the only home decorating principle you will EVER need

swedish-duplex-apartment5How does your home make you feel?

How to you want your home to make you feel?

Should it inspire you creatively?

Do you want it to help you relax and recharge so you can face the world again the next day?

Should it embrace you with memories of family or travels, or both?

Do you want it to be impressive? It’s okay if you want that. To love your place and be happy at home, you have to be honest with yourself about what you want it to be like.

Photo source unknown. Please share if you know the original source.

Photo source unknown. Please share if you know the original source.


What I want most from my home is a sense of peace. I get more than enough stress from the outside world. When I come home, I want to shut the door on all that and be soothed.


I prefer when there is a place for everything and everything has a place. I do not like tripping over things or hunting for something I need.

Home has to make day to day living a breeze and a joy. And joy to me is being able to quickly put my hands on a tool or moving through the space with ease.

The great tiny townhouse update is as much about function as it is style.


Not only do I want it to be visually appealing and clean, it has to be easy to tidy and sanitize.

I’ve come to the conclusion that life is far too short to spend it dusting a house full of knickknacks. I’d rather spend my down time hanging out with my husband, cuddling with the kittens, plotting fierce novels and knitting/crocheting with gorgeous fibers.

Scrubbing, polishing and cleaning can be therapeutic, but only in small doses. ;)

You can take out and replace the yellow accents in this room quick, easy and cheap like. How about pink? Navy? Chartreuse? Red?  Source of photo unknown.

You can take out and replace the yellow accents in this room quick, easy and cheap like. How about pink? Navy? Chartreuse? Red? Source of photo unknown.


While I don’t love cleaning, I do love the option of changing up the look in our home on a regular basis. I don’t want to feel stuck in a rut because something feels too daunting or too wasteful to change.

For the record, painting our two story living room is seriously daunting to us and spending a few hundred bucks on a new rug every six months is wasteful to us.

That’s why I prefer a fairly neutral backdrop in terms of color and style. Peace is knowing I can move things around, bring in new art, and change throw pillows and curtains at will.

Erin Martin Media Room Daybed_thumb[1]

Reading nook in the Modern by Design 2009 Show House

trust yourself most

The top part of this post was written weeks ago and has been in the wings waiting for art (I have a lot of posts like that). Then this week, life kind of caught me by surprise. I thought I was dealing with a problem fairly well, but it morphed and sucker punched me unexpectedly.

Home for me has to be a refuge to process those kinds of life-slaps. Home has to comfort me.

When it comes to your own home, you are the best designer. You know how you want to live. You know what you need from your home. Trust your feelings and start your design there.

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half done or half incomplete

Did you know that the psychology of perception plays a big role in how happy a person you are?

is the glass half full or half empty?

How you mentally answer that old saw, no matter how it’s framed, can either put a smile on your face or have you down in the dumps.

blissous floor install starts

Wood floors should be installed across the joists.

The great townhouse update is at that half-done, half-chaos point. And honestly, I waver between absolute joy at how fabulous it’s looking and joy crushing overwhelm at what still needs to be done.

Luckily, I’ve been spending more time on the joy side of the answer.

blissous floor done

Bamboo floors are done. Can you hear the angels singing? I can.

I mean how can I not. Just look at that gleaming, gorgeous floor.

live, learn, share

Course, with most new experiences comes new wisdom. Here’s a few tidbits I learned during our install that may help you.

installation pattern

The boards should cross your joists. I had toyed with having it put down the other direction — long ways, but the joist issue eliminated that option. No problem, because it looks fab going across the short way. Makes our skinny place look wider. Never thought I’d enjoy a wider looking anything ;)

blissous dust

Carpet dust? Saw dust? Both? It’s all icky.

cover your stuff

Dust will fly — mostly it’s the nasty, icky silt (it’s dead skin cells, you know?) kicked up when ripping out the carpet plus some saw dust from cutting openings for vents, etc.

No one warned me and I didn’t cover anything. The dust from the first day was horrific. At that point, it was too late. I just left it knowing I’d have a massive clean up at the end. And boy did I.


Consider kenneling your animals. Because of the layout of our townhouse community, our actual front door is a hike up a flight of steps, and a long and winding path around two buildings. We affectionately call it the Ho Chi Minh Trail.

The install guys balked at walking around. They wanted to use the garage — which opens into the basement — which is one giant room — which is where I had planned to lock up our two cats.

The only other option was the master bedroom … and that door doesn’t latch securely. One of our cats, the curious one, knows this and has perfected the hooked paw method of escape. I spent three days in the bedroom with a chair in front of the door to thwart our feline Houdini.

Where I really wanted to be was watching the installers and, you know, offer advice. There’s a few spots where I would had done it differently. What? I’m not a control freak ;)

blissous floors misbatched

Floor batches are color coded.

dye lots

Check your boxes on delivery.

It’s my understanding that bamboo isn’t dyed per se. It’s heated and the heat is what caramelizes the natural sugars in the grass. Different harvests caramelize at different rates, and the longer it cooks, the darker the color.

See the blue dot and yellow dot on the boxes? That means they’re from different batches. Like dye lots in yarn and fabric, each batch is slightly different. Ours was off quite a bit. The Hubs took four or five yellow dot boxes back to Lumber Liquidators and got blue dot boxes.

It turned out that we didn’t need all of them as we had three full boxes leftover at the end of the job. (Lumber Liquidators took them back and issued a refund with no problem.)

Now only time will tell if the acclimation period makes a difference — since the swapped boxes didn’t spend time getting used to our place.


The floor on the main level is in. The main level has been painted. And the trim is done.

That’s 760 sq. ft. of our 1500 total square footage done.

Well, except for the main level bathroom … it still needs a new vanity top, mirror and light.

And except for the fireplace … it still needs to be refaced. And the Hubs and I still disagree about what to do about our lopsided mantel.

Oh, but just LOOOOOOK at that floor!

blissous floor done

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