You Have To Be Home: Tips To Make It Better
Updated: Apr 11
Ann Ueno of AnnUeno Interior Design . is a wife, mom and friend of HOL–scroll all the way down for an amazing offer from her!
Hi! My name is Ann Ueno. I am a mom, a wife and an interior designer here in Miami. I’m writing to you as I cross the finish line of day one of homeschooling my daughter and guess what? I SURVIVED. I may have started happy hour a little early and had to apologize to her three times before 9am, but, that is what grace is for.
And God knows we all need all the grace right now.
So here’s the deal. I have been immensely passionate about homes since I was literally 8 years old. I was raised in a middle-class home in Ottawa, Illinois, watching my mom paint, rearrange furniture, wallpaper every wall in our house, and read Better Homes & Garden while smoking her Tareyton 100 cigarettes after dinner.
I followed suit, minus the cigarettes, as an adult and to this day, interiors light up my life. From my mom’s influence and from my heart and soul. It’s hard to explain when something is so heart and soul driven.
But it’s not hard to explain the facts. When you love your home, you live better. Period. And right now, we all are craving better. We want the world to be better. We want our country to be better. We want our city to be better. And we want our homes to be better – physically, visually, energetically, spiritually.
Friends, let’s make our homes better. We will be here for the next 3-4+ weeks indefinitely – and a million more weeks after that at normal capacity - so now is the time to carve out space for better. Not perfect. Not expensive. Not pretentious. Instead, just better. A bit more beautiful. A bit more welcoming. A bit more peaceful.
Here is what I’ve done, am doing and will continue to advise doing as long as I am a designer and a human on this earth.
1. Rearrange furniture to create something new. Hands down this was my favorite thing I did when I was younger. My parents didn’t have a lot of money – or perhaps, they spent their money much more effectively than most and weren’t the parents to just give us what we wanted – so, we had to be creative. And this meant every 4-5 months we would rearrange our bedrooms and I experienced heaven on earth and it was glorious. I would wake up the next day and feel like I won the bedroom jackpot. It’s new! It’s clean! It’s different! DO IT PEOPLE.
2. Choose one room, maybe two, (or maybe three if you are v. ambitious) to fully tackle. From purging, organizing, and redesigning, prioritize the space that matters most to you now and design it. Buy some new pillows. Hang the art. Paint the walls. Get the new rug. Buy the furniture.
3. Define spaces for your kids. News flash – it’s your house, you pay the mortgage and your sanity matters so if your child and his/her things are occupying more than 3 total spaces in your home, you need to stop what you are doing right now and fix that problem and definitely stop buying them all the stuff. Their bedroom, of course, is one of their spaces. Make it cute, organize it, clean it, let them have a say. It’s their room, it should reflect them. Your family/living room. It shouldn’t be a full toy room. It should be just that – a family/living room. If there are toys everywhere and legos to be stepped on, taking away from the beauty and joy it could be bringing, tighten that up. Move things to the bedroom, purge and make that space a family space, honoring the kids AND the adults that occupy it. If your kids occupy the kitchen, the dining or a formal living space – please, just no. NO! If this is you – I don’t judge. But, you must make some changes. Toy room, outdoor space, hey even a garage – kid-approved. I love you. The point is – your house should be more “adult” than “kid.” Okay? Okay.
4. Donate the things. If you are walking into your home each day and it doesn’t spark joy, it’s time to re-think, purge, curate and donate. It is. Life is too short (as we all know right now) to not love your home. And these days there are affordable retailers to buy from – Amazon Home, Target, Joss and Main to name a few – so if you need to replace some items, it’s possible.
5. Let’s be honest – now is the time for professional eDesign services. So if you have wanted to hire a designer and maybe couldn’t afford it, eDesign is the way to go! And ahem, I know a designer that can help you ;)
Speaking of eDesigns. I co-own a company with Meghan Grimbert called Miami Living Co and right now, we are giving away all of our Design Dossiers which are pre-designed spaces, complete with product lists, styling and design tips. There yours for the taking, friends. Just go to www.miamilivingco.com/the-design-dossierand have at it (use code BETTERHOME).
If you are still reading this, you are lucky. I am offering complimentary, 30-minute FaceTime appointments for 5 HOL readers. Text me directly to set it up – 312-305-0095. First come, first serve.
We will get through this and my hope is you love your home through it all. Home is meant to be a sanctuary, a space of rest and joy and intimacy and fun. Of meals shared, of tears cried, of beauty and of better. I want all of that for you. Deeply.