Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Hiring an Interior Designer

The reasons for people hiring an interior designer are varied. Most of our clients come from different backgrounds, but all have disposable income in common. They are willing to pay a higher price for styles that look fresh for twenty years. They want better quality than what’s available online and in big box stores. And in many cases, they prefer having someone else to manage their project, which can take a lot of time and diligence.



primitive wood table in light filled entry.


But just as many people enjoy the process of “doing it themselves” and that’s important too. There is great satisfaction in knowing you did something yourself.

Start out slowly the first time you work with a designer until you get comfortable. As your project proceeds from initial consultation to proposals, design schemes, orders, fabrications and installations you will become more familiar with how designers work and how they charge for their time.

When You First Begin Working with an Interior Designer

The potential designer/client collaboration begins with a consultation at the client’s home to see if you’re a good match. The first meeting won’t always tell you everything you need to know but things to watch for initially are arriving at the scheduled time (make allowances if your home is particularly hard to find or is off the GPS grid), making eye contact, professional grooming and attire, open mindedness about your project, overall organization, and knowledge of their own services and products.

First Consultation

Some designers charge for the first consultation. Others have a short, complimentary meeting. Still others ask to meet their clients at a local coffee shop rather than the client’s home to keep at bay any design related questions until compensation begins. In my early business days, I gave a complimentary, thirty-minute in home consultation. Now I prefer to charge one hour. This helps me weed out people who aren’t serious about hiring me. I love helping people but it’s painful answering a dozen or more questions once you have figured out, you’re not going to be compensated.

It helps to have at least some idea of what you like and dislike. Designers can gain a lot of knowledge from some of the simplest visual aids- pictures of things you like; swatches of fabric; or even a painting can act as a catalyst in your project.


white slipcovered, armless dining room chairs



Considering Your Lifestyle, Personal Style and Color Preferences

At the first consultation, the designer will usually ask about your lifestyle. They need to know if you have children or pets or if you will be caring for elderly family members in your home in the near future. It’s also extremely helpful to communicate to your designer in as much detail as possible, your personal style and color preferences. If possible, save magazine clippings for the purpose of helping your designer understand you better. Are you a casual or formal person? What colors do you prefer or dislike? Are you traditional, contemporary or a mix of both? Which of your existing furnishings do you wish to replace, and which do you wish to keep? Is there anything you particularly love that could be used as a catalyst for the design project? These things will be discussed in the early stages of your project. 

The Proposal

After the first consultation, I follow up with a proposal. My proposal itemizes everything I’ll be doing for the client and the amount of money I’ll be compensated. This allows the client to add or delete line items as they see fit before giving me a deposit.

Once the proposal has been approved, I begin work on the presentation. 


white sofa glass cocktail table


The Presentation

Preparing the presentation is very time-consuming. For a typical presentation I’ll source five to six sofas, chairs and ottomans in a variety of styles and price ranges; thirty or so coordinating fabrics; do written estimates of each item I’m presenting; print out tear sheets (large pictures with dimensions); type up written reports and estimates; do CAD or Autodesk renderings; and prepare visual aids like large, labeled fabric swatches on rings and oversized paint chips. The client doesn’t see all these items, mind you. But I do use them to help me make decisions.

The aesthetic quality of the project will be evident in the designer’s presentation. Look for outstanding fabric combinations that are pulled together yet not too matchy-matchy; plans that have a little flexibility; tear sheets of beautiful, high-quality furnishings; well written plans that evolve around your architecture, the things you love and at least some of your existing furniture; and professional, clean looking estimates and budgets with branded logos and signature fonts and colors.

Experienced Workrooms, Craftsman and Fabricators 

Look for designers who have workrooms with at least fifteen years of experience. I have seen many otherwise beautiful projects look amateurish and silly because of poorly crafted upholstery and window treatments.


Light filled breakfast room.


Other Things to Consider

By this point in the project, a client usually knows if the designer is a good match. Now, the presentation must gain their approval. Is the project within your budget? What, if any changes are needed? Do the design schemes reflect your personal style as well as the home’s architecture? Is it appropriate to your geography? Do the styles and colors jump out at you, in a good way? If so, you are ready to begin the project.

Your designer will most likely be providing you with both products and services. Before writing the check, make certain the products and services are clearly described in writing (my descriptions are on my written quotes and bids). Make certain payment terms and lead times are clear. Most designers require at least a 50% deposit upon order and balance at time of shipment for furniture and accessories. I require payment in full.

For window treatments, an additional deposit may be required because by the time the treatments are installed, most of the materials and labor have long been paid for and the designer will be out of pocket before collecting the full balance. It’s also helpful if the designer gives a ballpark estimate of what shipping costs will be.

Managing the Client’s Expectations

Managing the client’s expectations is an important part of the job. So are foreseeing problems before they occur. I know from past experience which vendors are slow, and I prepare the client by telling them a longer lead time than what I’ve been quoted. Then, if the vendor is on time, the client and I are both pleasantly surprised. Under promising and over delivering is another part of great project management.


white sofa and modern chair


How Designers Charge for their Services

Designers charge for their services and products in a variety of ways such as with retainers against future work; with hourly fees; and with cost-plus percentage mark-ups. Most of us are compensated by a capped amount of hourly fees for services as well as wholesale to retail mark-ups on products. We purchase products at wholesale and receive a commission by selling it at retail. We also charge hourly fees for services that don’t require materials or fabrication.

Budget, Timeline and Scope of Work

To ensure the personal satisfaction of your project, be clear about your budget, timeline and scope of work. Your designer will collaborate with you on this. They are very helpful in prioritizing and doing work in phases. Be proactive in the end result by giving your designer good descriptions of the styles and colors you prefer. Esoteric terms like “cozy” and “classic” have different meanings for different people and are subject to interpretation.


Sheila Bouttier


Sheila Bouttier


Communicate clearly and when possible, provide pictures of your preferences. Use real descriptions like “blue”, “large”, “modern” and “pale”. Clarity is almost an art form itself but like design, practice makes perfect.

The Sum of the Parts

And remember this subtle rule of thumb: it’s not the individual furniture or paint or fabrics your designer chooses that makes a room fabulous. It’s the way in which everything is put together as a whole.

That’s the real art of the interior designer.

If your home isn’t supporting you the way it is, are you ready for a change? Get some help via my complimentary premier design and wellness download, The Wellness Home and learn my 5 simple steps to a beautiful, restful interior for women who value their home and wellness. It’s the prettiest little book and a quick read with super easy design solutions that help you lead a beautiful, healthier lifestyle at home. Get yourself some help post haste!



The Wellness Home


That’s it for today. Thank you for stopping by! Shiree’

For my at-a-glance must have’s for giving your home a wellness makeover, check out my “Design Help, Wellness and a Little Woo Woo”!

Window Treatment Decisions Made Easy



Shiree Segerstrom Design

If window treatments are something you’re contemplating in the near future, here’s a primer to help get you started with the basics. Your window treatment decisions made easy on this issue of Joy of Nesting.


Things to Consider When Deciding on Window Treatments

Among the many considerations in planning new window treatments are exposure to sunlight and cold, outdoor views, the home’s style, window size and style, cost, upkeep, and nearby obstacles.

