The Day in the Life of an Interior Designer continued…..

For those folks who are following the “DITLofanID”, Mr. A is frozen with fear he will make the wrong decision to fully renovate instead of flip with his Willo project renovation. If you recall this house is a disaster and his plans were at the architect.  I am about to wrap police tape, “Do not trespass” around the house and call it a day.

Nothing has happened in over 30 days…. Mr. A has to pay 2 mortgages now and will continue to do so until he makes up his mind.  Time is money folks….. Please note: the project would have been demoed and we would be 1/2 way through with his flooring, master bath, etc.

CJ’s flip is going nicely and has his finishing touches coming in this week for the kitchen.  I have worked with CJ and I have his full trust that I will steer him right in all flips.  The wall was torn down and the cabinets are in place in the kitchen:

kitchen cabinets Elm

Next are the countertops and then flooring-DONE!  I only need to “bless” the final outcome and choose an outdoor paint color 🙂

Now onto, Ms. A with that 7,000 sq ft house. My oh my!–beautiful house snuggled in the prestigious Desert Mountain area of North Scottsdale/Carefree area of Arizona. Before photos:

Before Lr and FR   Before DR

Pretty cool as it is, but this furniture is owned by the couple that will be moving out.

What Ms. A wants is to convert this into an Asian influenced, and what I will call, “Soft Sonoran Zen”(Copyright). She wishes to change the paint color, incorporate the flag stone floors and fill the home with new furnishings and accessories.  Ms. A wants to also use as many of her current items, but alas, MANY will NOT make it in the house.

Why? Too small.

She is not grasping the idea that she has now apartment-sized furnishings and teeny-tiny accessories. We won’t be able to see them unless viewed under a microscope in this vast space.

What to do? Supersize!

This living room space needs at least two 102″ sofas and a 54″-60” cocktail table.  You’re not going to find those too easily in your stores folks–custom….custom… custom…. and my favorite saying, “it is what it is”, so trust me and adjust your thinking. I know what I’m doing 😉

So, I have given Ms. A a completed concept WITH budget of her wishes. These are a few of the goodies I wish to use:

102 sofaconsole


    arm chair dining


Now…..what color do you think I will use to “pop” the spaces together in this vast space of the living room, family room and dining room?

Stand by………………

Next new client this Friday! She needs to bust out her walls and make an according glass door as well as 2 bathroom remodels.

Stay tuned for “before” photos too 🙂




The Day in the life of an Interior Designer cont…

CJ’s flip is going well and some finally touches need to happen… grout, splash design etc. He should finish up in a week or two, so he is on target–30 day flip 🙂

Update….Mr. A finally has the plans to the architect for that Willo home.  8 plans later ….  let’s see if he’ll sign off on the floor plan so we can get some bids in the works.  Folks, trust your designers and architects.  We are here to help you.  And for Heaven’s Sake, quit asking your neighbors and family for their input. If they have a degree and experience in this field, you may inquire. Otherwise, make up your own minds.  It only confuses you if you ask everyone’s opinion and cannot form your own.

Meanwhile, a quick client pop-up: They just received their reupholstery and I am happy with the pattern! I’m also as usual, thrilled with my upholsterer. He is a true artisan 🙂

before chair  before……


IMG_2880.jpg  after…..


Tomorrow I have a new client meeting with a lady who need to fill her 7,000 sq ft home with accessories.  That seems like a nice, quick project. Stay tuned ….


Day in the life of Interior Designer cont…..

And the Willo saga continues….

Eight floor plans later………

Now, Mr. A is narrowing down if he wants a bidet in his master bathroom.

My Question: “Have you ever used a bidet?”

Mr. A: “No, but they are becoming very popular I hear.” OK.

My answer, “Well I would recommend one like I have, a TotoG500 (the Tesla of toilets) which opens automatically, warms the seat, deodorizes the air, has a washlet, (or bidet within the bowl), and it dries “yourself”–no toilet paper needed, flushes itself and closes the lid”.   (I’m not spoiled, but I did win mine in a designer’s auction. My peers are envious.)

So how may of you out there have used a bidet?


Meanwhile, I made a quick pit stop at a kitchen project I just finished with a few accessories for the centerpiece for the island.  My clients are extremely happy and wanted to show their appreciation by taking me out to dinner. I told them, no need but thank you, just let me do the master bath remodel when they’re ready.

Rule 1: Do not socialize with clients during or after their project.

Why? This is my belief….they don’t need to know my personal business and when your dining with others you tend to put your guard down and say something stupid.  Keep that professional line drawn. That line keeps the money flowing in!

