The New Year!

I am not into “resolutions” per se, but I do yearn for things to be new and fresh and different at the beginning of the new year. I do love focusing on organization and this time of year it feels natural. Organization is the utilitarian aspect of design – the part that makes it work. The word itself – organized – sounds rather clinical I like “order” better, so I will call it that. It seems that everything amazing has order a beautiful painting, a room, a song, a garden.

Eugene Galien-Laloue
Eugene Galien-Laloue a 19th century French classical painter.

I just cleaned out my car the other day … Wow! You wouldn’t believe some of the things I had in there. I realized, that I operate several projects from my car! I had papers, books, supplies for work, for church, music from two choirs … mail that hadn’t made it into the house yet, art supplies from several projects I had been working on, recycling … I even found a box of cereal! I have a small car and it had been cleaned not too long ago.

Maybe you are thinking I shouldn’t keep so much stuff in my car – and well you are right – the cereal belongs in the house! I have been absent minded in the past – you are shocked right? And so many of the ways that I do things are based on this. I keep things that I will need, away from home, in my car so that I’ll have them when I need them. So, I need to organize my car based on my way of doing things. You can do this too, you don’t need to try to fit yourself into some model of correctness any more than you need to fit your “things” into one of those plastic boxes from the store. You must learn to organize yourself, based on you!

So, I invite you to put order in an area of your own life. Tell me your project in comments and we’ll do this together.

If you accept this assignment the first thing you’ll want to do is to pick the area, in my case it will be my car. So pick away! Post your intention and follow along as we return order to our lives.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

You deserve to live as well as you can …

I know you already know this, but do you really? What could you do in your space in the next few days that would really make a difference and inspire you to feel – wonderful about yourself and your life? Could you handle a simple chore? Rearrange that area that has been bugging you for a time? Add something new and entirely frivolous that gives you a boost every time you see it? Don’t worry about a resolution, just make a few small adjustments in your space to commemorate and honor 2012 and at the same time attract you to the clean slate that is 2013!

A Moroccan Room
The big picture …
Everything about this style excites me, the colors - the patterns, the shapes!
Everything about this style excites me, the colors – the patterns, the shapes. It is old world and exotic yet fresh and contemporary all at the same time!

Explore what you love and what attracts you, and interject some of that into your space. Don’t ever worry if elements will match! Mixing is what you want. If you want to introduce a new “style” choose three items. Using this detail of a Moroccan room as an example choose one of the details from the caption and find a place in your room for your new treasures . . . voilà!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

What you resist – persists

Truer words have seldom been spoken! You may be wondering what would this topic be doing on a decorating/design blog? Well that is the magic … the spell part of design. When we crave change of any kind, even a new sofa, we must first … wait for it … you are not going to believe it … be satisfied with what we currently have! I know, doesn’t seem to make sense but it is true! You may even be excited by what you have, because you can see in your mind the new and improved version; as this woman did:

A woman in Texas found this ... beauty on Craigslist and bought it! I know ...
A woman in Texas found this … “beauty” on Craigslist and bought it! I know …

and turned it into this …

She did it herself! She has great imagination doesn't she?
She did it herself! She has great imagination, don’t you think?

You can read the whole story here.

This is not an isolated incident or concept. We experience it all the time, we call it inspiration. Artists use inspiration to compel, to push, sometimes just to get them off the “couch.”

So, for the next few days, look at something that you wish were different and see the beauty in it, seek inspiration and get excited about your new and improved version!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

How To Choose A Color Scheme!

Ok, here is the typical scenario, you are going to paint so you head to the paint store. Once there you loose your mind, there are hundreds of samples! You take a few deep breaths, after all, you think, you’ve painted before, and you have known other people who have painted, so in theory you can do this! Hmm … but where to start, you hit on an idea; “how about your favorite color – blue?” Ok, start with the blues – you love aqua, robin’s egg blue and Tiffany blue. Yes, you can do this. “Oh, wow there are so many light blues!” Ok, but you know what you like and … you remember your husband doesn’t really care for the light blue, he likes navy and super dark blue … hmm. Should you look at dark blues? “Oh, wait my sister’s neighbor said you shouldn’t paint dark colors it makes the room smaller, and well you don’t really like the dark blues anyway. Maybe blue is not really a good choice, after all it is so common. Your husband loves red, and you don’t mind red – if it were used right. So you pick a red. Hmm … but it is such an intense color, certainly you couldn’t paint all the walls red. Maybe you could pick a color to go with it. Hmm … let’s see, your sister loves green, oh no that would look like Christmas, what goes with red? Let’s see yellow? No – you don’t really like yellow and that might be too much. Purple, hey that might be a happy medium … STOP!

Ok, sorry to put you through that – take a deep breath. Before you go to the paint store you choose a general color scheme. And the way you find that is you look for inspiration.

Here are inspiration ideas:

  • A beautiful piece of art
  • An oriental rug you inherited from Grandma
  • The colors of your favorite vacation spot
  • A post card depicting an English garden
  • A beautiful dress you saw in the magazine
  • Your favorite style is mid-century modern. What colors were popular then?
  • You love an Asian feel, clean lines and all zen garden like. What colors are commonly used there?
  • You love the colors of Indian spices; curry, saffron and cardamon.
  • You like a neutral palette.
  • You like a delicate pallet of soft blues and greens.