My Favorite Types of Window Treatments

I’ve done a fair share of custom designed window treatments over the years, and I’ve seen many styles and types come and go. My own preferences lean toward custom draperies on high quality rods with rings and finials; simple, unlined sheers; box pleated board mounted valances; roman shades; traditional wood shutters with small slats; and high-quality woven shades. 
Before making any decisions, there are a few questions you will need to ask yourself. I’ll offer tips to prioritizing the budget and planning the styles in a minute.  
Shiree Segerstrom Interior Design

Questions to Ask Yourself Before Deciding on Window Treatments

Do you want to plan in stages? If so, I recommend doing the formal living room, dining room, entry, and master bedroom first, and family room, kitchen, guest rooms and baths last. Are your windows attractive and are the views pleasing? If yes, you probably are not going to want them covered up with wooden blinds or shutters. Are the clearances tight? In other words, is there minimal room for treatments and hardware on the outside of the window frame? If yes, an interior mounted treatment might be in order. Are there French doors or glass sliding doors? If yes, the best treatments for those two situations are draperies that coordinate with the other window treatments situated in close proximity.
Doug Atherly

Window Treatment Variables

There are many variables with window treatments. Often times there are more than one style of window in a room requiring visual continuity but with different functions. I often suggest box pleated valances or drapery panels for such contingencies because they allow for varying heights of windows. Layering treatments isn’t always the most cost-efficient choice but for small windows like those found in most bedrooms a valance over drapery panels visually increases the window size, softens noise, and creates a restful and attractive appearance.
Amber Interiors
In mountain homes the views attract many home buyers.  In these cases, a “less is more” approach is used, mounting the treatments as far off the glass as possible.
This approach can be tricky because the farther you move the drapery panel off the glass, the bigger the panel’s “stack” becomes. So, while you expose as much glass
as possible, you still end up with a larger “stack”.
Laurel Bern
For homes with unattractive windows and views, wooden blinds or shutters are a lovely solution. Shutters and blinds are always a good investment for resale. Vinyl shutters are an
option that many people overlook. They are very nice looking, very clean, and easy to maintain.
For rooms that are naturally dark I have found unlined sheers on custom iron rods and rings to be beautiful and functional. Iron rods are a lifetime investment and should reflect the architectural style of the home.
To give you an idea of levels of cost, the least expensive custom window treatments would be draperies on a decorative traverse rod; board mounted valances over wooden blinds or sunscreens; some brands of woven shades. In the moderately priced category draperies on rods and rings over sheers and valances over drapery panels; roman shades. In the highest price category are triple layered treatments such as valances over draperies over sheers, and plantation shutters.





 Tips for Lowering Costs

To help lower window treatment prices on shutters and blinds wait for annual sales or choose reputable workrooms to do your own fabrication and design. Doing it yourself will require that you estimate fabric quantities and create a viable work order for the work room to follow. For fabric treatments like draperies, shades, and valances aim for fabrics in the $60 per yard range. Trims such as welts, ties, banding, and fringe add to the overall cost.

Some Caveats When Working with a Designer on Window Treatments

Most designers won’t work with fabric you have purchased at discount stores preferring instead to provide you with the fabric themselves. There is a lot of extra foot work using
the client’s own fabric such as driving or taking the time to ship it to the seamstress: when we order fabrics from our own sources, they automatically ship it directly to our workrooms; frequently the fabric has flaws; and often times there isn’t enough fabric to complete the job.
Window treatments are time consuming and technically challenging. For that reason, the mark-up we receive from purchasing fabric at wholesale and selling at retail is important to cover our time. However, there are fabric store chains in most major cities that will sell you the fabric and fabricate the product saving you considerable money. The draw backs are that workmanship isn’t always great and the styles tend to date quickly. If you know what you want and wish to be the designer yourself, hiring an experienced seamstress is a great option. They are usually willing to work with your own material too. Choose seamstresses that have at least 15 years of experience otherwise you won’t be happy with the end result.

Sheila Bouttier


Colors for Window Treatment Fabrics and Materials

When choosing shutters, blinds, or shades pay attention to the colors. In large amounts whites can be so white they make everything else in the room dingy. With fabric treatments if
you are going to play it safe, go all the way by choosing a nice neutral colored fabric like warm white or light taupe. Otherwise, be brave and choose a subtle print that will coordinate well with existing furnishings. Avoid the in-betweens.


If you need help with remodeling or your next design project, then check out my “Budgets, Style and What to Keep on Your Next Design Project”. You’ll get a lot of helpful advice and a realistic framework to help you figure out your own, personal design style. It’s a framework that actually works! 



Ready to take a deeper dive into freshening up your home? I created The Functional Home Blueprint to help you create a livable, clutter free home. Get my download and create beautiful places in your home for downtime and reconnecting with yourself and your loved ones!


  • Get organized and energized with my easy tools, attractive container ideas and simple home office hacks.


  • Carve out spaces to exercise, and 


  • Maximize your kitchen to follow through with healthy eating; and utilize all your rooms. Plus, a BONUS: my fave home workout equipment!


Here is that link again. That’s it for today. Bye for now! Shiree


Healing from Loss in the Home and Garden

In 2007, my wonderful husband died suddenly. It was a devastating loss, and as it turned out, much of my healing happened in my home and garden.

I remember the pain so clearly. Jim and I were married 25 years and I had no idea how I would go on without him.


Light filled room with pale colors and soothing textures


above via Anthropology

But I did go on. I went to counseling twice a week; exercised and fed myself fresh, plant-based meals; and went to dinner with dear friends once or twice a week. After some months, I started having guests to dinner and started taking interior design clients again.

Healing from Loss in the Garden

That first spring and summer were incredibly difficult for my son and me. He had his work, school and friends. And I spent all my downtime in the garden. One spot in particular was a little seating area I’d designed in the upper, terraced gardens. The bistro chairs, table and iron daybed with big feather pillows acted as a healing, almost meditative retreat.

At three or four in the afternoon, this place in the garden is magical. The shadows are long, and the light is beautifully dappled. With my iced tea in hand, and the sound of chirping birds and the fountain, I’d sit and go through my memories of Jim. And so, in this way, I was able to etch our memories in my mind and begin the healing process.

Your home can be such a positive force in your life, providing structure, stability, protection and in my case, a place to heal. But it can also be a very real, energy zapper. If your home isn’t acting as a system of support, consider some ways within your means, to improve it.



Healing from Loss in the Home

I design spaces for women with value their health and wellness, and it is much the same as interior design for women who have lost their significant other. Follow a few of my tips below to create a nurturing space for yourself while you heal.

  • Choose cool, soothing colors like muted blues, blushes, warmed up versions of gray and white with gorgeous gold metal finishes.
  • Add comforting details like hardbound books, flowers and plants and textures like baskets, hand knotted area rugs and soft throws.
  • Consider how your furniture layouts work for you. End tables are great between comfy armchairs but are cumbersome and busy around the sofa. Instead, opt for walls sconces and swing arm lamps for reading, and a nice cocktail table for drinks.
  • Omit the sofa console table. Like end tables next to the sofa, they are cumbersome and busy. Use floor lamps. Use the cocktail table and an accent table or two for drinks.
  • Large pieces (hutches, armoires and entertainment cabinets), built-in bookshelves and fireplaces add an anchoring effect to your interior design which in turn adds real and perceived stability.
  • Add a place in the home like a hallway or other thoroughfare to display framed pictures and mementos of your lost loved one but mix them in with other family things. Mixing everyone’s memories together in an unobtrusive way (like a hallway) ensures none will be weeded out entirely. I still display Jim’s sterling baby cup in my dining room hutch and one of his small, framed baby pictures on a bookcase in the den. As well, I have a great framed photo of us with our son at a beautiful Santa Barbara wedding that sits on my desk.

