Sunday Stewardship: Wrap Up Our Mini Version “The Beautiful Issue”

Sunday Stewardship: Wrap Up On Our Mini Version “The Beautiful Issue”

When a project is over and it’s time for us to leave, my deepest desire is for Clients to live more beautifully than the cameras record

It’s a funny thing to create a decorated space

We find a place for everything, set it just so…the stylists are brought in for the camera, the flowers are fresh the photographs are snapped

and then we leave

Does the client sit on the sofa?

Does the teen plop on their new comforter?

Vicuna Wool. Seriously Expensive Fabric…image linked.

Does the red wine & champagne flow?

I hope so

Decorated spaces, in my world, are meant to be lived in

Yesterday, I shared a quote I wrote for someone earlier this year:

“If I decorate or design a beautiful space and the Client is not FREE to enjoy it, it’s like going to the symphony and not being able to HEAR.”

Can you imagine going to the Symphony and saying “Oh, no thank you, it’s too beautiful for me to hear…I will put in my ear plugs and just look…”


The systems we create, the principles we decorate by are designed to make it easier when we leave. I literally designed these systems SO THAT when we leave the client really lives.

Systems & Principles, by nature, are designed to “catch” us when we falter

We build our homes as a place to live our life. I believe you are beautiful and should live that way. It isn’t a perfect process, we get messy, we forget to make the bed…stewardship is a gracious process.

I think it’s why I like designing these systems, because they live practical….they are made for actual people!

They remind me within my own heart to live beautiful

Stewarding “The Beautiful Issue”

It’s this weird place in the process of VALUING yourself enough to take care of your proverbial custom nest, “making your bed” while at the same time not worshiping the “stuff” because it cost so much. It’s letting the teen plop on the comforter when they need to talk and not yelling “noooooo”…..

THAT is the stewardship training that we are after

Decorating for LIVING life. It’s about way more than just making it magazine worthy.

It also circles back to one of my Decorating Principles: A great decorator equips

My job is not to just make it look pretty

My job is to help you live pretty

But in a way that I am “in – and then out” so you CAN




“The Beautiful Issue”

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

xo Ann

Frugal Friday: A Dining Room Story

Frugal Friday: A Dining Room Story

Have you ever felt like you had to TRADE one good thing for another?

You had to decide because life just wouldn’t afford you both?

I imagine – and I SEE – that even Clients who can buy and sell islands STILL make decisions based on cost

Able to afford your own island? Even so, we still need to make choices based on who we were really made to be – for what we are supposed to do while we are here…what a privilige. This? Richard Branson’s land…he makes choices each & every day in conjunction with WHO he is. Richard is true to who he was made to be…I want the same for YOU.

It rather warms my heart

In that vein, today I want to share a story from my own life

One where I had to trade option A for option B because I KNEW who I was and WHO I wanted to be

It’s one of those processes we WORK THROUGH at the beginning of every Client we work with, even if they buy and sell islands


The process is critical

We are always making choices whether we believe it or not

TV on? TV off? Radio on? Book? Sit? Stand?

And so this process of choosing intentionally vets us, helps us see who we really are – even if we get both in the end…

My Story

I love the Dining Room

This is so like my grandmother’s dining room, I just had to share it. Her table & buffet – along with two “window chairs” live with us now. It is the visual that helped shape who I am and who I wanted to be.

Always have

When we bought our little house years ago on a big lot it had no Dining Room

It had a view

It had potential

It had cracks & lots of things to fix

But it had no Dining Room

I love Dining Rooms

I don’t like to eat in the kitchen

All I could “see” was the future Dining Room

It mattered to me – it was one of those life things that was born & bred in my soul

I wanted my children to know how to dine – to tell stories at the table, to laugh at the table, to make decisions at the table, to learn at the table, to be accountable at the table, to cry if they needed at the table, to be SAFE at the table…

A Wine Cellar Dining Room from Arch Digest. Image Linked.

I DID NOT want them to swivel their way through a bar stool life….

