Clutter Out! Focus In!

by Kelly DuByne on December 10, 2014

Submitted by Marlie Bilbuck-Boerger

Happy New Year!  Woo Hoo!  2014 is going to be AWESOME!

Wait a minute!  What do you mean 2014 is almost over?  Wasn’t it just yesterday we were heralding in the New Year?  What?  It’s Christmas 2014 already?  Huh?  Yikes!  Mom and Dad were right; the older we get the faster time goes.  Along with this time-warp comes another realization.  The realization that we spend much of our lives paying attention to too many things that really are not important.

As I was listening to my pastor’s sermon Sunday I was reminded that we must sweep out, clean out, and shut out all the things that clutter our heads, hearts and souls, all the ‘stuff’ that blocks us from focusing on the holiday season at hand.

I thought to myself, “Yes, but there is so much more to this sermon than meets the eye!” In order for us to literally focus our eyes and thus our minds on the season we also need to deal with the clutter clogging up our homes.  Even when it is not the holiday season I frequently feel like I can’t see clearly what I am supposed to be focusing on for all the stuff in my way—whether that stuff be meetings, appointments, piles of laundry, sinks full of dishes, etc.

I’m sure, like me, you have probably by now dug out all of your holiday decorations and gleefully decorated your home with Santas, snowmen, poinsettias, wreaths, trees, etc.  I don’t know about you but this process always makes me smile and lightens my heart.  At the same time that the ‘spirit’ of the season is creeping into me so is a little bit of crazy that comes with all of the extra clutter!

All of the added stuff lying around my home drives me seasonally insane!  “So why do you do it then?” you may ask.  Well I do it for any number of reasons—my children, to celebrate the season, tradition, to create memories, etc. But when I decorate for the holidays I basically remove all my other décor so all I have left are festive substitutes (if I tried to fit the everyday stuff and the holiday stuff all into one cohesive design I really would be huddled under a side-table somewhere tearing my hair out).

Even then it gets a little overwhelming.   Too many presents, too many added plants, too many cookies, too many parties, too many trinkets, too many must-buy-this, and don’t-forget-thats.   There’s just not enough space open to see clearly what’s important.  So I start to feel a little claustrophobic.  I start to yearn for some order, some wide-open spaces, a cleaned out organized closet, a garage that I can walk through, a windowsill that has been cleared of items that compete with the view outside, and a little more time to just sit and be and enjoy.

I imagine many of you can relate.  I encourage you to clear out a small bit of clutter and go from there.  It may only be a drawer, but it will be one less space in your world that is screaming for your attention.  It may mean decorating with just a few items instead of all 33 tubs of gold-red-green-silver-reindeer-Santa-snowmen-peppermint striped- holiday-décor.  It may mean not putting out any of the gifts until Christmas Eve or saying no to a party or two or deciding to give to charities as a family instead of exchanging gifts with each other.  The clutter may be more emotional and less physical.  Perhaps working through an issue you are having with family or friend.

I am encouraging all of us to do what we need to to refocus our attention on what is important to us this holiday season.  It may be our spouses, our children, our faith, our neighbors, our communities, or all of the above.  Whatever it is that you need to see more clearly will be easier to focus on when the clutter is gone and our path of vision is unobstructed.

The clutter could be physical clutter around our homes, emotional clutter we are carrying, grudges we are holding, over extended schedules we are shouldering, etc. Whatever it is we are at the end of 2014 and there is no better time to clean it all up, put it away, get ourselves together and head into 2015 with a clear focus on what is important.

Happy holidays to you all.

Clutter photo


Color Can Expand or Recede

by Kelly DuByne on October 20, 2014

Submitted by Marlie Bilbruck-Boerger

I love color! I love color! I love color!

I love a colorful wardrobe.  I love a colorful home.  I love colorful food.  I am constantly taken aback by all the various colors offered up by nature in every season.  I find the constant presence of color comforting and I miss it when it’s gone.  Color can exhibit a huge variety of abilities—one such ability is that different colors can appear to expand into a space while others seem to recede back.

I recently experienced this phenomenon while looking for a new color to paint my fireplace area.  I wanted something that would encourage a sense of warmth and conversation while creating a true accent in my living room area.  The fireplace was a deep taupe-brown that played well with the natural quarry stone and high-gloss white mantel, but it needed a little ‘oomph’.  I had in my mind that I really wanted something in the red family and after much searching for just the right one I settled on a Behr color called Red Pepper.  It’s deep with a brownish-orange undertone while remaining a definite red.

