Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Starting With Appreciation...

I'm back from a little vacation to the Oregon coast with my extended family...what a nice break!

And before launching into my next project, I want to express how appreciative I am of the opportunities that have come my way. It is really a privilege to be able to pursue my interest in design while working from home. When I first began my career in interiors I worked for a design firm, commuting to and from the office, while help (thanks Renee!) watched Max during the day and met Isabella at the bus. I'd get home tired, but would try to make up for the time lost during the day. This situation didn't last long. I saw it all moving too quickly and realized I would soon have missed more than I would be able to recapture. So I shifted gears. I began working with a few clients, decorating my home and writing this blog. Amusingly we now refer to our home as 'The Blog House', and there are ongoing discussions and joking about what I should and shouldn't post about!

If you are a working mom I don't need to tell you of the challenges of balancing motherhood with a career. I know how fortunate I am to have found a balance that allows me to be here when the kids get home from school during the winter and to lighten my schedule in summer, so there is plenty of time to hang out with Isabella and Max. And thank you, for reading this blog, which has helped make this possible!

And now it's time for a new project. Here is a sneak peek. It will include using a colored chalkboard paint from Hudson Paint and materials from Home Depot. In preparation for this project I found myself at the back of that store, getting several pieces of wood cut. I've never used this service before, and I have to tell you it has opened up a whole new category of projects to consider for the future. (We are not a household of power tools...yet?) And it's a good thing I hung on to all my old magazines and partially filled paint cans. I've discovered they make good weights!

Also...(I know, this post is all over the place)...I am interested in hearing what type of design projects you would enjoy reading about on this blog. Leave me a comment and share your ideas!


  1. Oh Janell! I feel you when it comes to the kids and missing so much. Thats why I decided to stay home. You also have to think about the stay at home mom's that you inspire too with your blog. To me, I look at you and say she must be super woman! To be able to accomplish so much with two kids and still have a stunning home!

    Oh and as far as your posts, you're doing great!

  2. i'd love to see something for a playroom or mancave. My significant other is wanting to fix up our basement and paint the walls red!! The room has low ceilings and no natural light. We've been in quite the debate about it. We're not going to do it anytime soon though. I'm curious to read more about your project. I'm wanting to do an upholstered headboard for our bedroom and we dont have all the power tools. Do you know if I can get wood cut for the bed? I want one that has an arched shape.

  3. Janell, you deserve everything that comes your way. You work so hard on your blog, and are so generous with your ideas and talent. I'm glad to hear that you've found a balance that has worked for you. Since I was one of the ones asking for a drapery tutorial, I don't feel like I can ask for anything more for a few more years. (Plus, I'm sure I'll get inspiration out of any of your projects). I hope you had a great weekend!

  4. I enjoy your blog so much and look forward to anything you post about. All of us moms are looking for balance no matter where we are in life.


  5. Aw. What a nice post.

    I'd like to see you continue writing the exact kind of content that you're focusing on. Don't change thing.


  6. Oh Janell, as I read this post my eyes began to swell with tears. I can identify with being grateful to have the best of both worlds. It is difficult working at home with three little ones and I don't know how I do it. I think because of my strong passion for both my family and my craft, I am motivated to just make it work.

    I love your blog and I am encouraged by watching your success in your endeavors. Thanks for being transparent. Hugs...

  7. I almost forgot to answer your question...I would love to see another upholstery job!

  8. I love reading your blog! As a "recently wed" (2 years) and new mom, I'd love to see some budget friendly ideas!

  9. Your house is gorgeous! I would like to know how you store the kids toys and hide the laundry!

  10. I'm so glad you are able to work from home and all of us get to read your gorgeous blog :) Can't wait to see what your up to!
    Take care

  11. Heather, I've never posted pictures of the laundry room and bonus room for a reason!!!!!!! Perhaps I will so kicks one day when I have nothing to post about! :) Janell

  12. I love your blog - you don't have to change a thing. :)

    Things I love seeing - before/after are my favorites. And the progression of a room.

