That’s what we’re seeing more and more in outdoor living spaces, hence the name! Maintaining a continuity in your design style will help with that, so don’t be afraid to let your decor inside influence what you carry over into the outdoor living space.

Seating for Socializing 

I see it all the time. People tend to focus much more on the aesthetic of their spaces than the utility of them. Trust me, I get it. Who doesn’t want a “wow factor” when guests come over? I’ll touch on that later. But for now, let’s tackle one of the most important parts of an outdoor living space: seating. The best way to secure satisfaction for all attendees is to provide adequate seating. But, pay special attention to the layout of the space. You want people to engage with one another and be able to talk without yelling across the patio. Group seating together with that in mind. 

Maximize Convenience For Guests

Another underrated feature of a well-designed outdoor living space has to be the addition of occasional tables. I use these in and outside of my home, because they just make sense! People are usually enjoying food and beverages when they gather outside on a deck, patio or rooftop. Give them a dedicated spot to place their cups and plates. These tables are small, and they come in several different colors and materials to complement any design preference. Remember, comfort and convenience are king when you’re curating these spaces.

Do you have an outdoor kitchen? Many people are designing their homes around them, and for good reason! They not only look luxe, they help outdoor entertaining go that much more smoothly. Here’s a tip many often fail to consider: don’t forget about the cook! I have designed more kitchens than I can count. I always recommend configurations that allow the person in the kitchen to be a part of the action. A good rule of thumb is to arrange furniture in such a way that the various zones can “talk” to one another. For an outdoor living space with a kitchen, consider a bar-top or seating area that you can position close to the cook’s domain. This way that person is able to whip up delicious food while still interacting with the rest of the party.

An Aesthetically Pleasing Outdoor Living Space

How do you feel when you walk outside and stand in your outdoor living space? If it doesn’t make you want to sit and spend an abundance of time there, it might be time for a refresh! Make these spaces your own. Infuse them with your personality, and take pride in the way they appear. One of the easiest ways to do this is to incorporate accent decor items that make the area beautiful. I love brass, and outdoor spaces are perfect for large brass planters. I get mine from T.J. Maxx or Marshalls. Decorate these areas the way you would your indoor living room. Colorful cushions, patterned rugs and pretty lanterns all add attractive touches to the space that give it a cozy vibe.

But the fun shouldn’t stop there. Have you dressed your table? If not, this is one of the easiest ways to make a great impression with your outdoor living space! A textured table runner can cover a significant amount of surface and still leave room for other decorative elements. Tableware is where you can really add vibrance and intensity. Turn up the dynamism with brightly colored chargers, plates and napkins. Don’t forget the power of greenery! Small accents like these are sure to catch the eye of your guests and make for a memorable experience. 

Spring and summer give us bountiful opportunities to relish in the sunshine and savor the great outdoors. Don’t miss it! Create an outdoor living space that fills you with delight and then take advantage of the amazing space you’ve designed! You’ll be glad you did.


Child Development: Dance Parties and Building Community

Do you actively invest in your children’s social wellbeing? I think most parents would like to believe they do. It’s hard to do that which you cannot define. The University of Nebraska Omaha says social wellness “involves building healthy, nurturing, and supportive relationships as well as fostering a genuine connection with those around you.” Quite simply, child development is much more than just what happens in the classroom. Our relationships with others can often play a huge role in determining our happiness and contentment. Today, we will look at what that means for children and how building community benefits everyone.

Lessons in Diversity

For many families diversity is a concept that must be taught. For mine, diversity was the only thing we knew! You may or may not be aware that I am a biracial woman who was transracially adopted at birth. My parents are white, and besides my brother and sister, so are most of my other family members. So while we had conversations about the topic, diversity was something that felt perfectly normal to me. When I bought our current house in Venice Beach, California, I looked forward to living close to the water, but the intermingling of people from all walks of life and ethnicities was a huge plus. 

I’ve always wanted my boys to grow up around both people who looked like them as well as those who don’t. Surrounding yourself with so many different types of people allows children an opportunity to learn about various cultures and to gain a respect for them. So many global problems begin with xenophobia at the root. I want my sons to know that different is not synonymous with “bad.” Everyone from everywhere has something to contribute. We celebrate differences in my household.

