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Providing interior decorating services in Bonita Springs, Fort Myers, Naples, Estero, Sanibel and Captiva islands, Cape Coral, Sarasota, Orlando, Winter Park and surrounding areas of Central Florida. Contact for details!

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Tips for creating a calm space in a not-so-calm world

Wrenda Goodwyn • special to the Fort Myers News-Press• August 29, 2015

It's all about how you feel when you walk in the door.
Does your home make you happy? Is it a calm retreat from the chaos and over stimulation of the outside world? Do you constantly feel overwhelmed by projects that you just can't quite complete? Are you tired and drained and not sure why?

We all want a nurturing home that offers a refuge. Not one that leaves you frustrated and exhausted.

As a Southwest Florida interior decorator, I have my clients fill out a brief questionnaire before I meet with them.  The first question: "How do you want your home to feel when you walk in the door?"

Ballard Designs photo of Suzanne Kasler curated softly colored abstract artRelaxing and pretty. Suzanne Kasler curated softly colored abstract art that pairs with her signature fabrics and finishes for Ballard Designs. Photo: Ballard Designs.

Tell me how you want your home to feel and I will make everything else fall into place.

Each answer is the same. Everyone wants a "calm" home. Of course we do.

It's not about "stuff."  You may have everything that you could dream of in your home and it still doesn't feel right. Check out these tips that I use for my clients and see how it changes your space.

We talk about this a lot in design and decorating but if you don’t do anything else, do this one. It costs nothing. And it has the most impact. Do it today!

Delete some of the visual stimulation. Pare down your accessories. Eliminate or rearrange some furniture and establish a comfortable conversation area that is relaxing.

And your closet. Most of us wear 10% of what is in our closets. So why not just have the 10% in your closet? Instead of the piles of clothes that you never wear any more. It’s all visual clutter and it’s exhausting to look at and to think about.

But sometimes the thought of decluttering itself is overwhelming. Just the physical aspect of getting rid of things and deciding what to do with them is difficult and stops homeowners in their tracks. Because it requires sorting it into what gets donated, given away and tossed. The solution: leave that part for another day. Remove it all from your house. Stash it in the garage until you have time to make the decisions.  Meanwhile, you will love your decluttered home so much that you won’t mind saying goodbye to the clutter when the day comes.

Don't over decorate.
The eyes need a place to rest. Don't cover every surface and every wall.  Don't be afraid of space. It is what most of our homes are lacking and it's the very thing  that creates a calm home.

Splurge in the bedroom.
Comfortable pillows. Nice sheets and comforter. A window treatment that blocks out the light. Pretty, restful artwork and accessories that make you feel good. We all spend a lot of time in this room and it's not the place to cut corners.

Pottery Barn photo of beautiful bedroomCreate a space to end your day with comfortable linens and fresh colors. Photo: Pottery Barn.

Transform with soothing colors.
Rethink your color palette and drop it down a notch. Soothing colors and more muted fabrics equal a calmer home. Save the bold colors for your family room and outdoor spaces. Of course this does not mean that a well-place splash of color against the most toned down backdrop is not gorgeous!

Design a spa bathroom for relaxation.
This is a service that I have done for my clients since I have been decorating homes. And it’s really easy. You can do it today. Think about what you love at a luxurious hotel or spa. Lots of white. Clean and crisp. Fluffy towels. Thick rugs. Plants.  Candles. Soaps and aromatherapy.  And don’t forget a spa robe. White is the key here and it must be done in a spotlessly clean bathroom. This should be your calming retreat at the end of the day.

Pottery Barn photo of spa bathroomFor a spa look, try this Morgan shower curtain of soft cotton with a band of color, along with organic cotton towels. Photo: Pottery Barn. 
Forget the harsh, overhead lighting and install dimmers on all lighting.

Remove the bad vibes.
We all have them. Something that you carry around from home to home. You don’t like it but you don’t feel like you can get rid of it. Give yourself permission. Keep what makes you happy and anything with a negative or tiring association, send it out into the world where someone else will find it useful. It may be art, a photo or a piece of furniture that no longer serves you. Remember: it’s your home and you are not obligated to keep anything.

Create a space for solitude.
Give yourself permission to have a nook or part of a room where you can relax. Just you. Maybe it’s space for a yoga mat or a lounge chair where you can read. Create a corner in your home where there are no electronics or noises. A place where you can think and start to wind down from the day.

