Daring to Make Your House Your Home


Not all of us are designers, but we know what we like when we see it. We also know what we're drawn to. The problem for the unskilled is the lack of confidence has them choosing the "in" looks.

But what if these looks aren't you???

I've been renovating the house I'm purchasing and I found myself a bit intimidated. I always wanted a place I could do whatever I want with, but I found myself being shy because what I wanted wasn't hip or in style now. 

But, then I realized that those huge wall mirrors over sinks, recessed fluorescent kitchen lighting, and even the chrome features came and went, leaving homes looking very dated. But, in their day they were THE thing. 

What are the chances that what's "in" is really something that sings to your soul? 

I found a color paint I wanted to do the dining room with, but then kept shying away from the bold statement. 

But, those little compromises every day of your life leads to an ingenuine experience.

The really important thing is that when I walk into my home, live in it, work in it, how do I want it to greet me? 

I want mine to say, "Sharon, welcome to your seaside bungalo. Here's your spirit colors (sea, sky, and citrus), sunshine, plants everywhere, and soothing simplicity, informal, comfy, and full of springtime and frothy seas." 

My sister was recently diagnosed with an advanced cancer and it spurred her on to think of things she wanted to do again and never gave herself permission to do. As I helped her go over all the awesome contributions she'd given to me and the world, it dawned on me - I do not want to face the end of this life feeling, "if only I had been more daring and bold!" I had, after all, left a 26-year marriage and you don't take bigger leaps than that. 

Remember when you were a kid and you daydreamed about driving a car, having your own place, being independent, and making your own choices?

Well, the keys are in your palm!

It's my time. It's my space. It's my world. I say it often, but you create the world you want to live in.

Now that I decided to commit to the bold paint that would make me feel at home, I picked my accessories and they aren't necessarily "in," and to me that said I was listening to my heart and not my head.

I found the dining room accessories for the paint color.


Bamboo roman shades

Through trends, the public were told they should want open concept, stainless steel appliances, and granite countertops. 

Who actually likes having everyone see and smell the kitchen while relaxing? Who likes cleaning up fingerprints on stainless steel? Who likes ugly drab-colored counters with busy dots? 

I recently claimed the pantry area. There were two cabinets with shelves, one on each side of the galley kitchen flanking the door to the garage. 

My problem was I'm practical but also appreciate aesthetics. It became a narrow dark alley and finding things on the very deep shelves meant pawing things in the front to see what was stored back there, or forgetting these things were there.

I didn't let the home builders from 1979 decide how my kitchen works. My #1 priority was getting appliances off the countertops. 

I opted to change the shelf heights in one cabinet and put in a small cabinet body within to hold even more items. Then, I turned to the other opposing pantry and noted it had a wall beside it to separate it from the dishwasher. 

The cabinets inside were attached to this completed wall area. So, I removed the cabinetry and painted the alcove to match the kitchen. 

The new alcove with the wave 

The wall that houses the alcove has the curling wave.

I will place a baker's rack in the alcove to hold my air fryer, crock pot, Foreman grill, etc. I will put up hooks to hold the mop and broom.

On that wall near the dishwasher is a plug outlet I don't use because it's right beside the sink. So, I can move that around to face the alcove instead and be able to walk into this nice space and use the appliances without dragging them out or having them clutter my surfaces. 

I was willing to think outside the box to solve issues and not feel I MUST keep the layout like the builders planned. 

It took confidence for me to paint the kitchen walls blue, remove the upper cabinets, and paint a white wave that wraps around the entire kitchen. I set up a coffee bar and that gives me a sense of comfort, ritual, and home. 

Removing the upper cabinets meant spaciousness and no more crowding under a cabinet. 

I will be placing similar maple boards to the other side of the stove and have my white dishes up there and cups. It's bold. Most people won't get rid of those upper cabinets but I have always despised upper cabinets and as the long peninsula has tons of lower cabinets, don't need them. 

Eventually, I will get a white stove and white hood, butcher block counters, a white fridge, and new lighting. I get the vibe I'm going for and it's totally me. 

As my aesthetic is kind of Hawaii meets Scandinavia, I will do my vaulted Arizona room/Dining room area with a bamboo ceiling, covering the ugly popcorn ceiling, and adding some beams. It has huge windows and lots of light. 

I will add a bamboo chandelier and bamboo roman shades on the windows as I don't like dust-gathering curtains. 

Nothing about my design screams "in," but at the same time it not only makes me feel I'm in my house with the happy stuff that makes me feel good, but I'm also resisting the cheesy sailboats and seashells that scream "BEACH." I'm letting color and light get water across in this desert setting.

