A Decor Story (Or the Magic of a Deadline)

I love my "new" bathroom

I love my “new” bathroom

Have you ever planned something, invested in it, thought about it, wanted it – and then just never took the time to do it? Because, well, there were other things to do – ones that were more vital (to other people), ones that were easier (reading that book), ones that you “should” do first. I’m here to tell you this can go on for a long time, in this decor story…about 5 years.

But I’m not going to beat myself up, much. I just try to allow myself to be aware of the choices I make and why. I find it ironic that suddenly, in one weekend, I got a project done (with my sweetie’s help, of course) that I put off for years. It’s hilarious really! But that is the magic of a deadline. I just came up with reasons to put off the joy of redecorating a room and enjoying the outcome until I needed to do it for someone else. (Hey, it’s super helpful to know what motivates you, yes?) I’m moving soon and selling my house so my upgrade now is in the hope of pleasing a buyer.

But, what if I considered allowing myself to be more motivated by my own desires and enjoyment. What if I scheduled the work, and planned it, and then actually did it? What if I put my desire for a beautiful home first (and didn’t live with an ugly, outdated bathroom for 5 years…)? Sounds decadent – right?

I think this is a lesson many of us could learn – despite all of the beautiful homes on Pinterest, in design magazines, and on cable shows – do you have the home of your dreams? And just so you understand – I think the home you’re in now can be the home of your dreams – it doesn’t have to be a mansion or a villa in Italy (though, go for it, if that’s what you truly desire!). I think you can have a version of what you want now – regardless. The main thing is that it feels like you, feels like home, feels the way you want it to feel, and supports the life you want to live.

My bath redecoration took two of us most of one day and part of another – a totally worth it expenditure of time. It was also inexpensive financially. I painted, bought a new cabinet, 2 towel racks, and a light fixture. The rest of what I used were things I already had around the house. That small investment yielded a room I enjoy so much more! It also gave me incentive to get rid of toiletries and things I never really use to streamline my bathroom storage. And I really hope the new owners of this house enjoy the pretty, updated space as much as I do!

I’m definitely keeping this lesson in mind as I move into my new home. In fact, I’m visiting there today to line up some help and take measurements so I can plan, and invest, and give myself a deadline to make this the space I want to live in, and love my life in, for the next phase of my journey.

Do you have a space you’ve put off making yours, making lovely, making useful? How can you remedy that and create a dream come true? I hope you’re inspired to do something important, create a deadline –  just for you!

Love, Cheryl

Here are before and after pictures:

Before-ish, at the beginning of the process

Before-ish, at the beginning of the process


A very messy work in progress

A very messy work in progress


I removed the old cabinet over the toilet and added a picture from another room instead. Pretty and much less clutter!

I removed the old cabinet over the toilet and added a picture from another room instead. Pretty and much less clutter!

The sink area with a new light and medicine cabinet/mirror unit.

The sink area with a new light and medicine cabinet/mirror unit.

















The Fun of Un-decorating!

Cheryl's Holiday Decor 2016

Cheryl’s Holiday Decor 2016

I used to really hate putting my holiday decor away. It’s not nearly as fun to un-decorate as it is to decorate, right? It’s a chore, and a sad one at times, the excitement of the big winter holidays are over, and there’s a lot of winter weather still. January can be a long and cold, dark month in Iowa, so I need some fun ideas to spruce it up. And because I see myself as creator of my personal world (or at least a co-creator) I like to challenge myself to try and enhance less than fabulous experiences too. Hey, sometimes it even works!!

By the beginning of a fresh, new year I’m really ready to lighten things up anyway, aren’t you? So instead of seeing un-decorating as a chore, I decided to have a little fun with it. Using a process of editing, removing, restyling, and releasing, I focus on the way the world outside gives me clues about how I want my inside world to look and feel at this time of year. That’s an energy I can use to help me enjoy what might be a boring chore. Here are the steps I use:

