How did your experiences as a first-time homeowner – in the Bay Area – shape your decorating plan and your budget?
When my husband and I bought our first home, we spent more than we had budgeted for; which, at the height of the housing market boom, wasn’t hard to do! Unfortunately that left us with pocket change for furnishing the actual house itself. I worked for a high-end catalog at the time and was immersed in great furniture and decor that I couldn’t afford to bring home. I’d go window shopping and then purchase at low price alternatives. I quickly learned what my likes and dislikes were. It’s imperative when working with a teeny budget that you spend right the first time around! I learned that lesson the hard way. But now I feel like I have a great idea of the looks I love and the looks I can actually live with.
From linens to furniture, where do you skimp and where do you invest?
I personally love thick and soft sheets and bath towels, so that’s definitely a splurge area for me. Also another splurge – sofas and armchairs. I don’t have a dedicated office space, I’d never use it. All of my work is done from the comfort of my living room sofa. So comfort is a HUGE priority there. Other than that, my basic rule of thumb is to make a list of the things you use the most often. Those are the areas I splurge on. So things like dining room chairs? Not a priority…
Have flash sales impacted your budget-hunting skills?
Flash sales are such a life-changer! They’ve brought higher priced designer items down to a more affordable level. With a little patience and persistence you can find exactly the look you’re after.
Do you have advice for new parents seeking child-friendly designs that appeal to their modern taste?
My living room is filled with white slipcovered furniture. People think I’m crazy with a toddler running around the house. Normally I’d agree, but the fact that those slipcovers are removable, washable and even bleach-able (if that’s a proper word) makes it right for a family home. That and my black rug. So I guess my advice is have pieces that are either washable or that won’t showcase the mess. Another good route to go with in a family household is distressed furniture. Vintage industrial is so hot right now too and anything your child does to it, just enhances the character!