Get Organized with FAT- File, Act, Toss

Hello and Happy New Year! While we’re still on our motivational highs for 2015, I thought I’d continue where I left off last week, as I discussed tips to declutter your home post-holiday season, here. So now that you’ve tossed all the unnecessaries and shed the weight it’s time to get FAT… in a good way! FAT is an organizational system that a friend of mine created. It’s a wonderful antidote to hoarding, and it’s a good fat, not fat chub chub. Who’s with me for some organizational tools that actually work?! We just spent time cleaning/tossing/donating all our excess, so now we must sort through what’s staying and where it’s going to live!

Step #1  F – File it

If it comes in the mail, if you need to hold onto it, if you want to keep it for future reference, file it. And file it now. Today! Otherwise it will sit in a pile and the pile will grow and grow until you can’t remember what it is anymore. We’ve all been there. All those coupons we swore we were going to use only to find them buried between 8 pounds of Restoration Hardware catalogs. We get eagerly excited to see our dear little discounted friend again, only to realize… yep, it expired a month ago! No bueno. Identify a designated area in your home (where you stack your mail often works well) where you will sort through things like mail, bills, medical records, legal documents and all that paperwork that comes home from school and start sorting.


As for all those loose items like gift cards, reward cards and coupons? Use an errand planner or business card file concept that keeps things all in plain view. I’m not proud to admit that I’ve found myself at the cashier stand at Target only to walk away realizing I had a gift card hiding in my wallet somewhere that I could have used. Ouch. You been there too? If you can’t see it, you don’t know it’s there. Time to get organized.


Step#2   A – Act on it

Do you need to pay it? Return a call? Email it to someone? Act on it now and then file it or throw it away. Cross it off the list and be done with it. Take a few minutes to take care of those important little things so you don’t forget to do it. Don’t put it off! If you are one of those people who come back to it over and over again, act on it first thing in the morning before you start your day. Resist the temptation to check emails and social media. That can all wait. Get your head on straight and knock those lingering tasks off your list before today’s curveball gets thrown your way. You’ll be glad you did!

Step# 3   T – Toss it

Why are you keeping this item/bill/record/etc? Is it truly necessary for the future? Will you need it in 6 months to a year? If so, then File it! And, file it within your system. If not, shed the weight! Here’s a great flow chart you can refer to…


Keys to Success

–          A label maker. Everybody can use a label maker at some point or another. They’re awesome, they’re helpful, and they’re downright fun to use! I like the Brother P-Touch personally. Everybody needs a Bro-tha!


Ahhh, the look of labels. You can officially uncross your eyes!



–          Virtually file. Bank statements, utility bills, etc. can all be stored on your computer. Get rid of unnecessary paper waste, go green, and save these to your computer. For other task management systems like to-do lists or recipe storage, try an app that works both with your computer and your smartphone, like Evernote or Wunderlist. Toss that extra paper into the recycle bin and enjoy your extra shelf space.

–          Compartmentalize – in other words, contain yourself! Stores like The Container Store are around because they are downright awesome. Stack of magazines? Tuck them into a basket and keep them current! If you’re holding onto it for one measly article, clip that article, file and store. Kids toys? Group those in stacking baskets.


Organize that junk in your drawers into neatly divided sections with Lucite drawer inserts. Clarity is key. You can compartmentalize but if you can’t see it, you may not know it’s there. I’m a big fan of clear dividers for this reason! All of a sudden you can find your paperclips, stapler, post-its, tape, makeup, etc. You can find things in record time, and if things are lying around on the counter, you have a designated well-organized space to put them.



–          Treat yourself to stylish and fun organizational accessories that make you smile. Bright colors, a dose of sparkle, whatever it may be, if you love the way it looks, you will definitely be more committed to using it! See Jane Work is a fave staple of mine that offers it all – a hip, thoughtful collection of goodies sure to help you organize your desk and your life.

Everything deserves to have a home within your home, it’s that simple. Cheers to getting FAT in 2015!




