Bookshelves come in every size and price point. While we think of them as the place to store books,they are also a piece of furniture that can wear many hats and serve you in ways you may not have thought of.
Take a look at these suggestions.

Think of the bookcase as a “frame” for art as seen in this photo.

Never go to bed without your books. See the rest of the home here.
Unless you live in earthquake country, a bookcase can serve as a headboard with bedside reading lamps attached to the unit.
Cocktails, anyone? They're extra easy to fix when the makings are nicely organized, as they are in this bookshelf-turned-bar, spotted on The Everygirl.
A small bookcase can be the perfect place to contain everything needed for making cocktails a breeze.
We love the way this bookcase does double duty as a console table – with the bonus of extra storage underneath.
A low bookcase can serve as a console table for artful displays while giving you storage space beneath.
Sometimes closet space just doesn't allow for a full shoe collection. On The Glitter Guide, bookshelves save the day as a display for shoes.
The perfect home for shoes. It stores them in an easy way to immediately see what you have as well as keeping them neat.
To divide an open space, pull your bookshelf away from the wall, library-style.
I love using bookcases as a room divider. It’s a great way to separate spaces in a multi-use room while still allowing light to flow through, and maintain an open feeling.
Your neatly folded fabrics and pillows look just as pretty on your bookcase as they do in your closet. See the rest of the space at Amber Interiors.
Not all linens need to be housed in a closed closet. If you have pretty ones and I know you do, why not display them? You can also easily find what you’re looking for at a glance.
Turn your bookcase to the side and pull up a chair. Voila! Instant office! Get the look here.
This bookcase is used for many things. Art, books, some live plants and the perfect place for a small desk, especially if space is an issue.
There's no reason you can't bring a bookcase into the bathroom. For a spa-like touch, place one towel in every cubby.
What better place to store all things that are needed in the bathroom. Easy to see and easy to grab. You’ll feel like you’re at the spa.
Don't want to design around your TV? A bookcase with a well-place sliding panel hides it from plain sight.
A bookcase can also be the perfect place to hide the T.V. when it’s not in use. A sliding panel easily covers it and you can add art to the front of the panel as well.
There you have it. Just a few ways that a bookcase can be added to any space in your home. They’re practical and add to the beauty of your interiors—even if they don’t hold books!
Until next time…
Blessings from my home to yours,
Nancy
Dedicated to helping you live your rooms—not the other way around
Photos courtesy ELLE Decor
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What price space? Many of us choose to live in a large city where in most cases, square footage is at a premium. Perhaps you’re downsizing and moving into the city in order to be close to great shopping, museums, theaters, fabulous restaurants, and excellent medical care.
No matter the reason, a smaller home will be your best choice both in terms of cost and convenience. Best of all, a smaller home requires less upkeep.
Smaller spaces, however, need clever design tricks to make your home functional, beautiful, and feel larger than it actually is.
Here are some HOUZZ examples that show you how:
COMBINING SMALL PIECES WITH REGULAR SIZE
Use stools and ottomans along with regular size furniture. They will give you more seating without taking up a lot of space. What you don’t want is all small-sized furniture. It will make the room appear even smaller
KEEPING COLOR UNIFORM

By using a paint color that is close in color to furniture fabric allows a blending into the room and gives the feeling of more space.

FLOATING CABINETRY

By keeping legs off of the floor, the eye sees less cluttered and feels more open.
GLASS OR ACRYLIC FURNITURE
Using glass or acrylic makes the furniture appear almost invisible. However, watch your legs when passing to avoid bumps and bruises!
ADD A MIRROR

The oldest design trick in the book, mirrors almost always double the illusion of space. Plus you receive the added advantage of bouncing light around the room.

TALL BOOKCASES
By taking bookcases all the way to the ceiling, the eye goes upward giving the appearance of a higher ceiling and more space. Also, adding another sofa across from the existing one would have cramped the space. The single chair is perfect.

