Coffee, Tea, and Totally Stress-Free. 3 Steps to Creating a Zen Guest Room

Everyone needs a little more namaste in there lives.  I know I do.  Quite honestly, usually before I embark on a vacation, I feel like this guy:

So, I find it especially nice to stay in a hotel or someone's home that helps me bring a little bit more calm into my life.  I like staying in rooms that feel Zen, don't you?  In this blog I will show you how to convert a guest bedroom and make it Zen in 3 Steps. 

The Befores:  I recently worked with clients who wanted to do a little Revival to their Guest Room in their Lake Arrowhead home.  The room looked like this:

* Please note there were houseguests at the time, so there were extra items strewn about

Not unlike a lot of rooms, this room had evolved over the years, but had never been seriously reevaluated, much less stripped down and redesigned.  There were accumulated art prints hung, as well as furniture that was both inherited and bought.  The clients are super cool, into Qigong, and into nature.  I thought, well wouldn't it be great if the room made you feel relaxed, calm, and closer to nature?  Wouldn't it be great if guests could feel like this little fella?

So,  I thought it would fit the clients' lifestyle and love of nature, if I turned this room into a Zen Mountain Retreat.  First, I consulted with the clients about having the room repainted. It turned out they had already chosen a beautiful color- Benjamin Moore Safari, which I thought would look great.  As with all of my room revivals, I consulted with the clients about which pieces of furniture should be revived...and which pieces should be donated.  Then, in collaboration with the clients, I designed a Zen Guest Room for them using these 3 steps:

1.  Keep in Minimal

As simple as it sounds, sometimes our eyes need to rest....even when they are open!  So, creating a visual calm can really make us feel relaxed.  In this room I chose just a few accessories and art pieces to add color and texture, but kept most of the room in a neutral palette which complimented the Safari walls.

2.  Chose a Nature-Derived, Calming Color Palette

While everyone has his or her favorite colors, there is actually a science to the psychology of color.  Certain colors actually evoke feelings in most people.  The reason that green rooms are because green is a color of nature that makes most people feel calm.  So, naturally the room needed a little green.  I found this sunflower print simply by "shopping" in the client's house (Often times when I am reviving multiple rooms, I find pieces which would enhance a different room than they are currently in) The sunflower print provided a perfect simple and natural color palette to be carried out through the guest room.

3.  Use Natural, Earthy Materials for Furniture and Accessories

Just as nature-inspired colors evoke calm, so do earthy and natural materials.  For the room I purchased two gorgeous reclaimed wood side tables at the Alameda Flea Market.  The clients chose a beautiful wood headboard, and I Revived their two ceramic lamps by wrapping them with 100 feet of hemp rope each (detailed in a future blog).  Now, the room is serene, relaxed and ready for guests.  As for me, after sitting at the computer, I am going to go do some light yoga!

Thanks for reading my blog, I hope you enjoyed it.  Until next time, have fun, keep is natural, strike a pose, and Namaste to all you gorgeous people!



Helllo Yelllo: How 3 Cans of Spray Paint + a Lil' Bit of Strategy can Change your Life

A couple of weeks ago my friend and client asked me to help breathe a little more life into her living room.  She wanted to give it oomph, but didn't want to mess with the configuration a lot because the surround sound and TV were installed to perfection by her hubby.  She also didn't want to make any major purchases furniture-wise (not just yet, anyway.)  The BEFORE:

As you can see in the room, there is a lot of neutral, a little yellow and a little Crayola Burnt Sienna happening.  I suggested we pick a color to feature, and I would edit, rearrange, and stye her accent pieces and art to complement that color.  She picked Yellow.  And (drumroll please)....she told me "Do whatever you want" to that little side table next to the couch.  This is the phrase that every artist loves to hear!!  Seconds later, tire screeches could be heard as I high-tailed it to the hardware store to pick up spray paint.  

After some unfortunate trial and error, I became a big fan of the Rust-oleum 2x Ultra Cover product.  It sprays on easily and really does what it covers twice as well as the others.  Bravo!  Well, I took that little side table home, and in a couple of days, using a couple of tricks, I made this:

With some artful furniture rearranging, editing, styling...and a "new" table, the room now looks like this:

In order to make the room cohesive, I wanted to make sure that yellow was featured on the opposite side of the room.  The client's bookshelves BEFORE were like so...

In addition to editing out most of the paperbacks, and restyling the shelves, I was on a particular quest to find a little yellow to display.  And I found it.....

Hardbound books are a great resource to go to when looking for color.  When you look at a stack of can usually find just about any color you want to feature.  I recommend taking the jackets off of the books to give them more class.  Just look at those colors! Oh, and look at the little cutie who gets to enjoy her new room!

I really enjoyed doing this project, and demonstrating how focusing on highlighting a chosen color can breathe new life into a room. Now this living room has a little yellow here...a little more yellow there...and it feels balanced.  So, now you see what you can do with 3 cans of spray paint....and a little strategy.  I say, just pick a color...and have fun!

