Why Working With A Professional Interior Designer Can Save You Time, Stress, and Money

“The only thing more expensive than hiring a professional, is hiring an amateur.”

- Red Adair

I love this quote. I love it because it is so true. Often clients think that they can handle a renovation on their own and often it’s because they just don’t know what is truly involved in embarking on a full scale project. The quantity of choices, options and selections can be overwhelming and difficult to navigate.

Unfortunately, many people get confused or intimidated by the idea of hiring a professional interior designer or space planner. Maybe they are concerned about the process, as well as the cost of doing so. But, good design doesn’t happen by chance, it is carefully curated, planned and orchestrated to get the desired end result.

So, why work with us? Here are just a few good reasons why…

 You’re going to save money. Have you ever bought a piece of furniture that looked so good in the store, but was a too big or too small once you got it home? Have you ever painted three or four times trying to find the right color palette? The truth is that hiring a designer can help you avoid costly mistakes and help you make design decisions that will increase the value of your home.

 Professional Interior Designer In Santa Rosa

You’re going to save time. Using a professional will save you time and stress. We know what needs to be done, in what order and we have trusted sources to streamline the decision and design process. We have the experience to navigate construction timelines and obstacles which will save you time, money and more importantly, give you peace of mind.

Instead of having to chose from hundreds of choices, worrying if you are making the right decisions, and if it will all look good, we take care of that for you. We will assess what you love, what will bring out the best in your space, and present options for you to chose from. We make the design decisions fun and exciting rather than stressful and overwhelming.

You’re going to get professional assessment. When you hire a professional designer, you get an immediate plan of action for your space.  A trained pair of eyes will see things you’re guaranteed to miss. Interior design is a balance of both art and science, and good interior designers understand both, so they know how to combine and blend both to create a finished, complete space.

 Professional Interior Designer In Sonoma County

You are going to have a qualified liaison. A good designer will know how to speak the language when it comes to architects, contractors, and the trades. This is crucial in managing time and money. Strong communication between the interior designer and the construction trades is absolutely key. A good design plan, coupled with communication before and during construction, makes for an exceptional end result that reduces errors and issues as or before they arise.

You’re going to have better resources and contacts. It is difficult to find good, reliable resources when renovating. But we have trade contacts that we have built relationships with over many years and multiple projects. Because of these long-term relationships, we work with reliable, quality contractors and trades that we trust and whom trust us. We also work with trade accounts that allow us access to products and fabrics not available to the general public. Because of these resources, we are able to create and curate a space for you that is unique to your home and not like anyone else’s. We are able to show you options that you may not even be aware of or combinations that you have never seen or thought about. We are able to push you outside of your comfort level into something even more spectacular, but still you. It’s what we do.

 Professional Interior Design Company In Sonoma County

You’re going to have wow factor. We have been designing interiors for over 20 years, so we are skilled at thinking creatively and spatially in order to see the overall picture. Thinking outside of the box is what we do on a regular basis. The quality and attention to detail that we provide addresses every element of design from proper lighting, furniture placement and selections, fabric choices, complete color palettes and fixture options, just to name a few. People notice a well-designed home. Try to do it by yourself, and you’re stuck juggling the many elements that a designer is specifically trained to do. And when they’re done, not only will your home look beautiful and cohesive, but it’ll be well thought-out and highly functional.

And, well, who doesn’t want a “wow” factor or for that matter, any of the above benefits of working with a Professional Interior Designer.


Tama Bell is an interior design firm with many successful interior design and space planning projects in Santa Rosa, Healdsburg, Petaluma and throughout Sonoma County.

To Market We Go

I head to Las Vegas each January to the World Market Center to participate in the furnishing show and this year Lauren joined me. We treated ourselves to first class for the hop over to Vegas, arriving early on Sunday for the first day of Market.

I look forward to this show every year. It’s our opportunity to visit current trade vendors and experience products first hand – to see, touch, and get a sense of quality so we can source and specify. It’s also an opportunity to pick up new accounts so we can offer new product to our clientele, see new ideas, trends, and get excited about design all over again. We’ve been working over the last number of years to curate our trade accounts to offer a thorough selection of furnishings and accessories that speak to our design style and “hand.” It’s a work in progress and truthfully may never be completely done. Maybe that’s the fun in all this.

So, Day One, we step out of the Uber and walk across the street to Market. The World Market Center consists of 3 mini skyscraper-type buildings with between 10 to 16 floors of showrooms, in addition to three pavilion tents filled with cash and carry vendor type items and product vendors. As we round the corner to enter, we are surrounded by swarms of well dressed, fast moving buyers and designers on their way to start the “hunt.” Lauren looked at me and said, “This is really a big deal,” and she is right. It’s so exciting and so fun to just be at Market and the rush to find new product makes me want to come back every year. I look forward to sharing some of what we found on this trip.

