Welcome to 2015 – I can’t wait to get started!

My social media guru, Jenna Evans of Evans Real Estate Concierge Services, thought it would be of interest to interview me about my business and chosen profession. Hopefully, you find an interesting tidbit or two. It turns out we had a good laugh while going through the process. Thank god she didn’t want to video tape the interview! Tama Bell Bio Pic

Why are you a designer? I am a designer because creating beautiful spaces is important to me. I think it is partly important because of my experiences growing up.

Recently I was looking back through some old photos and came across some images of the house I grew up in. We did not have a lot of money but my mother was still able to create a simple, elegant space that was refined and beautiful. She was a fashion designer and went to school in New York City. She cultivated an elegance and ease to her style that was obvious in our home. My parents split up in the early 70’s and I distinctly remember being embarrassed by the house. In looking back, I think that when she left, the aesthetics or decoration aspect was not something that was important to my father. He was an artist and painting and supporting us and his art was the first priority. And that same house that was so truly lovely under her touch, felt and looked like something different without it.

What is your favorite color this year and will it change next year?

My favorite color this year is Benjamin Moore Titanium. I am in love with greyed neutrals this year. I don’t know that this will change in 2015, maybe but I wouldn’t bet on it right now. Greyed neutrals add a bit of color to a space and with the grey tone they tend towards a more elegant, classic feel. I like the backdrops to be classic and neutral and then add the boldness of color in the fabric and art. I just feel that this is a more timeless approach to design.

Do you have titanium in your own house?

No. My home is a wash of Muslin, which is actually a Sherwin-Williams color. It is a bit more than a warm off white with a hint of camel tones. It reads sunny and bright in any room, light or dark. It is an all time favorite neutral wall color, pairs beautifully with bright white trim and ceilings and looks good with just about any color.

Whose house would you love to get your hands on and why?

I don't know of a particular person’s house necessarily, but I would love to design a true coastal home in 2015. I feel like that's a big part of my natural design style having grown up in West Marin and the National Seashore area. I’d love to design a whole house renovation or new construction with the ocean as the backdrop. Or, a renovation of a large, vintage property would be fun! I guess both are really in my wheel house.

What is one small thing just about anyone can do to change the look and feel of a space?

What first comes to mind is paint. It is relatively quick and inexpensive, and can pack a lot of punch. Many people still have all white walls or maybe are still living in the era of multiple, bold colors. Modernize and make it more current with one of my favorite greyed neutrals (see back to my top 10 current favorite paint colors).

Then maybe add a bit of new fabric in window coverings and throw pillows. Our local stores can be a great place to find some pretty and reasonably priced pieces. And, finally add some art, real art, which doesn’t always mean expensive, to top off and add interest and color to the space.

What should you never attempt to do without a professional designer?

A major remodel. I think the thing that people don't think about is the layers involved in good design. You need someone who can see not only the overall space planning but also all the details in the materials, fixtures, and furnishings that add interest, rhythm and layers which is what makes good design more interesting.

What was your most important project in 2014 and what are you looking to do in 2015?

I really enjoyed working on large, major renovations in 2014. Projects that started with space planning, going through the permit process, then the excitement of demolition, and finally all the specifications, finishing up with furnishings and the interior design work. This is what I am good at and what I want to do more of in 2015.