Happy Chinese New Years!

Watercolor is usually not my medium, but since there is a small class nearby once a week I thought I would give it a try. Watercolor works the exact opposite as painting in oil. Light to dark versus dark to light. The photo below is an oil painting that I did of a similar image about two years ago. Same idea, but two very different looks. I’m not sure which one I like working in better.

I’ve been doing a lot of pen and ink drawings with a watercolor wash of the houses in my neighborhood and I like the effect of the combination. Structure or no structure?

Happy Chinese New Years!



This article will be in the next edition of Design | Build on the Kitsap Peninsula

Written by

Diana Kingsley ASID. IIDA. NCIDQ. NKBA. And a Ph.D.in Business Marketing


When I graduated with an MA in Interior Design way back in 1985, there were not many interior design colleges offering the degree. There was no HGTV, no cooking channels, no cell phones, no GPS and believe it or not, no internet.  Students did not learn CADD or SketchUp and had to do everything with hand drawing.    Renderings would take hours, and only a few people across the country mastered the techniques.  People had no idea what a professional interior designer actually did unless they worked in a commercial firm.


Back in those dark ages, there were more “decorologists” than interior designers and it was just becoming a professional career.  Then and often now  I think today people think you just have to have a knack for it.  They don’t get that it takes years of training in space planning, lighting, structural design, history of art & furniture & architecture, textiles and you actually have to pass a two-day test to be called a professional.  But what does that all matter if you just watch HGTV and can see how to do it all.


Have you ever seen behind the scenes at Property Brothers or Flip or Flop or even Fixer Upper?  There are thirty or more people all working at the same time on a project. They have sources and they have money.  They have a whole crew that gets the job done.  In the real world, most people do not have a clue where to find the crews or all the cool stuff they incorporate into their designs.


Just take a sledgehammer and knock a wall down.  I will never forget a good friend of mine and a career attorney buying a small beach cottage and wanting to open up the space just started taking out walls.  She just kept taking out walls, not understanding structure till with one wall out too many, her roof began collapsing right in the middle of the house.  Luckily, she was able to get something to support it and no was injured, but it was pretty messy.


Earlier in the day, when I was about to write this article, I was copying some architectural drawings from a house where I am redoing a kitchen, bath and entry. The woman helping me at copy place asked if I was an architect and I said, no I am an interior designer.  Her comment back to me is one I have heard many times in my life: “I never got a degree in design but am pretty good at it.”


In many ways because of all the HGTV television shows people are starting to understand what designers do versus what decorators do. They are starting to understand that you have to have both sides of your brain working to be a successful interior designer. You need to be able to form an artistic vision and possess the math and construction skills to make it happen.


In teaching college-level interior design for eight years, I can honestly tell you that not everyone that signs up for college-level design classes has the “knack”.  Even as a learned skill there are students that are excellent; there are students that good and there are students that could not make it. Not everyone thinks they will be the next HGTV host makes it. Another part of interior design is the psychology involved working with couples that do not always agree. In hiring a designer people are starting to understand that mediation of partners makes it easier to get the job done.


One of the other things I laughed about when teaching were your contacts.  In the “good old” days, your Rolodex was your best friend, and I would call it in class your million-dollar wheel. You had all the good contacts and sources and knew who to call to get something done. Now it is who you have on your smartphone, but the list is still there, and the average homeowner does not have this list. They are starting to realize a good interior designer will have this list to get the job properly done. Professionals have great connections.


One of the questions I keep hoping homeowners will ask is about the education of the person they are about to hire. At the Art Institute, you could get a three-year bachelor’s degree, a two-year associate degree or a one-year certification.  There are a few schools that offer master’s degrees, but not many and very few where you can earn a Ph.D.


Keeping to a budget is another thing people are starting to grasp about interior designers. They work to keep you on budget. When the first woman interior designers designed, it was for the elite and money was no object. Now designers are taught that the budget is almost as important as the design.  You can design the most beautiful room in the world, but if it is two or three times what the client wants to spend then you do not have a workable design.


More people are starting to appreciate that a smart designer will not go over budget, but save you money when they can, and most importantly they will save you time.  I don’t know about you, but I really get tired of constantly searching Online for what I need.  Designers used to take their clients to one of the major design centers to make selections and in most cases, the client was totally overwhelmed.  Even though Online there is a lot to see, you can see it one-by-one.


Building codes and aging in place have become more prevalent in the marketplace and most clients need assistance with that.  They don’t want to put their home on the market and find out at that time that a lot of illegal construction took place. If they want to stay in their home as long as possible, designing it to make it easier to live in as we age is essential.


