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I had four young kids by the time I turned thirty six. In the nineties, my family and I lived in an old home in McLean, Virginia right off Chain Bridge Road. My days were full of baby burps, PTA meetings, and cake decorating classes I ran at the local community center. Not the most glamorous of lives, but it was a good life, and it was ours.

When my now twenty-four-year-old daughter Whitney was in third grade, she walked up to the house from the bus stop to find every single piece of furniture from the first floor of our home on the lawn, and me covered in green paint. "Mom....." she said as she rounded the corner and got a look at me painting grape vines on our dining room floor. "What. Are. You. Doing?" "I'm painting!" I responded. I think that was the first time I had heard my eight year old mutter the word "DUH.."

​The truth is, having a large amount of funds available to design your home the way you want to is certainly nice, but it is by no means the only way to create a beautiful home. All that takes is an interest, a certain level of curiosity, and some thought.

This truly starts when you are a child, if your parents put candles out at dinner time, or draped soft throws over the couch. If you weren’t as lucky as my daughters to come home to a lunatic mother painting your floor green (what, only me?) then you simply have to put a little bit more effort in to figure out what aesthetic works for you. Creating beauty in the home needs to become just as much of a priority as going to the gym or grabbing your morning cup of coffee. It’s a form of self care! It's as simple as grabbing some fresh flowers on your way home from work.

Let’s say you just moved. Your lamp broke in the back of the mover’s truck (bummer!) and you are suddenly without light past sundown in your bedroom.

You have a spare $50? It's the difference between ordering the highest rated lamp on the first page of Amazon Prime and running to Ikea and pick out the most beautiful fixture you can find.

Have a spare $0? It’s the difference between grabbing a lamp off the street with a ripped lamp shade because it’s there and scouring the “free” section of Craigslist until you find the one you love.

Do this every time you need something. If you pick each item in your home with intention then before you know it your personal space will begin to reflect your personal history, your taste, your travels and your relationships. This can be done in every room in your house, from the powder room to the living room.

When your space carries the treasures of your life it takes on a personality of its own.

If you're just starting off on your design journey, don't worry; it takes time just like anything else worth doing. My suggestion is to start in these three places:

A beautiful bed.... Important that you have a romantic bed, whether you are currently sharing it with someone or not. If you can’t afford a headboard staple some fabric to some plywood on the wall and let it drop. You want to feel great about crawling into your space each and every night.

Someplace to eat.... It is vital to nourish yourself in a place that has its own energy. Whether it’s a barstool at the counter or a dining room table lined with candles. This space is for your morning cup of coffee, a tuna sandwich on a Saturday afternoon, or a glass of red wine with a single lit candle and your love.

A common area.... A place where you can entertain, read a book, listen to music, or watch TV. This is a very important one as you want to make sure to not accidentally end up doing all of these things in your bed.

I hope you dig these tips, guys. Don't be afraid to get creative, and remember - there is no wrong answer. Fill your home with things you love and the rest will follow.

We would love to see your creations! Post pictures of your sanctuary and tag us on Instagram @sanctuarydesigns


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