The Role of Social Skills in Child Development

My sons are in a hybrid learning program that involves a mix of traditional in-classroom learning as well as a series of other types of classes and learning modules with a small group of kids their ages. I am intentional about creating an environment outside of the classroom and school hours where my boys and their friends can gather for fun activities and playtime. If you follow me on Instagram, you will undoubtedly catch glimpses of my infamous dance parties that usually feature guest DJs, catered kid-friendly foods, and LOTS of little ones dancing (or hopping around, lol) to the beat of their own drums. We have a blast

Of course I want the kiddos to have fun. But, that’s not the only purpose of these gatherings. Providing a safe space for my boys and their buddies to hang out creates opportunities for their friendships to form and grow. An underrated part of child development involves acquiring “soft skills.” Soft skills include things like cooperation, collaboration, patience and more. I know that my boys will learn literacy, math and science in school. It’s just as important to me that they learn to be kind, to have empathy for others, and be overall good humans. These fun days at our home with their friends aid in those lessons.

The Case for Community

It has always been paramount to me that my sons have a good sibling relationship. I want them to be able to count on each other throughout their lives. But no man is an island. We are all stronger when we’re together. Gathering with friends lets my children see examples of healthy, well-adjusted relationships. I want them to understand that they belong to a community of people who care for and about them. When children develop healthy attachments, they grow up to be emotionally mature adults. Under my supervision, my boys regularly get to interact with trustworthy adults who model positive behaviors and habits. I love that Kingsley and Kensi know that they are supported not just by family members, but by members of the community who also appreciate the qualities and talents my boys bring to our little group.

Child development is well studied and documented, but I don’t think there is a one-size-fits-all approach. We are tackling it from all angles, and yes, sometimes that means hosting elaborate dance parties with cotton candy, lego projects and disco lighting. If you have the ability to, create spaces for these moments—big or small, between friends to exist. In building community we build stronger, healthier individuals as well. And that, to me, is an essential part of child development.  

Sustainable Design for Beginners

Author Robert Swan was quoted as saying, “The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.” That’s frightening to me, but it’s scarier when I consider that sentiment with my children and future generations in mind. As I think about Swan’s statement, I get more motivated to make a positive impact on our planet by incorporating sustainable design into all of my projects. At the same time, I realize new designers and home enthusiasts may be unfamiliar with the small steps they can take to be more eco-friendly. If you’ve been equally curious and intimidated about what many are referring to as “going green” as it relates to interior design, I’m here to help! Here are some sustainable design tips to help you beautify your home AND be more mindful of our quickly-depleting natural resources.

Educate Yourself

There’s so much to learn in this ever-changing landscape of sustainable design and home decor. One of the best things you can do is to educate yourself on what sustainability means in this industry. A great resource you can use, in my opinion, is the Sustainable Furnishings Council website. SFC’s mission is “to help companies reduce their environmental footprint, and to help consumers find healthier products and design services.” And, as luck would have it, right now you are reading the blog of an official SFC Ambassador!

I made it a point early in my career as an interior designer to discover what it means to incorporate sustainable design into home decor. I promise once you begin your journey to minimizing waste and using resources responsibly, you’ll get hooked on the creative ways you can reduce your carbon footprint, both in the aesthetic of your home and in the world.

Be Picky with Your Products

When it comes to the way things are made, you may not be able to control how environmentally conscious manufacturers are with respect to their products. Choosing whether to purchase their offerings or not, however, IS within your control. As a mindful consumer looking to incorporate sustainable design, you have the right to be picky about what you buy for your home. So make it your business to let manufacturers know your priorities!

Some people believe what you don’t know won’t hurt you. That’s not true when it comes to your home decor. Not only do many home products contain carcinogenic chemicals, but some of them are also even bioaccumulative. Perhaps you’ve heard them referred to as “forever chemicals.” That’s because these substances get absorbed but not excreted. These chemicals can be found in paint finishes, mattresses, rugs and fabrics, upholstered furniture, doorknobs, wallpaper and flooring. Get an understanding of what these unsafe chemicals are. Then, ask intentional questions when you shop at your local manufacturers and decor stores. They should be able to tell you if their suppliers use these chemicals in their products so that you can make more informed decisions.

Reduce and Reuse Resources

Here’s an easy way to begin focusing on sustainable design in your home: don’t buy anything! Well, not at first. Chances are you have a treasure trove of items already in your home that can transform your space. Consider shopping your own stash before you go out and purchase MORE furniture or decor. Recycling furniture or resources can help alleviate waste if done mindfully. Besides, if you’re like many of my clients, you likely have a room or two in your home that needs a refresh. Maybe that gorgeous credenza would look better in the dining room instead of the entryway? I encourage clients to play “musical furniture” all the time when house boredom sets in. Turns out, this is just as helpful for the planet as it is for the visual appeal of your space!

