Posts belonging to Category HOLISTIC HOME



A TRUE STORY – MY STINT ON HGTV

A few days, I was talking to a business coach and the conversation went something like this:

She: “You were on HGTV??!!

Me:  “Oh, that…yes, I was.”

She:  “How come you never talk about it? I mean, you were on HGTV!!!!!”

Me:  “It was such a long time ago.”

I have a tendency to play things down, I know.

But yes, I really was on HGTV – about eight years ago now, if memory serves me correctly.

I’d practically forgotten.

She was right, though.

And so, I thought I’d take some time today to share that experience with you.

The way this came about, HGTV was contacting local designers to see who might be interested in being featured on the show “Designer’s Challenge”.

They already had a local family lined up, who were eager to get some professional design advice for their somewhat traditional living room.

The premise of the show was that three different design teams would present a completed concept to the homeowners.

By concept, I’m referring to a fully fleshed out solution to their design challenge, complete with drawings, furniture and fabric recommendations, and any other finishes or materials required to complete the project.

So, I partnered with another designer, and together we took on this project.

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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 to 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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HOW TO WRITE YOUR BIO – WITHOUT USING WORDS!

Did you know that your home is a reflection of who you are? 

Yes, it’s literally like looking in a mirror.

Except that, you won’t see your face staring back at you.

What you WILL see is different aspects of your personality and all phases of your life – up until this point in time.

Pretty cool, huh?

The way you furnish your home, it’s like writing your bio.

But instead of words, you’re using color, texture, and various materials and furnishings to tell the story of who you are.

It is a story, by the way.

And it’s the perfect Bio.

Who better than you to tell it like it is?

Keep reading to see how you can write your story.

 

Look to the Past

It’s hard to escape the past.

We have memories –good and bad – that follow us wherever we go.

The secret is to delve into those memories and recapture moments from your past that complement how you live today.

If something no longer serves you, remove it.

Whatever resonates – keep it.

Like it or not, your home reflects all the different stages of your life.

It’s what made you who you are today.

 

Embrace the Present

Good design tells a story and it’s one that engages and envelops you.

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3 EASY WAYS TO WELCOME SPRING

Earlier this week, many of us observed the arrival of the Spring Equinox.

Yes, Spring is here!

And while the temperatures in my area are still hovering in the low to mid 40’s, other parts of the country have experienced a heat wave.

If that’s the case where you live, you’ve probably tossed aside your winter clothing for something lightweight and cool.

We do this routinely, the re-organizing of our closets according to the seasons.

And yet, how often do we think about our homes?

Do you celebrate the beginning of Spring, trading out wintry-themed throw pillows with something fresh and summery?

Or do you rarely give it a moment’s thought?

Aside from holiday decorations at varying times of the year, our homes don’t necessarily reflect the seasons the way our wardrobes do.

And yet, our local stores our flaunting luscious Spring colors and bursting with new ideas, many of them easy to implement.

So why not take a cue from your favorite retailer and spruce things up a bit in your home?

 

Keep Things Fresh

Our homes can always benefit from a fresh look here and there.

Keep in mind, this doesn’t need to be expensive!

If you’ve been thinking for months about a new couch, then maybe it’s time to finally go shopping.

However, there are many fun, less costly things you can do to give your home a whole new look, just in time for Spring.

You can:

  • Re-arrange the furniture
  • Paint a wall or two, in a bright cheery color
  • Add colorful throw pillows
  • Slipcover the sofa
  • Decorate with flowers

None of these suggestions is overly elaborate or difficult to pull off.

As always, you want to keep in mind your personal color preferences – as opposed to trends, springtime or not.

 

Lighten Up

As you ‘lighten up’ during these warmer months, why not literally shed some weight with a little spring cleaning?

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GREENING THE HOLIDAYS, 2011

This past week, my goal was to create my very first Video blog.

Unfortunately, this didn’t go exactly as planned.

In its place, I offer you these timely tips for celebrating the holidays with an eco-friendly twist, based on personal experience and advice I’ve collected over the years.

And if you’re really lucky, the video will still appear sometime this week.

 

TREES & DECORATION

The prevailing wisdom still dictates that a live tree is preferable to an artificial one, since the latter is made almost entirely from plastics, non-renewable petroleum by-products that can’t be recycled.