Wrenda Goodwyn is a Southwest Florida interior decorator. Home Inspirations appears the first Saturday of each month. Visit her website at Call her at 949-1808 or e-mail For more decorating tips and photos, visit

Want to come home to a spectacular space? Call me!

Do you want your home to look like a model? Read my tips.

Sort through the confusion of when to splurge on your home and when to save.


Make an entrance starting with the front door: Bold, fun and playful

Wrenda Goodwyn • special to the Fort Myers News-Press• August 1, 2015

If you're looking for a summer pick-me-up for your home, you've come to the right place!

This will change everything. It's one of my favorite decorating tricks that gives you a big change for little investment.  It will  make you happy every time you walk in front door. It sets the tone for your home. It doesn't cost much. And you can do it today!

Photo of Benjamin Moore's Crete Countryside paint on front doorBenjamin Moore's Crete Countryside is a beautiful green tone for a front door. Photo: Benjamin Moore

It's simple. Pick out a gorgeous color and paint your front door. Some doors just speak to you. A bright bold color in a high gloss finish. Perhaps with shutters. A wreath on the door. It just screams "welcome everyone."

Think about it.  It's the first thing people see and the last one on many homeowners' to do list. The  color of the front door offers a teasing glimpse into your home. It gives you a chance to do something bold, fun and playful. As a Fort Myers interior decorator who  spends a lot of time helping clients with color palettes, I always encourage homeowners to start at the front door.

Photo of pretty Key West door with turquoise shuttersPick a bold fun color for your front door. One that you love but might not use inside your home.

Take a step back and think about  the style of the door, along with the trim and siding that frame it.  But don't over think it! This is the one place where you really can't make a mistake and it should be fun.
It's a chance to use a color that you may be a little tentative about putting on your walls or in fabric for your sofa. But you love the color so try it on the  door.

Photo of front door painted in Benjamin Moore's Wild Berry in high gloss.It all starts at the front door! Benjamin Moore's Wild Berry in high gloss. Photo: Benjamin MooreFront doors should be an accent color. A dramatic, bold shade.  And it can be a color that is not repeated anywhere else in your home although this is not a rule!

So now is good time to think about your favorite front doors. And make a statement.

Photo of front door painted in Gunsmith Gray and Mopboard by Benjamin MooreClassic elegance. Benjamin Moore's Colonial Williamsburg Gunsmith Gray and Mapboard Black. Photo: Benjamin Moore.You may love a deep dark purple but it's just too much for your living room. But not for your front door. My front door is currently a bright, bold turquoise that would be too much for my interior walls. But as a front door color, it is pure happiness and makes me smile when I pull into the driveway.

Some of my favorite front door colors: red, indigo, orange, black, green, yellow, dark gray, blue. Done in high gloss so it pops!

A front door color makes an immediate impact, complementing the style of the home and improving curb appeal. Your home is a good guide for what works and what doesn't when it comes to choosing front door colors. Take into account the materials, colors inherent in those materials, style, and surrounding landscape.

Pretty red door with gray and white trimPretty red door with gray and white trim. Photo: Wrenda GoodwynAnd to really make it fun: carry the color around to the interior side of the door! Be brave!
The color you choose for your door says a lot about you. All for the investment of a can of paint. And the best news of all: if you don't love it, you can easily change it tomorrow!

Wrenda Goodwyn is a Southwest Florida interior decorator. Home Inspirations appears the first Saturday of each month. Visit her website at Call her at 949-1808 or e-mail For more decorating tips and photos, visit And to see a selection of her favorite color palettes, go to wrendagoodwyn


Want to come home to a spectacular space? Call me!

Do you want your home to look like a model? Read my tips.

Read these tips and sort through the confusion of when to splurge on your home and when to save.



How to make porches part of your living space

Wrenda Goodwyn • special to the Fort Myers News-Press• July 4, 2015

We're in those lazy, hot, humid days of summer but if you are at home on this Fourth of July weekend, chances are that you will end up on a porch someplace either relaxing, celebrating with friends over a meal or watching fireworks.

Photo of white house with flag and hydrangeasMaybe it's because I was born and raised in the south. But I love porches. The "porch" was where the family headed after dinner.  I can hear my mother saying, "Help me finish the dishes and let's go out on the porch." It was where all important discussions and  decisions took place. Even though the "porch" was only a small cement stoop with a couple of aluminum chairs. It was still the place where we retreated at the end of the day.