EVERY BIT OF SPACE COUNTS

Modern Family Room by Scott Weston Architecture Design PL
If you have stairs, utilize the space underneath. In this space, it’s the perfect place for extra storage and who among us has too much of that? Especially true in a smaller home.
Until next time…
Blessings from my home to yours,
Nancy
Dedicated to helping you live your rooms—not the other way around
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Can you imagine any woman saying she has too many shoes?
Not gonna happen.
A bigger concern is storing our shoes so we can easily see what we have and not have a disorganized jumble on the closet floor.
Take a look at these suggestions for storing shoes  that can make your life easier and,consequently happier.
SIMPLE MOLDING AS HANGERS

Use molding as a “hanger” for shoes that have heels. They easily hook on making your shoes easy to store and see.

HALLWAY STORAGE

Particularly good for shoes that you put on and take off as you’re leaving and entering like walking/running shoes.

CUSTOM SHELVING

SHOE CUPBOARD
Transitional Closet by Acastrian Bespoke Fitted Furniture

Slanted shelves built into a linen closet is another way to neatly store shoes and keep them from being underfoot (pun intended!)

SIMPLE BOXES
by 2 Ivy Lane

Whether it’s the boxes your shoes came in or any sturdy box, take a photo and place on the front. A quick and efficient way to store your shoes and know at a glance which shoes are in each box.

CLEAR PLASTIC BOXES
Traditional  by Truorder

If you don’t want to take photos, clear acrylic boxes are another choice to house your shoes and clearly see what shoes are where.

HANGING BOOTS

Tall boots are difficult to store as they flop over and you have a jumbled pile to contend with. A great way to keep them organized is to hang them using trouser hangers.

TIP: Place a piece of foam between the hanger clip and the boot to prevent damaging the leather. Or, order from www.bootbutler.com a hanger designed especially for boots.   Available online or Bed Bath And Beyond.
Until next time…
Blessings from my home to yours,
Nancy
Dedicated to helping you live your rooms—not the other way around
Photos via HOUZZ
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If you’re like me, they stay in my phone. Then if I want to share one or print it out, I have to thumb back until I find it which can take time and too much patience.

I just ran across a product called Little Black Book and it’s a wonderful way to capture all of those special moments into a high quality, inexpensive photo book. Their website is www.artisanstate.com/photo-book/little-black-book.html
Take a look and see what you think.
Little Black Book
Flush Mount
I’m thinking of what wonderful gifts these little photo books would make.
Until next time…
Blessings from my home to yours,
Nancy
Dedicated to helping you live your rooms—not the other way around
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Having a window wall is a definite plus. It lets a lot of natural light into a room and it’s especially terrific if it looks out onto a lovely view.
But it can also be a source of frustration if you’re not sure how to use the space underneath the windows. By not wasting this area, you gain a lot of the room’s functionality. Is there ever too much space? One TIP is if the room receives a lot of sun, consider using solar shades. They can be mounted from the ceiling and will protect not only your eyes, but carpets and furnishings as well.
Take a look at these photos for some good ideas from HOUZZ.
The shelves are perfect for extra storage and also hides the radiator on the far right. while allowing for sufficient air flow. This design is great for a kid’s room.
Perfect space for a desk, particularly in a smaller home where there isn’t room for a designated office.
A large daybed with storage drawers underneath. Wouldn’t you feel like a cat dozing in the sunshine on this bed?
Another daybed that’s narrower than the previous photo and fits perfectly with the frameless window. It takes advantage of extra storage space underneath as well.
A low bookcase fills this space beautifully and it’s as sleek-looking as the home’s architecture.
A built-in dresser which saves space and also deals with a not so attractive radiator.
Until next time…
Blessings from my home to yours,
Nancy
Dedicated to helping YOU live your rooms—not the OTHER way around
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clutterYou’ve packed away the holiday decorations for yet another year. Wrapping paper, rripped boxes, and torn ribbons have made their way to the re-cycle bin. Guests and relatives have returned home and a certain quietude returns.
An emotional let-down can also happen at this time. Your home seems somehow empty without the glitter and lights you so enjoyed over these last weeks. Sort of like blowing out candles; the light is diminished. Maybe this year another focus is called for.
Instead of waiting for Spring cleaning, maybe this is the perfect time to do it. You’ve already started by doing your holiday clean-up.
Following are words from SALLY AUGUSTIN, Ph.D (sallyaugustin@tdesign withscience.com). They’re from an article she wrote for PSYCHOLOGY TODAY. She speaks of clutter in a deeper and different way:
“We continually accumulate stuff. Stuff isn’t trash, it’s torn out magazine articles set aside to read later, gifts that haven’t quite made their way to their final resting place, and cozy nests created to fight off the winter chill—in a word, it’s clutter.
Clutter is mentally exhausting. In our less developed prehistory,, we needed to continually survey our environment to make sure that nothing that found us appetizing was approaching. It’s easier to review a less cluttered environment; danger stands out more clearly. That survey behavior from long ago is probably at least one of the reasons that we prefer less complex wallpaper today. Each time we review a space, our eyes linger on each item there so clutter is also stressful because it takes us longer to complete an “environmental sweep.”
Clutter is undesirable for another major reason. We use the design of spaces we control and the objects we place in those spaces to communicate to ourselves and others who we feel we are—at least on our good days.
We are very good at reading our own environments and those of others—research has shown, for example, that we can pretty accurately assess a person through a quick review of places they control. We can even estimate how well a space could communicate who we are—that’s why we can take a couple of steps into  a perspective home and decide if it’s the space for us.
Excess objects and disorder can cloud the message sent by a space. Not clearly presenting ourselves through a space we control causes stress. Imagine that the spaces we control are topiary plants—they always need to be trimmed so people can determine the story we’re telling.”
So what do you think? Couldn’t this be a great way to start the New Year? You’ll have your Spring cleaning done well ahead of time. Best of all, you’ll feel really good about your home and yourself.
Until next time…
Blessings from my home to yours,
Nancy
Dedicated to helping YOU live your rooms—not the OTHER way around
For Tips on De-cluttering Your Home Room-By-Room, check out these articles:
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Modern design today favors open spaces such as a family room/kitchen/dining area.