I was 48 when Jim died. People recommended support groups and gave me books on grief. I appreciated their intentions, but I knew myself well enough to know those things wouldn’t work for me.



Other Ways to Elevate Your Home’s Healing Potential

It could be as simple as investing in a good cleaning lady or professional organizer, or as large as remodeling your entire home. If you opt for a day or two of cleaning, that alone can give you an enormous energy boost and rekindle pride in your home, which in turn will be a great impetus to keep it that way.

Your surroundings have a stronger effect on your psyche than you might initially realize.

  • Consider fresh paint and new fabrics in comforting colors, on windows and seating.
  • Don’t replace or discard anything for at least three years.
  • Focus on sentimental items. When Jim died, I reframed several portraits of him and did a proper family gallery in my beautiful wrap around stairwell and landing.
  • Open curtains and window shades daily and aspire to keep your spaces fresh and clean.
  • Also, open windows on all but the most inclement days. Fresh air gives your spaces a wonderful feeling.
  • If your home seems to be missing something, my rule is to add scale, texture and/or greenery.


Light filled room


What Helped with My Own Healing Process

  • Finding meaningful ways to honor his memory, such as continuing to talk about him to friend and family despite that 
  • Rest and reflection in my own beautiful home and garden.
  • Taking excellent daily care of myself with great nutrition and plenty of exercise.
  • Spending time in nature.
  • And a great night’s sleep.

The clouds will gradually lift, not all at once mind you, but over a period of years. For me it was about five years before I really saw the needle move on grief, and another five years before I could say “I have reached my capacity to heal from this loss.”

Choosing to Remember, Despite the Pain

I choose to remember everything. Remembering can be pretty painful at times, but if the other option is living pain free and forgetting, I choose to remember.

Easy choice.


The Wellness Home


If your home isn’t supporting you the way it is, are you ready for a change? Get some help via my complimentary premier design and wellness download, The Wellness Home, 5 Steps to a Beautiful, Restful Home for Women Who Value their Health and Wellness. It’s the prettiest little book. It’s also a quick read with super easy design solutions that help you lead a beautiful, healthier lifestyle at home, plus my 3-to-5 Things Framework that gives you step by step actions to get started and stay on track. Get yourself some help, post haste!

That’s it for today. Thank you for stopping by!


Want to learn about Mindfulness? Check out my interview with mindfulness and meditation educator Marsha Gehl!

Wellness Design Home Makeover in One Weekend!

I’m so excited to share with you that I’m featured on Deirdre Fitzpatrick’s, Dying to Ask Podcast talking wellness design and how to give your home a wellness makeover in one weekend!

Dying to Ask is her podcast where she gives candid interviews with celebrities, influencers, authors and entrepreneurs for their ‘step-by-steps’ to success. Deirdre is a consummate pro, having won numerous Emmy Awards on her journalist work and news anchoring. She has been with Sacramento’s KCRA News for over 20 years. She’s a marathon runner, competing in over a dozen marathons, and an Ironman triathlete.

I was so fortunate to have the opportunity to sit down with her and talk about Wellness Design and how to create a home that supports more health, wellness and joy.

Be sure to tune into Dying to Ask and if you enjoy it, please leave a review. Your reviews are so appreciated, and they keep Deirdre’s kind of journalism available so we can continue to enjoy it!

Here’s that link.

I also have a special treat for you.

After listening to Dying to Ask, come back here and dive deeper into Deirdre’s and my topic, How to Give Your Home a Wellness Makeover in One Weekend that I wrote especially for her podcast listeners.



light filled room with amber leather egg chair



Wellness Home Makeovers

Wellness Design is most often thought of in commercial buildings, green building and health facilities. But there are features and elements of it that are absolutely applicable to your home, and not just your kitchen and primary bedroom suite. Your home has a much bigger effect on your wellness, energy, productivity, efficiency, health and emotions than you probably realize.

The home makeover concept is fantastic and has worked for me for many years, even as a prerequisite to some of my full-service projects. I know without a doubt it will work beautifully for you because you’ll be working with many of the things you already like and are accustomed to. 

Why Wellness Home Makeovers Work

First and most obvious, a home makeover makes your house look and feel better immediately. Every member of the family benefits from it and I promise if you rearrange your home furnishings in a great way, they will flock there. A new energy will be felt, and you’ll naturally gravitate there

Second, is that when you’ve done a home makeover, you can actually see for yourself what your home is missing. By that I mean, it will become obvious to you through the process of rearranging, which pieces need to replaced, and which, if any, need to be discarded. This in turn saves money, time and frustration. A great home makeover keeps you from buying the wrong things and even helps you plan for future purchases.


What You Will be Doing during Your Wellness Design Home Makeover 

Over the weekend you’ll be placing furniture in warm and inviting conversation areas; hanging artwork; placing ambient lighting (table and floor lamps); editing out unnecessary or unattractive items; moving in new items from other, less used rooms; and arranging accessories in the most beautiful and natural ways. 

Fair warning. You will be repurposing all the best stuff to your living room and entry. That pair of beautiful lamps in the guest room? The stunning vase in the master bath? Those just got put on hold with “Living Room’s” name on them.


Arrange for one to two people to help you with the heavy lifting. Make it very clear to them that you will be “experimenting with furniture placement” to identify the best floor plan, otherwise they will think that you’re changing your mind and become aggravated.

Let them be in on the fun. Everyone wants to be a designer, husbands and sons included and quite frankly, they’re often a great help at design because they urge you to be practical, and practical is key when arranging furniture. 


Stone fireplace





Identify a service area, also called a staging area, such as a nearby spare bedroom or hall or kitchen table and set up a table for all the extra accessories you will be picking and choosing from.


Bring out any and all old accessories including artwork from your cupboards and storage. Even include the things you don’t really care for. You can use them as visual aids for sizing and color if nothing else. Pull out hard bound books. Hard bound books work beautifully on tabletops! Pull out your all white candles, clean ones only. Pull out baskets, stacks of dishes, plants, pots and serving pieces.


Go to the spare rooms and bathrooms and bring out any favorite items that have been under appreciated there for too long. 


Gather your tools. You’ll need a pencil, picture hangers preferably in three sizes, a tape measure, a hammer, glass cleaner, paper towels, and a rag. Yes, part of a makeover often includes cleaning! 





Completely un-decorate your room. Set all those items aside in a safe spot, preferably in the staging area where you can easily access them without risking bumping into them.


Begin moving furniture. Please be careful not to trip, it’s a common problem with this particular type of project. When you back up to assess your work, be sure to always look behind you for the dog, cat, kid, and errant chair. I’ve had every accident imaginable doing this in my lifetime.

Practicality and scale are basic priorities when placing furniture. Every room needs at least one fairly large, what I call ‘anchoring’ piece.

For instance, in my small entry, I placed a very large sideboard. It just barely fit the wall I placed it against with two inches to spare yet that piece ‘makes’ the entry. In my tiny home office, I placed a large pine hutch between two windows with no spare space on either end. My mom and husband warned me it wouldn’t fit. Yet it was absolutely perfect and again, ‘made’ that room too. So don’t be shy with scale.

Observe your natural foot traffic. Always have a clear path from door to door ideally with a minimum of 36 inches of clearance. You can have a turn or two but if getting from door to door means zigzagging or stepping over something, then it’s not functional, and dysfunction always looks silly.

Always begin with the living room and entry simultaneously. Choose a piece of furniture for the entry that best defines the space. For a recent client, I took a small buffet out of the breakfast area and repurposed it to the entry. I topped it with a lamp, a large artwork for the wall above, two candlesticks, some hard bound books, and a few nicely framed family photos. 

