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Published January 11th, 2016
Stylish Solutions
January is usually a time for requisite clean-outs and reorganizing of closets, garages and yes, even the college-age children's rooms, so if that is a focus this year, make sure to see my past articles on those topics. (Go to www.lamorindaweekly.com and search for Stylish Solutions.) After the clean-out and reorganizing get underway, take some time to consider the bigger picture with respect to your design and decorating lifestyle. This month I thought it would be fun to share some insightful peeks into a workshop we are developing for savvy design enthusiasts who desire a holistic organic approach to their lifestyle, beyond just the decorating trends, architectural styles and art collection choices. Embrace your aesthetic style. Live your design truth. This will help you live more authentically. Reject the catalog looks. Consider unique living style goals. Take cues but make design decisions based on what is best for your long-term life-style goals. Designing a life "style" is not a new approach, but it does need a modern twist for the 21st century. Think about the castles and great houses of Europe, familial estates and large-scale family farms. They were, and are, design

January is usually a time for requisite clean-outs and reorganizing of closets, garages and yes, even the college-age children's rooms, so if that is a focus this year, make sure to see my past articles on those topics. (Go to www.lamorindaweekly.com and search for Stylish Solutions.)
After the clean-out and reorganizing get underway, take some time to consider the bigger picture with respect to your design and decorating lifestyle. This month I thought it would be fun to share some insightful peeks into a workshop we are developing for savvy design enthusiasts who desire a holistic organic approach to their lifestyle, beyond just the decorating trends, architectural styles and art collection choices.
Embrace your aesthetic style. Live your design truth. This will help you live more authentically. Reject the catalog looks. Consider unique living style goals. Take cues but make design decisions based on what is best for your long-term life-style goals.
Designing a life "style" is not a new approach, but it does need a modern twist for the 21st century. Think about the castles and great houses of Europe, familial estates and large-scale family farms. They were, and are, designed lifestyles that serve and solve a unique set of goals, issues and generations.
What does an intentionally designed lifestyle look like for us Lamorindans? This thoughtful approach tackles big picture questions without considering the details.

A simple example of a lifestyle goal can be "what type of relationship do we want to foster with our children, and does building a separate gaming room facilitate that long term?" As a luxury designer for three decades, I will share, game rooms can be wonderful, but to work, they must be an intentional part of a family lifestyle, across the generations. Relationships are not built when one generation is 2,000 square feet away from mother and dad.
If you are considering a luxury suburban game room, run through ramifications of lifestyle and use. Who will use the space, for what reason, how often? Is this important because it reflects a status of achievement or is it valuable because it will enhance your intentionally designed lifestyle? Will this help you achieve your lifestyle goals three to seven years down the road? How long will it take to complete versus how long will you enjoy the space and what will your return on investment of time and effort be?
It is always good to ask the hard questions. It is easy to get swept into design trends and suburban design competitions. Don't build or buy just because everyone else is doing it. Ask the lifestyle design questions first. If you need a long-standing example, look no further than Versailles. Before you build the ball room, ask yourself, will it help or hinder our actual life?
Many Lamorinda families intentionally choose an "outdoor lifestyle" for a season in secondary locations to facilitate more concentrated connected family time. Pictured here is Mac Mountain Lodge, our low-key Lake Tahoe cabin that easily facilitates friends, gatherings and a low stress lifestyle. We purchased this cabin 14 years ago to be intentional about gathering as a family. In so doing, we traded the back yard pool. For us it was the right decision; for another family it may not be. Design and live your family truth without apology or guilt.
What are your goals? When you think about your life three, five and even seven years out how do you imagine living? What things would you like to enjoy in your space? What kinds of relationships would you like to have with your siblings, children, pets, relatives and friends? How can your intentionally designed lifestyle facilitate those relationships?
Take some time this January as you finish the holiday clean-up to consider these things. We live in one of the most beautiful and blessed places on earth. As residents of our beloved Lamorinda, our contribution should be to bring intentional wisdom to the natural beauty by designing our lifestyles, with long term purpose and prosperity of life and relationships in mind.
Design should equip you. It should empower the life you want. By being intentional with both big picture questions and details such as color choice and furniture type, you will have authority over your space instead of feeling like your space "has you."
Some people thrive in a more contemporary space. Learn to discern what types of space enhance you and your family. What types of d├ęcor and space make you come alive? Makes you think and dream about the next season of life with joy and anticipation?
Let's make 2017 a year of influence for beautifully designed lifestyles that reflect strong core values and relationships. It's amazing what happens when we apply the same principles to designed living that we do with food and exercise. Letting intentional good things in lead to health and beauty out.
If you would be interested in joining us for our Designed Life-Style Workshop, which will include design and decorating tips, email ann@couturechateau.com. We are in the planning stages for early spring, and the workshop will be a single day.
Happy New Year!
Ann McDonald is founder of Couture Chateau LLC, A luxury design consulting firm.


Ann McDonald, IIDA, NAPO, is the Founder/CEO of Couture Chateau, a luxury interior design firm in Orinda. For a complete blog post including other design ideas, visit www.couturechateau.com/blog.


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