Every now and then we need inspiration to help us realize that some of our design limitations are self-imposed. You might be asking yourself, “I have small children, how can I possibly have a nice looking home!?” Or, “Our home has a lot of architectural charm, but it can never look bright and airy!” That’s why homes like that of interior design Nicole Botsman of Dezaar Interiors, serve as a reminder — and a trove of tips to help us achieve the spaces that we always dream of.

Eight years in the making, Australian expat Nicole Botsman finally put together a space for her family that fit their style and needs. “I love color and use it a lot for clients but for my own space I’m drawn to black and white,” she shared. The first thing she did when they moved in was to pain everything white. “The walls were all different colors and generally quite dark, greens and reds,” she said. They used Benjamin Moore’s ‘Sea Pearl’ for the walls and ‘White Dove’ on the trim. “A lot of people were very against us painting the wood but it made a huge impact and I don’t regret it for a second”. For those of us with architectural “charm” in the form of wood panelling and trim, this is a great lesson: often we feel skeptical or guilty to paint wooden accents, but in the end it could have the best effect, especially if you want the space to feel more open. Besides paint, Nicole also stained the floors a darker and warmer tone to create a stronger contrast with the white walls.

Her next biggest concern was to make the space kid friendly. Factoring in kids meant that she had to focus on finding many storage solutions in the form of baskets and storage ottomans to hide away toys. Upholstery was another focal point when it came to making her home kid-appropriate: “I had to think about fabrics differently, for example the white pillows are made of Sunbrella fabric which is super easy to clean. I also find leather is another material that is very forgiving”. When it came to making design choices, Nicole turned to her Australian roots to keep things casual. Making sure the home had the right indoor outdoor flow was key. French doors open up the kitchen onto the patio to make sure that the family could enjoy outdoor meals in the rare but precious warm days.