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We don’t question the feeling of wellbeing that comes with taking a walk in the woods or sitting in the garden under a tree. It’s instinctive. Being surrounded by the natural world helps us to relax, breathe, and become more connected with our senses and feelings. Plants fulfill an ancient, profound need. “Love of living things” or Biophilia, named in 1984 by Dr. Ed Wilson, a Harvard Biologist, describes our natural human affinity for nature. This primal psychological phenomenon crosses all cultural and geographic lines. Further study by Dr.


Dear Debbie,
Our living room needs a refresh, and I’m struggling with paint colours. (I know you get asked this a lot.) We have bought a white sofa, which is OK now that we are empty nesters. Do you take seasons into account? What works well in winter and summer? Thank you.

Dear Marissa,


Dear Debbie;
The mudroom and laundry room in our bungalow are located off the garage. It is very handy, but not particularly warm. Any suggestions on how to make these spaces more comfortable during the winter months?

Dear Thomas;


Dear Debbie;
For years I have steered away from fleshy beige pink walls that were all the rage painted throughout the house when I was growing up. Maybe it was because the whole house gave off a kind of blah, cool aura. Lately I have been drawn to pink, it started with a pretty blouse, then a rose jacket. Now I’m thinking pink for my living room. What are your thoughts?

Dear Amanda;


There are oh so many decisions to make when embarking on a decorating project. In many cases, it’s the number of options that trip us up, and confound us until we simply put off making any decision at all. There are the ubiquitous colour questions, then should we paint or paper? What’s on trend, do I care?


I learn so much from beautiful hotels around the world. I am lucky to be able to travel a great deal and I’m always inspired by the creativity in the places I stay. This spring I celebrated my birthday in the Mandarin Hotel in Bangkok. The name is a bit of an oxymoron – wherever they are situated in the world, the Mandarin hotels are luxurious, with a serene, gentle ambience. They are designed around pure luxury and wellbeing. Walk into any of these hotels and your blood pressure will tumble and your smile will grow.


We all have the ability to be creative. It may lie in the imagination, and formulates fresh ideas that lead to a captivating story; some have the power and the dexterity to paint or sculpt; others share the mental agility to design furniture and buildings. Our senses share the responsibility of feeding the creative side of our nature. Inspiration is available in many forms -- by viewing glorious vistas, through listening to our favourite music, feasting on a special meal that has a unique flavor we have never before tasted, stroking the fibers of a luxurious fabric.


When it’s time to make plans for decorating, whether it’s a small room or an entire home, begin by dreaming about what motivates you. There is a world of inspiration available today. Internet access, magazines and specialty books show every style from traditional to trendy. Traveling offers insight into what delights you, makes you comfortable, and even what to avoid. Yes, options are limitless, but how you live your life should help to steer you in the right direction. What makes you smile.


A significant part of the enjoyment we get from decorating our homes is the perceived vision of how the rooms are going to look and feel when we have completed the adventure. We imagine the living room that is bland and boring with an awkward corner bulkhead will become a welcoming oasis, and set about to transform the walls with soothing colour, and add gentle folds of drapery to camouflage the uneven ceiling. We are generally profoundly affected by our environment, in good and bad ways.


Dear Debbie;
Over the next several months we want to freshen up our 30-year-old bungalow with some new furniture and add a bit of colour. It is all white with some wood paneling. The trendy colours they are showing in interior design mags and paint stores are dark browns and greys and deep purples, which I think are kind of depressing. What would you suggest?
Sam and Elena

Dear Sam and Elena;

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