Sasha Witte Interior Design

Living With Style: A New Year, A New Way of Experiencing Home

By Sasha Witte
Gazette Columnist
Jan 12th, 2019 

During the last few years, there has been some evolution in the way our society thinks about “home.”

The proliferation of “tiny homes” represents a turn towards wanting our homes to be a practical and inspiring nest, without being a burden of work and debt that can overwhelm.

While we may not all be ready to embrace a “tiny home,” we can certainly take a look at our living spaces to make sure they nurture and inspire us, without causing us undue stress.

Live well daily by enjoying your favorite china and stemware on a Tuesday.

Live well daily by enjoying your favorite china and stemware on a Tuesday.

I have collected here a list of ways I believe we can experience life and our homes in new, simple and beautiful ways in 2019.

Live Well Daily

I read an article about an interviewer chiding writer Joan Didion for using her good silver at the dining table each day. She replied, “Why not? Everyday is all there is.” Another of my favorite quotes is, “The journey is the reward.”

Since the journey is a series of “everyday” moments, why not make those moments beautiful? Enjoy the good china for your morning tea. Cluster a grouping of your favorite vases and objects of art to greet you on the entry table when you return home from work.

Pull out your favorite and treasured afghan or quilt that your grandmother made for you as a child and drape it across the back of your sofa for color and texture.

Be Inspired

Surround yourself with objects that inspire you.

Surround yourself with objects that inspire you.

William Morris, father of the Arts & Crafts movement famously said, “Have nothing in your home you do not find to be beautiful or useful.”

If you look around your house or apartment and realize you don’t feel a connection to the things that surround you, it’s time to donate and send them on to someone who will treasure them. One at a time, collect objects and items that nurture and inspire you.

Consider enlarging and framing your best scenic photographs from favorite vacations or local vistas - as daily reminders of the places and people that you enjoy most. Seek out local young artistic talents whose work you love - and indoing this you can find original art for a fraction of what you would often even pay for a print by an already well known artist.

Every direction you gaze in your home, your eye should be able to rest upon an object, a color or an image that brings a smile to your face.

Entertain Often

Plan your interior spaces for entertaining ease.

Plan your interior spaces for entertaining ease.

A recent Harvard study expressed that those with good friends living within a twelve mile radius live longer and happier lives. Foster those friendships with evenings shared at home. Make simple food and light lots of candles. Candles can hide a multitude of “sins” with their soft ambient light.


For simple and fresh ingredients, visit one of our local farmer’s markets for some seasonal produce. These visits are also a visual treat – with all the beautiful rows of colorful fruit and vegetables recently harvested right here in Southern California.

Or pull out and dust off those old board games. Along with a bottle of wine (or two) and a pizza – you can connect with friends in a way a group trip to the movies will never achieve.

Consider buying local and looking for interesting pieces made by local artisans.

Consider buying local and looking for interesting pieces made by local artisans.

Buy Local

Explore the local boutiques, flea markets and estate sales both when traveling and at home. Not only is the experience more fun than a visit to the mall or the big box stores, but you’ll come home with more unique and personal finds.

Spending your money locally also helps the economy in your own back yard. There are wonderful boutiques and one-of-a-kind stores here in Long Beach on Broadway, Fourth Street and in Belmont Shore. There is a local flea market the third Sunday of each month at Veteran’s stadium.

Visit early for the best selection. But, if you stay late you can sometimes get the best pricing because vendors don’t want to have to repack and reload the unsold items into their trucks.

I wish for you and yours a beautiful year in 2019. And remember to enjoy something wonderful on each of your “every-days.”

Sasha Witte Living with Style

Sasha Witte can be reached at or (562) 434-8824.


Sasha Witte Interior Design

Living With Style: Light Up Your Home for the Holidays

By Sasha Witte
Gazette Columnist
Nov 17th, 2018 

Lighting is an important design element in any part of your home.  

But as the nights come earlier and we get ready to entertain family and friends for the fall and winter festivals, it’s worth thinking about how to bring comfort and beauty to your home with lighting.

Entry Areas


None of us want to enter into a space under harsh lighting. Bring grace to your entry way with soft illumination. 

