Your safe haven…

One of the things I liked most about my decorating career was seeing the finished product of another family’s safe haven.  I believe wholeheartedly that your home, whether is a large mansion or a tiny loft apartment, is your safe haven from the outside world.  It should reflect who you are, what matters most to you, and be a place where peace and safety exist.

I think that is why buying a home is always at the top of the American Dream list.  We all long for this space to make our own.  Since it isn’t always possible for everyone to actually buy a home, I have always encouraged my children to enter into an agreement with their landlords, promising to restore everything back to white walls, patched and perfect, when they leave.  But, from the minute they move in, make their living abode their home.  Fill it with colors and objects that make you feel good.  Nobody wants to come home from a stressful day, open the door, and stare at white walls and beige carpet.  But, a fully decorated room filled with things uniquely ‘you’ will instantly provide a reduction in stress.

When each of my children buys a home, I get to help them decorate.  They think they are lucky—but I am really the lucky one.  It is so much fun pulling out their personalities through their decor.

My oldest daughter was finally able to purchase their home a few weeks ago.  Although they have lived in this home for five years already, as renters, and it has always been decorated tastefully with great expression of self; now, the real transformation begins.  Charlotte, her oldest daughter, aspires to be a decorator when she grows up, so I hope to teach her some things during their process: storyboards and drawing window treatments and such.  I’m so excited to share with her!

I am amazed by the timing of this home purchase.  I think of all of the years they so desperately wanted to buy a home, but due to the exorbitant costs associated with Susannah’s CF, it was a long time coming.

With the death of James’ (Miranda’s husband) father last week, I can’t help but wonder if this was the plan all along—that God knew they would need the moral booster and distraction at exactly this time in their lives.

As we’ve begun to discuss the big question: where to begin, I thought perhaps some of you could benefit by this information as well.  My advice to my clients has always been to begin where you live the most often.  Don’t start with bathrooms, or dining rooms, or entry ways, or stairwells…save those ideas (you must, must, must keep a folder of your ideas!!!) for later.  Again, begin where you live the most often.

For the majority of people that space will be their family room, which is only secondary to the kitchen table.  I always believe in investing in a wonderful kitchen table…something perfectly suited to your family.  Spend the money on this one because you will eat there three times a day, you will do homework there, or work-work there on your laptop.  You and your friends will gather there.  You will throw parties there.  Your kitchen table is important!

That being said, be certain to buy a table that will not go out of style.  If you love trendy things, incorporate them in different ways.  If you’ve always dreamed of a 50’s kitchen, still try to keep the table basic.

So…again, where within this huge (or maybe small) room called a family room should you begin?  In order for your home to become ‘you’ uniquely, you must begin with one thing.  It could be a picture, a piece of fabric you love, a piece of art, a piece of your child’s artwork, a family heirloom…just that one thing that you love above all else.

That item is your starting point.  If you can’t carry it with you, I recommend taking a photo on your phone and also using paint cards to carry along the colors.  Now, build outward…

If there are things you know you want to incorporate, such as bookcases next to your fireplace, browse online and print photos.  A really great source is  You would be amazed at how many options there are.  How about bricking the wall behind it?  Or using a bricked wallpaper? (Miranda’s idea).

Do you hate the idea of having an exposed TV hanging over your fireplace but don’t know what to do?  How about cutting into that wall and building a TV cabinet into your space?

Or another idea might be floating barn doors on a ceiling track—or antique shutters—that could pull to the sides (in front of the bookcases) when you are ready to watch TV but the rest of time, you will see beautiful wood or antiqued shutters.

I know a lot of people feel like they have to choose a neutral sofa, but I think the only thing that should be neutral about your sofa is the ‘style.’  Take care when choosing the shape of your arm and leg…those will dictate style in your room.  If you love green and have loved green for at least 10 years, chances are that you will love green for another 10.  Get that green sofa you love—you will still love it.  Sofa’s are not more than a 10 year commitment!

You need only be conservative and basic on forever kinds of things: kitchen table, built in cabinets, an expensive rug, flooring….but go crazy with wall colors!  EVERYTHING will come to life with colored walls.  If you leave your walls white, you will kill the entire project—trust me on this one.  Seriously, trust me.

One last warning—more is not necessarily better.  A simple environment, not overly filled with gadgets and gizmos, will almost always make you feel more relaxed.  If you love to collect something, keep it confined to one space—a section of the wall, one cabinet, one table.  Any more than that is too much.  Balance.  Think balance.

Well…I could go on and on about this and I love, love, love helping people decorate, but I should end this blog and get my author one sheet done for my upcoming writer’s cruise (the Seymour Agency Writer’s Winter Escape Cruise where I will (in my wildest dreams) meet an agent who is dying to represent me. 🙂





4 thoughts on “Your safe haven…

  1. Love your Blogs! You are soo talented in so many ways, literary pursuits, decorating, business and insurance stamina, and always a passionate and determined heart where your family finds a haven, no matter what!

    I do hope an agent recognizes your gift of words and your creative passion! I do!


  2. My family room needs you! Soo afraid of adding pop of color-like a teal chair or ottoman! Must be a reaction to my Waverly days, with Jacobean bright wall paper, smaller print curtains and seat covers to match, etc! I overdosed! Now, plain and simple colors and furniture that can withstand little sticky hands! I am not a collector except for photos of my grandchildren displayed on my walls, taken by my professional photographer daughter, Stephanie! That makes me happy!


  3. It is so fun! And quite the distraction/moral booster. It is nice to have an idea and have someone to bounce it off who can see the whole picture. I am still laughing over these dining chairs that you suggested, I vetoed, and now they are sitting beautifully in my kitchen (and I love them)!


  4. This is great advice, Cyn! Thank you! I really didn’t feel like this house was mine until we had the living room painted. Now I need to get my foyer and stairwells painted! I would love some advice on color (hint, hint). Dying to hear about your cruise, too, btw!!


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