  13. I don't mind if your post was all over the place. I appreciate your honesty about the job/kids balance. So hard to not have guilt about something when you're a mommy. You seem to handle it all beautifully, though.

  14. I love the chocolate color of this room. Can you tell me the name of it. Thanks....just recently found your blog and I love reading it!

  15. Always good to take some time to reflect and share your thoughts ... this is a great post for this reason. I really enjoy all your projects, especially the before/after approach and sharing the path to get there. I am now intrigued with seeing your laundry room. Whatever your do, I will read it! ;-)

  16. I look so forward to your blog posts each and every day. I have never commented for some reason, but you have inspired me to do so much in my house, so thank YOU for that! You deserve every single thing you have coming to you. You are so incredibly talented!

    I am a relatively new mom (son is 13 months) and I would love to see maybe some "typical day" posts. I have not blogged in over a year now because I cannot seem to find that balance...and I do not even have a job outside of the home! Ha!

    Anyway, you have inspired me in so many ways and for that, thank you!!


  17. Janell I love your posts on projects, I want to do a colored chalkboard as well and need to go to get Hudson Paint for it!

    Art by Karena

  18. I just recently visited the wood cutting area of our local Lowes :) Love that they offer that service!!

    I love reading your blogs posts on how to projects you always break the projects which I LOVE.

  19. Love you and love what you do! Keep it coming girl!

  20. Your blog is wonderful! So inspirational but yet informative. I've learned so much reading your blog. I would love more upholstery tutorials (although I know that is difficult and time consuming). All in all, just keep what you're doing! I love it all!

  21. I too love reading your blog, which I just found recently. I really like the before and after pictures. I also enjoy learning more about the design process. I wish that I had choosen interior design over English Education as a college major--especially when I think about the working from home possibilities! Perhaps you could share more about the specific "rules" and tips that you use when making design decisions? (For example, I remember you saying that you only prefer to use a fabric on one surface in a room.) Things like that really help!

  22. I can't believe you've never had them cut wood for you before!! I have all kinds of tools--everything I'd need to cut any shape for any project--but I let them cut it for me any chance I get. They say they charge for it, but I've never been charged even once...even the time that I had them cut 10 inches off of 30+ pieces of 1/4" masonite for my board and batten wall treatments!! They still didn't charge me!!

  23. I love your blog and am constantly amazed at your ability to juggle two kids, the blog, your design business AND all of the projects you DIY. Makes me feel like a sloth sometimes!

    I also totally agree about being lucky to have it all, so to speak. When I left private equity I left a salary well into the six figures that honestly played a large part into my self confidence....being a mom has been both the most rewarding and humbling opportunity in my life...and I wouldn't change it for anything in the world.

    Cannot wait to see what is up next with this chalkboard paint.

  24. What I really want to know is where that beautiful light fixture is from...

  25. Love your blog...I am always interested in storage ideas...kids toys, and all the household clutter we need to hide.
    It's great you can do what you love from home!


  26. Hi Janell,
    Hope you had a really nice time with family. Can't wait to see what you do with your up and coming project. As for blog topics, I love to read anything that you write, but if it's not too much trouble a blog post of scale, balance and proportion in a room, maybe things that people do that don't add to a look of a room, or how things are solved in a room with for example four doorways in a room and how to overcome it. Love your blog. You're doing a fantastic job. Thanks for sharing all you do.
    Take care
    Tasmania, Australia

  27. Hi Janell,
    Just like all other full-time working Mums, I am constantly trying to find a balance! Hopefully I will be a SAHM again soon!
    I love reading your blog - your design talent is sensational and really inspiring!
    I would love to see ideas for renters! My Husbands career see's us living in other peoples houses all over the country, and I struggle to decorate without painting or knocking holes in the walls!
    Keep up the great blog!

