Starting Fresh.

2016 was full of changes and 2017 is setting itself up to continue that trend.  Both in my personal life and in my design.  As you most know, I am a traditionalist at heart ... but love keeping it fresh and bold with color and pattern.  As anyone would, who is exposed to more and more design styles on an hourly basis, I have found myself loving the clean crisp feel of modern spaces.  Last year I had the opportunity to work with a client who was eager to "clean" out, minimalize and create a little drama in his home, a 1950's ranch where he grew up as one of 6 children.  He kept the house after his parents passed away and very little changed over the years.  It was time to re-imagine the space! 

The plan was to bring a little "urban" edge to this suburban home ... And it all started with this charcoal drawing ...

Last February KMI moved into a warehouse studio space and not only did it allow me a true design space, it introduced me to some new creatives!  One in particular, an artist Mary Spencer. She did this fantastic charcoal which became the inspiration for my client's living room.  I am so in awe of the local artists I have met, and try to include their work wherever I can.  

We kept some of the original pieces of furniture, reupholstered them and then brought in fresh modern pops and art to create a new feel for the home.

My client's hobby (serious hobby!) is photography.  I loved his collection of photos, this particular collection had an "edge" that I thought mixed in well with the vibe we were going for!  

It makes my day when clients allow me to use their items and mix with new ... and this large piece of art balances the gallery wall across the room.

One of the most fun aspects of my job is working with different personalities and being able to make their vision come to life.  I learn so much every day from my clients. 

"You'll never know everything about anything, ESPECIALLY something you love."

Julia Child

All photographs by Emily O'Brien Photography


Life By Design. Inside and Out. Second Edition.

This is the Second Edition in a series of creative perspectives about life and the design process from Garden Designer, Heather McLean and myself.  You can read Heather's blog here!

"If your house is not in order, nothing else will be."  A saying of my Mother's that I heard repeatedly throughout my entire life.  She meant this literally and figuratively.  It is a statement that rings in my ear still to this day.  If your mind is cluttered, or your house is cluttered, it is nearly impossible to move positively forward.

So empty those closets, empty those purses every day and for goodness sakes, empty your rooms if you can.  Cleaning up is the first step to creating a beautiful home.

One of the reasons I enjoy working on renovation or additions so much because it forces you to clean out.  And then, the bringing back in of rugs, furniture, accessories becomes a very thoughtful process.  You are able to realign form, function and space.

All the hub-bub about Cleaning Out and Tidying up, brought a little more to the forefront by the recent book "the life-changing magic of tidying up" by Marie Kondo has struck a chord with many of us.

The Art of emptying a room, same as a closet, is something I get to help my clients do. Many times my client's find it very hard to imagine their space in a better light because they are looking at their room filled to the brink with things.  Lots of Things. 

Setting the Stage, like I discussed in the First Edition, is a process I love.  Creating a beautiful clean palate that allows for real life to take over, but with a little more respect and thought.  You know how it is ... you are not loving the space so you just continue to pile things in and turn your head in frustration.  

Since we have made it through winter and the impulse to clean up, open our windows, letting the light and fresh air fill our space is a necessity.  As you breathe in that fresh air, look around and see if you can take it one step further and take inventory.  What can you remove, what has outlived it's function, what needs freshening up?  

Spring is a very natural time for us to de-clutter our homes ... which in turn, allows us to free up space for new beginnings, new adventures and living the life we want to live.  

If you cannot commit to doing everything at once or are nervous about starting ... Adopt this attitude from Coco Chanel ... "I always take off at least one piece of jewelry before I leave the house ... to ensure I am not overdoing it."  If you are feeling your home getting out of control, step back and just begin by removing ONE item.  It just might help you make the next step!

Life By Design.