Consider adding a dimmer to any overhead lighting and enhance the space with the addition of lighting at eye level via wall sconces or an entry lamp with a warm colored shade.

Dining Room

Living With Style: Dining Table Lighting

A beautiful chandelier above your dining table adds magic to your dinner parties.

Proper lighting is essential in this room as it is a space often used after dark and the hub of most formal entertaining. 

A chandelier is a must-have for any dining room.  It often serves as the room’s focal point while also shedding light on the table below. The bottom of your chandelier should generally hang between 30 and 36 inches above the center of your table. 

Buffet lamps are a nice enhancement to this room.  They have a narrower profile than most table lamps to leave plenty of space for your food serving area. 


Living With Style: Kitchen Lighting

For your kitchen, a combination of recessed and decorative lighting is optimal.

In the kitchen, adequate lighting is a must.  Consider a combination of recessed lighting and decorative lighting in the form of semi-flush ceiling fixtures or pendants over a bar or island area. 

Make sure lighting placement is in such a way that you will never have shadows cast over your work area.  One way to help prevent this is with under cabinet lighting thru-out.

Living Rooms

Living With Style: Spruce Up Your Living Area

Spruce up your living area with lighting from a variety of sources.

All our rooms are hopefully rooms for living, but this particular room gets especially heavy use this time of year. 

Consider sprucing it up and balancing out the levels of light within the space by using a combination of floor and table lamps. 

Also consider the dramatic use of up-lighting behind large potted plants or sculptural artwork.


Living With Style: Soft Bedroom Lighting

In Bedrooms, consider soft lighting for romance and sconces for when you or your partner want to read in bed.

Ideally the bedroom is a welcome respite from the intensity of our days.  Perhaps in no other room is it more important to have lights that can be dimmed for a soft and peaceful backdrop. 

But if you or your partner also likes to spend time reading in bed, make sure to have bedside lamps that will offer good illumination.  Better yet, add reading sconces on either side of the bed to keep your tables clutter free. 

Living With Style: Bathroom Lighting

Bath lighting at eye level is optimal for doing makeup and hair.


 Have you ever stood at the sink in a restaurants lavatory and been aghast at the harsh unflattering light coming down from above creating dark shadows across your face? 

Avoid this effect in your home bath with lighting that not only comes from above, but also forward from the wall – preferably at eye level.  This will also provide better lighting for shaving and makeup application.  Your guests will also be grateful. 

Sasha Witte Living with Style

There are so many bright possibilities out there for beautiful lighting! 

Here’s to being surrounded by beautiful light!

Sasha Witte can be reached at or (562) 434-8824.


Sasha Witte Interior Design

Living With Style: Decorating For Halloween

By Sasha Witte
Gazette Columnist
Oct 6th, 2018 

Decorating for Halloween doesn’t need to take a lot of time – and if you’re looking to economize on time, much of what you create for this holiday can continue to be used in November as fall décor.

Here are a few simple and playful ideas to make your home feel special for the new season.  Some of these ideas will look great thru Thanksgiving, while others are clearly good fun just for All Hallows:


A Glowing Welcome

Living With Style: Flickering Lights

Battery operated flickering candles remove the fear of fires starting.

A glowing welcome can be created not only with the traditional jack-o-lantern, but with lanterns or even mason jars.  If using something such as a mason jar, make sure to weight it with sand for safety before inserting your votive.  Cluster your lanterns or jars on stairs leading up to your doorway for a bigger impact.

I like to use battery operated candles with a timer feature so they can come on every evening at the same time and they welcome me and my guest’s home without any additional work on my part.  I also don’t have to worry about anything catching fire — and behind a pretty lantern face, it’s really hard to tell whether it’s a real flame or not!

Living With Style: More Lanters

Colorful paper lanterns are an inexpensive way to add a little panache to the front porch or window.

Another idea, if you prefer to use real candles, is to put the votive in the freezer for two hours before lighting them.  The chilled wax will slow the burning.

An Ornamental Option

Using a little black spray paint, repurpose an old mini artificial Christmas tree as a Halloween centerpiece.  Use orange or red ribbon to hang quirky Halloween ornaments from its branches.  You can buy All Hallows Eve ornaments – but you can also make your own using fortune teller cards, red, orange or clear crystal ornaments and strings of candy corn thread together.