  28. Hi Janell,

    Your blog is so wonderful, I am glad it brings you joy as well. We do not have kids yet but hopefully soon and I struggle with what I want to do with my office/work. I am thinking about moving out of the house but maybe I need to be here....can you tell it has been on my mind? You are such an inspiration to all us, you deserve all the good things that have come your way!

  29. Thanks everyone! And to clarify, balance has not come without compromise, I've had to turn down all remote work and even some local. You can have it all, but rarely all at the same time!!

    And here is the link to the light fixture:


  30. Oh, Janell, what are you up to now? I'm dying to know . . . As for your blog, keep doing what you're doing. It's fab as are you. xoxo, Ally

  31. Janell, you are a true inspiration! I don't know how you do it all - but I am with Ally - don't change a thing! Everything that comes from your blog is fabulous. And you are also a very generous person.

    Summer hugs,



  32. years and years ago, we made the decision that we would best that I stay home with our three children. Was the best decision I could ever make, and although sometimes I missed the adult chit chatter, I didn't miss the office politics that goes with most jobs. I can't wait to see what you are doing over there. I can't figure it out!

  33. I luurve chalkboard paint! Can't wait to see it!

  34. Your home is beuatiful! But I would like to see other spaces you have designed. Maybe the ones you have done for clients... if they let you feature them. It's fun to see before & afters for all types of styles.

  35. For years I commuted and worked at work and then worked at home and now I just work from home and as you said so perfectly, finding balance and knowing that we need to always be appreciative for our lives.
    I would not trade my work-at-home days. I would love to hear more about how you balance it all and still make room for the I & the M! and the Mr. too!
    All your design ideas are super!

  36. Mary~
    Yes, I will try! I've been trying to get photos of two rooms in a client's house...and while they say sure, they are never ready for me to take photos! I think a lot of people are not comfortable with having their home shown on the internet. I'll keep trying!

    And Pve~
    I get up very early to get work done before the kids wake up! I think that is the single most effective thing I do to fit a lot in, though a bit more sleep would be nice. See, you just can't have it all at one time!

  37. I'm so glad you started writing this blog and sharing all your projects with us- you are one of my favorites and I am always getting new ideas from you, so Thank you for writing this!

  38. Oh my gosh, love that you asked about what we were interested in. I never thought to really tell you. I'll have to think about it now.

    The first thing that comes to mind is talking about hiring an interior designer. I never imagined I would but now that I have followed your blog for so long, I am just in love with what you do and sometimes think I waste more money trying to come up with ideas like yours than if I had just hired someone to help (and it takes me MONTHS to only eventually give up!).

    Just a thought. I've always wondered things like:
    Do interior designers have to be expensive?
    How long does it take for them to complete a room?
    Will they do just one room?
    I'm sure, since you've done this, that you know all of the questions your clients typically ask.
    I would love to hear your thoughts on this.


  39. Thought of more things I would love to know

    My rooms are always left feeling "empty". When I want to decorate, I usually know how to buy the large pieces of furniture, rugs, and now I've learned more about window treatments (thanks to you!!), but I am a miserable failure when it comes to the little stuff.

    What are your rules for accessories? Do you have a list in your head. . .stack of books, clock, basket full of something, plant, flowers? How do you identify the areas to add accessories and stop before the room feels too full?

    Floor Plans
    Can you give any tips on designing the layout of a room?

    Furniture/Accessory Sizing
    How do you know what size is the right size? We once bought a couch and measured and thought it was the perfect fit and then it got here (of course a custom order) and we ended up hating it! (It's still here, by the way).

    What do to when design goes wrong?
    Do you always love your designs? I find I often like my decorating in one room for 6 months to a year and then I decorate another room and feel frustrated because I no longer like the last room I did!! Or I love what I did and then see a photo in a magazine of a totally different idea and I find myself wanting to re-decorate! What happens when you order a bigger item on your list (like a sofa) and it comes and you hate it?

    Just some more thoughts. I'm full of questions.


Now I Would Love To Hear What You Think!