The Depths of Design

This week my friend, Kim Wheeler did a little “interview” with me for her blog, Northern California Style. Kim has created a beautiful site filled with decorating, fashion, family, food, and entertaining ideas. We have had a great time getting to know one another and exchanging ideas about all of the above. It really got me thinking about how deep my love of interiors goes and how important it is to be surrounded by constant sources of inspiration.

Whether it is a vase of flowers next to the bed, or treasured photographs lining the walls; stacks of design books I’ve purchased over the years or curated treasures scattered on every surface, aesthetic is everything and it is just as important as oxygen for me in order to feel settled within a space. When you surround yourself with meaningful things, your soul will be fed and the inspiration will keep you feeling buoyant.

Books, flowers, photos, and your favorite things will always feel right when they’re thoughtfully placed.
(photo credit: Betsy King Photography)

I have been collecting shelter magazines for the better part of twenty years, and still have the bizarre ability to look at a single, random edition of Elle Decor or House Beautiful from 1998 or 2003 and instantly recall the article, name the designer and all the details about the featured home. It’s kind of an odd “talent”, if you will, especially given the fact that I have trouble recalling my Amazon or Apple ID password on a daily basis. I think this is where my obsession with peeking inside the walls of beautiful homes came from and has only intensified with the advent of Pinterest, HGTV, and online shopping. I’ve taken this as a sign that I truly have a passion for interiors and design and that it sparks something almost indescribable in me. I can remember falling in love with the rooms that Michael S. Smith designed, as well as Katie Ridder’s use of color and pattern with abandon. Nate Berkus, Martyn Lawrence Bullard, and Paloma Contreras have provided endless inspiration and would be at the top of my list, along with local San Francisco designer Palmer Weiss to decorate my dream home if I had a budget without boundaries.

One of my favorite ways to personalize a room is with a gallery wall. Even going back to my first apartment, when all I could afford were Ikea frames filled with travel postcards and family photos, this was my signature stamp for filling a space with meaningful items and telling a story. My style has evolved somewhat in this category, but not much because I still love to add to our rooms over time with framed vacation photos and artwork from the kids. It’s a great way to add color, depth, and dimension as well as showcase personal conversation starters. And an Hermès blanket is always a beautiful touch. And still on my wishlist.;)

I like to classify my style as “modern traditional” with a heavy dose of East Coast classicism. Never stuffy or formal, I like a touch of whimsy with a healthy mix of high and low. As you know, I’m a huge fan of Home Goods, Target, and yes, even World Market; pair those everyday finds with a special piece from One Kings Lane, Restoration Hardware, or 1stdibs. Marry them all together to make the space your own, and allow your rooms to evolve and grow with you over time. Loads of pillows, patterned drapes, a unique ottoman, and a coffee table full of flowers and personal keepsakes- to me, these components are the essence of layered, lived in luxury.

Rich, masculine materials plus a feminine patterned drape marry beautifully in a room by Amber Interiors.

The key to knowing and trusting your own personal style, in my mind, is time. Trial and error will most certainly occur, so embrace it as part of the process. Trust your gut, listen to what you love, and don’t be afraid to take chances. Allow your taste and style to evolve over time and be open to new designers; if we all still hung Nagel’s on our walls, loved brass beds layered with Shabby Chic ruffles, or thought carpeting in the bathroom were luxurious, where would we be today?

Stay inspired and don’t be afraid to embrace your own personal style evolution.



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The Mom Mystique


  1. LA CONTESSA on May 14, 2020 at 5:47 pm

    NEVER………..I have MY OWN STYLE which hails from EUROPEAN HOMES.
    Love your mix of HIGH and LOW!
    Those articles that resonate seem to stay with us!I miss the OLD MAGAZINES.
    I miss the days when it ARRIVED in your MAILBOX and you carried it into the kitchen with GREAT ENTHUSIASM!Make a coffee and ABSORB THE WHOLE THING IN ONE SITTING!

    • The Mom Mystique on May 14, 2020 at 6:22 pm

      Proud to admit I am one of the few that still has multiple subscriptions to shelter magazines. Cant’ give them up, won’t give them up!;) And agree about that feeling of opening the mailbox! Love it XO

  2. Kim on May 14, 2020 at 8:21 pm

    I also have way too many magazine subscriptions – and a few collections of older ones from Domino and House Beautiful and the old HG.. I treasure them! I think you and I love the same designers and people. It’s nice there is also Instagram now and the internet and we can find endless inspiration. These are all lovely. Like you I can recall an exact article or a home from way back! That’s how I found a home in Carmel- I knew it was in a magazine before and my husband didn’t believe and it was. Right now my favorites are Michael Smith and I love Jill Sharp Weeks… Isn’t Katie Ridder cool? She’s been a favorite of mine a long time.. Thank you so much for the mention and being on the blog. Was lovely to have you. xo

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