I find the boldest changes are often the ones that take your home to that next level.



Once you’re positive the furniture is placed in the most practical yet striking ways, it’s time for accessories.

As you place accessories, step back as you work (looking behind you) and assess how it looks. If it doesn’t jump out at you as feeling amazing, it probably isn’t. Keep trying. As a rule, it takes me four to ten times before I get a table arrangement just right. As contradictory as it sounds, I spend a little extra time to make sure it all looks unstudied.

Clearing the Cleansers and Cleaning the Air 

Once you’ve given your home a wellness makeover, consider ways to remove any toxic products from the kitchen, garage, and bathrooms. Save them in one central location, contact your local waste management and see what they recommend for disposal.

Except on the most inclement days, open your windows for 15 minutes. Fresh air makes your home feel and smell great.

Add fresh plants like fig, Boston ferns, maidenhair ferns, snake plants and violets to your decor. Plants are great air scrubbers.



The Wellness Home Check List cover


Thank you for stopping by Joy of Nesting today! 

Wellness Design is a big topic, but understanding it is easy with my download, the Wellness Home Check List that gives you quick, at-a-glance details on the many aspects of wellness design.

Here’s that link again. Bye for now!

For some goodness on yoga and wellness at home, check out Joy of Nesting’s, “Your Exercise Sweet Spot: how to create time and space for yoga, workouts and meditation”!


Creating a Wellness Designed Kitchen


light filled kitchen



Creating a Wellness Designed Kitchen

Creating a wellness design kitchen can be done via the help of a wellness designer, or you can implement some easy diy steps on your own. A wellness designed kitchen leads to healthier eating habits. We all know that wellness begins at home, and nowhere in the home is it more evident than your kitchen.

How well does your kitchen work? Do you have plenty of storage in the refrigerator for fresh fruits and vegetables? An anti-inflammatory diet calls for a lot of produce! Do your kitchen layout, fixtures and finishes inspire you to begin your day in a healthy, proactive way? Do you have cabinet or counter space, or a ‘garage’ for equipment?



kitchen with island


Via DecorPad

My Favorite Wellness Kitchen Equipment

An easy-to-use like the Breville Compact Juice Fountain.

A good blender, like VitaMix

A KitchenAid Mix Master

A cappuccino maker

A proper, electric tea kettle, like Dualit



organized pantry


The Kitchen Work Triangle

If your kitchen is due for a remodel, and you normally have one cook in the kitchen, employ one of the often-overlooked tenants of kitchen design, the Work Triangle.

Simply stated, the work triangle refers to the distance between the three main workstations: the stove, the sink and the refrigerator. It ideally totals around 27 feet in diameter.

Each leg of the triangle should consist of roughly 9 feet. That’s nine feet from the sink to the refrigerator, nine feet from the refrigerator to the stove, and nine feet from the stove back to the sink.


kitchen with modern elements


Oversized Islands and Multiple Sinks

Kitchen designs with oversized islands and multiple sinks were created with open floor plans and multiple cooks in mind, which gives you the opportunity to reconnect with loved ones in such a meaningful way.

Top Ten Wellness Design Features You Need for Your Kitchen

I get that not everyone wants to fully remodel their kitchen so let’s take a look at things that can be done without a set of blueprints.

For ease, convenience and style opt for larger, D-shaped pulls. A single lever or touchless kitchen sink faucet is also standard these days and can be conveniently nudged off and on with your elbow or voice activated.

The easiest, most affordable way to remodel your kitchen is to keep the footprint. That is to say, keep the base cabinets, appliances and kitchen sink/s where they are. No plumbing or electrical changes will likely be needed, and you can focus your budget on any combination of the following: appliances, new cabinet doors, a new sink, hardware/fixtures, flooring, lighting, countertops, back splashes and paint.

Wellness Kitchen Tech and Appliances

The kitchen is the hub of the home now more than ever thanks to all this great new technology. For the appliance lover, buy a quick and healthy steam-convection oven. For the tech lover, smart refrigerators are able to create grocery shopping lists, share calendars, interfamily notes and photos, and even stream movies and music.

The new voice activated faucets that measure the amount of water dispensed and even control the temperature and more make kitchen time an actual pleasure. There are new smart range hoods, and modern, sleek flush fitting appliances, a popular trend.

Cabinets are seeing cleaner, more modern lines too with customized paint colors like emerald green, navy, dark blue and gray that give a beautiful, high-end look. Hardware finish trends are brass, colors and even black. Quartz countertops show no signs of slowing down. It’s a lower maintenance alternative to granite. Granite has to be sealed and resealed. Quartz does not. It’s super durable and there are endless design options. A well-designed kitchen can really help inspire you to make great choices every morning. And getting off to a good start in the morning will make it easier to stay balanced and focused all day.

Kitchen Prep Zones 

Healthy food is fresh food, and fresh food requires some prep work. If you have no intentions of remodeling your kitchen, there are some things you can do to make prepping quicker and more enjoyable.

By prepping I mean preparing leafy green salads, raw vegetables, fresh fruits, fresh dressings, green juices and smoothies. Cooked meals have their place at dinner providing you with a comfortable, warming meal and “reconnecting” opportunity.

Chopping/salad prep

Mix Master/Kitchen Aid

Food processor



Indoor gardening/potted plants/pods


Blender/smoothies/soups/nut milks

Sprouting/fresh herbs



Food service

Entertaining/serving pieces/special occasions

Beverage service

Children’s meals

2nd sink/2nd cook

Pet care

Bill paying/home office center/pc

Craft center

Create your own kitchen zones according to the tasks you perform most often. Designing your kitchen and home via zones is a super-efficient way to get organized. As you can see, prioritizing is key since the options are limitless.

Whatever your priorities, clearing out the clutter, keeping only the things that are essential, going paperless as much as possible- – all of these will help in planning your kitchen without the remodel.



Ready to take a deeper dive into staging your home? I created The Functional Home Blueprint to help you create a livable, clutter free home, and create beautiful places in your home for downtime and reconnecting with yourself and your loved ones.

  • Get organized and energized with my easy tools, attractive container ideas and simple home office hacks.
  • Carve out spaces to exercise.
  • Maximize your kitchen to follow through with healthy eating;
  • And utilize all your rooms.
  • Plus, a BONUS: my fave home workout equipment!

Here is that link again.

That’s it for today.

Bye for now! Shiree

For more on kitchens, check out my article, Three Remodeling Budgets and Check Lists for a Health Conscious Kitchen

Exercise, Yoga and Wellness Rooms

Exercise, Yoga and Wellness Rooms

Exercise, yoga and wellness rooms are wonderful additions to your home and health and wellness practices, providing structure and impetus when your own discipline might be waning.

Your biggest challenge in getting and staying healthy is consistency. So, in order to be consistent with health and wellness practices such as meditation, yoga and other forms of exercise, it’s wonderful to add a dedicated room, just for that purpose.


Yoga and Wellness Rooms


Repurposing the Space

Finding space for a dedicated exercise, yoga and wellness room

Let’s talk about how to repurpose spaces in your home to make room a dedicated exercise, yoga and wellness room or, if you already have one, what you need in the room to make the most of it.

Can you carve out a sunny corner of a formal living room that is seldom in use? Or can you claim the guest room as your own? What about repurposing a sewing or crafts room? Perhaps it could be put to better use as a wellness room?

