For years I’ve been sharing with you design and decor tips from many of my clients’ projects. Now I’m excited to finally redesign my own family’s dream home! I’ll be keeping you posted on the ups and downs, with lots of tips wrapped in.

Because of this big project and a few others I’ll be sharing with you, I’ve decided to cut back to a biweekly schedule for this column. My tips here will continue to cover a range of topics, from hot colors and design trends to dos and don’ts of decor. Meanwhile, I’ll be posting quick photo updates of my own redesign project at


This week’s tip is about a common tradition in Hawaii: blessing new homes and businesses. While many of us hold blessings before we move in, I learned recently from Kamehameha Schools’ Kahu Kordell Kekoa that it’s really best to have three blessings.

The first is a mahalo to the current structure, an acknowledgment of memories and a cleansing of any negativity. This is also a blessing for the people and equipment undertaking the work. For new construction, a blessing helps prepare the land for change.


The second blessing is for the people who are going to live in the place. This usually takes place when you get the keys to your new home or are about to move in.


The third — the one we usually do — is the celebration for family, friends and for sharing. When I learned about the three blessings, I asked Kahu to bless the home we had temporarily moved out of and were about to remodel.

We provided a maile lei and he arrived with three ti leaves: one representing healing, another representing protection and the third representing nourishment. He also brought fresh water in a koa bowl and his Bible.

Kahu blessed the house. We felt the trade winds pick up a little bit. Kahu said this was indeed a blessing, and we felt the spirituality of the moment. I’m looking forward to our next blessing, when we can finally move back into our home.


I took Kahu’s tip to heart. It certainly made sense, and it made me feel better about the big project we are about to undertake. I hope that whether you’re ready to begin your own remodel or construction project, you’ll consider a blessing that’s meaningful to you.

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. For more info and inspiring photos of design projects, visit And keep up with Cathy’s dream home makeover at her photo blog, Homefront.