February Design Book Club: Hit The Road

If you’ve been following the tidbits I’ve been spewing on IG, then you know I’m back in the camper action! And since I’m in camper mode, I thought this month’s book could follow suit. It’s camping weather here in Phoenix and it will be soon in your neck of the woods, too. Let’s get a little roadside design inspiration! Now, the cover online does not do this book justice. The colors are phenomenal.

This month’s book club book is Hit The Road: Vans, Nomads and Roadside Adventures by Gestalten and Sascha Friesicke.

There’s so much to look at here! This book shows all sorts of mobile vehicles, Liz Kamarul’s Winnebego being one of them. It also shows converted school buses, vans, Airstreams, trucks, tiny homes….TONS of cool stuff. There are even roadside recipes to enjoy.

Pick this book up by clicking here or on the photos!

Side note: I have no idea if you guys are participating each month unless you mention it to me on social…..so if you are….COMMENT BELOW! I’m also open to any suggestions for future books. Holla at me.

DAY 31 Update, Don't Renovate Challenge: Get Help!

Well here we are and we’ve hit every area in our home. We’ve tweaked, updated, decorated, painted, un-organized, cleaned, purged and fixed as much as we could on our own. If there’s still a problem, then it’s time for you to get out of your own way. Time to get some help.

Today your mission is to GET ADVICE. Not from your Dad. Not from your Mom. Not from your BFF. Some legit expert level help.

I myself went round and round on the design of my backyard. I could not “see” it. I felt like I should be able to figure it out given my experiences with fixing up homes. Truth is that landscaping and desert landscape in particular, are not my forte. So, I finally hired a landscape designer to come out and give us some advice. We had him draft a design that we could later follow at our own pace. Sometimes we are too close to the problem and have been in the home so long we just can’t “see” the solutions.

If you are having problems like this in your home, I’m here to help! A lot of this information has come directly from visiting homes like yours! I’ve done consults all over the US via phone (with photos and video) and all over the City of Phoenix. I’ve opened up my design consult schedule for February and I’m ready! Bring me into your home either over the phone or in-person in Phoenix. Click here to read more about consultations and here to see put yourself on my schedule!

I hope you had some fun doing this challenge and that your home is in a better place than when you started! Please share any updates and after photos with us by tagging #updatedontrenovatechallenge on Instagram!

DAY 30 Update, Don't Renovate Challenge: Storage + Un-Organize

This post started out as an organization post and then became an un-organize post. Not dis-organize. Un-organize. Read on to see how that development came about.

Ok, we’ve cleared just about as much stuff as we can at this point I’m hoping. The next part is to work on storage and organization. I hope you left this for towards the end, because want to make sure we are storing and organizing only the things we need and really like! No sense in storing and organizing first before we’ve cleared out the crap. But wait….


Think first.

Do I need these things organized to live and feel better in my home?

Do I use these things often enough to organize them?

Does it actually matter if these things are organized?

Will organizing these things actually make more work for me?

Will new storage create more peace in my home by concealing things?


About a decade ago my husband and I were on a “we aren’t doing what everyone else does just because they do it.” kick. Not to be different for difference sake. It was simply fun thinking outside the box about things you never really think about. What we learned was in some cases you may want to UN-organize things. That’s right. Marie Kondo will shit a brick about now….

We stopped sorting our flatware. Those are our utensils in the photo above, laying in the drawer all willy nilly and co-mingling. Sorting them after coming out of the dishwasher was annoying AF. We really didn’t need the spoons and forks separated to make finding one easier. It’s just not that difficult to find a fork when you open the drawer. Now we just grab all of it out of the dishwasher and dump it in the drawer. It’s liberating.

Now, I know that some of you are having a conniption fit about not sorting the flatware. Chill out. I’ll never say you have to or should do what I do. It’s just a fun practice in rethinking things. Another instance of this type of thinking….