Whether it’s a room of your own or the corner of an unused formal living room, find a space to call your own and have any items you need such as hand weights, a rebounder, a Yoga mat, etc. nearby in a basket, closet or armoire for easy access. If everything is close by and in attractive containers, you’ll be more likely to use them.



Meditation tools




Stationary bike


Two-, five- and ten-pound hand weights, two of each.

Yoga mat

Stability ball

Hand towels

Full length mirror

Light dimmers

Lighted table mirror for facial massage

Air filtration/humidifier units

Kettle ball/s

Virtual training/fitness apps

Flat screen Stereo

Inversion board (wonderful for age reversing the internal girly parts. And jowls. No one wants to keep their jowls.)

Foam rollers

Weighted ankle and arm bands

Mini refrigerator for water and fresh juice

Lighted scented soy candle

Fresh plants and flowers

Jump rope

Resistance bands

Armchair and ottoman

Lap blanket

End table

Table lamp

Beautiful baskets for storage.

Music/built in speakers



Colors and Fabric

The best colors for exercise, yoga and wellness rooms

Choose soft, cool colors that minimize feelings of heat. Use soothing textures and minimal color contrasts.

My go to colors for yoga and wellness rooms are celadon green, soft grayish taupe, light flesh tones, creamy whites and muted grays that soothe the eye and alleviate tension.

These colors help you feel healthy and grounded. You can carry them throughout the space with paint, trim color, flooring, window coverings and accent seating like an armchair and ottoman.

Pale stained wood finishes are lovely too. Currently our color and wood trends are leaning toward gray but gray has enjoyed so much popularity that it will look dated sooner than later. Choose a soft taupe wood finish instead.

For chair, ottoman and window treatment fabrics choose subtle, faded natural fabrics like washed linens and soft textured chenille’s.


 Biophilic design feature 


Plants and Flowers

Flowers are so soothing. I know the ideal is to have fresh flowers week after week. But do you? If you do, bravo! If you don’t, I found a wonderful interim solution for my own home. I simply buy a beautiful vase or piece of pottery and fill them with fresh flowers, potted flowering plants (which last longer than cut flowers) or potted greenery.

For times when you don’t have fresh flowers and live plants, keep a selection of faux greens and flowers to choose from. That way your vases and pots will never be empty. I especially love the look of boxwood and cream or chartreuse colored hydrangeas.

Go for only high quality faux floral and greens.

Next Steps

What about your self-care space needs to change in order for you to feel inspired to take excellent care of yourself first thing in the morning, every single day? Start a Pinterest board, notebook and/or digital note and keep track of inspiring pictures and ideas.


The Wellness Home Checklist


Thank you for stopping by Joy of Nesting today! 

Wellness Design is a huge topic! Creating a healthier, more beautiful lifestyle in your home is easy when you have my pretty little, easy to skim download, the Wellness Home Check List that gives you quick, at-a-glance details on the many aspects of wellness design.

Here’s that link again. Bye for now!

For more on yoga and wellness, check out Joy of Nesting’s, “Your Exercise Sweet Spot: how to create time and space for yoga, workouts and meditation”!

Creating a Healthier More Beautiful Lifestyle in Your Home


Creating a healthier, more beautiful lifestyle in your home happens with Wellness Design details like air quality, mood enhancing color schemes, organizing your home via zones, and having space in your home for exercise.


Light and shadow filled breakfast room decorated with an abundance of plants.



Via Lisa Laura Schwabe

So, when you’re an active woman like you and I, you need an environment that supports you physically and emotionally. And a dysfunctional home can have a very negative effect on you, even if you don’t immediately recognize it.

Okay, let’s get you a deeper understanding of what it takes for you to thrive at home. I’m excited! I hope you are too, and I hope you’re ready to make some lasting changes right now!


Open, airy bedroom retreat with French doors and natural materials


Source unknown.



Clean the Air in Your Home

Having fresh air in the home is important for your health and feels incredible! It’s one of the main tenets of Wellness Design. Because our homes contain toxins such as off gasses and chemicals from synthetic carpet, paint and plastics opening the windows, even at certain times during cold weather months will clean the indoor air. You will feel a distinct difference in your home on the days you open your windows and doors. You’ll not only breathe easier, but did you know you’ll also experience a significant boost in your mood similar to being outdoors, in nature?

Using your weather app, on days when it’s feasible, open your windows for just 20 to 30 minutes a day during the most clement part of the day. For summer it might be early morning. In winter, it might be 1:00 in the afternoon.

Plants are Great Air Scrubbers

I never understood why having greenery in my home made me feel so good until I started studying health, wellness and the connection we humans have to nature. This is called Biophilia.

Biophilia is the innate love we humans have for things from nature. So, biophilic design is a concept used in the building industry when designing elements and features from nature into residential and commercial buildings.

Some Benefits to Indoor Plants

They …


  • look so pretty!
  • oxygenate and clean the air.
  • help the home’s inhabitants fend off sickness.
  • reduce your stress load.


Simple breakfast room with natural materials and oversize florals



My Favorite Indoor Plants


  • Maidenhair fern
  • Boston fern
  • Myrtle topiary
  • Fig trees
  • Snake plant
  • African violets


Snake plant is the best indoor plant for cleaning the air.


Antique filled living room with console and pair of planted urns


Design Ideas with Plants

I love plant features in the home. Plants look best in groupings of two, three, five and seven. And hey, the more live plants, the better oxygenation!

One store that always carry all sorts of cute, metal ‘stands’ is Home Goods. I like to buy their metal bathroom ‘stands’ normally made for towels and bathroom paraphernalia and repurpose them for plants!  


  • Indoor plant racks and stands for ferns and violets
  • Window atriums for ferns
  • Large fig trees in a beautiful basket, for larger rooms
  • Tall topiary in pairs flanking your sofa or tabletop
  • Baskets with fresh, potted flowers
  • Plant walls
  • Plant pods in the kitchen, for herbs and lettuces.

For more on plant walls, visit


Soft rug colors, natural wood table and fresh flowers



Using Color in the Home

Warm colors like red, orange and some yellows excite and stimulate. They are good for active spaces. Warm colors advance. On walls, they visually decrease the size of the room yet they visually increase the size of an object.

Cool colors like blue, green and some shades of purple are restful. Cool colors recede. On walls they increase the size of the room. They add depth at the end of a room or garden path. To visually enlarge your space, use light, cool colors with minimal color contrasts. To make your spaces feel more intimate, use warm colors with multiple color contrasts.


The benefits of an organized home are enjoyable tasks and chores with more opportunities for downtime



Clearing the Clutter

A cluttered home causes anxiety and contributes to arguments; missed workouts; poor eating habits; lost items; missed deadlines and more. A cluttered home even contributes to… more clutter!

What you really need is impetus and the best impetus I’ve found for getting organized is to clear out all the clutter. Discard, repurpose or donate anything that drags you down or that you no longer use.


  • Baskets, bins and crates in different sizes drawer dividers (bamboo is nice!)
  • Labeling gun for binders and labels
  • Manila labels for labeling baskets
  • Tote bags/kitchen pot rack hangers for hanging totes
  • Ties for organizing electrical cords and wires
  • Binders, pocket divider pages and a triple hole punch for organizing papers that can’t be stored digitally
  • Lifts and pullout drawers for inside cabinets
  • Lazy Susan’s
  • Professional or DIY closets and cabinets


Soft pillows and linens in natural materials



Using All the Zones in Your Home

Opening up the unused rooms of your home gives you choices and freedom. If your home could talk it would tell you that a closed off bedroom is like a leg that’s fallen asleep! If you fail to plan a use for your spare room, someone will make plans for you. Don’t let it become a dumping ground.

