Thursday, December 29, 2011

Is Your Bedroom Effecting Your Sleep?

We often start our design projects on the main level of the house, the rooms that everyone sees. Am I right?  Do we ever start with the room that we spend the most time in? More often than not when I start a design project with a client the last places to get decorated are the bedrooms or master bedroom. My question to you is, why don’t you spend your effort in the room you spend the most time in? Don't you want to have a room that feels luxurious and is bathed in colors that are tranquil and lull you into never, never land…Forgive me, I fell asleep just thinking about it.
Let's talk a bit about what happens when you start a decorating project. Usually my clients start in the active areas of the home, such as the kitchen, dining and family rooms. These rooms are the heart of the home and where it gets the most activity. By the time they get to the bedrooms they run out of money. Does this sound familiar?

A soft green and neutral palette gives soothing comfort to this bedroom retreat
The bedroom, however, is where you retreat to, a room to shut out all the noise of the day's activities. You don't have to spend a lot of money to make it feel, and look luxurious, just use a plethora of materials that give you the look and feel of luxury. In fact, in my practice I always try to use sustainable or recycled items. You can use a combination of furniture from consignment shops and stores. You can now find many different websites that sell all kinds of luxury home decor at the fraction of the price of retail stores, like sheets with thread counts that are 500 or more.
Here are some facts and solutions that will help you get a better night’s sleep.
Natured inspired, what could be better then this! (

Did You Know? "Nearly 40 million American men and women suffer from sleep disorders. However, sleep problems affect more women than men --,” according to The National Sleep Foundation, (sleep
This bedroom draws you in, dare to sleep? (

Solution: In order to get a restful night sleep you need to set the mood for a serene environment. Choosing colors that are calming and inspired by nature will set the mood. Blues, grays, greens and purples are colors inspired by nature and have a calming effect on the body. 

Did You Know? Aromatherapy can help to induce sleep ( 

Solution: The essential oil Lavender can help relax and sooth you while providing medicinal properties as well. Try a lavender spray on your pillow cases just before bedtime, along with some yoga deep breathing, and before you know it, you will be in ‘la la land’. As for Lavender’s medicinal qualities, it is very good for relieving the congestion of colds . When my kids were small and had colds, I use to put some Lavender oil in their baths before getting them ready for bed. It helped with their breathing, and also helped them to sleep! Ah those were the days, when they didn't talk back… Sorry I was digressing for a moment. Getting back to the subject at hand….

Did You Know? Your mattress and pillow could be keeping you up at night? As baby boomers approach their senior years, lack of sleep is a real problem for a multitude of reasons. To ensure sleep, comfort is key, so make sure your mattress and pillows are comfortable. When I was growing up, my parents hung onto their mattress for what seemed like an eternity. 
Hollywood glamour at its best! (

Solution: If your mattress and pillows are older than 10 years and are not comfortable, it is time to buy new ones.

Did You Know? Having a TV in your bedroom doesn't wind down your brain! On the contrary, having a television in your room will only stimulate your brain. Raise your hands if you have a TV in your bedroom - Busted!

Solution: Instead of watching television at bedtime, try some yoga deep breathing or listening to music or nature sounds to quiet the brain. 
Repurpose designed teenage room, love it!
(Interior by Design)
Lastly, keep the thermostat turned down at night. Not only is it healthier for you to sleep, but it can keep your heating bills down as well. Make your bedroom comfy and your favorite place to retreat to by surrounding yourself with luxurious bedding and warm duvet covers.

 "Your life is a reflection of how you sleep, and how you sleep is a reflection of your life."-Dr. Rafael Pelayo

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Buy American Products

The Christmas season is almost here and, as we scurry around trying to get the better bargains of last minute shopping, let's take a moment to think where these items we are giving are being made. As Americans, do we care where our gifts are made, or are we just buying for the sake of fulfilling the task? This economy has affected all of us, some more than others. With all the websites available now, you can find gifts that are very reasonably priced and at the same time help the economy by buying American products.
I feel we are all stewards and we need to protect our generation and the generations to follow. Think about how many jobs would be created if everyone bought just one American made product this holiday season.
Another option, if you are on a tight budget, is to give homemade gifts. If you're a good baker, you could bake some family favorites and wrap them in beautiful boxes or containers.  You can find interesting containers almost anywhere! If you have a good Christmas store near you, such as Ikea, Marshals, TJMAX or Home Goods, you will be able to find something at any one of these stores, and don't forget to look in the mark down section as well. 
Looking for a project? No problem - you can find all kinds of DIY websites like, or The season isn't about buying, it's about giving what we can afford and giving of ourselves!
How about making a donation for a charity as a gift for someone? Put it in their name. Send a nice card telling them what you did. Do we really need another sweater or tie? There are so many charities in our own back yard that need our help. One good charity feeding the hungry in the US is We can all help in some small way, but it does take a village. 
So this holiday season buy American products and give something even if it seems small to you - to someone else it makes a difference!
"We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give." ~ Winston Churchill
Web sites for US products: not all are American made have to inquire

Friday, September 23, 2011

What Is Your Color Compass?

Are you color challenged?