The NCIDQ is the National Council for Interior Design Qualification and to be a part of it the designer must pass a two-day test. So not only have they studied and earned a degree they are now recognized as a highly qualified interior designer, competent to meet industry standards not only for aesthetics but for public health, safety, and welfare. To date, more than 30,000 people around the world have earned the certification. This organization has been around since 1972.  Ask your designer if she or he has passed.


Knowledge is power; so, as people know more about what it takes to become a professional designer they will trust the industry more.


Why You Might Want to Work With an Interior Design Pro

11 ways a pro can help you get the most joy from your remodel while minimizing headaches along the way

This a wonderful and easy to read article from Houzz on why you would want to hire our team:


When people consider hiring an interior design professional for the first time, they often don’t know what to expect. Television can make it seem as though designers are magicians. This can create the illusion that designing, purchasing for and executing a vision can happen in a day; that concepts cost next to nothing to achieve; or that these professionals do nothing but shop, cause drama and have the time of their lives spending clients’ money. That’s good entertainment, but it’s not reality.

In the established design industry, the career is serious business. It takes years to master the art of interior design. It is complex, calculated and practical. A design professional is often part creator, part project manager and sometimes even part therapist, helping homeowners to determine their dream design and bring it to life while helping them to breathe through the complexities from start to finish. Design professionals have learned over the years to wear many hats to benefit their clients.

Here are some of the top reasons for entrusting your project, whether it’s big or small, to a design professional.

Why You Might Want to Work With an Interior Design Pro

Selling Books Online

I love Amazon.  I seem to always have a package coming from Amazon.

A few years ago I decided to thin out my library as I have so many books.  Some of them I still had from college and from teaching and decided someone else could better use them.

My first lesson was always have a confirmation of delivery.  The seller is “always” the liar in Amazon’s template.  I sent a $110 book with $6 or so postage to a person who complained they never received it, so I got a bad review and she or he got a free book.  That was about five years ago.  I felt if they need to lie to get a free book, then they needed it more than I did.  Not to worry.  I sold a few more books then decided it was too much work.  I got to know our local postmasters well, as I was going there about every other day.

About six months ago, I decided to list books once again and listed some 400 plus books and they started selling.  This time there was tracking for each one and a confirmation.  Well, the buyers have gotten more savvy and according to Amazon, they are always right.

This time I lost an $80 book, as the person claimed it was the wrong edition, even though I clearly had posted the one listed.  They got to keep that one for free.  Next the post office accidentally sent two books to the same address (shown on my receipt) so lost another book. Never did figure out what happened to that book. Third person received a book from my PhD classes for a mere $124.00 and they said it was missing pages.  Funny, they were all there when I sent it and when I personally used it.  Amazon awarded them the book and the money.  Another student sent a nasty note that they had received the wrong edition, saying they were way behind in class due to my mistake and in this case I did accidentally send an edition that was one earlier.  The note said they were failing the class due to my stupidity.  I let it go, knowing their stupidity was far more charming, after teaching design for eight years,  and authoring a successful design book, I know there is not that much difference in editions.  I am sad for their view of the world.

Yes, I am no longer selling on Amazon.  Too many complaints from buyers.  So if you are selling your books on Amazon:  Seller Beware!  The buyer is always telling the truth according to Amazon.

Just a commentary for today.  Any ideas where to sell these books?  I think Powell’s in Oregon buys, so will look into that, but would love other ideas.

Selling Books Online

Designing a Postcard Ad for RE

Airstream being pulled

Today while listening to classes on real estate I decided it was a good time to sketch while listening.  Multi-tasking and now I need to add color and come up with a By Line.  Anyone have any ideas?  Here are some I was thinking about:

Thinking about making a move?

Ready for a change of scenery?

Where do you want to be at this point in your life?

Don’t think I need to to exert this much energy to move?  What is your idea?

Think of me when you think of Real Estate. Join me on one of my Facebook pages:






Designing a Postcard Ad for RE

Another SOLD Postcard

Maxx Sold

Weed Post card Side 2

Whenever I sell a home, the client receives a hand drawn pen and ink with a watercolor wash that I draw just for them.  It is framed and cards are made to match the drawing.  They are also welcome to use the drawing in any way to share with family and friends.

If you or any of your family or friends are looking to buy or sell in the Poulsbo, Kingston or Bainbridge Island, I have lived in the area for 25 years and know the areas well.  I love making the transaction a smooth and positive experience.

Hope to hear from you.




