My AHA moment

A highlight of Blogfest 2012 was House Beautiful’s panel on finding your “Aha!” moments.  Editor-in-Chief, Newell Turner, along with HB’s Next Wave Designers Jon CallJill Goldberg, and Michael Herold shared game changing moments that took their designs to the next level.  They then challenged us bloggers to share our own versions.

I must admit to feeling quite familiar with this “Aha!” feeling.  As a designer, I tend to experience 2-3 moments of brilliance every day.  Often they are followed by the “Hells-to-the-No” or “Close-but-No-Cigar” sensation.  The bold decision, the perfect pairing, the stunning focal point… they are like the thesis of my designs.  But no thesis is complete on its own.  My “Aha!” moments do not turn into great designs until I have thoughtfully edited, added, subtracted and tweaked my way to perfection.


My favorite example of this would be my office nook.  Right from the start, I was struck with the lightning bolt of inspiration to paint my wall a Yves Klein-inspired Blue and pair it with my hot pink desk.  Bold, provocative and fun on its own, the maximalist in me knew it was not complete.  Perhaps my “Aha” moment wasn’t the bold use of color, but the trust in my gut to keep adding on layers, art and textures until I got it just right.  Trust, at certain points this wall was a hot mess, but I edited until I achieved my balance.

And yes, that meant removing a beloved rug from the equation, because sometimes too much is too much… even if it is pretty. 

What have your “aha!” design moments been?  Was it adding in layers or taking them away?


Image: Courtney Apple Photography for Design Manifest


Want more of my Loft?  See all the posts HERE.

  1. a photo of your office nook (can’t remember where…) was the first thing that drew me in (to your blog and design). eye-catching and beautiful. I love every little detail, especially the pair of stools.
    and i’ve been dying to see some new stuff from you! I hope we see something soon. :-)

  2. I just love that you take on and rise to a challenge. Your honesty in “what I don’t want you to know” inspires me to keep it real.

  3. Erin

    I think I’m just familiar with the “close but no cigar” moment. I’ll let you know when I figure out the aha bizness.

  4. Ashley

    Glad to hear you got so much out of Blogfest, lady! And I think many of us can relate to the daily ‘close but no cigar’ feelings…or at least I can.

  5. Inspirational and beautiful! I can’t wait till I get my first design client and feel that Aha moment. You’re truly blessed to have multiple in one day! A true talent.
    Tiffany
    tiffanyleighinteriordesign.blogspot.com

  6. I think we missed out a-ha moment when Miles Redd came to talk to us but other than that, I think you definitely got the a-ha moment when it came to designing your loft!! :)

  7. Just like I tell my hairdresser why I sometimes cheat on her…”I feel like I am one haircut away from looking like Jennifer Aniston”….the same goes with design. I am always one pillow….or_________[insert accessory of choice] away from that “aha” moment!

  8. I LOVE your office nook. I think I get my aha moments usually by layering in pieces that are unique and different, like these spooky very old portraits I got at a flea market.

  9. I love your office and the editing is perfection. So glad you had a great trip!!

  10. Oh WOW. I am completely dying over this. The blue + hot pink desk + red stools with fabric… All of it. I feel like I have seen this before now… Perhaps it is bouncing around Pinterest! At any rate, thank you for visit the Queen City Style, so I could find you. I’m all signed up to follow by email now. I look forward to more room-to-ensemble posts, and I hope you will come again!

    Best, Whitley

  11. I love this post. I think its so wonderful that you said you strive for three in any day. that should be a new person goal, that means i’ll always been learning/changing/adapting. thanks for the advice!!

    as a designer, im always WANTING an A HA moment. They dont always come with every single project. I think i want to strive to make something come out of every venture i do. maybe thats wrong or makes me a bad designer, but you just inspired me to make one happen each time. although, hoping i can fulfill that prophecy

  12. Hmm, I have those with logos and designs where I just know its a winner. Like Tamra’s sparkly shoes. It just works, it’s just right. That I know what you mean, sometimes it evolves from a process. There are steps to get there!

  13. Nicole

    I simply MUST know what paint color you used on this blue wall? It is exactly the ‘bold, bright, but not a hint of navy or purple’ color I want to use for bold accent in my office. I want to paint my executive desk this color to go with the white credenza, uppers and bookshelf. Pleeease share this jewel of info with me! nicole(at}cymbo{dot{come

  14. Kathleen

    The Olympic brilliant blue comes out much more teal looking then this beautiful vibrant blue- was there another color you mixed it with? Or is there another brand shade that was used

    I am looking to paint a large accent wall in my living room apt is color thank you !

    • Naomi

      I just used Olympic blue in my space, but color is very different in every room depending on lighting.

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