Build Your Own Designer Memory Palace

I just fell in love with a new (to me) and amazing blogger, Lisa Borgnes Giramonte. I had to share what she inspired me to look into: If you’re like me with not the best memory in the world, or you’re just so busy and inundated with so much ‘stuff’ to do and remember, then check out
this book The Memory Palace.

The Memory Palace - Learn Anything and Everything (Starting With Shakespeare and Dickens) (Faking Smart Book 1)

Here’s a link to Lisa’s blog discussing this. Build Your Own Memory Palace

Why I really enjoyed this idea is because of the literary connotations.


Tanya Freedman,

Hummingbird Interior Designs


Give a Small Room A Big Punch

Whether you have a small living room, kitchen, dining room or office, there are always ways you can give a small room a big punch and bring more airiness and feeling of space into the area.

Many tiny kitchens are just that: Tiny. But if you have enough space to move around in the triangle work area – sink, fridge and oven – then you have opportunities to make it feel more spacious.

Lighting: It’s crucial to have better lighting, daylight or artificial, for working under, but also to highlight the area, or cabinets and counters. Under-cabinet lighting can be reasonably priced and will add immeasurable practical and aesthetic value to your kitchen.

Cabinets:Depending on the budget, of course, new cabinet fronts, (refacing) or refreshing old ones to a lighter hue, or even just changing the hardware will transform a seemingly small kitchen.

Flooring: If the floors are dark, dull, cracked or just dated these can suck the light and life out of an otherwise interesting space. Small and light tiles or cork or lightly colored hardwood floors can give the impression of a much larger floor area.

Walls: A fresh coat of a light color on the walls and a new back-splash can change a so-so room into a ‘wow’ room. Don’t go for a too bright tile for back-splash, for resale reasons. Keep it neutral enough, but make sure you really like it. The area won’t be that big, if you have a small kitchen. So your money will go a long way.

If you have no time and hardly any budget or are perhaps thinking of moving, and therefore trying to make the best of an old kitchen, then the old wise advice still stands – for every room, nook and cranny in your whole home, and not just the kitchen: Declutter, reorganize inside and outside the cabinets and take everything back to its bareness. In other words, leave nothing on the counter tops, clean and scrub away every surface and any grime that may have accumulated over the months or years, and you’ll notice how much bigger and more inviting the kitchen will be. Then keep it free of any nicknacks and things we have become so used to seeing day in day out.

Whether you have a tiny powder room or a small family bathroom, the best way to make it seem more spacious is to paint the walls a light color and bring in as many mirrors as possible. Mirrors reflect and give the wonderful illusion of doubling the space. It picks up the light and other sparkles like crystal and adds interest and dimension to any space. If you have enough space to change a single sink vanity to a double, then this will add to the practical and future resale value. Look at the possibility of adding granite counter top and back-splash. What about heated ceramic or cork floors with a special (but inexpensive) tile pattern which will refresh the whole space?

Once again the most important thing is to clean out the cupboards, scrub and polish all the surfaces and then if budget allows. Do you really need all those old bottles of shampoos and conditioners? What about the medicine cabinet? Get rid of any out of date products and you’ll have more space and will find things quicker.

Consider changing the mirrors to large and interesting shaped ones and update the hardware (if not the cabinets fronts) and the new colored face and bath towels.

If you have a small guest room or baby’s room which will now have to be updated for a growing tween or teen, or if you have a small master bedroom, then look around the rest of your home and see if there are other rooms you can swap their use with. What if you were to redecorate the main floor office – which is much bigger than your master bedroom – into your own haven with your own master bathroom? Then the upstairs room can be transformed into a lovely tween or teenager’s room, and the smallest room can now serve as a perfect office space. The advantage would be that the privacy will give you or your husband the added value of increased productivity.