Another SOLD Postcard

Home of my Interior Design Client

Van Buskirk

Over the course of about two years, we totally redesigned my friend’s house.  She loves it and is the best client.  Our last task was to select colors for the exterior and for her door.  Benjamin Moore HC 45 for the exterior and bright aqua for the front door.  The house looks great.  It is so heart-warming when things come together and everyone is happy.

Home of my Interior Design Client

Hats off to a New Beginning


Sometimes we just have to start over.  When going back into real estate a few months ago, I joined a “team” where I thought I would comfortable.  I thought I would be just selling homes and strictly working with buyers. I love all of it, but working with people is the best part of real estate.  You get to meet people from all walks of life.

I am a happy, but calm person and loud explanations just don’t resonate well with me.  I discovered that discussions in this manner no longer worked in my life, so I have taken off the hat of a team, pictured above and moved on to do my own thing in my own happy and calm manner.

Diana Goddess update

The umbrella is gone and I am going to have a great time “out in the rain” growing my real estate and interior design business.  Hopefully people will understand and appreciate the benefits that come from working with not only an experienced real estate broker with high ethical standards, but with a professionally experienced interior designer.

Having designed and built four homes for myself and as spec homes, I understand the process of building and construction.  Having designed those homes from the ground up I know what it takes to make a space work. Teaching for eight years at The Art Institute of Seattle helped me learn how to share knowledge with other people.  Publishing a book taught me organizational skills beyond the norm.  (Please check out “Drafting for Interior Design” at Amazon and many other sources.)  Working with clients the first thing I always remember is listen to what they want, not what I want.

Not only as an interior designer, but as an artist the proper use of color fascinates me and would love to help my clients work beyond the colors you see in so many homes to one that sings to them.

So here I go and here is the first post card I will be sending out to anyone and everyone I can think of.  Please send your address to me at kingstoncove.studio@gmail.com if you would like to be on my mailing list.

Postcard Front OnePostcard one back

Cheers to new beginnings!

And by the way every client buying or selling a property with me will receive a original hand drawn for you from your favorite angle of your new or old home so you have it for loving memories.  Here is one I recently sent to Australia.

Hungerland finished

Hats off to a New Beginning

And you think you go somewhere fun to have your hair done.

Don's Chicken Coup _Color Don's Chicken Coup_BW Don's Hair Salon in Color Don's Hair Salon Don's House Don's School House HD

How many Hair Salons have a Chicken Coup, a School House from the 1800’s and nice modern salon built on the property.  Don Edward’s in Kingston is Gene Juarez trained and actually listens to what you say.  Pretty remarkable combination.

And you think you go somewhere fun to have your hair done.

Port Gamble Post Office

Port Gamble Post OfficeBWPort Gamble Post Office

Back in time to Port Gamble with its Post Office. Port Gamble represents one of the few remaining examples of company towns, thousands of which were built in the nineteenth century by industrialists to house employees. Founders Josiah Keller, William Talbot, and Andrew Pope planned the town to reflect the character of their hometown, East Machias, Maine, where many of the early employees originated. For 142 years, the community existed to support sawmills that produced lumber for the world market. The mill closed in 1995, but as a National Historic Site, the townsite has been preserved to reflect an authentic company mill town.

The first known residents of Port Gamble were members of the Nooksclime, Clallam, or S’Kallam tribe who fished and gathered food along Hood Canal. The S’Klallams belonged to the linguistic group, South Coast Salish, which populated Puget Sound. Tribes traded and intermarried and generally experienced little conflict except for raids from outside the region. In 1841, a U.S. Navy expedition led by Lieutenant Charles Wilkes (1798-1877) named the two-mile-long bay at the mouth of Hood Canal after Navy Lieutenant Robert Gamble, who was wounded in the War of 1812.

In the summer of 1853, San Francisco lumber merchant and sea captain William Talbot (1816-1881) spotted the sand spit at the mouth of the bay as a likely place for a lumber mill. Talbot was a partner of Josiah Keller (d. 1862), Andrew Pope (1820-1878), and Charles Foster in the Puget Mill Company. They planned to cut the abundant trees of Oregon Territory into lumber for sale in California and across the Pacific. The sand spit sheltered ships and was close to stands of timber.

S’Klallams already lived on the spit and on the bluff above. Keller induced the natives to move across the bay to Point Julia in exchange for free lumber, firewood, and Christmas gifts. The S’Kallams called the site Teekalet, “brightness of the noonday sun,” for the way the water and sand reflected light on sunny days. Talbot borrowed that name for the mill.

Screen Shot 2015-04-08 at 7.54.28 AM

Here is the oldest photo of the building I could find.


Port Gamble Post Office