3 Signs You’re Resisting Change to Your Home

Time for Change - Red Word on White Desktop Calendar Isolated on Gray Background.Every once in a while a someone will contact me for a design consultation. When I get to their home and they show me around, I suddenly begin to realize that the main issue is they are resisting change to their home.

Sometimes they know a change is needed because their grown children have been telling them they’re still living in the 80’s. And sometimes their spouse wants to make the change, but they just haven’t been able to wrap their head around it yet.
This week I realized that anyone can have a fear of change…even a child who isn’t quite ready to give up the only room she’s ever known. You see, my new “clients” are my daughter and granddaughter. And the life change that is prompting this decorating project is a new baby sister.

As I was talking with my granddaughter, I could sense some resistance to the changes that we’re planning to her room. And it made me think about other clients who’ve expressed these same doubts, openly and in the ways they react to my suggestions. Here are the 3 Signs You’re Resisting Change. Do you see yourself on this list?
1. You can’t seem to part with anything – clutter and collections

We all know about hoarders. They buy almost anything and everything whether they need it or not. Their need is to buy. But when change is hard for you, everything you have is special. Giving away, paring it down, or selling something to make room for another is painful. Sometimes clients will have a room that no one is allowed to go into because it’s so crowded with things they can’t bear to part with. Do you have a room like that in your house? My aunt did, and we called it the “scary room”.

Sammie 3


2. You worry about how you’ll get used to it…before it’s even started

Before the kitchen design is finished, you might be worrying about how you’ll get used to the dishwasher on a different side of the sink. Or you worry about how the new space plan will affect your cooking habits. So you make no decision because you can’t even imagine what it would be like.

Sammie 2

And some people can’t imagine a room without the things that they love…Bambi, flowers, and PINK!

3. You stay where you are and complain about the space where you live

Imagine pushing the gas pedal at the same time that you’re pressing the brakes. What happens to the car? That’s right! It goes nowhere!!!

You say that you want to change things, to update, and to make things new. But by not making the decision to move forward, you’re sending mixed messages out into the world. And that creates confusion and stress. Often by saying “I’m too busy” or “I can’t afford it” we just use that as an excuse to not face our fear of change.
So how can we work around this? How can change become less stressful and more about the fun and excitement of moving on? And how can you get your child or your spouse on board for these changes that you’re so ready to make?

Look for stylish and cute containers to store things


Design storage into your space. If you’re a collector, make sure that there are lots of shelves for your “stuff”…that’s what I’m working on at my house.
For de-cluttering, make a “keep” pile, a “get rid of” pile, and a “maybe” pile. Some organizers will tell you to get rid of anything you haven’t worn or used in the last 6 months.
Make a “things I need to change” list. Order it by priority and do the one thing on the list that is the most important to you. It might be as easy as taking down the 80’s wallpaper that is peeling off the wall. Or it might be something major like taking down a wall so you can see into another room while you’re cooking. But find the one thing that will make you happy and also be the easiest for you to adjust to.

Balsley opening

Do one thing on your list at a time so that you can get used to the change. Make one decision at a time.
Visualize yourself in your new space every day. Maybe that means having a copy of your design perspectives hanging at your desk. Maybe creating an idea book on Houzz of all the beautiful new things you’ll be including in your new space. Or maybe making a vision board of what your dream space will look like will fill you with excitement.


Start with subtle changes and get used to that first.   Try painting two shades darker than the white that you have now. Or maybe use a different shade of the same color family.  This seems to be the way to make my granddaughter happy.  And a way to finally retire the “bubble gum” pink…and Bambi!


Top 10 Kitchen Tips to Love it Now….Sell it Later

top 10Through all the years of designing kitchens and baths, the number one request is “How can I update my kitchen without doing a full blown renovation”?

At first the immediate need was to fix it up as inexpensively as possible so that the homeowner could put it on the market to sell.  You see, the economy was booming.  Clients were excited to cash in on the fast home sales and increased value. Remember those days?  But then, the economy crashed.  No one was doing anything…except sitting tight.

Flash forward to today.  We’re finally ready to invest a little and update our homes.  But I’m finding that homeowners are more interested in enjoying their investment for a few years, and then trying to sell.  Their ROI, for the present, is enjoyment!  Some will stay a year or two and others still aren’t quite sure.

But before you make any type of investment in your kitchen, you need to take a good, unbiased look at the space and ask yourself these questions:

  • Is the space plan working for you and your work habits?
  • Are the cabinets in good condition?
  • Will you REALLY love the cabinets enough after you paint them?

Asking yourself these questions is extremely important.  Adding new granite countertops to worn out cabinets is a waste of your money.  If you even think that you might want new cabinets a year from now….WAIT UNTIL YOU CAN AFFORD IT!!!!  Countertops cannot be taken off  to install new cabinets.   But, if you’re comfortable with your answers, then it’s time to move forward with some updates that will let you love your kitchen again.

1.  Replace the countertop with a new surface.  This also morphs into a new sink, faucet, and sometimes, garbage disposer.

2.  Paint your cabinets a fun color.  I especially love painting oak cabinets because the grain of the wood comes through.

3.  Change the cabinet hardware.  If you’re painting the cabinets you don’t need to worry about making sure you replace with the same size hardware.  You can even add a knob in place of a pull.

4.  Paint your walls and trim, especially if you still have the typical  80’s floral wallpaper and dark wood trim.  This will really brighten the space.

5.  Add roll out shelves to the inside of all base cabinets.  This will make life much easier!

6.  Change your backsplash to something neutral and calming or fun and colorful.

7.  Take care of clutter inside your drawers by adding dividers.

8.  Look for lower price point cabinets to make the big change.  They won’t have as many bells and whistles or modification options, but will get you a new look and a new plan at a reasonable cost.

9. Change the lighting.  Remember, though, that the popcorn ceiling might need to be fixed.  But buyers don’t want that or the fluorescent box in the ceiling.

10. New appliances with up-to-date technology like Energy Star rating and excellent food preservation.

Design Homework:

Take a personal assessment of your kitchen to see how you can implement some of these tips to update your space.

If you’ve enjoyed reading these tips, and would like to learn more, leave your name and email in the box at the right.  Every week I send design tips, trends, and the latest product information for your kitchen, bath, and…more!


Little Things Make a Big Difference When It Comes to Kitchen Design Projects

island to sink vertical      Kitchen design projects should be fun and exciting.  But sometimes, even with the best of intentions, your DIY can suddenly become an OMG!  You didn’t measure correctly.  The overhead lights are not where you meant them to be.  And the counter stools you loved in the store won’t fit at your island.

     These mistakes are time wasters, and they can become expensive.  And we all know that saving time and money is at the top of the list anytime we start a new project!  When I realized that offering quick and easy design tips to clients has become part of my daily routine, I decided it was time to share them with everyone and, hopefully, stop at least one DIY project disaster.  Here we go……


TIP #1 – Pendant Lights

Pendant lights over an island, peninsula, or bar are used as much for aesthetics as they are for accent lighting.  There are so many styles and finishes to choose from that it’s easy to become confused and overwhelmed.  Though the most frequently asked question is “How high should it be from the counter top?” 

     You need to consider the height and diameter of the light, and also the height of the ceiling.  But a good rule to follow is always keep the bottom of the light between 30″-36″ from the counter.   Working with a partner is the best way to get the job done right.  Have someone hold the light in place while you step back to see how it looks.  Make sure it’s balanced within the space, and not so low that people will bump their head on it.


To learn more ways to have a successful kitchen design project, be sure to grab a copy of our FREE report by filling out the box on the right!