But sometimes rooms that are too open can seem, well, too open. They can lack a feeling of intimacy and a certain comforting coziness.

You don’t want floor- to- ceiling walls, but you may want a room that is open but still gives a feeling of defined spaces.

The best way to have the best of both worlds is using room dividers and partitions.

And there are so many ways to design them that fit the architecture and style of your home and the feeling you wish to convey.

Take a look at these examples, some use nature and others incorporate various materials.

Using plants as partitions is a particularly creative and beautiful solution to the room divider issue. These vines climb up ropes to create an indoor jungle that also separates spaces.
This plant divider is a bit more opaque and requires regular trimming (along with water) to keep its sleek shape.

This plant divider is a bit more opaque and requires regular trimming (along with water) to keep its sleek shape.
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An even more vertical solution, this wall with built in planters is part room divider, part garden.

An even more vertical solution, this wall with built in planters is part room divider, part garden.
In this modern office space, both plants and furniture divide the area with tall spiky greenery emerging from the back of a low modern couch.

In this modern office space, both plants and furniture divide the area with tall spiky greenery emerging from the back of a low modern couch.
This curtain of hanging planters rounds out our green room partitions. It would be simple enough to hang this in a sunny space and fill each planter with a different herb, making this option both beautiful and delicious.

This curtain of hanging planters rounds out our green room partitions. It would be simple enough to hang this in a sunny space and fill each planter with a different herb, making this option both beautiful and delicious.
Too many walls and a room can feel small and cramps, but not enough and distractions abound. This half wall with beams and a beaded curtain lets in plenty of light and air while still keeping the office area removed from the rest of the house.

This amazing room divider actually hides an entire room away. Just fold in the wall and create a perfect cozy reading nook. Fold it away for sleep without distraction.

Sliding doors are another creative room divider option. These are made from reclaimed wood and can be left open for air flow and space or closed off for privacy.

Sliding doors are another creative room divider option. These are made from reclaimed wood and can be left open for air flow and space or closed off for privacy.

A bit less privacy is possible with these wooden slat sliding doors, but the elegant appearance more than makes up for it.

A bit less privacy is possible with these wooden slat sliding doors, but the elegant appearance more than makes up for it.
Using a massive bookshelf to divide a room is a great practical use of space as seen here. The more books you amass, the more separate things get.

Using a massive bookshelf to divide a room is a great practical use of space as seen here. The more books you amass, the more separate things get.
This low marble wall conceals an office space and also acts as a mount for a flatscreen.