Until next week, happy color-ing.


"Mom and Dad, Stacy Graduated, So Why Can't I?"

Life happens, right?  So, sometimes when the kids go off to college, and graduate, and move 3,000 miles away, it becomes evident  that they are not moving back.  And sometimes these said individuals are kicking ass in the real world and  taking New York city by storm....(Oh, Hell Yes, you know who you are!).  Well, gosh darn it, if they can graduate and be fabulous, then why can't their rooms???

I am here to stand up for the rights of abandoned rooms of America.  Rise up, rooms!!!

The awesome clients who are the keepers of this room have been working their booties off for a lifetime.  But, with semi-retirement, and a little more free time, they decided to make a few changes in their home.  Stacy's room was one of the rooms they wanted to change.  The clients wanted to work with a moderate budget and to give the room  a more grown-up, classic look to be used as their primary guest room. It was also important to them to repurpose furniture where possible, and to buy new furnishings as needed for a fresh look.  They knew that they wanted to paint the room blue, so we started there.   

Because their house is on Lake Arrowhead, and the clients live an outdoor lifestyle, I wanted to choose a color with a soothing, coastal quality.  We decided on Benjamin Moore Manor Blue.  The fresh paint and clear walls were a breath of fresh air.  The clients liked the clean aesthetic, so we decided to keep the decorating fairly minimal.  After I gave the clients a moodboard and a detailed specification list of items to be purchased, they did most of the shopping themselves.  They did a mighty good job of it.  


While the clients were charged with most of the shopping, I Revived a few pieces of their furniture to go into the room.  This beautiful chest belonged to Stacy's grandmother...and it was tucked away in storage.  Blasphemy, I say!  It was painted dark green, and all of the beautiful details were lost, so I gave it a new look.  Antique white paint and Gel Stain to accentuate the grooves and scrollwork were applied.  Then, I applied a couple of coats of polyurethane to give it a satin furniture finish.

This Big Daddy of a dresser was in the master bedroom (which I also redid).  He was dark brown and was wearing shiny brass drawer pulls.  He was also part of a "bedroom set" in the master.  No, no, no, I say! I wanted to break up the team and give him new life.  So, I painted him a robin's egg blue- very close to the wall color, covered him with a white wash and polyurethane, and dressed him in new polished nickel bucket pulls.  He looks right at home in his new room.

I installed a black and white gallery wall to celebrate and honor the past....but left room for future photos to join the wall.  (Ahem new family members etc.) I added a couple of pops of orange with the pillow and blanket, I did a little bit of styling...... and then the room was ready.

Jim, and Fancy, it was such a pleasure working with you guys.  I hope you enjoy your Coastal Glam Guest room.  And Stacy and Zack.  I hope you visit more often!    

Thanks to all for reading my blog.  Until next week, Nancy

Dang, That's a Good Read!(ing Nook)

Disclaimer: This is NOT a blog post about NeNe Leakes other than the fact that the girl can give a good read.  And I would know because I am a bit of an expert on the Real Housewives Franchise.  Okay, haters, don't go getting all judgy eyes on me.  

And Furthermore, This is the first blog post I have written in over 3 years.  When Georgia was born 3 years ago, I was sure I would have tons of time to blog and build my business while she slept.  I can hear all of the moms out there thinking,  "HaHaHa, I GET IT!  I get you."   And everyone else is thinking, "Yeah, and so what's the problem?"  So, here is my little story about a Reading Nook Makeover:

My Client called me in to help her create a reading nook for her home office.

What I first saw when I looked in the corner was a classic San Francisco apartment with beautiful high ceilings and built in bookshelves.  What I also saw was that the Super Sized chair and some over-crowding were not highlighting the space.

My goal was to make the space light and airy, and to use the bookshelves to showcase my client's treasures from her travels.  I also wanted to accentuate the height of the room.  With permission to "shop" her house, and a couple of hours, I redesigned the space to this:

When I found the vintage felt print with the gold frame that was tucked away gathering dust, I knew I had found my muse!  Now, the trick was to find posters to coordinate with the colors in the print for above the bookshelf.  I then went through the clients travel treasures and curated a few items which related to each other to be used in the bookshelf.

Turns out, the "before" super sized chair worked well in the family room, and I was able to trade it in for this little number.  This reproduction french arm chair is more to scale, and it complements the period of the architecture.  The "before" record albums also were moved elsewhere and the paperback books were paired down.  Then the bookshelf had plenty of room for treasures, as well as room for negative space.

The painting in the corner creates a focal point for the reading area.  And the bookshelves create a great conversation starter because all of the items tell a story.  The space also looks lofty and light.  My work here is done. Kinda makes me want to grab my kindle and go cozy up somewhere.

Do you have a Reading Nook in your house...or would you like one?  

Do you think NeNe gives the best Reads????!!  I would LOVE to know.

Until next week, Happy Reading!

Thanks for coming by my blog,  Nancy

To see more of my work or to learn about my services, please go to my website