I also recommend using dried tree branch in a large vase to achieve a similar effect.  And this one you can leave up to incorporate into your Thanksgiving decor!  Throw a little up light behind them and it can add an extra spooky effect with the shadows cast on your ceiling!

Living With Style: Existing Lamps

Enhance your existing lamps with flickering flame bulbs for a spooky effect.

In Lieu of Pumpkins

Use a colorful decorative bucket or a cast iron urn with autumnal color at the front door and fill it with a size appropriate five or ten gallon container of blooming annuals from your local home store.  Look for yellow, orange and red blooms for a simple burst of fall color at your entry.  Want a bigger impact?  Include at least three pots of blooming fall colored flowers.

A Unique Design

For a unique pumpkin design, photograph yourself and your loved ones in profile – print out the images and trace adding a witch’s hat.  Cut around the outline to make a stencil and tape it onto your pumpkin.  Trace around the stencil with a pencil and then use a narrow brush to fill in the image with black acrylic paint.

Or, if you’re looking for an easy and fun way to dress up your pumpkins consider “Pumpkin Bling.”  Just press the Halloween patterned black rhinestones onto the pumpkin and voila!  Five dollars spent, but instant and playful All Hallows Décor!

Creating a traditional carved jack-o-lantern?  Extend the life of your lantern by applying petroleum jelly or WD-40 to the cut portions of the pumpkin so that it deteriorates less from air contact and lasts longer.

Dress Up Your Existing Patio Décor

 I love to enhance my existing patio décor for each season.  At Halloween, I like to dress up my dapper dog statue with an orange and black top hat along with a colorful orange scarf! 

Easy Breezy Fall Décor

Living with Style: Fall Decor

When I pull out my fall decor, I know some of it will only last thru October, but many of the items will continue to fill the home through Thanksgiving!

It’s the easiest fall centerpiece of all, but I never grow tired of it – Fill a carved wooden bowl with a variety of colorful gourds.  Even Trader Joe’s carries a nice supply.  Surround the bowl with beautiful fall leaves picked up on your evening walk.

Looking for something that says fall, but you’d like to steer clear of the traditional pumpkins and gourds in your centerpiece?  Consider filling your bowls with autumnal apples, pomegranates or persimmons.  Enjoy them for a week or two and then bake yourself and your friends something fantastic!

Living With Style: Day of the Dead

Incorporating some Day of the Dead decor into the season brings playful color and graphic patterns into the mix.

Also easy, is to use inexpensive large and medium scaled paper lanterns in orange, black and white.  Cluster them over a table and enhance them with light strings that are clustered on the inside.

Incorporate Day of the Dead Décor 

I love the papier-mâché skulls, the bold colors and the graphicness of these items.  They look terrific with other traditional Halloween décor.

Use Existing Lamps

Enhance Your Existing Lamps with flickering “flame candles.”  I like to do this in my front windows for an extra spooky look come October!

And little indoor up lights below your ghostly décor at the window can also enhance the display.

However you celebrate Halloween and autumn in your home, I wish for you a beautiful and inspiring season with friends!

Sasha Witte can be reached at or (562) 434-8824


Sasha Witte Interior Design

Living With Style: Cozying Up The Nest For Holiday Guests

By Sasha Witte
Gazette Columnist
Nov 3rd, 2018 

The holidays aren’t the only thing that arrives during the last months of the year. There’s the trick or treaters who sashay to the front door for Halloween, the pumpkins and gourds nestled on the front porch, the slightly chillier weather with a (fingers crossed!) chance of rain, and the most important arrival of them all: the out-of-town friends and family.

While a joy to have overall, holiday guests can stress out even the calmest hostess. Whether they’re the in-laws, long-lost nieces, or childhood best friends, ease your holiday hosting gig with these tips.

Prep the Bathroom

Living with style: Bathroom

Make sure your guest bath is ready for guests by stocking the cabinet and shower with toiletries they may have left behind.

Place a basket for guest goodies near the sink. Fill it with toothbrushes, toothpaste, lotion, floss, a razor, makeup remover towelettes, q-tips, and breath mints. Put shampoo and conditioner in the shower and make sure there are plenty of towels in the cabinets.