So, to recap, the most important thing to start with in any room, reevaluate its purpose and then declutter, reorganize and refresh. If you need help of an outsider’s eye, I’m sure many friends or relatives (whom you trust and respect) will be happy to give you their opinions.
Visit Tanya At Her Other Creative Blog

Spring Clean Your Office

What do you think about when spring is here?  Spring cleaning – aargh!!  And how about spring-cleaning your home office and all those piles of papers you’ve been meaning to get to?  I know, I know . . . believe me, I know!  I hate cleaning of any sort, especially sorting through mounds of paperwork.  So I try to avoid it by preventing the pile-ups as much as I can.  I’d like to share some tips that have worked for me – the procrastinator extraordinaire:
Get ready to spring clean your office …

Put really inspiring music in your CD player
Really.  It helps.  Or, if that’s not your style, do whatever gets you in the mood and keeps you going.

Give yourself a time window
Block out two hours – OK, 30 minutes if that’s all you can bear at the start – whatever it takes to kid yourself into starting.  That’s the most important thing!

Collect your piles of papers
Move all paper on the various surfaces in your office into a large box or other non-working-space area to keep them in one place while you deal them.  This will give you a feeling of instant accomplishment, as you gaze at your cleared desktop.   And when it’s clear, keep as little on your desk as you can. I know that’s not easy – I find it’s an ongoing challenge.

Review your filing system
I’ve changed my system a few times through the two successful home- based businesses I’ve run. As every creative soul knows, home-based businesses are notorious for taking over your life, if you’re not careful.  Currently, I use separate filing cabinets to store different types of documents.

Keep your filing up to date
I’ve recently re-adopted my desktop lateral filing system that makes it easy to shove documents into instantly accessible slots, instead of letting them grow into another pile on top of my desk.  That’s where I keep all my bills and action mail. You may prefer to use a 12 section concertina folder where you can file and find your documents fast.  File weekly to keep up with the paperwork.  Make it a habit and it won’t nag at you every time you come into the office.

Place three plastic stackable organizer trays on your desk:
1. Action
2. To be Read
3.  File

Use the round file
If it really doesn’t fit into your filing system or your current priorities, introduce it to the round file – the one on the floor next to your feet.  Throw out or give away magazines, audio books and CDs that are no longer useful.

Consider a red action book
This can be a diary, or anything in which you can jot down all your actions and to do lists, to keep it all in one place.

Free up your mind
Catalogue all your books and expenses on an excel spreadsheet, to free up your mind and make tax season a breeze.

Give your computer (and yourself) a break
Delete old or redundant files and articles from your computer to free up space and to refresh your mind as to what you’ve got.  And back up your data regularly.  Monthly would be good, but weekly would be better.  I back up my projects weekly onto CDs.

Develop your own approach
I have two huge white pin boards where I tack all my “need to see” information. I also like notepads and index cards; I use them to write my ideas, action plans and goals. That works for me, but you may have a different work style.  Try things and discover what meets your particular needs.

Make it a habit
Update your filing system regularly, about every 6 months.  I know it can be frustrating and it takes time, but it’s more frustrating and time-consuming to search through mounds of paper to find important documents.  Wouldn’t you rather spend 15-30 minutes a week instead of having to tackle mountains of paperwork?  A little bit of effort every day or week will be much less painful and you’ll probably gain at least an extra three or four hours a month! Isn’t that a great incentive to spring into action?
Want more organizational Inspiration? Visit Tanya at her other creative blog!

Welcome! You Can Bring Order And Beauty To Your Life!

Thank you for visiting the Hummingbird Interior Designs (HID) website. Here you can find easy, step-by-step guidelines on how you can bring order and beauty into your life.

Whether you want to update a room in your home or office, or redesign a whole floor or house, HID is packed with invaluable tips and tricks and information you may use to change your living and working space. You may transform the rooms all at once or in stages. You may want to do some of the work yourself, or hire professionals.

HID can help in both cases.

Browse this site and then contact Tanya Freedman, Founder and Principal Designer, and her HID team for any specific queries you may have. They would be happy to come for a free half-hour consultation anywhere in the GTA.

Read about the Tips and Tricks you will be able to apply in your home or office, immediately.

HID is based in Richmond Hill, Ontario, but services the whole of Greater Toronto Area, in Ontario, Canada, North America and the world.

You may also like to visit HID’s sister company, – where you will find many more inspirational and practical ideas for your home, office or holiday space.

An orderly and beautifully organized space is within your reach.

Contact HID with any questions or for more information:


And visit Tanya at her other creative blog here!