Understanding what your core values are before you start any home project, before you call any contractors or designers, is vastly important. You need to have an understanding of who you are and what you want your life to look like. Our homes are reflections of who we are as people, as families, as communities.

I would say at least three times a year I work on naming my core values. Being a working mom and a wife it takes time to realize you’re true core values. Life is busy and I often need a moment to remind myself of the foundation from which I need to be working and making decisions.


Over the last few years I have found myself at a multitude of cross roads. My kids are growing at light speed and we are at a point in time were they don’t need me near as much (but still having to be present and paying attention), so I am grieving on some level, and needing to fill the void of time that was taken up doing everything for the Schmids. I cooked, cleaned, laundered, chauffeured, consoled and encouraged them all day, every day. Now I simply get eye rolls and requests for cash for gas, Red Bull’s and Wawa.

This experience coupled with turning 50, seeing my mortality slap me in the face as stinky day old cold trout, has sent me in to a straight tizzy.

And there’s one more layer, triple it up with working for the last 9 years building a deign firm, growing the business while working in the business. I am a classic case of true burn out. Little did I realize the CDC has a diagnosis of burnout officially. It has to do with the physical effect that chronic -that’s consistent – stress does to a human body over years. If we continue to work at a level of chronic stress for years without relief, we will end up being over weight, have high blood pressure, anxiety, high cholesterol, fight depression and our brains will simply start to shut down, we end up with having to struggle to get through the days. It’s bloody hell.

The older I get and my kids get, the more I just want to spend time with them. So that would be core value #1- Family time.

My husband brought me the love of travel, I always knew I was a wandering soul, but he showed me how to not be afraid to leave the comforts of home. What a gift he has given me. I can not even begin to explain the levels of growth, understanding, empathy, and gratitude traveling outside of your own state gives you, let alone your country. This would be the next most important core value. #2 – Adventure

This is where the core values come in. Family, travel land the third core value – finding joy and value in what you do, not letting it define you. It is simply a job. #3 – joy

The value I have maintained and built my career around is #4 creativity. I am truly blessed to have been able to do this through being a potter, now a designer, and now building Por La Casa and creating block prints as art and for textiles, creating fun and funky chair designs, and more.

In doing my best to fight the burnout I have added #5 – well-being to my list. So you  see me riding, paddling, trying to surf, doing everything i can to get outside and exercise. It is what I absolutely love to do.

Finally #6 – excellence allows me to justify always wanting to learn something new. I am addicted to learning. I have decided to return to school once again and pursue my MA in English, its my first degree and writing is a passion, obviously. I would love to get better at the craft. It feeds my creative yearnings, it allows me to communicate even though I’m a bit of a home body.


So what I’m getting to here is that when you are considering dropping a ton of cash or going in to major debt to renovate or build your home, you need to recognize your core values, not your goals, those are two different things.

Looking at this list, read through it once, then read over it again. Write down what words resonate – make you buzz – make a list. Some will seem to be the same thing – that’s ok, put them on the same line as similar words. Try to pare it down to a basic 5 to 8 core values you hold true.

These will be your guide post to what decisions you make on a daily basis.

Now apply these values to how you want to renovate or build your home. Where do you want to put your money. Make sure your ideas of home link back to your core values. This is list is your beacon.

Take the time to work through this. Designing a home based on your core values in the long run, makes just the planning phase go smoother, faster and will be less complicated. In the long run this action will save you money in wasted time and mistakes. become self aware of your directional beacons, your core values. When you’re ready, we can talk design and budget.