This low marble wall conceals an office space and also acts as a mount for a flatscreen.
Gauzy white curtains don't do much to keep out noise, but sometimes the suggestion of division is enough to make a space more comfortable.

Gauzy white curtains don’t do much to keep out noise, but sometimes the suggestion of division is enough to make a space more comfortable.
Installing an entire wall is not always an option. This large panel only affixes in a few places, making installation and removal easy. As you can see, it also gives a perfect place to display art.

Installing an entire wall is not always an option. This large panel only affixes in a few places, making installation and removal easy. As you can see, it also gives a perfect place to display art.
Another easily installed piece, these wooden slats take inspiration from Japanese design and perfectly separate the dining area from the breakfast nook in this simply elegant home.

Another easily installed piece, these wooden slats take inspiration from Japanese design and perfectly separate the dining area from the breakfast nook in this simply elegant home.
Of course, there are also those times that intricacy wins out over simplicity, like in the delicately carved wood partition.

Of course, there are also those times that intricacy wins out over simplicity, like in the delicately carved wood partition.
This medal room divider appears almost pixelated, letting it blend easily with the industrial design of this urban loft.

This medal room divider appears almost pixelated, letting it blend easily with the industrial design of this urban loft.
geometric room divider
Some room dividers are more nightclub than midcentury. The gold sparkles in this handing curtain are brash and playful in a glorious middle eastern way.
These luxurious beaded curtains would never be found in a dorm.
Part art installation, part partition, this bright snowflake design also has pockets for reading material or other décor.

Part art installation, part partition, this bright snowflake design also has pockets for reading material or other décor.
Decidedly mod, almost like a martini olive, this room divider is fun and funky without devolving into kitsch.

Decidedly mod, almost like a martini olive, this room divider is fun and funky without devolving into kitsch.
Perfectly contemporary, this artistic white partition suggests separation more than it actually separates.

Perfectly contemporary, this artistic white partition suggests separation more than it actually separates.
No one said a room divider had to be boring. This pink plush tunnel makes it a bit more fun for kids to share a room.

No one said a room divider had to be boring. This pink plush tunnel makes it a bit more fun for kids to share a room.
The waterfall effect in this partition is ultra luxurious.

The waterfall effect in this partition is ultra luxurious.
Nautical and modern, this rope room divider is actually a fairly easy DIY.

Nautical and modern, this rope room divider is actually a fairly easy DIY.
Using shelving to divide a room also offers extra storage and display space.

Using shelving to divide a room also offers extra storage and display space.
In this urban space, the kitchen itself acts as a central divider.

In this urban space, the kitchen itself acts as a central divider.
Sliding glass doors don't give a lot of privacy, but they do give a lot of contemporary elegance.

Sliding glass doors don’t give a lot of privacy, but they do give a lot of contemporary elegance.
The wood slats that float up with this staircase are a beautiful design element in this wood heavy home.

The wood slats that float up with this staircase are a beautiful design element in this wood heavy home.
Taking the partition to the next level, this particular en suite does not even have a whole wall separating the bedroom from the bath, instead using frosted glass.

Taking the partition to the next level, this particular en suite does not even have a whole wall separating the bedroom from the bath, instead using frosted glass.

Translucent walls separate a concrete hallway from a contemporary living room with a Japanese flair.

Translucent walls separate a concrete hallway from a contemporary living room with a Japanese flair.
Photo credits: INTERIOR DESIGN IDEAS

If you have an area in your home where you feel a room divider or partition could enhance your space, please send me an email at me@nancymeadowsdesigns.com. I’d love to help you design one that’s perfect for you and your home.

Until next time…

Blessings from my home to yours,

Nancy

Dedicated to helping you live your rooms—not the other way around

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How many boxes/albums of photos do you have in a forgotten closet? If you’re like me, too many to count. We always think organizing them is something we’ll get to—sometime. The mere idea however, is daunting and we put it off for another day which never arrives.

Today’s photos are digital and easier to manage, but I remember all the years before when this technology didn’t exist. I still have a “Brownie” camera if you can believe it, which I’ve saved as memorabilia from my past.