I stopped folding my underwear and pairing up my socks. Laundry is dumb enough. It ranks as number two in annoying household jobs, just behind cleaning the shower. No need to organize these things. I get no pleasure out of opening the drawer and seeing my undies folded. You know why? They never stay that way. They always end up a jumbled mess anyway. Why spend the time folding them in the first place?

And just like the flatware, finding sock pairs in my drawer has never been a problem since I stopped pairing them up just out of the dryer. I’d rather spend 10 seconds picking out my socks every day than sitting there pairing them up while folding laundry.

Another area I might abandon all organization is in my cooking utensil drawer. The smaller ones are in little shoe box lids (free version of a drawer sorter) but yet more utensils go in there and it becomes a mess anyway. Why am I even bothering? It’s not like it is hard to find the carrot peeler when I open the drawer.

Consider these little jobs we are giving ourselves. What doesn’t actually need to be done? Do we need to be sorting things that don’t need to be sorted? Are we really saving ourselves any time and making things better or actually just creating more jobs for ourselves?


Something what does need to be fixed is a storage solution that isn’t working in its current state. For instance,, we leave our shoes by the door when we enter our home. I have put baskets there but it looks awful since the entry is in our living room. I then put a trunk there to conceal the shoes. Now we just leave the shoes on top or around it. Bags and jackets get thrown nearby, too. It’s frustrating. My next step is to buy a cabinet to go there to hold it all. Hopefully with us each having our own cabinet to hold things, we’ll find it easy to open the door and chuck the shit in. I don’t care what it looks like in there so long as it closes and I can’t see it. I’m excited about having a cabinet that blends in with the wall and calms the space down rather than a bunch of little things clogging the space and view.

In your case, buy storage for and organize the things that are an actual problem. Think about how those things will function and will you actually use it the way you are intending. I had a feeling before I bought the trunk that it would be a temporary solution. My hopes are the new cabinet will conceal the stuff (the real problem). Organizing it is not necessary. I don’t care if my daughter and husband throw that crap in there in a jumbled mess as long as I don’t have to look at it anymore.

This post is a little wonky I have to admit. I guess what I’m trying to get at is organize and store things to make life easier, not to create one more thing you have to do. Organized things are nice. Creating more work to be organized for organization sake is not.

Does this make any sense at all?

Your mission is to:

  1. Find an area of your home and store the items in a more efficient and pleasing way.

  2. Un-organize something. Stop organizing something.

Tell me about it! Use #updatedontrenovatechallenge when you share!

DAY 29 Update, Don't Renovate Challenge: BIG Art

Art can be tricky. The small art is so inexpensive and feels easy to buy. And so we do. Then we have 80 little shits all over our home. A collage of small arts can look and feel better if it is clumped together well to EQUAL one large art piece. This is why clumped art collages work because they feel like one big art piece. What doesn’t work is when you have something undersized on a wall that is big. The ratio is off. Furniture helps to fill in the space visually, but just having a small piece of art on it’s own on an expansive blank wall feels like the wall is swallowing it up. I find it easy to just feel this out. Does it feel awkward and lonely where this piece of art is? Then, it’s probably too small.

Today’s challenge is to place a large piece of art in your home somewhere. This could be to replace a small undersized piece or just to fill in a blank wall you never got to. Now, don’t freak out, this does not have to be expensive or cost anything at all if you happen to have something laying around. I’m not saying to go out and buy some legit artist’s piece, unless you’ve been waiting for me to give you permission to do so. All we really need is something we like looking at that fills the wall proportionally. Prepare to have fun with this challenge! Here are some ideas:

  • Buy a big canvas and throw some paint at it. This can be really fun. I did this recently with a huge ugly canvas painting I bought at Salvation Army for $5. I used leftover wall and front door paint from my Rattan Ranch Airbnb. Is it a masterpiece? Hell nah. But, it works. You can splatter paint, brush paint on, spill paint all over it, go for it.