Please know that I aim to practice what I preach. Case in point, I designed a restaurant in LA where, instead of buying a new table, I created one from reclaimed wood and embellished it with a brass border. It had so much character, and it became a stunning focal point in the space. You don’t have to be a seasoned designer or environmentalist to achieve a similar result. It’s easier than you think to find businesses that source materials locally. Many of them only sell reclaimed materials. Consider checking out those options before you buy.

Seek Out Local Thrift Shops

Another easy way to incorporate sustainable design is to shop at antique shops or thrift stores. Doing so can help keep some cash in your pockets, which is always good. But, it can also help save gently loved home decor from filling up landfills unnecessarily. Simply making the choice to reuse home decor can positively impact the environment. You’re probably already infusing sustainable design in your home and not even realizing it!

There’s so much more you can do, but these are some initial ideas to get your creative juices flowing in the right direction. Remember, we only have one Earth to live on. Taking care of it isn’t just important, it’s vital! We are acting on our planet moment by moment with almost every decision we make. While we may never be perfect with our attempts, we can definitely aim to make progress. Lasting, significant, positive change is what we’re after. Don’t be intimidated by sustainable design. If you’re still unsure about what you can do specifically in your home, I’m here to help! Schedule an appointment with me, and let’s take a look at your space together and make a plan to design sustainably in your home.

Declutter Your Home and Organize Your Life!

Spring cleaning could be considered an American tradition. Everyone talks about making changes in their homes as the season approaches. But honestly, you don’t have to wait until the weather warms up to declutter your home. It’s normal for us all to collect things in and around our homes…and then get tired of what we’ve collected. Well, if you’re ready for a fresh take on your home space, I have a few simple but effective tips to help you with your organizational goals!

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

The biggest issue with most people’s plans for home cleaning is getting overwhelmed. There’s so much stuff, so much space, and no thoughts on where to start. It happens to the best of us. When you want to declutter your home, here’s the biggest key: Take. Your. Time.

Unless your cleaning is coming on the heels of a last-minute family visit, there’s no rush to get it done. And, aside from the satisfaction of having it completed, there’s no prize for finishing in record time. Don’t allow the task to upset you. YOU determine the pace at which things get accomplished. So make a plan to declutter your home one corner at a time.

What does that look like? Well, let’s say you’ve allowed things to accumulate in your living room area. Instead of trying to do everything at one time, try cleaning things on the main coffee table. That’s it. Then, work on dusting the entertainment center the next day. That’s it! Step-by-step your cleaning. You’ll have a spotless room—and home—in no time!

A Dedicated Place in Every Space

It happens to the best of us: mail and pieces of paper accumulate all over our homes. Before you know it, there are piles of documents, bills and miscellaneous mailings stacked here and there. They may be things we don’t want to get rid of, but there isn’t a dedicated space for them. As you declutter your home, this is the perfect time to find a place for the documents that enter the house.

An easy solution is to find an unobtrusive area that can house your important pieces of mail. That can be a specific drawer in an office or kitchen desk. Or, they can be stored neatly in an ottoman or another piece of furniture. In my home, I intentionally purchase furniture that does double duty as storage. For instance, I have a piece in my bedroom that, at a first glance, looks like a beautiful mirrored chest of drawers. However, when opened up, it has a hidden filing system that can be easily locked. Important documents aren’t open for everyone to see, and their storage doesn’t negatively impact my home decor.

Re-evaluate Your Collections

After being in your home for so many years, it can feel as if you’ve outgrown home spaces like your kitchen. What’s more, it may even feel like you have no room for anything new. But here’s a reality check: might you have things collected and taking up space that you aren’t using? Your first response is most likely, “of course not!” Think again.

While making plans to declutter your home, I challenge you to take 20 minutes to go through, say, your kitchen cabinets. Then take account of the items you ACTUALLY use. If you have a family of three or four, do you actually need those 10 coffee mugs? How about those 15 different bowls? What about all of the souvenir plastic cups you collected throughout the years of traveling? And the five workout tumblers? Do you REALLY need those shot glasses you had 20 years ago in college?

