The Love List: Annabelle

I am so excited to be writing this blog and sharing what we have been working on, besides our usual design projects this year. We are so thankful and grateful to have the opportunity to do the work that we do, helping clients design and create beautiful spaces, and we want to give back.

A while back, I came across a story of an interior designer in Southern California who was doing charitable work, designing rooms for children with serious illnesses. Her work and the concept truly spoke to Lauren and me and we've been wanting to put something in place here in Sonoma County through Tama Bell Design.

It will be a continuing segment in our blog, The Love List. We’ve used that as a space to introduce interesting vendors and products that we love, and we are going to use it as the vehicle to give back and hopefully design rooms for deserving folks each year.

We are hopeful that we can do this two to four times a year, once we have it up and running, and we are counting on our readers to help us find the people and the stories behind the room designs. So, if you know of a child that you think would fit our criteria, please reach out to us.

So, here we go. We are currently working on designing a room for a special little girl who will be two in October. Her name is Annabelle. The post below is written by her mother, Sarah, and this is her story.

“In this picture Annabelle is approximately 2.5 months old. She was our beautiful, perfect, healthy baby. It was shortly after this that we noticed her very subtle seizures. From the time this picture was taken until now Annie has been fighting one hell of a fight. 


She's failed 17 different medications and treatments for her seizures. This includes the keto diet, CBD oil and stem cell therapy. From the time she was 2.5 months old she's only had short spurts of being seizure free, but they always seem to come back. 

She has a large area on the right side of her brain that is malformed, and she has a very small spot on the left side that is also malformed. The malformation is called cortical dysplasia and it is what is causing her seizures. 

Failure after failure and after a lot of false hoping, we have FINALLY been approved for epilepsy surgery. Annabelle will be getting a right side functional hemispherectomy, which is a complete disconnection of the right side of her brain. We're hopeful that this will greatly reduce her seizure load, and any remaining seizures will hopefully be controlled with medication. 

It is by far her best chance, so we're taking it. Either we do the surgery, or we do nothing, and we will NEVER do nothing. 

Her surgery date is August 29th, and we will do our best to keep you all updated as we go. 

Thank you all so much for your continued love and support for Annabelle. It means more to us than we could ever express. 

Annabelle's fight will never truly be over, but this surgery will make it a little easier on her”.

Annabelle had her surgery, was in the hospital for a number of days but is now back at home. Sarah tells us she is doing well but has a lot of rest and recovery to go.

We will be chronicling the design process as we go. This is our first time doing this so we will do our best to keep you posted on our progress. We started last month with a visit to the house. We took measurements and photos of the space so that we could start thinking about designing the room. We put pen to paper (well, actually it’s all on the computer now) beginning with a rough floor plan concept and some fabric selections that jumped onto the design page. We are now working on the case pieces, rug, art, and accessories. We don’t have the full picture yet, but we are close.


We’ve set up a Go Fund me page, the response has been amazing and we’ve had donations totaling more than $6,000.00 so far! But, we still need all of your support. Our goal is $10,000.00 so we can make this special little girl’s room as special as she is and hopefully be able to give the family a nice check at the end as well. Anything helps and your support is greatly appreciated from all of us here at Tama Bell Design and Annabelle’s family!

We are super excited about the opportunity to give back and we are hopeful that we can do more good work for years to come. At Tama Bell Design, we are firm believers that the space we inhabit contributes to how we feel, and we strive to create spaces that nurture and make people feel good. It’s our why. What’s yours?

Want to join us? If you would like to help us or donate to Annabelle’s room you can contact us or go directly to our Go Fund Me account for this room design. Here is the link:

Thank you, as always, for taking an interest in what we are doing here at Tama Bell Design!


Understanding the Design Process: Step Four

Step Four: Furnishings

Our fourth and final step is furnishings. We are full service and will specify all furnishings, accessories, and art in order to complete the whole look of our projects.

The furnishing phase consists of, but is not limited to, the following aspects:

 ·        Accessories

·         Art

·         Mirrors

·         Lighting

·         Rugs

·         Vintage Finds

·         Furniture

·         Upholstery

·         Case Goods

·         Window Coverings

·         Custom Pillows

·         Custom Bedding

We start by looking at your existing pieces and help determine what to keep and what to replace. We create a scaled furniture plan for each room with an overall big picture project aesthetic that keeps the feel of the home interesting but works as a curated whole.

We believe in mixing old and new, rustic and elegant, and high and low elements to create a beautifully curated space that feels like it has been built over time. We believe that if you buy pieces that you love, you will have them forever and if the base is classic, it will be timeless.

We start with floor plans, select the large pieces to create smart furniture plans that speak to how the client uses the space and the architectural style of the home. Scale and detail matters when planning the furnishing stage. We play with scale, texture and color to create spaces that function well and feel good.