The bottom line is that while it can seem wasteful to have a living tree from one year to the next, it is actually more beneficial to the environment, especially if you support what is grown or manufactured locally

Another alternative is to plant a living tree, one that grows in a pot and can be re-planted later – a great idea, but one that requires a lot of acreage (or ingenuity) for the re-planting phase.

Especially if you still have many more Christmases to look forward to.

I literally cringed when I read that I should avoid using tinsel, because it can’t be recycled. In my family, tinsel on the Christmas tree is a tradition that goes as far back as I can remember. When it came to decorating the tree it was always my father’s crowning achievement. He would add the tinsel at the very end, ever so carefully and always very meticulously.

Other ways to invite the outdoors into your home, is by collecting pine cones and branches of holly berries, or whatever else you might find that suits your holiday decor.

If you have children, old standbys like strings of cranberries and popcorn continue to entertain; when the holidays are over these can easily go in your yard waste.

 

LIGHTS

Did you know that LEDs (light-emitting diodes) are at least 90% more energy efficient than regular incandescent bulbs? Cool to the touch, they also pose less of a fire hazard, and will last for thousands of hours longer than incandescent bulbs.

LEDs are widely available in many different colors, and shapes, and can be found at your local retailer. By switching to LED’s you will save electricity and enjoy a lower electrical bill!

Be sure you don’t throw away your old lights; check your local listings to find out how they can be recycled.

 

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IS IT ALL FOR SHOW?

A Designer Show House is often part fantasy and part reality.  Designers typically pull out all the stops for the homeowner – a person who exists  only in our imagination. 

That’s precisely why taking part in a Designer Show House can be a wonderfully creative endeavor, as well as a marvelous way for the public to gather fresh ideas for their own homes.

Some years ago, I participated in a local American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) Show House, featuring the historic Moore Mansion on Seattle’s Capital Hill.

This project was a classic example of how an interior design concept might evolve, and how designers come up with their inspiration.

The home, built in 1901by James Moore, was located, in a tree-lined street close to Volunteer Park, home of the Seattle Asian Art Museum (SAAM).

As it happened, I was assigned the Master Bedroom of this stately old house. It was a large, attractive room with generous proportions. However, it was dominated by a bold, geometrically patterned carpet in shades of chocolate brown and white.

It was the kind of pattern that makes your vision go blurry after a minute or two of looking at it. However, the owner of the house had made it clear that replacing the carpet with something a bit more subtle was not an option.

What do designers do in such a situation?

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SETTING THE STAGE

“All the world’s a stage”.  Shakespeare

 

Designing an interior is a lot like creating a stage set.  

A few weeks ago, I attended Pacific Northwest Ballet’s rendition of ‘Giselle’ – a truly lovely and engaging performance.

While gazing at the pastoral stage setting – meant to evoke a hot, summer’s day – I was struck by the similarities between stage designs versus home design.

The one is theatrical, strictly for show with the sole purpose of telling a story – with all its nuances and drama.

Yet our homes also tell a story.

The story our homes tell is about the people who live there. These stories may not be as exciting or dramatic as theatre, yet there is still drama – just drama on another level.

With this in mind, let’s explore how our room settings can be a little like a stage set – the only real difference being they house REAL people, not characters in a play.

 

Scene 1:  Your Inner Stylist

When the curtain rises at the theatre, we are instantly clued in to the story that is about to unfold.

This is achieved through a number of devices, but the first thing we usually notice is the stage set, which – when truly successful – elicits a delighted gasp from the audience.

The setting for ‘Giselle’ was clearly traditional. I felt as if I’d been transported back to the 18th century, landing in a pastoral scene straight out of a rococo painting.

Everything – from the set design, costumes and music – reinforced the traditional mood of the ballet.

(Another performance might have resembled a gentleman’s study, with a multitude of books lining the shelves, a sturdy desk front and center, and perhaps a mini bar off to the side – well-stocked to accommodate any guests that might stop by – tthe message conveyed here is one of ease and comfort, in true gentlemanly fashion).

Sometimes there are no props whatsoever – just the dancers and the stage. But as with the ballet, our homes invariably reflect the style that we are most drawn to – whether traditional, modern or somewhere in-between.