Maybe you could go through your sock drawer. Are you missing sock matches, or do some of them have holes? How about your graphic tee collection: do they all fit? Better yet, do you ACTUALLY wear them all? Keeping a few sentimental pieces is okay, but only a few. Take inventory of the things that are just occupying space in your home, and purge what isn’t getting used. If you’re serious and honest with yourself, you’ll make space throughout your home storage areas, and you’ll declutter your home in no time!

Look Again—A Different Way

Did you know something as simple as shifting your perspective can help you declutter your home? It’s true!  Decor blind spots are a real thing, and we all have our various tastes and biases to create them. Here’s another challenge for you: try reevaluating your space as if you were a visitor to your home. Is your decor balanced? Are the larger-scaled elements complemented with smaller decor? These are things you might miss if you don’t shift your eye’s paradigm with your interior design.

If you’re working on getting rid of clutter in your home, this is a good time to make sure you haven’t stuffed decor trinkets and tchotchkes in places that don’t really serve a purpose. You can create a cleaner look by letting go of these if you have them in your decor. Consider if those elements are doing what you thought they would in the space and achieving the result you want. Do they match your personal design style? What are they adding to the overall look and feel of the room? If you shift your perspective and realize there are more shabby chic elements in spaces you wanted to be more modern, it is definitely time to reassess.

Decluttering your home can be so rewarding, both in the physical space and for the mental and emotional space of the homeowner. If you want a different perspective on how you’ve arranged things in your home space, I am here to help! I’ve owned several homes and designed more spaces than I can count! I’d love to help you determine if your home space is configured best for your needs. Reach out to me on The Expert, and let’s bring new organization to your home today!

Creating Timeless Interior Design

If you’ve made it to my website, you are likely already an interior design enthusiast. You’re certainly in the right place. In my corner of the internet we explore all aspects of the subject. And, we help you achieve the desired result in your space, both in tips and even with virtual one-on-one chats with yours truly! I love all things design, because it pushes me to find new and unique ways to not only make a space beautiful, but also to improve upon its functionality. But, even as we talk about what’s new and trending, one thing is forever, and that’s timeless interior design. There are just some elements that will always ensure your home stuns and delights. If that’s what you’re after, I have the tips you need!

Be Inspired By Nature

You’ve likely heard it before, and that’s because it’s sage advice. Everyone from songwriters to painters to jewelers and even perfumers have attested to being inspired by nature in some way during their creative processes. Interior designers are no different. It’s tough to look at all the texture, patterning and colors of the earth and not want to find creative ways to emulate it. The good news is, timeless interior design almost always incorporates organic elements in various ways! 

One of the best ways to ensure your space will never fall victim to outdated trends is to consider natural materials when selecting elements for the larger surfaces of your home. It doesn’t quite get more luxurious and classic than stone. Think about the ancient streets of Italy. There’s a reason they’re paved with stone and still look regal after all this time. Consider stone (whether manmade or organic) for your countertops, flooring and backsplashes. If you’re looking to introduce the essence of the great outdoors in simpler ways, I’d recommend using furniture featuring beautiful woods or rattan. There’s something undeniably soothing about tables, chairs and credenzas made of stunning oak, walnut, mahogany and more. These items bring a richness to the space that you just can’t fake with counterfeit counterparts.

Classic Color Choices

If you know me, you likely already know what I’m going to say about color selection. And, it’s true! Neutrals will never go out of style. I know there’s a school of thought that believes white walls or white kitchens have had their moment and now they’re on the way out. The truth is, whites, grays, blacks and browns will always be stylish. I think embracing a neutral as a base and accenting it with pops of color is an ideal way to ensure your home always feels current. The other key to nailing neutrals is adding metallics! Whether you’re a fan of bronze, gold or silver, this is your sign to look for them in your accent decor pieces that adorn your mantel, in your lighting fixtures and even in the trim of your furniture. Metallics instantly elevate design without trying too hard. You can look back at various eras of interior design and see that almost all of them involve the use of metallics in some way. Simply put, neutrals and metallics will stand the test of time.

A Global State of Mind

One of my favorite ways to create timeless interior design is to think in layers. What does that mean, you ask? Never feel like you have to be rigid in your decor choices. Clients are often concerned that mixing styles will result in a thrown together hodgepodge kind of a look. That couldn’t be further from the truth! When I styled my bathroom, I used Moroccan pieces mixed with Italian elements and more. I think you create a much more dynamic space when you layer styles and types of design and decor.


