the power of positive

I chose interior design as my passion and life work because I love to help people live happy, healthy, productive, peaceful lives. My education has drilled into me the importance of designing for health and safety, which is paramount to the decisions we make as designers every day.  Taking this a step further, I believe in designing for mental health and safety.  In our society, bombarded by negative stimuli and inundated with bad stuff, it’s imperative to our mental and physical health to find peace and quiet.  The American Society of Interior Designers, ASID, states on their website that ‘in addition to designing environments that reduce stress, promote healing and are safe, trained and qualified interior designers need to apply their skills to create spaces that foster self-realization and unleash human potential.’  Personally, I think the best antidote to the noise of anger, greed, and narcissism is in training myself to think positive, loving, and helpful thoughts.  I’ve been thinking a lot about the proven power of positivity and how I can apply that to my professional practice.

Much of my work is on residential projects, where I’m working very closely with clients to create sanctuaries that are comfortable, inspirational, restful, peaceful, and provide a healthy balance between solitary spaces to recharge and gathering spaces to stay connected with loved ones.  Barbara L. Fredrickson wrote an article entitled Open Hearts Build Lives: Positive Emotions, Induced Through Loving-Kindness Meditation, Build Personal Resources, which scientifically asserts that people’s daily experiences of positive emotions compound over time to build a variety of consequential personal resources: increased mindfulness, purpose in life, social support, and decreased illness symptoms.  The long term result was proven to be increased life satisfaction and reduced depressive symptoms.  So how can we adopt this practice and achieve these results in our own environments at home or work?

As a designer, it’s my job to get to know my clients well enough to anticipate and design for their needs.  This involves designing for things they may not even know they need, but I know they will appreciate on a conscious AND subconscious level.  The answers aren’t universal, they are very personal, but there are things that I know about humans in environments that can be applied to most people. Among universal design elements that feed our positive side are increased day lighting, getting outdoors daily, movement, and exploring & implementing that delicate balance between quite contemplation or mediation with social engagement or interaction.  Finding a way to allow yourself to make these things a priority, then asking yourself what makes you feel your best you are important steps in being mindful about how your environment either aids or inhibits positive thinking.

I will be looking further into design elements that help aid in quality of life in coming posts.  Thanks for reading and think positive!


Good Interior Design Makes a Difference

One of the primary reasons I chose interior design to be my calling is my passion for designing spaces that improve lives.  Good design lowers stress (decreased blood pressure), improves mental health (aids in fighting depression or PTSD), minimizes toxins that contribute to health issues (decreases risk for cancer), encourages movement (improved heart health), and enables people to stay in their homes as they age or suffer from a disability, among other good things.  Healthy homes are an essential need in the human experience, no matter of socio-economic status or neighborhood.

Recently, I attended a forum in Boston discussing a partnership between ASID (American Society of Interior Designers) and the Clinton Global Initiative uniting to advance Health and Wellness by engaging 11 important partners in order to establish protocols for heath and wellness in design.  Interior designers have always been able to tell you that a space feels good with arguments of scale, balance, proportion, etc.  Now, as a result of these strong partnerships, new research is emerging daily supporting these claims with FACTS.  As a true design nerd, I find this era in design to be extremely exciting.  I love being able to support my design decisions with solid explanations.  It’s a great time to be a designer, and an even better time to hire a qualified and knowledgeable designer.

Here are just a few design solutions to ponder:

  • Increased daylighting in hospital settings has been found to greatly reduce healing time among patients as well as greatly reduce the burn-out rate among nurses.
  • Eliminating high sensory objects and design details in an environment where the user or users have autism reawakens their ability to interact with society and discourages disconnection.
  • The American Cancer Society released a report in the American Journal of Epidemiology stating that men who sat for six hours or more per day had an overall death rate that was nearly 20% higher than men who sat for three hours per day or less.  Women who sat for more than six hours per day had a death rate that was almost 40% higher! And dedicated exercise showed no neutralizing effect. Designing corporate work environments that encourage mobility will lead to more productive, healthy, happier people who live much longer.

