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A Designer’s Guide to Moving into a New Home


For most of us, moving is a double-edged sword. On one hand, you’re excited to secure more space, lock in your kid’s spot in a new school district, relocate for that work promotion, or be closer to family. On the other hand, the idea of packing up your life (and potentially spending years unpacking it) is less appealing.

Let me propose an alternate scenario…

What if you knew that when you moved into your new home, everything would be exactly to your liking from the moment you opened the door? Better yet, what if it had all of the things you have been craving for years? Sophisticated style and comfort. Furnishings you genuinely love. A functional floor plan. Spaces that support your active lifestyle — entertaining, relaxing, or just general badassery. 

Now that sounds like a move I’d actually look forward to! And oh, is it possible. Today, I’m sharing:

  • 3 stress-free steps to moving into a home you love
  • A designer’s guide to deciding if belongings should stay or hit the road

Come take a look…


From our Beach House project. Photographer: David Duncan Livingston

A Better Way to Move into a New Home

The best way to bring ease and efficiency to your big move is to plan for it. By plan, I mean don’t create a piecemeal home that will leave you as dissatisfied as the last one, and don’t take everything you own to your new house and sort it all out there. Why move things you won’t keep? You don’t have time for that.

Whether you’re building a new home or purchasing one, here’s a better order of operations…

Step 1. Create a design plan

The single best way to ensure your new home looks and feels the way you want it to is to create a design plan long before you ever pack up a cardboard box and label it with Sharpie. Better yet, skip the stress and hire us to create that design plan for you. 

Wait, really? Oh, yeah. We’ll inventory your belongings, discuss what has and hasn’t been working for you in your old home, and discuss the lifestyle you would like to have in your new home. Then, we’ll create a design plan, from any cosmetic renovations and the layout, to the color scheme and furnishings to keep and/or acquire. 

The second best part? You’ll know in advance exactly how your future home will look, feel, and function, and you’ll know which of your existing items don’t need seats booked on the delivery truck. Check and check.

Note: Yes, we make this process fun and friction-free, but whether you work with us or not, having a design plan will go a long way toward alleviating the stress behind a move. Stay tuned for some take-charge tips further down to help.


Image: a 3D rendering to help a client envision her Palo Alto bedroom

Step 2. Have your home designed before you take up residence

“Wait, I can do that?!” Why the heck not? The best time to have us design your home is when you are not in it. You don’t have to deal with scheduling and deliveries. You don’t have to deal with work interruptions. And you won’t have to take Zoom calls with construction hammering away in the background. (Been there, not fun.)

While you’re still living peacefully in your old home, we will handle all of the details for you. We also utilize our to-the-trade receiving and delivery warehouses to take the headache out of unpacking, inspecting, and storing new items with care. 

At the same time, we will organize any necessary trades to get ish done, such as painters, custom millwork, lighting installation, etc. Last but not least, we will put the icing on the cake, bringing your home to life with furnishings and decor that make it feel like home. And then…

Step 3. Move into a fully furnished, stunning home

Pop – fizz – clink! This is when you arrive at your new home. I know, you thought this only happened on TV, right? You get to walk in knowing that everything is how you have dreamed it could be, that it will support lifestyle and that there is nothing left for you to finish. [Insert huge sigh of happiness.]


From our San Francisco Style Project. Photographer: David Duncan Livingston

The Coddington Formula: What Makes the Cut?

Whether you’re hiring us to help design your new home or not, you will likely have to make decisions about which of your current belongings make the cut and which will hit the road.

For most people, the idea of letting your possessions go comes with the fear of regret… or a heaping side of guilt. But if it’s not serving you, it doesn’t belong there, no matter how much your Aunt Becky loves it. (Sorry, Beck.) You deserve to love what’s in your home. 

We are huge fans of the Marie Kondo method. The best way to decide what you should keep and what you need to let go of is by assessing how the items make you feel and how they fit into your life. We’ve adapted Marie Kondo’s method into a 3-part process better suited for designing your dream space…

Question 1: Does it bring you joy?

The best way to decide if an item brings you joy is — as Marie Kondo says — to physically touch it and see how it makes you feel. If you love it, keep it! I’ve also found that hearing the story behind a piece can tell us a lot about your relationship to it. For example…

“I know this dining table could be better, but we’ve had so many happy memories around it and it brings me so much joy.” Keep it!

“I like this console, but I wish it had more functional storage.” Replace it, and use the smaller console in a different space. Done and done.

“I know this painting is pretty bold, but I found it while traveling with my partner and it brings back some great memories.” Don’t even doubt yourself — keep it! 

If you’re still on the fence, again, this is where we can help talk you through it to make a decision you’ll be happy with long down the road. No regrets required.


From our San Francisco Style Project. Photographer: David Duncan Livingston

Question 2: Is it comfortable and in good condition?

Remember, the goal is to create an inspiring and comfortable home. An item in poor condition may nag you day after day and bring the overall aesthetic down… which isn’t what you want from this new, beautiful home you’re imagining.

However, that doesn’t always mean that you have to replace it and invest in a new one. If it’s an investment piece or a well-loved item, sometimes it just needs a pick-me-up. A good polish or a new fabric can make it feel fresh and new. We can also help you identify which items are repairable and oversee their transformation. I know, what can’t we do, right?

Question 3: Is it the right style and scale?

Does the item in question speak to your style? Will it play a role in achieving the look you want? There are almost always ways to blend different styles together harmoniously in one room, but loving a piece — and disliking its style — may be a sign that it’s not meant to be.

Likewise… Are you upgrading to a larger home? If so, the scale of your current furniture may make the new home feel empty and cold. Are you downsizing to a smaller space? Your current furniture may be too big, making the space feel cramped and dysfunctional. Balance and proportion are key.

Feel free to get a head start on your own, but don’t worry if you get stuck. We can help you make smart choices every step of the way.


From our San Francisco Style Project. Photographer: David Duncan Livingston

What if your current furnishings don’t make the cut?

My advice? Send those pieces off to a new home and start collecting furnishings that speak to your style and what you love. You can grab our Furnishings Investment Guide here to see what it will take to upgrade your space with all the items that do bring you comfort, ease, and daily support. 

Or, book a call with us, and we’ll create a home that looks and feels so good, you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner.




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