Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Dare to go there....

This March has proved to be one the coldest springs I can remember. Really? A possible snowstorm this week? What have we done to Mother Nature to deserve this kind of weather? While I can commiserate with neighbors and pretty much everyone I come in contact with, the fact is, there's nothing we can do about the weather. What we can do though, is force a little sunshine and spring into our everyday lives.

One of my all time favorite sayings is, "Change your attitude, change your life." Isn't it so true? The power we have over the course of our own lives is remarkable, yet often ignored. Being aware of how you feel and how you present yourself to the world each day is critical in your success.

So how does that pertain to interior design you ask? Well, let's take your bedroom for example. It's the place where you begin and end your every day. So shouldn't your room color and d├ęcor represent the feeling you want to embrace?  So many clients choose paint colors haphazardly, without thinking about the mood or feeling they want for each room. I love this article on Fresh Home. It gives such great insight on the effects of color and mood. So while you're stuck inside for a few more weeks, give your bedroom a make-over. Try a color you never dared to before. And, for an added touch of spring, always add flowers!

Here are some of my favorite bedrooms that I've designed. You can find more of my designs on my website, Mandeville Canyon Designs or on Houzz where I am a featured Design Pro. So you see, instead of the standard neutral colors, I went with something a little more vibrant, but that you can still settle your brain and get a good nights rest in.

This room proved to me and to my client that small spaces do not need to be small on color!

These two rooms embrace a soothing and coastal feeling. They are fresh and airy and definitely somewhere I'd want to lay my head to rest.

And for the more lively bunch, here's some real color! It can be invigorating and fun in the morning and warm and cozy in the evenings. It's the magic light and color. 

So go ahead, dare to be different. Dare to explore the possibilities. I think you'll love what you discover.

Colorfully yours,


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

What inspired me, may inspire you too


This week I get to pop down to NYC for the The Architectural Digest Home Show. 

I love this show because it combines trade with consumer and is chock full of interactive lectures that both inspire and inform participants from around the world. The Design Industries Foundation Fighting Aids (DIFFA) Dining by Design showcases some of the top designers in the country and is truly a feast for the eyes.

I am especially excited this year because one of the panelists, Sarah Susanka, will be speaking on Standing Out in the One of a Kind Marketplace.  Sarah was instrumental to my entrance into this profession over a decade ago.

Sarah is a world-renowned architect, lecturer and author of the very popular series, The Not So Big House

From the beginning of my career I was inspired by Sarah’s philosophy of less can truly be so much more. “Comfort has almost nothing to do with how big a space is,” she had said.

She had asked us to be aware of not only how we live in our homes, but also how we live our days, our authenticity, and how we honor our planet.

I loved the concept of leaving our budget intact, but reducing our footprint by say, a third, and using those funds to create smart, functional design that was high on quality and respect for natural resources. In a time when bigger must mean better and bigger meant more successful, she pioneered a concept that flew in the face of cavernous, impersonal spaces and requested us to seek our comforts in a more meaningful way.  

When I started the small home projects I kept an eye on Sarah’s teachings.

How could we give a family everything they need, but nothing they don’t need?


Functional space, lightness, and a reflection of nature.  Comfort without compromise.
One of my favorite books by Sarah goes beyond the dwelling and looks at how we create comfort in the life we live…The Not So Big Life.  The book talks about “Being the change you wish to see in the world”, one of Gandhi’s most famous quotes.

Sarah reminds us that when the world’s problems, of which there are many, seem so large, we must look at pursuing our life’s passion, our real work, and allow that to be in our present every day life. Not tomorrow, or next year, but right in this moment.

It is then that we will see the change and be able to offer that to others.

She shares the story of how Gandhi came to this now famous quote~

A mother brought her son to Gandhi and pleaded with him to ask her son to stop eating sweets and candy.

Gandhi politely asked the woman to come back with her son in two weeks.

She did as she was told and returned to him two weeks later.

“You must stop eating sweets my son”, said Gandhi.

