Find What Makes You Feel Good & Get in the Spirit of Spring

Spring sceneryYes, I am an interior designer. But I’m also a transformer and re-inventor. How so? I love to create change, both within myself and the spaces I create with my clients. I regard the process of designing a space in the same way as designing one’s life. Why? Because you can’t design a living space that is going to bring you peace, comfort, and warm energy, without understanding what your needs are – not only externally, but INTERNALLY.

My clients contact me for a multitude of reasons, but it all boils down to one thing — they are on the brink of making a change in their life and for many this means getting out of their comfort zone. Whether it’s transforming their bedroom into an oasis, adding more energy to their kitchen, or building a new house from scratch, the bottom line is that my clients are reaching out to me to coach them through the process of transformation.

Figuring out what the catalysts are for our own personal transformation, believe it or not is what makes the process of change so much fun. In the design process, after we discover what gives us a sense of peace, comfort and overall well-being, the rest of the process falls into place. Once we can internalize what makes us feel good, balanced, energetic or serene, everything is at our disposal to select for our living spaces.

With that said, how can we get in touch with what makes us feel good and get in the Spirit of Spring? Here are a few ideas that will cost little or next to no money:

  1. The next time you are at Trader Joe’s buy some cut flowers in your favorite color (at $3.99 a bunch, how can you go wrong?). Flowers are organic, they bring fresh air into the home, they are fragant, they involve all the different senses – touch, smell, sight.
  2. Take out a colorful platter that you normally use for entertaining and create a centerpiece out of it. Place all the same objects in the same accent color on it (i.e. lime green apples on a gray platter). Centerpieces can create contrast, contrast promotes energy, energy promotes excitement in the air!
  3. Purchase some new throw pillows. If you like mod/contemporary, go to CB2 or West Elm. If you are more vintage, check out Urban Outfitter or Anthropologie. Home Goods Rearrange bookshelveshas tons of pillows for every décor from traditional on.
  4. Rearrange your furniture. If furniture is pushed against the walls in a room, bring it out and float it in the middle of the room. Create different seating zones, create movement and energy with this tip. Try angling the furniture to redirect the circulation in the room.
  5. Edit and rearrange your books and knick knacks. Clean out your bookshelves. Less is more! Store away books that don’t have meaning to you anymore. Lay some books flat as opposed to vertically. Mix up your bookshelves with picture frames and meaningful items that reflect your present life.
  6. Give your room a boost with a new accent color. In the kitchen purchase a new color of hand towels, soap, place a centerpiece (see above) on your kitchen table or counter.

I hope that some of these ideas resonate with you so that you can begin transforming your homes by infusing the Spring Spirit into them. When you are out there shopping or contemplating your next home décor move, keep in mind that if your home is truly a reflection of you and your family, then it will reflect warmth, positive energy and comfort. It’s like magic!

GoGo Answers the Call for HGTV’s Brother vs Brother

GoGo Design Group recently had another extremely fun adventure at the HGTV Brother vs. Brother Chicago Casting Call!   Showing up at the Chicago Westin Hotel on Michigan Avenue with application and photos in tow, I was able to snag three or so minutes with a Chicago casting agent and introduce myself to the HGTV world.  Much to my delight, I got a call back three hours later for a camera interview, and scheduled it for the next day.

Back at the Westin I had the incredible opportunity to sit in front of the rolling camera and speak all about the GoGo Philosophy.   The two women who interviewed me were so warm, friendly and fun to share my life with, both the personal and professional sides.   What a tremendous experience to fully express my transformation and reinvention journey, as well as my approach to what it takes to be the ultimate TV Designer.

Stay tuned for an update on the next leg of my HGTV journey.  You never know – those red gogo boots may be strutting their stuff across your television screens soon!

HGTV Brother vs Brother

CAI Design’s Chair Contest Entered

A good challenge always keeps us on top of our game and Gogo Design Group had the privilege to take on another one recently as part of the Palecek & Kravet Inspiration Chair Contest.    We were one of six design firms nominated by CAI Designs to compete.

The Challenge:  create your own inspired chair using in stock Kravet fabric and any Palecek furniture finishes.

Setting out to the Kravet Showroom, I had my vision and chomping at the bit dove into the fabrics.  Thinking color and texture are what’s going to make my chair sing, I selected a creamy and soft faux fur fabric for the seat and back and a red and yellow Ikat fabric.  But to my disappointment, these fabrics were not in stock and this would disqualify me from the contest.

