Every October the Boston Design Center hosts a wonderful event called Design Boston. It is 3 days jammed packed with back to back seminars, new product introductions, color forecasts, trends, and always a few Design celebrities. This year the organizers out did themselves and I had the thrill of attending talks by Juan Montoya, Martyn Lawrence Bullard, and the rock star (judging by the long lines to enter)  everyone came to see, Candice Olson.

Candice Olson

To answer the question everyone asked, yes…she is tall… 6’2″ to be exact (plus she was wearing heals). In person, she is JUST like she comes across on TV. She is funny, down to earth and very gracious. She showed lots of her interiors and told a few funny stories of getting started in the business. The big take away lesson is to treat every client the same no matter what their budget. Candice shared that she just signed the biggest contract of her career which came from a referral from one of her very first clients who had close to a zero budget for a kitchen redo. Candice ended up painting their kitchen cabinets herself , doing a little staging and the clients were thrilled. Today those same clients own 3 different homes all over the world and she has designed every one of them.

Candice said the most important element in all her room designs is lighting. In her words, she “hates, hates, hates, hates, hates, the single light fixture in the center of ceiling that all builders put into rooms.” When she designs, she focuses on lighting objects and things, not spaces. She likes scrims of lights running down drapery fabric, spot lights on tablescapes, hanging pendants above conversation areas, and scones on the wall. She stressed that without thoughtful lighting, rooms just don’t come to life and said that all her room lighting plans look like Swiss cheese.

Master bedroom by Candice Olson


Just look at all this different lighting in this master bedroom above; or in this basement make over below.


basement by Candice Olson

I have to laugh because in my own home most of the rooms don’t even have the center ceiling light. I always assumed our builder was too cheap to install lights but maybe he was just waiting for Candice :).

Lastly, I also give Candice extra props for patiently standing for several hours while all her fans took photos with her….somewhat embarrassed to admit…myself included.

I also have some great things to share from both Juan Montoya and Bravo TV star Martyn Lawrence Bullard. Stay tuned for post two later this week.

In the meantime, If you would like some help with choosing the right Color, Redesign or Staging, give me a call.

Linda Holt | Interior Designer & iPhone Coach

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