So, here we go…

 California Home Design Trends
 California Home Design Trends

We were on the hunt for rugs and hides. We found some lovely blue, patterned rugs at a favorite vendor and some gorgeous hides at a new source. The quantity and quality of the hides was spectacular. Truly beautiful and many in large sizes, which can be more difficult to find.

 Current Home Design Trends
 Current Home Design Trends

These two beautiful rugs really caught our eye. The first is from Ellen DeGeneres’ line of viscous or silk look-a-like rugs. It is the most beautiful line; pale in color, classic in style. One of my favorites. The second is from the Patina Collection which has the most gorgeous color waves in a distressed style. Really beautiful.

 Santa Rosa Home Decor Design Trends

Day Two, we woke to a clear, brisk, sunny morning. We ordered room service, early, so we could get a good jump on the day, as we had made good progress through Building A but had B and C still to go. Day Two is a full day with lots to see, lots of walking, and a bit of a sense of urgency, as it is our only full day scheduled. High on the list was to make the meet-and-greet with Jeff Lewis at a favorite showroom of ours, Alder and Tweed. That was set for 2 o’clock, so we set our alarm and started out.

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We were a little late getting back to the showroom for the meet-and-greet, so when we arrived, the line was already about 1/2 a block long with super excited women. We made our way to the back and within minutes along came Gage taking photos with each of us in line. He was adorable! They shut down the line about 5 people behind us. I think Lauren would have disowned me had we been any later. We finally made it up to the front of the line and stepped in to meet and get a photo with Jeff. Boy, is he tall! He was pretty smitten with my friend Lauren. It was a really fun end to another great shopping day!

Here are a few favorite finds from Day Two... 

 Northern California Home Decor Trends

We added a new bedding line shown above. It’s a small line with quilts, coverlets, shams and duvets. Beautiful fabrics with lovely texture and hand. They will be bringing a sheet line shortly which is a true “wow.” I can hardly wait to share. Really a special offering. Here is a detail shot of the sheeting below.

 Northern California Home Decor Trends
 Northern California Home Decor Trends

We also came across this Marin based fine art print company. Funny to meet a super local source that we did not know existed. We will be spending some more time getting to know them and their prints. They offer over 3,500 reproduced antique images and offer European matting and framing. Truly elegant art pieces that we will be proud to offer.

 Sonoma County Home Decor Trends

Absolutely in love with these chairs. A new source that we need to spend a bit more time exploring their product. Well priced, nice lines. These chairs will show up in one of our designs…just not sure where yet.

We capped off the day with dinner at Giada and popped back to our hotel to watch the views from the 16th floor and get to bed early for our last day in Las Vegas. Our hotel room looked out towards The Stratesphere and at night the lights were quite stunning with the mountain ranges in the background.

 Sonoma County Home Design Trends

Day Three began a little rough because the SLS does not have coffee pots in the room. I need to remember this for next year and chose another hotel. Coffee is my drug of choice! So, upon waking and calling for room service, we were told a pot of coffee was 45 minutes out. So, that not being acceptable, we showered and headed straight to Market to grab a hot cup of coffee.

 Sonoma County Home Decor Trends
 Sonoma County Home Decor Trends

We found this incredible table and chest that we have been wanting to specify for some time. They are both from a current vendor that we are beginning to use more of. They offer beautiful furniture, upholstery, and accessories. I just love the chunky legs on the table. We would mix with some rattan and slipcovered linen chairs. Can you picture just how stunning that would be?

 Santa Rosa Home Decor Trends

And here are a few of our new favorites from a fantastic rep that has a beautiful variety of vendors. Shown above is a curated selection of art that we just loved. Each piece from this line has incredible quality, beautiful framework, and unbelievable pricing. We will be using this more this coming year.

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And the lighting, equally stunning, special, and just what Tama Bell Design will be specifying in 2018 and beyond!

So, that’s a wrap. Three days in Vegas done! It’s such a fun, quick trip. We are always able to see so much and it’s so nice to be just a short flight to and from home.

I always feel that while we come back with a good batch of new vendors, there is still so much we missed. I guess we will just have to keep making the trip. Here’s to patiently waiting for next January and the 2019 Market!

Interior Design Trends We Can Get Behind For 2018

Darker Hues and more dramatic colors

There is a trend moving away from the stark white interiors that have dominated the design market the last number of years. A darker, moodier vibe is coming our way.

We can envision this trend in our projects using colors that are cozy, warm and possess an understated bit of drama. Adding greige tones and darker shades to some rooms adds that bit of excitement for clients that want a bit more color than the lovely, bright whites that we often use. I don’t think the whites will go away like trends do.  They are still classic, clean and perfect for the right client. But I see the darker tones adding another color palette for our clients that don’t want white.

