I absolutely love it when a client sees a space I’ve just finished for the very first time and then, a few moments later, says Ahh! They’ve just started to pick up the subtle details that make it special.

Not every element of design and decor has to hit you over the head. Sometimes it’s the subtle details that are most appreciated — even when those details are created out of necessity.

Remember my clients’ dining room last week? From the chairs to the mirrors, the table legs and even the pattern on the wall-paper, you saw how the repetition of sumptuous squares tied the design together.

Now I want you to take a closer look. Do you notice anything else about the mirrors? Each one has a small ledge. In design, grouping eight mirrors together to create one large focal point is somewhat expected.


What’s not expected is that three of them hold square white bud vases with a single cut leaf. Ahh! That’s what makes them interesting.

How about the faux ostrich and chrome chairs? Yes, they have square backs and bases, but do you notice anything else? Remember last week I told you that this dining area was a transition space? Since there was no room for an area rug to frame the dining set, I decided to create the illusion of one. The clean lines of the chrome chair bases join to create a visual bracelet that pops off the mahogany floors and gives you the illusion of a modern area rug. Ahh!

So step back and look at your space. Give it some thought. See how you can add some subtle details that tie it together with special degrees of interest, and soon you’ll be hearing, Ahh!

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 and inspiring photos of design projects, visit www.cathyleestyle.com.