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Marni Jameson

Stop! Think! Release! Before you store

If you’re eating, stop. This could kill your appetite for consumption: America has more than four times as many self-storage facilities as Starbucks locations. That’s right: 53,000 storage facilities to 12,000 Starbucks coffee shops; 53,000 storage facilities to 14,000 McDonald’s nationwide. Our country has more storage facilities than all the Starbucks, McDonald’s and Subways combined. Fifty-three-thousand! […]

Finding the zen in getting digitally organized

I have a confession. Remember when I wrote about downsizing my parents’ home, then wrote a book about it, as if I had this all on lockdown? Well, I did clear the house out, figure out what to keep, toss and sell, and sold the old homestead — all inside a month. But what I […]

Habits of daily living for an orderly home

Several months ago, right after DC and I bought a house and got engaged on the same day, and after I pinched myself into reality, the cold fact hit me that my four years of living a clean, well-ordered, show-home-ready, go-ahead-and-open-any-cabinet-because-its-perfect-and-everything-is-where-I-want-it lifestyle was about to change. I panicked. Sure, as we began to meld our […]

Wedding plans: 12 ways to save

Before I say “I do,” which is the plan a few weeks from now, I’m saying “I don’t.” A lot. This is necessary to fend off the posse of prenuptial predators who come after brides who are mostly (unlike me) young and innocent. I see right through them. I feel sorry for the uninitiated, who […]

Wedding plans: When to say I do and I don’t

Wedding plans: When to say I do and I don’t Before you go and call me a cynic, which you may by the end of this column, I want the record to reflect that I believe in celebrating life’s milestones. I believe that special occasions such as births, graduations and weddings should be elevated well […]

Elle-der décor: Furnishings for my mother

The room I was about to move my 93-year-old mother into lay as bare as a newborn baby. But furnishing the one-bedroom living area was the least of my worries. That was one task I could handle. What I wasn’t feeling so confident about were the many unknowns that went with the act of moving […]

A look back at 2015 lessons learned — Part 2

Last week, as I continued my tradition of ending the year with a two-part look back at the preceding 12 months, I shared my favorite lessons for the first half of 2015. Here’s what a check in my rearview mirror reflected for the last six months. Top takeaways range from cutting a sofa down to […]

A look back at lessons learned in 2015 — Part 1

At the end of every year, it’s my tradition to devote two columns to the highlights of the past 12 months. In compiling this annual retrospective, I review terrain we’ve covered — from picking sheets to placing parents in senior housing — and pull out the best lessons, one for each month. Some moments capture […]

Mom’s new home: Tips for moving an elderly parent

“How would you like to move to Florida?” I ask my 93-year-old mother over the phone. Again. Mom has dementia, and lives in a memory care center in Los Angeles. “And be closer to you?” she asks.  “I would like that, but I have to check with the family.” That’s mom. Family first. Problem is […]

Just add imagination during renovation

I knocked on the door of my former home nervously. I had no idea who now lived there, or if I’d be welcome. What I did know was that a package, an early wedding gift, had been delivered there for me. And I wanted it. I also knew the new homeowners had no idea where […]

Rules for holiday decor: Find your look and stick with it

Like many of you, the minute the Thanksgiving leftovers are put away, my thoughts turn toward the next holiday. And, no, I don’t mean Black Friday. Ever since I got dragged across a department store by a zealous shopper who’d caught my pierced hoop earring in a hanger, I sit Black Friday out. No bargain is worth bodily […]

Homeowners face off: Our rights or our history

“Of course, I will support you,” I told my friend, who was literally fighting City Hall to preserve the historic houses in our pretty little town. “I can’t tell you how much it would mean for you to be there,” she said. “You’re not only a recognized voice, but also someone who doesn’t show up […]

The towel trap — tricks to buying the perfect towel

Folks, I’ve been watching you. And you’re doing it all wrong. I’ve seen you in the towel aisle, picking towels based on feel, right? You go for plush. The softer and thicker, the better. Well, you’re being gamed by one of the oldest tricks in the industry. Towel makers coat their product with sizing chemicals […]

‘It Just Isn’t Home’