 Sonoma County Interior Design
 Sonoma County Interior Design

A beautiful rendition of this trend by Bobo Intriguing Objects at the Las Vegas Market

Patterned Flooring and Bolder Color

Patterned floors are going to continue to be a trend in 2018, and we believe a strong one at that. Cement tiles, handmade terracotta, darker hues and strong colors that add contrast to traditional, classic patterns such as herringbone, hex and simple brick patterns add interest and texture to a surface that can take more drama. We are using this in both dramatic and subtle ways and often with tone on tone in other areas to play it up. We love this continuing trend.

 Sonoma County Interior Design

Black and white marble, artfully curated

Natural Wood Elements

We are seeing this trend show itself in wide plank wood flooring, rustic mantles, cerused cabinets and furnishings. It adds a simple, elegant and down-to-earth quality, works with almost any style, is durable and can be dressed up or down depending on the client.

 Santa Rosa Interior Design
 Santa Rosa Interior Design

Combinations of natural wood, displayed at the Park Hill showroom

Indoor/Outdoor Living Elements

A continuing trend, in our wine country location is connecting indoor/outdoor spaces. We are seeing this done with kitchen pass-throughs, larger full wall doors, thoughtful space planning and easy access from living to outdoor rooms to name a few. Here in Northern California, with our mild weather, it is a smart way to add square footage to your living space without adding to the footprint.

 Santa Rosa Interior Design

An outdoor shower at a project completed by Tama Bell Design

Wallpaper

Wallpaper is making a “come back” even this far North! We are seeing simple, elegant, textural wallpaper in bathrooms, behind cabinet doors and in bedrooms to add a layer of detail and warmth. We are also seeing wallpaper with big personality being used as way to add drama and create a sense of specialness to a space. I think this returning trend is just beginning to gain some traction.

 Santa Rosa Interior Design
 Santa Rosa Interior Design

Blue Ocean Traders wallpaper and Creative Coop cabinet with wallpaper liner

Traditional Décor

Today’s traditional is a mix of references from the past, which adds a layer of classic elements, mixed with a fresh, chic, more modern vibe. We love taking traditional European lines in upholstery and case goods and mixing them with modern side tables, lighting or art. It’s all about pairing the old with the new and mixing styles to add layers, interest, and character with a high level of detail.

 Sonoma County Interior Designer
 Sonoma County Interior Designer

Palecek Stools combining mid century with today and an Alder & Tweed chair with traditional lines and a moody, more contemporary feeling upholstery fabric with a men’s wear feel

Mixed Metals and Metallic Finishes

Metals can add warmth and a brightness to a space. We love mixing metals to make a space feel more curated over time, more interesting, and more complicated. Think about adding different metals for fixtures, lighting, hardware and furniture and using it in smart combinations to balance out other elements in the space.

 Sonoma County Interior Designer

An example of mixing antique brass and satin nickel hardware and fixtures in a master bath project by Tama Bell Design

Stay tuned for our next blog about our recent trip to the Las Vegas Market. It is a good companion piece to thinking about trends and direction for this coming year. We will be sharing some new favorite pieces, talking about what we saw and loved, and revealing a celebrity sighting that made both Lauren and I pretty giddy! Until next time…

Reaping The Rewards Of A Well Designed Space

I must admit that what my Mother always told me growing up is true. Maybe she won’t read this post and tell me “I told you so,” but truth be told, she is right that time goes by quicker as we get older. 2017 has been the fastest year on record, one filled with growing pains, but a good, solid year none the less.

We are in the process of wrapping up a handful of projects that we have been hard at work on for the last year or more. I thought that this would be a good opportunity to share what we’ve been up to and show some design concepts and projects near completion.

One of my favorite parts of the design process, aside from envisioning the transformation and creating a design plan, is the actual construction. I love the demolition of what it once was, to expose the bones of the structure, and watch the transformation happen before my eyes. Most of all, I love seeing the layers slowly get added, one at a time and being able to see the vision come together in the pieces of handiwork and construction.

We had a number of kitchen projects all incorporating new “great room” plans. I thought it would be fun to give a short synopsis of each story. And, like the New Year, a look back at where we started and a peek into where we are going.

Before - Kitchen #1

 Sonoma County Kitchen Design
 Sonoma County Kitchen Design

Overall for this project, we were called in to renovate the kitchen, dining, family and living areas. This kitchen itself was last renovated in the late eighties. The flooring was a combination of narrow oak flooring and carpet. The cabinets were also oak and the counters the typical white, square tile. While all of the items mentioned above needed to be addressed, the most compelling item in my mind to change the overall feel of the space itself was addressing the large, swath of wood planked ceilings. They overwhelmed the main space and made the room feel very dark. The ceiling height and header going into the dining area needed a bit of tidying up as well.

 Santa Rosa Kitchen Remodel

Kitchen #1 Design Concept Board for Renovation

And here is the project thus far. We had a few minor hiccups and we are waiting on a backsplash tile, but once that arrives we can wrap up the construction.

We are currently working on a furnishings plan, which will finish up the renovation on the main living space.