Because the home has a front formal living room I would never use for such but I do need a serious office/research area, I looked at its shape, lighting, and pondered how to make it fit my practical needs while greeting people with my vibe.

A huge picture window brings in light, so I will do something I adore - have lots of houseplants in one area (easier to care for). I will have hanging plants, stands of various heights, and potted trees surrounding the window area. 

I will add a small bright citrus-colored sofa. The office desk will be a curving modern one and then a white garden lattice will be attached to the backside facing the room  to hide it from the immediate view entering the room, with some vines growing on it. 

The room will take you immediately into my color palette by taking that bright turquoisy paint from the dining room and putting at the bottom of the wall, transitioning a bit lighter and lighter as it goes up. The look will resemble ocean water with an ombre style of graduated color. 

As I'm an oil painting artist with an obsession for the natural world, I will have nothing in the house for decoration without it being something nature based such as exotic shells, amazing minerals, coral, driftwood.... No knick knacks.  I absolutely abhor them. 

I will use natural woven baskets to hide things for storage and keep areas clear and soothing. 

On the entry wall, a collection that takes up the whole wall - 8 x 10 framed photos of family, friends, vacations, and all things that make me smile and give people an immediate sense of me.

I will do large square oil paintings with macro views of rock slab surfaces, ice up close, and water up close with a modern art vibe. 

I got so bold as to get a couple of really nice chairs from Goodwill ($7 each) and covered them with white fur for that touch of Scandinavia. 

As the house is in the hot desert, I find that icy colors are ideal to counter the heat and give me a sense of ice and water. The flooring is exposed to bare concrete right now, but will be covered in light pine or maple vinyl boards. 

I found a color I always dreamed of using in a master bathroom but worried it was too committed to bold. I found the paint

This happy Gecko Green seems quite brazen, but imagine it with bamboo spa touches and loads of plants hanging around the window? 

Above is my mock-up on Photoshop.

I'm a hardcore nature girl. I want to paint nature, I want to garden, I want to be outside more than inside. Bringing the things I adore about the outside in, makes my soul soar. I might even work a patio umbrella into my design and outdoor seating inside!

Sometimes it helps to imagine the kind of home that, up on entering, you would feel inspired. 

I'd love to go into a house that I could crash on the sofa, feet on the coffee table, sunlight and plants, happy upbeat colors, no clutter, just uniquely artist-style decorating. 

I say artist-inspired decorating because color is something artistic folks love to play with, as are unusual items used for different purposes like my lattice and vine backed computer desk. 

Lime and Coronas, Reggae music, eternal summer, smelling of coconut and ginger, as if you just arrived at an island resort in Bali. 

It doesn't even have to cost anything. 

I had a bunch of beach-related decor that was rather obnoxious and cluttery, but I turned my patio into a Baja Cantina and making it as cheesy as I can. I hung the decor on the wall of the patio. I will paint the wall a fun Papaya color. I took beach beer cans and made a windchime. I made a sign that points the way and miles to various beaches around the world. There, I get to be totally a quirky artist and someone who would like a hammock and jacuzzi there. 

I took some old wood I had laying around and made a long bench. I will paint the bottom decorative pieces bright orange and the legs yellow and then put foam on the boards with a Mexican looking striped fabric on it. Then, I will create a long table to go in front of the bench to set drinks on and food when barbecuing. 

In Phoenix we have nothing but blue sky and piercing sunlight. Utilizing bright colors indoors is really pleasant and I see why Mexican designs are often so beautifully colorful. Colors are dull outside and bleached out. Nothing seems to come across with real impact as it's washed out, sun-bleached, and particulates in the air make views less impactful. 

Some things to consider are - 

How do you use your house? (Work from home? Have parties? Children? A weekend refuge? Guests who stay over?)

Color palettes are usually based on a theme. Do you like autumn earthy tones? Perhaps you like neutrals with texture? Maybe you're a bright bold colors and patterns type? 

Are you traditional? Modern? Minimalist? A collector? Sentimental? Artistic? 

Are you a casual person? Do you want a home that is like a resort or like a grandparent's happy home of memories? Know yourself.

You may live in one place but dream of another. My entire design is based on simple elements from my childhood summer home on the Chesapeake - blue and white with pine-toned wood and tons of windows and light.

Start stalking pinterest and find lots of inspired ideas. You can borrow from others who have a good sense of details or color. You know what you like when you see it. 

I wish everyone good luck making sure your house becomes a home that represents your heart and soul, priorities, and loves. I promise to share my progress as it advances.