Big Style for Real Human Money

Vision vs. Reality …. That’s the always forever struggle of design. Really, that IS design.

And somewhere right in between that little “vs” is the ruler of ALL the decisions… BUDGET!!!

But (take this to the bank with the dollars you are saving for that new rug) Budget isn’t the enemy. Budget is your friend. Make one. Keep it. Mostly. Except when you splurge. NO! Don’t listen to the devil. Keep your budget. Honestly, limitations make design more fun.

Ok, enough of this Budget talk. Bleh. I’m getting hives. More Design!!!


Rule #1 – If you don’t have a VISION… the end result will probably suck.

Here’s some of my early, messy vision casting and dreaming in a collection of cut and pasted scraps of magazine and web printings.

I always start the design process by dreaming up what I want my room to FEEL like. Not sourcing stuff… just imagining the vibe… the era… the texture… the emotion I want to have in that space…

Is it crisp or soft? Simple? Layered? Calming? Exciting? Cool? Warm? Old? New? Twinkly? Rough? And, of course, the answer is always somewhere in the middle of a layered push and pull between opposing textures. But ultimately one vibe is going to win. What is it?


I have a very visceral approach to design. I feel my way toward an outcome that is a push and pull between design styles and I can feel when it’s right.

((Usually my Feels are very spendy… and then I have to remind them that we’re on the Home Depot budget, mkaaaay?! Mkay, Feels?!))

Here’s a little truth that should make you feel brave with design…. The design of a room is not about the stuff you put in it. Ultimately, it is about how that stuff makes you feel. You can create a million dollar home that looks like a poor man’s cottage! It’s not about dollars. It’s all about taste and preference.

Ok… Got it?!… Feels.

All the feels.

NOW… Start to dream up a mega, epic, pie in the sky, money is no option vision for what the room could LOOK like. I start spying out finishes and fixtures and colors. They are all out of my price range. Without fail.

THEN… I start to translate down… down to the land of affordability. Do not get carried away. Do not pass GO and spend the dollars on the Dream Thing. There is a cheaper option. Always.

Rule #2 – If you don’t have a BUDGET… the end result will never become a reality.

Example… here’s a bathroom sconce that I LOVED from Hudson Valley Lighting. Aaaaaand, they are like $1000 each. Times two. Um no.

Then I found this guy from Home Depot. That’s what I got.

(When I bought them they were $64 each. The price has since climbed up higher… to about $100 each… don’t ask me how this works. #internet #oil #whatevereconomics) 


Yeah. I’m pretty excited.

And this….


HOLLLAAAAA!!!!!! This is my bathroom floor tile. Uh. Mah. Guh.

For a minute I thought to myself, “Anything with that much style will look dated after a while” and then I thought, “I don’t even care. There is so much love here.”

And by “a minute” I mean I agonized over this choice before I ordered it for approximately One Million Years.

But now that it’s here I know there will be ZERO Ragrats. 😉

P.S. – This tile was all of $4.00 a square foot!!!!! I mean!!!!! That is a LOT of style for $4 a square foot. Still, $4.00 a square foot is more on the spendy side of our budget, so I used budget to guide design choices… Caaaause, I wanted to put it ALL OVER my kitchen. But instead I opted for the smaller bathroom space because of cost. See how that works?!


Design is so fun.

Ok bye!




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