Afternoon Soiree – July 14th, 2023

Afternoon Soiree

July 14th, 2023 3-6 PM

129 Bell Street Reno, NV 89503

A mixer for real estate agents and event planners!

Flow Designs would love to invite you to an afternoon soiree in our newly renovated event space. Let us introduce ourselves over some tasty treats and beverages. We cannot wait to meet you!

Kitchen Design Workshop – July 20, 2023

Kitchen Design Workshop

July 20th 6-8 PM

129 Bell Street Reno, NV 89503

Enjoy small bites and drinks in our newly renovated studio as we discuss tips and tricks to help you remodel your kitchen. 

Join us for:

  • A first look at our newly remodeled kitchen
  • Tasty refreshments
  • A charcuterie table

Flow into the Holidays: tips on how to be more sustainable during the holidays

We are Flowing into the holidays over here with tips on how to be more sustainable this year. Last Friday we did a Facebook live event where we talked all about this, so if you want to watch us live: check it out here:
This post is a recap of everything we discussed along with links to the resources we were mentioning. The three main topics: home decorating, throwing parties, and shopping/gifts.

Home Decorating:

We love to decorate for the holidays. It changes the mood of the space to enhance and embrace all of that Holiday cheer!


Real Trees, Cut Trees or Fake Trees

There are 3 primary options in this category: Real (cut) trees, Live trees, and Fake trees. Here are the pros & cons:

Real trees

  •     Farm (tree lot): these trees are grown to be cut, and new ones are planted in their place.
  •     Cut yourself: helps thin the forest; only a certain amount of permits are allowed, so it’s controlled.
  •     Both of these can be easily recycled! Look up your local tree recycling programs for more info and drop off/pick up locations.

Live tree

Fake trees

  •     Reuse, reuse, reuse! A fake tree should last a lifetime, so go for a quality tree, or repurpose one from a secondhand store
  •     Take good care of it, boxing it up each year so it will last
  •     These are made from plastics and chemicals that do not allow them to be recycled, so when you are done, donate it so someone else can find new life in it


Christmas Pinecones

Christmas never goes out of style, making it easy to reuse your decorations over and over. Whether you want to get some new items or find new ways to repurpose old ones for a new look, here are a few tips:

  •  Avoid disposable décor – use items that will last and can be reused year after year
  •  Buy Local — a huge component of being sustainable is to support your local community
  •  look for where it’s made: USA/locally or from another country
  • Reuse and repurpose — make use of what you already have:
  •  Frame Christmas wrapping paper in an existing frame
  • Put pine cones or pine branches in a vase
  •  Decorate your existing plants with lights and ornaments
  • Make homemade crafts! We had a lot of fun making some of these and showing them to you at our event. Here are some ideas:
  • Candles: look for soy candles as they burn cleaner than paraffin. Also, look for candles scented with essential oils or non-scented because artificial fragrance is made up of harmful chemicals
  • Lights: LED lights are energy-efficient and come in so many different styles

Throwing Parties

Make your holiday party sustainableWe love a good party! But a party can be super wasteful if you don’t plan ahead. It might seem easier to put out the paper plates, paper napkins, and plastic cups, but all of that is headed straight to the landfill. Here are some alternatives to consider:

  • Real dishes — it dresses up the occasion and people usually prefer to eat from a real plate. However, you might be rolling your eyes at all the cleanup, but considering the hours you likely spent preparing for the party, it will take less than an hour to do the dishes. The earth will thank you!
  • Plastic dishes & flatware — if you don’t have enough real dishes, then buy plastic ones. These can easily be washed and reused.