Do you feel frustrated and confused as to how to start picking a color scheme for a room?  How do you choose when there are so many choices? How does one start? The tips I will provide in this blog will help you feel less color challenged. First, let’s define what color is.
Without light, an object or viewer…we cannot have color(Ben Moore,'Color and light')

In simple terms, color is light, which is carried on wavelengths that the eye absorbs and the brain converts into messages so that we see colors. “The way we perceive and view color is impacted by light, both natural and artificial” (Ben Moore Color and Light seminar). Colors change in the setting due to many factors that play in the room. Differing natural light in a room is one factor. For example, if you are painting in a northern exposure room, even though it has windows, any color you choose will appear darker in this exposure. So when you choose colors for this kind of space make sure you use a high chroma color (the brightness or subdued quality of color) which will give you a clean look. This type of color will ‘fool the eye,’ making the room appear bigger and brighter. Also, in the evening it will not gray out. If you have a room with windows that face south, it will have a considerable amount of natural light, allowing you to choose colors that have more saturation (how vivid and intense a color is) because light absorbs color.

Picking a color scheme for a room can be difficult, so here are a few things to consider:
See how the flower changed in different lighting?
Sherwin Williams Color trends 2012
* Understanding the character of your home and surroundings. Where you live can play a major role in your color palette.  The time, or period, and style of a home can sometimes dictate the colors you would use. Also, the natural surroundings of a home should also be considered.  The landscape of your property should also influence the space. If you have windows in the space and want to bring the outside in, choose colors that are inspired by the nature around you, which could be anything in the earth tones, such as browns, greys, red, oranges, greens, and yellows. If you live near the water or mountains, the colors in those landscapes may also influence color palettes you are attracted to and want to use in your interior spaces.
A home cut into the landscape abounds nature!

Each room in this house reflects the beauty that surrounds it

What kind of mood do you want to set? If you think about it, every room has its own rhythm. A bedroom, for example, could be calm and tranquil, a place that you would want to escape to, away from all the day’s activities. Bold and high energy could characterize a kitchen.  Set an image in your mind as to what you want your room to feel like to you. Then look at interior design magazines and see the color palettes they used and how they made the whole look work. Once you have an idea, go to a paint store and pick color chips. Choose a main color, along with two contrasting colors and two accent shades as well.

This kitchen is electric with energy.

 By Larry Young see website
The painting in the above by Larry Young could have been the inspiration for this bedroom.

* Where to get your inspiration from?
It’s always easiest to draw inspiration from something in the room such as fabric on a favorite chair, pillow, rug or even a piece of art work. If you’re still having problems, draw from colors that you are attracted to and love to wear! You can also draw from colors of your culture. For example, in the East, yellow has long been regarded as a symbol of royalty, green the color of nature, and purple was such a rare pigment that only nobility could wear it. We are all influenced by color in some way. So choose your colors with purpose, expressing how you want the room to feel. Remember, when choosing colors for a room, you want it to flow with the rest of your home as well.

* Artificial light that you bring into the space.
Fluorescent tubes, which are becoming the norm these days to save energy, have their drawbacks. They tend to change the color of the walls by casting off different colors. Some are on the yellow side and some are on the pink, depending on the brand you choose. So consider this and test your colors against your lighting in the space.

The whole idea is to pick colors that you love and that will establish your color compass! Use whatever tools you feel will help you. There are also websites I will give you that you can have fun with. Follow your instincts and remember there are no bad colors, only bad combinations.

Websites :

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

What does your front door tell about your home? 

 Believe it or not your front door says a lot about your home. is it welcoming? Does it coordinate well with the rest of the house? Is the screen door in good shape or is it hanging off its hinges? Do you even care about your front door an how it relates to the rest of the home? Do not answer that question! I can see we have a lot of work to do here.

Grab a chair and get comfy. Class is in session. today's topic: Front Doors 101: The introduction to your home.

Why do I choose front doors for our first session? because your front door speaks Volumes about your home! You want your front door to be inviting, the "welcome mat" to the rest of your home. You be be surprised how many homes I see, new and old that have front doors that seem disconnected from the rest of the home, even on the exterior. All too often, there are all sorts of colors on a house but nothing relates to each other. It's a shame because when you put your heart and soul into a home, you really want it to reflect all your effort. if you find color coordination challenging, do yourself a favor and hire an interior design professional. It can make all the difference in the world and in the long run can save you a lot of money by preventing you from making costly mistakes!

One last piece of advice: If you eventually want to sell your home, you want it to have great curb appeal. When a potential buyer should want to go inside your home because the outside says, "Aren't I beautiful?" Come on in! "Wait till you see what's inside!" Statistics show that buyers know the first 15 seconds after they enter your home if they want to buy your home or not! An appealing front door will help you make your best first impression.

To conclude our class for today, think about what your front door says or what it doesn't….

This home has many architectural features that create visual interest. The red door makes it a real show stopper and adds curb appeal for passers-by. 

I see this home on my daily walk. Notice how they incorporated the landscape into the color palette of their home. Blue and green are complementary colors, and they make the white door and trim pop. Very smart and effective! 

It's not the size of a home but the personality. The picture really doesn't do it justice. The purple door and the flowers along the side give this home a very welcoming feel.

 This home’s bland, dirty door and worn, cluttered entry say “Enter at your own risk!” 

White houses usually say I'm afraid of color commitment.This door is lost in a sea of white

Architecturally, this house has potential, but you can't see the door, making the entry less inviting than it could be.