So I put the Dining Room Table in the “Family Room” and made it a Dining Room…and set about planning a change, much to my dear husband’s chagrin

(he loves to swivel:)

The planning – the budgets – the eye rolls – contractors who told me I was foolish – framers who wondered what the “%$$” this room was….experts who told me I needed a Master Suite not a Dining Room for re-sale

It wasn’t easy

I don’t have a Master Suite – Option A

Bunny Williams has a Master Suite…so maybe someday I will too…for now that is ok! This image from Town And Country.

I traded it for a Dining Room – Option B

For who I am as a Wife & Mother, I’d rather have a Dining Room first…Image from Town And Country, Bunny Williams Dining Room

We could not afford both

At least not the WAY I wanted my Dining Room

And I love it

And we LIVE in it. It EVEN hosted our Clearance Sale last year…

And one son – home from college – looks to see if I’ve placed his Name Card…

of COURSE I had….it’s the Dining Room after all

Which napkins? Are the Holiday Dishes out? What will we talk about today?

What will we talk about today – away from the kitchen, away from the clatter & clutter, away from the couch…

The point is, a Dining Room isn’t for everyone

It was for me – and my family

What is it that is just for you? That will help you build your custom life?

 Guy Fieri LOVES his open concept kitchen

Guy Fieri lives in Sonoma County. His kitchen is open concept. Of course it is…it is WHO he is!

He is BLESSED because of it

Will you take the risk and really think about it?

Will you ignore the “What if ewwes, icks & gag comments”?

Try this sometime, have breakfast in the Dining Room on a weekday before school with the kids or before work with your spouse. Get up a little earlier, prepare a little more…drink orange juice from a pretty glass…use linen napkins. Open a book and read a devotion or kind word for the day over breakfast with them….

Special. You and they are special. Worth it. Custom.

And I want so much for you to “Live a custom life”™

Because there is “Only one you.”™

What is your room? What have you traded for it? Is it really you?

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

xo Ann

Wednesday Style Points: The Day After

Wednesday Style Points: The Day After

The presents are opened

The paper is shredded

The snow has fallen &…

I am tired!

Traditions are beautiful when we embrace them with our Heads and Hearts

But the day after sometimes our heart is disappointed & our joy is less than full


The Home was beautiful, the Tree perfect, the Meals divine…the music is still playing…

We bought into the process completely. We followed all the rules. We have access.

But something has gone wrong

The Birkin Bag is fabulous, yes, but why isn’t my life suddenly transformed?

A Pink Birkin Bag….simply gorgeous

Our homes are much the same way…we create these fabulous spaces & places

We custom design the fabrics, the furniture, the trim and they seem to come alive

These "fragments" are from the Plaza Hotel in NYC. I re-purposed them as mirrors heading downstairs to our family rumpus room. Divine. Makes me feel as if I am in NYC about to have tea!

The mirrors lining our stairwell are from the Plaza, removed when it converted to condos. I love them but they are not alive. No. It’s the PROCESS of the mirrors & their shared memory with those in our family that makes them so special.


The coffee still spills, the pie crust isn’t perfect even though it came out of a French Range…

Another photo from my own home where in the kitchen we have not one but two for baking and one for cooking. Again, beautiful? Yes. Alive? No.

From the kitchen where two ranges live. This one for cooking, the other for baking. Again, not alive…

Something has gone wrong


We buy the best hand bag or take the time for the most exquisite custom design, not because it will transform us

but because the process vets us – it reminds us of why we are alive & for whom we exist

It’s different for all of us – those data points on life

For me? They exist in my home + my work

The custom designing process or working towards the best available is about making what is in YOU come alive

Those style points that equip you to breathe deep in the chaos of the day after

You get a glimpse of a gift given or received that lifts you out of the ordinary

And reminds you that it’s ok

You are so much more than ordinary

Worth so much more than a Birkin Bag

Perfect? Never. Messy? Sometimes.

Worth it? Always.

Style Points. They are yours alone. Custom crafted into your soul, fingerprints really – of you.

I love the mess of the day after. I even love the mess of the “somethings gone wrong” void that comes with it.

It reminds me that living is process and the way we embrace the process is our style

May today be a day where your style points – your unique custom stamp – is a blessing to those around you – starting in your home

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

xo Ann