 Sonoma County Kitchen Remodel
 Sonoma County Kitchen Remodel

In Process – Kitchen #1


Before - Kitchen #2

 Kitchen Remodel In Sonoma County
 Kitchen Remodel In Sonoma County

This home was purchased new in the late nineties and hadn’t had a facelift since the original build. The clients wanted to update by opening up the floor plan and creating a space that they could entertain family and friends in. The house had high ceilings and great light but needed to lose some of the 90’s architecture and choppy flow. I also wanted to address the fairly saturated color that ran through most of the house as I felt it added weight to the general feel of the space. It’s funny how you get used to looking at things when you live in a space and a new set of professional eyes can change what you see…

 Sonoma County Kitchen Remodel
 Kitchen Remodel In Sonoma County
 Kitchen Remodel In Santa Rosa

  Still in working mode, but the after photos on this one are going to be good!

 Kitchen Design In Sonoma County

The plan for the renovation


Before - Kitchen #3

 Santa Rosa Kitchen Redesign
 Santa Rosa Kitchen Redesign

The clients had purchased this home back in 1993 and had done very little to it in the 23 years of living there. They wanted to update and renovate the tri-level, Tudor style home.

We were called in to address the kitchen and dining room layout and create a design plan for the whole home to be renovated in two phases. The kitchen was narrow, tight, and dark. We opened up the wall between the kitchen and dining room and reorganized the cabinetry layout to open up the space and create an overall feel of expansion. We kept the original oak wood flooring but stained them the most beautiful, chocolate brown called Bark. They added a rich traditional tone which spoke to the overall style and bones of the home.

 Kitchen Redesign Santa Rosa
 Kitchen Redesign Santa Rosa

In Process – Phase 1

 Tama Bell Design

The renovation plan

So, that’s an update on a few of the projects that we’ve been working on. I find it interesting to see similar type projects and show the individuality of each design wrapped with a bit of a project story. Until next month, happy renovating!

The Art of the Plate Display

   Handmade ceramic succulents and a coveted resin pig's head in our office.

Handmade ceramic succulents and a coveted resin pig's head in our office.

I consider one of my design signatures to be plate displays and I will often incorporate one or more into my projects. They can bridge the gap between a piece of furniture and an expanse of blank wall. They can be used instead of a piece of art or a mirror in a space that needs something with color, texture or a bit of the unexpected. I think of a plate display as art and an opportunity to add personality and color. They are a contained way of adding a collection. I believe that they are timeless when done well.

   An assortment of new and vintage plates add color and reflection to this dining room.

An assortment of new and vintage plates add color and reflection to this dining room.

The dining room image (shown above) has just such a combination of plates, sourced from Crate and Barrel and Anthropology, a split set of vintage Spode found on a hunt a couple of years back, vintage white ware, along with silver pieces found on the hunt. I love that they aren’t a “set,” that they, like real life, come from various periods and sources. It feels curated but still organic and comfortable.

   This eat-in adds both a traditional element as well as a bit of fun and whimsy along with a pop of color.

This eat-in adds both a traditional element as well as a bit of fun and whimsy along with a pop of color.

The fun is in determining what you are trying to achieve, curating that look that is perfect for the space, sometimes using color, sometimes tone-on-tone, in different sizes and shapes, or all exactly the same. It’s a way to add what is needed for the intended space such as contrast, excitement or a quiet elegance.

Here are a few of my current favorite, curated finds:

My Science Of Design

by Tama Bell

   Our new office which features artwork by my father. 

Our new office which features artwork by my father. 

I’ve had a little time to reflect on our recent move and wanted to share a post on what I call the “science of design.” I’ve been thinking a lot about why I do what I do, what comes easy to me, where my talents and gifts lie, and what is really important to me.

I’ve always loved the hunt: selecting items, picking new fabrics, changing paint colors and moving furniture into a hundred different scenarios. I can easily visualize and see what would work, fit or be better. I consider it a gift and one that was hard won. I think that our biggest gifts come from some of our biggest challenges and from places that were in the moment, painful. I understand that and I appreciate it now. For a long time, I didn’t.

   As child, I remember wanting to create my own space, in the ways that I could with small items that I was able to pick up at garage sales and local fairs. 

As child, I remember wanting to create my own space, in the ways that I could with small items that I was able to pick up at garage sales and local fairs. 

   My father was an artist and was very passionate about his craft.

My father was an artist and was very passionate about his craft.

Growing up, my childhood home was different than the norm in my small town. My family was also a little different. My father was an artist and was very passionate about his craft. He chose to work as a carpenter for half of the year to earn enough money to be able to paint the remaining 6 months. He was disciplined in that goal. We lived on Nature Conservancy land, owned by his painting mentor, in a small house built with his hands. In some ways it was incredibly beautiful and simple in how it was constructed but it was different, and as a child, different is difficult.

