The Cowgirl Designer: Luxury Is Often Misunderstood

by HomeDecorBeauty

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Marlene Holmquist

Featured image: Interior designer Marlene Holmquist kept an old manger in her grandparents’ barn as a personal luxury – a concept open to personal interpretation.Photo: Courtesy of Marlene Holmquist

For years I’ve been lugging an old rusty manger in my grandma and grandpa’s big green barn, waiting for the perfect landing spot. I thought about fixing it and painting it, but I’m glad I didn’t. It’s now on the corner of our coastal patio, and it’s the first thing I see when I catch a glimpse of the backyard. This is a luxury that makes me smile. It brought back the days of growing up on a family ranch, believing that a docile old horse would be waiting for me when the bell finally rang at 3 o’clock. (Today, the parents took the phone. My parents had more power than that!)

Never let the word luxury scare you. Its true meaning is often misunderstood. It’s not expensive furniture or materials; it’s a feeling. It can be created in your own home with thoughtful interior design. Anyone, regardless of budget, can live in luxury. Defining what luxury means to you is the secret sauce. Over the years, I have seen many humble homes that are more luxurious than mansions. Larger homes can be uncomfortable and difficult to decorate. The secret, however, is to create different intimate areas for parties. Smaller homes can actually make some items “out of my price range” more likely. Bespoke luxury creates a feeling of well-being, well-being and healing. Try incorporating biophilia (the subject of the previous article) into your home, bringing nature into our lives to promote emotional and physical health. The art of feng shui addresses the spatial arrangement and favorable or unfavorable flow of energy (qi) in the home. Feng Shui is mostly intuitive, so don’t let its reputation for complexity intimidate you. great design just feels good.

Aside from your cherished personal items, every room should be functional and a focal point. The point of view (entry option) is a different topic than the focus and is also very important. What do you see when one room moves to another? Does the room you’re standing in lure you into the next room, or is it so different that you feel uncomfortable? As different family members live in a home, spaces such as bedrooms are often very different from each other. The flow of private and commonly used areas in the home is achieved through different but common properties of materials, colours and/or textures. For more self-help, see my website home page (, where you can download the free guide “How to Evaluate and Add Personal Value to Your Home”.

For me, true luxury feels like jumping off a grumpy old mare and landing on the saddle of my beloved Ol’ Blue. Translation: Familiarity, comfort and memory of the many horses that gave me the confidence to navigate the world ahead. Putting your personal definition of luxury into words is an exercise that can save you a lot of time when decorating or building your home. It’s actually a compass that guides you to your destination. I challenge you to take the time to write down what luxury means to you and your family, then take the risk and start making positive changes. It may take more time than you think, but your definition of luxury is finally within your reach.

ASID’s Marlene Holmquist owns Luxury Ranch Interior Design, a full-service interior design firm that specializes in remodeling homes and small businesses. She is an avid equestrian known as the “Cowgirl Designer” and is a member of the San Juan Capistrano Equestrian League and Las Vaclas Women’s Riding Club. or

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We are a team of home decor and beauty enthusiasts who want to help you make your home beautiful and your life easier. We believe that every home should be a reflection of the people who live in it, and we are passionate about helping our readers create a space they love.  We believe that beauty comes from within, and we want to help our readers find their own unique sense of style.



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