Monday, December 29, 2008

Tips to Rethink and Rearrange

There are two issues that I often hear from clients, friends and readers alike and my advice for solving both is the same.

The issues:
  1. Stuck in a rut. You stick to the same arrangement in the same spot day after day, year after year and are afraid to move it. (This is not a problem if you truly like the arrangement. If you love it, keep it forever. This applies if you know you're ready for a change).
  2. Clutter. You started with an arrangement. Then a new piece came in, you got three more for your birthday, etc. Now the space feels too cluttered.
And these issues can apply to any and all spaces:
  • China hutches or display cabinets
  • Book shelves
  • Mantels
  • Wall arrangements - artwork or photos
  • Pillows on the bed
  • etc.

The solution:
Clear everything out/off of the space. Live with this blank space for at least 2 weeks. This will give your mind time to rethink the space, without you actively "thinking" about it. Then slowly start to add pieces back in to the area. Start with the pieces that you love the most. Try the items in a different area than you had them before. Look at the pieces individually. Try grouping them in different arrangements. After the break and clear space, you will most likely come to a different final product and look than before.

Post-holiday is a great time to do this. Many of us remove everyday items to put out the holiday decorations. As you pack up the decorations, don't rush to bring out the everyday items. Live with a blank canvas for a while.

Below are the before and after photos of a bookcase that I reworked for a client. She felt that it was too cluttered and the pieces that she loved were lost in the chaos.

To begin, we cleared everything away and separated items that she loved and absolutely wanted to keep. Using the favorite items, we began to place them in different locations to best highlight each one, moving them around until we were happy with the balance. We pulled a vase from another room to become our centerpiece. Then we filled in the spaces with books and smaller items. For more photos of the completed room, visit BeautifulHabitat.comYou can make similar changes in your spaces. Just clear out the stuff to clear your mind. You'll approach it from a new and refreshed angle.

More inspiration for arrangements coming soon.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

More Holiday Inspiration

Some additional holiday inspiration from a Christmas decorating project that I completed for a client this year. I hope it inspires you for this year and years to come. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Crazy for Menorahs

Continuing on the theme of holiday decorations, I have found the most beautiful and artful menorahs at The Artful Home. Artful Home is the leading source for artist-made home decor. Here are a few of my favorites.

Lantern Menorah

Wood Menorah

Abstract Menorah

Puzzle Menorah
Mixed Media Menorah

A Piece of Me Menorah

Monday, December 15, 2008

Setting your Holiday Table

When it comes to setting your holiday table, my advice is to begin the same way that I advise beginning ANY decorating project - ask yourself questions. Determine your table needs for the holiday season, then create your plan. Is it just for show? Will you use the table for entertaining guests? How many and how often? How much work do you intend for each set of guests? Here is some inspiration to suit some different holiday needs.

If you intend to use your table for formal dining, large centerpieces can make both conversation ans food flow and problem. Another idea to bring the feeling and height of a centerpiece, without disrupting conversation - hang ornaments from the chandelier or ceiling. I recently designed this table for a client that has multiple holiday parties and wanted a high-impact, low-maintenance table. For more information on Beautiful Habitat services, visit

Greenery and florals are always a beautiful addition to the table. This arrangement is from the Nov/Dec edition of Colorado Homes & Lifestyles magazine.

However, if you will be entertaining throughout the holiday season, florals and greenery will require frequent replacing. In that case, I suggest using candles and/or other collections of items that will last with little or no maintenance. Or let your dish ware and glassware do the shining with some so many holiday options out there. Here, the coordinating holly theme and colors pull the look together.

And, if your table will be just for "show", go all out with it. Here's some over-the-top inspiration from HGTV.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Modern Holiday Decorations

For those of you with a more modern palette, modern holiday decorations are as readily available as the traditional. Here are a few inspirational items to get you started.

"Signs of the Season" Metal Wreath by artist Boris Bally, available in two sizes at Artful Home

Black artificial tree with white lights from, also available in red with red lights.
A perfect tree topper for the modern tree, the "Snowflake Starburst Tree Topper" from Pottery Barn.
Here is a modern holiday tables scape I recently created. The glass trees are from CB2. The sequin trees and bead garland are from Hobby Lobby. Candle holders belong to my client, but you can easily incorporate your own everyday candle holders into your holiday decor.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Uber Traditional Christmas Decorations

When I think of traditional Christmas decorations, a certain Bavarian style always comes to mind. If this resonates with you, then I suggest you check out my favorite source for traditional decorations - Wisteria.

