Posts belonging to Category Gaining Clarity



ARE YOU STALLING?

“Ambivalence – is the liminal point between the problem and the solution.”

 

It’s that point of uncertainty, when you’re not sure what to do next and perhaps terrified of making a mistake.

Let’s say you’ve been thinking about a kitchen remodel, or are toying with the idea of re-decorating your home.

Let’s also say you’re feeling overwhelmed by the details and not sure where to even begin.

Could be you’re stalling.

A few days ago, I was talking to a couple of friends, both interior designers. The one friend is planning to remodel her townhouse and is brimming with new ideas.

She’s a designer, after all.

Still, she’s not sure where to begin.

She’s stalling for time.

The intentions are usually good.

Still, you might be feeling stuck, not sure what to do with the old furniture for starters.

(It’s a classic case of “Designer’s Own Dilemma”) .

For many of us, that is the BIG question,  i.e  what to do with the old furniture?

Do we donate it, sell it or give away?

And to whom?

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THE ‘AMUSE-BOUCHE’ OF YOUR HOME

Are you familiar with the term ‘amuse-bouche’?

Normally experienced in a restaurant setting, an amuse-bouche is a single, bite-sized hors d’oeuvre – complements of the chef .

Its purpose is to tickle your taste buds and whet your appetite for what’s to come.

If you think about it, the entryway to your home is a kind of amuse-bouche, although you aren’t likely to see it described in that manner in any publications on interior design.

Why do I say this?

Let’s explore the purpose of the Entry, and you will see what I mean. The Entryway is:

  • A place to enter the home
  • A place to receive visitors

Here’s what else the Entry is meant to do:

  • Say something about the people who live there, by suggesting their interests and personalities
  • Be warm and inviting, so visitors feel welcomed.
  • Offer a hint of ‘what’s to come’

 

Do you see the connection?

In my own home, the Entry is pleasant enough, although fairly typical in size and furnishings – with a low ceiling, a small table, a mirror and a closet for hanging coats.

Yet one is immediately aware of an immense space around the corner, and the furnishings in the next room that definitely say something about me and my family.

Now, if you’re like me and your home has an attached garage, it’s a whole different story.

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WHAT I’VE LEARNED FROM TV SITCOMS

Many years ago, I snapped a random photograph of my young son standing on the beach in Hawaii.

When my photos came back from the printers, I was surprised to find that not only did I capture him by the water’s edge – but also his shadow in the water.

Inadvertently, I’d even captured his shadow on the sand!

It was uncanny.

I called the photo “Ashley 3Ways” –because I’d unintentionally captured three different aspects of him.

I was thinking about that photo a few days ago while watching The Big Bang Theory on TV.

Have you ever watched that show?

It’s entertaining, in a goofy kind of way – ideal for those times when only something lighthearted will do.

What I noticed about several of the main characters – who all live in the same building, by the way – is that each apartment appears to be identical in layout.

Maybe the floor plan is flipped, but the layout is still the same.

Yet each of their homes looks entirely different from the other.

It’s a little like that photograph – you’re seeing the same thing, but in three distinctly different ways.

In this case, their homes tell a story about their respective characters.

The set designer (as opposed to, say, an interior designer) personalized the space by choosing furnishings which perfectly encompass what each of the characters represents.

(It is a TV sitcom, after all).

For example, in one apartment, you have Sheldon & Leonard, two physics nerds who work together and also share an apartment.

Their home reflects a typical bachelor pad, with leather furnishings, electronics and a subdued, masculine palette of brown and black that says “men live here”.

Across the hall we have Penny, a bubbly blond who lends a much needed feminine touch – and her apartment reflects that.

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HAVE YOU CLEANSED YOUR HOME?

We hear a lot about Cleansing and Detoxing the body.

But have you ever considered a Cleanse for the home?

It’s the same idea, really.

You’re getting rid of the old to make way for the new.