Think about incorporating pieces that feel traveled. There’s nothing quite like walking into someone’s home and seeing magnificent pieces that look like they have stories to tell! Markets and antique shops are excellent places to get these finds! But, you can also easily find contemporary pieces that just feature prints and patterns from far away lands. Don’t let these slip through your fingers.

Prioritize Quality

Perhaps one of the most overlooked parts of creating timeless interior design is neglecting to consider the quality of the items you use in the styling of your home. I know, I know. It can be tempting to grab that cheap piece that looks so good in the moment. But those items will show their quality deficits over time. Not every single piece in your home has to have an exorbitant price tag. But when you’re buying larger items, especially ones that will be used frequently, the splurge is worth it. Don’t cheap out on your dining room table, your sofa or recliner or large surfaces in the home (counters, wallpaper, etc). You’ll never regret owning high quality pieces that will last as long as you want them to in your space.

Timeless interior design doesn’t have to look the same in everyone’s home. It can be as diverse as we are as a people. The key is discovering the colors, styles and items that will continue to be beautiful and elegant as the trend du jour enters and leaves the scene, over and over again. I would love to help you find your personal style that will feel classic for years to come! Book a virtual consultation and let’s get started!


Refresh Your Interior Design For Less!

The idea of renovating a home can seem or feel extremely daunting. “Renovation” has the connotation of construction trucks, demolition and months of displacement. While that can generally be true, sometimes making a change in your interior decor doesn’t take all of that. You can refresh your interior design in creative, innovative and very inexpensive ways, and I’m here to show you how!

Tackle Your Wall Design

Walking into any interior space, and you’ll recognize no two rooms have the same physical decor. What all rooms have in common, though, are walls. An easy way to refresh your interior design is to add some personality to the walls. If you think about it, most people don’t think about the actual walls when it comes to visual impact. You can change that without a great deal of time or money spent.

A quick and dirty tip? Never underestimate the impact a single wall can make. People typically assume redoing a space with paint means painting the entire perimeter of the room. Not so! Whether you use one paint color on the wall or if you incorporate an ombre design, accent walls bring significant visual interest to interior spaces without overdoing it. Or, you can bring visual AND physical interest by adding texture to your wall.

Adding artwork to an empty wall can also make a huge difference when looking to refresh your interior design. Large prints, custom art and even your own kids’ framed art create visual centerpieces in a room. These work especially well if they stand out on a neutral backdrop. Hanging art involves minimal costs for maximum impact. Such is the same with wallpaper! Though some may say wallpaper isn’t as inexpensive as painting, there are some really amazing peel-and-stick wallpapers that are easy to apply and very long-lasting! Plus, they work well for renters, as they aren’t permanent. If you’re a wallpaper fan, stay tuned for details about my own line in the works! No matter which you choose, these options for wall design can take your interior space to the next level!

Do Something New With Accent Decor

Your foundational pieces will always be your most expensive ones. I’m referring to the splurge-worthy purchases: that couch you had to have, the amazing dining room table made from reclaimed wood you’ve had your eye on, or that antique credenza you’re looking to buy. These are the pieces you will keep around forever. Chances are, though, you won’t replace those pieces for years to come. When you’re ready to refresh your interior design, consider accent pieces that are usually far less expensive and easier to swap out.

These options include updating throw pillows for your furniture. Changing these out allows you to bring various pops of color into your decor effortlessly. You can also choose different shapes, sizes and other textures to add a new visual dimension to your interior’s look. Changing these out seasonally is a great way to consistently refresh your interior design and keep a new look in your home space.

Think about switching out the decorative decor that sits atop your fireplace mantel. Styling mantels is so much fun; everything you use on them is so mobile, they can be changed based on your mood! And, practically anything works! Go for plants, photos, vintage art, modern pops of metallics…it’s all fair game! Finally, changing out lamps or lighting fixtures in a room can give you a completely different visual feel. Choose a different height, metal or material of your fixture for a small but significant change in your space. What’s more, this change can even impact the reflection of light. This can bring a different feel in your space, also. Doing more with less is very doable with simple changes in your accent decor.

Lay Out New Linen

If the bedroom is the place you want to refresh your interior design, look no further than your linen. Getting a new comforter or duvet is super easy and inexpensive! And, it will bring a huge change to the most significant piece of furniture in the space. Perhaps you’re looking for a new “something” in the bathroom. People tend to forget about updating their towels when they think about changing their interior decor. It can make a serious difference if you have decorative towels displayed in your bathroom, or if you have more functional towels folded within eyesight.