The mother asked why he could simply not tell the boy two weeks ago.

“My dear madam, before I could ask your son to give up sweets, I had to, in fact, make sure that I could do it myself”
Be the change you wish to see in the world.

Click here to check out my "not so big" design projects at Mandeville Canyon Designs

For more Sarah Susanka inspiration, watch this wonderful YouTube video Possibilities - Life's invisible feast

In good health and present life,



Tuesday, March 11, 2014

What does your favorite color say about you?

How many times have you been asked, "What's your favorite color?" My guess is that it's probably been quite a few times! And through the years your favorite color may have changed. As a child you may have loved the color pink or blue, but as you got older it changed to something else, like yellow or red. Why is that you wonder? Have you ever thought about what your favorite color says about you? It's really quite interesting and quite fun if you think about it!

Take a look in your closet. What color(s) do you see most repeated throughout your wardrobe? Does one certain color rise to the top of the heap? Are you colorful or very muted?

If you ask me what my favorite color is, I'd quickly respond with "red, of course!" It's the color I wear on the inside. I don't tend to decorate with it much, but it is my motivator! When it comes to decorating I lean more towards red's more playful and gregarious sister, orange!

So what does this say about me?

To find out what your favorite color says about you click here and you'll be taken to the I love color! Board on Pinterest.
When it comes to decorating are you a little bit more "color-phobic"? Or do you find yourself infusing you home with your favorite color too! Just for fun click here and take Better Homes and Garden's color personality quiz. You just might surprise yourself and learn that your favorite color to decorate with is quite different than what you'd answer the question, "What's your favorite color?" with. 

So often I hear people say that they are tired of decorating with the same old beige or off-white, but are too nervous or don't know how to add some "pops" of color without "overdoing" it, or without making an expensive mistake.

Fear no more! I am a certified Dewey Color System Design Consultant. Working together we can identify what colors are you "comfort colors". These are the hues that sooth and inspire you. From there we can mindfully select a paint, fabric and accessory color palette.

California Paints has an excellent section on their website about color theory and how colors make you feel. Take a look and see if the color of the room you are sitting in sets the mood you wanted to achieve. California Paints Color Theory.

Before I select a color for a client, I ask many questions so that I can understand how they want to feel in the room we are working on, serene in a bedroom, lively in a playroom, creative in the kitchen.

Don't be afraid of taking a walk on the wild side, or at least crossing the street to a new color scheme. And if you need someone to hold your hand and guide you through it, I'm here for you!

Colorfully yours,

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Is it Spring yet?

March is a tricky month for New Englanders. We can hear the birds begin to chirp early in the morning, days are longer, the sun (when it decides to join us) is brilliant. However, it's still cold. The snow is no longer bright white, but an unappealing brown. We long for the buds to start to appear on the bare branches in our yards. Yet we all know, it's still weeks away.

So, for the moment, I'm hanging on to this poignant quote by Hal Borland, as I await springs arrival.

"No winter lasts forever; no spring skips it's turn." 

Hence the reason I am so happy that one of the hottest design trends of 2014 is Window Sheers! Let the sunlight shine in without compromising your privacy! Try a different kind of window sheer, but using some of the new fabric options out there, like woolen and linen.

Photo from Fresh Home

Pop on over to Fresh Home's website to check out all of the predicted trends for 2014. 2014 Design Trends

What to do when the sun just won't shine through? Add your own pop of color.

Turquoise is one of the hottest color this season. And if there's any color that would remind me of warm sunny days, like the ones spent on a tropical beach, it's the color turquoise! And I especially love it when it's paired with pops of orange! A few years ago, I worked with Stephanie Morrison of Morr Interiors to design a model home for Seaglass Village in Maine.  We used lots of oranges with a pop of turquoise for a really fun and bright interior.

To see more pictures of this model home click here:  Mr. Drew Photography

So put a little spring into your step, and some color in your life. A new season is upon us!!

Thinking warmer thoughts,