Click to vote for The GoGo ChairI dove in again and since I wanted a contrast between color and texture -  my daily approach to breathing energy and personality into inanimate objects – I found an in-stock Ikat pale turquoise and yellow fabric for the inside back of the chair to coordinate with a silver/taupe metallic and striated fabric for the seat and back.  The welting around the seat and inside back was created with velvet muted turquoise, and I selected antique bronze nail-heads to pick up the gray/taupe tones in the fabric.  Finally, I selected a distressed yellow chair frame to connect all of the design elements of the chair together.  The result – The GoGo Chair!

It’s so great to seize opportunities and squeeze the most out of them.  This was one such opportunity.   You can go to CAI Designs Facebook page and vote for my chair for the next week.  The chair with the most “likes” will be the winner!  Winners will be announced on October 8 at the CAI Design showroom at the Merchandise Mart, as part of Design Chicago Week.   Gogo Design Group would like to shout out a huge thank you to Kyle Blevins of CAI Designs for nominating us for the Contest.   It’s such a blast working with Kyle on our various projects, and this one was especially fun!

Vote on Facebook

Just click like under the photos!

Don’t Give Up On The Process, Believe In It

Have faith in the processIt’s so easy to give up on our personal goals whether it’s losing weight, exercising more, traveling more, or tackling that next home improvement project, etc.  It’s hard enough to take the plunge to set a goal, let alone achieve it.   But did you ever notice that we are prone to give up when the going gets tough?  As easy as it is to set a goal, it’s even easier to give up on it or ourselves.  About five years ago my light ignited and my journey to self-discovery was set in motion when I initiated my weight loss “program”.  I wish I could bottle and sell or at least give away what kept me going.  People ask me what my secret is, and all I can respond is hard work and a lot of tears, sweat and perseverance.  But that’s such a superficial answer.  If I knew what the secret is, I would be a billionaire right now, and would have appeared on Oprah a long time ago.   When I really think about a meaningful answer for what all this transformation and self-discovery was a product of, I realize it all boils down to belief and faith.  The bottom line is, if we don’t believe and have faith in ourselves and our inner strength to persevere, we might still achieve our goals one day, but the process is going to be a little more painful.

Transforming and growing can be tough and I’ve been having growing pains lately.  I’m going to tell it like it is.  When the going gets tough – mothering, working, friending, training, dog walking, designing (have to include an actual verb!), it’s easy to want to give up and stop caring.  It’s easy to just say: “I can’t take on so much anymore and pursue all of my passions; I’m not cut out for this.  I’m not going to strive to be the best I can be, I’m just going to settle for complacency”.  But thank goodness my light is still ignited.  It might not be roaring this week, but it’s still burning.  It just needs a little coaxing and TLC!

So what did I do?  Feeling extremely blue this morning (no offense sweet color blue!) I went back to my “roots”.  I went to the gym determined to coax my light into a flame.  I took myself back to the early days of my journey and got down and dirty.  I attacked every push up, burpee, sprawl and snatch, squat and jack knife sit up (oh there was more stuff!) with every ounce of determination in my body.  I pushed it and dug deep.  And you know what, I left the floor feeling depleted but STRONG with belief that I WON’T GIVE UP.  I can do this, and have a blast at the same time!  It’s going to be painful and challenging, but the rewards are amazing!

If you have read this far, you are probably asking what the heck does this have to do with Interior Design and why is she blogging about her personal stuff and what she does at the gym?  My candid answer to you is this:  The next time you embark on a remodeling, new construction or home improvement project, don’t give up on the process, BELIEVE in it and have FAITH that the end result will be more amazing than you ever imagined!  There will be obstacles and challenges – not problems – that will need resolution.  There will be frustrations and feelings of self-doubt, especially because, bottom line, there’s the notion that you are spending your hard earned money and don’t want to make the wrong decisions.  A good interior designer gets all of this, and it’s their job to be your cheerleader and coach throughout the entire process, so that when the going gets tough, you don’t give up on the process, settle for less and lose sight of your passion for what you really want.  Like me, who has her tough days, you also might feel like giving up during your project, but don’t do it!  Hang in there, persevere and have fun all at the same time.

