Your Space Matters: 3 Secrets to Designing Your Life at Home


Your Space Matters.  It really does!  As we go about our day, following our crazy schedules, it’s so easy to get caught up in life and ignore this place we call home.

And then one day we wake up and notice that things around us are looking a bit worn and tired. There are rooms we avoid because we just don’t feel comfortable there.  Sometimes we’re unorganized and often late for work or carpool because we can’t find the car keys.  Does this sound a little bit familiar?

And worst of all, because we feel this way, it starts to impact the way we act around other people and how we respond to them…even if we don’t realize it.  You know what I mean.  The kitchen counter is piled with a PTA project that needs to be finished, so you’re stressed.  Then the kids start clamoring for your attention…and you snap at them.  Or you’re embarrassed to have friends over because your kitchen “doesn’t look as good as their kitchen.”

We’ve all been there at one time or another, and it’s not a fun place to be.  Now’s the time to sit back, take a deep breath, and make a plan to design your life at home.  Here are my 3 secrets to making it happen:

Secret #1:  Define your values

Start by making a list of everything that HOME means to you. Do you want it to be a retreat to come home to at the end of a long hectic day?  Do you love to welcome family and friends?  Next make a list of your priorities in order of importance.  But be sure that they fit what you value most about home.  A good example of this would be loving to cook but dreading it because your kitchen is always a mess.

Secret #2:  Discover what works for you and your lifestyle

How do you want to live in your home?  If you love to be relaxed and casual, then choose furniture styles that reflect that.  When low maintenance is something you value, a clean and simple style with few accessories might be the way to go.

How do you want to feel when you’re at home?  Do you want to feel relaxed, unhurried, and stress free?  What about energetic, organized, and carefree?  Think about the lifestyle you have now, or even the one that you’d like to have, and create your home makeover to compliment that.

What do you want more of?  For me it’s more creative time.  If I don’t create a space for that to happen, I don’t plan it into my day.

What do you want less of?  Maybe you want to spend less time cleaning or staying on top of the clutter.  Less accessories and better storage solutions would be the answer.

Secret #3:  Just do it!

Too often we make excuses….
I don’t have the time.
We can’t afford it.
I can’t live through construction.
I don’t know where to start.

So many times these excuses are just us getting in our own way because we’re afraid to take that first step.  Start with something simple and   begin the process with what you already have.  Get rid of the outdated floral arrangements, move lamps and pillows to another room, or repurpose a table for another use.          One client realized that she was spending less and less time in her home office, and instead working later and later at meetings and other busy work.  As soon as she admitted to herself that she really hated the way her office made her feel, she was ready to make a change.  And guess what?  A new paint color was enough to soothe her feelings of uneasiness, and she’s now using her office again!


Top 10 Kitchen Design Trends that Everybody Loves

Father with daughter in kitchen


     Do you ever find yourself playing around in your kitchen, preparing dinner for your family or guests, and suddenly realize that it’s not as easy to entertain as it once was?  Are too many cooks making the space seem crowded?  Or there’s a baby to hold, but you need to open the pantry door.  Maybe you’re just sick and tired of getting on your hands and knees to grab that platter you’ve stored way in the back of your corner cabinet. 

     We’ve all been there a time or two. And those are the times we know our kitchen design is just not working for us the way it used to.  Life is always changing.  Some years we love hosting large dinner parties, playing tennis, and juggling our kids’ activities.  And some years we have full time jobs and want to cook, eat, and clean up as quickly as possible.

     What I’ve noticed is that our changing interests and lifestyles are impacting the way kitchens are designed today.  I see it in the requests that I get from clients, and I see it in the design magazines that I buy.  So let’s take a look at the top 10 kitchen design trends that help us love our kitchens again.


1.  Keep a clear, open floor plan with at least 36″ between cabinets, islands, and walls.   If two people are cooking at the same time, 42″-45″ is even better.


2.  Fewer wall cabinets or none at all- Having no wall cabinets gives a more contemporary or urban look that’s clean and uncluttered.  Shelves with brackets can also give the same look.  But by adding decorative brackets, you can instantly have a farmhouse look.  Keep in mind that whatever is displayed on the shelves should be displayed with care.


3.  Appliances are at a comfortable height.  Homeowners are asking for raised dishwashers and microwaves at shoulder height instead of over the cook top.  Placing two ovens side by side at waist height not only looks great, but makes taking food in and out so much easier.

4.  Drawers are replacing cabinets with roll out shelves.  The desire to eliminate one step in the process, opening the doors first, is the driving force of this trend.

5.  Dish drawers to replace the wall cabinet for dishes.  Pegs keep your dishes in place so they don’t slide around.  And think how much easier it is to lift up a stack of dishes instead of lifting them down.  Even preschools are using dish drawers so the children can help with table setting!



6.  Doors that go away – fold to the side, swing up or recess in – get out of the way so that you can access what’s inside.  We’ve all seen the appliance garage with tambour doors.  Now imagine it with a swing-up door or a pocket door.  Swing-up doors are also used in wall cabinets in more contemporary cabinets. 



7.  Multilevel island with knee space – Being able to sit to do a task in the kitchen is helpful for any age or ability.  A lower level counter is a frequent request from clients who love to bake.  Rolling dough or kneading bread is much easier at a 30″ counter height.

8.  Lots of lighting – As we age, our need for lighting increases, so adding overhead, task (under cabinet lights), and ambiance (island pendants) is always a good idea…at any age.  Think of homework in the kitchen while you cook or reading recipes.  We can all benefit from additional, well placed lighting.


9.  The “Costco pantry” – As our desire to buy in bulk increases, so does the need for a place to store it. 



10. Touch faucets – These hands-free faucets are gaining in popularity for all ages.  They’re perfect for messy hands, arthritic hands, and even toddler hands!


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