Butler County Times Gazette
  • Through the Front Door: Design for your life

  • I like to really get into the heads of my clients and understand why they want to live in a particular manner
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  • Have you ever really sat down and just analyzed your life? Pondered who you are and how you became the person you are right at this moment? I consider myself a "thinky designer," meaning that I like to really get into the heads of my clients and understand why they want to live in a particular manner. Regardless of all the HGTV shows and dwelling magazines that grab our attention, how we live is very personal. We should not strive to simply copy a look out of a magazine, but adapt what catches our eye to our own style and our own life. So I thought maybe today, on a lovely Saturday, we might do a little soul searching for the home.
    Plumb your influences
    I am a true combination of all the influences in my life, especially my Mom. Of course, my very crafty Dad is in here, too, every time I ask myself, "How would Dad do this?" Not to mention Lucille Chase, my first boss at her wonderful store Lovellette's Gifts. Finally, I find inside me, my elegant Grandmother Nina Jones. In fact, I think my focus on living a gracious lifestyle came from my Grandmother. Unlike my Mom, she was a working professional and every bit the classy, polished, proficient figure we think of today. As Register of Deeds in Butler County for 25 years, she was also a political figure. Born in Goddard, Kansas, she later resided in Eldorado and later Augusta. I never knew why she moved, but in life, we don't always ask the questions that make us wonder later in life.
    What I do know, however, is that Grandma lived stylishly, both with her wardrobe and in her home. I have the foggiest memory of her and my Grandfather living in a home with a porch in Eldorado, back when street signs were painted on low white monuments. After my Grandfather died at age 59, she made her home in charming apartments that housed my fondest memories. A very modern lifestyle for someone I believe from that period of time. I loved that aspect of my Grandmother she was very with it as she liked to say. The gifts I received from her over the years reflected that attention to trends she was knowledgeable about.
    Buying with your brain
    Grandma loved beautiful things and was so tidy that her apartments were always just perfect and her attention to details was noticeable. She purchased a good portion of her lovely furniture pieces from a hard rock maple wood furniture store in Wichita on Central—I remember because even at that very young age I loved shopping for beautiful furniture! On the road to this career, I went with her, advised her on what to purchase and then enjoyed a lovely lunch with her after our shopping trip. She truly was a lady and she lived like a lady.
    Page 2 of 3 - Find your story
    I'm sure all of you have a similar story: You live a certain way because somewhere in your mind you developed a fondness for a particular style. Perhaps, as a child, you lived with a lot of accessories in your home and your job on Saturday was to dust them to earn your allowance! As a grownup, you are not really a fan of excess and rejoice in a calm look in which less is more. Or you are your parent's kid and love being surrounded with gorgeous excess as well. Maybe your parents favored beige, so you embrace splashes of color—or vice versa! Little hidden mindsets like these reside in our brains as we establish our homes. On many occasions, I've said that life is the greatest design of all and we should fill it with as much joy and contentment as possible. And that means living in your own personal comfort!
    Which leads me to this thought: Always focus on what is livable for you and your family. Whenever you find yourself wanting to make a change, don't hesitate to turn to HGTV and magazines for the wealth of ideas they present. But then always bring it back to you. For example, if you love one of the trendy new colors of the year, feel free to freshen up your home with marvelous bits and pieces of these happy hues. If you find that you are not a fan of one of this year's much touted colors, feel free to ignore it within your home.
    Listen to your heart
    In my career, I've been asked to help fix various "design disasters"! This is a tough situation for me and truly a heartbreak for the homeowner. More times than not the homeowners have paid for advice from a designer—or listened to a well-intentioned friend—who did not take the time to understand their needs. I've even been invited into homes where a previous designer suggested everything must go! I cannot think of a more ridiculous suggestion from anyone in my profession, but trust me, it happens. Unfortunately, clients can be intimidated and end up following a "fresh, new" design direction that does not feel right. At the end of the project, the client has buyer's remorse and an empty budget. So, the best advice I can give you is to stay true to yourself. Don't be convinced that you can live in a different manner because, gorgeous, you probably can't!
    When it comes to design—in fact, when it comes to any decisions you make in your life—listen to that little voice in your head! Women are so blessed with that voice of reason and understanding that there's a name for it: women's intuition. And quite frankly, it works! Whether you are trying eloquently to suggest to your daughter she might think about disposing of a recent boyfriend-who just doesn't feel right to you or turning down the shocking pink sofa from a pushy salesperson! Take charge-be the power house of your world guided by the little voice in your head!
    Page 3 of 3 - Have a wonderful week and I will be here next week with something new to visit about!
    Question: What size of light bulb would you suggest in lamps in the family
    room?
    Answer: Great question, too many times people don't even think about this
    aspect of the lamp. They just put in what is on hand in their home. If the
    bulb is too hot it will cook your shade over time. Make sure to look at the
    wattage limit on the throat of the bulb socket, don't exceed this! I like to
    stay in the 60 watt range, bright, but not too bright. Since incandescent
    bulbs are now banned you will need to find a new environmentally friendly
    one. I like Precision Lighting at $2.21 per bulb, it is a nice warm white.
    As for a three way lamp I always suggest the lower of the wattages, try
    finding bulbs that are in this series: 30-70-100 combination. I hope this
    helps, thank you for the question. I love getting them!
    I leave you this week with some surprising, but oh so true words from Marilyn Monroe:
    "A woman knows by intuition, or instinct, what is best for herself."
    http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/intuition.html#lEFhrYKAZSti1aje.99
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