Nature From Both Sides

Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn

– Benjamin Franklin

In my effort to come to terms with the tragic fires that are potentially becoming part of our weather pattern in California, I can only console myself in the knowledge that they are a part of nature. And nature is the ultimate source and teacher of just about everything in our world, including beauty and design.

Although the fires were incredibly destructive, the good news is that nature is brilliantly regenerating the earth from the fire’s ashes. And although challenging, so many of us have grown in our heightened reverence and appreciation of the homes and properties where we live.

Follow Your Truth, Not the Trends

Stuart and Carlos follow their truth, not the trends.

These thoughts are coming to me as I’m writing the modules for our first e-course, Eye for Beauty. The emphasis of this course is one of the things I am most passionate about: using our own senses and creativity to inform the way we create the space we live in. The new course encourages us to resist blindly following the ever-changing trends that are served up to us in magazines, retail stores and on TV, which I feel are no longer sustainable for our planet.

Design trends promote the newest and latest design styles and colors that we become convinced we must have to make our homes look current. The repetition of this constant cycle leaves the planet to deal with items we discard that are no longer “in”. Eye for Beauty instead helps us discover our own unique eye for beauty to create a timeless, sustainable, and beautiful home that reflects the truth of who we are rather than the trends.

Discover Colors, Shapes, Textures, and Patterns You Love

Their library is filled with objects selected with their eye for beauty.
Their library is filled with objects selected with their eye for beauty.

In Eye for Beauty, I want to take those principles a step further, not just by telling and teaching, as Franklin’s quote so brilliantly expresses, but by involving participants in interactive exercises. In every module, each person will discover and interpret their responses to color, shape, texture and pattern that will become the path to their own truth.

Discover Your Creative Intuition

The family room centers around the large coffee table Carlos made out of recycled wood.
The family room centers around the large coffee table Carlos made out of recycled wood.

After hearing from so many of you that don’t trust your decisions around creating beauty in your home, I’ve also designed a module to help you discover your innate creative intuition that will serve you in so many areas of your life.

It’s been a challenging and exciting process for me to synthesize my approach to design, creativity and intuition, and integrate it into a teachable curriculum. But after working for several years on the eight modules that make up the course, I’m excited to finally launch Eye for Beauty this fall.

Stuart and Carlos

I had the e-course and modules on my mind recently when I visited my treasured friends, whose home in Glen Ellen narrowly missed being engulfed by the Nuns fire that ravaged Sonoma County last October. They were lucky, and their gratitude and appreciation are palpable in their post-fire lives.

I love their home because it is a perfect example of following their truths, not the trends. In their business, Stuart and Carlos are surrounded by design trends on a daily basis. Their company provides the latest trendy staging furniture to homeowners, realtors and designers in the Bay Area. In the business of selling homes, it is standard practice to stick with the latest trends to appeal to the broadest audience of buyers possible.

Stuart's ancestry is reflected in this colorful collage he created.

A Home with Heart and Meaning

An antique hand-carved Buddha reflects the memory of a long ago trip to Beijing.
An antique hand-carved Buddha reflects the memory of a long ago trip to Beijing.
A collection of hand-made Frankhoma pottery from Oklahoma provides unique dishes for serving guests.
A collection of hand-made Frankhoma pottery from Oklahoma provides unique dishes for serving guests.

But at home with Stuart and Carlos, it’s an entirely different story, and the epitome of what Eye for Beauty teaches. Together, they have created a diverse and eclectic home that represents a combination of each of their cultures, interests, and personal styles.

The unconscious yet unmistakable consistency with which they have selected every element in their home is apparent in the colors and shapes they chose, the similar textures, and the repetition of patterns throughout their rooms. Instead of buying mass-produced accessories and slavishly copying the latest color palette, they filled their home with colors, shapes, textures and patterns they loved, as well as the things that have heart and meaning in their lives.

Caring for Our Planet

Whether or not the cause of the fires is global warming is a subject for another time and place, but the devastation that we have witnessed here in the past year is fast becoming part of our new reality. We can’t control nature. But we can control the kind of people we want to be, the way we live our lives, and how we care for our beautiful planet.

For the love of our planet,

Toby and Linda Applewhite
Stuart and Carlos gave me Toby, one of the greatest gifts of my life.
Showing 6 comments
  • Pebbie Comer

    I’m excited for your class modules. It took me awhile to learn and embrace my own style, but it is so much what makes a house a home. It often rolls over to the custom homes we build, we build and decorate your own style, not the trend. Which I love. Thank for sharing your knowledge, I always love to learn!


    Oooo I have so much to say on this!! Wish I could buy you a lovely coffee and chat for an hour. OMG I remember the last time gray was the trend. It gets old fast, at least as I observe it in other’s spaces. Love the collage portrait!! Oh that Toby!!

  • Barbie

    I love what you had to say about not following the trends. Several years ago my husband and I built a home, our builder gave us the best advice “build what you like, do not follow the trends”! I also love the collage of the Indian Chief’s Headdress it is amazing, a lot of stories to tell!

    What a darlin’ picture of Toby!!!

  • Jennifer Duffy

    A beautiful home, a beautiful lesson, a beautiful little dog. Thank you!

  • Lynn

    Linda, I’m so excited that you are preparing your e-course on design! The photos of Stuart and Carlos’ home just whets the appetite – those patterned square poufs in the library are fabulous! Your deep thinking about design is so unusual and inspiring, so much more than just combining the usual elements – you go to the heart of the matter and see the bigger picture. I too have grave misgivings about the casual destruction of “out of fashion” designs and the impact on the earth from this careless approach featured in every design show and magazine. I eagerly await your course!

  • Lynn

    Oh, and Toby – a gift from these guys – how cool!

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