A mini first aid kit placed underneath the sink is always a good idea. When having a dinner party, put individual guest napkins in the bathroom to prevent over-used hand towels.

Whatever you do, keep the guest bathroom as neat and tidy as possible! Almost half of your guests will open a cabinet out of curiosity, and you don’t want them to cringe at the site of a rusty razors pile next to hemorrhoid cream. Make a good impression with a beautiful bathroom clear of things you wouldn’t talk about at the dinner table.

LWS: Stocked Pantry

Be sure your pantry is stocked with your guests favorite cereals and snacks before their arrival.

Stock the Pantry

Ask guests ahead of time about food allergies and preferences. Pick up three to four items that they can readily eat at any time, from chips to nuts to fruits to cheeses.

Grab their favorite cereal and breakfast items for good measure. Nothing makes a person feel more at home than being able to help themself to their favorite snacks. Good food solves problems like no other.

Pull Out the Board Games

Living With Style: Board Games

A game table is a fun way to occupy guests during their visit.

Monopoly, Chess, Clue, Dominos, and a stack of cards are a simple way to liven up any night. No matter what age you are, a good game creates interactions and conversations within the stiffest of people.

Bring out Cards Against Humanity if your guests have a good sense of humor, and keep the drinks flowing! After reading irreverent cards like “Michelle Obama’s arms,” you’ll wind up wanting to play round after round. Keep plenty of throw pillows around for comfy seating.

Create a Playlist

Nothing gives a home more energy than music. Be the host who always has great tunes playing and spend some time making a fabulous playlist. For cheery mornings, choose coffeehouse music like Jack Johnson and Jason Mraz.

Relaxing afternoons playing games or sipping on cocoa are best spent listening to jazz or Future Classic soft electronic musicians like Chet Faker. Get a real party going later on with fun dance tunes from the Stax Records’ Motown hits.

Know When They’re Leaving

Be clear in emails and phone calls about details before out-of-town guests arrive.

Ask how long they’d like to stay, and plan holiday adventures accordingly. Knowing exactly when guests plan to leave will ease any uncomfortable feelings and last-minute day trip planning.

Don't Forget Dinner

Living With Style: Snacks

A few snacks and something to drink for guests stopping by during the holidays often comes in handy!

Besides the flow of guests coming in, another big part of the holidays is The Dinner Party.

You know, the spectacular one that you have every year that people cannot stop gushing about. Your food is perfect, the house is always beautiful, and your friends and family bond in magical ways. Here are some ideas on how to make the party even more spectacular.

Be Aware of Guest Needs

Invite friends and family at least three weeks before the date of the dinner party. Provide a place to hang coats and leave bags, and mention the space right when guests arrive.

Allow people to mingle by placing out fewer chairs than people. Keep h'ordeuvres and drinks in sight so hungry arrivals can relax immediately.

Living With Style: Stocked Bar

A well stocked bar where guests can make their own drinks prior to mingling saves work for you!

Provide a Drink for Everyone


Write a few drink recipes on cards and put out all the ingredients. Boisterous guests will have fun at a do-it-yourself bar.

For those who don’t want to work, mix up a sangria with lots of festive fruit. Remember that not everyone drinks alcohol and consider buying crowd-pleasing craft root beers such as Henry Weinhard’s. A few bottles of sparkling water and lots of ice are necessities!

Set a Fabulous Dinner Table

Living With Style: Dinner Table

Lots of lit candles is an easy way to create instant atmosphere.

Make your table warm and inviting with amber or red colored candleholders. Decorate hanging pendant and chandeliers with cascading ribbons and bring out different sets of china. If you’re having a party where people won’t know each other, spend some time on creating a seating arrangement that would make conversation flow. Place the most talkative and boisterous ones in the middle and group together those with similar interests such as cars, art, sports, a love for Netflix original series. Make sure to write names on both sides of the place card so people sitting opposite can see.

Make Serving Champagne Easy

Lessen the load in the dishwasher by purchasing mini bottles of champagne! Get one for each guest to sip from after you make a fabulous toast. Pop Champagne by Pommery is a good choice and comes in fun colors. Your guests will love this spunky change from other dinner parties.