Here’s a link describing the ASID / CGI partnership along with the 11 organizations helping to create health and wellness protocols that will help us all in our built environments:

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12 reasons why you should hire an educated, professional interior designer

I spend a lot of time and energy demystifying the profession of interior design because there are many misconceptions about us:

1. “Interior designers are only for wealthy people.”

2. “What skills do they have that I don’t have or can find from various retail sales staff?”

3. “I’m afraid they’re going to make my home in their taste / vision, not mine.”

4.  “I’m afraid they won’t listen to my needs and won’t adhere to my budget.”

5. “I think I can find all the items I want and can do it all myself.”


NO!… Interior design doesn’t have to be mysterious, expensive, or intimidating.  Interior designers are curators who deliver an experience and an outcome that can only be offered to you and your project because of our education and expertise.

Here’s what we really do:

1. Save your hard-earned money.  

  • Selecting the wrong product for your interior renovation or remodel can cost you money and unnecessary anxiety.
  • Some fabrics and products are much more durable than others.  Selecting the best ones for your needs will save you money in the long run.
  • Some finishes, treatments, and design elements are more energy efficient, causing a huge potential for cost savings in your energy bill.
  • We’ve done heaps of research on products and sources and know where to look for more information.  We know and stay up to date on the products on the market.  Save your time by using our knowledge.  Your time is money.
  • Many subcontractors cut corners and this can cost you.  I only work with reputable subcontractors I trust and know.  And if you’ve already hired a contractor I’m not familiar with, I will discuss with them their approach and techniques.  Having decades of experience in construction, I know talent and expertise in the field.

2. Save your valuable time.

  • Coordinating and managing the logistics of multiple products and installations require a considerable amount of skill and patience, a process that can be a frustrating experience for people.
  • As a value added service, designers recommend contractors and vendors that come highly recommend and with which we’ve nurtured relationships with.
  • Often in new construction and remodeling projects, one encounters unanticipated or unrecognized problems.  We broker solutions to those issues, making sure the project is done correctly and you’re always in the communication loop regarding the problem solving process, possible solutions and their costs.
  • Together, we will save you time and eliminate any mental anguish for you.

3. Some are members of professional organizations: I’m a member of ASID and LEED.

  • Organizations such as AIA, ASID, NKBA, and LEED require standards that are stringent for continued membership.  Continuing education requirements must be acheived and reported every two years, keeping designers up to date on the latest trends, products, and techniques.
  • LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) accreditation requires a substantial amount of specific training and education, as well as having to pass a LEED AP (Accredited Professional) exam.  LEED offers various specialties, mine being in Building Design and Construction (BD+C).

4. Recommend only trusted professionals.

  • Countless unscrupulous contractors and installers go in and out of business every year, changing business names, and delivering a warranty that may only be as long as your driveway.  By selecting professional design services, you will not have to wonder if you’re giving your hard-earned money to a dishonest contractor.

5.  Provide professional design expertise through a Comprehensive Needs Assessment Analysis.

  • We begin every project by asking lots of questions and listening closely to your answers, revealing your design wishes, likes, dislikes, uncovering and defining your individual design goals.
  • Careful analysis provides a better understanding of the needs and wants of the project by taking the entire family’s view of the project into consideration.

6. Trade-Only Access.

  • Hiring a professional designer allows you access to countless showrooms available only to design professionals.
  • Retail ‘free design services’ aren’t free.  They are sales people trying to sell you their product, even if it’s not the product or vendor that’s right for you and your needs.
  • Professional designers receive discounts on the whole gamut of vendors and I pass discounts on to you.


  • Budgeting is always a major challenge in home building and renovation.  Projects can far exceed budget if not properly managed.  Design professionals manage scope creep, and eliminates or minimize the unknown costs.

As a professional interior designers, it’s our goal to provide you with a thoroughly satisfying experience through our design and project management skills, and the contractors and installers we recommend.  If you have a project you’re considering, it’s never too soon to bring an interior designer into the project.  As a critical member of the design team, we ensure that consideration is placed on design from the inside out, making a beautiful space that works for you!