TCJ: When moving from your previous L.A. home, what were some things you knew you didn’t want in the new home in order to achieve your family’s California sanctuary?
KS: Our previous L.A. home was big…bigger than we needed. It was beautiful and grand, yet from the day we moved in it never felt comfortable to me. I was uncomfortable having rooms that were rarely used and spaces that were pretty but not functional. The process of de-cluttering our home just magnified this, so we decided to move with the intention of downsizing to a home that had only what we needed. This began the process of creating a sanctuary for our family; a place that we could snuggle into knowing we had everything we needed and nothing extra. I can honestly say that we use every space in our home now, and that feels good to me.
TCJ: So, how have you kept your new home clutter-free and resisted the temptation to impulse buy?
KS: Well this is a daily challenge and practice! In today’s world, there is no lack of opportunity to purchase new things and have them delivered to your doorstep. I have to resist temptation constantly, and I don’t always succeed, but I manage to maintain a fairly clutter free home now by asking myself a very simple question before I buy, “Do I truly NEED this and will it bring me JOY?” If the answer is no, I will pass. I am never sorry when I decide not to buy something after answering this honestly. I also work hard to keep our home clutter-free by having a place to store everything and keeping things where they belong. I’m not always great at this, especially when I am taking photos for the blog. Things get a bit messy for a while, but I eventually put it all back in its place!
TCJ: Can you describe the process of finding and renovating your new home in L.A.?
KS: This is going to sound a bit crazy, but I can only describe the process as “meant to be.” We casually mentioned to some close friends that we were considering moving, and they happened to have just bought a beautiful property with an older home on it. They were planning to renovate the house to sell it. When my husband and I saw it we both fell in love with the feel of the property. The backyard was undeveloped but surrounded by mature oak trees and felt like stepping in to a country painting. Simultaneously, another friend told us that she knew a family who was looking to buy a home in our neighborhood and that our current house was exactly what they were looking for. After many late-night conversations, my husband and I decided to take a leap of faith and sell our house in order to create our “sanctuary.” That started the wheels in motion and we set about designing a house that had everything our family of five needed with no extras or unusable space. I often asked myself the same questions when making design decisions during the renovation, “Do we need it and will it bring us joy?” The result is a home that we love and is truly a place of peace.
TCJ: Is there a specific spot or room in either of your homes that has become your personal sanctuary?
KS: Definitely! This past spring, I finally gave myself the gift of a dedicated flower studio. I absolutely love flowers and floral, and I had been using my garage and laundry room for the past few years to make arrangements. When our oldest son moved out, I decided to turn our guest cottage into a flower studio. It is filled with all of my favorite things and is the place I love the most in our home, because it is where I can express my passion and creativity.
TCJ: You share such creative and fun ideas and DIY projects on your blog! One of our favorites is your recent copper pumpkins. What are some of your favorite past DIY projects?
KS: Thank you! It brings me so much joy to share ideas and projects with my readers and am so happy when they find them fun or helpful! I also love the copper pumpkins from this fall. They were so easy and look great in just about any setting. I think my other favorite DIY blog posts mostly have to do with flower arranging. As I said, I have a real passion for floral design and really believe that fresh flowers add beauty to any space. I have done several posts where I give step-by-step instruction on how to create everything from large centerpieces to small arrangements and those are by far my favorites.
TCJ: When designing tablescapes and vignettes, where do you draw your inspiration from?
KS: At the risk of sounding like a broken record, it’s almost always about flowers for me. Just about every tablescape starts with some sort of floral inspiration. It might be a particular flower that is blooming in my garden or a vision of a garland of greens and seasonal fruits that sparks an idea for a table setting, but is always starts with the centerpiece for me. The same is true of vignettes in my home. An unusual vase filled with seasonal flowers will often be the inspiration to create a vignette or seasonal display. The beauty of this approach is that, like the seasons, nothing is static. Tablescapes and vignettes in my home are constantly changing with the seasons, and I am able to express my creativity in the process!
TCJ: Spending your fall and winter in L.A. where it doesn’t get too chilly, how do you bring the essence of the season to your home with your décor?
KS: In our Southern California climate, it is all about the calendar when it comes to seasonal décor. If I waited for the weather to change, we might never see any fall or winter décor! I often bring some warmer tones into our décor in September by using copper and wood elements in my vignettes and kitchen. As we get further into fall, it’s all about subtle touches throughout the house that say, “fall or winter” without being too overpowering. White and neutral tone pumpkins are a big part of my fall decorating and as we head into winter, I transition to some other metallic tones and some winter greenery. Oh, and seasonal flowers…always flowers.