As a Southwest Florida interior decorator,  I have had many "porches" since those days. Small apartment balconies barely large enough for two chairs,  front porches with comfortable wicker furniture, large lanais' with summer kitchens surrounding a pool and filled with friends.  But to me, they are all "porches."  A place to unwind, relax and think.

So, if in these hot, hot,  hot, days of July, you find your porch in need of a little makeover, I have some tips to give your space, no matter what the size, a little refreshing.  For years, I have been helping my clients makeover their porches as an extension of their living space. No matter what the size or budget.

My favorite
Add a porch swing. What could be better than dozing in a porch swing at the end of the day? Find them at flea markets if you are looking for vintage, hardware stores or check out the Ballard Designs Sunday Porch SwingPhoto of porch swing from Ballard DesignsDozing in a porch swing on a lazy afternoon. From Ballard Designs, this Sunday Porch Swing is hand crafted of 100% FSC eucalyptus to be naturally moisture and insect resistant, and finished in a warm whitewash. Photo: Ballard Designs. shown on this page. A porch swing just cries out, "Stop what you are doing and come and relax for a while." And if you find a vintage swing  that just will not hold up to much weight, hang it any way and fill it with plants.

Anchor your seating area with an outdoor rug
Even on a tiny balcony this works and adds color to the space. It also makes it an extension of your home.

If there is space, add an outdoor lamp.

Add a bar cart
Yes, it's great for a party but you can also use it for storage...liquid refreshments,  cups, stirrers, coasters, books, magazines, speakers, and anything else necessary for a relaxing afternoon.
Photo of all-weather cart for porch from Pottery Barn Pottery Barn's all-weather wicker bar console. Photo: Pottery Barn.
Hang Twinkle Lights
Arrange some strands of patio twinkle lights to transform your porch or patio into something special when evening comes. They make everything (and everyone) look pretty. And are very inexpensive.

Paint something blue
Paint the ceiling blue. Why? It's pretty and adds another dimension to your porch. Giving your own outdoor space a hint of blue is the perfect way to play into history, and it just might keep wasps and evil spirits away, too. According to the legend! Years ago, in the deep South, many people painted their porch ceilings a specific shade of Haint Blue, a soft blue-green, to ward off evilPhoto of ceiling porch painted in a haint blue shadePaint the porch ceiling a shade of blue. It's pretty and legend says that it keeps wasps away! Photo: Wrenda Goodwyn spirits called "haints." It's especially common in the historic homes around Savannah, Georgia, and Charleston, South Carolina. And I can say that my own blue porch ceiling has kept the wasps away!

Invest in plants
Give it your personal touch with lots of greenery. If there is space, add some pots, a small tree and a vase or two of fresh flowers. Use perennials so you will not have to replace them each year.

Go vertical
Hang a piece of artwork, plants  or a mirror on one wall.

Tiny space? No problem!

Bistro table and chairs may be all that you need. No room for furniture? Fill your tiny balcony with plants and in the winter months in Southwest Florida,  let the outdoors inside. And if you are on a budget, or even if your aren't, you can get creative with furniture by turning crates on the side and using them for benches of plant holders.

Wrenda Goodwyn is a Southwest Florida interior decorator. Home Inspirations appears the first Saturday of each month. Visit her website at Call her at 949-1808 or e-mail For more decorating tips and photos, visit And to see a selection of her favorite color palettes, go to wrendagoodwyn

Want to come home to a spectacular space? Call me!

Do you want your home to look like a model? Read my tips.

Read these tips and sort through the confusion of when to splurge on your home and when to save.



Rainbows, sunsets and sweet memories of home

It's true. You can't go home again. Sigh.

That's why I waited almost 10 years before going back to the Virginia peninsula where I was born and raised before leaving to come to Florida for a job at Walt Disney World.

For me, the area is filled with such wonderful memories but also of deep loss. I avoided it for a long time.

Photo of walkway at the Governor's Palace in Williamsburg, Virginia

But I wanted to see my cousin in Williamsburg and I felt a pull to be back in the history-rich area where I grew up. As the late writer, William Styron told me many years ago when I interviewed him for the Daily Press, "no matter what you are writing about, you are writing about the first 17 year of your life." I believe those memories impact everything that we do. They are always there.

