Monday Matters: Another Holiday, More Themed Design Stuff…oy…

Monday Matters: Another Holiday, More Themed Design Stuff…oy

Don’t get me wrong, I love Washington…George that is….

And I am grateful for a day hidden with family & close friends

& yes…a bit of work…

but the THEME thing can wear on me from a design standpoint

I love kitsch – as anyone who has visited our cabin can attest

the “boot room” is literally engulfed in kitsch

I also happen to have a couture design habit & may have reached my limit for this month’s themed design

What about you?

Do any of you decorate for Washington’s B Day?

Do any of you still have Valentine’s Day stuff out or has it switched to St Patrick’s Day?

Or are we already on to Easter & other Judeo-Christian Traditions?


I always make sure we have enough white linen, white canvas, white anything….on hand to slip cover anything & everything the client may want covered. It is just one of those “things” I grew up with. Summer slip covers – a lost tradition that is actually pretty practical from a design & decorating standpoint!

From a business end – it IS Monday Matters after all, we are focused on the Summer Slip Cover Switch Out for long term full service clients…

We often make the switch for clients on everything from main sofas to casual dining chairs. This image from Victoria Peterson’s Blog. Image linked. I just liked the vignette. Casual Nantucket to me…

From a personal business end – I am still stuck on those striped walls for the guest room in the cabin!

Wider stripes from Tobi Fairley!

Monday Matters

Too much on the brain 🙂

Time for a Washington B Day Cupcake!!

Maybe I will get some striped wall inspiration from a themed cupcake…humm…

“Live a custom life. There is only one you.”

xo Ann

Monday Matters: Getting My Desk Aligned With My Heart So I Can Design With Clarity

Monday Matters: Getting My Desk Aligned With My Heart So I Can Design With Clarity

Monday morning. Ahhh….

I do love my city by the bay. As wacky as it can get…there is still beauty rising each morning. A hope for the new day.

Oopps…lots of things that didn’t get done around the house this weekend

Lots of small things that were left behind on the desk

Working on the Webinar…If you haven’t seen our Video, make sure to watch it HERE

Monday matters.

Good coffee helps – and since you know me, so do good shoes!!!

I know when the over the knee boots come out, it means business! I dragged my favorite pair to Arkansas last week for Mastermind & they always make me feel more empowered. Silly but true. 🙂

What is on the docket for your week?

What is on the list for your home?

Are you buying some fun Valentine things to set the table with?

So simple & fun, especially with kids around. Image linked.

Cards to those near & far who need to know you love them?

Me? A bit of travel, Tahoe & elsewhere to meet some clients

I love the drive. About 3 hours – a great cup of coffee & lots of thinking time when my cell reception goes out. Any project in Lake Tahoe is inspiring to me.

A bit of this & a bit of that

I need to clear my desk, make sure it aligns with what my heart is telling me about our venture outside these four safe studio walls….& designing with clarity these Systems so they make life EASIER! Not burdens or rules or regulations, but adaptable, scalable customizable systems that set you free.


It’s the good stuff.

Because we are here.

“Live a custom life. There is only one you.”

xo Ann


THANK YOU to ALL who have contacted me or commented on this phase of  my business. Overwhelmed with joy & marvel at the abundance of blessing. We are testing one of our first webinars with a small live group at the end of Feburary & will have systems available in March/April.

I am so excited about the clarity of mission here:

To equip you in an overwhelmed world

To embrace the custom you & be intentional about how you DESIGN YOUR LIFE

So you may steward the opportunities around you & find your calling in the clearing…

If you haven’t emailed us to let us know you want to be on our mailing list, do so. I am working to be FEARLESS, so can you. It’s the word for 2013.


Monday Matters: Planning For A Week of Master Mind

Monday Matters: Planning For A Week Of Master Mind

As many of you know, I get together every quarter with a fabulous group of Designers in Little Rock, Arkansas

I am part of Tobi Fairley’s Master Mind program and it has changed HOW I run the business of my Design Business

I believe this PASSIONATELY about our spaces…also true with PEOPLE…

The simplicity of Tobi’s program spoke to me: It’s about the business of Interior Design. I grew up with an archaic drilling that inherited wealth was ok, but to earn it? omg…how gauche…PROBLEM: If I don’t earn from a well run business, then my business closes. No jobs for those I delight to work with & the gifts & talents I have been given to steward in this area simply die. Hard lesson for me. Money was simply never discussed in “polite company”….

Ummm….times have changed….

LOVE this. Pick wisely. You matter enough to do so.

That has been a hard lesson to get into my soul. I think it’s why I laugh SO HARD when watching Downton Abbey. “What’s next…the London stage?”… will never know how much I relate…

I see this so much with my Clients & is WHY I am so passionate about these upcoming Webinars. I want so much to INVOLVE for Understanding so your life is EASIER. Design Systems Simplified!

In my heart I knew it was right to join this group of fabulous women. But it was a risk…I mean, there were (are) those I know who eye roll as a daily habit…oh well…

Says it all.

So this Monday matters.

I look forward to a week of:





Designer Stuff!

It will also be a great hiatus from our Webinar production that has been on the front burner these past two weeks.

DO let us know if you’d like to be one of our limited live Webinar Testers. Send an email to This is a product which will contain an Introduction Module + 6 Additional modules and will have a price tag well into the thousands…if you’d like to be on our short list of test participants, you will receive some of the material for free! We are scheduled to start testing the last week in February. Limited number of spots available so be fearless and email me!

Monday Matters & so do YOU!

“Live a custom life. There is only one you.”™

xo Ann

Monday Matters: A New Week, Fresh Starts At Home & In Design Office

Monday Matters: A New Week, Fresh Starts At Home & In Design Office

I love Monday mornings. I get a new start at home and in the office.

This week we are re-recording Part 1 of our Seminar (professionally) so I am supposed to practice, practice, practice

I love this quote, but I need to LEARN it. One of my “fresh starts” for 2013 is to get back in the pool. 4 years ago I broke my foot badly, surgery…the whole 9 yards. I couldn’t swim, but now I can and I am not…but I NEED to…This reminds me the broken foot was a COMMA not a PERIOD. Just like our Seminar, when the recording of the Live Day didn’t translate I wondered…was that a comma or a period? Without practice I MAKE it a period. By stepping out of fear (remember 2013 = Fearlessness) and trying…I MAKE it a comma…..

Am supposed to have the right equipment at the ready, my seminar notes, my make up on & the white board clean

I love my white boards, pin boards & mirrors, but they are NEVER tidy. Today, I wipe & tidy so we can move forward with recording this week.


Anyone who knows me, knows my white boards are NEVER clean. Ideas, drawings, clients…all over ALL the boards.

I love to talk & teach, but practice? Not my strongest gift…;)…so I am learning

What is it that you need to practice this week?

I know this….but I still fight against the rush of the “new”…so I learn this every day. This week, I practice the Seminar so I can teach it via video & webinar. I LOVE teaching a live small group in person. The interaction, the insight, the live “aha moments” = pure delight. But I know in my heart we need to get this outside the ordered safe walls of my Studio. And so I practice for you & set aside my fear of “what if” and failure. What do you need to set aside this week?

Monday Matters

& so do you!

“Live a custom life. There is only one you.”™

xo Ann

Monday Matters: Thinking, Planning, Learning & Some Fresh Air On This Holiday Monday

Monday Matters: Thinking, Planning, Learning & Some Fresh Air On This Holiday Monday

Getting some much needed catch up work done

Thinking time

Planning time

We know from this month's House Beautiful that Hermes Orange and Tiffany Blue are all the rage, but how do we incorporate that when we can not or choose not to spend $$$$ on Custom Decorating? In this Seminar we FOCUS and EDIT from the get go. We start by establishing a Color Palate for YOU. A Custom Color Palate for a singular space that will be your jumping off point. We "eat the elephant" one bite at a time!!

I need time to sit and plan…

Learning time

I am always reading books about how to improve. I want so much to go back this next week and review my dog eared copy of this book. It’s simply a must read, even if you don’t have your own business.

And some fresh air

As January hit like a freight train around here, I am using the time to get some fresh air & clear my head so we can bring our best for the rest of the year. We are looking at the schedule and wanting so much to make Chats (our 2 hour Verbal Consults) and VIP Days (our 1 Day Package) available to as many as possible….

CC_MoragaPorchDetail2xF (1) (1)

I love doing Chats & VIP Days but we can only do so many a month. I like being hands on and present at these, not handing them off to one of my Assistants. I am clearing some decks so we can do a few more. 🙂

May today be a blessed day for you and yours

“Live a custom life. There is only one you.”™

xo Ann

Monday Matters: Getting Through The Week With Patience Not Panic

Monday Matters: Getting Through The Week With Patience Not Panic

Designing a space or Decorating a room requires Patience

I like this image. Great Design requires patience as well.

So does getting through a busy week of work

I have these column fragments clustered together in the living room. At different times of the year they serve as candle holders, book ends, stocking hangers or tray holders on a buffet table! Talk about custom life...;)

These columns remind me daily of how patience pays off. Gorgeous Patina comes from years of use…

Sometimes we get so excited about a new project

or product

that we rush

or skip entirely required steps

not building a solid foundation

You know the analogy – building your house on the sand instead of the rock…

Building on a rock means so much more than this…it means we do the work we need to do even when we don’t want to do it. I have the privilege of reading The Four Hour Work Week right now. There are delightful nuggets in the book to be sure, HOWEVER, real life is more than just being “happy”. There is beauty that comes from walking through the process & being edified

As we look at the week ahead, what do YOU need to patiently address?

In your Home? In your Work? With your Family?

Will you panic?

This makes me laugh out loud! My nature? This. Why do you think I reset each week on Monday & insist that the entire Studio does with me? Because my nature must be molded into something far more productive & beautiful

Or calmly address the situation

Two proverbs I keep close at hand: “Calmness can lay great errors to rest” and “Do not leave your post in times of trouble”

An example from our Studio

We have been cleaning & organizing, reducing & reusing

Now? Monday Morning a pile of papers that MUST be shredded awaits

I could panic

The piles are huge

There is DESIGN WORK do be done besides shredding

I LOVE Design Work. Designing Lives, Houses, Product….all of it…but I am made better by deadlines, borders, parameters…they hone my skills & bring me back into the practical application of daily living. I am blessed by them. It is why I embrace the pain of this so called drudge work.

Or I could patiently set out the three shredders, make that great coffee, put on some music & hand everyone in the office a stack of stuff to get through

Is it glamourous?


Is it necessary?


So some of Luxury Design Work = drudge


What do I do to lift myself & those around me while we tackle this task?

Am GRATEFUL we have the Clients to generate things to shred

I am grateful.

Am GRATEFUL we have the Work that generates things to shred

Gratitude can be learned. Just like anything. Trust me. If I can learn to keep a tidy desk….ANYTHING can be learned ;)!!

What is your Monday Matters?

What is your drudge for the week?

Can you lift it out of the ordinary?

How so?

With an attitude of gratitude? A dash of music? Some great fresh coffee?

Sometimes life isn’t all that glamorous, but it still DESERVES to be lived


Life should be lived well

I like this. I had to learn this. My nature is to be invisible so I don’t do, ask or move forward. I used to think that was the right way to be. To essentially disappear….so as not to bother anyone with me…. I now know you can DO with KINDNESS, ASK with GRACIOUSNESS & MOVE FORWARD with JOY. Is this something anyone else has to learn? It is daily for me. It is one of the reasons I write the blog…….hopefully a kind, gracious & joyful blog…

So we are off to do the things we SHOULD because it’s the right thing to do

Louboutins? What do those shoes have to do with Monday Matters?!

Hello Monday cheerfulness!

Great for shredding. I mean, a girl can sit down & shred in style, can’t she?!

Monday Matters & so do YOU!

“Live a custom life. There is only one you.”™

xo Ann

Monday Matters: Back To Work For 2013 Fearless (well, one day at a time at least ;)!

Monday Matters: Back To Work For 2013

My Word of the Year: FEARLESS

(well, one day at a time at least ;)!

I can tell you my list of regrets is a mile long. I have never regretted TRYING however.

Back to work, back to the Studio

I am excited about 2013

Really trying to focus on the great

As such, I was challenged by Tobi Fairley to come up with a Word of the Year

I thought, ok, I will try it

The list of words was long in my head:


I like the term fruitful. This quote resonated with me because it drives home the principle that even our errors can manifest into blessings. It’s as if no part of life is wasted.








even Urgent came across my brain as I sense an urgency to make sure we get the Couture Chateau Vision out there – beyond these four walls & our few faithful readers, clients + friends

My inspiration came from yellow flowers in my blue kitchen sink (behind) & red cake was one of those mornings when the aha moment came!

One of my kitchen sinks is mosaic tile made from crushed china. I love the imagery because it reminds me daily of why I founded Couture Chateau. It is a passion to share + encourage + equip custom lives. I have tried to not do this and my soul dies a bit if I stop…it is who I am. We must journey who we really are.

but there was only one word that met my head + heart together


I love this. It allows for the process of growth. I have been afraid…I will try to be fearless this year…I will try to LEAD fearless this year

Monday Matters: Back to Work Fearless

I will tackle this with you all year here & there. We will figure it out together, what it really means.

What is your word of the year?

Monday Matters. It set’s the tone for the week. Maybe even the year!

I’d love to know. We walk this custom journey together…

“Live a custom life. There is only one you.”™

xo Ann

Monday Matters: Making the Most of Gifts Given, My Mastermind Journey with Tobi Fairley

Monday Matters: Making the Most of Gifts Given, My Mastermind Journey with Tobi Fairley

As many of you know our Monday Matters Posts are all about getting ready for the week

Every Monday = Reset. This Monday? Reset for 2013!

Today is the start of a new day, a new week & tomorrow a New Year.

We have HOPE

Hope to build our Custom Lives & Homes a little better than yesterday for ourselves and those we love

Take a minute or 13 😉 and watch this Video to learn a little bit more about my journey in the business end of Interior Design.

I have been at this a long time. I am a Designer, not a business whiz. I can see an entire Estate in 3-d down to the detail of the custom trim & lining in one specific room in my head before it’s built – when it is a pile of dirt.

I cannot create a spreadsheet. I cannot find the receipt.

Providential Grace has always provided people to create the spreadsheets + find my receipts, but…….

After 20+ years “behind the gate” with Couture Chateau (read here for my vision), I shared my soul’s vision with someone I could trust so that we could grow, so that we could make enough money to share our soul’s vision with the world outside those gates.

I am grateful for this group & the risks “I”, as Ann McDonald (read here for my history) & “We”, as Couture Chateau have taken as a part of it.

Tobi, understands the world I live + work in. She articulates in her interview that world.

You will find me at about 9:18

If you want to join us next year, tell Tobi you heard it from Ann McDonald, Founder of Couture Chateau. That “custom life” lady….

I would be grateful to know this little blog with a big heart made a difference…that someone out there was reading & ready to take the same risks…

I HOPE that 2013 is a year you really live. A custom life. That you engage your soul’s calling and dwell with passion and intent to bless yourself + those around you.

I value you

I value what you do and who you are

Monday Matters: a new day + a new week + new year = hope.

“Live a custom life. There is only one you.”™

xo Ann

Monday Matters: December 10th & Counting…is your Decor Done?

Monday Matters: December 10th and Counting…is your Decor Done?

Just to put you at ease

We just decorated our Christmas Tree at the Cabin

White Resin Antler Ornaments

Yes, A Designer waited until December 8th & 9th to pull out the ornaments…

This year I collected over 30 wood ornaments for the cabin tree. Combined with antlers, ribbon & some simple plaid globes…a very Custom Cabin Christmas Tree

I like to take the time IN December to put the music on and make Holiday Merry in our Cabin in the woods

One of the things clients and friends ask often

“How many days should I spend Decorating?”

Have you ever wanted someone to just pull out the buzzer and say “game over” on the Decorating?

I have

So years ago, I came up with some very simple rules of thumb

# Days on Holiday Decorating = Per Thousand Square Feet

3 Days = 3,000 Square Feet

Any more and it might be time to watch Danny DeVito in some Christmas Movies for some perspective…

From Deck the Halls

So this weekend, we spent 2 days decking our cabin out for the Holiday

When we have Christmas Parties, ok…I confess…I will spend a solid 4 days & corral some help

But that is still within our guidelines (almost;)

Give yourself permission to put the ribbon down & enjoy the fruit of your labor!

This reasonable timeline has helped me enjoy the process for years

You and I are creating our custom holiday homes

So as this “Power Week” (what I refer to the second full week in December) rolls in

Rachel Ray’s Egg Nog. Image Linked.

(Parties, Luncheons, Drinks with friends, Office Parties, Cards to mail, Presents to buy….)

Remember that rule of thumb

Monday Matters: Ready for a productive week?


Every Claus needs cute boots!

Be sure to check our Holiday Help Page. You will find this and other tips from Designer Friends all week!

“Live a custom life. There is only one you.”™

xo Ann

Monday Matters: December Lists, Friend or Foe?!

Monday Matters: Your December Lists, Friend or Foe?!


Ok, I feel better

So it’s Monday, December 3rd & I already feel behind

Is that possible?

Precisely WHY we made our Holiday Help Page!!

Because WE need it 🙂

How’s your Calendar Shaping Up for the next 29 Days

Do you ever feel like there aren’t enough minutes?

Truth? There aren’t…but if we take care of the big matters first (the walnuts in our life) then all the little things will fit (the popcorn, sand & water)

Monday Matters: What are the 5 Most Important “Matters” for You & Yours this month?

Fill in the blanks:






Make room for them. The rest will follow.

At Couture Chateau?

1. Holiday Help Page

From Gallery of Nostalgia, one of my all time favorite images. Not sure just speaks to me...

From Gallery of Nostalgia, one of my all time favorite images. Not sure why…it just speaks to me…

2. Current Clients

3. Features for Design Sites

4. Editorial Calendar for 2013

5. Budgets

What do I (& everyone else) want to do?

Play with all the Holiday Decor, chat custom, make Christmas Cookies to put on the conference table, troll pinterest for amazing ideas, talk custom wrapping…basically we want to “play design”

Gorgeous New Fabrics this season...I just want to play & design stuff around these beauties...

Gorgeous New Fabrics this season…I just want to play & design stuff around these beauties…

Problem is, if we don’t do what matters first, we will never get to the other stuff

(this does NOT come easily to me, I like the rush of a deadline & a bit of flurry)

so…on goes the Holiday Music, out comes the Inspiration Quote & we get to work

It’s Monday Morning!

Have a fantastic day! Pour a great cup of coffee or tea – put it in a fabulous cup & we will be back tomorrow with a Tuesday Tidbit & Holiday Help Page with Links.

“Live a custom life. There is only one you.”™

xo Ann