* Look for plastics that can be recycled at the end of their life
* Allows you to have fun with different styles such as gold flatware without a huge investment

  • Compostable/biodegradable items — if you do need a disposable option, be sure it’s compostable. There are so many great options for plates, flatware, cups, and more
  • Avoid any party favors, or if you do want to send your guests home with something, do handmade gifts such as jams, cookies, or candles

*This applies to kid’s birthday parties too. Set an example by not giving out anything, or if you do, make sure it’s not plastic, or items will just end up in the trash

  • Decorating — see our notes above for great ideas. These work for table settings as well as around the house.
  • Use cloth napkins and towels
  • Leftovers — start saving jars from the foods you buy, wash them, then send your guests home with leftovers in them
  • Wine — at the live event we did a wine tasting with sustainable wines. This means wines with no added sugar, no additives, no added sulfites. Here is a link for more info: or contact Lori at

Shopping & Gifts

great tips for being a sustainable gift-giver

We love giving (and receiving), so the key here is to be really mindful. This includes the entire process from why you’re buying, what you’re buying, and where you’re buying it from. Here are a lot of great tips for being a sustainable gift-giver:

  • Be thoughtful — get people something they will love rather than buying for the sake of buying. Consider the lasting feeling the gift will evoke.
  • Give experiences — we personally love doing things with our loved ones more than receiving an item, so consider giving something you can do together or that they will love to do such as a restaurant gift card, cooking class, or maybe skydiving
  • Shop local! — we can emphasize this enough. It supports your community and is often more personal. Next, look at where it’s made and try to support made in the USA when possible.
  • Reuse or Re-Gift — the perfect gift might be the item in your home that your friend has had their eye on or something you were going to give away or donate. Clean it up and it will be just like new.
  • Shop secondhand stores or Facebook marketplace for the perfect thing that someone is getting rid of
  • Handmade – whether you’re good at building things, drawing, crafting, or baking, people love homemade gifts. It is so personal, and they know how much time and love you put into making it.
  • Gift wrap — we love to wrap our gifts in a beautiful encasement of paper and ribbon, but most of the time this ends up in the trash. A few easy alternatives:
    • Buy recycled content paper
  • Don’t buy paper with metallics or glitter as these cannot be recycled
  • Reuse paper grocery sacks or butch paper (really easy to recycle). Personalize it by painting it yourself. Just be sure to save time for it to dry.
  •  Use reusable ribbon
  •  Repurpose old cards for gift tags
  •  Gift bags are easily reusable
  • Save the tissue paper and reuse it time and time again

One other way to feel good about the holiday season is to give back there is no better time than now:

There are so many ways to integrate sustainability into your life, so we encourage you to focus on just a few things that resonate with you this season. It’s not about being perfect at this, as we certainly are not, but each little thing we do does make a difference!


Golden Knob Recipient

Welcome back to our blog, today we have something genuinely heartwarming for you.  The story of our Golden Knob recipient, Sharon Smeltzer. Sharon was nominated by her friend Kelly who wrote to us about her dear friend. She wrote how Sharon had spent her life as a daycare provider spreading her light, love, and warmth onto others while providing peace of mind for parents and a safe place for them to take their babies. As Moms that rely on daycare, we know how important it is to know that your babies are in good hands while you work. We also know how hard it must be to look after numerous toddlers a time. The patience and kindness one must have is out of this world and a gift. So we picked up the phone and gave Kelly a call. I knew after my conversation with Kelly, Sharon would be a great fit for our Golden Knob Initiative, so we set a date for our meeting, and that is where it all began.

When I arrived at the house a man named Steve answered the door, I explained who I was, and he told me the ladies were in the other room waiting.  As I walked into the living room I saw Sharon and Kelly sitting in anticipation. I automatically knew this was going to be a great experience because of their giant smiles and the positive energy radiating off of them. I hugged both women and sat down to hear more about them. Sharon proceeded to tell me she thought that Kelly was playing a prank on her, and she was being Punked! They then explained to me that they liked to play pranks on one another, especially on April Fools Day, haha!!  They told me about their stories revolving around these pranks, which made me laugh quite a bit. Sharon’s sense of humor was delightful.

