West Linn Barbara Miller's design earns award

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO: KERRI ANN GARFIELD PHOTOGRAPHY - Barbara Miller, owner and lead designer of Barbara Miller Design and Yes Spaces, focuses on interior design that is comfortable for the whole family.

The Fall Home and Garden Show held recently at Portland Expo Center provided inspiration for thousands of area homeowners.

One of the special features of the exhibit was Serving Up Style, in which 24 teams of designers were pitted against each other to deck out a 12-by-16-foot dining room space. The exhibit included a gala fundraiser for Molly’s Fund Fighting Lupus.

Participating in Serving Up Style, and winner of the people’s choice award, was the West Linn design business Yes Spaces, headed by Barbara Miller. Understanding the philosophy behind Yes Spaces makes it easy to understand how her room would be the public’s top choice.

An only child, Miller grew up in a house where she was not allowed to use certain rooms, and so when friends came to play they were relegated to the basement or outside. She was determined to create a home for her own five children that was filled with “yes spaces” — spaces that inspired children’s imagination and creativity and yet still had tasteful design that appealed to adults. This was the genesis of her design business.

Her original design company, Barbara Miller Design, focuses on baths and kitchens. Yes Spaces involves whole houses with the intention of creating spaces that allow for activities and comfort of the whole family. To both she applies the knowledge she has gained researching the psychology of space and color.

“There are some simple things that research has proven,” she said. “If you want teenagers to linger at the dinner table, eat at a round table. If you are teaching young children table manners, use a more traditional, rectangular table. If kids share a bedroom, give each a sense of privacy for their sleeping area and control over something in that area, such as a table lamp that they can turn on and off. Control and privacy are important.”

by: SUBMITTED PHOTOS: TREVOR MILLER - Barbara Millers Serving Up Style exhibit won the peoples choice award at the Fall Home and Garden Show held recently in Portland.

“Feed Your Mind,” the dining room she created for Serving Up Style, was created under the premise that family members both big and small need to be nurtured by their surroundings. Being an expert in designing according to psychological principles, Miller was able to achieve the feat of creating space that appeals to the nature of all family members. Her dining room was cozy and comfortable for all and included a wall lined with giant floor-to-ceiling book spines, giant chalkboards and plenty of room to play with the toy train on the floor.

Miller has created spaces and consulted in elementary schools and libraries and holds leadership positions in the American Society of Interior Designers, Northwest Society of Interior Designers and Women in the Home Furnishings Industry.

Miller, with Sally Augustin, Ph.D, has written the ASID whitepaper “Evidence-based Residential Design.” The women presented information from the whitepaper at the High Point Market held earlier this month, teaching attendees how each element of design affects the psychological perceptions and comfort of clients.

Miller is working on a pilot program, Mess to Yes, for One episode is completed, one more is being edited and two more are in the works.

“People seem to love it,” she said. “We are focusing on do-it-yourself projects. We turned a walk-in closet into a craft area for kids. These are simple projects for people to do, and yes, there is a ‘Mess to Yes’ book in the works.”

To learn more about Miller and her design business, visit and subscribe to Miller’s blog. You can also like Yes Spaces on Facebook.

by: TREVOR MILLER - Barbara Millers dining room, Feed Your Mind, is designed to appeal to adults and still accommodate childrens activities.

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