I remember wanting to create my own space, in the ways that I could with small items that I was able to pick up at garage sales and local fairs. Keeping it neat, clean, my bed made. There was order in that and some level of control over what I was able to control. Detail was very important, texture, color and what it meant in terms of what I saw at other homes that seemed more mainstream.

Around the start of high school, things became more challenging. I was moved out of the house into a small trailer. It was presented as a gift at Christmas and I hated it. Only a handful of friends were allowed to come over after that, 2 or 3 maybe. I felt ashamed and embarrassed and I felt like I didn’t fit in. It strongly affected who I am.

That period was hard and yet I still wouldn’t change it. I believe that it created one of my greatest gifts. It taught me how to look at space, how to understand and see what makes it better. And while it is important to me how things look on the surface, what might seem like fluff, I understand on a deeper level that it really is about how spaces makes us feel. That’s the “science of design” to me.

   Another painting by my father.

Another painting by my father.

You know when you walk into a space and it feels bad or if you can walk in and release a deep breath and feel good, at peace. With our move this whole idea was brought again to my attention. I loved my old space and it worked for just me. But it had become crowded – maybe even a little cluttered – and it did not have good natural light.

When we got into the new office, with its large windows at both the front and back, and created our new space with furnishings and art, it was so much better than the old space. It was in some ways shocking. And it shouldn’t be shocking to me. I know this! But it was. The new shell had been created and curated with warm, light colors, strong art, and furniture with good bones. But it was more than that. The choices, layers and architecture behind created something that feels really good. Really good to work in, sit in, to just be in. It just really reminded me how important this job is and that we have the opportunity to make client’s lives better. I am profoundly thankful and proud of the work we do.

Tama Bell is an Interior Designer based in Sebastopol, California. We serve interior design clients in Santa Rosa, Petaluma, Windsor, Healdsburg and throughout Sonoma County and the greater Bay Area. Learn more about our range of interior design services at http://www.tamabell.com/design-services/.

Tama Bell Interior Design - Our New Office in Sebastopol

The Love List

 Frankie Cameron Handbags Collection

Now that we are in our new space and settled in, we are beginning to work on a calendar of pop-up shows to host in our new showroom. We want to be able to invite vendors that offer product that we love and enable our clients to meet the artists, touch the product and see what we see in all its glory.  Be sure to add yourself to the mailing list so you never miss an event!

 Frankie Cameron Designer Handbags


Our first event, on November 4th, features Frankie Thieriot Stutes and her Frankie Cameron hide bag line. Hide has been a favorite of mine for some time now. I have a small collection of hide bags and clutches that I covet and I often use hide in my home as well as in my clients’ homes in the form of rugs and upholstery. I appreciate that Frankie looks at each bag as a piece of art and takes the time to match the leather, hide, or fabric to create beautiful one-of-a-kind pieces that should be on everyone’s arm! I am so excited to have her be our first pop-up and cannot wait for you all to meet her and see her incredible work. Frankie took a few minutes to answer some of our questions about her brand and products!

Hope you enjoy the read and don’t forget to save the date!

 Frankie Cameron Designer Handbags
 Frankie Cameron Designer Handbags

We asked Frankie just how Frankie Cameron came about…

"Frankie Cameron came about after discovering a need for a functional and fashionable diaper bag after having my first child in 2015. Convinced that women shouldn’t have to waste money on a bag they wouldn’t be able to use after the baby was born, I set out to find a practical and stylish solution. A few diapers and bottle spills later, the idea of Frankie Cameron’s zip in zip out liners were born. After giving it more thought, I realized that some of my favorite handbags over the years had been thrown out because the interior had become trashed and soon realized that I wanted to create handbags for every stage of life. I set off to Leon, Mexico in search of a great material resource. I first wanted to find the most incredible leather and after a lot of research I felt this could be found in one of the leather capitals of the world, Leon, Mexico. Handcrafted from authentic cowhide and genuine leather, I strongly believe in limiting waste by using the entire hide. As a result, each bag is unique in color and texture, making every Frankie Cameron a one-of-a-kind piece."

 Frankie Cameron Designer Handbags
 Frankie Cameron Designer Handbags

"Frankie Cameron was created to be a brand and a product that people really love and use daily. My goal is to grow the collection as much as I can with my priority always being quality and attention to detail. Our newest collection, coming out later this season, includes a duffle bag with a washable liner as well as a leather backpack."

Frankie Cameron gives a portion of every sale to support an amazing non-profit, Project Night Night. They support homeless children and really make an incredible difference and I am really proud to give back through them.

Please join us on November 4th from 1-4 to meet Frankie and explore the collection!

My Design Revolution and a New Showroom Space

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In the Fall of 2016, after a year of business classes that took me back and forth to the East Coast, it became obvious that it was time to find a new location for Tama Bell Design. We have been slowly growing and adding team members with the addition of Lori Olson as Office Manager and my daughter, Lauren Bell coming on board as a Designer. And, while my first office space worked when it was just me, three hundred square feet does not work when there are three or four of us all in the office, at the same time.

