How to Pick the Perfect Christmas Theme for Your Home

Rule #1

Make your Christmas colors a continuation

of your year round color scheme

Disclaimer: there aren’t any rules :-)

If you live with citrus colors…..

create a Christmas theme with lemon, lime and orange !

Tobi Fairley

For impact, repeat the colors on your Christmas tree…your table decor…your front door…your mantel

It’s all about continuity,my dear Design Junkies!


How To Turn An Attic Room Into An Inviting Retreat

When I was a child in New Jersey, my parents referred to the 3rd floor as “the attic.” Although it was unfinished and filled with winter clothes, Christmas ornaments and old golf clubs…it held a magic that drew me up the stairs to explore. Our attic was the first place I experienced those “good chills” when I  connected to something greater than myself. 

House and Home

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26 Favorite Fall Decorating Ideas

              Harvest / Halloween / Thanksgiving decorations can be    so-o-o simple!

I am not a fan of OVER decorating whether for holidays or just interior design for living. Too many deorations are chaotic! Do you agree….?

 Branches of bittersweet tin a pewter beer stein

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How To Have A Spiritual Approach to Interior Design

I recently renamed this blog Sanctuary & Style for one big reason. I believe that living in a home that suits your individual taste (therefore it’s your sanctuary) will bring you untold joy, comfort and strength. On the other hand, living in an unpretty home can cause stress, anxiety and depression. It is so-o-o important to make interior design part of your spiritual practice

Williams Sonoma Home

So….how do we get to that “sanctuary”…in a spiritual way? We engage our creative spirit.  We find our unique “design signature” by opening our hearts and listening to that ever present gut feeling for guidance (this takes practice sometimes…..)

#1  Tap into your body and REALIZE what makes you happy.

Do you love earth tones or do you prefer clear crisp colors? Do you love a sleek modern interior…or do you feel more comfortable with traditional furnishings?  When you can identify what turns you on and makes you excited, by all means use it in your home. Design magazines help us to find that happy place.

Castro Studio

#2 Tell  YOUR  OWN STORY with your design.

This is what makes you unique and authentic. Don’t create a space that looks like the local furniture store. Make it personal.  The person who lives in this bedroom adores the color coral with blue, is enchanted by the dramatic oversized art, and appreciates a crisp white bed. There’s a “story” here that allows me to connect with her in a personal way.


Try something new. When I work with clients online we sweep away the “afraid to try that” attitudes and step out in a bold way. This is the path to an inspiring interior.

Montana Reclaimed Lumber


Most of us know that how we treat our body affects our mind.  And visa versa….the thoughts we think affect our body. See your house or apartment as a whole. What you do in one room affects the next room. Make sure there are common design threads that wind though your home so that the rooms “talk to each other.”

Frederick and Frederick Architects

#5  Be happy with GOOD ENOUGH

While it’s important to have a vision, it’s also important to relax and be good to yourself. This takes the pressure off. Savor the delicious flavor of the room as it changes.

Urrutia Design

RELEASE YOUR INNER DESIGNER. You have a designer inside who is waiting to come out fully. If you need help, I would love to work with you one-on-one. Find out more about my 30 Day Design Coaching Program here. It will  jumpstart your interior design and teach you a whole new way to look at your home.


Interior Design: Your Sanctuary is Different from Everyone Else’s Sanctuary

How To Turn Your Kitchen Into A Sanctuary

25 Amazing DIY Projects That Look Really Professional

….and may require some skill.  I admire you Design Junkies out there who take on projects with enthusiasm and vigor. So…I did some major net surfing and found some amazing  projects to show you. You might want to try one or two.

Concrete Wood Planks for your patio

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How to Create An Entry When You Don’t Already Have One

A separate entry is so welcoming and wonderful, but some homes just don’t have one. What to do?

Create one with a visual separation between the seating-conversation area and the walk in space. 

The back of a sofa creates a fabulous divider that almost feels like a wall.

Terra Cotta Properties

Build a “pony wall” to separate the two spaces. Great solution huh?

The Sky is the Limit Architects

If you want to really go all out….and have the space…..enclose a section of the room by the door with glass walls and a tile floor. I love this charming solution.

Douglas Design Studio

Entrances are important for many reasons, not the least of which is pacing. When we walk into a home we shift gears emotionally. We change from outdoor mind to indoor mind. It helps….it really DOES help….to have a place to do it. Create an entry if you can. If you need help, call me and we’ll chat. Perhaps you need a quick Interior Design Tune-up.

How To Create Gorgeous Ambiance in Your Bedroom

My “rules” for a gorgeous bedroom are not so different from my rules for a gorgeous house BUT with a few refinements. Paying attention to the following design tricks will quickly take your space from “good” to “great.”