Keep Your Cool in Chaos

If a guest breaks something by accident, refrain from an emotional response. Take a deep breath and say, “Thank you. I’ve been looking for a reason to replace that old thing.” Throwing a fit will create a more awkward situation, and your guest will be grateful for saving them the embarrassment. They’ll probably offer to replace it!

Bring a Hostess Gift When It’s Not Your Party

Living With Style: Hostess Gifts

Thoughtful hostess gifts, like a beautiful and easy to maintain succulent arrangement, are always welcome!

When the roles are reversed, don’t forget to bring a gift for the hostess.

A good rule of thumb for hostess gifts is to choose something that represents their activities and interests. If they have dogs, get gourmet doggie treats wrapped in a pretty bow. A bottle of infused olive oil is perfect for the consummate cook. For a green-thumbed friend, bring a gardening tool or nice gloves. Whatever it is, choose something that is unique to their personality and avoid clichés.

Whether you are hosting friends and family for a long stay or just a night, use these tips to keep your nest as cozy as possible in the bustling holiday season. Cheers!

Sasha Witte can be reached at or (562) 434-8824.


Sasha Witte Interior Design

Living With Style: Details In The Window Dressing

By Sasha Witte
Gazette Columnist
Sep 22nd, 2018 

So many details go into making a room both functional and aesthetically pleasing.  

The right treatments at your windows can go a long way on both accounts. There are many options to consider, here are a few.


Living With Style: Drapery and Sheers

Drapery and sheers on metal rings and rods are easy to open and close.

Drapery is a timeless and stylish enhancement to most rooms.  Generally, they give you the opportunity for a full view out of the window, and when closed, complete privacy.

I also like that their vertical nature can heighten the sense of space, and their fabric gives an excellent opportunity to add amazing texture, color and pattern to a space.

Make sure to select quality hardware – especially for a wide window, telescoping rods can quickly begin to sag in the middle due to the weight of the drapery. Most often we use solid metal rods with metal rings so that drapery pulls back and forth easily.  Wood hardware can be a great look, but is sometimes less of a smooth open and close than the metal rods.  

Utilizing a traverse rod is the least expensive option for hardware – but then you’ll want to camouflage it with either a Valance or a Cornice.

It’s also important to not be too skimpy with the use of fabric.  A general rule of thumb is that drapery should be no less than two times the width of the window if it were laid out flat.  We generally recommend a pinch pleat treatment at the top of the drape so that it will hang beautifully when open or closed.

Drapery panels outfitted with grommets or rings are definitely easier to slide along rods than those with fabric tabs or a rod-pocket panel top.  That’s important to consider in a room where drapery will be frequently opened and closed.

And for durability, make sure to invest in lined drapery.  You will avoid quick fading and will also give yourself an extra layer of insulation.

Blackout linings, which are synthetic with a rubber like film sandwiched inside, blocks light completely – which is a useful feature in bedrooms for those sensitive to early morning light.

Living With Style: Drapery, Sheer Combo

Combining drapery with sheers gives you the ultimate in light control.


Sheers add the opportunity for the ultimate light and privacy control when used on a second rod placed behind a drapery treatment.  When closed during the day you can see out, but others can’t see in. And the sheer fabric will help to protect your furniture, flooring and area rugs from fading.

And sheers are just a fabulous look.  I love the dappled light that comes thru the sheers I have at my home.


Living With Style: Roman Shades

Roman Shades don't take up space in a room and still add texture, color and functionality.

Shades are generally considered less formal than drapery.  

They are often the most effective option when windows are small and space for furniture near walls is at a premium.

They are also less costly than drapes due to less expensive hardware and the need for less fabric.  But because they are made with fabric, they are still a wonderful opportunity to bring texture, color and pattern into a space.

Roman Shades

Roman Shades feature clean straight lines, while a Soft Roman Shade or Austrian Shade can feel a touch more feminine.

Recently we installed some roman shades for a client who wanted both privacy and light during the day – we created blinds for her that could lower both top down or be raised bottom up.

Consider the lining used on the back of your shades.  Standard lining is usually white or off white. But there are lots of other colors available, which might look better from your patio or front porch when they are closed.

