Introducing Vegan Interior Design Services!


I’ve been vegan for over four years now. It’s seriously one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. (If you want to read more about why I’m vegan, I posted about it here.)

Being vegan isn’t just about the food we eat. It’s about the choices we make in nearly every aspect of our lives. Every single day we have the opportunity to support cruelty-free businesses, products and practices. Interior Design is no exception. From area rugs to furniture upholstery to pillow inserts, we can make kind and conscious decisions about what we bring into our homes.

Over the past few years, I have shifted to vegan design in my own home. For me, this means no wool, silk, bone, leather, down, or any other animal product. Or any product that directly or indirectly contributes to the abuse or exploitation of animals. I feel strongly that when we bring the energy of an animal that has been abused and killed into our home, our home’s energy is directly impacted. And not in a good way.

Fortunately, it’s not difficult to create vegan-friendly spaces. There are so many products available now and the market for cruelty-free home decor is only going to grow (as we’ve seen from the booming vegan food and beauty industries.) These are exciting times. And I’m super optimistic as we move into 2019 that we’re going to see more and more conscious home decor and design products become available. (I’m waiting for a sofa line by Pinatex. It’s leather made from pineapples!)

I’ll be starting a Cruelty-Free Guide right here on my website to help us all figure out what is/isn’t vegan. It’s not always straightforward, so I plan on doing the legwork and research. And if you have any tips or insider information, please share. We can make a change. We can work together to make this world a better place for the animals. And our homes can still be beautiful. And kind.

If you’re interested in working with me to create a vegan/cruelty-free home, send me an email at I’m super excited to add this new specialized service, and it would be an honor to work together creating your own conscious, kind space.


The Bull


When my client’s artwork arrived with a few dings in the frame, I had the opportunity to snatch this piece up for my own home. 🐮 

The blank wall above the dining table (which I am NOT showing you because it’s an IKEA just-gonna-use-this-for-a-few-years-now-we’ve-had-it-for-15-years-table) is its new home. 

I wonder about this bull’s life every time I gaze into its soulful eyes. Where was this photo taken? Was the animal killed? Was it on a sanctuary? Did it know love? Or only fear? 

Also, being vegan, I’ve wondered if it’s weird to have in my house, and especially in my dining area. If I don’t know if this animal was exploited or not, is it still ok to have in my home?

I’ve landed on this: it is ok. It’s more than ok. I am honoring the animal now. His beauty. His  strength. His spirit. When I look at him, I see all animals. He reminds me that we are all connected. And he’s a daily reminder of my pledge to continue to honor and respect all creatures in the best ways I know how, for the rest of my days here on earth. 

So thank you, Bull. And bless your spirit, wherever you are. 

(artwork: Trowbridge Gallery; photo Ben Woods)


When to Paint Your Kitchen Cabinets

Here's my latest kitchen remodel project. Isn't she pretty?

And the before. Quite a transformation, huh? 

My client contacted me about a year ago. She was getting ready to undertake her kitchen remodel, but needed guidance on materials, colors and overall design. Her first question to me was "Do I replace my cabinets? Or paint them?" 

I answered her question with a couple more questions. Did the kitchen function well for her? Did it have enough storage and was it easy for her to get around? Yes. It had plenty of storage and she was happy with the overall layout. 

Then I asked her what problem she was trying to solve? And would replacing her cabinetry solve that problem?

This was a bit of an "aha" moment for her. And it is for most of us. Before we proceed with any design project it is important to identity the problem we are trying to solve. If we don't know what the problem is, then we don't know what to fix...or how to fix it. 

We identified the problem as an aesthetic one. She just didn't like the way her kitchen looked...or felt. I suggested she save herself thousands of dollars and paint the cabinets as opposed to replacing them. They were in excellent condition, and although the door style wasn't exactly what she would have chosen if she was buying new, they weren't bad at all. And with a coat of paint and new hardware, they would take on an entirely different character. Replacing the cabinetry would have solved the problem in some regards. It would have given her a new look and feel, but it wasn't necessary for her to fix the problem. Painting the cabinetry was a much simpler and less costly solution. 

My client knew she wanted white cabinetry. She had already pulled some inspiration images of kitchens she liked when we first met. Over the next couple of months I helped guide her on countertop materials, hardware and fixture finishes and style, lighting, paint color and custom tile design. We collaborated through the process with my client playing the role of project manager - my favorite way to work! 

For those of you drooling over the gorgeous backsplash, the tile is from Oceanside Glass Tile. We did a custom blend in Facets 1/2" x 1/2" mosaic. They have a super cool online tool to play with proportions of colors, so you can get very specific about your blend. 

And...for those of you drooling over the wood island countertop, it is a beautiful piece of reclaimed walnut from Heritage Salvage in Petaluma. I love the warmth and patina that it brings into the space. 

The end result is a stunning space that truly reflects the energy of my client. I'd take this kitchen, wouldn't you?

What is a "Soothing" Space? And How Do You Get one?

Ah. The elusive "soothing" space. We all talk about it. Usually when referencing the ideal bedroom, but sometimes another space in the house. And it is usually characterized by the color blue...maybe green...or, most likely, "neutrals." Or even white. We like our soothing spaces to be clean, uncluttered, not fussy. We don't want bold colors and we don't want it "too dark". We want to feel calm and relaxed in the space, hence the descriptor "soothing". 