We then got up,  Sharon and Kelly proceeded to give me a tour of the home, introducing me to Jason Momoa, AKA Aquaman, Sharon’s life-size cardboard cut out, man crush, hottie!!! I learned about her love for the Titanic and was guided into her tastefully decorated Victorian-style living room, displaying all things Titanic.  It was at this time Sharon opened up to me about her amazing husband of 28 years, the love of her life. I learned that he had passed away five years ago, breaking her heart. She told me stories about his involvement in the different clubs here in Reno and how deeply he had loved her son like he was his own.  Her husband was a great man; their love was inspiring to hear about, so sincere and genuine. Sharon continued to tell me how that was the most challenging time in her life because after her husband passed away, she experienced a great deal more, losing her mom, dad, a sister, and a friend. Hearing this brought me to tears; I could feel and see her pain as she talked about this gut-wrenching time in her life full of darkness and sadness.

As we continued with the tour of her home we chatting about life and loss and the meaning behind it all, all while Sharon continued to make jokes and laugh. As we walked and talked, I thought to myself, “This woman has it together, there is nothing I am going to be able to help her with.”  She then led me down a hallway with a few doors, the first door led to a beautifully decorated guest room, also known as Nana’s room, and then we entered her organized and well-decorated master bedroom. After the master bedroom, we had one room left to see, and that was it, the room where everything landed that didn’t have a place in her home, the shove it in there until I have time to deal with it room, also known as the room that will one day be a space for creating and crafting.

Craft area before Flow Designs Before Flow Designs

As I walked into the room, Sharon explained that she didn’t use the space and hadn’t even been able to walk into it for years. It had become the room in her home she tried to ignore. I looked around the space and thought of all the potential it had, with just a little bit of love and time I could make this into a functioning room for her.  I proceeded to ask her if she would mind if I spent some time there while she and Kelly hung out in the living room. If she would trust me to take care of her belongings and to help get the space organized and workable. Sharon said yes, as tears of happiness ran down her cheeks.

After 4 hours, I transformed the space from an overbearing, cramped, unorganized area into a place of purpose and meaning. It became a space for Sharon to craft and create, look through old photos and remember all the beautiful moments she had had in her amazing life. I called on my right-hand man, my husband, to come and haul away the big stuff that was cluttering up space, her life, and Sharon’s emotions.

Crafting space for Sharon SmeltzerAfter I finished, I revealed the room to her and Kelly.  Their reaction was priceless. They both plopped down on the bed, overcome with joy. After seven years of friendship, this was the first time they had been able to sit on the bed and enjoy. We spent a few minutes enjoying the space together before I had to leave to pick up my daughter, from daycare. I left the two friends sitting on the bed, in a freshly organized space, ready for Sharon to start somewhere with her crafting.

As I left Sharon’s home that day, a feeling of pure joy and happiness swept over me. I felt so blessed to have met both Kelly and Sharon, to have been apart of there afternoon, laughing and chatting. What I realized from this experience that when you stop and take a moment to connect and embrace those around you, in your community, those are the moments that will have the most significant impact on your life. We created the Golden Knob Initiative to give back, do good and touch people’s lives positively. I would never have thought how much it would affect my own life. Thank you, Kelly, for leading me to Sharon and thank you, Sharon, for all you have done for the young people in our community. You are indeed an incredible blessing!!!

Joyful moments during the Golden Knob initiative

The truth about your furniture

Welcome back to our blog. Today we’re getting real with you and talking about the furniture in your home.  You spend a lot of time on your furniture, and just like sleeping, driving, shopping, and going to the bathroom these tasks take up many hours of your life similar to the hours spent on that, mattress, sofa and/or favorite chair.  For instance: approximately 2,728 drinks will be shared on your sofa, it will see couples kiss 2,105 times, and 3,135 films will be watched with your family on your sofa for over an 11 year period. That’s a whole lot of love and time spent on just your sofa.  With all of the warmth and coziness that our sofa makes you feel, I bet you didn’t realize what goes into making it and how it can affect your overall health.

The truth about your furniture.

