Ask Leslie: Low cost and affordable interior design solutions

Q: What's the best and most affordable way to organize my space (kitchen, closets) from an interior design perspective?

A: For most of us, having enough storage for all our things can be challenging. Not only that, but we need "our things" to be convenient as well. We want our extra toilet paper and towels to be near the bathroom and we want our coffee cups to be near the coffee machine. 

 Leslie's bathroom design

Leslie's bathroom design

In my bathroom, I needed to store towels so I found a cute chair and placed a stack of towels on the seat. It was also a lot less expensive to add a chair then to add another closet. Rolls of toilet paper can be stacked on a small stool or placed in a bucket if there is no room for anything more in the cabinet. I also find that guests appreciate not having to guess where things are

In general, we have two types of storage, open and closed. Most often we cannot add a cupboard or closet but we can easily add a few shelves. Think vertical! Add open shelving up your wall either floor to ceiling or above a counter. Open shelving works best when used for everyday items such as plates, bowls and drinking glasses. Their regular use makes them much less likely to gather dust and require rinsing before use. 


 Open Shelves in Leslie's Kitchen

Open Shelves in Leslie's Kitchen

Always store the most used items on the lower shelves saving the higher shelves for platters and large serving pieces for the higher shelves. You've also just opened up room in your cabinets for objects that may not be so pretty. Remember, in cabinets or pantries, the shelves located between waist height and eye level are a closets most valuable storage. Reserve those shelves for items you use every day. 

My philosophy about life is that it should be easy, convenient, abundant and pretty!

On a side note, I am currently accepting new clients into my private interior design practice. If you know anyone who is need of my services, please feel to forward this post to them!

With gratitude,

Leslie Lewart

Ask Leslie: Any general tips for treatment/healing space?

wellness center interior decorating

Q: I have an acupuncture and massage studio. I want to make the space  healing,  relaxing and inviting for my clients. Any general tips? Thanks.

A: The first thing I would say is that if you make your space relaxing then it will certainly be inviting.  When we want a soothing space, we will want to invoke the senses of smelling, seeing and hearing. 

You may want to bring in a softly gurgling water fountain or some beautiful meditative music. Aromatherapy can offer some wonderfully relaxing scents such as Lavender. But, for me, its the visual offerings that are most powerful.  The visual must be harmonic and balanced creating a feeling of order and safety. Things need to be placed in a neat and peaceful way otherwise there is an opportunity for chaos to emerge.  But perhaps color is the easiest way to create a mood.  As it turns out, blue and green are the most relaxing colors.

Green helps you find balance and peace.  It also promotes calmness, harmony and safety.  

Blue stands for calmness loyalty, dreams and infinity.  Use blue if you are looking for calmness, openness and new perspective.  Purple (which  also includes lavender) promotes spirituality, balance, imagination and wisdom.  White is another color that can be used to promote relaxation.  It stands for freshness and new beginnings.  It is a color of truth, hope and dreams.

I would also recommend live plants and low ambient lighting to be added to the mix and no one will want to leave!

Thanks so much,  xx


Ask Leslie: Vaulted Ceiling Interior Design Solutions

Q: I have vaulted ceilings throughout my house. They are a 45 degree angle and 23.5 feet at the peak. When I bought it everything was painted white. Now I would like to add color. What should I do about the Ceiling and tall walls?

A: Having vaulted ceilings throughout a house can certainly be challenging but  here are 3 potential solutions. 

First, you could treat certain rooms by painting the ceiling and walls the same color.  We really don't need to differentiate the ceiling from the walls by color since I think we know which is which =)

Secondly, through the use of molding, especially crown molding you can create an artificial ending to your wall.  I might drop the wall to 9 or 10 feet and paint the ceiling a dark color.  A dark color on the ceiling will seemingly drop the ceiling down a bit.  It will create a smaller feeling space but a more intimate one.  We typically like smaller spaces to live in, as it gives us the feelings of coziness and safety.

Thirdly, you could add some architecture in the form of beams running across the room. This would also give the room some intimacy by giving the sense of a ceiling.  

With careful selections and varied treatments,  you could change a real challenge in to an architecturally interesting and charming home!