Think Out-Of-The Box For Creating Interior Design Improvements

Recently a couple came to me and expressed the urge to make a change and increase the warm energy in their home.  I say increase because their home already feels incredibly warm.  As soon as you enter you are washed with warmth and positive energy.  All is orderly, each item and piece of furniture placed thoughtfully throughout and reflective of their lifestyle and personal aesthetic.  The color palette does exactly as it should – envelop you with comfort.  One of the owners is an artist in his spare time and his engaging work is displayed in certain areas.   His other half is a professional organizer so the accessories she has carefully chosen and placed don’t create clutter, they tell the story of her family’s life.  I love the kitchen, too.   The design of the kitchen is a result of its daily use.   Steel shelving,  a butcher block island and a large chalkboard with colorfully written daily thoughts and to-do lists join forces that are so pleasing to the eye you want to pull up a stool and hang out in there.

Staircase detailSo, on a tight budget, and not wanting to paint the entire house where could they make a change?  The solution was a frequently ignored area in everyone’s home – the stairwell.  How many times a day does a family run or walk up and down the stairs?  Here was the spot to infuse a burst of energy and light into their home.   I noticed some great photography on the walls walking up the stairs and an opportune built- in shelf on the landing wall where some lovely framed photos and knick-knacks perched, and immediately felt something sacred about this space.  The home’s color palette was muted and relatively neutral.  The landing was the perfect spot to be bold and create movement in a relatively static space.  When we painted the wall lime green, and washed the once white walls with a warm neutral, the space immediately came alive and a once ignored spot in the house became an equally experienced happy place.

The next time you feel like you need a change but don’t know why or how, think out-of-the box and look to areas in your home that you don’t usually give a second thought to.  You never know the magic you can create!

updated staircase

Kick @SS Design Combines Beauty with Function

Rebecca & her new carIn this case, we are not talking about an interior of a room, office, or house, we are talking about the interior AND exterior of our brand new vehicle!  Yes, we spend a ton of time in our cars, and this week Gogo Design Group acquired a new one.   Can you tell we are having a difficult time containing our excitement?  While the comfy black leather and red stitching seating is hot to look at, and the XM Radio’s unlimited music supply can blast us into an awesome state of mind, the car is safe, reliable, and can forge through any Chicago snow storm!  Finally.  A kick @ss GMC Terrain.

Just as an interior reveals our personality and how we live our life, our cars can reveal just as much.  Depending on one’s frame of mind and stage in life, our cars tell a part of the story of our life.  Some folks drive sports cars, others drive mini vans, and some prefer a pick-up truck.  It’s all about our personal choice, whether it’s dictated by finances, aesthetics, practicality, or any combination of these.   Sound familiar?  This exact same concept can be applied to designing your new living space.

In my case, as materialistic as it sounds, the time had arrived to shed my minivan, as a final remnant of my personal and professional transformation, and drive a hot truck that represents the new Gogo Generation.  My new truck represents my discovered strength, power and self-confidence.  It’s time for this caterpillar to unfold her wings, emerge from her minivan cocoon, and fly off in pursuit of new adventures.  And I’d love nothing more than for you to join me!

Seek Out Your Passions In Your Life and Create with Them

Introducing FitPower Chicago!

At Gogo Design Group, of course we are passionate about our interior design work and making a difference in the lives of our clients and the spaces they inhabit.  But an ideal life contains balance, and part of that balance involves pursuing other endeavors that give us an additional sense of purpose and meaning.

Rebecca & DerekI am so proud to announce my latest passionate endeavor — FitPower Chicago.  FitPower Chicago is an innovative program for children and teens that will teach and empower them to stand up against bullying and violence.  Using the principles of Krav Maga, the Israeli hand-to-hand combat system, the program builds youth’s verbal and physical skills as well as their self esteem so that they can shed the victim mentality.  Through verbal and fitness training, Derek Randel and I are going light a fire within today’s youth and teach them to build their self confidence and become Leaders in their peer groups.

Krav Maga has had a huge impact on my life over the past few years.  It gifted me, and continues to gift me with the power to take control of my life, cultivate a fighting spirit, go about my life with self confidence and high self esteem, and empower others to do the same.  What a dream come true to see this program come to fruition.  I am grateful to Derek for not thinking I was crazy when I asked him to join me in creating this program, because it couldn’t have happened without him!  I must also shout out to Master George Buruian, my long time personal trainer, world class Krav Maga instructor and dear friend, who patiently empowered me to lose 80 pounds and reclaim my personal power and voice, so that I can do the same for others.

Please read more about Derek — an international bullying expert, public speaker, and author — and his astounding credentials on our developing website www.fitpowerchicago.com.  There you can learn more about our evolving program and how you can help make a huge difference in other peoples’ lives.