Interior design orchestrates a delicate balance between form and function, with lighting acting as the conductor of this symphony. Much like the harmonious blend of instruments in a well-composed piece of music, interior lighting design weaves together various layers to illuminate spaces with both practicality and beauty. This article delves into the three key layers of interior lighting design: main lighting, task lighting, and ambiance lighting.





Main lighting, often referred to as general lighting, establishes the fundamental illumination within an interior space. Similar to sunlight brightening the outdoors, main lighting strives to evenly light up every corner of a room, eliminating shadows. This layer of lighting commonly utilizes ceiling-mounted fixtures like chandeliers, pendant lights, recessed lights, and track lighting. Serving as the cornerstone of lighting design, main lighting lays the groundwork for other layers, ensuring a balanced and practical illumination that facilitates safe movement and everyday tasks.




While main lighting sets the overall brightness level, specific tasks require targeted illumination. Task lighting is tailored to activities such as reading, cooking, working, or grooming, aiming to minimize shadows and provide sufficient light for detailed tasks, thus preventing eye strain. Examples of task lighting fixtures include desk lamps, under-cabinet lights, and adjustable floor lamps. By directing light precisely where it’s needed, task lighting boosts productivity and fosters a comfortable environment for tasks requiring precision.




If main lighting forms the base and task lighting serves specific functions, then ambiance lighting acts as the artist’s brush, infusing emotions and atmosphere into the room’s canvas. Ambiance lighting contributes depth, mood, and character to a space through various fixtures like wall sconces, cove lighting, and accent lights, which accentuate architectural elements, artworks, or decor. The use of dimmers and color-changing LED lights is pivotal in ambiance lighting, enabling adjustments to intensity and color, thus creating desired moods—whether it’s cozy, romantic, vibrant, or serene.




The essence of interior design lighting unfolds in the seamless integration of these three layers. When orchestrated with care, they synergize to craft a rich and welcoming ambiance. Take, for example, a living room: a majestic chandelier (main lighting) sets the general illumination, a reading lamp next to the armchair (task lighting) offers directed light for reading, while wall-mounted sconces (ambiance lighting) bathe the room in a soft, inviting glow during evening gatherings. The outcome? A space that’s not only practical but also enchanting.




In the realm of interior design, lighting transcends mere brightness; it’s an intricate art form that molds spaces into inviting sanctuaries, dynamic work zones, or comforting havens. The amalgamation of main lighting, task lighting, and ambiance lighting mirrors a trio of skilled musicians, each weaving its unique tune into a harmonious ensemble. By grasping and deftly employing these layers, interior designers and homeowners can sculpt spaces that not only boast adequate illumination but also exude personality, comfort, and allure. So, the next time you step into a gorgeously lit room, pause to admire the symphony of light enveloping you

How can you be excited about designing a bathroom? I know it seems like it is a just bathroom, but let me tell you, there are some exciting and sexy bathroom options to consider!

Beyond beautiful stone and tile, look past the custom vanity, disregard the plush bathrobes and pretty soaps that we put in all of the pictures, let’s talk about form and function coming together to make a truly spectacular  bathroom.

Let’s start with the toilet. It is a running joke here at my office how passionate I am about toilet details. I have 2 boys you see, so I know the value of a good toilet. What makes a good toilet, besides the style that compliments your bathroom:

  • 1 piece (no break/transition from tank to seat) – this is both a function and beauty issue
  • Smooth apron to the floor – this is a cleanability detail that you will appreciate
  • Elongated seat design – this is a preference, but is a nice detail
  • Comfort height (unless someone in your home is short) – as we get older this becomes more important, and is nice if everyone in the home is over 5’5″
  • Dual flush – a little water conservation goes a long way!

The bathtub…there are 2 main options to consider -Freestanding or Built in?

Freestanding tubs have beautiful shapes and size options, and typically if you do free standing it is the “wow” moment in a bathroom that sets the tone for the bathroom style. They do offer freestanding in jetted, but those tend to be a bit bulky and not as nice looking. Also with a free standing tub, you have some fantastic tub filler options, wall mounted or floor mounted, or if you are really bold you can do ceiling mounted for your tub filler!

Built in style tubs offer a plethora of options, including easy to conceal jets, bubblers, line heaters and some wonderful features. The other big advantage to a built in style is the surround itself allows us to accessorize with towels, candles, bath salts, you get the picture! Not to mention, there’s a convenient place for a glass of wine. Also, there is the safety feature of being able to sit your tush down on the side and easily swing your legs in.