So, the hunt began to find a larger space in downtown Sebastopol. Not an easy feat. But, after a bit of a hunt, I was lucky enough to find a space in a new construction project spearheaded by the Tombe family. I loved the floor to ceiling windows, high ceilings and the opportunity to have a bit of a say in the finishes. Here is a picture of the front of the building during construction.

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The original move in date was April first, but due to our rainy winter it was pushed back a number of months, and we were finally able to move in the last week of August.  It has been hard to be patient, but when left with little other choice one must conform. But here we are and we are in! We cannot wait to show you our new space and the vision behind what Tama Bell Design will be offering to our clients!

Here is the working floor plan. Our new space is 1130 square feet which gives us an opportunity to showcase product that we love and recommend to our clients moving forward. To that end, we have been hard at work curating our "go-to" list of trade sources to provide our design clients with some really beautiful, new product lines.  The goal has been to add soft and hard good vendors, including the classics, our tried and true, and unique and one of a kind pieces to our offerings. We want to provide our own version of wine country living and continue to create spaces that are classic, clean and quiet. Our motto is we make sophistication comfortable! 

Gravenstein floorplan.jpg

We also want to be able to offer our version of “pop-up” shows hosted in our space with invited vendors showing what they make and create. It is our opportunity to show you the things that we come across and truly love. Please stay tuned for upcoming events!

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Here are some photos of our new space as it was coming together.

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We hung pendants sourced on a trip to LA throughout the space. The concrete floors were cleaned up, sanded down and a glossy finish applied to keep the industrial look but add a layer of elegance and shine. The floors are the most beautiful color of charcoal and have the most perfect, imperfections! The contrast with the gloss, the bits of exposed aggregate and the overall, elevated, rustic look is just perfect for our new space.

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Next on our list was to add a large built-in cabinet that would act as a partition from the main working space and our back, storage area.  We chose to back the cabinet in ship lap to create the wall portion and to add some interest and texture to the large, open space.

And then it was just moving our collection of desks, cabinets, accessories, art, files and a pretty substantial library of tile, flooring, fabric, wallpaper and the like. It was a massive amount of stuff and more than I thought was possible to stuff into our tiny three hundred square foot original office. That took about a week and of course our move coincided with a heat wave with temperatures in the 110 range here in Sebastopol. Thank God for air conditioning. 

 

So, we did it. We moved in to this most beautiful, spacious,
light-filled space and we are ready for you to come and see it! 

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Gravenstein 3.jpg

A Vintage Revival

I just completed an extensive remodeling and furnishing project that the firm started work on in the Fall of 2014. We were called in to renovate a ranch house set on a gently rolling twenty acres on the East side of Santa Rosa at the foot of Hood Mountain. 

Here is a photo that shows the house before and after.  

Truly a transformation, or what I would call a vintage revival!

To read the full Revival story and see the materials we took inspiration from, visit our Project Stories page here. Be sure and view the after photos of the house here

Remaking of the Main House at Knowlton Farms & Vineyard

An unusual project for me, I was called in to completely furnish the two story, 2200 square foot main residence set in a bucolic and really a darn near perfect six acres just outside of Sebastopol. That in and of itself is not really unusual for us, but usually it occurs with a full renovation and over the course of a year or sometimes two. This needed to be done quickly and by quickly, I mean four weeks. 

Luckily for me, as we have grown and gotten increasingly more busy, we have been able to add team members like Lori in the office and my daughter, Lauren, out in the field. So, we were able to hit the ground running. 

We started with a floor plan to determine furniture pieces for what would amount to 17 separate areas, including a covered outdoor patio. With an idea of general furniture type and placement we set out to find product that was immediately available or with a quick order and delivery turnaround. We did this without giving up the aesthetic that seemed to speak to the house and the grounds. That, is really important to us as a team. We want it to be right.

The installation day crowd consisted of the three of us in the office, myself, Lauren and Lori, and two men, Jake and Mike, who did all the heavy lifting, assembly and hanging of items. Those two have the patience of saints, what with all the “move it a snitch” this way or that! It is really nice to see the team grow and see what we can accomplish together. 

 

Here are several before and after photos.
Living Room  |  Dining Room  |  Master Bedroom

 

I amazed myself that we were able to complete this project in four weeks. We provided the client with a beautiful end result, fitting of the lovely quality of the home. I could not have done it by myself. Thank you Team Tama Bell Design!


To read about the entire Remaking of the Main House at Knowlton Farms & Vineyard process, or to view photos the house after we finished, please visit the project story page (HERE) and  portfolio page (and HERE).

Here's a sneak preview of the Remaking.. to see the entire video of Remaking of the Main House at Knowlton Farms & Vineyard click HERE.

Meet the Team

Meet our growing team. The last year has brought many changes to Tama Bell Design. We are preparing for an office move to a much larger space in downtown Sebastopol, which will enable us to better provide for our design clientele.

