Just Say No

There are plenty of things we grow up knowing we should “just say no” to, but when it comes to life, there are often things we should say no to, but we keep saying yes.

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There is a theory out there and a group of people that are “yes people” and that sounds great for some. To be able to live life’s adventures just finding things to say yes to all the time, sounds fantastic! And by all means the point of this post is not to say no to the fun and the adventures. It is in fact to make more time for those good things.

So what is my point? It’s all about balance. If you are like me at all, you want to please people. For me that includes my clients, my colleagues, my family and my friends. I often end up putting myself at the bottom of that list.

But the reality is, if I don’t start saying no to some things, and putting myself as a priority, the things I put first (and second and third) will suffer as my energy, focus, etc., deteriorates. It is so important to not just find a good balance, but to create a good balance in our lives. As Steve Jobs put it (on Benjamin Moore’s Mt. Rainier Gray background), “It’s only by saying no that you can concentrate on the things that are really important.”

So, that is what I’ve been working on… work, life and balance. I’ve been learning to say no to the things that aren’t important and to making myself and the things that make me happy a bigger priority. How do you keep this balance for yourself? (I need all the tips I can get!)

In other news, we finished KonMari-ing this weekend, so I can’t wait to share more on that! And in the month of February I finished like half a dozen books that I want to do a round up of as well. Lots to share in the coming week and I’m planning to make the time to actually share it all too!

How was everyone’s weekend? What are you making a priority of these days?

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The 1893 House

This suburban New Jersey project has been under way for us for about 6 months now, with DBK involved for a little over 2 months. They found the home last summer and immediately started seeking out contractors and an architect and I didn’t step onto the project until the architects plans were complete and the crew was about to break down the walls.

I love this project. I love this old home, the clients, the character in the details, the things we are able to salvage and retain and the things we are working so hard to incorporate to get it back to it’s hay-day style. (The pictures above are from the real estate listing which didn’t share photographer information, but since I came on board late there was already a bit of debris around the house so I wanted to share something so you could at least envision the space before it became a construction zone.)

I love being able to walk in and envision film reels of this house’s glory days. I can’t wait for this couple to be able to enjoy their own glory days in the homes renewed beauty when we are done with it.

That said, when I first walked in and walked through with the client, I was awe struck. The details truly are magnificent and they really don’t make homes like this anymore. However, upon seeing the architects plans for the house, I had to proceed with making a few adjustments, and without hesitation, I brought up my concerns with the client.

Basically I had concerns with the layout of the master suite, and the flow of the kitchen. There were some minor issues with the hall bath that we caught and addressed before they would become an issue, and we have more recently been combing through the electrical plan and making sure the lighting is enough and that we have our proper layers of light in each space. (The lighting I will have to share more on another day, because I get so excited just mentioning it… I can’t wait until it’s actually all in place.)

For the Master Suite (first five images in this photo group), the changes were made but didn’t get to the construction crew in time, and because of this, we had to re-frame the master suite (relocating closet space and bathroom space). It was extremely frustrating for the crew and I’m pretty sure the GC is still upset with me, but honestly, these are the details we need to make sure are done with 100% accuracy so that when move in date comes and the client is using the space, they are moving through it with complete ease.

Good design of a space isn’t just fitting it all in. It is making sure there is good function and flow… making sure that the end user can function well and thrive in their new environment. I truly believe that is key to any successful design project.

So, the changes were made. The space is really beginning to take shape and the home is opening up beautifully. (The last picture in the lower grouping is of the kitchen space opened up now into the dining room area… I can’t wait to see how the light and space feels when framing is complete!)

I will share more progress as we move through and make more progress. All of the photos here are obviously rough and in the works as the construction team has been working through all the rough work. Hopefully I can give you an update next month that is a little more resembling of a place you would actually enjoy spending time.

What do you think so far of this project? Would you be brave enough to buy a 100+ year old home and take on it’s restoration? I have been sharing a lot of in process images from this space over on my Instagram and you can follow along with the hashtag #dbkproject1893 to see some updates and selections along the way.

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Love, Furnishings and Needlepoint, An Update.

Having just made it through this Valentine’s Day Weekend, I thought I would find a love quote to share and this one from Voltaire spoke to me (as it notes furniture and needlepoint especially).

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These words are perfect not only for love, but also for design and your space. And for me, having grown up in the Pacific Northwest and loving all things nature, being a knitter and appreciating all variety of needle-craft, and of course, who doesn’t love a good dose of imagination?! These perfect words are on a background of Frosted Rose by Benjamin Moore, which I also thought was so appropriate for the weather we are having and the season of love and roses we are in. 

Things have been insanely busy and so good, so here is a brief update: 

Last you heard we were working through the Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo. We are still working our way through the last two phases, but it has been a big transformation already. The living room feels amazing, the closets and especially the cabinets under our bathroom and kitchen sinks… I can’t even explain how these changes have made such a huge difference. I will do a full round-up when we finish the project. We were originally aiming for a month (which would be next Tuesday), however with our schedules, I don’t want to add pressure and do it hastily and get it wrong. I want to do it once and be done and I think we will realistically be done by the end of February… we shall see.

I’m working on a handful of truly amazing design projects right now, and I will share more on that (hopefully) Wednesday so you can be on the look out for that breakdown. 

For Valentine’s Day Weekend, we went out for a nice dinner on Saturday at Liberty Prime in downtown Jersey City, where P proclaimed that he enjoyed the best steak of his life, and I certainly wouldn’t complain about what I had either… Despite the frigid temps and treturous winds, we made the best of it and had a great night. Sunday we both got some work done, around the house and professionally, and today was back to the norm.

Currently we are watching the Grammy’s, which so far.. pretty great!! I love seeing all of the performances and this year hasn’t disappointed so far… we will see as the night continues, but for now, I think that is all for me.

Have a great night! Hope you have given yourself the time to sit down and appreciate the loved ones in your life and spend some time together making memories this weekend!

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