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Growing and Evolving from "The Decor Detective"

Peacock mirror and object in the studio space of Houston residential design firm Nancy Lane Interiors.

I’ve always enjoyed finding ways to beautify my surroundings to create spaces that are comfortable and inviting, even as a little girl. You may not know this but I started writing a personal blog back in 2011 as a way to keep up with projects and my obsession for all things design. It evolved over the years and I garnered a nickname that kind of stuck and for a while was my handle on social media. If any of you have known me since my days as the "Decor Detective" on my old blog, you'll remember my posts about my latest finds or dupes for more expensive items for your home.

My first post was on my youngest son's third birthday. Not sure what possessed me to do it on that particular day but I do remember it felt like I was like writing a love letter to him from my heart. Here's a snippet of what I wrote to him...

"what are you going to do in this life {little one}?

where are your dreams going to take you?

no matter what or where,

I know it's going to be good...

{you} are going to soar.

now only to tell myself to breathe,

let go,

and let you fly."

Looking back, as I read those words today, it feels like I could have been writing to myself. The time passed has gone by in a blur, mostly good, but some not so much, I'll get to that in time. These days, instead of running after my littles, I run a business that I love...all because I followed my dreams. #truestoryforanotherday

Over the years as that blog grew so did I, personally and professionally. I definitely learned a lot about the online world of design. It was incredibly popular, in my humble eyes at least and according to numbers #sevendigits+ When I first started writing that blog, I didn't realize how much time and energy it would take to do that kind of research. In fact, the amount of time and energy it did take ultimately led to me retiring that blog and focusing more on 1:1 client design work. I stopped writing altogether for a while and I truly missed it.

March has, unfortunately, become a month of deep reflection for me personally. Anniversaries of deep personal loss that serve as a daily reminder that life on earth is fleeting and tomorrow is never promised to anyone. It's a hard month but it's also a time for renewal and as always, I'm working on some exciting (to me) behind the scenes business stuff. Lately, I've been reflecting on the journey I've taken to get to this point in my design career, and I thought I would share lessons I've learned along the way.

Time is Our Most Precious Commodity

All of us only get 24 hours a day. Any minute I spend away from my family must be spent doing work that I am proud of, helping someone with the gifts I have to give. Call me crazy but my work also feeds my soul because it is without a doubt, other than being a mother, what I know I was called to do on this earth. Being compensated for these minutes has been a journey of value, self-confidence, and appreciation for my gifts, and it is a continuous journey.

Not only is my time precious, but the time you get back by bringing me on to a design project can't be overlooked as well. Just as I trust my doctor or dentist to know how to help me keep my health in check, I am here to be an expert for you to guide you through major design projects, to pass on my experience and expertise to you if you're open to it, and to allow you to pass off the details of design so you can keep doing the work that you love!

Boundaries Exist for Everyone's Benefit

My "Decor Detective" days taught me the very important lesson about boundaries - no one will protect your time for you, but you. The amount of time I was taking to research alternatives to high quality pieces was fun, but wasn't allowing me to run a true business that could contribute to our family's future.

Now I have the best of both worlds, where I can offer one time consults and distance design room boards where I suggest 6 -10 items for a complete space that are still good quality but aren't the highest price point available. You are then free to take my advice or that blueprint and purchase as your time and budget allows.

Otherwise, we take on a full design project for clients who want us to handle the details and who don't have the time or desire to handle all the moving parts of design work. We develop design concepts and unique solutions then present a detailed design plan to clients based on their lifestyle, budget, and needs for their space. This process includes multiple meetings and higher quality, detailed selections for furniture and decorative items. These types of projects are definitely a larger investment than a room design blueprint and yes, they do take longer to implement (see below) but you'll savor the rewards on a daily basis in your newly designed space(s), personalized especially for who you are, what you love, and how you live.

I urge y'all to take a minute to reflect on your own personal or professional development- it's good for the soul, and reminds you how far you've actually come! Time is something you don't get back and can't make more of. Remember that in all aspects of life.

The Unattainable Triangle Always Applies

You may not recognize that name, but this unattainable triangle is a marketing adage that states you cannot have something be of great quality, have it fast, and cheap at the same time.

Design Tips by Houston interior design firm Nancy Lane Interiors

In other words...

Good and fast will, without a doubt, be expensive.

Fast and cheap will most likely have less than satisfactory or inferior quality.

Good and cheap will most certainly take time to find.

This adage is something that only rings truer with every year in business. Keeping this in mind in all situations keeps my patience and expectations in check and it's something I try and educate my clients about from the beginning. We even include it as part of our onboarding questionnaire.

I wanted to bring this up specifically because while yes, we can develop a great design plan for your space using quality items that can fall into what some might call a "budget friendly" category, that design will definitely take time to create and source and if I'm being honest it will probably take longer than coming up with a room design that has a larger yet still reasonable budget. These types of projects take time to design (mine) and time to implement (yours).

Full service clients generally want unique, high quality pieces and are willing to invest a larger amount for both furnishings and decor plus the luxury service of having our team handle everything from design plan to procurement to installation, down to the last pillow placed and fluffed.

While I consider it a great honor to design a space that reflects a client's preferred aesthetic, personality, and lifestyle, and to listen and honor all requests when possible, I feel the need to say that we do not scour the internet to find the lowest, absolute rock bottom price possible. That is not what the nickname decor detective implies and not the job of an interior me anyway. It was and always been my intention rather, to share my ideas, tips, tricks, and favorite things here in this little space on the world wide web. That intent is still very much the same and please know that I am so happy that you're here visiting.

This reflection by the way has sparked a little fire in me and it lit the flame for a new series you'll see stay tuned to find out what I think specific rooms really cost.


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