“Is that my daughter?” Mom’s greeting felt bittersweet. Mom, who is 93 and lives in an assisted living facility in Los Angeles, had been asleep in the lunch room. She’d nodded off over a bowl of soup. I’d flown in from Florida to spend a day with Mom, though a day hardly seems adequate to […]

Finding a kindred spirit in ‘Inspired Room’ blogger

Ever wonder what it would be like to run into your twin? The one you were separated from at birth, whom you never knew existed, but then there she was, turning up decades later? That’s what it felt like to meet, at least over the phone, Melissa Michaels, creator of “The Inspired Room” blog. Talk […]

When art tastes collide, consider a gallery wall

Whenever the subject comes up, DC, the diplomat, just smiles and says, “That’s going to be interesting.” Interesting is an understatement. DC and I are getting married in a few months. As we prepare for a home and life together we are conscious of the landmines that can blow when two adults with well-established tastes […]

Facing the blank book case: How to style shelves

As a writer and designer, I am terrified by two tyrannies: the blank page and the blank wall. Both of which I am obliged to fill with style and purpose. It can be daunting. If you want to experience full-body paralysis, stand in front of an empty wall or a vacant set of built-in shelves […]

There’s more to picking an area rug than love 

I am so sick of those in the home design world who say, “If you love it, get it!” Or “Fill your home with things you love.” As if that’s all there is to it. This reminds me of that absurd diet advice: “Eat what you love and still lose weight.” I’m sorry to be […]

When furniture shopping, watch what you wear  

From across the furniture showroom we could hear Gloria approaching before we saw her. Her big warm laugh and the clacking sound of her eight-inch heels preceded her by a good 30 seconds. DC and I stood blindly at the store entrance, the way one does when faced with more options than a Chinese menu. […]

Picking paint: It ain’t a snap

My painter was running late. Not hours late, weeks. The job before mine had gone long, then he had a family member in the hospital. So my painting job got pushed back a week, then two. At first I was disappointed. Then I was grateful. Turned out I needed every last day to pick paint […]

Despite high-tech ways to pick paint, low-tech still best

If any system is due for an overhaul — even more than the nation’s health care — it is the way we pick paint. Think about this for a minute. You start by looking at a color swatch the size of a subway ticket in light that is not your home’s light, on a surface that is […]

When design styles collide, apply rules of attraction

All colors are the friends of their neighbors and the lovers of their opposites. — Marc Chagall He likes classical. I like pop. He likes thrillers. I like love stories. He likes edgy art painted on metal. I like landscapes painted on canvas. I like carved wood. He likes chrome. And we are trying to create […]

Recover or replace? What to do with tired furniture

The two armchairs were on their way to the island of orphaned furniture. This gave me a little sick feeling. I tried to be clearheaded as I edited which furniture from my home and DC’s would make the cut in our new blended home. Many items landed on the exit ramp, which felt healthy and […]

Picking fabric pattern is not for the young and innocent

“What do you mean you picked out your own chair fabric?” I’m on the phone with my oldest daughter, Paige, who is 22. I had just spent the weekend with her in Houston, helping her move into her first apartment. Kids anymore. Just because she is starting grad school, landed a full-time job, rescued her […]

Picking the perfect bed for your pooch

Mom always said you don’t just marry the man; you marry his whole family. In the case of DC, that meant he and Peapod were a package deal. DC rescued Peapod from a shelter five years ago. A Heinz 57 mix with a healthy dollop of rat terrier, Peapod had just had six puppies, which […]

When furniture doesn’t fit, think outside the box

On paper, my two smoky blue, faux suede sofas fit beautifully on the upstairs landing. I had drawn them on my to-scale floor plan.  There they met at a tidy right angle and nested comfortably in the corner, next to a coffee table. One seven-foot sofa sat along the eight-and-a-half-foot-long halfwall, its twin on the […]

All the home’s a stage: Clearing a house, closing a chapter

“Clearing out my house with Marni’s help is like being a soldier at Valley Forge under Baron von Steuben,” DC is saying to his dog, Peapod. She’s heard the story of Washington’s revolutionary war hero all before. She looks at me with sympathetic eyes. “I’m doing this for your master’s own good,” I tell her. […]

