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,



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