soulstyle, Oprah, aha moments

I’ve been totally MIA here for a few weeks – I’ve missed you!  I hope you check to see signs of life from me on FB and Pinterest.  And even Twitter now!  (but #ihatetwitter, keep that in mind).  With several design projects in varying states of progress, staging projects and well, the whole ‘life’ thing, it’s been a bit crazy!  There are so many exciting ‘Reveals’ coming of projects that have been so much fun to be part of, I can’t wait to share them with you, so stay tuned.

For now, let’s talk soulmates. Those that know me, know that I L-O-V-E times a bajillion me my ‘O’. 

Big O

You knew I meant Oprah.  Everything about her, Love.  Since my teens, I’ve been, well, fine we can say I’ve been a “fan”….seems so impersonal because I feel like our relationship is so much more than that. She’s taught me so much, provoked personal & spiritual change, stirred emotions, inspired and even encouraged.  She’s also introduced me to new friends that also became beacons and mentors to me – Marianne Williamson, T.D. Jakes, Maya Angelou, even Dr. Phil.

Oprah’s like my personal advisor and guru.  And in my mind, when we’re just hangin’ out and chillin’, we’re having these deep, amazing conversations and laughing and enjoying each other.

Oprah & Tracy(this isn’t real)

Oprah is currently renovating her Santa Barbara home – why?  The most important reason of all – even though it was “done”, it never felt like ‘her’.

Oprah dining room

Though I must say I’m loving Oprah’s dining room, which (IMO) is gorgeous – a lovely blend of elegant and comfortable.


oprah gingham

But then there’s this photo of her living room?  Family Room?  And I don’t know what is going on here, but I know it is not my Oprah.  My heart is hurting for my O and her suffering with this space. She says “All I can tell you is that I’m evolving, my taste is, too, and someday soon this room will represent the person I’ve become.”  Please let that be so, O.  Let it start here.

Anyhow.  So the other night as me & O were chatting (or I was reading the April issue of O, same thing), it happened yet again – BAM – I’m reading a review and blurb about a new book on home design, and it’s like I’m reading my own heart, not just that, it’s my own philosophies…wait, it’s almost my own freakin’ website & company name!


Xorin Balbes is the author of ‘Soulspaces’, and he’s been designing for 10 years.  Here’s some of the article:

“….  author of the book SoulSpace, believes that making your home a nurturing reflection of your inner self is not only possible for anyone, it’s imperative. Whether he’s renovating landmark buildings or transforming ordinary residences, his goal is the same: to enhance the true essence of a place, and the people living in it…..”

“…..When you are completely in love with where you live, you can go out into the world knowing that you get to come back home and be taken care of.”

Preach brotha, Preach….if this were church I’d be fanning myself.

Xorin has created an 8 step process (in his book) for clients to work through so that you are creating your spaces from the soul level – based on what’s important to you, how you think, feel and sense the world.  I loved and whole heartedly agreed with all the steps of his process, but Step 6 is so relevant to anyone, and so central to any home designing:

“Create – Your budget will dictate the scope of your improvements, but even minor changes can make a big difference. You might rearrange the furniture in your living room to make it more inviting for friends to drop by, or move your desk next to a window so it gets more natural light. Want to paint your bedroom sky blue? Hang a chandelier in the bathroom? Now’s the time. Expert opinions don’t matter here; this process, is about you really making your home yours.”

So once Oprah & I were done talking about Xorin (clearly my soulmate), I had to find out more about him and this book.  Obv.  So then can you even imagine my reaction in reading that Marianne Williamson wrote the forward for this gem?  That was rhetorical btw, it’d be better off if you didn’t actually imagine that reaction….I don’t want you thinking I’m cray. Or whatever.