  • First I take photographs of my favorite display areas. It’s fun to record how I decorated this year! I might get all arty, and then save them in a file on my computer.
  • Next I go area by area, in short bits of time, removing the things that no longer feel right and are ready to be set away for another year. Santas go; a whimsical snowman might stay for a while. Trees are removed but their vintage ornaments are displayed in a bowl. The key is to take it slowly, make it fun, and do what feels good to you right now.
  • As you remove things consider if you really still want them. If not, let them go! Creating more space in your life is good for the soul! And it means you have less to pack away. I used to worry a lot about packing my holiday stuff in an organized manner, so all like things were together (and I still do that when it makes sense, like in special my ornament boxes), but now I just pack items in the holiday bins as I remove them. So much easier! And next year it will all work out just fine when I get things out to decorate again.
  • As I go along I create new vignettes on tables and bookcases. These are usually very fresh and spare, inspired by the New Year and the winter landscape. That space and light feels just right now for me. Having said that, there needs to be warmth too for those long winter nights, so I put out my velvet pillows, soft throws and lots and lots of candles! You can take pictures of your new vignettes too – it’s a great way to enjoy your home, to love and appreciate it.
  • This is a decorative and lifestyle transition, from Christmas to Winter, so I think about how I want to live in winter months and what I want to do. This encourages me to plan some fun things to do and consider how I want to be. I clear a place to set out a big puzzle, or find favorite books to read. I organize outings and plan soup dinners with friends. I also make sure to plan some quiet time at home alone for introspection and peace – because that is what winter is for.

This is a process you can do with many seemingly dull home chores. By considering why you do them, and the outcome you really want (why DO we clean toilets?), you can add more fun to the chore, and more pleasure and meaning to your life. Take the time to move things around or spruce them up as you go. Your home is where you spend a good deal of your time. It supports you, and is a stage you create to experience daily life. Investing time and thought into what you want it to be is always going to pay off well!

There are no rules about how (or when) to organize, arrange, or decorate your home that supersede what you want and need to have in it to bring you fulfilment and joy. Let the home chores you do be another way to express your fabulous self. And have fun!



Design & Me (A Manifesto)

home sweet home

When you tell someone you’re an interior designer, they have an idea of what that means. There are plenty of design shows, and blogs, and magazines, after all. We all know what a designer does, right?

Hmmm…not so much, maybe. Because we’re all different, we designers, and we mostly don’t design for cable TV programs. 🙂 Also, “good” design is a bit subjective. What’s “good” to me could be “bad” to someone else – and that is actually what I love about design! It’s personal. And it should be personal, whether it’s for a business or your home. The point of design, of any kind, is to create personalized solutions for people.

Interior design isn’t about a space being pretty, or “cool”, or “in-style” or striking – though it may be one, or several, of those things. Design is about creating an environment that feels like something to you, something you want to experience. It could be passion, peace, comfort, excitement, warmth, belonging, relaxation, harmony, etc. As an interior designer I don’t sell furniture, or window treatments, or tell you how your home should look. I enable you to love the places you spend your time in by helping you to access the deep longings you have, and express those needs and wants in your environment.

For those who wonder…..Here’s my Design Manifesto:

  • If you really LOVE it (really love it, as in you chose it, or if you didn’t, you adore it anyway) then I love it for you too (even if my aesthetic is very different than yours).
  • Good design feels GOOD.
  • Good design functions well for your needs and life.
  • It supports you in your best life and expression of yourself.
  • It doesn’t need to cost a lot or be a certain brand name.
  • It’s adaptable and flexible.
  • It showcases your life – what you love, do, feel, desire.
  • It also enhances your life.
  • You are the ultimate designer – it’s about your innate ability to make the best choices for you. Yes, you may want help to interpret it all, but it is your home, office, family, etc.
  • There are no real rules. Or, if you like, rules are meant to be broken when they don’t serve the design inspiration.
  • Ceilings absolutely deserve love too! Let’s stop ignoring them!
  • Color, texture, light, and other design elements, are also elements of healing.
  • “Every room needs some black” just means that contrast and depth are important considerations in an environment, just as in life.

I could, of course, go on! But mostly what I believe is that design isn’t magic, it isn’t tricky, or only found in those “to the trade only” showrooms. It’s about you – your family, your life, your work, your loves and desires. Simple.

Do you have a Design Manifesto? I’d love to see it!!