Posts belonging to Category HOLISTIC HOME



Are Your Kids Missing School?

Allergy ConceptDid you know that asthma in children is on the rise, resulting in a lot of missed school days?

(According to the latest statistics, more than 25 million people are affected.)

That’s a lot!

The likely culprit might surprise you even more – toxins in the environment.

Yes, you read that correctly.

The rise in asthma has been specifically correlated to a group of chemicals commonly referred to as VOC’s. (That stands for Volatile Organic Compounds).

Even the word volatile sounds scary, doesn’t it?

You might be wondering what that even means.

Well, you know how, when food has gone bad, it typically has a rather awful smell?

Think of VOC’s in the environment as being the household equivalent to rotten food.

So, just as you wouldn’t eat food that has obviously seen better days (gluten-free, or not) you really don’t want to surround yourself with chemicals that poison the air you breathe.

In fact, we now know that indoor air pollution can actually be 50% worse than outdoor air.

(more…)

‘TIS THE SEASON

Recently, I wrote about the giving of gifts, and my fascination with the Japanese scroll.

The Japanese scroll, as you may recall, reveals itself just like a gift when removed from the custom box it has been stored in.

A home can reveal itself in very much the same way.

If you think about it, just the act of entering someone’s home can feel like a ceremony.

As you move from room to room the house will continue to reveal itself.

There could be a pleasant surprise around any corner, maybe even the kind that takes your breath away.

“Oh, what a beautiful room!” we’ve all been known to say at one time or another.

This is one reason why both designers and architects will typically hold back with their design.

We don’t want to overpower your senses all at once.

We want you to take things in a little bit at a time, and take a moment to savor the design before revealing the next surprise.

So take a moment to to ask yourself  – what is the first impression visitors have when they enter your home?

Let’s start with the Entry.

The main entrance to your abode should always say something about the person who lives there, i.e. YOU, so the question is – what do you want your entry to say about you?

You can emphasize either your decorating style, or your personal interests, thus setting the tone for the rest of your home.

(more…)

RULES FOR A COLOR PARTY

Last week, I shared a rather unique concept in “Have Yourself a Color Party”.

(If you haven’t already read that article, you might want to click here).

This is all about creating a Color Scheme, something that is fairly basic to almost any home design project.

Yet, how does one create a Color Scheme?

Broken down to it’s essence, it’s a simple matter of knowing which colors to invite to the “party”!

And yes, there are Rules.

 

Purchase a Color Wheel

A color wheel is a handy tool that can be purchased at any art supply store.

This is a great resource for educating yourself on color, especially if you are unfamiliar with terms like ‘complementary’, or analogous’, or the meaning of hues, tints and tones.

Brushing up before hand, so you can address your guests accordingly, is always a good idea.

 

Consider a Theme

What mood are you striving for?

A few words come to mind:

Sensuous  – As in slightly exotic, with  rich reds, browns, and gold

Nurturing  – Earth tones, in varying shades of green or brown

Contemplative or Serene  – A watery theme of cool blues and greens, mixed with neutrals such as taupe, beige, or off-white

(more…)

HAVE YOURSELF A COLOR PARTY

Early in my design career, a client presented me with a challenge for re-designing her living room.

She wanted a new look, with lots of COLOR!

Per her instructions, she wanted to keep two existing chairs , one red and one blue, and replace most of the remaining furnishings, including the sofa.

(In design parlance, that’s what we refer to as the scope of the Project).

Did you catch the part about the chairs – one red, the other blue?

The real challenge here, was to connect these seemingly disparate pieces into a harmonious color scheme.

Well, I love a challenge, and every project has one.

It’s what usually gets the creative juices flowing.

It is also where the ‘Color Party’ comes in.

Let me explain.

(more…)

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.

(more…)

THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE

I’m a big fan of multi-functional furniture, and ottomans certainly fit that description.

I think every home should have at least one.

In the world of furniture, the word ‘ottoman’ originally referred to a particular sofa style.

I kid you not.

Of course, this was back in the 18th century, and things have changed somewhat since then.

Furniture historians aren’t exactly sure why this one-time sofa morphed into a padded stool, but there you have it.

Now, you might be wondering what’s so great about an ottoman, so let me explain.

In my living room, we have a large ottoman that is roughly 4 ft x 5 ft in size.

This one piece of furniture can hold multiple stacks of books and magazines, thereby serving as a coffee table.

Yet it can just as easily fill the need for extra seating.

In addition, if the top surface is flat and sturdy, it can even hold a tray of food.

(more…)

WHAT DO TRAVEL AGENTS & INTERIOR DESIGNERS HAVE IN COMMON?

“Hiring a professional to do something you could yourself can be a good idea or a bad one. It comes down to the value you receive.”The Seattle Times, July 2011

 

I just got off the phone with my travel agent. 

Yes, I might be one of the few who still resort to this ‘dated’ practice, when it’s so easy to book your own travel plans online.

But here’s the thing.

Spur of the moment, my husband and I decided to plan a trip to Hawaii.

We called our favorite hotel and were told there was limited room availability at the start of the holidays – plus prices would be higher than usual.

Then we attempted to reserve a flight on the airline’s website, only to learn there was only room for one of us on any given flight.

Clearly, this wouldn’t do.

Enter the travel agent.

The beauty of working with a travel agent is that, for a minimal fee ($35 in our case) she was able to book a flight – for both of us – plus a hotel room at a reasonable rate.

She did all this, and saved us about $2000.

I compare hiring a travel agent to hiring an interior designer. I think you’ll be amazed by the similarities!

 

Expensive? Says Who?

Hiring a travel agent, or interior designer – or any professional, for that matter – won’t necessarily cost you more.

Changes are, you will even save money in the end.

This is because interior designers not only know the ins and outs of their business, they also know where to find you the best deals.

(more…)

5 WAYS TO SHIFT THE ENERGY IN YOUR OFFICE

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

Perhaps you’ve wondered 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.

(more…)

THE SECRET LIFE OF SOFAS

I’m guessing that you have a sofa somewhere in your home.

Most likely it is one of several focal points in the living room (the others being a fireplace or TV), and the one piece of furniture that everyone gravitates towards.

Perhaps it is incredibly comfortable, inviting you to cuddle up in a corner with a good book?

Then again, maybe it is the style of your sofa that is so appealing?

Or perhaps it’s the well-worn fabric and cushions, that have seated generations of your family before you?

Do sofas really have a secret life?

Well, maybe not in the sense that some people lead secret lives, but if your sofa has any kind of history, who knows?

Let me share with you a little bit about the origins of the sofa, and you will see what I mean.

Sofas have been a standard fixture in our homes for only a little over three hundred years.

The sofa made its first appearance during the reign of King Louis XIV, of France, during the late 17th century.

The sofa was a French invention, ushering in a new age of greater comfort in home furnishings.

It wasn’t long before it became all the rage among the upper levels of society. Of course, the royal household benefited first with the Queen, herself, an avid promoter.

With the arrival of the sofa, this was the first time in history that an upholstered, padded piece of furniture was available that could actually seat two people!

At the time, this was considered incredibly daring.

The sofa developed a reputation of being rather racy.

(more…)

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’m sharing with you here, because I was absolutely captivated by it, as it so closely resembles my own design philosophy in an uncanny kind of way.

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?

(more…)