When it comes to interiors, a room isn't complete until it has been accessorized.
Accessories are the accents, the finishing touches of a decor, but finding the right ones and placing them properly can present challenges for people.
C.C. Knowles is confident doing what others may see as daunting.
The wife and mother of two children, ages 10 and 7, has a penchant for highlighting special features.
More than 11 years ago, she and her husband, who owns and operates a car dealership, George Chevrolet in Bellflower, purchased a four-bedroom home in Corona del Mar in great need of renovation.
The previous owner installed a Roman tub in a windowless bathroom and a low, practically knee-high kitchen island.
So Knowles bought Better Homes and Gardens Home Designer software to plan the family's dream house. For two years, she worked on the one-story house, applying muted colors and adding tile floors and a kitchen table made from a slab of quartzite.
"It was my total focus," Knowles said as she brushed past the family room that showcased a piano that she and her daughter play during parties. "I worked on this day and night, and my kids and husband were wonderful. It was my passion and my life."
But a few months after the remodeling work was completed, Knowles learned she had thyroid cancer. She told herself she needed to find another focus.
"For me, it was the last part of the house — repurposing or shopping for accessories," she said.
So strong was her love of personalizing spaces that Knowles decided to open a business that would allow her to do for others what she has accomplished in her own home.
Pull It Together, based in her home, focuses on adding the last layer to perking up a house. Rearranging a client's existing items, curating accessories to finish or freshen a space, planning for entertaining through table-scapes and theme decoration, and staging furnished for-sale homes to make them more appealing to buyers are among the services Knowles began offering in April.
The process, she said, is simple. Knowles will meet potential clients at their property to discuss their needs and budget and then assess the areas they wish to freshen and update.
After a service agreement is reviewed and signed, she will organize the current objects and decide whether to repurpose or relocate them. She'll then head to a range of home stores to select key pieces that would complement a space.
Purchased items, she said, will not be marked up; the client pays only for her time. Most projects are completed in two to three appointments at $50 an hour.
Once the shopping is finished, she'll go back to the home to arrange accessories and artwork. If a client isn't fond of an item, she can return the piece to the store.
Having helped a mix of homeowners, renters and Realtors, Knowles said she follows a few rules when designing a space.
A home should reflect the person who lives there, she said.
Knowles distances herself from stores offering trendy ideas and aims for pieces that compliment a person's style.
A successful design is one that is also low-maintenance, she said.
"You don't want to overcrowd a space," Knowles said. "Clutter is stressful, and you want the area to appear cleaner. Designers get the big stuff, and I think that's where I fit in because I'm personalizing and organizing it."
Jaime Faggella, a Newport Beach resident, hired Knowles to decorate her master bedroom, kitchen and living and dining rooms.
"I had no problem in trusting her," Faggella said. "She has a tremendous talent, and she has a vision. C.C. can see the potential of a room and an area, and she definitely has the creativity to do anything."
Meaningful items that complete a room can be enjoyed by clients for years, Knowles said.
And just because something was displayed in the living room, doesn't mean it can't be transported to a bedroom or kitchen to add panache.
"I love giving people a fresh perspective," Knowles said. "This whole journey ended up being a good thing. I found my bliss."