When Houzz asked to interview me over the summer, of course I jumped at the chance. If you haven’t seen the article yet, I was asked to share my top tips on how to make your home your own dream getaway. I’ve found that all too often we don’t bat an eyelash at spending thousands on vacations year after year. But what about the spaces where we spend most of our time? If you ask me, there’s no better destination than home.


In her own words: “People often don’t bat an eyelash when it comes to investing in travel to beautiful destinations. I believe it’s time we make our homes our most favorite destination of all.”

Think of that relaxed feeling you get when you’re on vacation, the soft exhale of stress and calm sense of joy. Multiply that exponentially when you add in the beauty of a well-designed space devoid of clutter and centered around your personal happiness. Why not replicate that feeling when you walk in your front door? “Everyone spends a ton of money on those one or two annual weeks of vacation,” says Leann Parker, owner of design firm West Eleven Lane in Carlsbad. “Instead, invest money to create a space that makes you happy 365 days a year.”
Moving experience. 

After relocating eight times over the course of five years, Parker understands the need for peaceful security in your space. Managing her own remodels and home design through these moves made Parker realize her true passion, so she left her corporate job to pursue a career in interiors. “Bringing happiness to people through art is an incredible privilege,” she says.

Locally inspired.

Living in the San Diego area provides Parker with plenty of ideas. “Just going outside here, with all the blues, greens, natural tones and even terra cotta, is so lovely,” she says, calling her style a blend of transitional and modern coastal. Textures also come into play, with the sand, fog and ocean, especially in winter. “When it gets chillier, textures provide a sense of comfort and coziness,” she says.

Ready to find your personal paradise at home? Parker shares her tips below.

1. Infuse Your Home With Light

An airy space filled with sunshine immediately conveys the feel of a desirable retreat. Maximize natural light inside any space through window coverings, color choices and mirrors, Parker says.

In this Valencia home, the fireplace used to be traditional brick and the walls were beige. Parker chose a new background of bright white paint, then added furnishings in pale wood, light grays and creams, with a pale blue-and-tan rug. Light filters through woven window shades even when closed, and cotton-linen curtains seem tropical as they twirl in a breeze. An oversize mirror reflects more light throughout the room.

  1. Spotlight Treasured Items

Whether it’s art, pieces you’ve found on travels or decor you simply find beautiful, “surround yourself with only the things that you love, and let go of the rest,” Parker says.

The owner of the same Valencia home is a photographer and wanted to see photos as soon as she walked in her front door. Parker created a gallery wall of the homeowner’s wedding photos, which speaks to both her personal and professional passions. A bleached wood console table lets the art take center stage, discreetly holding photography equipment inside.

3. Focus on Activities You Enjoy

Part of being on vacation is having a chance to destress and relax, Parker says. “Figure out what activities you like to do when you’re away and incorporate those into your spaces.”

The owner of this Carlsbad home likes to tuck in and cozy up with a book whenever she travels. Parker simplified her bedroom, taking out clutter and piles of stuff. A textured linen headboard cocoons her as she reclines, as do soft microfiber sheets and a fuzzy throw. Her bedside table is the ideal place for a stack of books and a coffee cup.

For more information on West Eleven Lane’s Portfolio and Reviews, visit Houzz.com.