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Clearing the Clutter

I'm a clutter-hater. There, I said it. Nothing makes me as squeamish as an overloaded bookshelf with knick-knacks oozing out of every crevice. Why, oh why must we hoard? I also admit that I've been known to sell, donate, or dispose of items and regret it later. So is the life of a desperate wanna-be minimalist. Yes, I dream of minimalism, but I am realistic and know that it's not on the plate of every occupant of my household.

Some of you, however, have the dream but not the know-how. So, let me give you the first big step. You need to be able to either 1. break sentimental attachments to objects or 2. have a great storage space! A little of both goes a long way. Now, go into each room of your home and one at a time, put every decorative item in a place where you can review them. Every.single.one. Ready? Pick five. Your five favorites… the ones that you absolutely cannot live without. Put the rest in a box, no matter how much you love them- just do it. Now, put those five items on your shelves or your table. Oh my gosh, look at you, you little minimalist! You may pull out one or two items NEXT WEEK after you've had some time to decide if it is 1. too sparse or 2. depressing without your favorite ceramic cat (ouch). But, really take some time before pulling those trinkets out again.

I find it is good to repeat this action every six months or so.

Designing a Beach Home

As I mentioned in my post about Driftwood furniture, this is an easy area to fall overboard with (bad pun). With any "theme" in design, it is important to think abstractly and veer from the literal interpretation. A wonderfully designed "beachy" home, will rarely have seashell photo frames, anchors on the wall and sailboat murals.

I'm going to tell you a secret. Ready? The idea is to look at what these things have in common and pull from this. Now, this gets complex, but the gist of it is this… we want a "beachy" theme, so what does the beach make you think of? Stop saying "sand, shells, boats" and look more at texture, line, shape, color, harmony, and gradation. Every beach is a little different, of course, but think of YOUR beach, the one that you want to be reminded of every time you step through the door.

sandy beach, grass, driftwood

My beach is sandy, and littered with broken sea shellls. It has wispy grass and pebbles closer to the water line. The water is a grey-blue and the skies are clear. My beach is brimming with life. There are crabs under every rock and clams squirting me with every step. I have a place to play and a place to relax and enjoy the sun. Now, to interpret this: My beach has the following textures: grainy, rough wood, and smooth ripples. Lines are horizontal and long. Shapes are random and imperfect. Harmony and gradation may be seen in the blue, blue-green, and green-yellow colors. See where I'm going with this?

 

Okay, now everyone go to your favorite online store and pick one item for my beach house! Or, even better- describe your beach and then show me an item you've selected for it and explain why.

Passively Cooling Interior Spaces

hot desert

They're predicting a hot summer, and I'm planning on spending as much of it at spray parks with my kids as possible. But, during the working hours, I'm in my home office with no air conditioning, and I imagine many other Seattle area folks are in the same situation.

Have you ever noticed that your neighbor's house may seem cool, while yours is on fire? There are some simple things you can do to help air move through your space without going out and picking up that window a/c unit.

First, take a look at your surroundings. What direction is your home facing? Prevailing winds usually come from the southwest in the summer. We can create a wind tunnel by opening windows on the northeast and southwest of the home, allowing a breeze to move through. Opening all windows allows good air movement as well, of course but many people don't want to open all their windows due to noise, bugs, or dust.

Now, if we aim a fan out that southwest window, we've encouraged that air to move through and assisted our breeze.

So, now you know how to save pennies and energy while keeping cool. But, there are so many more tricks! Check out this articlefor great methods of keeping cool as well.

When all else fails, go get some ice cream at Zombiez and hit up the local pool!