specializing in california casual interiors

As interior designers, we have years of experience in home renovations and remodels. Over those years, we’ve learned many invaluable lessons along the way. So, we decided to put together a guide for surviving a remodel!

In the pamphlet, we include the ideal order of events, things to know before you start tearing down walls, important notes on materials, and numerous other little tips and tricks to know about the process and how to live in a home that is under construction (see the Table of Contents below).

All of the information provided in the guide is SO important to know before you start any sort of remodel project… really it’s best to know this information while you’re still in the very beginning, dream stages of a project. So make sure you get it now!

The pamphlet is available for download on our Etsy store for only $20. Click here to get there and gain access to our tips for remodel survival!


Industrial Hilltop House

As interior designers, we talk a lot about aesthetics – up and coming design trends, the styles our clients want to see in their homes, and how to achieve specific “looks”. However, this is only a tiny piece of what we do.

Yes, the aesthetics are fun, and they have their place. But a lot of the value of interior design stems from environmental psychology. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average American spends almost 90% of their time indoors. Whether it be at home, work, cafes, clubs, shops, exhibitions, etc, interior design – and as an extension, interior designers – have an immense impact on our everyday lives.

“Interior designers determine the sizes of indoor spaces and their arrangement, as well as the selection of all the things with which we fill spaces, such as surface materials, furnishings and accessories. These decisions directly impact human health and well being… “

Research Frontiers

Many designers get into this career because they’re passionate about making other people’s lives better – we know we did! We’ve all been in a space that doesn’t function correctly, makes us anxious or makes it harder to focus. It’s no fun… at all. On the flip side, we’ve all experienced spaces that instantly make us happy, inspired or relaxed. The factors that encourage these feelings are exactly what environmental psychology is all about!


A great example of the psychological effect of design? Color. Everyone knows that color can greatly affect our mood. In fact, this is so prevalent that it has become ingrained in our speech; we can be “green with envy”, “feeling blue”, or “seeing red”. Studies have shown that cooler colors invoke a sense of calm (hence, the blue in the bath seen above), vibrant shades of yellow and orange encourage creativity and excitement, darker shades can feel gloomy or (sometimes) cozy, and red is often thought to increase anxiety. Therefore, the colors you put on your walls and furniture can have a huge impact on your life.


There have also been studies that show that how a space is lit is very important to our mental health and well-being. A well-lit room, especially when lit by natural sunlight, can impact our psyche in positive ways. Imagine having to go to work in a room with no windows… would you enjoy going to work? Probably not.


Ceiling height is also a huge factor. The size and spaciousness of a room can effect mood, creativity and productivity. A study done by InformeDesign showed that ceiling height impacts our subconscious perception of space, making us feel either free or suppressed. Having a sense of freedom in a space makes you feel more creative and focused. You may remember from our past blog post about painting that we always recommend painting your ceiling white. This is exactly why; it gives the illusion of a higher ceiling, creating a more pleasant space.

Space planning is another valuable way that interior designers can enhance a space. It’s all about making sure a space functions as well as possible. We’ve taken many classes dedicated to space planning, so having us around to make sure the space is functional is invaluable! We also learn building codes, which means that we can calculate how many exits a building needs for proper egress, the proper height of a stair, and fire safety laws!


It has also been shown that bringing nature into an environment can improve relaxation and health. This can be achieved through the presence of operable windows (to let the breeze in), by having plants in the space, or even by incorporating natural materials as a wall covering.

Design includes making sure a space is beautiful, functional, AND safe!

There are lots of other good reasons to hire a designer, too. For example, having a well-designed home can increase the value of your home, giving you a good return on your investment. We’re also really fun people *wink wink* who can make any home improvement project run smoothly! But really, a huge part of the value in hiring a designer is that we take all of the above (and more!) into account. It’s what we’ve been trained to do! We want to make your life more beautiful and happier, and we have the expertise to make it happen.

“The widely accepted notion that home is a happy place is definitely correct, but it’s important to realize that homes are not promoting happiness per se, but they can be molded and designed in a way that promotes good mood and health.”

Psychology Tomorrow Magazine

Wishing you the happiest most beautiful life <3



June 27, 2019

Random, stray thoughts. 