Showers have countless options, but the one I want to share today is called a style or infinity drain. This is one of my favorite items. Drains are no longer typical. The tile in options are so great, you barely notice the drain, the water flows around the tiled area, and there is a little tool that allows you to lift the tiled top off if you need to clean the drain. Also, the elongated version is super cool, both tile in or with a grate, it is just fun to do something different! You can install this drain to run along the wall, or under a bench. Just remember we do have to slope the floor slightly to the drain.

We have even done a round version of this type of drain to go with the penny round mosaic tile.

A splurge item for some, a must in my opinion, is inset medicine cabinet mirrors. No more of the cheesy, little medicine cabinet on the side wall, how about a large 20×30 or 20×40 medicine cabinet that can be 4″ or 6″ deep, right in front of you as your mirror. Robern makes a fantastic one, Kohler has some, RH has some, you name it, we have lots of options in various shapes and sizes and budgets. On some of them, you can even have power inside (so you no longer need to have your toothbrush or various other counter top clutter items out) You can order them with a locking section for medication and you can get a refrigerated section. Sidenote : I used to think this was for tiny champagne or wine bottles!  but its main function is for expensive face cream or medication that should be kept cool. A nice little feature is the magnetic interior detail that holds tweezers or little scissors. Some even come with interior light and a magnifying make up mirror inside, so when you open that door you have everything you need. For the techies out there you can even get a TV in the mirror if you like to watch the morning news!

Let’s talk lighting for your bathroom. First, you need good light in the room, this is typically done with recessed lights placed properly in the room, sometimes even over the sink, tub, toilet area – depending on the bath lay out. Then we want some accent light, sconce lights, pendants (don’t be afraid to try something different) or over the mirror/medicine cabinet lights. These can be good task lights, but some fixtures are really more ambiance rather than task (especially with Edison bulbs or heavy shades). For your designer, these lights are the “bling” in the room, they let us define the style to compliment the surfaces and plumbing fixtures. One of my favorite little details is to add LED lighting under the toe kick of the vanity for a night light.

Another item to consider if your feet area always cold like mine, is radiant heated flooring. We don’t do much of this in California, but I did it for my parents and it is my mom’s very favorite detail. Yes, it is a luxury, but how nice to not be walking on cold stone flooring in the early morning. Your feet will thank you!

Want a complete spa experience, how about a towel warmer. Not too expensive, just need power, and a wall that accommodates the size of the towel warmer, now you have warm toasty towels when you step out of the shower. I know most people don’t think of this, but if you are remodeling anyway, it is an inexpensive way to add something special that I am sure you will enjoy.

One more fun item to consider (very affordable at that) is a blue tooth speaker/LED light/exhaust fan. That’s right you can have your morning play list, a quiet fan, and LED light all in one!

Now ….throw in some plush towels and a nice bathrobe and Voila! Your own custom spa bath
What new feature is your favorite for a new bathroom – Let us know !

I have been meaning to sit and write a blog for a while ….I know you’re supposed to do this for your business, but when your business is busy it’s hard to make time. So this one has been on my mind awhile, and since I heard it again recently from the well-meaning guidance counselor at my sons high school (as she is trying to schedule our annual catch up/state of your student meeting and I am explaining “no those dates don’t work because I am busy with” ….) I thought I would try to write it and see where this goes.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want this to come off negative. I love my job, I love what I do, I love to design, and I love our clients, vendors and trade partners. But….well, let me just break it down like this:

