Be My Guest: 12 Amenities Every Good Host Should Provide

No bed to make, no dishes to clean, no stuff to put away and no work to be done can only mean one beautiful thing....


You know the feeling of waking up in a place where your needs are taken care of and your wants are anticipated so all you have to do is relax and get comfortable.

We all love that feeling and can learn so much about how to create that experience for our own house guests by taking note of the services and amenities hotels provide when we're away.

I love making my guests feel at home when they stay with me and in today's post I'm sharing the top 12 tips for hosting guests I picked up from my vacation to Napa Valley last week. 


1. An extra blanket.

No matter the season, give your guests the option of using a blanket for cozying up and staying warm.

2. Drinking water.

It could be a carafe and glasses placed by the bed or a couple of water bottles. Help them stay hydrated and relax.

3. A spare set of house keys.

Give them a set of keys on a...

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How to Create A Focal Point: 10 Ways to Pull A Room Together

Every well-designed space needs a focal point.

The focal point is the anchor spot in a room and it's where your eye is naturally drawn when entering a space. 

When the eye intuitively spots a focal point it lingers there for a moment while giving you an opportunity to let the full aesthetic and impact of the space sink in. 

In that brief moment you'll interpret how the space feels and what functional activities it's used for.

Choosing the right focal point to highlight in a room is important because you want to set the right tone and mood for the space while also being sure not to dominate or overwhelm the eye.

Without a clear focal point the entire room can fall flat and feel unfinished, uncomfortable, cluttered or even confusing. 

In this post, you’ll get 10 ideas full of tools and guidance to help you get you started creating focal points in your home that'll truly pull the entire space together.


1. Natural Focal Point: Your room...

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Ultimate Guide to Living Room Furniture Spacing Measurements

Good interior design begins with a well-thought-out space plan – a road map for how you're going to configure the space for your needs.

Without one you're simply guessing how (and if!) pieces will fit and function in your room.

By not taking the time to do space planning you risk wasting space, having beautiful furniture that isn't right for the room or ending up with a living space that doesn't perform the way you need it to.

It may be easy for you to envision the overall picture of what you want your space to be like, but when bringing that space to life there are some actual numbers you can use to help ensure the room feels right and functions well.

By following a few simple guidelines for spacing and placement you can create a living room layout that makes a world of difference in your home.



Allow 12"-18" between the table and sofa edge to both give enough leg room and allow people to set down drinks.

(image via...
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1-Page Summer Design Guide

Have you been looking for summer ideas and inspiration for your space?

As design lovers the shift from spring to summer is a not only a good excuse to change things up and give our space a refresh, but it's also the cue for being ready to accommodate our summer lifestyle.

If you're like me, you're envisioning outdoor barbecues, a sunset glass of wine on the patio, trying new recipes in the kitchen, more physical activity and a lighter, more laid-back vibe inside.

While these lifestyle shifts can feel intuitive, you might be wondering exactly how they translate into the interior design of your home.

Color, materials and a kitchen refresh are my my top summer transformation tips.

To be clear, aligning your home with the season doesn't have to mean spending money buying all new stuff or doing a complete re-design.

It's more like swapping out your spring wardrobe for your summer clothes – you likely already have a good amount of summer stuff, but there may be a few key...

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Design Technique: Rule of Threes

Design is a sensory experience.

And one of the most exciting parts of being a designer is continuing to learn how to create and play with the elements that evoke different feelings and reactions.

This was actually my favorite part of design school — learning design techniques. It felt like cracking the code for some of the beautiful rooms in magazines.

Finally revealing why the rooms worked, felt cohesive and were just a pleasure to look at or be inside.

These techniques are what set ordinary decorating apart from great interior design and elevate your home to a more sophisticated level.

At the root of these design techniques are knowing exactly how to move the eye around a room to give the mind and body the precise sensory experience you're after — relaxing, energizing, collaborative, healing, playful, powerful, feminine, masculine, soft, etc.

In this post I'm going to share one of my favorite design techniques for directing the eye.

Once you learn how it...

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Good Design: It's Not About The Sofa

How many times have you seen a gorgeous photo of a space and wanted to apply the look to your home?

Maybe you think the lighting is perfect or you love the colors.

Maybe you see a special piece of furniture or you're attracted to the vibe the room evokes.

Whatever it is, you just know you wish your place felt more like that.

As a designer I hear this all the time.

And yet, no matter how insanely gorgeous the space is, I have to tell you it's not the beauty — or even the functionality — you're really after. 

Take my client Lynn for example.

I worked with her to remodel her master bathroom. She had great taste and a collection of images to show me her ideas for the space.

All of them were luxurious and serene with a neutral palette and a touch of personality. 

But what’s most interesting is that once we got to the stage of selecting materials, there was a shift in her vision.

She realized the colors and materials weren't as...

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Insider's Look at the 45th Annual Kips Bay Decorator Show House

I was at the 45th Annual Kips Bay Decorator Show House in New York City last weekend.

It's a unique event in that it brings together designers from all over and allows them to transform one space in a luxury Manhattan home into an elegant exhibition of fine furnishings, art and technology - all with full creative freedom.

The only constraint is the three week time period each designer has to pull their design concept together and fully furnish the space before it opens to the public for a month-long charity event. Not an easy timeline...

In today’s post I share my first experience at a Decorator Show House and some of the photos I took so you can enjoy a bit of the experience with me.


The Kips Bay Show House began in 1973 when several dedicated supporters of the Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club launched the Kips Bay Decorator Show House to raise critical funds for much needed after school and enrichment programs for New York City children. Over the course of four...

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9 Design Tools For A Better Nights Sleep

That saying, "I'll sleep when I'm dead" doesn't strike a chord with me.

I love sleep. I love the feeling of being rested. I love the way I look after getting good rest. I love how my brain and body function after rest.

Anyone who knows me well also knows not to mess with my sleep (or me when I'm sleeping). The results are never good, not even for my dog Cody.

Getting a full good nights sleep has always been important to me and I embrace simple design tricks that help me sleep well.

Some I've picked up during my years of diving into ayurveda and yoga, some come from my design training and some come from personal experience.

I want to share them with you because, well, you know what you feel like and how you operate when you don't get enough sleep, right?

Getting a good nights sleep is incredibly important. Whether you're a mom, a small business owner, a teacher, an artist or a designer, sleep matters.

“The irony is that a lot of people forego sleep in the name of...

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