This technique has the biggest impact of anything we do. We don’t need bright lights in our bedroom. Good task lights for reading are crucial. but beyond that, soft lighting will do. Notice the large chandelier (below) is not lit. It hangs like a beautiful sculpture and the light comes from small bedside lamps that wash the wall.

Abigail Ahern


Tiny fairy lights are the eptiome of romantic but they can be very bright. You don’t need as many as this photo.

Up and Running


This lamp on the mirrored nightstand is an exquisite vignette. Little bits of eye candy, carefully arranged, will turn your bedroom into your sanctuary.

Lynn Nigro via LONNY magazine


Francisco Costa







is worth the investment. Yes, it’s pricey. But don’t forget to look for name brands at Marshalls, TJ Maxx and

Pottery Barn


in your unique style and your favorite color scheme.  And yes, a comfortable mattress is important too.

Linda Miller


is cozy in this traditional Ralph Lauren bedroom. I’m thinking this room has too much in it! What do you think? Leave a comment below.


are luscious and sensual


if you have the space for it



It creates an inviting cocoon.

Skeeta Bed Nets and Canopies


Pale neutrals are the most serene palette you can choose.

Ballard Designs


White +  one color. Simple and restful.

Tom Stringer Design Partners


if that’s what turns you on.  But stick to a narrow color palette.


Wood paneling brings in that all important touch of nature.


via the


This looks like the homeowner created a bunk bed as an afterthought. It’s a one of a kind and I love it.

via Ngan Vu.


Do you like it? I love the quirky screen in laquered black. The pillow fabrics are fabulous with the rug…..just the right amount of bright color.  And there isn’t much else in this little room besides a small night stand with a good reading light, and a little chair.

J + G Design

My 15 Favorites from Pottery Barn This Season! And How To Mix Them In

My daughter and I hit Pottery Barn the other day, but not before our lunch at The Veggie Grill (in Seattle). We each had a Kale Caesar with vegetarian bacon bits and blackened “chicken” to die for…

…….but I digress. Let’s talk about our finds at PB.

 Pottery Barn always overflows with gorgeous tasteful items and I often like designing with their goods.  BUT……AND THIS IS A BIG BUT…I would not want my home to look like it came from Pottery Barn. No no no! It would be boring. It’s too much of a good thing perhaps. If we bought too many things at Pottery Barn (or Crate & Barrel, etc etc) our homes would be like homogenized milk.  No personality.  It’s best to pick and choose things you love… to mix in with your other stuff.

Here were our 15 Current Pottery Barn Faves………

Carllisle Sofa

I love the Carlisle frame because it’s extra deep and you can get it with a bench seat (one long cushion).  A sofa is an important basic. Pottery Barn has some excellent basics, like sofas and headboards.  Some are a bit pricey but the styles are TIMELESS and you will not tire of them.


Glendale Pulley Task Floor Lamp

I love this lamp when I want to add a touch of another era to my interior. The details are amazing…..the pulley, the antique finish and even a burlap rope.


Carlisle Slipcovered Armchair

The slipcover is ultra casual and rumpled. So inviting. Many fabric choices.


Abbott Zinc Top Coffee Table

Industrial and informal…great for outdoor seating but could even be a bedside table. I’d consider hammering some dents into it for an antique look.


Nest Framed Print by Lupen Grainne

A bird’s nest speaks of new life and future possibbilities. Think of the amazing instincts it takes to build one. This photo will bring texture into your room.


Cressida Medallion Embroidered Pillow Covers

A generous 24″ square. Be sure to get pillow forms filled with part down and part feather.


Irving Glass Vases

The metal stands make them look like a treasure found in a flea market


Faux LED Lit branch

I ALWAYS have a couple of branches or strings of tiny white lights to brighten dark corners and under tables. 


Desa Wool Rug

Reasonably priced with a subtle antique-looking design. Comes in gray a terra cotta too!


Antique Silver Pitchers

The epitome of hospitality (or a pretty vase). Classic and traditional, they will blend with most interuor styles.


Kaylee Bhotah Napkins

So soft to the touch. They look like they’ve been washed a thousand times (I love that look for a napkin…you may not). The greens would work well with floral centerpieces, wouldn’t they.


Sicily Vases

These look like one of a kind. They’re dramatic in a group like this….and  stunning with a color palette that includes warm yellows, oranges and reds.


Riley Headboard and Slipcover

A beautiful basic. Comes in all sizes. Gracious curve but not overly feminine.


Cassandra Upholstered Bench

This is a great bench for the foot of a bed, a hall, an entry or in front of the fireplace. Benches are sort of “out of style”…but I think we should bring them back. They are so-o-o practical and kinda cool.

Find Your Perfect Color Scheme Part 2 -For Cool Skin Tones

About half of us have blue based or cool skin tones. One of the easiest ways to tell is to turn your hand over and look at the veins on the inside of your wrist. If your veins are green you have a warm skin tone, see my last blog post for your perfect color ideas. If your veins are blue you have a cool skin tone. Here are the colors you wear best and should decorate your home with.

