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Homeowners See A Dysfunctional Mess. Interior Designers See Possibilities.

I have been a professional interior designer for over 10 years, and I love what I do.  But sometimes when I tell people what I do for a living — whether it be potential clients, neighbors, book-club members, mothers of my kids’ friends — I often get a specific reaction.


People exclaim, “Oh NO, I don't want you to see my house! It’s a mess. There is so much I want to do. I’d be so embarrassed!!”


Somehow they think because I’m an interior designer, I’ll make value judgments about the state of their home, their level of taste, or whether each room is stylistically current and thoughtfully composed. Believe me, I DO NOT come at it from that point of view at all!


I don’t make value judgments. I don’t scrutinize with “designer-ly biases”. But I DO like to help people make choices that result in their homes being the very best spaces to live in.


Why? Because we are all attached to the spaces and places we spend most of our time in, where we connect with loved ones, and where the milestones of our lives play out (big and small). 


Our home is the very most important place we occupy throughout our lives.  


Yes, my background does allow me to take careful note about the conditions of a home. Through my experience as a residential interior designer, my team and I certainly know how to analyze interior spaces, and of course I notice things that non-designers do not. 


But these skills and my experience are not at all about being judgy. I can assure you my own home is far from perfect! There are many things I would love to change. I currently happen to have a few spaces of my own I’d like to update including my kitchen counters, primary bedroom furnishings, and some bathroom updates. Things change, trends evolve, and nothing stays absolutely perfect forever. 


As an interior designer, I consider myself, first and foremost, a problem-solver. I like to ask questions, figure out what’s not working (and why), evaluate, and come up with solutions to my clients’ problems. It is enormously satisfying for me to do this.  


So, when I go into or visit someone’s home for the first time, here are the things I do notice: 


I notice the very best qualities of a space — the bones.

Maybe it's a particular decorative or architectural feature. Maybe it’s the quality of natural light coming in, or perhaps interesting sight lines to the out-of-doors or to a particular point of emphasis. 


In other words, I immediately see the best features a space has to offer. Then my brain automatically envisions how those elements could be enhanced or enriched. Perhaps there is a stunning fireplace that now looks just a bit dated. Or maybe beautiful window or door trim details that would shine with a fresh coat of paint. 


As a designer, I can visualize what your home will look like in its most perfect state, so really, when I see your home, I see beauty and possibility.


I can see and feel whether the space is being used to its best ability.

The wheels in my head instinctively start turning as I consider whether more functionality could be achieved if certain small changes were made to furniture layouts or room usage.This also encompasses evaluating traffic flow and circulation. Sometimes furniture arrangements create awkward pathways. And other times a different placement of pieces could enhance a feeling of spaciousness and openness. Often small changes can make huge transformations: greatly enhancing functionality and movement through a space, and optimizing sightlines and vantage points.


I consider the functionality of spaces and consider a family’s morphing needs.

By this, I mean that I see into the future of the homeowners’ lives. Their home tells their story. And I like to think about how a home needs to be adjusted to ensure there is an optimal fit between the house and the people who occupy it - not just NOW but also in the future as the occupants age and grow.


Young families will face the need for more usable space as their family size grows. Children’s toys all over the place only means the use of that space will evolve as the kids grow past the toy stage. Teenagers feel a profound need for privacy and outlets for developmental pursuits. And with homeowners at later stages of life, I consider the implications of empty-nesting and accommodating aging bodies and physical challenges. 


I am also very sensitive to a mis-alignment of space with the homeowner’s needs and interests. A small tight kitchen for a homeowner who loves cooking and baking? A desk space on the kitchen island for someone who works from home full-time? Six guitars shoved in a corner of a living room for someone who really wants to make music as a hobby? Yes, then my head really starts churning about how family members might be able to live better and more purposefully in their space.


I think about how the actual monetary value of a home might be enhanced.

Our homes are the very biggest monetary investment most of us possess, or will ever possess. It’s a shame when homeowners don’t realize the full value of this investment upon selling that home. This is particularly an issue when critical maintenance needs have been deferred or overlooked, or when the stylistic qualities of a home have been ignored so long that a needed revamp will most certainly deter potential buyers when the time comes.  


You are not being a wise steward of this major investment if you are ignoring needed updates or maintenance issues.





So, you see, I will never judge you or your home. But I will see possibilities, I will notice the beauty that does exist, I will see opportunities. I will think about how small changes may result in big transformations, like more use, more function, more value and more joy!


So, never be reluctant to have an interior designer visit or evaluate your home. A fresh set of eyes and ideas can transform and elevate your day-to-day life. 


To learn more about the interior design services we offer, head to our Services page or fill out a Project Inquiry Form.

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