Think outside the design box

By Cathy Lee Posted in: Celebrate StyleImprove
August 17, 2014

Are you decorating a space for yourself or someone else? I have one word that will help you more than any other: communication.

What do you want your space to say? I just want to chill. Let’s have fun! Or I’m a rock star — hire me!

Spaces communicate a message and energy. By keeping these in mind, you’ll be able to focus your decorating decisions and spark creativity.

Case in point: Last year, Hawaii News Now general manager Rick Blangiardi asked me to design an office for his assistant marketing director, Troy Siruno. This was where Siruno would meet with clients and show them ideas for advertising spots. It was also his bat cave, where he would do creative work.



The moment I saw the white walls, hodgepodge furniture and an electrical conduit running up a wall, I knew I was in for a big challenge. And boy, do I love challenges!

Siruno wanted a fun, inspiring space, with a modern aesthetic and the color purple. He did not want a cold space. The rest was up to me and my team.

I knew exactly what message and energy to convey. The message: We are the creative team that can set your business apart. The energy we gave the room was dynamic, fun and, most of all, inspiring — to potential clients, Siruno’s team and Siruno himself, when he’s creating ad spots.

Remember the exposed conduit? We painted the wall in purple and gray stripes and hid the pipes within a couple of purple stripes. Next to this, we added a message: “Be the best @getting better” — a favorite saying of Rick’s.



But the most prominent feature is the visual pun that reinforces the message of the space: a three-dimensional box that I had constructed and mounted on the wall with the word “Think.” Only “nk,” the smallest letters, are inside the box; the rest of the word is outside the box. Get it? Think outside the box! Exactly what clients could imagine Siruno and his team doing for them.

Next week, I’ll give you more tips on creating a message with your space, whether it’s in your home or office. What is your space communicating?

Cathy Lee is a home style expert, speaker, president and designer of Cathy Lee Style. Her redesigns of residential and business spaces have been featured in local and national publications and on HGTV. reStyle Hawaii, her new-concept furniture and home accents store, is open daily at 420 Keawe St. in Kakaako. For more info , visit