Here are some ideas for repurposing your spare room.


  • Meditation room
  • Mudroom
  • Playroom
  • Workout space
  • Crafts/sewing room
  • Media room
  • Sunroom
  • Home office


Yoga and meditation in the home


Exercise at Home

The biggest obstacle to healthy habits is follow through. By having a space you love that’s designated for exercise, you create impetus which makes it easier to follow through consistently.

Can you carve out a wonderful corner of your formal living room that’s seldom in use? Can you repurpose the guest room and maybe expand the window space? What about transforming a sewing room into a workout space? Would it be of better use as an exercise space or yoga room?

If the space is attractive and everything is close by and in attractive containers, you’ll be more likely to follow through!


  • Treadmill
  • Peloton or Stationary bike
  • Rebounder
  • Two-, five- and ten-pound hand weights, two of each.
  • Yoga mat
  • Stability ball
  • Kettle ball
  • Hand towels
  • Full length mirror
  • Bands/Ropes
  • Flat screen television Stereo
  • Inversion board

For more goodness on Wellness Design, check out my article How to Get a Wellness-Inspired, Living and Dining Room .


The Wellness Home Check List cover


Thank you for stopping by Joy of Nesting today! 

Wellness Design is a huge topic! Creating a healthier, more beautiful lifestyle in your home is easy when you have my pretty little, easy to skim download, the Wellness Home Check List that gives you quick, at-a-glance details on the many aspects of wellness design.

Here’s that link again. Bye for now!



Making Healthy Vegan and Vegetarian Soups that are Satisfying and Delicious

Making healthy vegan and vegetarian soups that are satisfying and delicious isn’t as hard as it sounds. Do you like, stand-at-the-counter-can’t-stop-dipping-your-spoon-into-the-pot soups? Because today, I’m sharing some of my favorites.



Vegan and Vegetarian Soups

Vegan and vegetarian soups can be super delicious, if you have a few tricks of the trade. I’ll show you how to make them, so you’ll feel full, satisfied and not one bit lethargic after dinner.

Eating these healthy soups, alongside some crudites, and maybe a small side salad, and a few bites of dark chocolate afterwards is lifestyle change I adopted several years ago after reading books by Dr. Joel Fuhrman; celebrity certified nutritionists Kimberly Snyder and Natalia Rose; and watching such documentaries as The Game Changers and Forks Over Knives.

This way of eating is indeed a game changer. And while there aren’t a ton of micro-nutrients in any cooked foods, cooked foods do have a place in our diet, especially during the cold weather months. Cooked foods satisfy us and fend off cravings that lead to junk food or binge eating. They warm you, of course; they add fiber to your diet; and most importantly, they are much kinder and healthier than recipes calling for meat.

Healthy and Satisfying

With my way of preparing healthy vegan and vegetarian soups, you’ll never be disappointed or bored. I need my meals to taste really good. I make these soups regularly and I know you’ll love them and find them very satiating.

So, what’s the big secret to soup? There are actually two secrets: the ‘right’ fat and the ‘right’ salt.


Grapeseed oil


Grapeseed Oil

One of the Best Oils for Cooking at High Temperatures

It’s known that grapeseed oil is an excellent oil or ‘fat’ to cook with. It is extracted from the seeds of wine grapes, which are byproducts of winemaking. It is a versatile oil. Its properties make it difficult oil to misuse. And it has a low-profile taste that doesn’t interfere with your dishes.


coconut oil


Coconut Oil

Another Great Oil to Cook With

Coconut oil is an excellent plant-based fat. It tastes great and it’s safe to heat. In some dishes, like coconut milk ice cream you can really taste the coconut oil. This is not true with all soups, however. It’s excellent in the Thai Curried Carrot Coconut soup recipe below.


Pink Himalayan Salt


Pink Salt

The Salt that’s High in Minerals

Pink salt (sea salt works too) has no anti-caking chemicals and reportedly more minerals. There are conflicting reports about the difference between pink salt and table salt with iodine added. I’ve read online reports that say there is no difference, yet all of the nutritionists’ books I’ve read insist pink salt is not only safe but actually has many redeeming qualities. I use a lot of pink salt in my salads. My doctor says it’s okay because my blood pressure is low.

The Easiest, Most Delicious Vegan and Vegetarian Soups

Are you under the impression that vegetarian cuisine is boring or somehow limited? You would be mistaken. There’s a whole world of vegetables. Vegetarian cuisine can be hearty or light. It’s highly nutritious. It’s flavorful. And it’s a much kinder way of living.

It you start your recipes with sauteing the onions, you don’t really need a recipe, but you can find my ingredients and general instructions below. They are not kitchen tested but that’s the beauty of soups. You don’t really need a recipe.


Healthy, vegan tortilla soup


Vegetarian Tortilla Soup

Tortilla Soup made with homemade tortilla strips, roasted corn and kidney beans

Corn tortillas, sliced in thin strips and fried in coconut oil

(I like the organic ones by La Tortilla Factory. Food For Life corn tortillas are all natural too.)

Coconut oil for frying

Coconut oil for sautéing onion and for soup base, about 4-5 T.

Pacific brand vegetable stock, about 24 oz.

Red bell pepper, chopped, about half

Pomi chopped tomatoes with juice, about 13 oz.

Victoria chopped mild green chilis with juice, 2 small cans

Kidney beans, about 2 15 oz. cans, rinsed

Plenty of mild red chili powder, about 1 ½ T.

Cumin, about 2 t.

Jalapeno, about ¼, seeded and chopped

Small package frozen, organic roasted corn (it’s important to buy organic because corn is a big GMO crop and you don’t want that!)

Red onion, about half, chopped

Garlic, about 4 cloves, chopped



Lime wedges

Red or green cabbage, sliced thin

Coyo, all-natural coconut milk yogurt (Delicious and healthy in place of sour cream!)

avocado slices

Place coconut oil in large stock pot. Sautee onion till soft. Add spices. Toss for a few minutes till absorbed. Add beans and mild chilis. Stir to coat. Add stock and tomatoes. Simmer on low about 15 minutes.

In heavy skillet, fry tortilla strips till almost brown. Watch so they don’t burn. Transfer to paper towels to blot excess oil.

Add pink salt and additional oil at the end of cooking for more flavor is desired. I use olive oil at this point, but you can stick with coconut oil if you prefer.

Top with cilantro, cabbage, tortilla strips and lime. You’re gonna’ love it. It’s “Souper” flavorful!



Vegetarian Posole

Posole with Smoky Hot Chipotle

This special recipe has been adapted by me for a vegetarian diet. It’s originally from the Ann Burch, previous owner of the Side Street Café, Los Olivos California, courtesy of my longtime friend, the late Karen Langley Stevens, Santa Ynez.

32 oz. Pacific brand vegetable stock

Coconut oil

1 med. yellow onion, chopped

2 T. mild chili powder

1 red bell pepper, chopped

6 to 7 cloves garlic, chopped

1 to 2 T. cumin

1 to 2 t. Mexican or Greek oregano

2 16 oz. cans Juanita’s Mexican style hominy, rinsed

3 T. cornstarch mixed with ¼ C. water

Smokey hot chipotle powder, ½ t.


Chopped radishes, Pico de Gallo, tortilla strips, chopped green cabbage.

In a large stock pot, sauté onion in coconut oil till soft. Add chili powder, cumin and oregano. Stir till coated. Add pepper, garlic, hominy. Stir for a few minutes till pepper is softened and hominy is coated. Add stock and chipotle powder. Simmer till gently boiling. Add cornstarch and water.