A friend recently suggested that I read a book called “Soul Space” and I wanted to share this with you because I’ve been absolutely captivated by it.

I think it’s a must read for everyone – plus, it so closely resembles my own design philosophy, it’s uncanny.

You see, a few weeks ago, if anyone had asked, I would have said there are very few things in my home I don’t love.

The idea of celebrating the beauty around you and surrounding yourself with things you love is something I’ve written about many times.

After all, it’s a key step in writing you Bio.

(You know, the one that’s written without words).

Until I read this book, I never thought twice about the living room chair that I ‘inherited’ from a former retail space – along with the business – when a former business partner and I parted ways.

So here’s the thing.

I don’t love that chair.

Do I use it?

No.

It’s too big and deep for me, and I avoid sitting in it whenever possible.

When you look at it that way, it’s kind of silly to keep it, isn’t it?

Do you have anything similar to that in your own home?

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IS DESIGNER IN A BOX FOR YOU?

If you’ve been reading my blog lately, then you know that I’ve been gearing up to launch my brand new Interior Design Program DESIGNER IN A BOX.

And I’m guessing you have some questions.

Perhaps the most pressing one – correct me if I’m wrong – is this:

How do you know if Designer in a Box is right for you?

Well, here’s a hypothetical scenario:

Let’s say you’ve decided to redecorate your living room and create a space that is invitingly cozy and comfortable and reflects everything you are passionate about.

So, you head over to your favorite big-box furniture store that is currently having a big Sale.

An eager and attentive salesperson comes to your aid, and ultimately convinces you to buy a beautiful white, leather sofa.

You are certain this is exactly what you need.

A few days later, the sofa is delivered to your home.

You’re surprised to learn that it is a little large for the space – you thought it was such a perfect fit!

And while you still think the sofa is attractive, you’re not quite so sure anymore that you’ve made the correct choice.

So you call your mother, and some friends.

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INTRODUCING: DESIGNER IN A BOX!

Are you ready to create the home of your dreams?  

Well, what if I told you there is now a fabulous on-line tool that can help you do just that?

I’m thrilled to announce my brand new Interior Design program – DESIGNER IN A BOX – the Ultimate DIY Course for designing your own home!

A little over a year ago, I came up with the idea to introduce an Interior Design program in the form of an on-line tutorial.

“Wouldn’t it be great,” I thought, “To have an on-line tool that helps you design the home of your dreams?”

The creative wheels have been turning ever since.

It’s moments like these that remind me why I created this program in the first place. 

It’s because I truly believe everyone deserves to have a beautiful home!

Not only that, I believe access to professional interior design advice should be readily available and affordable to anyone.

In order to do this, I realized I would be sharing a lot of information that includes not just the A,B,C’s of interior design but also insider tips, worksheets and plenty of personal advice.

I specifically tailored this Home Study Course towards anyone who is a little more “hands on”, preferring to handle much of the design work yourself while having access to professional advice along the way.

My intention with this program is just that – to help you create a beautiful home that supports and nourishes you in every aspect of your life.

So, how do you know if Designer in a Box is right for you?

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LISTEN TO YOUR HEART

The dental assistant had a question.       

“Is Teal in?”she wanted to know.

She went on to explain that she wanted to repaint her Master Bedroom and the color teal really appealed to her.

She just wasn’t sure it was the “in” color to use.

While I generally don’t hand out free advice, I couldn’t resist this one. I told her to forget what colors are “in” and paint her bedroom whatever favorite color she wanted.

It was her bedroom, after all!

A few days later, another acquaintance was lamenting the large amount of dark wood in her home – dark oak floors, kitchen and bathroom cabinets, and walls.

Her husband had suggested painting them.

“But,” she wondered aloud, “What happens if ten years from now dark wood is again back in style?”

She wasn’t asking my opinion, so I didn’t provide it, but here’s the thing.

Fads are just that.

They come and go.