  1. A. Designing is only part of what we do, and even that isn’t strutting around with a latte – shopping at high end furniture stores with my client’s credit card in hand, no limit, the way some people imagine it. There are countless creative hours that are wonderful and totally fulfilling depending on each designers’ strengths and affinity, but designing space takes brains, and computer skills, and product knowledge, architectural and building experience, and so on. Selecting finishes and furnishings, time, knowledge, sources, sometimes a lot of leg work, sometimes a lot of desk work, well you get the idea. There are budgets and deadlines to manage. It takes work, it doesn’t just happen, it isn’t like it looks on HGTV!Just to give you an idea, for a 4000 SF turnkey house of furniture that we recently wrapped up -, we sourced everything from at least 16 different vendors, we must check stock and verify pricing, confirm dimensions and space plan each room with every item. Upon client approval we must send purchase orders, confirm the order, track everything, work with our receiving and delivery service to coordinate hundreds of items. For this house the list is 6 pages long, in very small font, and 2 binders of orders and delivery notices. And that doesn’t include the paint, wallpaper, window coverings, custom closet organizers and the last-minute “let’s remodel the master bath & can you get it done in 4 weeks” paperwork. I don’t mind any of the paperwork and follow up, I love to check and double check it off my list once everything has been accounted for, but I do mind the impression that we somehow don’t work, and it is just a good time everyday scheduled around dog walks, yoga and lunch with friends. Sound easy?
  2. We must be part psychologist and therapist and designer, and not every client is a ray of sunshine. Sure, we try to avoid those with the obvious red flags, but sometimes those flags show up later and we are into the job too deep to just cut and run, and our reputation is on the line, or money is on the line. the more they spend, the more “perfection and attention” they tend to expect, possibly rightly so, but I will tell you nothing in life is perfect. We start every job by setting the expectation that we are working toward excellence, not perfection. But sometimes Mrs. Jones loses her mind over a zipper in a pillow or a seam in a drape or a back ordered piece of art that didn’t make it on the slow boat from who knows where. Maybe it’s over the thing that was done by the human being that made a mistake didn’t do the detail just like the diagram or the vendor shipped the wrong thing and it is going to take time to get the right thing. Being rude, abrasive or insulting, never got anyone to help anyone any faster. Be kind and polite and reasonable and I will move heaven and earth to make you happy. Sound like a piece of cake yet?
  3.  Speaking of the missing item, or error, or damaged obj d’art, it is our job to worry and to manage the parts and pieces, trust us, we are working on it, our vendors are working on it, we will make it right. Thankfully, I am not a surgeon and no one has ever expired on the floor from a paint mistake or a chip in a tile, or whatever the crisis of the day might be. But trust me when I tell you, there are many little emergencies on every job, and we are working around the clock with your GC or whoever is involved manage and handle them so you don’t even notice. Sound fun yet?
  4.  Some heavy lifting might be needed….and yes I do mean physically. I have pinned my hair up more times than I can count to help a guy lift a heavy or awkward item out of a truck or van, or to make sure it doesn’t scratch my clients wood or ding the walls, or to just get all the pieces in the house faster. I have been on a step ladder and on my hands and knees cleaning before we deliver furniture or take pictures. I am sure not all designers do this, but I bet most of us do more physical work than you can imagine, especially on installation/set up days. I am an expert bed maker, I am a pro dishwasher, I am an ace mirror and window cleaner! And by the way, even if your house is on the beach, we are running the AC on working days, no one wants to see their designer wilted to near death after a long day of fluffing and staging. Sounds glamorous right!

And don’t get me started about the one where the cat went missing while we were delivering furniture… that one took years off my life, but we found fluffy in the house all along, no worries!

To be successful at anything you have to work hard, smart and organized. To be successful and be the business owner, you have to work long hours. To be the designer that your clients call back, refer to friends and family or that the GCs request on their job, you have to be willing to go all of the extra miles all of the time. Yes, it is great being an interior designer, we love the before and after photos, we love seeing the transformation in the space, we love seeing out vision come to life and most of all we love when our clients are thrilled beyond their expectations and appreciate all of the work that has gone into their project.

Design Your Life ! Kristi

Do you ever feel that something is missing from your home’s entry ? Maybe it’s hard to see the front door ? or your entry way is just plain lacking style ? …. here are some tips to help your home – Make an entrance !!

  1. Make the most of your front door – Your front door is one of the first impressions guests have of your home and sets the stage for what they may see next.  Make sure your front door is visible – add additional lighting on the sides of the door and above to give a full view at night. Add color to your door to make it stand out – That being said you can take the color more subtle or highly saturated – its up to you but a good rule of thumb is to make sure it fits into the color palette of your home. And last but not least – add details ! In the above picture you see two large planters that compliment the style of the home and add symmetry to the door.
  2. Think about the interior door – Painting the backside of your front door in a pop of color to compliment the entry way is an unexpected way to add style! The above picture shows just how much impact this can give to your entry way – Bonus – tying the color into an area rug really makes this work !
  3. Adding Texture – In an entry way texture can be introduced in many ways – above the textured grass wallpaper sets the mood for this home. You can also add texture with woven baskets – high pile area rugs and much more. Texture is a great way to make introduction to your home – especially for those who prefer a more monochromatic palette.
  4. Let there be light – Don’t skimp on your foyer lighting. Select a fixture that makes a statement and defines the area, as does this handsome lantern.

In closing , your entryway is the first introduction your guest have to your beautiful home ! Why not make the most of it ? Design Your Life!