 

Scene 2:  Engaging Your Senses

This is where the Magic happens.

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TAKING A GAMBLE

Does your home speak to you?                                       

Does it have a story to tell?

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of re-visiting the Gamble House, a turn-of-the-last century Craftsman style home in Pasadena, California.

This 100 year old gem of a house was designed by the architectural geniuses Greene & Greene.

I have to admit, I admired this home just as much the second time around, both for its turn-of-the-century simplicity and its incredible attention to detail.

I use the word ‘incredible’ – yet, this doesn’t adequately describe what the house has to offer.

Astounding is more like it.

The effect of these rooms bathed in a golden light, is almost magical. It literally takes your breath away.

From the moment one first steps into the darkened entry, you realize you are in for a treat as your eyes gradually become accustomed to the light.

You notice first, the lovely image of an oak tree etched into the leaded glass panes of the front door, its limbs stretching far and wide into the transom and side light windows.

You notice it in the smoothly rounded edges of the polished Burmese teak, framing the grand central stair.

You notice it, too, in the delicate silhouette of a lantern in the shape of a crane, a bird that – in Japan – represents longevity.

You notice the repetition of certain motifs – trailing vines and the ever-present Chinese ‘cloud-lift’ – everywhere you look.

It’s present in the leaded glass light fixtures, the carved mantle and friezes, in the stair rail and even the carved inlays on a bed frame.

Good design relies on repetition.             

Designers and architects alike know this, and rely heavily on such simple tools to create an innate rhythm of beauty and celebration throughout a clients’ home.

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1 IN 133

What is 1 in 133?                                             

It is first and foremost, a statistic – one that describes the prevalence of Celiac Disease & gluten intolerance in our society.

It is also the name given to a clever marketing campaign, designed to draw attention to food labeling laws.

Yes, this weeks’ post is a bit different from the norm.

However, I was motivated to get on the bandwagon, due to my personal interest in this common digestive disorder.

Since May is National Celiac Awareness Month, this is a fitting time to drum up support.

Whether referred to as Celiac Disease, gluten intolerance or gluten sensitivity, it all boils down to the same thing – an inability to digest gluten, a common protein in food.

The only known cure does not involve medication or surgery – a big plus – but it does require life-long adherence to a special, gluten-free diet. (Please note that his has nothing to do with the current fad to adopt a gluten-free diet in order to lose weight).

The ‘1 in 133’ website neatly sums up their mission with the following statement:

‘In 2007, the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA) tasked the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to finalize standards for gluten-free labeling. Four years later, the FDA has failed to fulfill that mandate. To the millions of Americans who eat gluten-free food, this inaction is a big deal’.

So, here’s where it really gets fun:

To highlight their cause, the campaign has set out to create the world’s largest Gluten-Free Cake, which will ultimately be 12 feet high!

This is no small feat for gluten free baking!

For anyone not familiar with gluten-free baking, it’s problematic at best, since gluten is the very substance which lends elasticity and moisture to baked goods.

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SENTIMENTAL VALUES

The ancient Chinese revered their ancestors.                                            

Perhaps this is nowhere more evident than in the ancient Chinese bronze vessels used for sacrifice.

These priceless objects were part of an elaborate ritual ceremony to commemorate the deceased, based in part, on the belief that one’s’ ancestors would continue to watch over you from the afterlife.

As long as you kept them happy, that is.

In those days, Bronze was an expensive metal, not easily obtained. It was reserved for use by the elite members of the aristocracy and upper class citizens – those that could afford to honor their ancestors properly.

Thus, by offering food and wine in these intricately carved bronze bowls and ewers, honor was maintained.

In our Western culture, we have a different set of customs that dictate how we honor our loved ones, and we do this primarily through family heirlooms and treasured keepsakes.

A common practice is to cherish an object that we know was previously loved by the deceased – such as an antique chair, a decorative object or other works of art.

It’s as if our loved ones live on in these keepsakes, and so, for sentimental reasons, we continue to keep them in our homes and our hearts.

However, at some point, we may need to ask ourselves whether these family treasures are still fulfilling their original purpose.

Do you truly love those keepsakes that you’ve treasured for so long? Are they inherently beautiful?

Or, is your devotion due to sentimental reasons only?

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