We all know towels don’t last forever. They get frayed edges and holes, and generally start to look dull if they’re out for periods of time. Towels need to be updated if they stay in eyesight and are used time and time again. A quick purchase of new, pristine, frosty white towels will work wonders for your bathroom decor. And, because white can convey cleanliness and simplicity, fresh linen will positively impact the emotional appeal of what should be your personal spa space.

It really doesn’t take much money to refresh your interior design. It doesn’t even have to take a ton of effort. Beauty is in the details, and you control what those details are in your home. When we feel like a refresh means “go big or go home,” we can look over the small things that can make a huge difference. Consider some of these changes one room at a time, and watch the natural transformation you make with your home decor!

Family Photography in Elevated Interior Design

Someone once said “a photograph is the pause button of life.” I can’t think of a better way to describe the power of capturing beautiful moments. When you become a mom, the obsession with taking photos of everything your child does, every milestone and every experience, grows exponentially. I think the same happens as we age. Memories take on a new meaning and new importance. It’s tempting to plaster our sweet photos all over the home for everyone to see. But, have you ever visited someone’s house and felt like you’d just walked into a life-sized scrapbook? It doesn’t exactly scream sophistication. So, exactly how can we display our family photography and maintain elevated interior design? I’m glad you asked. Let’s talk about it!

Family Photography on a Gallery Wall

One of the best and probably most common ways to display your family photography is by creating a gallery wall. But there are right and wrong ways to do it if you’re looking to create a curated space. The first thing to determine is scale. How large is the space you’re working with? If you have a huge wall and you hang four 5×7 prints on it, the wall will appear unbalanced. Gallery walls require a “go big or go home” approach. Remember, you’re after the look of an art gallery. Think about the most effective way to exhibit your photos for viewers who aren’t you. You want guests to be able to walk by the wall and appreciate the moments you’ve highlighted. For this reason, bigger is usually better as long as your wall has the right dimensions for it.

Another thing to keep in mind is uniformity. If your goal is to create a wall with coordinating prints, using the same frame can greatly increase the beauty of the grouping. If you plan to go with a “similar but not identical” approach, ensure the frame theme is distinct. For instance, if you use all antique frames, don’t include one random modern one. Or, if you plan to use various shades of brass, adhere to that hue throughout the gallery wall. A cohesive, clean effect is what we’re going for when we use gallery walls for family photography.

Get Picky With Placement

If you’re like me, your phone, computer and other devices are full of photos you’ve taken of your loved ones. I’ve even commissioned independent artists to turn a photo into a customized painting! When we go to actually print these gorgeous shots, where do we put them? I mean, sure you could simply set them on any available surface and call it a day. But, if you want the space to feel carefully designed, you’ll need to be more intentional than that. I recommend seeking unique ways to present your photos. I love the use of floating shelves. You can mount them in an otherwise empty space, and it instantly becomes an accent wall! One of the biggest benefits of using shelving in this way, is that you can house several photos in one place without a cluttered or haphazard look. You definitely create a featured visual library with this method.

When you’re brainstorming places for your family photography, don’t be afraid to try atypical locations in your home. I love using hallways to display photographs. Stairway walls are also excellent places to position photos. Everyone has to walk through these areas; why not give them something sweet to view? 

Make it Personal

I recently shared a tour of my home on my social media, and I spoke about one of my favorite hacks for family photography. I like to hide individual photos in books so they fall out and start conversation when my guests come to visit! While that’s not a choice that would work for everyone, the sentiment can! Family photos are personal mementos. They’re meant to callback pleasant memories from years ago and tell a story. When you’re incorporating family photography in elevated design, don’t shy away from making it interactive. 

I love using entryway tables to house photos, because it turns into an artistic moment that will undoubtedly catch the eye of all who enter. Arrange photos in stunning frames around florals and other decorative elements. Your home should display bits of your personality. By configuring your photography this way, you give others a chance to notice it, go pick the frames up for a closer look, and ask questions. Isn’t that what we hope for when we capture these special moments with our cameras? 

Family photography deserves to be seen and felt. But not at the expense of your perfectly designed space. Keep your refined home looking and feeling polished with these tips. You’ll never miss an opportunity to both wow with your design and pull at heartstrings!