We all have them, many, many, MANY times a day.  I’m excited to start a new series on the blog I titled “3 Thursday Thoughts”. These thoughts will be on seemingly random topics that I have encountered lately, and that I feel need to be shared with you! I know that you may not even care what random thoughts I have floating around in my head as I go about my week as a designer, entrepreneur, wife, mother, friend, but I am paid for my opinion on design, so maybe my opinion on other topics WOULD be interesting to a few of you? These will be about books or podcasts I’m listening to, new things I’m discovering, helpful hacks I’ve learned, or just my favorite things.  I’ll be starting slow and hoping to get feedback from you, so you may see them once or twice a month in the beginning.

So here are today’s 3 Thoughts:

1. Guilty pleasure TV show: Fixer Upper

For years I never watched ANY design related reality shows except for catching a glimpse while working out at the gym.  I always herald them as not showing the whole story of all the work, time and money required to pull off the renovations that they show. I still do believe that.  However, when I started watching Fixer Upper on Netflix, I kinda fell in love with the Gaines, like the rest of the country.  I mean, what’s not to love about them!  The shows illustrate a wonderful marriage, teamwork and a small sliver of the work and problems that arise o any renovation. Yes, the Waco dollar seems goes a lot farther than the California dollar and the projects probably take months to complete, it is never actually stated.  But at the end of the hour, I have all the good feels from seeing Chip’s goofy behavior and Jo’s beautiful creations.  (And full disclosure… my husband enjoys the show as much as I do!)

2. Japanese Maples

I absolutely love Japanese maple trees, especially in the front yard.  I don’t know if I have ever pinned down exactly why, but I just gives such an essence of beauty and tidiness that looks stunning near a front porch.  We moved into our house a year ago in March and the trees were all bare.  As spring approached and leaves started to bud, imagine my joy to discover a very mature Japanese maple in our back yard that I had completely overlooked. Bonus!  It proceeded to bud bright spring green leaves that evolved into vibrant red and orange flames in the fall.  It makes me happy every time I look at it.

3. B Corporations

I only just this year became aware there was such a thing when I toured the Fireclay Tile facility in San Francisco so I immediately went home to look it up (check it out here) and turns out it is a super awesome thing that more companies should do! Here are some ideas that B Corps’ will uphold:

  • That we must be the change we seek in the world.
  • That all business ought to be conducted as if people and place mattered.
  • That, through their products, practices, and profits, businesses should aspire to do no harm and benefit all

So what do you think? Did you like hearing my random thoughts? Did it give you something to think about or learn something new? Let me know in the comments below or even leave me YOUR random thoughts. Happy Thursday!


Rebecca Ward

A great light fixture can set the tone for a space, and we pride ourselves on providing awe inspiring lighting for our clients. But where do we find our jaw dropping light fixtures? One word: Lumens.

Lumens is a Sacramento-based lighting company that supplies not only table and floor lamps, but every other type of fixture you can think of! Ceiling lights, wall lights, outdoor lights, and architectural lighting like recessed lights… they have it all.

Their website is so easy to use, which is always so helpful! You can sort through their thousands of options by organizing by style of light, where it’ll be located (ceiling, wall, floor, etc), and size, which can get you down to a couple hundred options. From there you can filter even further by specifying size, shape, finish, rating, etc. It makes our lighting hunts so simple!

It can also be hard to find a good looking ceiling fan, but Lumens has those too! We’ve decided on a few favorites, which we pull out whenever we have a client who is fed up with all of the ugly fan options out there!

Just a few examples of light fixtures we sourced from Lumens can be seen in our projects below:

The Vortic Flow Flushmount from the Sparkling Statement-Tiled Spa
Glamorous Glass Ensuite
The Bling Chandelier from the Glamorous Glass Ensuite
Contemporary Lakeside Lounge
The Planar Linear Suspension from the Contemporary Lakeside Lodge

Fun fact (and putting some of the knowledge we learned in lighting class to use!): the word “lumens” actually refers to the amount of light that comes out of any given light source. So the more lumens a light fixture puts out, the brighter it will shine!

Check them out at Lumens.com to find the light fixture of your dreams! We often receive discounts from Lumens, which we then pass a percentage of on to our clients. So if you’d like help finding the perfect light fixture for your home design project, contact us here and we would be happy to help!