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December 27, 2016

Giving Your New Years Resolution Some Space

So, if you are anything like me you are conflicted. I am the first to admit that I love designing for the holidays, but the clutter makes me crazy. I feel like I am always one drop kick away from a Christmas Catastrophe!

"So goes your space, so goes your mind" A cluttered house is a cluttered mind. So they say....

With that in mind, I thought a few resolutions on space clearing might be in order.

Practice what you preach, right?

#1 - Give Yourself Some Space

It's true that some people feel more comfortable surrounded by stuff, but most of us benefit from a clear and open pathway. Look around you right now. How difficult is it to navigate from one room to the next? How many obstacles lay between you and your destination? A clear path eases the mind (as well as toes and hips and other things that get bumped when a space is overfilled!).

Here are some handy tips for proper spacing to get you started:

       ~The space between your perimeter cabinetry and your island should be between 42" up to 48" if you share the cooking.

        ~Leave at least 36" between the edge of your dining room table and any wall or other piece of furniture. 48" is ideal.

        ~18" is just about the right amount of room to leave between the sofa and the table.  This allows enough space to move in and out and proper spacing for reaching for drinks. It's also the perfect width for a golden retriever to slide in for some always needed snuggling.

Once you have cleared a path, consider the Feng Shui art of Space Clearing. Think of it the same as as a good rain cleans and ionizes the air. There are so many ways to perform this task, but essentially just as you would give your house a good deep clean, you can work to keep the energy balanced and move along unwanted or stagnant energies and leave you and your home refreshed.

#2 - Lighten Your Load

A friend last year committed to giving away one item from her home everyday for a month. Before the month was over, she and her kids were gifting multiple items per day and that month stretched on for two!

As a designer it is my job is not to save my clients money, but to use their money wisely and that starts with only purchasing things that have a purpose. Clutter for clutter sake does no one good and is pretty much a gateway to more clutter. We always have an eye for sustainable, high quality materials that are much less likely to end up in a landfill.

Resolve to tackle a room a day and assign a box for selling, one for gifting, and one for trash (use this one sparingly). Just like your clothes, if you haven't used it in a year, it will probably do someone else more good than you.

And then resolve not to replace it unless you really need to. You might find your new found empty space a pleasure.

#3 - Resolve to Get Your Happy On

Headspace is just as valuable real estate as physical. Once you have cleared your physical space, do yourself a favor and take care of the inside.

One of our favorite gifts this year was our Buddha Board. A simple white paper board and a brush. Using only water you "paint" across the board. And then within minutes your artwork disappears, reminding us of the importance of the here and now and that all things change.

~Resolve to start the day with a Mindfulness Minute. Just one minute of centered deep breathing can have a beneficial and lasting effect on your day.

~Practice gratitude. And pass it on.

~Stretch. Start and end your day with just five minutes. This allows the body to push out toxins that accumulate during the night and day. So does an early morning walk.

~Start the day with a full glass of water. This will boost your metabolism and re-hydrate your cells.

We have also started installing more diffusers in homes these days. There are so many styles and functions that there is something for everyone. They provide much needed humidity, chromotherapy, and when used with essential oils such as lavender (for calmness) or citrus (clarity and focus) they help create a sense of wellbeing in a space. We even have a teacher that will be using one in her classroom.

#4 - Go Outside and Play

Once you have your personal space cleared go outside and clear your mind and body, plus bring the outside back in with you.

I have written before about Shinrin- Yoku, forest bathing, and the multitude of benefits of walking in the woods. From lowering blood pressure to relaxing the prefrontal cortex to increasing creativity (most people find that they come up with their most creative ideas in the shower or walking), there is no down side to taking a walk on the wild side.

And if the elements temporarily don't support you, viewing scenes of nature and walls in a soothing color of green or blue, will produce similar effects.

Pantone's color of the year is aptly titled Greenery and is meant to symbolize new beginnings.

And don't forget to bring the outside in, especially in winter.

New Hampshire Home magazine (Jan./Feb) has a wonderful list of greenery for the home that can support your immune system as well as act as air purifiers. Nancy Carlisle of Interior Plantings in Concord suggests mixing a selection of small and large plants to create visual interest and clean the air.

Some of her top choices include:

 ~Philodendrons, especially Elephant Ear

~Red edged and Cornstalk Dracaenas

~Spider Plants

 ~English Ivy


So whether you are clearing your head, your heart or your home, resolve to be clear.

The past is over.

The future may never be.

The present is all that exists.

Live each moment to the fullest.


Happy New Year!

In good design,


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Clients who have experienced the transformative power of healthy interior design

Renee possesses a rare combination of artistic creativity and intuitive design. Her warmth and compassion extended beyond working with us to understanding the style and feel of our home and how we live in it. We felt fortunate to work with and get to know Renee and absolutely love the updates she made to our home- from windows and walls to artwork and furniture!

Jim P.

Renee is an absolutely wonderful designer. Very talented and easy to work with! She will transform your room or outdoor space into exactly what you want, only better!

Karen S.

Talented, creative, dedicated, great communicator. Renee is such a special person.

Marla W.

We have worked with Renee Carman at this company for almost 2 years. Renee is professional, personable, and a pleasure to know. She is very helpful and will go the extra mile to please her clients. Renee has excellent expertise and knowledge of interior design. We have a beautiful home and highly recommend her.

Lisa W.

Renee possesses a rare combination of artistic creativity and intuitive design.  Her warmth and compassion extended beyond working with us to understanding the style and feel of our home and how we live in it.  We felt fortunate to work with and get to know Renee and absolutely love the updates she made to our home- from windows and walls to artwork and furniture!

Kate S.

Renee was a pleasure to work with and has great vision. We were doing a total rehab of a recently purchased property and she was able to look at a gutted out '50s cottage and turn it into a beautiful mid-century modern home. She understood our budget and timeline and was good about narrowing all our options down to just a few choices. This expedited the process, made it less difficult and more enjoyable. Once the rehab is done, we look forward to working with her again and finish the rest of the rooms.

Bill H.

Renee at Mandeville Canyon Interior Design was simply wonderful to work with. She was able to understand what we were looking for in terms of color, function and design from the moment we first spoke. She's easy to work with, goes above and beyond and delivers an outstanding design.

I highly recommend Renee and Mandeville Canyon Interior Design. I don't think I will attempt to decorate another room in my house without the help of Renee!

Pam O.

Love working with Renee and Mandeville Canyon Interior Design ! I had the opportunity to collaborate on a large scale design project recently and the results were fantastic! Creative, resourceful and one of kind design ideas made this design opportunity with Renee "one of a kind" Have a large or small project? You won't be disappointed!!

Mary S.

Renee not only has an amazingly creative eye, she also directed a massive renovation for us this past year that included the challenges of operating during the pandemic. She put together a team that had an incredible work ethic and brought the project in on-time and on-budget. She's a great listener. When we threw ideas at her, she was never dismissive; quite the contrary, she made them better. Her patience, attention to detail combined with her whacky sense of humor meant we were all able to smile while producing a home that we love. A great talent and a great lady.

Ann R.

Rene is amazing!  Great customer care and wonderful attention to detail.

Holly M.