The truth about your furniture….everything you put into your home “off-gasses”  which is defined by Webster’s Dictionary, “A gas that is produced as a by-product of an industrial process or that is given off by a manufactured object or material”. These gasses are the reason asthma is on the rise, allergies are soaring and headaches keep coming back, not to mention the C-word (cancer).  They fill your home with undetectable vapors that remain trapped within the four walls of your home or office. Have you ever received a rug or drapes and smelled something off about them? Well, those smells my friends are the gasses coming from the product. Those gasses are classified as VOC, Volatile Organic Compounds; Formaldehyde, Polybrominated diphenyl ethers, and Phthalates are among some of the many toxic chemicals used. They hide in fabrics, flooring, paint, furniture, wood, foam and insulation, just to mention a few.

Start asking important questions

At Flow Designs, our goal is to bring awareness to these issues and to help you make smarter choices when sourcing products for your home to get you to start asking important questions when sourcing new items. Questions like what is this made of? Where is it made? and who made it?  Asking these questions will help you see that not everything is as transparent as you may have thought. Just like the food you buy, making sure you know the “ingredients” is an important factor when purchasing new items for the space you spend the most time in. These choices have an overall impact on your health and the health of your family and pets. 

Our commitment to eco-friendly vendors 

At Flow Designs, we have made it apart of our mission to offer well made, sustainable, healthier furniture options for our community. We feel that your health, time and money are among the greatest assets and we want to protect them. At this point we have found two vendors that we think are doing great things; Rowe/ Robin Bruce Furniture and Newport Cottages. Both extraordinary furniture lines are eco-friendly, and also made in the USA! They are committed to the environment and stand out among the many other manufacturers out there. We hope that by investing in well-made, eco-friendly furniture it will improve your indoor air quality, save you money and time by having a quality made product that will last you many years, and keep the poorly made items from filling up our landfills. 

About Rowe/Robin Bruce furniture:

Rowe Furniture has launched the EcoRowe initiative, making a solid commitment to eco-friendly manufacturing processes and sustainable product development. EcoRowe focuses on crucial elements by selecting fabrics produced from natural fibers, renewable fibers, and the use of wood from replenished, domestic forests for the frames and the choice of two eco-friendly seats cushion cores. The eco-cushion core contains plant-based, renewable materials, which replace significant amounts of petroleum-based materials used in standard foam cushions. The eco-down blend cushion core is a modern combination of high-resiliency foam with recycled fiber and a blend of duck feather and down. The cotton ticking used to encase the feather and down is no longer bleached, creating healthier options. Each piece of Rowe and Robin Bruce furniture includes eco-wood and eco-cushion cores. With your choice of fabrics, you can create a complete eco-friendly piece of furniture.

Eco-Friendly Materials Used in their Production

  • Arm cardboard: 100% recycled paperboard
  • Corrugated cardboard: greater than 25% made from recycled corrugated containers
  • Down cushions filler made from recycled plastic bottles and ticking material is no longer bleached
  • Springs: made from recycled iron ore
  • Nails/Screws: Uncoated. Instead, a water-based lubricant is used.
  • Foam: a percentage of the Polyol chemicals come from plant-based renewable, raw materials. Also, the foam is PBDE free and is manufactured without the use of any flame retardants.
  • Cotton: 97% recycled materials
  • Wovens/Non-Wovens: Some bleaching process eliminated

Click here for more information about Eco Rowe

About Newport Cottages

Newport Cottages is another great line we have invested in. They are a family run business based out of southern California who strive for quality and craftsmanship.   Each piece they make is created using select hardwood, sustainably harvested, and then sent over to the woodshop, where cuts are Meticulously made,  hand sanded and then carefully applied with low VOC stains for the perfected look.  All of these are made to order items and are custom made for you. With each crib sold, the company plants a tree.

Click here for more information about Newport Cottages

Flow Designs commitments to the environment

We will continue to search for vendors committed to creating healthier options for the home and environment, so you can continue to kiss, drink and binge on Netflix while enjoying your sofa or chair, with those you love.  In the meantime, we are working on putting together a second-hand furniture package that would allow you to purchase a room of second-hand furniture, perfectly curated for your specific needs, style and budget! 


