My design philosophy is simple; everyone’s life is left better by great interior design. As a coastal dweller for the last twenty years, an interior designer for the last ten and creator of the Ideal Interiors System™, I created my blog to help give you a starting point and to share some of the secrets and inspiration in interior design for coastal homes and small spaces…one you can enjoy with family and friends…one that is uniquely yours.

Believe in a Better Life
by Design

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Sound as a Healing Element

As we all know, learning is a continuous process!  As part of my shift toward designing healing spaces, I’ve immersed myself in continuing to understand the different elements of a space and how I can best bring them together to help support healing for my clients. Each design is different, just as each client is different, but the elements we work with are the same….color, light, space, furnishings, etc.



Bedroom w french doors | Cavnauagh Design Group

{ image via House Beautiful }

When designing any space, I work to educate my clients on why I’m choosing the elements I am for them or why we should use a particular hue of paint vs something else.  Above and beyond the fact that a room is visually pleasing, a client’s surrounding environment has a direct effect on them. So, as a designer, I intuitively choose interior elements, like color, scents, music and furnishings, based on what I feel the client needs, both personally and in their surroundings.

(Coastal Living)

{ image via Coastal Living }

I recently found an article about Tom Kenyon, who turned to science to help him understand the effects of sound and music on the human brain.  Music and sound have an effect not only on our moods, but its sound can affect our consciousness in many way.    On a basic level, music and sound can uplift us, make us anxious, happy, sad or evoke different emotions we haven’t felt in years!  I think many of us know this on some level and we’ve experienced music adding to the ambiance of a dinner party or creating a calming environment after a long day.  Though, after studying sound, Tom has cutting edge scientific research which proves that sound shifts brain states and promotes dramatic healing in our bodies and has made a movie, Song of the New Earth, about his journey and his findings.

{ image via www.tomkenyon.com }

{ image via www.tomkenyon.com }


So, keep in mind, whether it be for design for healing or just for fun,  our environment truly does affect everything, from how we feel to how we heal!

If you are thinking about creating a space you truly love, contact me about our in-person or virtual design services at nicole@cdgdesign.com

Healing Our Spaces

I love to learn and as a designer, I’m always seeking expertise about products and different approaches to interiors and design that I feel will fit well with my clients’ interiors and their own needs for healing. Recently, I took a course with Marie Manuchehri, RN, a registered chemo nurse who, at the age of 37, realized she wanted to work with the rooms as a whole and the energy in those spaces.  She also works one on one with individuals and groups of people to help change and heal themselves.  Having seen first hand the need for healing as a nurse, she has expertly translated this into her current focus and her work as a healer is just fascinating.


{ Marie Manuchehri, RN )

{ Marie Manuchehri, RN )


Most people don’t realize exactly how their interiors are affecting them and what we can do to change that for the better.  People have a difficult time healing in a space where the energy is low, where the room is cluttered, isn’t visually appealing or is not what they need it to be, rather than if they were healing in a beautiful, supportive, well-thought out space with everything they need.   What was particularly interesting about the class was that she related what happens when we work with someone’s energy or the energy in a room, to physics, biology, protons and a several things that made me wish I had paid more attention in college physics class. What I do know for sure is that once we’ve made changes to any interiors for the better, the energy of a room also shifts for the better and it rises and vibrates at a higher level and helps support healing in that space.


{Mammoth Hospital chemo room before and after | Cavanaugh Design Group }

{Mammoth Hospital chemo room before and after | Cavanaugh Design Group }


{ Chemo room at Mammoth Hospital  | Cavanaugh Design Group }

{ Chemo room at Mammoth Hospital | Cavanaugh Design Group }


Yes, my goal is to make the spaces in which I work beautiful, supportive and inviting. However, interior design is just one medium to do this,  just as painters use paint or sculptors use clay. Part of what I do is to give my clients the best chance possible for healing, by raising the energy in a space to create a lovely basis for helping those in it heal, through design and working with the different elements in a space.


So how about you? How do you feel when the energy in your space is low?  Are you sensitive to it and how does it make you feel?

If you are thinking about creating a space you truly love, contact me about our in-person or virtual design services at nicole@cdgdesign.com

Why Healing Interiors?

When people find out I’m an interior designer, whether I’m at someone’s house for lunch or just enjoying time together, inevitably the conversation turns to something design-related. I could talk about design for days, so I’m always eager to find out what they’re working on and hear about their vision!


interior_design drafting

I’ve noticed, though, that often people want to change something in their interiors because they want to change something about themselves. They want their surroundings to affect them positively. No one has ever come to me and asked me to make their home or office messy, disheveled or a disaster! I think on some level, we all want to feel better, live better, heal something or have more space to gather with people that matter to us. Through our interiors, we seek some change in ourselves. We want to be positively affected and we want, in turn, share that with others.

caramel coastal bedroom_BHG

What we see on the outside is often an indicator of what’s happening on the inside. So if, by design, we can set the stage to help heal both, all the better. What about you? Is there something you’d like to change or heal about yourself or your home?

If you are thinking about creating a space you truly love, contact me about our in-person or virtual design services at nicole@cdgdesign.com
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Nicole Cavanaugh

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