We welcomed Lauren Bell in April as part of the design team. She is finishing up her interior design program at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM) in San Francisco. 

Lori Olson came on board as Office Manager in February to better assist us with managing projects and client concierge. 


We are excited to announce our new design space!
961 Gravenstein Hwy, Suite #120, Sebastopol

Keep up to date with the progress on our new space
by visiting our website for more information (here).

I'm Starting A Design Revolution...Making Sophistication Comfortable

These times call for a revolution and the only revolution I may be formally prepared to bring is a design revolution. When things are unsettled and the unknown looms, it is even more important to have a soft, safe haven to come home to. I believe that in good times and in the bad. Your home or office should comfort you and provide peace.

My version of a design revolution encompasses clean, simple, natural lines presented in a way that makes sophistication comfortable. I want to abolish dark, busy or dull, and bring in light, warmth and style. Aesthetics affects mood, and mood effects your mindset and quality of life. This is my mission and this is why I do what I do. 

I have been working behind the scenes on some big changes for the business. I have outgrown my current space and I will be moving into a brand new, much larger space this Summer. My studio currently has about 300 square feet and the new space will be just over 1000. It will allow me to expand and create a showroom for my design clients. Over the last year I have been researching and adding product vendors which will enable me to offer an increased selection, quality and price point of product for client projects that encompasses my mission.

Stay tuned for more news, inspiring images and maybe come along on my design revolution journey in 2017!

European Fresh Take

Sometimes a renovation story isn’t just about prettying things up. Often, the story starts with eliminating architectural elements that create a “moment in time,” are dated, or hold back the look of a space. In the case of this kitchen renovation, the client wanted a new kitchen with a traditional, timeless look. The major obstacle was a dropped ceiling detail in the kitchen area that opened to a peaked eat-in area. It was awkward, at best, and a bit of an eye sore from the family room vantage point. There was concern that it may be structural and costly to eliminate. My favorite structural engineer was called in to take a look. Fortunately, for the project and this client, it was not structural and was not a problem to remove. This alone created huge impact for the visual transformation of the entire living area.

I think that this story is a great reminder to have a good plan for what you want to accomplish, bring in the experts to answer structural questions early and get a true, hard “No” before giving up on a design idea that is vital to doing the job right. Sometimes, things look harder than they truly are. Get the answers first, and then you can make decisions to prioritize your design plans.

Take a look below at the before and after photos of the new kitchen and re-designed living space. Quite a transformation and one that will let these owners enjoy this home for another twenty years or more! Visit the “Project Stories” page on my website to find out more about the start to finish renovation of this home.

The Goal is Client Satisfaction

I want to thank you all.  I just won an award that is extremely important to me. Client satisfaction is top of the list in my business, and I was recently notified that I was awarded Best of Houzz Service Award: Client Satisfaction.  Houzz is the premier website for design ideas for interior design, new construction and remodels, and helps people put together ideas with products and professionals.

These awards are given once per year.  The accolade is conferred upon professionals in each category of Houzz who are rated at the highest level for client satisfaction, and I am thrilled be honored with this award. 

What I’m really proud of, is that my clients are pleased with my work and the level of service I strive for each and every day.  Receiving the Client Satisfaction award from Houzz is a welcome acknowledgment of this. I always strive to make sure that you, my clients, are happy with what I’ve created, and so I value this very public vote of confidence.

So please accept my thanks to all of you who took the time to write a review.  I really appreciate you, too!

The Closet Audit

   
  
 
 
  
    
  
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    Ballard Design Carsten Gold Hook Rack, Black No-Slip hangers, Chrome Valet Rod and Ballard Bardot Mirror

Ballard Design Carsten Gold Hook Rack, Black No-Slip hangers, Chrome Valet Rod and Ballard Bardot Mirror

I love organizing. I use it in my day to day work, as design is also a form of organization. I find it harder to get the ball rolling when it comes to my closet. It can be overwhelming. But, I like all of my spaces to be both beautiful and functional. So today, we talk closets!

At least once a week I find myself feeling as if I have nothing to wear; when the reality is that I have a walk-in closet full of really nice clothes. Sometimes it is just really hard to see what you have and what you truly love through all the clutter and hoarding. (And I admit I am a clothes hoarder). It is hard to let go of some things; either because you spent a certain amount of money on them, or you might fit into it again, or your body type may magically change and it’ll look really good on you like it did on the twig mannequin at the department store. The truth of the matter is we need to figure out what our style aesthetic is and wear only what really looks and feels good on you!

Here are my recommendations for doing a good purge and getting your closet in order:

1.  Set up a realistic amount of time so you are able to go through your entire closet in one sitting. Don't set yourself up for failure with starting and not being able to finish the process. It will just create more chaos and mess.

