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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YOUR HOME AWAY FROM HOME

You know that sterile feeling you get in a hotel room?

There’s that sense of expectation – wondering what you’ll find beyond the closed door, before you’ve even stepped over the threshold.

At that moment, your bodies is in full “perception” mode, instinctively taking in everything about your surroundings.

In the end, though, it might feel inviting but completely generic – with no trace whatsoever of the previous occupants.

Last week’s trip to Atlanta was no different.

I did the usual quick assessment of my room, which seemed to be comfortably furnished and attractive.

After I few minutes, I noticed the room was actually speaking to me.

I don’t mean that in a ‘woo woo’ kind of way – it really spoke!

There were messages everywhere that said things like “Drink Me”, “Refresh” or “Need Something?”

Even the bath mat said “Step” – as in “step into the shower”.

It was fun and a bit quirky.

Did it make me feel more at home?

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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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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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WHAT IS YOUR COMFORT ZONE?

As any well-seasoned traveler can attest, navigating airports these days is often a challenge. We may encounter any number of inconveniences from long wait times to erupting volcanoes.

Have you ever noticed, while traveling, what your level of comfort might be at any given point during your trip?

In fact, depending on your hotel accommodations, or your in-flight experience, you may actually be more aware of a lack of Comfort, than anything else.

Of course, on an airplane, being seated in First Class is the way to go if you’re looking for comfort and some in-flight pampering.

Yet, for those of us sitting in Coach, it is often a very different experience.

On a recent flight, I found myself seated next to a mother and her young baby. The woman had not booked a seat for her child, and was hoping I might not show up.

The baby was perfectly happy until she had to give up her seat and be held firmly on her mothers’ lap. At that point, she let out a blood-curdling scream of protest.

Comfortable I was not.

The baby clearly needed a seat of her own, and I needed some peace and quiet. Much to my relief, the stewardess ushered me to a new seat in one of the exit rows.

I now had plenty of leg-room, the baby had a seat several rows behind me and well out of earshot, and all was well with the world.

I was very comfortable.

On any given day, our comforts levels are frequently tested, and for each of us, that definition is unique.

And when it comes to our homes – well, there is almost no end to the number of ways consumers can pamper themselves with what seems comfortable to them.

Whether selecting furniture, linens, paint colors, fabrics or household appliances – and that’s just naming a few – you will be faced with many decisions.

However, before you choose, why not step back and ask yourself the following very important question.

What does Comfort mean to 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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ARE YOU A DO-IT-YOURSELF TYPE – OR NOT?

“Hiring a professional to do something you could do 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 out 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. Plus, a knowledgeable professional can always steer you clear from potentially pricey mistakes.

Same thing goes for the travel agent.

Enough said.

 

You Can Save Time, As Well As Money

For every do-it-yourselfer, there will always be someone who finds designing a home by themselves, or planning a trip, to be an arduous chore.

Again, this is where professional help can be invaluable.

What you’re paying for, is someone to do the research and handle all the details – things that you either aren’t good at yourself, or don’t enjoy doing.

Cause let’s face it, who has the time these days to spend on extra things they don’t even enjoy?

In the world of interior design there is an endless array of design options, and decisions to be made, whether you’re looking for paint colors or selecting new furniture.

A professional interior designer will instantly assess your needs, determine your design style and make the appropriate selections, all while narrowing down the list of options to a reasonable few.

An interior design can restore order and sanity to your life.

Ditto the travel agent.

 

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WHERE’S THE MAGIC?

Do you remember the TV commercial from the 70’s – the one with the little old lady at a fast food joint, demanding to know “Where’s the Beef?”

Sometimes I ask “Where’s the Magic?” 

I do this instinctively with interior design, whether flipping through a magazine or seeing a vignette that feels less than exciting.

It’s the same idea, really.

Both scenarios imply that something is missing.

Good design tells a story. It engages and envelops you. The excitement, the magic that I speak of is subtle, but it’s there.

It’s what puts a skip in your step, or makes your heart skip a beat.

It’s a sense of being taken care of, of feeling cocooned in your own home because it is furnished to reflect the lives – and loves – of you and your family.

Are you wondering how to achieve that kind of magic in your home?

Whether your style is minimalist, clean and orderly, or a more laid-back, ‘lived-in’ look – you can rest assured.

Help is on the way!

I’ve just released my new FREE offer – 7 Ways To Create Harmony In Your Home.

A series of seven amazing tips delivered to your in-box over seven days, giving you time to absorb and implement each one.

It’s available IMMEDIATELY, upon signing up.

Simply completing the Opt-In box to your right – and you’re on your way!

 

SEEING THE LIGHT

“Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.”

Steve Jobs, Apple CEO

 

Did you know that Mood Lighting is now available on airplanes?   

I learned this just recently, while reading up on Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner under production for All Nippon Airways.

Wait a minute, you might be thinking.

Now you’re talking airplanes?

Does that have anything to do with Interior Design?

Well, yes, it does. So-called industrially designed objects permeate our lives and our homes but we often don’t give them much thought.

These everyday items can be as humble and practical as a toothbrush, or as high-tech and complex as a computer  –  or an airplane.

What struck me about this article was the quality of design touches being installed on this particular plane.

Mood lighting was one. Improved comfort was another – something we don’t often associate these days with air travel.

When I read about the entrance atrium with a 10-foot high ceiling that lends an air of space and light, not to mention plenty of head room – I was really impressed.

This didn’t sound like an airplane anymore. It was the sort of thoughtful detail we’d expect to find in our homes, yet when you think about it, an airplane is essentially a microcosm of the homes we are used to.

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