Posts in Interior Design

Family of Four, Feng Shui Kitchen Remodel Case Study

Being a business owner and a mom is no easy feat! Plus, having a husband who’s job requires him to be away for months at a time, means dad is not around to help. My client has a lot to juggle!

This family of four, with a boy aged 9 and a girl aged 7, has a very busy schedule. So, having a functional kitchen where they can get all their activities done together was very important to the design.

These are the before and after photos. I put together this video to explain this feng shui remodel kitchen case study. Hope you enjoy it!

If you want a feng shui kitchen, please contact me at

Spruce Up Your Powder Room and Have Some Fun!

The powder room is  a little private space where you can have a little fun with design because guests spend only a short time in there.  Here are three different types of sinks to consider.

Giving New Life to Inherited Classic Chairs

“I inherited expensive chairs but they don’t match my house. What should I do?”

“My mom bought these chairs a long time ago. Back in the day, she paid quite a lot of money for them because they’re really good quality. But they’re old and the fabric is ripping. Also, it doesn’t match the rest of my house. I feel guilty if I get rid of them. What should I do?”

Cathy’s two chairs were classical French chairs. When I looked at the backside, I found it had beautiful woodwork. Overall, the chair was in great condition and it had wonderful soft curved lines. In my opinion, these chairs are timeless.

But, maybe because she grew up with them, she saw them as dated. I think the real reason was that the gray silk fabric was shredding and it made the chairs look tired. Silk is beautiful but its fibers break down easily when exposed to the sun. Over time, the tearing is inevitable.

I wanted Cathy to see beyond the current state of the chairs. It had wonderful bones. Yes, the fabric was ripped but, all it really needed was a makeover. I suggested to have them reupholstered in a modern performance fabric. Cathy liked that idea.

Performance fabrics are today’s technologically advanced fabrics. They are easy to clean, which I love. And they can withstand more wear and tear. If you want a white sofa, make sure it’s a performance fabric that’s washable. Cathy ended up choosing a fun coral print. To make sure the space looked cohesive, we took the time to find the perfect color that matched the rest of the room.

Then we took them to the upholsterer. They came out looking crisp and beautiful! It’s a classic look with a modern twist. She loves it. And so do I!

Cathy is happy that she was able to keep her Mom’s expensive chairs. They have sentimental value. Instead of hiding them in a corner, they now sit proudly in her living room. The transformed chairs have a new life that will give her family many more years of comfort and happiness!

Using Art to Personalize Your Space

“What kind of art should I put on my wall?” is a common question I get from clients.

Your home should be about YOU!  It’s your sanctuary where you feel protected, safe, comforted and relaxed.  So, the questions I like to ask is, “who are you? and where are you from?”

I have clients from all over the world including Japan, Korea, China, Australia, U.K., Bolivia, Indonesia, and the Philippines.  We all have a special place in our hearts of our home town.  When I ask them about their home town, many of them smile and have so many stories to share.  You know that it means a lot to them.  So why not have an image of that special place in your home.

I am of Japanese ancestry, grew up in Tokyo and met my husband there too.  So, Japan is very dear to me.  In our home, we have a map of Japan.  It’s a very old map and shows some of the old names of towns.  This is meaningful to our family and it makes me feel good.

Here are some questions to help inspire what kind of images represent you and your family:

  • where are you from?
  • country?
  • city?
  • village?
  • Is there a landmark?
  • Maybe you went to college across the country and that city has a lot of meaning to you?
  • Where do you resonate with?
  • Is there a vacation or trip that changed your life?



Ready to Remodel? Four Question to Help You Start the Process

There comes a time when a home needs an update.  Over time, we begin to notice that the kitchen cabinets are scratched and look tired or dated, the counter tops take a beating and have lost luster, the paint is chipped here and there and has faded and  the window seals have broken down and they are now foggy.  Or maybe your bathroom has seen better days.  The grout is getting moldy and the tile is cracked.  It can get irritating when you are looking at these things on a daily basis.  You’re so busy, but every time you see it, you mind says, “gosh, I have to fix this soon!”.  I understand.  And yes, it’s natural for a home to deteriorate.   We need to fix and replace many things.  When this time comes, a home owner must  make several decisions to move forward.  But sometimes, we’ve put it off for so long that our desire is to just do it as quickly as possible.  But before rushing off to find the first best offer, ask yourselves the following questions to move forward.

  1. How long are we going to live in this house?  If you are planning to live in the house for over 10 years, go ahead and make changes that you will enjoy and don’t worry about the next buyer.  By that time, trends will probably have changed.  If it’s less than 5 years, ask yourself if it’s worth changing.
  2. What is our budget?  When considering your budget, don’t forget to think about the value of your house and the neighborhood you live in.  You don’t want to overspend and put in expensive fixture that will make your house out of sync with the rest of the neighborhood.  On the other hand, if you are going to live in the house for the rest of your life, I say, “go ahead and do what you wish!” Yet, I do know people who have overspent on their kitchens and regretted it.  Think wisely.
  3. What is the purpose of the remodel?  This is not a commonly asked question, but it’s something I like people to think about.  Many times, we think we need or deserve something and justify the remodel to satisfy those desires.  Is the remodel to just update something that is broken, or is it to help improve they way you live and function in the space?  Does your family need particular needs?  Is the current space a poor use of space?  Write your answers down on paper and think about it.
  4. Who do I call?  A contractor, an architect or a designer?  First, you must ask yourself the above questions.  Then think about your needs.  Do you just want to replace things in the exact same position?  Or do you want a new design to suit your lifestyle and family?  Does the current space work for you?  Have you thought about knocking down walls and opening up the space?  Or do you just need a fresh facelift?
    1. A contractor, is someone who does the actual construction and has the knowledge of what walls can or can’t come down.  Their expertise is on how to build the space structurally.  However, they are not trained to design a space.  They follow a plan that has been designed and specified.  Many contractors do design spaces and I have seen many.  But, I find they are well built but do not function as well.  They also tend to have poor color combinations and designs.
    2. An architect is registered designer qualified to design a building.  Adding an extension  or second floor to your home or changing the roof line?  You need an architect.  Basically, if you are doing anything outside your existing home you will need their expertise.
    3. Interior designers are trained to understand the space within the building.  We understand how things functions, flow of floor plans and also consider their aesthetic value.  A well-designed and constructed space will function better creating a happier and healthier home.  Make sure your remodel is well-designed, not just well-built.

Design is a process.  It takes time to understand your needs and your space.  Often, when we decide on going forward for a remodel, we feel we need it “now“.  However, through my experience, rushing is not a good idea.  My suggestion is to take your time, think about it, let it stew.  Get as many ideas as you can from books, magazines, online photos and talk to people.  Give yourself time.  The more ideas you have the better decision you will make.  If you need advice or help, please call me.  I’m here to help! or call 425-444-3046.