2.  Enlist the help of a good friend who really gets who you are and what your style aesthetic is and who will tell you the truth when you really do look fat in those pants.

3. Start with the power-sort. Start at one end of your closet and start pulling everything out item by item. Don't over think it. Make three piles for things that:

    a.  You love and wear all of the time

    b.  You are not quite ready to get rid of

    c.  Items you know aren’t working (donate or consign these locally)

4.  For the items that you are not quite ready to get rid of ask yourself the following questions:

    a.  Does is make you feel good?

    b.  Do you get compliments when you wear it?

    c.  Do you feel uncomfortable when you actually do wear it?

5.  Be brutally honest. If it does not serve you and make you feel good, get rid of it and make space for your loved clothing to breathe and maybe it’ll make a space for a new special item that makes you feel incredible.

6.  Being a designer, I think that this is also a good time to do a little (or a lot) of upgrading to your closet space:

    a.  How about a new coat of paint?

    b.  Change out old rods with new chrome or satin nickel ones;

    c.  Change out old hangers to a better quality brand (say white plastic to black or nickel hangers);

    d.  Add shelving, drawers and/or closet organizers;

    e.  Add a pull-out valet (my favorite accessory) and bag, belt, tie racks to open wall areas;

    f.  If possible add an island (this can be a piece of furniture) and/or a rug;

    g.  Add a beautiful mirror;

    h.  Hang your jewelry on beautiful hooks if you have unused wall space.

Think of your closet as any other room in the house and one that you want to be special. When my closet is both tidy and beautiful it truly creates the perfect start to my day.

Farmhouse Revival

October 2014 016 copy.jpg

This is a "coming soon" story, the story of what I am calling a farmhouse revival. A project that I have been working on since October 2014. It is a story of a very large renovation of a house set on a spectacular 20 acres on the east side of Santa Rosa. Below is an image of what it looked like before...and with the help of many it now looks like the photos above.

 Before...

Before...

We are currently in the process of dressing the inside with furnishings, window coverings, art and accessories. We should be completed sometime in 2017, and I will post a project story along with the after photos. A spectacular project and one that I am thankful to have had the opportunity to participate in!

The Basics of Monograms

   
  
 
 
  
    
  
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      Images from Cottage Colony

Images from Cottage Colony

There is a basic etiquette to monograms which I will be touching on today. Monograms truly make nice things nicer, they elevate and add a little extra and also add a layer of personalization and comfort. It can be confusing about how and when to use. The basic guidelines are as follows:

·      Single-initial monograms typically use the last name initial.

·      Two-initial monograms usually combine the first and last initials of one person.

·      Three-initial monograms for the single person is typically first, last, middle with the last name initial larger than first and middle. If all the letters are the same size then usually it is laid out with first, middle and then last initial.

·      Three-initial monograms for the married couple include several options. The most obvious choice is a joint monogram including the initials of both people with the more traditional approach to groom's initial first, married last initial and then bride's initial. The bride's initial first is a more modern approach, that has a more casual feel.

I think adding monograms to home design is a lovely layer and adds charm and personalization. Wonderful to use in areas such as bed and bath linens and pillows, in private and public spaces. It adds that personal touch, and in my opinion, stands the test of time. 

A Look Back

   
  
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     The images above are all pieces of my father’s art and they represent the 1960’s, when I was born,   1970’s, when my sister was born and 2011, the year in which my father passed away

The images above are all pieces of my father’s art and they represent the 1960’s, when I was born, 1970’s, when my sister was born and 2011, the year in which my father passed away

It will be five years since my father passed this winter. The deep, overwhelming sadness doesn’t come in waves anymore. It is softer, gentler and quiet. It washes over me with sweet memories of what he taught me and the knowledge that our bond was deep and true. He was a big, gentle giant. He built and painted with his hands and because of his life path as a painter he brought me along with him on that journey to a special place called Inverness.

Inverness made me the person and designer that I am today. The small, coastal enclave was filled with East Coast escapees and reclusive artists, it was steeped in an eclectic mix of tradition and classic lines and wild, surreal art, imagination and culture. It was a special, magical place and growing up there in the late 60’s and 70’s, it was a special time.  It was, in retrospect, an amazing place to grow up and it left a design impression on me that I recognize today. It is my hand, and that is a classic, traditional look that coincides with natural materials and simple lines. It has a quiet elegance and feels warm, comfortable and good. It’s me…

Beauty and the Bar Cart

   
  
 
 
  
    
  
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      Bar carts shown are Serena & Lily Parisian ($995), Restoration Hardware 1950's Milo ($895), Williams-Sonoma Chippendale ($699), Crate & Barrel Libations ($599) and Restoration Hardware 1930's Industrial Steel

Bar carts shown are Serena & Lily Parisian ($995), Restoration Hardware 1950's Milo ($895), Williams-Sonoma Chippendale ($699), Crate & Barrel Libations ($599) and Restoration Hardware 1930's Industrial Steel