What your heart and your gut are telling you – that’s what you want to pay attention to!

Your home needs to be about you and the things you love.

Whether you love teal, or your home is too dark and you want to lighten things up, I say – go for it!

Here’s another example.

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5 WAYS TO SHIFT THE ENERGY IN YOUR OFFICE

A recent article on creating Harmony in ones’ work place, has inspired today’s musings.

If you’ve ever considered how you might improve the energy in your workspace – whether or not your office is in your home – these simple design suggestions will give you something to think about.

By no means are these ideas limited to just your office – you can apply this to any place in your home.

 

Do Aim for Clean, Uncluttered Surfaces

We don’t always realize how important it is to have our work areas impeccably organized, with a designated place for everything to be stored.

The tendency is to have little piles on our desk, each one representing a portion of our To Do list for the next day.

Do you really tackle each of those little piles on a daily basis?

I know I don’t.

And yet, I’m fearful of storing things away, being very guilty of an “out of sight, out of mind” mentality.

Here’s the thing, though:  according to Chinese Feng Shui, having too many things on your work surface can impede the flow of energy, or chi.

There is a lot of truth in this ancient wisdom, so take heed.

Clear up your work surfaces, and find a home for all your knickknacks and unnecessary items.

Even better, be sure to extend the effort to every area of your home that tends to collect stuff – be it your kitchen, your favorite coffee table with stacks of magazines and clippings, or a bathroom counter.

Make it a habit to breathe new life into your living and work spaces, each and every day.

 

Don’t Turn Your Back on the Door

From a purely logical standpoint, it simply feels more comfortable to have a clear view of your office door, so you can see what is going on.

This one simple act can eliminate the sense of someone sneaking up on you from behind.

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HOW TO HANDLE ADVERSITY WITH FLAIR

My son recently told me this story about his paternal grandfather, who was returning home to England after a short trip.

Seems the elderly gentleman had a bag of pomegranates in hand when he passed through Security at London’s Heathrow Airport.

“You can’t bring fruit into the country” he was told.

He couldn’t bear the thought of having to part with his beloved fruit, but knew he didn’t have a choice. He felt defeated.

Then suddenly he had an idea.

“I want to eat them”, he said, “Is there a place where I could sit?”

The security officer directed him to a chair. The grandfather sat down and proceeded to eat the pomegranates.

This struck me as particularly funny because he had a total of 20 pomegranates!

Plus, he is a man of very slight build, who gives the impression that a gust of wind might blow him over.

Yet, he sat there and ate the pomegranates.

All twenty of them.

I had to admire his tenacity.

It seems that when faced with adversity there are two basic personality types. There are those that simply give up and throw in the towel.

Then there are those who get creative.

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RIVER MUSINGS

The fish were jumping at the river this past weekend.   

Most of the time, I wasn’t quick enough to see them jump, being pre-occupied with other things.

Momentarily distracted.

Instead, I saw the splash as their plump bodies landed in the water, sending out a ever widening ring of circles.

I’ve been noticing lately, how much more of life is taken in when I choose to be mindful of what is happening around me.

And yet, from day to day, it is so easy to be caught up in the business of Life and NOT notice.

Perhaps you’ve experienced these same moments of  “Oh, I missed it…”  whatever “it” might be.

The warmth of the sun, perhaps, during these early days of Fall – a touch of summer still hanging in the air.

Or perhaps it’s the comforts of home that are taken for granted. Of course, this means different things to different people.

It could be as simple as a comfortable bed to snuggle into at night, along with a warm quilt or another body next to you.

It could be a home-cooked meal, with ingredients fresh from the Farmer’s Market or perhaps a spa-like master bath, that envelopes you in luxury and pampering.

Sometimes all we need is the familiarity of a favorite chair, or the simple joy we feel from seeing our favorite colors.

Do you surround yourself each and every day with small things that give you pleasure?

Do you take the time to notice?