recycled materials

Design for Good

white marble side table with social justice book

A good friend of mine shared the Design Justice Network Principles with me and they really resonated with how I try to design. 

I've been really struggling with what is happening in our country and how we as a nation believe that we do not have to be held to the same standards of human rights as the rest of the world. It hurts my heart. 

I know there have been so many action items posted on social media and I'm not going to add another action item to your list, instead I'm going to ask that we live our lives in a way that reflect our beliefs. 

Design Justice states first-

We use design to sustain, heal, and empower our communities, as well as to seek liberation from exploitative and oppressive systems.

We have a lot of power in the the decisions we make and we can use our money to support our community. Every time we buy something we are sending our money and energy to the maker/seller of that product. 

I freely admit that there are times I would love to spend my money in a way that sustains, heals and empowers my community, but I've got a tight budget. Sometimes I save up for the thing I want and in some cases I buy what I need even if it is at a big box store. Yet, I do try to buy local and buy handmade. My local shop owners know me because I visit them often. They also know when I'm on a budget because they don't see me! There is something delightful about knowing the people in my community and using my money to support them. 

This last weekend I was in Charlotte, North Carolina visiting a client and making some final tweaks to the design plan. We went to a local wood shop and learned about their story and their history and how they came to build furniture. We were able to customize the furniture we needed and I left that shop feeling great about, not just the design, but how my clients and I made a decision to support the community. FYI if you are in Charlotte I highly suggest Brown Dog Wood Co. We also went to a few antique shops and picked up some wonderful unique pieces for their home. 

Full confession we went to Lowe's to buy patio furniture. Partly for convenience and partly because of budget constraints. 

It's about balance. When you can shop local to support your community, shop vintage to support the environment and shop handmade to support makers. Yet, if there is something you need, sometimes you just need to go to target. 

I lied, I am going to add something to your to do list. In the next week stop in that little shop in your neighborhood that you've never been in. Who knows what you will find. 

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Create a Cohesive Design

Last week I talked about finding my style and setting a budget and now I'm talking about cohesion in your home. I had a great question from a podcast listener about creating a cohesive interior design style and that episode made me want to really hone in on how rooms flowed in my home. 

First, let's talk about design mistakes. FYI, even interior designers make them. At some point I knew I wanted to add color to my house and so I bought these amazing orange La Marie chairs by Philippe Starck. I love these chairs, but they are the wrong orange. I'm a rust orange type of girl.


You can also see a peek at the bright green carpet squares under the dining room table. Lesson learned was I am not really into bright colors. I want my colors dark, moody and super muted. Also, if you have a love for modern design, you too can own these chairs, because I've listed them for sale! 

Really taking a look at my style and picking my core colors made me see not only what needed to be added to my home, but what needed to be taken away. 

Pink and green are the core colors in my home, but that leaves some wiggle room for other colors. For example, I already own a rust orange vintage theater chair. I'm keeping it. I also own a blue/green French Victorian chair. These two are kind of tucked into a corner so they can stay.


Mixed into my rug is burgundy and green, which works with the pink and green that I've got going on. The burgundy also helps tie into my bedroom, which has burgundy and blue/green in it. 


OMG there is so much going on! Let me take a step back. The living room and dining room have a neutral base of grey. The walls are grey, the furniture is either white, wood or grey and everything is chill. From that you can start layering on colors and styles. 

To add cohesion does not mean that I am adding swaths of pink and green all over the house. Instead, I'm going to add hints of it. Touches of it to lead your eye from room to room. My office is already painted black and pink. It's more of a copper pink along the top 1/3 of the wall. From that room you see into the living room, which will have pink curtains and some pink accents in the pillows. The living room opens to the dining room, which has some pink in the artwork in the gallery wall. Tucked into the corner from the dining room is a hallway that leads into the bathroom and will have pink and green wallpaper. Standing from that hallway and looking into the dining room and then living room you see a blue/green chair and the green fireplace. 

I've also grounded my dining room with hints of black. The artwork is framed in black, the curtain rods are black and I'm adding a black light. That way I can add color and it won't feel excessive. 

Hints of it lead from room to room. Another way to create cohesion is through design style. My primary style is mid-century modern and my secondary style is French Victorian. There is mid-century modern and French Victorian furniture in each room. 

The other thing that is a constant in each room are plants! Yes, plants are a way to add some warmth and Oxygen to your home and also create design cohesion. 

Now that I know what the plan is I have a list of things I want in order to round out my home. 

  • Wallpaper for the hallway
  • Shelves in the hallway
  • Paint the fireplace
  • Make pink curtains
  • Black light for over art in the dining room
  • Items for the workbench (it's a little sparse on styling)
  • Dining Room Rug
  • Dining Room Chair
  • Pillows for the couch

My first search is actually my house. I already had the fabric to make the curtains and I swapped around some pillows from the living room and office that totally worked. I usually try to look to Etsy for lighting, but I couldn't quite find what I was looking for and actually ended up finding a light at Urban Outfitters. I hit up some vintage stores and found a fabulous candle for the workbench. Target released their Opalhouse line and the removable wallpaper selection was crazy amazing. I'm going to buy some reclaimed wood and make shelves for in the hallway. Then I can finally take my books out of the linen closet! 

I'm still looking for dining room chairs. I have the perfect chair in mind, but because I don't like to buy knockoffs, I'm either going to have to save up or find another option. For right now, I'm going to wait on this one. 

My budget often dictates my choices. I try to buy handmade and local, but sometimes I don't find exactly what I want or I do and I can't afford it. Sometimes you just need to go to Target and get your wallpaper! 

We'll see how this all works out. 


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