This week’s article will help you to organize your photo collection more easily. The photos are from HOUZZ and the article was written by JENNIFER PHELPS, HOUZZ CONTRIBUTOR.

Keep calm and focus. Many people are loath to part with any photographs — the good, the bad and the ugly. But there are way too many to keep organized; this is how you got into this pickle in the first place. 

Now don’t panic. I’m not going to tell you to toss out all of your photos. But to truly honor your memories, you’re going to have to extricate the most precious images from that stack of space wasters. And, like any organizing project, if it feels daunting to do all at once, do it just a few minutes a day or one box at a time, and I promise that little by little, you’ll get it done.

The practical rule of thumb. Dispose of photos that are duplicates, blurry, of people or events you don’t remember, and multiples of the same group (people, pets, palm trees, whatever …) in slightly different poses. 

In fact, you really need to keep only a few images that best document your experience of any given event. While the practical approach may feel cold until you get in the groove, you’ll feel rewarded when you start uncovering long-lost gems. Sort by these categories: keep, toss, give away, and digitize (so you know you’ll never lose your favorites).

The emotional rule of thumb. Practical rules apply in photo organizing, but the fact is that this is an inherently subjective process. I tell my clients to go with their gut when choosing which photos to keep. If that blurry photo best captures the feel of the event, then that’s the one to keep. 

Choose a funky little snapshot that brings you right back to that day over a gallery-quality image that stirs no emotion whatsoever. Choose the one or two shots that make you feel the ocean breeze and smell the coconut oil, and confidently toss the ones that don’t blow your hair back. And even if you know your mother would be embarrassed by a certain picture of her, if it captures a facet of her personality that you love, then keep it.

What if I don’t like seeing pictures of myself? Sorting photos of ourselves is a touchy business. The good news is that the person who has the photos has the power to present history in a complimentary light – your best light. However, if you intend to pass these photos on to your kids, please see the last sentence in the previous paragraph. If you absolutely cannot be objective, just keep the ones you like.
What if someone else might want them? Not sure if someone else will want the photos you’re purging? Ask and then pass them on right away, rather than storing them any longer. Keep in mind that the point of this exercise is to preserve the good stuff. It doesn’t serve anyone to pass along a mess. 

What if not all of my photos are of happy memories? If some pictures dredge up negative feelings, consider saving them only if it’s important to you to keep a true journal of your life in pictures, but definitely toss them if you’d rather flush the memories of certain people or events.

Your photo collection should be something that brings you joy, a chronicle of people and experiences you want to remember, not just more clutter and guilt. Chip away at the resistance and chip away at the extras. Once your pile is manageable, you’ll be ready for step two: choosing a storage system that lets you enjoy your photos and the lifetime of memories they hold.

Until next time…

Blessings,

Nancy

Dedicated to helping you live your rooms—not the other way around

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As a book lover, to me, they’re also one of the best accessories a home can have.

Not Kindle books, but real ones that we can hold, touch, smell, and where we can physically turn the pages as we learn and are inspired by their words and pictures.

Books are also welcoming. They have an inherent warmth that beckons us into a space while they also share a lot about who we are, what we care about, and our take on the world.

The challenge is how to display them so that they become a natural and flowing part of the room’s overall design.

Here are some photos that show different ideas on how to successfully accomplish this.

The fact is that no matter how much you love your books, you can only read one at a time. This shelving unit takes advantage of that fact by adding depth rather than width. Books can be stacked two deep so that less wall space is necessary for twice as many books.

The fact is that no matter how much you love your books, you can only read one at a time. This shelving unit takes advantage of that fact by adding depth rather than width. Books can be stacked two deep so that less wall space is necessary for twice as many books.
modern corner shelving
This urban industrial apartment has vaulted ceilings, but in most cases, that just means a lot of empty space above your head. The massive shelving unit takes full advantage of the extra area, letting you stack books all the way up to the top and including a ladder for quick, if precarious access to every level.

This urban industrial apartment has vaulted ceilings, but in most cases, that just means a lot of empty space above your head. The massive shelving unit takes full advantage of the extra area, letting you stack books all the way up to the top and including a ladder for quick, if precarious access to every level.
huge shelves
In another example of taking advantage of high ceilings, these built in shelves are nestled completely into the wall, making for a sincerely impressive display.