The Salzburg Collection includes a tree skirt, table runner, and stockings. You can accent the beautiful tree skirt with the Black Forest Felt Animals as seen below.

I am quite certain that my grandmother had this same punchbowl.

And the candle collections will put a smile on your face, even if they do border on the kitschy side.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Thanksgiving Table

Every year the "Thanksgiving Season" seems to be eroded away by the "Christmas Season". Soon Halloween will morph to Christmas, beginning sometime on July 5th. Sadly, that sacred boundary of Thanksgiving is losing ground. On this point, I am one for tradition. So to help hold off Christmas just a little longer, why not create a Thanksgiving table? Here are some ideas to get you started.

For a traditional Thanksgiving table you must have a cornucopia, or pumpkins and gourds, all available at Pier 1.

For a little whimsy, turn to turkey's. These place card holders are available at Wrapables.
Or for a modern twist, try this Berry Wreath in Orange, also at Pier 1, or the Baroque Salad Plate in Orange from Pottery Barn.

How are you celebrating the Thanksgiving season this year?

Favorite Things - Cable Knit Throws

As the Denver weather finally cools and gives us real glimpses of winter, I am reminded of my favorite winter items - chunky cable knit sweaters. I love to spend the cold days bundled in my favorite cable knit and would choose it over cashmere any day. Now I have the same choice in throws. Wouldn't you like to snuggle under one of these with a favorite book? West Elm cable knit throws ans pillows. Enjoy!

Friday, November 14, 2008

A Note on Design Trends

As we embark on this journey of the Beautiful Habitat blog, I want to articulate my view on home design trends. I will often advise not to follow the trends and instead to focus on what you love; what makes you happy. Yet, I will be featuring trends and products in my posts. So what exactly is going on in my head? Inspiration seek.

Home Design: Fashion Design
The home industry has become much like the fashion industry, where magazines and TV shows are continually forecasting next season's trends and declaring "what's hot, what's not". This boom in the home industry has its pros and cons. On the upside, there are more home products on the market than ever before, giving us more choice and sources for inspiration.
Unfortunately the media focus on "trends" is predominately to get you to buy more stuff, more often. This is often done through messages that imply your home is somehow out of fashion or otherwise inadequate. A friend recently asked if I would help her redecorate a room because she had read a magazine trend report that browns were out and grays were in. Sadly, she was perfectly happy with the room until she read this little blurb in a magazine.

Seek Inspiration, Not Dogmatic Truths
My point is to look to the trends and media for inspiration and creative stimulation, but be true to yourself, your lifestyle, and the things you truly prefer. Rules of fashion can mirror rules of home design.
  • In both, it is wise to invest in basics for a longer term and to change out accessories for an updated look.
  • Pieces you love can outlive any trend.
  • In fashion, you should honor what suits your body-type and lifestyle. Likewise, in the home it's best to honor that which suits the structure of your home and your lifestyle. I love a skinny jean, but don't have the hips to pull the look off. I also love luxuriously layered bedding, but don't have the lifestyle or desire to support multiple coverlets and pillows. I am happiest when I am honest with myself on both fronts.

And to my friend who worried about her use of browns, here is some chocolate-inspired design just for you.

Boheme wallpaper,

Monari stripe fabric,

Monday, November 3, 2008

Mission and Beliefs

The mission of the Beautiful Habitat blog is simple: Helping others to make their home more beautiful and functional by offering advice, inspiration, and connecting them with resources to spark creativity.

  • A well-designed space can improve the quality of life for those living and working in it.
  • Everyone should have a home or room that truly suits them and their personality and lifestyle.
  • Good personal design doesn't require a large budget, it requires inspiration and creativity.
  • When designing their space, one should follow their passion and intuition, and not the latest trends.

Friday, October 31, 2008


Hello and thank you for visiting. This is the blog site for Beautiful Habitat: design and decoration. I love design and decoration and will be posting tips, advice and great products in the near future. Be sure to visit again soon. In the meantime, visit my website at


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