Start Here in Chalk on Sidewalk

Where do you start when you decide to remodel?

Photo by Gia Oris

If you’re like the rest of us, you begin with a Google search. You look online for a place to start and a path to follow. After spending hours reading blogs and pinning photos, you still feel like something is missing. Exhausted and confused, you quit. Or, maybe you cross your fingers, hope for the best, and plunge ahead.

You could start with shopping, thinking to yourself, “If I can figure out what will go in the room, maybe it will come together for me.” You soon discover that the shop-first approach is a recipe for runaway budgets and a muddled look. Rooms serve people, not furniture. To be successful, you must first design a room for the humans who will use the space and, second, shop for the items that will go in it.

The shop-first approach to interior design is a recipe for runaway budgets and a muddled look.

What about social media? You could look at the kinds of rooms your friends are sharing and liking. You think, “That would be a good way to get some ideas.” And, you’re right. Social media is an ever-flowing source of inspiration. But, only inspiration. You can’t Instagram your way to a thoughtful, cohesive room.

How did I, as a professional interior designer, guide my clients through the overwhelming amount of interior design information and opinion that we live with today?

We use a system. It’s a system that puts people first. Each step in the process builds on the last one to avoid wasted time and frustrating reworks. 

Here’s what’s ironic. Following a system, which sounds restrictive, will free up your creativity. It gives you the breathing room to come up with better solutions. It opens you up to new ideas.

Following a system, which sounds restrictive, will free up your creativity.

Your design goals are clear in your mind, so it’s easy to make decisions. You’re not stressed-out; you’re empowered. You’re not working alone; you’re collaborating with your team. You’re not scattered. You’re focused and organized.


She didn't know it, but Jackie Lopey's days as an advertising executive were numbered when she bought and renovated a 1950's bungalow. She soon went back to school and started her own design studio. Jackie is an award-winning, certified interior designer and the founder of Wide Canvas.

Connect with Jackie by emailing

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My first impulse is to jump in too! I’ve trained myself not to do it when it comes to interior design. Now for the rest of my life! :)

Jackie Lopey

This is so true. I have a tendency to go into things head first and then back paddle. It’s a bad habit, I know.

Teresa Eubanks

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