Style Caster

Color analysts refer to these skin tones as Winter and Summer. Winters look best in darker more intense cools. Summers look best in lighter more pastel cools. For example, this light blue couch works well in the home of a “summer.”

Lindsay Mens Craig

Courteney Cox is a cool skin toned beauty who looks amazing in jewel tones…….

however she looks positively awful (I know…..we  should all look that “awful”) against yellow and I hope she never features it in her home. See what I mean? It’s a warm color and not her best.

Here is Courteney’s bedroom. So sophisticated in black and cool white. Whereas warm toned people look mu-u-u-uch better in warm neutrals like cream and chocolate.

Black, white, and red are a fabulous color scheme for a cool toned person…as long as the red has a blue undertone, like lipstick red. Not a yellow undertone, like rust.

The Redbury Hotel

Saturated blues complement a cool skin tone so well.

Cindy Crawford, another cool toned goddess, looks great is blue green

and her decorator, Michael Smith, created this crisp cool room for her home. Can’t you see her here?

A palette of blues, greens and cool pinks is fabulous for “cool people.”

Sandra Bullock looks absolutely stunning in jewell tones like ruby, sapphire and amethyst…as well as magenta. Wow!

I can imagine her in this room

When I researched photos of her home(s) I was surprised to learn that she purchased a huge Victorian home in California covered with gingerbread and turrets. The interior photos were so NOT my taste that I decided not to include them here. She always looks  amazing on the red carpet but her home is way too busy for me.

Am I being a Design Nazi by declaring Warm and Cool Color Rules? Yes! But so many color experts agree with this theory. And by all means, go ahead and break these rules. When you do…ask yourself  how you feel. Do you feel happy in that yellow sweater? When you look in the mirror, do you look happy? healthy? rested? The wrong colors make us feel tired and look even worse.

My goal is to help you find your sanctuary. Knowing about your best colors is a really big piece of the puzzle. If you would like some One-on-one help from me, give me a call at 206-718-9466. We can discuss whether you are a candidate for my 30-Day Online Design Coaching Program. It may be the fastest and easiest way for you to discover your unique design signature.

Find Your Perfect Color Scheme Part 1 – For Warm Skin Tones

During my recent visit to Guatemala I found myself swooning at the COLORS I saw. Drinking them in…..bathing my inner eye with their brilliance.

These colors were EV-erywhere.  The buildings….

The fabrics…..the flowers…..

Blaine Harrington

the vegetables…

Our Creator is the greatest designer ever! Why?……. because the luscious brown skin tones found in Latin America are strong enough to balance the brilliant colors of the environment.

There is an exquisite CONTINUITY and balance in this culture that can be a great lesson to any designer. Their warm colors are everywhere…in the fabrics…in the homes…and they look beautiful everywhere.

What colors look best with your skin tones? When you know this, you have found the best color palette to LIVE WITH!

Carry it through to your clothing,  your makeup and your interiors. Why?……because it shows you at your very best! It feels right. No fancy design degree or years of professional experience is needed to learn this easy design principle.

Jennifer Lopez, a great beauty, looks stunning in warm colors like this pure red. Her best metallic is gold because it’s warm.

On the other hand, when she wears cool colors, like this blue green, it grays down her complexion and she looks like she has the flu.

If I were her interior decorator (wouldn’t that be nice!) I would insist on warm colors and warm metallics such as brass and gold (rather than silver and pewter). Like this…

Rikki Snyder

House & House

You don’t have to be hispanic to have warm skin tones. Jennifer Anniston looks fabulous in warm colors….

Here is Jennifer’s home. She surrounds herself with warm colors and wood tones. Clearly she can have any color she wants…but I’ll bet she is drawn to warm colors because they make her most comfortable.

Nicole Kidman is another warm toned gal. She can really pull off a warm yellow-based green.  (I could never wear this color because I have cool skin tones and look better in blue greens).

This color palette would look great in Nicole’s home….


Color theorists call these skin tones Spring and Fall….as opposed to Winter and Summer which have cool undertones.  (That will be Part 2 of this blog post). Incidentally I don’t claim to be a fashion color expert. These ideas are based on my many years of  observing color in my work. You are welcome to correct me or leave comments below so we can all learn.

Warm skin toned people look their very best in these colors. Do you find your best colors here? No?……well then stay tuned for Your Perfect Color Scheme Part 2. Coming soon.

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Hi I'm Saffonia,
For me, design is a spiritual practice. When I surround myself with things that are beautiful I feel better. I am more productive, more confident and more loving. I write this blog to become friends with others who share this belief. We are a community and I welcome you.

Saffronia Baldwin

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