Simmer gently for fifteen minutes. Top with garnishes. Posole is super delicious and filling without the meat. I like to serve mine with my homemade cornbread and honey.


Vegan Minestrone


Vegetarian Minestrone with Porcini Mushrooms

You are in for a treat. 

28 oz. fire roasted tomatoes

4 T. coconut oil

32 oz. Pacific brand vegetable stock

½ package Penne or Rotelli pasta

1 16 oz. can each black, kidney and navy beans, rinsed

1 oz. package dried porcini mushrooms, minus a little

3 stalks celery, chopped

½ large yellow onion, chopped

Pink salt

1 C. chopped, fresh spinach

Saute onion and celery in coconut oil till soft. Add tomatoes, beans, stock and dried mushrooms, then add pasta and simmer pasta according to package directions. Throw in the spinach last, and simmer five minutes or until softened. The addition of the porcini mushrooms is incredible. Super hearty vegetarian soup.


Vegan Thai Curried Carrot Soup


Vegan Thai Coconut Curried Carrot


Wow, super good soup! You will love this. I based it on a soup I had from the food bar at Whole Foods. Try both and see which one you like best!

Red Thai brand red curry paste, to taste (I do about 1 ½ t.)

Mild Indian curry to taste, (I add about 1 ½ t.)

Coconut oil, 3 – 4 T.

Coconut milk, 1 14 oz. can (full fat)

2 ½ C. Pacific brand vegetable stock

½ onion, chopped

5 lg. carrots, peeled and chopped

Hot chili pepper flakes

Fresh ginger, chopped fine



Cocojune all-natural coconut yogurt

Sautee onion in coconut oil in large stock pot. Add carrots and stock and simmer 30 minutes.

Puree in blender. Return to pot and add coconut milk, ginger, curries and pepper flakes. Simmer a few more minutes and stir.

Garnish with lime juice and coconut yogurt. Super flavorful! 


Shiree's Pillars to Optimal Wellness


Well, that’s it for today! If you want stunning skin, an elevated mood and plenty of sustained energy throughout the day, take a look at the special gift I have for you. It’s my free download “Five Pillars to Optimal Wellness“. You think: 


  • because you’ve struggled with a few health issues and maybe even with weight that you don’t have what it takes to get and stay healthy.
  • that taking care of yourself is hard.
  • that making a morning green juice is time consuming and expensive.
  • it’s easier to grab a sandwich than it is to make yourself a big raw salad for lunch.
  • and you’re afraid giving up your glass of red wine in the evening will be too restrictive.

Shall we put those thoughts to rest right now? I’ve made things easy for you with the sweet little download below.

Click 5 Pillars to Optimal Wellnessto grab my free, download and learn how to enjoy taking care of yourself, maybe for the first time ever!

Bye for now,


For my weekly, healthy grocery list and my super healthy and delicious salad combo’s, check out my post “My Excellent Weekly Grocery List” !

Budgets, Style and What to Keep for your Next Design Project

Budget, style and what to keep for your next design project … these are primary decisions you will encounter when you first begin your project, and definitely the most important ones you will make early on. Building a budget, deciding your style and deciding what furnishings to keep will help you create a lasting design scheme based on things you love and a budget that’s realistic.

So today, let me simplify them for you, before you begin your project.


breakfast room with vintage elements


Via Lonny

The Trouble with Budgets for Design Projects

No one likes to provide a designer with a budget. I understand your discomfort. I am a consumer too! But if you go into a car dealership looking for a Mercedes and a salesman educates you on all the wonderful benefits of a Volkswagen, you have wasted a ton of time.

When I ask a client for their budget and they say they don’t know, I will generally offer a feasible number, and that’s when they can say, yes that’s what I thought or no, that’s higher than I expected.

Design Fees

For strictly design fees, I offer two distinct, design only proposals. I add to each proposal the exact cost ($5,500, $10,000 etc.) and exactly what you will get with it (2 sofa options, 2 chair options, computer drawings etc.).


For procurement (where I purchase furniture, usually at a small discount on your behalf), I generally give you an estimated budget for cost of goods, installation costs and delivery fees.



Via Woman’s Day

What to Keep and What to Discard on Your Next Design Project

Don’t Overlook the Importance of this Step! How do you determine which of your existing furnishings to keep, what to re-purpose, and what to discard for your next project? How do they work around the furnishings you already have? And how do you develop a ‘design style’ that goes with your home, and the furnishings you intend to keep and work around?

I can’t overemphasize the importance of that step! If you keep the wrong things, and build an entire design scheme around them, the end results won’t be great. And by the way, this is one of the areas where an experienced designer will be really helpful to you.  

Saves Money and Adds Originality

Keeping and discarding the right things not only saves you money, but it also ensures your home will look beautiful, original, cohesive, and above all, seldom if ever go out of style because you are blending styles.

If you’re uncertain about an item, relegate it to a lesser used part of the house.

Blending styles and eras gives you a look that evolves much better than buying everything from one place and at one time. For tips on blending vintage, antiques and new home furnishings go to my post, Updating the Look of Antique and Vintage Pieces into a Fresh, New Style.



Shiree Hanson Segerstrom

Determining the Design Style for Your Next Design Project

Determining your design style might be fun, but it’s not as easy as it sounds. Designing a scheme around a client’s preferences is much more challenging than making choices unilaterally, but the most experienced designers work this way. And they know the client will be much happier if their preferences have been respected.

The way I help you determine the look or style for your new design style, actually comes from determining what you currently love about your home; what you dislike about it, and from finding things (like furniture and fabrics) to tie everything together visually. It may sound like it but blending styles of home furnishings is not that easy. This is one of the hardest visual things to do.

New Construction

With newly constructed homes, finding the client’s aesthetic is a little more challenging. The best results come from going over shelter magazine images that the client loves. Understanding the local culture and geography (such as building a home in the city vs. on a cattle ranch) helps too. I like to take an artful approach in blending the client’s style, architecture, and geography into something very personal.



A designer helps a client visualize a proposed design scheme with drafted floor plans, over size fabric swatches, flooring samples, pictures of furniture and paint chips. Looking at the proposed colors, fabrics and furnishings side by side gives you a strong sense of your home’s potential. If done well, these samples will make a strong and beautiful visual statement.

Concept or color boards, such as the ones used in commercial and hospitality design are helpful too. Just keep in mind they are time consuming to produce and require a client with a financially vested project.

Small Budget Help

I had a recent living room project and was given a smallish budget. The scope of work was window coverings, sofas, and chairs which wouldn’t allow us to purchase any new furniture.

My first two plans proposed new window coverings, throw pillows, and recovering the existing sofa and chairs in new fabrics. The last plan allowed for the same but with recovering chairs and purchasing a new sofa. The first plan came in under budget, the second plan at budget, and the third plan just 2% over budget. These three design schemes couldn’t have been accomplished without a budget and scope of work.

Creating Two Budget Options

Giving two or three budgetary plans is a win-win situation. This gives the client a lot of control on how the money is spent. It also gives the designer the options she needs to create something really special within the constraints of that budget.


The Wellness Home


If your home isn’t supporting you the way it is, are you ready for a change? Get some help via my complimentary premier design and wellness download, The Wellness Home, 5 Steps to a Beautiful, Restful Home for Women Who Value their Health and Wellness. It’s the prettiest little book. It’s also a quick read with super easy design solutions that help you lead a beautiful, healthier lifestyle at home. Get yourself some help post haste!