Photo of colonial home with white picket fence at Williamsburg, Virginias

On this recent visit, I didn't go by Warwick High School where my dad played football and I danced with the Grenadier Band and Bagpipe Corp on the same field. I didn't see the old cottage on the York River where my mom, dad and little brother, along with our dog, spent so many afternoons in our tiny boat crabbing and clamming. And sitting on the screened porch watching storms, rainbows and sunsets. I didn't ride by the restaurant on Warwick Blvd where my dad worked extra hours so I could have braces.

Photo of my father, John Wren Goodwyn Jr. on the York River in VirginiaI was looking quite stylish during a day on the York River (Goodwin's Island) in 1963 with my dad, John W. Goodwyn Jr.

And I didn't go by my grandmother's house in Hilton Village or climb up the long stairway to the ballet school (now something else) where I spent years taking dance classes. I didn't drive past the tennis courts in Huntington Park where my father taught me that people wouldn't remember if I won or not, but they would remember how I acted no matter what the outcome. And I didn't go past the Daily Press where as a young reporter, my father taught me to always try to see the other person's point of view. I didn't go downtown, where as a child, my mother and I took the bus to go shopping and had lunch at the Woolworth's lunch counter. It was a big treat.

I decided to let those memories and gentle, swirling ghosts of the past, stay in my heart, resting softly.

Photo of an old bicycle in Smithfield, Virginia
Instead, my cousin and I took a road trip to Smithfield and spent an afternoon with a couple who were dear friends of my family. Their 1780 home sits on the bank of the James River and is beautiful.  We had soft crabs for lunch and walked through downtown Smithfield. And I ran into a classmate from high school who owns the Christmas Store. We drove past Bacon's Castle to Surry and took the ferry to Jamestown.

Photo of historic home in Smithfield, Virginia

I had dinner with a longtime friend on the York River and walked along the boardwalk. Took a ride past the battlefields that my dad and I walked so many times because he wanted me to know everything about the history of Virginia and what it meant.

There was lots of time wandering through Colonial Williamsburg and although I hadn’t planned on it, I found myself in Bruton Parrish Church where my family had been many times. I headed up the aisle and decided to sit in Thomas Jefferson's pew and think for a minute. And suddenly an orchestra came in and had a rehearsal for a concert taking place that evening. It was a special treat. At sunset, I found the gate open to the Williamsburg Palace grounds and worked my way  back into the maze, which in the second grade seemed very frightening but on this day was just a fun jaunt.

Photo of home in Colonial Williamsburg

Photo of Governor's Palace in Williamsburg, Virginia

Photo of Bruton Parrish Church in Williamsburg, Virginia

Photo of jeweler's sign in Williamsburg, Virginia

Photo pointing to press office at printer's shop in Williamsburg, Virginia

Photo of front view of the Governor's Palace in Williamsburg

And we had lunch at Chowning's Tavern…a tourist thing to do. But I was a tourist this time and it turns out that Chowning's is where my cousin had her first date with her husband. It was the right choice.

Photo of sign for Chowning's Tavern in Williamsburg, Virginia

I took long walks around my cousin's beautiful neighborhood, Queens Lake. And slept better than I have in months. Ran around with two Jack Russell Terriors, Snickers and Krypto. Visited Endview Plantation in Newport News (1769), which is the ancestral  home of my cousin and her son. On a tour, we discovered that he looks striking like Dr. Humphrey Harwood Curtis, who acquired the home in 1858. We all wished we could go back in time for just a few hours to see what a day was like at Endview. And for a short time, we almost felt the layers of history that surrounded us.

Photo of historic Endview Plantation in Newport News, Virginia

Photo of historic Endview Plantation in Newport News, Virginia

Photo of grave yard at historic Endview Plantation in Newport News, Virginia

Photo of entry at historic Endview Plantation in Newport News, Virginia

Photo of a grave at historic Endview Plantation in Newport News, Virginia

Photo with my cousins at historic Endview Plantation in Newport News, VirginiaAt Endview Plantation in Newport News with my cousins, Carol and Mark (Curtis) Welch.
It was a sweet visit and I found myself wanting to return soon.

Photo of horse drawn carriage in Colonial Williamsburg

This coming Sunday, Father's Day, I will be thinking about my father. He always said that when something sad happens, we needed to balance it out with something fun. So this weekend, I will think of him with my mother, brother and our dog on the river in our little boat catching soft crabs, swimming and laughing. Dinner will be great and I know the sunset will be spectacular. And maybe there will be a rainbow. I'll be at the beach looking for one.