I was prepared to have the fireplace standout more, but what I was not prepared for (yet am delighted about) is just how much it now seems to come into the room (for lack of a better way to explain it).  The fireplace has always been a nice part of the space, but until now it really had no presence.  The addition of color has transformed it.  The fireplace is now amazing and, in the words of many of my friends and family, ‘striking’.

The taupe receded and the red expanded.  The dimensions of the fireplace did not change.  Nothing changed about the accessories I displayed on the mantel.  The lighting remained the same.  The only change was the color and in changing it I changed the entire impact that the fireplace had on the room.

I encourage all of you to add some color to your homes, offices, wardrobes and meals.  We are humans and have the ability to see millions of variations of colors for a reason—we are attracted to them.

Here’s a little exercise.  Mentally picture a white plate with a pile of mashed potatoes, a baked chicken breast and some cauliflower on it.  Got it?  Okay now picture a yellow plate with a beautiful piece of red-meat-sauce layered lasagna and a green salad on it.  Which meal are you most drawn to?–The colorful one, right?  The same is true for our homes.  A little color goes a long way.

Yes-there are people who have an aversion to color and like to stick to white or beige, but usually it’s not so much that they don’t care for color as much as they are fearful of committing to it.  But that’s the beauty of paint; it’s not much of a commitment.  It took me about an hour to paint my fireplace and, although it was a small project and space, it had huge impact.  Worst case scenario is that I hated it once I got it done.  If that had been the case then it would have only been an hour or two more to repaint it.

Be fearless in your decorating and try a little bold color in your space.  I must warn you though it may be a little addicting.



Searching for the Color of the Year

October 7, 2014

Submitted by Marlie Bilbruck-Boerger It’s already October! That means we are only three short months away from the end of 2014!  It also means we are three long months away from 2015 and a new Color of the Year. Since 2000 the Pantone Company has selected a Color of the Year.  Well, actually, they select […]

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Children’s Artwork and the Challenge of it All

September 22, 2014

Submitted by Marlie Bilbruck-Boerger I almost made it the entire summer without feeling that it was time for my children to return to their ‘jobs’ of going to school so I could return to my usual mentally stable state.  The last week before school started though, was my downfall.  I found my nerves frayed, my […]

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Fall in 3D

September 8, 2014

Submitted by Marlie Bilbruck-Boerger When I think of the seasons, none spring forth as being more texture-rich than fall.  Fall is full of such amazingly intricate tactile aspects that it is hard not to view it as a beautiful design pallet. I love this quote by the American young-adult author Lauren DeStefano: “Fall has always […]

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Welcome Home!

July 29, 2014

Submitted by Marlie Bilbruck-Boerger I know we have talked before about the impact a foyer has on a person’s perception of whether they feel welcomed in a home, school, office or business, but equally important is the effect the exterior of the entry has on the same. We’ve all heard of ‘curb appeal’ (the way […]

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Dust or Bust…

July 7, 2014

Submitted by Marlie Bilbruck-Boerger Have you ever walked into a wonderful hotel room and been blown away by the design only to notice some unidentifiable stain on the duvet cover and a clump of hair in the tub drain? Or stayed at a quaint bed and breakfast and you involuntarily cooed at the sweet layout […]

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Accent Wall or Art?

June 10, 2014

Submitted by Marlie Bilbruck-Boerger I’m done! I’m done! I’m done painting my daughters’ rooms.  Yippee! Completing the painting of these two rooms has been a yearlong project.  A project  that was delayed by the fact that changing the  paint color meant a need to purchase all new artwork, bedding, draperies, etc. I found inspiration for […]

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Coloring Outside the Box in Schools

May 13, 2014

Submitted by Marlie Bilbruck-Boerger Here at Distinctive Interior Designs we have been working on color consultations for a couple of local schools and LOVING IT! The entire process is very similar to a residential color consultation, but we are working for about 450 clients ranging in age 5-11 who have no idea we have been […]

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Decorating your Garden Spaces for Spring

April 23, 2014

Submitted by Marlie Bilbruck-Boerger There are signs of spring cropping up everywhere!  From the song birds flitting about in the rhododendrons to the blue bells and crocuses that are peeking out from the piles of leaves, it is futile to argue that it isn’t ‘that time of year’ again.  You know the time of year […]

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