In another example of taking advantage of high ceilings, these built in shelves are nestled completely into the wall, making for a sincerely impressive display.
colorful shelving

Just because you have access to a lot of shelving does not mean that every inch needs to be full of books. These shelves are instead carefully curated with books, magazine, and various knick-knacks for display. The result is both storage and decor.
built in shelves
While the more accident prone among us may hesitate to live somewhere with so many white surfaces, for those that can manage it, it can be truly serene. Here we do not see a massive shelving unit, rather in keeping with the minimalist style of the space, a few shelves float on the wall.

While the more accident prone among us may hesitate to live somewhere with so many white surfaces, for those that can manage it, it can be truly serene. Here we do not see a massive shelving unit, rather in keeping with the minimalist style of the space, a few shelves float on the wall.

These modern shelves leave a lot of negative space, calling attention to the look of the books rather than of the shelves themselves. The open backs and oversized height of the shelves let the beautiful brick wall shine through but still give a space for all that reading material.

These modern shelves leave a lot of negative space, calling attention to the look of the books rather than of the shelves themselves. The open backs and oversized height of the shelves let the beautiful brick wall shine through but still give a space for all that reading material.

Photos: INTERIOR  DESIGN IDEAS

If you would like help in designing beautiful ways to display your books, please email me at: me@nancymeadowsdesigns.com. I’d love to help.

Until next time…

Blessings,

Nancy

Dedicated to helping you live your rooms—not the other way around

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Until eight years ago, I lived in rental apartments most of my adult life. There wasn’t one that I didn’t put my “stamp” on to make it a reflection of how I needed my spaces to flow, function, and feel.

I never had a problem with the landlord. By paying my rent on time and always discussing ahead of time what I wanted to do and assuring them it would be in good taste, I experienced no opposition.

In fact, I improved the property. I signed long term leases because I knew I could be happy there and I treated the unit as if I did own it.  These are all pluses for a landlord.

Too often, renters feel because they don’t own the property and there’s a feeling of it being a “temporary” living space why bother.

The problem with this is they cheat themselves from having a home that truly nurtures and supports their life.

Your home, whether it’s a rented studio, large apartment or home is, in fact, your home and you deserve to feel “at home” in that space.

Six Ideas That Can Customize Your Rental

CHANGE LIGHT FIXTURES. You can replace existing fixtures (use an electrician for this) with your own. Sometimes a landlord will pay for this if they need to be replaced. If not, when you leave just exchange them with the original ones.

WINDOW TREATMENTS. Many apartments today come with aluminum blinds that are not that attractive. Think of replacing them with Roman shades, or even stationery panels that can be placed on either side of the windows. A valence can be added across the top as well.

WALLS. Nothing changes the look and feel of a space faster than paint color. You can also add decorative molding for very little money. When you leave, it’s very easy to repair the small nail holes.

Other ideas for walls include removable wall paper, hanging fabric, and of course, artwork.

FLOORING. Sometimes existing wood floors and carpet truly need replacing or refinishing. Landlords will generally absorb the cost of this project. Otherwise, large area rugs or carpet tiles are just what the “design doctor” ordered.

KITCHEN. Painting cabinets can give a new fresh look to this room. If that’s not possible, just replacing the hardware can update the entire space.

BATHROOM. Add a Roman shade it there’s a window, change out the hardware, replace an old dated mirror, and add or change lighting.  This was one room where I always did something with the light fixtures in order to have flattering lighting for applying makeup. Ladies, you know what I mean here!

CLOSETS AND BUILT-INS. Sometimes landlords will help with adding built-ins because it improves the property for future tenants.  Otherwise, modular systems can be installed and removed when you leave.

Take a look at these photos and you’ll see examples of the suggestions I’ve given.

 

Lighting
Windows
Flooring
Bath
Closets and Built-ins

Always remember, your home is your touchstone, your special and sacred space. May it always be set up to foster great memories and a place where you feel happy and comfortable.

If you need help in designing an apartment to fit your unique needs, please email me at me@nancymeadowsdesigns.com. I’d love to help you.

Until next time…

Blessings,
Nancy

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