Take your time at this point. Here are some pictures for inspiration:

Vincent van Gogh “Sunflowers”
Oriental Rug
Frederick MD Oriental Rug
Lake Cavanaugh Snow Caps
Lake Cavanaugh From the blog “Sarah Who?”
English Garden
From Dreaming of an English Garden


Purple Dress
Badgley Mischka Fall 2011
Mid-Century Modern 50s Pam
1963 Geneva steel kitchen, 50s Pam
A Martha Stewart Room

What is your inspiration? If you haven’t chosen your inspiration yet, begin collecting ideas in a box or a notebook. You’ll see that you are drawn to certain colors.

For those of you who would like some help choosing a color scheme for your project I do color consultations and you don’t even have to live near by because we can color consult online. Leave a comment or email Bonnie.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Statehood Day in Hawaii

The 3rd Friday in August is recognized as Statehood Day in Hawaii. In 1959, Hawaii became the 50th star on the flag. In honor of this day let’s look at interior design in Hawaii.

There are many different interpretations of Hawaiian style, most of it leaves me with shivers. It can get too themey way too fast, next thing you know you feel like you are at one of those horrible parties drinking Mai Tais out of coconuts with little umbrellas that keep trying to go up your nose every time you try to take a drink.

So let’s take a more subtle approach let’s start out at the palace! I know this doesn’t sound subtle, but we are looking for some inspiration.

The most famous architecture in Hawaii is  the Iolani Palace. It was built in 1882 by King David Kalakaua (the Merrie Monarch). It is said to have had electricity and running water before the White House did. The architectural style of the palace is Romantic Italianateish. I know that is not subtle either is it? But just look how beautiful ….

Iolani Palace

Here is the blue room, (King David Kalakaua’s color was blue).

The Blue Room
This is an official post-card from Iolani Palace.

Here is the Grand Hall or the Throne Room.

The Grand Hall
Beautiful Red Hall!

The beautiful grand koa wood staircase.

Grand Staircase
Photo courtesy of Iolani Palace.

The dining room.

Iolani Dining Room
Another exquisite room. Although there is quite a bit of furniture in here, it still feels sparse – I think they need some design magic!
Hawaiian Kingdom Coat of Arms
Red and Yellow were Ali’i (royalty) colors.

The most beautiful Hawaiian design uses elements and colors from nature. There was a lot of red used, and yellow with hits of aqua blue and royal blue. These following rooms are more modern interpretations of the use of the same color pallet.

Here is a room using aqua and coral red. This room is not a Hawaiian room per se, but very well could be.

Bamboo chairs upholstered in aqua with a coral red table. Via Pinterest.

Hawaiian colors in a modern setting! Beautiful room by Kristen Rivoli Interior Design.

Hawaiian Colors
Gorgeous simple design. With a huge impact!

This sun porch designed by Jay Jeffers could easily be in Hawaii or anywhere.

A Hawaiian feel for a sun porch.

So what do you think? Want some Hawaiian style in your home? Some elements to consider:

  • Keep floors bare and use throw rugs. Consider dark plank flooring, or bamboo.
  • Use yellow, red, aqua and blue. Any color or combination will work just keep colors light, vivid and bright.
  • For neutrals consider the colors of sand, lava and bamboo.
  • Bring a little of the outdoors in and some of the indoors out, in Hawaii there is always a blending of spaces.
  • A tropical look is not stiff or forced but organic and natural looking.
  • Use a combination of woven shades and beautiful simple panels on your windows.
  • You can grow orchids indoors, it’s easy!
  • Asian influenced art, looks great with this look.
  • Use lighting to your advantage, install dimmer switches and keep your spaces romantic and mysterious.
  • Have fun! Most important tip.
Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments


Monday is the day that everyone seems to dread! I think that is because so many of us are working jobs that we don’t like. What would we need to do differently in order to love Mondays?

Monday is the Moon’s day and it is white! White is the color’s color. Know what I mean? If all the colors could choose a favorite they would choose white! White is made up of all the other colors and is the closest we can come to creating pure light. It is always appropriate because it goes well with anything  …

This small mostly white bathroom is big on style. In a small room using quality materials are much more affordable.

The veins of charcoal and gray in the marble are repeated in the stripe of the silk sink skirt.

In this bedroom via Laura Casey Interiors we find all white room with green accents.

White works best in a bright room.

My favorite place to use white is in the bathroom. Here Sarah Richardson adds a touch of yellow in just the right places.

I love the living room style curtains in the bathroom, so unexpected!

In this all-most all white dining room there is a feeling of serenity.

The focus will definitely be on the food and conversation at this table!

So how does a person create a “successful” white room? Well, when the color is all the same (no matter what the color) focus on textures and shapes. And you kind of have to be a neat-nic, because something out of place can spoil the dramatic affect.

In this next space via Little Lovables the walls and trim are all white.

Bright colors and patterns really pop against white walls!

And the reverse – with all the color on the walls and the trim and furniture white, a very dramatic look.

Via Laura Cassey.

So, white can be quite dramatic. And I guess so can Monday. The take away here seems to be Mondays like the color white can be beautiful if you are ready for them!

Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments