Frugal Friday: Decorating Principle Systems, Dealing With Order

Frugal Friday: Decorating Principle Systems, Dealing With Order

What does Order have to do with Decorating Principles?

Let me walk you through the next step we use in our Full Service Client systems

Remember: Decorating Principle # 1:

Decorate with no more than seven years in mind

Yesterday we tackled 1) safety

If you are not safe….we cannot decorate the issues away

We address your Physical + Emotional + Spiritual Safety™

Now that we’ve identified measures to protect that safety, we move on to


Tomorrow, we will tackle 3) Beauty

Why ORDER though?

Because if we skip to beauty and just make the space look great for the camera (this is the way it’s been done over & over for years) but don’t address simple things like:

How many shoes do you REALLY have and where will they go?

Whatever you think of Christina, the girl knew how to have a shoe closet! This image from her last house. Image linked.

How many purses do you REALLY have and where will they go?

Prada…another weakness of mine…

Are you messy?

If so, can we come up with simple order systems to help you keep a tighter reign on your tendencies going forward?

Are you a hopeless messy? Then how do we decorate with order to keep a girl from messing up a beautiful new space?!

I love The Container Store…my annual Client budget for this vendor alone warrants a hand written card from some higher up….that said, decorating is more than just picking out systems…it’s using systems that actually WORK for a CUSTOM YOU!….

There ARE ways, but we need to find them just for you….that whole “Live a custom life” thing I teach over & over 🙂

Are you a Professional Athlete & every time you come home you need space to drop shoes….as in 7 pairs of shoes in size 15 that won’t mess your garage or back entry off the garage? Do they need to be in a place your wife doesn’t trip over them?!

Cleats for the 49ers from 2012. Try to create a system to store shoes that does NOT look like a locker room…order…it matters!


For the next 7 years what does ORDER look like in YOUR HOME?

Kids? Order looks a lot different than it does for Singles

This image from Traci Zeller Designs. I love how she makes practical use of space and interprets the locker room concept without making it too literal…It’s lovely! Image Linked.

Guest hosting an exchange student? Order looks a lot different than decorating for a new baby

The point is, simple things like this make HUGE differences in Practical Decorating for you

I may want to use a nightstand with no drawer in my Master Suite because I like how it looks, but since I read 15 books at a time and stack them bedside, that is not an option

I have always wanted to use a table like this as a nightstand. How fabulous. Problem for me? Stuff. No room for my stuff…Image linked. Snow Table by AA Studio.

At least it’s not an option if I want to walk into a beautiful space at the end of the day that doesn’t have piles of books I trip over because they fall OFF my pretty but no storage nightstand…

This is a far more practical option. I can hide books! Image linked.

I know many people think I may be nuts with all my Decorating Systems, all these questions, all these processes…but here’s the rub…

Have you ever finished decorating a space & it looked beautiful but it didn’t LIVE beautiful for YOU?

Many people think they love this look…until they live with it. I personally don’t mind shabby slip covers, they remind me of a fabulous English home. Some clients don’t LIVE the daily tuck it in, straighten it out…Image from House Beautiful

Have you ever finished decorating a room & everyone said “wow” but inside you thought “yeech”…& then you had to live with it because you were $10,000 – even $200,000 into it?

Inside of Versailles. Do you ever think someone along the process here thought…uh oh…not sure this is working ;)?! Maybe we should scale back on the gold just a bit?…I mean I LOVE Gold, even did a post on how I love gold, but this = too much

Have you ever decorated a space & thought “if I did it over, I’d do this differently…”

There is nothing frugal about that

No systems = poor planning + waste + poor purchases = yeech & sad face

Ever done that?

I have created these Systems for short term, long term, near term & far term

I literally have binders of systems in the Studio

Many of my seminars teach other decorators how to use my systems

I created them to make my life EASIER

I love this quote. We can layer pieces of life to make it “thicker” but at it’s core…there is beautiful simplicity underneath. I create systems to get to that CORE…it delights me & hopefully blesses you

So my employees + Team could (can) walk alongside Clients with success

So we could (can) wade in shallow waters & dive in deep if needed

It’s my inner nerd, hiding behind a fabulous pair of designer boots!

Robert Clergerie Hut Patent Ankle Boot. Image linked.

Point is if we honestly address these things, what are our REAL needs for ORDER over the next 7 years, then we can make practical (frugal) decisions & purchases

Think about these things…let me know what comes to mind!

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

xo Ann

Thursday Spotlight: Practical Applications, How To Make Couture Chateau Decorating Principles Work In Real Life!

Thursday Spotlight: Practical Applications, How To Make Couture Chateau Decorating Principles Work In Real Life

So you have a Decorating Principle in front of you

Seems logical

Let’s start with # 1:

Decorate with no more than 7 years in mind

I mean, Decorate for 7 years…good idea

Now what?!

Safety + Order + Beauty™

(Yes, another one of my Trademarked Processes)

I mean, how do I make this practical?

Three things, in this order:

1. Safety

2. Order

3. Beauty

It’s the SPOTLIGHT we put on every PRINCIPLE when working with Full Service Clients in that order

 #1 = Safety

Addressing safety, especially emotional & spiritual safety in decorating provides hedges. Pleasant boundaries that make a house a HOME. They can be many things to many people. The point is, if we address them, we can manage them & decorate a space to deal with them…

Therefore, we address every component of SAFETY in their life with respect to the PRINCIPLE at hand

Example: For the next 7 years….what do I need to do to be safe

Physically + Emotionally + Spiritually

What does YOUR safety look like in each of those areas?

Setting up residence overseas? Happen to be a diplomat? Physical safety is a component of our Design. Spiritual as well – there may be things we need to be cognizant of if someone is in and around volatile religious situations

Diplomatic Residence in London est 2017. Image linked.

Young kids? Infants? Safety can be about latches, locks & electrical outlets AND buttons on tufted sofas…..

Safety is simply not something we should overlook!

Troubled child moving home? Safety can mean no bar in the guest house & a video camera at the end of the property. It can also mean simple clean and calming interior spaces that are designed to heal…the right colors, textures…

I love this space by Mary McDonald. But I probably wouldn’t translate this boldness into a space for someone who is struggling…and those are conversations best had at the outset of a Decorating job. Trust me. You’d be surprised at how much we can fool ourselves into thinking…”oh, that would be fine…my son is coming back from rehab, but I don’t think it matters what the front room looks like…” Ummm, yes, it does!

Safety can mean many things – and you’d be surprised how many detials get overlooked when you don’t address these things

Remember, I created these Decorating Principles to equip me to best serve my Clients

With years of working alongside many different types of Clients in many different situations, I noticed that the Diplomat & Stay At Home Suburban Mother had more in common when it came to the PROCESS of finding the right Decor than first glance

Universal + Customizable

The process we use is the same for both = Universal

The outcome or answers are different = Custom

I love sharing these – my hope is that they will bless you!

Tomorrow? Step 2 in this process (Frugal) Order…

Hang on – this is going to be a fun walk thru with our Decorating Principles!!

And once we get through the top 10, I will let you know how we will make the other 20 available to you



Shine it & LIVE!

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

xo Ann

Wednesday Style Points: Couture Chateau Decorating Principle # 8

Wednesday Style Points: Couture Chateau Decorating Principle # 8

Couture Chateau Decorating Principle # 8:

Great Decorating EQUIPS Living, it doesn’t ECLIPSE Living

Equip: /iˈkwip/

A verb: To supply with the necessary items for a particular purpose

I thought this was a fun quote. We are equipped to do things. YOU are equipped to help me do what I cannot or choose not & I am equipped to do the same for you!

I happen to think that’s my job as a Decorator

To supply YOU with the necessary items



My Seminars are in small groups so people can learn together! We will share 2013 dates soon.


It looks so easy doesn’t it…just try it! I always counsel nervous clients to try and then call me…seems to work ;)! This image from The Skirted Roundtable with Alexa Hampton



Not to worry – I’ll be here when the phone rings…& will gratefully, graciously walk along side…


We use Studio Webware to make sure Client’s jobs run smoothly

The Right Sofa

There is a look for everyone. We just need to find yours! Versace here…for which I have a weakness…a terrible terrible weakness…. Would this work in my real life today? No, but I can interpret elements and make them relevant


Follow up

For a Particular Purpose

For You to Live a Custom Life!



A verb: To obscure the light from or to

How sad would it be if you hired a Decorator and they left ‘you’ out of the space…when all you saw was “them” after they were finished…

I don’t want my Decorating to eclipse YOU

It should EQUIP (enhance…)

Style Points

YOU have them

I have them

Great Decorating is simply a transfer of gifts that equip

Love this principle

You know what I’m talking about if you think about it

In Fashion, it’s the person who wears head to toe Burberry because it’s Burberry

In Theater, it’s when you remember the set and not the play

Design IS a process…there is nothing static about it. The Decorator who wants to create a static place is staging for a photograph, not decorating for a life…..I want to decorate for life…

Tomorrow we are going to spotlight the PROCESS we use to PRACTICALLY APPLY our Decorating Principles…

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

xo Ann