 Interior Designers In Santa Rosa, California

We work with a stable of trusted vendors that offer quality products in a range of pricing. We are always looking for new additions, so that we can offer our clients product that is unique, beautiful, and not something you will see in your neighbors’ home.

We cater to the space and the clients who live there…

 Interior Designers In Santa Rosa, California

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

Understanding the Design Process: Step Three

Step Three: Material Specifications

The third step in our design process is Material Specifications. Once we finalize the floor plan and address any deficiencies, we move forward with specifying the materials to go back into the new space.

MS 1.jpg

There are so many choices and decisions to be made when building or renovating. Material specification options can include:

·         Exterior Siding & Trim

·         Exterior Detailing or Architectural Styling

·         Windows & Doors

·         Flooring

·         Cabinetry

·         Appliances

·         Plumbing Fixtures

·         Lighting

·         Tile & Stone

·         Paint

·         Interior Trim

·         Interior Detailing: Walls & Ceilings

·         Hardware: Cabinetry, Bath, Doors & Windows

Such a list can be overwhelming and most clients don’t know where to start. They are concerned that each decision is based on the one before and that their project won’t turn out the way they want it to.

At TBD, we navigate this process by curating a design plan unique to the client, the site, and the project. We turn the overwhelm into excitement and present visuals that help the client imagine the finished space. We blend variety and consistency to avoid specifying materials that are too matchy-matchy. We create spaces that are quiet, yet still interesting, and work together.

MS 2.jpg

We believe in a space that feels created over time; one that blends the old and new and incorporates mixed metal finishes with natural, quality materials. We tend to classic, more traditional lines with an overall clean, simple, elegant hand. We gravitate to neutrals during the Material Specifications phase, but add interest with pattern and texture.

Our goal is to create spaces that will stand the test of time, make people feel good and, of course, function well. We nurture a space so that the space nurtures our clients. It’s our mission and it’s what we are passionate about.

Understanding the Design Process: Step Two

Step Two: Space Planning


The second step in our process is Space Planning. It is the foundation of our work and is often an overlooked piece of the design process.

You may not know what is wrong, but you know when something is not right. With 20 plus years of experience, we have seen just about everything and we know how to fix floor plan problems with realistic planning.

·         Are your spaces too small?

·         Does your space not flow or function for your needs?

·         Have you thought about adding on?

·         Is it time to renovate your kitchen or bathrooms?

·         Is your house dark or dated?

·         Does your house just not feel good?

We believe that space matters and how it is organized sets the base for how a space functions and feels. We strive to create simple, smart floor plans that flow and work for the people that use them.


Shown above is an example of a floor plan with the before or “as-built” and the after with new furniture planning. This is a good example of an older home with multiple smaller rooms that were opened up to create a more contemporary, “great room” feel.

We create floor plans that make the most of square footage, minimize unused space and maximize flow. A good floor plan creates a rhythm that makes the space feel good, grounded, and calm.  A bad floor plan cannot be remedied by just making the space beautiful with the use of interior design. Space should be addressed first, and the aesthetic surfaces follow.

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

Understanding the Design Process: Step One

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what our formal process is and what the patterns are in what we do project to project. In reflecting on this, I’ve separated the process into four distinct steps. We most often participate in all the steps but sometimes two or three of the steps.

I am going to expand briefly on our first step, which is Architectural Styling. It’s the first piece in the puzzle, the curb appeal or lack there-of…

Step One: Architectural Styling

We like to think big picture, which for us means starting by looking at the property as a whole. This first step is what we call Architectural Styling. We address what is working and what is not. Looking at the areas that can be altered, added to and improved, to present the house in its best light. It’s the first important piece to address before we move inside to address flow and function.

We assess details such as:

·         Is the drive-up pleasing and does it work for the house and grounds?

·         Is there a proper entry?

·         Is it obvious where you should enter?

·         Does the landscaping present well?

·         Does the house have curb appeal?

·         Does the architecture need to be changed or added to?

·         What is the best version of the house/style?

These are but a few of the questions we address when looking at the overall picture and starting a project. We believe that we are not addressing the whole vision, if we are just looking at the inside of a space. So, we like to start on the outside and address the architectural shell and work our way in from there.

At Tama Bell Design, while we love aesthetics, we live for how a space feels. We nurture space, inside and out, so that it feels good, and subsequently you can too.

   Architectural Styling In Sonoma County


   Architectural Styling In Santa Rosa


   Architectural Styling In Sonoma County California


   Architectural Styling In Santa Rosa California


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

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 Design 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.


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.


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 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!

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

Tama Bell Interior Design - Our New Office in Sebastopol

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).

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.