Sometimes, however, in an effort to create soothing we end up with boring. We often have the tendency to strip everything out of a space that makes it interesting in an effort to make it calm. We become so entrapped by the idea that a soothing space needs to be completely unstimulating that we can easily end up with a room that causes a sense of unease...because it's not stimulating enough. How's that for ironic design? As humans we need a certain level of stimulation in our environments. We thrive off it. Some of us can handle more stimulation that others - we don't all want a home designed to Liberace standards -  but most of us would benefit by more stimulation than what we think we need when we are aiming to create a soothing space. 

So what does this all mean? Is it really possible to create a space that is both stimulating and soothing at the same time? Yes, it is. And not only is it possible, it's necessary to create a space you love. But how, exactly, do you find the balance? How do you know what works for you?

The answer is not quick and it's not easy. It takes a little work and a little trial and error. The design journey involved in creating a space that is soothing to you may at times even feel overwhelming. How do you know where to start? And how do you know when enough is enough? Or when it's not enough at all?

I'm not going to give you the all the "right" answers here.  I could tell you that you always need three decorative pillows on your bed, and that you should always have an area rug under your bed that covers approximately 2/3 of the floor. But that would be arbitrary design advice and I don't think that helps you at all.

What I do think helps is asking the right questions. So let's start there:

  • How do you define the word "soothing"?

  • Are there any other words you can use to define your ideal space?

  • What don't you want in your space and why?

  • Are there any fears coming up around decorating your space? Are you afraid it will be "too dark", "too trendy" or "too busy"?

  • What don't you like about your current space? What do you like?

  • Why is "soothing" so important to you? Are you trying to escape from anything in your life?

The last question is a big one. Maybe you aren't trying to escape anything. But maybe you are. There is a reason many of us are drawn to soothing spaces. We want a place to unwind from all the crazy. And sometimes crazy is inevitable. But sometimes our need for soothing can be indicative of what's going on in the rest of our lives. It can be a clue that something else needs to change. Just something the chew on...

Regarding the physical design of your "soothing" space, there are a few guidelines to follow:

  • Do not, under any circumstances, have anything in your space that you don't love. If you don't love it, it won't soothe you. I don't care if it was a gift or it used to belong to your grandmother. Get. It. Out.

  • Fix anything that's broken. Broken things are not soothing. They create stress because they are a reminder of just "one more thing" you have to do.

  • Bring in your favorite colors. Not the ones everyone else is using - the colors that you love. Don't worry about if they are "in" or not.

  • Keep it tidy. Not necessarily Konmari tidy, but put your stuff away and organize it. Have a place for everything.

  • Leave some of the good stuff out. Like a pile of favorite books on the coffee table. Or a coaster for your teacup. Things that make you feel good or allow you to use the space with ease.

  • Keep it clean. Duh.

  • Make room to do what makes you happy. If it's playing the guitar, make a space to sit or stand and play comfortably and room for your instrument and music. If it's reading, have a proper reading light and a comfy chair.

  • Have at least one thing in the space that makes you smile. Maybe it's a goofy figurine...of Goofy. Maybe a quirky piece of artwork. Something that doesn't take itself too seriously.

And last but not least...

  • Bring in your authentic self. When you are in the space, you will feel most soothed if it truly lives and breathes your essence. In fact, isn't this is the very definition of a soothing space? A space that is so "you" that you are one with it? And you, my friend, are a very interesting being. For you to be one with your space means that your space needs to be interesting, too.

So, go ahead. Get to work on your soothing space. You might very well end up painting it blue. And that's ok. As long as blue is a color you love. 

How to Create an Inviting and Functional Entryway

Helloooo! It's been way too long again, hasn't it? I've missed you! Let's get this Tuesday going with a few tips on how to turn your entryway into a space that really works for you. Marin Home Magazine's Fall 2015 issue just came out and I've got an article for you on this very topic. You can head on over to the digital edition for the full read. Here's a little teaser:

"Is your home’s entryway a welcoming space? Does it greet your arrival with a smile and give you a warm, fuzzy hug you as you leave? Although it often gets overlooked in the design process, the energy of this space is not to be taken lightly. Let’s take a look at five key components to see how your entry is - or isn’t - meeting your emotional and functional needs. Once you’ve identified the problem areas you can make changes so that your entry works better for you."

How IS that entry working for you? There's no better time than now to re-vamp a space that's most likely going to get a lot of use during the holiday season and the colder, hibernation-y weather.

By the way....notice anything different around here? I had been wanting to update my website for awhile now it is! It's more of a refresh than a complete overhaul. But sometimes that's all we need, right? Squarespace was my saviour. Seriously - a great tool, a great interface, great integration of social media, great tech support. Great, great, great. And now I have my blog on the actual Story & Space website as opposed to blogger, which had been bugging me for a long time. Welcome to 2015! (Never mind that it's almost 2016...)

Thanks for swinging by! And be sure to sign up with your email address over on the swanky new sidebar (right over there on your right) so you don't miss anything really important. 2015 (and 2014 for that matter) kinda knocked me out. But I've got high hopes, plans and energy for the 2016. And I just might send you something cool. 

How to Create a Mood Board


The design process can get overwhelming - even the smaller projects. By creating a mood board, you are creating a reference you can return to again and again so you won’t lose sight of your intended design goals.


Hey, everyone. Just wanted to let you know that the latest issue of Marin Home Magazine is out. My article, "In the Mood", has some great tips on how to create an inspirational mood board. Hope you'll pop on over and read the FREE digital edition on issuu! Lots of great stuff in there, including an article on Frank Lloyd Wright's Civic Center design. (I can see the gold spire from my backyard - cool, huh?)

I know I haven't posted for awhile, but I'm still here. :)  For those of you who have wondered whether or not I'm still taking on clients - yes, I am! Please don't hesitate to reach out to me. I'd love to talk to you about your upcoming color and design projects.

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