So, my friend Marianne, author of the (my) life changing book “A Return to Love” among so many others, had this  to say about Xorin and his book:

“Where you live and what you live with are an extension of who you are: your living quarters are a physical manifestation of your emotional wants and needs, a mirror of your thoughts, dreams, hopes, wishes, and issues. And it isn’t just about the four walls that surround you: it’s about the energy with which you fill your space. I want you to consider the possibility that your home is an extension and a physical representation of who you are — and who you have been. Your space holds all your unfinished emotional business and baggage; the interior design of your home is a mirror of the interior design of you.”

O quote

These philosophies and design principals are exactly what I believe, and what I strive for in working with clients – I’m helping them create their spaces, with things and colours and functions that matter to them.  It’s also a reason I’m such an advocate of repurposing items, or making them over so that they can continue being a part of your world as your spaces evolve. 

 In a recent design consultation, as I looked around my clients new home, just taking in her things, her space, and getting what I thought was a feel for ‘her’, she said to me “I don’t know why I even have most of this stuff; it doesn’t matter to me anymore, I don’t like it, it’s here because I’ve had it for 20 years and I just haven’t let go”…  So the space wasn’t ‘her’ at all, in fact, it was actually holding her back emotionally, and making her feel guilty for changing and not loving it anymore! How could she possibly feel good here?
Here’s what Xorin says about that “…Thoughts have power. Whether you create your home intentionally or unintentionally, your thoughts and desires have been projected onto the objects that you have purchased, inherited, and collected, and when you see those things, you are consciously or unconsciously reminded of the situations in which they were acquired.”

 Wow, right?

I haven’t even read this book yet, but know that I will be.  If you’re struggling with how to re-create your home into something more beautiful, more satisfying, more ‘you’, then maybe this book is a good place to start.  Working with a decorator/designer is another way – I can assure you that not all of us will require you to toss everything you own, or make you feel like what you want or what matters to you ‘isn’t good enough’; in fact the opposite is true.  And if that’s not what you’re feeling, you’re working with the wrong person.  To read more about my design philosophy, you can do so here or here, and check out some of my design projects here.


So, O, what do you think?  Are you as blown away as I am with the similarities in thought?  Once again, you’ve introduced me to amazing and inspired me, thank you.  I know you’re busy, we’ll chat again soon.  Hi to Stedman and hugs to the dogs. 

You go



If you’re planning to re-decorate, re-design, or renovate, I can help you create the extraordinary. Fall in love with your home again.
Linking To: Between Naps on the Porch ~ My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia ~ Savvy Southern Style ~ JenniferRizzo ~ Dining Design + Diapers ~ Serenity Now~ Everyday Home~ NellieBellieBlissfully Ever AfterIt’s Overflowing ~ Remodelaholic ~ TheIdeaRoom

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  1. Julie @ Being Home says:

    Tracy, I love this post. I completely feel the same way. Looks like I need to go get that book. I love and have some books my Marianne, as well. 🙂 I am loving these design philosophies and yours. I could not agree more. While I do not have clients (I am looking forward to decorating some of my friends homes) what you wrote above is one of the main reasons I started my blog. Not only was I seeing people not happy in their homes, but I was seeing the ugliness (envy, gossip, etc.) that can appear when one tries to “keeping up with the joneses”, instead of decorating for themselves / spirit. It was definitely an eye opener that I was seeing so much of that around me.

    Anyhoo, looking forward to seeing what you have been up to. LOVE your transformations! 😀

    • Hi Julie, thank you so much! Yes, that is true sometimes. I once had the mother of newlyweds hire me to work with the couple getting their new home in order, and as we discussed (with excitement) their thrift store projects, makeover ideas, etc the mother/MIL pulled me away and fiercely whispered “Why aren’t you telling them to throw everything out??” Ugh. As tactfully as possible, I explained that that was not what would make them feel like it was their home, and could she not see their happiness with what they were creating. It was a bit sad. So once we’ve both read the book let’s discuss, okay? xoT.

  2. Love the blog. Everytime I read it, it’s like you’re sitting across from me, talking directly to me.
    Can’t wait to see your Reveals!!

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