Before photo Kitchen
Before photo Kitchen
Remodeled Kitchen
Remodeled Kitchen
Kitchen wall cabinets
Kitchen wall cabinets

Miss Lexi (client's dog) Clients dog 🙂

As a matter of fact, I had a client in the past so intrigued by my personal life and what my residence looked like, she was so insistent to find out (Nosy B!@#%). So I fessed up…..”You know what Versailles looks like right?” “That would be me.”  She stopped asking me.


So, back to the week at hand.  I am going to do another flip house for my long term client, CJ. CJ has about 40 rental properties in the Central Corridor of Phoenix.  When one of his tenants move out, we do a quick refresh of the space and he flips the updated version.  Again, these are small homes built around 1950’s.

I walked in a few days ago with his small crew working pulling up carpet and scraping the floors up of old linoleum. This place just smelled like smoke and kitties. PU! Once the floors are up and fresh paint is applied, all will be well again.

The grand plan of this flip it to rework the kitchen and bathroom, paint and concrete stain the floors. CJ is extremely thrifty, so we are doing the Home Depot route on this one.  Stand by……




A day in the life of an Interior Designer


Photo taken before any renovation
Photo taken before any renovation
Before any renovation
Before any renovation

I get asked all the time, “What do you do for a living?”

My answer, “For the last 16 years I have been a professional ASID interior designer.”

I get 2 responses: “Wow! How fun!” and, “I would love to be a designer!”.

These kind people are used to the HGTV ways of life these days… just click on a show on the popular station and in an hour-PRESTO! Your very own COMPLETED house! Commercials included!

This is not the way it works folks.

First I must declare, I LOVE WHAT I DO. No question. It is fun, yes, but I work my tail off and am on job sites with 100+ degrees in the summer with a hard hat on explaining to sub-contractors the “proper way” to install materials.

I am a work-a-holic (work through many evenings and early mornings) and want perfection especially when I have my client’s money in mind. “Champagne dreams with beer budgets” are usually the mix of my experiences. (But there are a few who have the ability to splurge–very few).

Interior design is a “science” of some sorts and most certainly a process. The process is organized for each particular environment, thus, different budgets come into play. You the client need to know your budget. We the designer will do everything in our power to make your budget stick.

Also, we as professionals have wonderful trade discounts we can pass along to our clients and we get to see the most unusual and beautiful things on our resourcing/shopping at design centers. Fabrics, furnishings, trims and specifications such as granite, onyx and natural tiles, etc. The public cannot access most of these places, but can with an interior designer. Make no mistake, these items are extraordinary and very expensive!

So, here we go.

I am going to start a new project in the historical area of Phoenix in a coveted area that is named Willo. Willo homes have been around since the 1940’s so this project ought to be a good juicy one to renovate as well as get through the officials of the historic societies to play with.

The client, we’ll call him “Mr. A” is a young real estate broker who grabbed this property from foreclosure. He has a 150k budget for a 1550 sq ft house with 775 sq ft guest quarters.

Let’s see how it goes together.

Feng Shui Superstitions for the New Years


Being a feng shui practitioner, I ran across these little tips you may want to follow for the New Year:

“One of the most auspicious times for the Chinese is New Year’s Day. The Chinese believe that the things you do on this day will determine your luck for the following year.

A few important tips can help you increase your luck for the upcoming year.

  • Don’t argue or cry on New Year’s Day unless you wish to cry and argue throughout the upcoming year.
  • Don’t use sharp objects like knives on this important day since pointed objects are considered inauspicious. Knifes on New Year’s Day will slice and destroy your good luck.
  • Keep your feet firmly planted on the ground and avoid rough patches by not buying any shoes on New Year’s Day. The word shoes sounds like the word rough, so if you need new shoes, purchase a pair before the holiday.
  • You need to start the New Year off debt-free, otherwise, the you’ll be plagued with bills and more bills throughout the entire year.
  • Serve noodles for the New Year’s meal. The longer the noodle the longer and happier the luck will be.
  • The color red is consider to most auspicious color and brings the biggest and best luck. You’ll want to wear red on New Year’s Day.
  • To ensure you have a sweeter New Year, be sure to eat deserts, candy and other sweets.
  • Don’t get your hair cut during the week of the New Year. If you cut your hair, you’re cutting off good luck. Don’t wash your hair on the first day of the New Year unless you want to wash away all of your good luck.”


By Sally Painter, Feng Shui Practitioner


Who doesn’t like to curl up on the sofa on a chilly evening?  It is even better when you are all snuggly and covered with a nice throw!

What comes to mind with a sofa or chair throw?  Well, sometimes they are called an afghans, which brings to mind a multicolored crocheted blanket made by your grandmother. Yes, Roseanne Connor had one on the back of her sofa. YIKES!  Happy memory for some, others, not so much….The crochet style certainly can work for a country themed home, but, what else is new?

