Friday, June 12, 2015

Junk Drawer No More

Everyone has a junk drawer. Even me.

And every time I open it to find something, I can't. And I every time I rummage through, it gets worse. And in the end, I wind up removing it from its track, dumping it's contents out on a table, and after realizing that what I was looking for was in another drawer, I organize it.

Understandably, keeping things neat in the first place saves time and frustration and in at least one case, a broken nail on my way to an event.

So, you ask, if the organizer can't even keep it neat, what chance do I have? Point taken. So let's agree to clean it up right here, right now. What should we tackle first? Let's take care of that...

Office Supply Drawer

  • Clear a work surface.
  • Gather small containers, preferably straight sided, and sandwich sized plastic ziplock bags.
  • Remove drawer from its track.
  • Remove contents onto worktop.
  • Dust or wash out drawer. Make repairs if necessary. Set aside.
  • Sort items into categories using the containers and ziplock bags you collected. Then take it a step farther. Example: large paperclips from small, colored clips from silver.
  • Continue until everything is separated. Do not hesitate to pitch anything broken or not used. Example: pencil stub, rubber bands that are never big enough for your purposes.
  • Put containers and bags into the drawer considering what you use most (place in the front of drawer) and what you use least (place in the back of the drawer). The back of the drawer is also for "back" up supplies. Example: the box of refill staples for the stapler.
  • Slide drawer back on track considering first if it serves its purpose best there. Example: a drawer of office supplies should probably not be in the dining room unless it doubles as your home office.
Done. No grand planning, no expensive systems, no more than 10 minutes.

And with that, my favorite mantra applies:
"The organization of an entire home starts with a single drawer."

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Color Your World

Passionate reds, serene blues, rejuvenating greens, calm beiges, cool grays. Choosing wall color for your room project can be a daunting task. But ultimately, the color you choose must speak to you on an emotional level because more than any other design element, color provides the overall "feel" of a room.

Imagine for a moment an oversized armchair and ottoman. You are sitting down, feet up, book in hand. Now imagine that the upholstery is in charcoal gray. How does that make you feel? Now try it in sea green. Did that change your mood? Finally, what about a deep raspberry red? Which chair made you most comfortable and yet, had nothing at all to do with the content of the cushion?

It's fascinating how color affects our mood. Just consider the idea behind a mood ring. Our feelings (or the body temperature associated with those feelings) change the color of the stone. Choosing color for your room projects works on much the same principle. What color will give you the desired feeling in any given room: I'd like my bedroom to feel peaceful. I'd like my kitchen to feel energizing. I'd like my family room to feel warm.

And those colors do not have to be universal. Green may be calming to one person and energizing to another. The same could be said for most colors depending on the shade and tone, or in the case of wall paint, the finish. In fact, if you're looking to change the feel in any room but still love the color, try it in a different paint finish. A wall painted Navajo White in a flat finish gives off a much different feeling than one in high gloss.

All too often in decorating we get bogged down with rules and "supposed to's", the what's new and what's on trend. Your home is where you live, where you seek both relaxation and rejuvenation. It should be a reflection of you, your tastes, and your lifestyle. Don't be afraid to color your world in a way that puts you at your best.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Bring the Indoors Outside

The brutal mix of snow and sub zero temps from this past winter are behind us. Temperatures have even eeked into the 90s this week in the DC area. If you haven't already, it is definitely time to take a good hard look at your outdoor living spaces.

Summer is right around the corner and with it, outdoor entertaining, playing in the yard, and relaxing under the stars. But part of being able to truly relax, is the luxury to bring a bit of indoor comfort to your outdoor living. How best to achieve this when our outdoor furnishing take a beating from everything from snow to sun, has been a problem for quite some time. Until now.

Today there are literally thousands of options designed to withstand Mother Nature's worst, some guaranteeing decade-long beauty. Gone are the days of the folding vinyl-strapped patio chairs. Economical aluminum, plastic, and PVC stand alongside pricier steel and wrought iron, as well as wicker, rattan and treated wood, giving homeowners options that extend their indoor decor to the great outdoors.

But more than just the practicality of somewhere to sit to eat your grilled burger, is this tread towards actually decorating your outdoor living spaces. Fabric cushions and pillows have evolved from just the one outdoor standard of cotton duck canvas to multipurpose upholstery manufactured to be water repellent, and to resist fading from UV rays, mildew, and everyday stains. Additional categories in the outdoor marketplace include rugs, made with the same weather strong qualities as the fabrics, and lighting, to make your outdoor spaces usable after dark.

With all these low-maintenance features readily available in outdoor furnishing and accessories, spending more time outside during the warm months ahead and enjoying the comforts of home in the glory of nature, are easier than ever.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Much More Than Just Throw Pillows

For as long as I can remember, I've been organizing and decorating.

While other girls were busy dressing their Barbie dolls, I was rearranging the furniture in her Malibu beach bungalow for better flow. On many a car trip, I would visualize the houses I saw out the window, with updated siding and manicured landscaping. And just recently, a college friend reminded me that my dorm room closet boasted color coordinating hangers for each type of clothing - white for tops, green for pants... I've changed the colors but I still do that.

One could say that it's part of who I am. So when my situation changed and I needed to be financially independent but still be a full time mother, I made the decision to start my own business, one that played to my natural strengths. And "Bonnie Lia Interiors" was born.

The idea was simple. Help those who are overwhelmed by their possessions, find a balance and an order that they can live their lives in. All too often, I would see organizers creating immaculate spaces that their clients would have no hopes of maintaining. My focus has always been to go beyond making just beautiful spaces and work with my clients and their lifestyles, to help them purge what no longer serves them, to put in place systems that would make their lives easier, and to create a decorative livable space in the process.

Along the way, I've discovered a growing list of outsider observations, helpful household hints, and decorating demystifications. With that in mind, each month I plan to highlight one or more of these topics in this new blog "Transformational Spaces". 

My hope is that this blog will not only be about the transformations that our homes go through, but ourselves as well. Our homes are where we live our lives, where we seek both relaxation and rejuvenation. It stands to reason that a home that is both lovely and well organized, is a source of positive energy that profoundly effects our lives.

And you thought organizing and decorating was just about lining up your throw pillows. ;-)