Great.ly- Makers & Tastemakers Unite!

Like any designer with eye candy ADD, I’m a glutton for gorgeous product. I will go to the ends of the earth, virtually speaking anyway, to find the perfect pieces for my personal home and my clients’ homes (thank you internet gods for making this possible!). When it comes to selecting the right decor, it can often come from several sources and take a lot of time and research to scout the best in class. Fortunately, that’s when Great.ly came into my life and made it so much easier to not only showcase some of my favorite makers of quality goods, but to also allow you to personally shop from my curated boutique! I am a big fan of hand crafted goods. For one, it supports small business, and makers are quite literally, the fabric of our country and our world. Secondly, when you purchase directly from an artist, it immediately gives you a sense of personal connection. The shopping experience is elevated to a different relationship that transcends buyer and seller. You are interacting with the individual who spent careful time preparing and creating a piece for you to enjoy for a lifetime. End of story… and yes, that is the best part; there is a story behind the purchase which makes it that much more sentimental! Ironically, the timing couldn’t have been more fitting, since I just spent the weekend at Renegade Craft Fair- LA, which is essentially an event based version of much of the items you will find on Great.ly. There was so much to see and explore, I literally got lost in rows of fabulous prints, hand made jewelry, beauty products and textiles. Aside from the oppressive heat, it was divine! If you’re fortunate enough to live in a major metro where these fairs are offered one weekend annually, you are lucky enough. For the rest of the 51 weeks a year, Great.ly is a fabulous way to find these kinds of items from the comfort of your home computer. So let’s take a moment to look at some of the beautifully crafted pieces from the makers that define style, set trends and make Great.ly, well…. great!

hot pink brush stroke set of 4 cocktail coasters a sensible habit

Hot Pink Cocktail Coasters 

circle and pop navy chasing paper

Navy Circle Pop Wallpaper

gold inverse mini air plant pods sea & asters

Gold Air Plant Pots

triangle series 1 jane denton

Hand Stitched Triangle Art

animals mealtime set bobo ceramics

 Animal Mealtime Set

renee nixon watercolor giclee

Watercolor Giclee

fireflies original acrylic painting diana willard

Original Acrylic Painting

Go ahead, give them some love! Are you digging what I’m dishing? Please visit my Great.ly boutique to see more of the delicious pieces I’m craving.  For more of my Renegade Craft Fair faves, please check out my Makers & Shakers Pinterest board. You deserve a big slice of style!



YAY for Yellow

Since we’re in the peak of summer, it’s only fitting that my color crush this month is lemon yellow! Funny thing about yellow though- while most people will agree it’s bright, fun and fresh, many are afraid to use this happy hue it in their home! It’s ironic that a joyful color like yellow can also feel like an intimidating color choice when designing a room. Why is that? And more importantly, how do I stop this madness?  When balanced correctly, yellow can totally live up to it’s sunny disposition. Yellow delivers high energy, but it can be the pop of perfection to awaken your room.

Need proof? Yeah, I figured I’d have to back up my claim! And since I try hard to challenge myself and my readers visually, here are some fresh takes on how to use yellow. There will be no tried and true yellow/ gray or yellow/ blue combos here, we already know that works. You deserve to be visually inspired!

Ready? Here are three fresh takes using lemon yellow and how you can get the look at home:



Mention the words yellow and black together and what comes to mind? Bumble bee… run for the hills! Who wants a room that looks like a stinging little bugger? Unless you’re decorating a themed nursery, but that’s a different story.

When balanced effectively, you can achieve a really elegant space with just the right impact. I put together this board to show you how:


By grounding the rest of the room in black and white, yellow can take center stage. The gold fixtures work nicely with the yellow to enhance it’s sophistication. Here are some of my favorite examples of this look.