Well plenty!  

Throws now come in many colors, styles and textures to match any decor.  They are so soft and washable these days you can have “Junior” munching on a peanut butter sandwich and spill on them and no big deal….Just toss it in the washing machine! (synthetic materials of course.)


  • Have the throw coordinate with your sofa pillows. Very nice option!
  •  If you have an area rug, why not match it with the throw?
  •  Throws can be a nice addition to the bedroom. I prefer a silk or velvet covered one to add a touch of romance and luxury. (And men love ‘em!)
  • If you have a sofa and loveseat combo, use two that match to create balance in the color scheme.

throw 1        throw 2


My recent trip to the Baltic countries included St. Petersburg, Russia, the home of the Czars and Czarinas.  One of the most famous is Catherine the Great who built many opulent palaces.  Her palace in the countryside is called the Catherine Palace which I visited on a day tour.  Among the many beautiful rooms was the famous Amber Room whose walls are covered entirely with amber and gold leaf and glowed with the many colors of this interesting substance.

Amber Room

Amber Mirror
Amber Mirror

What is amber anyway?  Basically it is fossilized resin from ancient trees and has been found along the coasts of the countries bordering the Baltic Sea.  Colors can range from light brown and green to almost black.  It is frequently made into beautiful jewelry and can be fused with glass.

The colors of the amber remind me of the beautiful fall colors we are beginning to experience.  Why not utilize some of these colors for your own décor?  A new of a gold/orange pillow or vase, a nook that needs some new paint or a bright dish filled with candy corn?  Celebrate this wonderful season inspired by Catherine herself!


So happy to have “a like interest” with my followers with these Norwegian products!  I am personally blown away by the simplistic designs with such everyday functional items.

Design House Stockholm is up on my list–check out these awesome pieces of glassware:

Fireplace   ClaritasAlvar Aalto Collection Gift set 95 mm and 160 mm clear


A few more great items I’d like to add to the list of yummy designs is from a company called Stelton in Denmark. “Surprising, innovative, best-in-class, high-quality Scandinavian design – the brand that tickles the design gene.” is their value statement.

water bottle
water bottle
stainless basket
stainless basket


tea pot
tea pot
salt and pepper
salt and pepper


What do you think?


This summer, I was fortune enough to visit the beautiful lands of Sweden and Finland where in between both the ancient world and modern environments of today, a fusion of mixed styles exists.

I found wonderful items for everyday use along with contemporary street artist making one-of-a-kind jewelry and artwork (and not to mention fantastic FRESH food!)

Georg Jenson is a FAV and this company is famous for its stainless steel vases and cutlery collections:

HK Pitcher 0.75 L, polished steel  HELENA teapot with coaster, 1,3 L  Arne Jacobsen, Steel matte

Merimekko is another “happy/fun” and brilliantly colorful Finnish company that boasts whimsical designs. (You may have seen these at your local Crate & Barrel or Ikea)  I am ashamed to say, I bought WAY TOO many goodies at their store in Helsinki, but am enjoying them every time I look at them in my home 🙂

Marimekko iPhone Cases        Marimekko Pink/Orange Unikko Converse Shoes - Click to enlarge  Marimekko Unikko Towels
And my absolute favorite street artist is Viivi Kemppainen !!! Fun, whimsical and art that just makes me SMILE!
Photo    Photo: Valoa, kevättä odotan ♥<br /><br /><br />
Light in sight, looking forward to spring ♥<br /><br /><br />
視界に光 - 春を心待ちにして ♥
I can’t wait to go back :)))))))))))


I am asked many times when designing a home what to do with all sizes of hallways to complete a look.  Here are some guidelines of Do’s and Don’ts:


  • Cluster family photos of varying sizes on the wall with the same color frame to add cohesion.
  • On long hallways—run same size photos or pictures in a horizontal linear pattern that runs from end to end.
  • Paint the same color of vertical stripes using glossy, then flat alternating tones on the wall.
  • Hang one large piece of artwork that takes up most of the wall. This is a very contemporary look.
  • Theme walls are great! Have objects that work together such as a southwestern theme of a basket, a sand painting, a bunch of feathers in a pouch and perhaps even a papoose cradle invites interest to the area.
  • Add spotlights on both walls and make your own gallery.

Image3 Image9 Image10 Image12 Image14


  • Hang pictures too high! The correct level at center is 5’6” off the floor to begin. Make this 5’6” measurement the middle of your piece(s) and work around this height.
  • Hang mirrors across from the front door! This is a “no-no” for fung shui practicing as it send the good energy, or chi, back outside.
  • Have dark paint color hues. They visually “shrink” the space.
  • Don’t have more than one floor runner rug across the length of the hallway.  Not only is this dangerous, but it cuts the space up.