Design Q&A: Sheila Schmitz,

Sheila Schmitz Houzz headshot

Sheila Schmitz, editor of

This month, we're featuring a weekly series of interviews with influential design experts to find out what good design means to them and how they get inspired.

Today, meet Sheila Schmitz, the editor of the popular design site She lives in San Jose, CA with her husband and cat, and dreams of someday having a very well-organized closet.

1. What does good design mean to you?

Individuality — and the right balance between the size of a living space and the stuff inside it.

What a feeling to walk into a house designed for its lot and climate, where everything that’s been built or bought for it works really well for the people who live there.

Nothing pulls me into a room like a mix of warm woods and soft whites, original art in simple frames, contrasting materials, and handmade or found objects with personality.

Traditional Kitchen design by San Francisco Architect Boor Bridges Architecture


It’s hard to separate design from experience, so surprise is important to me. I love turning a corner to see an unexpected color. Right now I have a crush on black navy blue.

Asian Entry design by Austin Architect Webber + Studio, Architects


2. What do you see in your daily life that inspires your sense of design?

Besides the 660,000-plus home design photos on Houzz?

Honestly, there’s nothing like filling your eyes with the never-ending creativity and accomplishments of the interior designers, architects and homeowners on Houzz. I’ve had to break up my own inspiration ideabook into chapters to make room for everything I want in my “someday” house.

Otherwise, art and nature are what get me. I’m amazed how Josef Albers, Alexander Calder and Richard Serra can pack so much energy into simple shapes. And I’ve never seen a cat or bird I didn’t want to draw.

3. What's your favorite trend in home design right now?

Simplification, downsizing and sustainability have had some good lessons for us, I think. We’re making better choices about what we spend our money on. We want it to mean something to us, to work well for us, and we want it to last.

4. How does your own home design reflect your aesthetic?

I’m laughing because after 10 years, our ‘60s ranch house is still solidly in the fixer-upper camp. The change that’s made the biggest difference is our black-stained front door with squares of ribbed glass down the center. It’s like a big, interactive piece of minimalist art that lights up the entryway.

The backyard probably reflects us the most, though. It’s full of birds and places to sit under an old walnut tree, and just about the entire border is edible.

5. What's the one piece of advice you'd give readers for designing their home?

If you haven’t yet, start your own ideabook on Houzz. Get a pro to help you with the big stuff, learn as you go with the rest. Life is good. Have fun!


Here are some of my favorite images from the California Closets Houzz page - inspired by Sheila's definition of good design!


Eclectic Home Office design by San Francisco Closets And Organization California Closets


Traditional Staircase design by San Francisco Closets And Organization California Closets

Contemporary Media Room design by San Francisco Closets And Organization California Closets


What do you think of Sheila's thoughts on home design? Tell me in the comments!

And, if you’ve found this article helpful or inspiring, please share it with your friends and family!

Ginny Snook Scott California Closets

Ginny Snook Scott


Ginny Snook Scott is the chief design officer at California Closets. She has over 25 years experience with California Closets and has helped over 1,000 clients create custom closets and organize their home. Connect with Ginny on Google+.

Tags: California Closets, closet design, custom closets, design inspiration, good design, home design, Houzz, interview, Sheila Schmitz