A Design Plan that WORKS.

cottage living room; gray walls; layered rugs; shabby chic.png

Here’s the thing about our homes:  they make us feel.  Insert any adjective you like- mad, sad, joyful, safe, excited, happy, real, magical, depressed, exhausted, energized, relaxed, on an on…. I’m willing to bet my next lifetime of paychecks that the negative adjectives above are not words you’d use to describe your dream home.  “Yeah, I’m really looking for something with an Adam’s Family feel- dark, dreary, dirty, depressing and lacking any soul,” said no one ever.  Yet, 

we decide that when we screw up our own design choices we must make living with them our penance for the next thirty years. 

 And this is where I found myself.  Trying to make that stupid hand-me down couch work; drinking out of blue glasses that turned an ugly shade of puke green when you actually drank anything other than water out of them; and living with a yellow paint color on the walls aptly named “Chicken Scratches”.  

When I work with clients I run into similar scenarios ALL THE TIME. We dream of creating the home that will nurture our soul and provide comfort for ourselves, family and friends.  But damn, if we don’t drag our feet when we make a design mistake! “That is my mother’s couch, and while I hate the style and color it’s in perfectly good shape.  It would be a shame to get rid of it.”   “I just bought this coffee table and it’s so big I keep banging my shin on it every time I try to walk around it. But I can’t get a new one or my husband will divorce me.” “I JUST had this room painted.  It makes me feel like death warmed over, but I’m going to live with it until it grows on me.”  So we walk around our homes depressed, black and blue, and make design decisions based on furniture we hate.

 I realize we do not have unlimited budgets and a complete furniture overhaul every time we make a bad purchase is not going to happen.  However, we can start to tune into the designs that make our heart beat a little faster and the objects that make our soul sing.  We all have these things buried deep, and it takes practice and work to uncover them.  But once we recognize these deepest desires and soul-fulfilling elements of our perfect idea of place we can begin to plan.  And that plan will prevent us from ever making another design faux pas again.  

When we discover and follow our innermost needs of place, we are able to climb that pyramid to become the best versions of ourselves. 

I hear you now, “Wait.  What?  You mean that English roll arm sofa in the navy velvet is going to make me a better person? You’re mad.”  While I may be a touch crazy, yes. Yes, it will make you a better person.  Because every time you sit and sink down into those luxurious seat cushions it reminds you of the down feather mattress you slept on at your great grandparents’ cabin during the summer when you were five.  And the softness of the fabric was exactly like the muzzle of the horse they had on their farm to which you got to feed apples.  And the rich blue of the material looks exactly like those summer night skies.  So when you’re sitting on your couch, it’s oh so much more than a couch.  When your children come demanding to know what’s for dinner, in your relaxed state you can calmly reply, “I’m not sure yet.” instead of losing your mind because- didn't they just eat an hour ago and you have no idea what’s for dinner because no one but you ever thinks about it and you haven’t thought about it yet and just go play and quit bugging me. Who knew a couch could do so much?

Now, the navy velvet sofa may not be the best working visual for everyone.  You might have the same feelings over a bright floral sofa with plastic seat covers that made the backs of your legs stick to them when you tried to stand up.  (I have a similar memory with the plastic seats in the back of my best friend’s Mom’s avocado green Datsun. Those memories make me smile, but I’m not rushing out to find a car with plastic seats.) Whatever your memory is, that’s what’s important.  And how to translate those positive memories into viable and tangible design options for your present lifestyle is what we work through together.  Finding out that you had the knowledge and insight to create your perfect place all along is quite freeing. No more second guessing, returning items, living with bad purchases, or animosity towards your bathroom color. 


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Amanda Laurence