Both Shades and Blinds can be either hung inside a casement, outside a casement or above the window frame.  Inside the casement works best when you want to show off beautiful window moldings.

LWS: Kitchen Blinds

Blinds are a particularly good choice for kitchens and laundry rooms.

Outside the casing is best when you want to enlarge the scale of a window visually.  

Above the casement is a good option when you are trying to coordinate the heights of different types of window treatments in a room.


Blinds are hard, slatted window coverings that generally run horizontally. Matchsticks and wooden-slat blinds are two common options here.

Consider contrasting tapes to hide the operational strings – to add a little visual interest.

Venetian Blinds

Venetian blinds offer a simple and clean look.

Often I will combine both Shades or Blinds with either a Valance or Cornice in a contrasting fabric or in painted or stained wood.  

This is another good opportunity to add texture and color to a room without taking up space down low were seating and cabinets might already be a tight fit.

For rooms like offices, laundry rooms, kitchens and breakfast rooms I will often recommend a combination of Shades or Blinds with a Valance.


Valances are fabric covered frames that fit like a stylish eyebrow at the top of a window.  We will also use them on occasion to frame out the top of a drapery treatment.

Living With Style: Cornices

Cornices can be made from carved wood, like these brought back from an indonesian temple.

A Cornice is more structured looking, but also fits like an eyebrow at the top of a window - covering either the hardware for drapes or for a shade or blind.  Often they look like a simple wood crown molding.

Recently we created some awesome custom Cornices for a client using some carved wood she’d brought back from an Indonesian temple.  We added some contrasting red fabric behind the wood to highlight all the detail.

Cafe Curtains

Living With Style: cafe curtains

Cafe Curtains are a more casual look and best in kitchens and breakfast rooms.

Café Curtains are a more casual take on drapery and can be a good fit in kitchens and breakfast rooms.  I have also used them on occasion in Arts and Crafts style bungalows at the front windows.

This type of curtain is shorter and generally hangs right at the top of the window on its molding and only hangs to the height of the apron that frames the bottom of the window.

Shutters and Venetian Blinds

Venetian Blinds

Venetian blinds offer a simple and clean look.

Shutters or Venetian Blinds can be a great option, though I think sometimes they get overused.  Remember that even when the louvers are tilted to fully open, you are going to be without at least a third of the light that would come thru that window with a different type of treatment that could be opened completely.

That said, there are times were they are the perfect choice.  Especially when a client is looking for a simple and clean look.

Living With Style: Layering

Consider layering a combination of blinds and drapes for the ultimate in added texture and color.

Consider Layering a combination of treatments.  For instance, I think roman or woven blinds can be an excellent look framed by drapery.  This also gives you an opportunity to bring in at least two colors and textures to warm up a space.

Hardware is akin to accessories or jewelry.  It completes the look. That doesn’t mean you need to get fussy.  Earlier this year we hung drapes in a number of rooms in a 1920’s Mediterranean home.  We kept the finish of the drapery hardware consistent – black wrought iron in style – but we varied each room with a slightly different finial.

To increase the longevity of your window treatments, consider the following:

  • Lined Treatments will always last longer than unlined drapes and shades.  They are more expensive but you definitely get a better return on investment.  They also help to keep your home warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.

  • Soil Resistance finishes are added to some fabrics – this can be good in certain rooms – like children’s spaces or near doorways.

  • Outdoor Fabric can be a great option for windows that get a tremendous amount of sunlight.  And fabrics for the outdoors now come in an amazing array of textures and patterns – much less limited than a few years ago.

  • Fibers that are most vulnerable to the suns rays are silk, nylon, acetate, cotton and linen.  Polyester and acrylic generally stand up the best. That being said, linen in particular is one of my favorite looks for windows – it offers such casual elegance!

  • Clean your window treatments at least once a year.  And vacuum them even more frequently between cleanings.  Frequent cleaning won’t weaken a fabric nearly as much as a buildup of soil and fumes.

I hope these points have been helpful.  Remember, if you are overwhelmed by the options to consider, there are always professionals available to assist you with wading through the options!

Sasha Witte can be reached at or (562) 434-8824.


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