All the home’s a stage: Before you buy, check out the hood

The dog barks day and night. Hoodlums sell drugs on the corner. The neighbor plays drums and tuba. The garbage dump is just over your back hill. The flight path to the nearby airport barely clears your chimney and the pasty-faced man across the street is a registered sex offender. The homeowner’s association fines you […]

All the home’s a stage: Finding the house

I knew the minute we didn’t get the house it was the one I wanted. I hadn’t been this heartsick since I got sent home from summer camp with mono. After helping DC shop for a new home for months we had a good sense of what we were looking for and what we weren’t. Like […]

All the home’s a stage: House hunting

Much as I carry on about house buying and selling, the fact is I haven’t bought a house in 12 years. That time around could hardly be called a house. What I bought was a poured foundation with the framing started, which I took from there. The house before that was also a lot and […]

House hunting in the hypothetical

“I am not a house snob,” I say to DC. He raises his eyebrows, lowers his chin and regards me over the tops of his frameless lenses. He wants to go house hunting, with me, but thinks pleasing me may be a tall order. “Okay,” I continue, in the most reasonable tone I can find, […]

All the home’s a stage: 10 staging secrets to selling success

When the idea of staging his house to sell came up, DC knew better than to question me. A HGTV devotee, he was tuned into the power of staging. He had also watched me, in the 14 months he’d known me, stage three very different houses. But he admittedly didn’t have the faintest idea how […]

When selling, strip rooms then style with purpose

“First we need to remove all the stuff,” I say. “What stuff?” DC asks. I look at him sideways and realize he’s serious. Like most homeowners he doesn’t see his home with fresh eyes. “Everything that doesn’t require two people to move needs to go.” “Go where?” I am helping DC get his home ready […]

All the home’s a stage — preparing the shell to sell

We start at the curb with a clear, unclouded eye. My friend DC holds a yellow legal pad and a blue ballpoint poised to take notes about what needs to be done to get his Florida house ready for market and, more specifically, sell fast at a great price. Though I have professionally staged many […]

Not so small impact of ‘not so big house’

Sixteen years ago this month, while covering real estate for the Los Angeles Times, I interviewed a little-known architect on the verge of becoming a household name. Seven months earlier, in October 1998, Sarah Susanka’s first book, “The Not So Big House” (Taunton Press), hit store shelves. By May 1999, “The Not So Big House” […]

Putting the humble back in home

Living simply isn’t simple. In fact, it’s complicated. So a recently released book — “Keep It Simple,” (Ryland, Peters & Small, March 2015), which weighs in at 176 pages — reminded me. By definition, the concept of simple shouldn’t need a book, or a monthly magazine for that matter, but it does. That’s because, in our bigger, […]

Great sheets are an investment; handle with care

I still remember the day, and this is very sad, when my all-time favorite pair of old jeans gave out. I’d had them for years, and we’d gone everywhere together. I loved those super faded, five-pocket, button-fly jeans and, you know, I think they loved me, too. We were perfect together. And then one day […]

Pillow talk part two: Picking the perfect sheet

Who knew so many people were losing sleep over their sheets? I didn’t. Not until my column about creating a heavenly haven broke two weeks ago, a column that tripped a feather-storm of emails from readers talking — and asking me — about that most intimate part of their life: What they sleep with.   Some readers […]

The rest is done with mirrors

Mirror, mirror on the wall, would you please go away, at least until I have my make-up on? No, wait. Stay. I need you to put my make-up on. Like many women, I have a love-hate relationship with mirrors. I need them to pull myself together, otherwise I would roll out of my house looking […]

Creating a sleep haven

I have been sleeping around this week. I mean that literally. In the space of seven days, I have bed bounced from Phoenix to Washington, D.C., to San Antonio and back to my own bed in Orlando. Nothing makes me appreciate my own bed — heck, my own bedroom — more than a string of foreign mattresses, […]

Spring cleaning fever: Clean where the sun shines

It’s spring, the time of year when raw unfettered daylight busts into your home like a swat team armed with floodlights catching you unaware: “You, you in the kitchen, put down the spoon and the ice cream carton and put up some rubber-gloved hands!” The bright light of spring exposes homes for the Petri dishes […]

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