For more information about VOC’s and other harmful toxins please click here

Start Somewhere

My motivational "start somewhere" message from 2010
My motivational “start somewhere” message from 2010

Happy New Year! It’s that time again when we start to make resolutions and goals for change. This year I invite you to start thinking about taking small steps to make your resolutions and goals a reality. Set yourself up with the opportunity to succeed and remember that success doesn’t happen overnight.  It happens after continued effort by changing your habits in small increments. It requires you to start somewhere, wherever you are in life, just start. Choosing to begin that journey towards the vision you have for yourself.

My journey towards starting somewhere began back in 2010

I was struggling with who I was. I wanted to be a great interior designer and a marathon runner.  The problem was I had just graduated from design school and I wasn’t running. I knew that the only way for me to become that person I had envisioned was for me to just start. So I took out a piece of paper and wrote down the words you have to start somewhere in big bold letters. With that simple action, I began my journey and I started to run. At first, it was just a mile every day, not nearly enough to be a marathon runner but enough to get back in shape. With time I turned that one mile onto two miles, two miles turned into three, and then eventually I was running 6 miles plus at a time. I had realized that becoming a marathon runner wasn’t my goal, my goal was to be a runner. At the same time, I set out to gain experience as an interior designer, knowing that through my experience I would develop and enhance my ability to not just be an interior designer but to be a great one.

Starting somewhere has become my motto.

It has become how a big task becomes an achievable task. When having a large project I must tackle, I start with making a list. When I need to get back into a healthy diet, I start by making one good choice a day. I choose one small habit and change it. I choose to be better than I was the day before. Slowly but surely, day by day the ripples are created and the change occurs. Sometimes it happens quickly, sometimes it takes months but eventually, those ripples you create will become waves! Once you have created those waves the journey you have taken will allow you to see your progress, see your strengths and everything you are capable of mentally and physically.

As an interior designer, I set out to help my clients start somewhere every day by showing them the possibilities that can be in their homes,  by making simple changes to their environment.  However, the phrase start somewhere trickles to everything in life. A while ago I worked in a gift shop. One day a lady came in admiring these beautiful scarfs we had for sale. She picked one up, tried it on and looked at my co-worker saying, “These scarves are so pretty, I would love to be able to wear a scarf but I am not a scarf person, how does one become a scarf person?” she asked this as she wrapped the scarf adoringly around her neck. My co-worker responded, “You start by wearing a scarf!” such a simple and obvious answer!  The lady ended up buying the scarf and wearing it home that day. With that one small but simple action she became a scarf person.

My point is if you want to wear a scarf, run a marathon, have an organized closet, decorate a room, or eat healthily, all you have to do is Start Somewhere, change one small habit, believe in yourself to do so and give yourself time and by 2021 when you look into the mirror, your reflection will amaze you! 

If you need a place to help with your journey of starting somewhere we have a workshop the first Saturday of every month at 1 PM. The workshop is catered towards interior design but we are happy to help you take on any task you see fit.

Happy New Year, and may the Flow be with you as you Start Somewhere in 2020!!

My first 10K race!!
My first 10K race!!

The Story Behind Flow Designs​

A long time ago, a creative momma had a dream. She dreamt of opening a little studio to create her art. In her art studio she would display her watercolor paintings, sell her witty cards and offer fun art classes for kids in the community.

Although, she was excited to follow through with her dream, this very creative momma put it on hold until the day her daughters were out of the house and taken care of. Until then she spent her time painting, reading, and writing down her goals, filling her mind with an abundance of wealth for when the day finally came to open her studio.

Then on a sunny July day in Tucson AZ, this very creative momma was thrown a curve ball and was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Six months later, at the age of fifty eight Suzanne Russell Giacomini passed away leaving her dream unfinished and her book unwritten.

After the loss of their mom, Kristen and Katie started to have a dream of their own; one that honored their moms vision by uniting the things she loved most; family, art, kindness, and design.  A place where creativity flows, passions persevere, and change is ever present and ongoing. A place for people to connect, laugh and see their own dreams come true. Flow Designs, a take off of Kristen’s childhood nickname” Flo”, is a collaboration of dreams manifested by 3 women, brought to fruition just for you!!!