  • Buy digital art, download and then print it at Costco, FEDEX or a local print shop. I buy digital art on Etsy or from Juniper Print Shop. Buy a big frame for it at Michael’s or IKEA. I did this at my Comfy Cactus Airbnb.

  • Have something made for you that isn’t a print or a canvas at all. Macrame and fiber art are great, can be custom sized for your wall, and can feel extra special if made especially made for you. Fringe Forty Four made this one for me and I love it in my Comfy Cactus Airbnb.

  • Use a large mirror to fill in a space. I love this when the mirrors line up in such a way to reflect more light into a room. I found this vintage MCM mirror that I have hanging in The Rattan Ranch Airbnb at Goodwill for $10!

  • Maps can make great art. The colors can be really great. If the map is small, frame it in a larger frame. This vintage map of Arizona that I have hanging at The Shack Airbnb was $5 at a yard sale. It’s delicate and flaky so i framed it so it won’t fall apart.

  • Get creative. Just about anything that you can hang on a wall can be art! I found this little rug at Goodwill for a few bucks and it found a nice home at The Rattan Ranch.

Other things I’ve hung on walls as art:

  • A rug or tapestry tacked onto a canvas to make it appear even bigger (see first photo).

  • Garden stakes (long sticks of wood) in a pattern

  • Blankets

  • Flags

  • Baskets grouped together

  • Hats grouped together

  • Signs

The more creative you can be with this, the more interesting your home. I find one of the best ways to dig up the most creative ideas is to give yourself some boundaries. After writing this post I realized that almost every one of these ideas were found in my Airbnbs, the place where I’m seriously strapped for cash. By the time I get to the art and decor, I’ve spent tons of money on the furnishings and feel like I have nothing left. Then I get creative. Give yourself a tight budget and allow your mind to wander outside the box. Have fun with it and show me what you come up with! Use #updatedontrenovatechallenge to share!

DAY 28 Update, Don't Renovate Challenge: Hide It

So often I’ve come across instances where I, or my clients, think something “should be” sitting out as decor. We have nice (and expensive) stand mixers and books and a stack of magazines, etc and we display them proudly because we’ve seen others do it. The instagram accounts we follow have styled shelves and so we, too try to style shelves. But, there’s something wrong. It’s just not feeling right. I fee this all the time. As a flipper/designer/stager I feel like I should have perfectly styled shelves and niches around my home proudly displaying my vintage finds. Thing is, it sometimes feels like clutter to me. I’ve removed everything from my kitchen island. No decor. No more plants. No more fish, Popcorn, living in his bowl in the middle of it (RIP Popcorn). I prefer a large naked island with nothing on it.

One client was giving me a tour of her house and brought me to her dining room that they use every day. She asked, “What should I put here on this table?” My first thought and answer was, “How about nothing?” If the table is being used every day, anything you put there will have to be moved every single day. That’s fine, but if sounds annoying to you, then just put nothing! It’s allowed. She had not even considered this option and was relieved!

Your challenge for today is to look around your house at the things you have displayed. Is any of it just not sitting right with you? Maybe it’s just too much to look at. Note: this is not a purge challenge. By now you should probably have dealt with most items needing to leave your house. This is about the things you have and like, but maybe don’t need to be seen on a daily basis. Here are some ideas:

  • Extra toilet paper in a basket or on a shelf - - maybe it could be hidden in a cabinet

  • Too many pillows out at once

  • Books and magazines

  • Some small appliance sitting out on your counter

  • Decor that just feels messy by being there

  • Too many plants

  • Toys

  • Items on a dresser or vanity

  • Entryway stuff - - like keys, coats, shoes, backpacks - - we set these things up like a cute mudroom drop zone but do we really care to see them?

  • Tooth brushes on the bathroom vanity

Try finding at least one thing to put away out of sight and give your eyes a break from looking at it on the daily.

Missed a challenge? Find them all here.