That’s it for today. Thank you for stopping by!


My Excellent Weekly Grocery List

My excellent weekly grocery list starts with me with my cell phone, in iNotes, tapping out a week’s worth of green juices, vegan soups and chilis, and big raw salads.


Green salads made with fresh, colorful vegetables


You have a unique opportunity each week to make excellent choices that directly affect your health and wellness and it happens at your grocery store. Here are a few tips to help you make your shopping list a health filled powerhouse. I am also including some treats to sweeten the deal, so that you always feel excited to not only shop for food, but plan the most delicious, flavorful meals you’ve ever tasted.

Life is too short for boring meals so really put your heart into your flavor combinations.


Raw vegetables


Weekly Grocery Shopping in the Outer Aisles

The outer aisles, produce section, greengrocer, or whatever you prefer to call it, is where you will spend the bulk of your shopping time and budget.

As you choose your produce, think of two things: how will it taste in my daily salad and which plant-based dinner will be delicious.

Where to Splurge

Issues with the cost of organic foods always come up for my readers but I tell them, instead of buying expensive wine and meat, focus your attention and budget on excellent produce. I’m not ‘one bit’ afraid to buy $20 worth of berries every week just for myself because I don’t buy alcohol or high-end skin care products. It’s all about priorities and I know wine, beer and hard liquor are not good for my skin.

Instead, splurge on your salad ingredients. Whether it’s with roasted corn, guacamole and salsa on a bed of romaine topped with a delicious, homemade chipotle dressing or noodles and toasted sesame oil on an Asian salad or creamy chèvre, pears and pecans over mixed greens, every day is a fancy salad day for me. Salads are my mainstays, as are my daily homemade green juices and savory vegan soups.


fresh produce


Read the Ingredients List

Here is where almost everyone falls short. Bring your reading glasses and look closely at the list of ingredients on everything you buy. Look at your almond milk. Does it say almonds, water and sea salt? Or does it have words you can’t pronounce. Because if there are any words that aren’t an actual, real food, I don’t buy it. What is in your vegetable stock. The only brand I’ve found that doesn’t have chemicals in it is Pacific Brand. what about your salsa? Many salsas have chemicals in them. So always read the ingredients and aim for lists that include only food.

Where to Shop

I am partial to Whole Foods because I find their produce is priced lower and they have a much better selection than Safeway or Raley’s here in northern California. Find a store that has an excellent organic produce section and if needbe, order everything else online.

Make it Taste Really Good

Here is where you can have fun with your food shopping. Think of flavors that are good together. For salads I generally like to include something crunchy, like romaine lettuce and celery, salty like Himalayan pink salt, sweet like pears, apples, berries or honey, acidic like lemon juice or balsamic vinegar and some oil or fat like olive oil and chèvre or nuts.

If you are doing a salad with bitter greens like lacinto kale, include a sweet counterpoint like apples or pears. I also do a kale Cesar that is a crowd pleaser, and it has high quality parmesan, pine nuts, lemon juice, anchovy paste, garlic and olive oil. Generally, I buy vegan Parmesan.

My Favorite, Plant Based Meals

For vegan soups and chilis I always taste test before serving to make sure they have enough fat and salt. I use grapeseed oil in cooking soups because cooking olive oil over 118 degrees changes its composition. But you can top the soup with a drizzle of olive oil before serving. Just don’t cook with olive oil. 

My Favorite Homemade Soup Combinations

  • Chipotle-lentil-roasted-corn
  • Red bell pepper soup
  • Vegan tortilla soup
  • Vegan minestrone soup
  • Homemade vegan chili

See my Soup’s On post, for more about my favorite soups.

My Favorite, Big Salad Combinations

For salads, I fill a 9-inch plate full of leafy greens plus a variety of ingredients like fresh fruit, creamy chèvre, nuts and homemade dressings. If your salad comes out boring, try a little more lemon juice, pink salt or more dressing.

  • Romaine lettuce with sauteed green beans, roasted garlic and beets dressed with pink salt, lemon juice and olive oil.
  • Butterleaf lettuce with grapefruit sections, avocado and Bay shrimp dressed with pink salt and olive oil and a little extra grapefruit juice.
  • Mixed greens with pear, dried cranberries and candied pecans Romaine lettuce with strawberries, cilantro, yellow bell pepper, avocado, and red onion with lime juice, honey and jalapeno dressing.
  • Kale Cesar made with lacinto kale, stems removed, pine nuts, Parmesan, anchovy paste, lemon juice, garlic and olive oil.
  • Fresh corn off the cob, Heirloom cherry tomatoes, cannellini beans, nectarines, cilantro, cucumbers, orange or red bell pepper dressed with lime juice, lime zest, olive oil, jalapeno and pink salt.

Don’t Forget the Treats

Now that I’ve said I don’t buy packaged foods that have unpronounceable ingredients in them, let me just add a few exceptions to the rule, and those are treats.

Each week, buy yourself a few choices of reasonably healthy snacks that taste good and aren’t too bad for you. I don’t go for perfection here, but I buy high quality snacks. You are worth it. I usually get a nut and dried cranberry snack as well as a few bags of my favorite rice chips, see list below. I never cared for rice cakes. These aren’t rice cakes, they are hard to describe except to say they’re made with rice, lentils, black beans and are delicious. I also like organic white tortilla chips and high quality, all natural salsas; celery and all-natural peanut butter or almond butter; dark chocolate and non-dairy frozen dessert; and very occasionally, Boulder brand potato chips cooked in avocado oil.

Reward Yourself

After you’ve done your weekly shopping, treat yourself to a special Peet’s drink or a big, fancy salad out. Don’t you love rewards? 

My Weekly Grocery List

Here is an example of my excellent weekly grocery list. My grocery budget is about $150 a week for just me, not including supplements or meals out.

3 triple packs Romaine lettuce, that’s 9 heads

2 to 3 bundles cilantro

4 large cucumbers

7 to10 limes

3 to 4 lemons

1 large bag Fuji apples

3 large heads lacinto kale

1 head celery

2 to 3 baskets blueberries or raspberries

And or 1 large strawberry

1 large container baby spinach or baby mixed greens

1 bundle broccoli for juicing or roasting

Or 1 bag shredded broccoli to throw into salads

2 large avocados

1 red bell pepper

Small container of cherry type tomatoes

MALK oat milk

MALK almond milk

1 large log Laura Chenel chèvre

Medium bag pecans, cashews or almonds or a mix of all three, for salads or snacks

1 small bag dried cranberries (to mix with nuts as a snack)

2 to 3 bags Off the Eaten Path Veggie Crisps (delicious!)

365 Plant Based Nuggets, eaten with Dijon mustard and catsup.

Other seasonal fruits like oranges, peaches, pears and melons.


My Bi Weekly Grocery List

Rishi Super Green Matcha Tea

YS Raw Organic Honey


Kidney beans

Black beans

Miyoko’s Creamery Vegan Butter (amazing!)

All-natural peanut butter or almond butter

Non-dairy frozen desserts

If you found My Excellent Weekly Grocery List super helpful and maybe, even a little fun, please remember to share with someone who needs it!


The Wellness Home


Need help getting your home ready for the new year, or with creating a home that supports better health and wellness practices?

Then grab my free download The Wellness Home, 5 Steps to a Beautiful Restful Home for Women Who Value their Health and Wellness so you can create inviting retreats in your home; regenerate and reconnect with yourself; create spaces in your home for exercise; get basic how-to’s on kitchens, work zones and techy stuff; and more. 

Bye for now!


Here’s that link again. xo