Jackson Paige Interiors


Emily LaMarque Design Studio


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When paired with the right combination, yellow suddenly becomes chic, elegant and sophisticated.  Buzz off bumble bee!




emily-lamarque-design-studio-green-chartreuse-yellow-concept-boardI love this combo because it is decidedly vibrant and fresh. These two colors work effortlessly together and feel both clean and sophisticated. Take note though to be careful when it comes to selecting the right green. If the green is too soft, it can come off as juvenile (i.e.: mint green). If you want a rich look, try a deep kelly green or emerald hue as shown here. Adding shiny white lacquer, silvery chrome, or bright brass pieces add that extra bling which will really make the whole room shine!


 Jonathan Adler Interiors



Finally, this combo, perhaps the trickiest to pull off, reminds me of a warm summer sunset; which is fitting given that we are on a sun filled theme! Adding the fuchsia and coral  create a nice balancing act and allows our bright yellow star to take center stage.emily-lamarque-design-studio-fucshia-magenta-yellow-concept-board

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I’ve been seeing yellow pop up a lot lately in showrooms, design magazines, and pretty much everywhere. Perhaps it will be the new color of the year for Pantone (wink wink)?! Who wants to place your bet on yellow with me? Hey, just like any other gamble- go big or go home! Fortunately a small investment in a yellow object will yield a big impact in your home. Go for it!



Our Home: Design to Demo

Here is the next Design Dish installment about our home and how I took it from design, to demo to dreamy! If you missed the before pictures, check out my earlier post, Our Home & the Pasadena Home Tour.

After we closed escrow I immediately started designing the floor plan and the layout of the space. I knew that we were keeping the footprint of the house the same, as well as the roof, the stucco exterior, the foundation, and of course, the gorgeous oak tree. Everything else was old, ugly, non-functioning, etc and it had to go!

Here’s the existing floorplan that I started with…

C:UsersEmily LaMarqueDesktopEmily LaMarque Design StudioELD

And here is how the layout changed…

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We removed the wall dividing the kitchen and dining room to create a large family style dining area and great room space. We also knocked out the wall closing in the entry way so that the living room feels open and bright. The den was eliminated and from the that space, we created a powder room (perfect for guests), laundry room (previously in the kitchen), and a master walk-in closet (because you can never have enough closet space, right?!?).

The master and guest bathroom square footage stayed the same, but interior walls were eliminated and the spaces were maximized. The bedrooms didn’t change size, but the front door did! Instead of a standard 36in entry door, we made it 42in wide with a large sidelight to add light and views of the trees.

And the yard? Leveled. Completely gone. All except our tree. The yard literally became a blank slate.

Everything else was a fresh start – new plumbing, electrical, HVAC, you name it. Can I tell you how much I love demo on a project? It is so exciting to have the promise of something gorgeous just waiting in store for you…that is, after a whole bunch of blood, sweat, & tears.

Enjoy the progress pics!

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Hello 2 by 4’s! Goodbye dingy stone fireplace!

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So long linoleum!

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Wait for it because you may never hear it again… YES to the MESS!

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This is the kind of CAT I like to see in my yard!

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A fresh start for this ol’ house. I’ll be sharing more progress in the week’s ahead. Stay with me as I overthink everything from fixtures to fretwork!



Scoop: Scenario Home

I am super excited to have been  recently welcomed as part of Scenario Home’s Scenario Circle,  Scenario’s group of style makers, movers and shakers, and I happily took on the challenge of narrowing down some of my favorite picks. Can I take one of everything please? Click on the image below to check out my round up of finds.


The scoop is that Scenario Home offers quality and unique luxury decor pieces  that accommodate a wide range of personal styles. What sets Scenario Home apart is their unique selection and how their site is curated. You can shop by category or by Scenario which is what makes this shopportunity so unique. Yes, I said shopportunity! It really is just that. You can fancy yourself taking a little walk on the beach as you scroll through their Coastal Chic collection, or transport your style across the pond with a little European Vintage. The shopportunities are endless! For those of you who consider yourselves ‘design-challenged’, they are doing the design leg-work for you and creating amazing parings and room scenes.

Whatever you are looking for, if it’s high style, luxe goods with a big impact, I promise you can find it here!