Monday, April 30, 2012


Outdoor Furniture

OK- I did it!  I went to the beach and put my toes in the freezing water.  Yes, freezing. My daughter, Posy, and her friends didn't think anything of it.   Posy got the surfboard, paddled out to the docks, slid down the slide into the water.  Then, the girls dove into the sand to become "sugar cookies" and ran back into the COLD water.  

Posy and her new mermaid tail:-)
Going down the slide!

All of this warm weather has gotten many of my clients thinking of the outdoors and the fun things they like to do outside- lounging, entertaining and eating with families and friends. Maybe they played telephone tag, because I am working on four outdoor areas right now. There are so many great outdoor furniture lines that it is hard to chose.  You can have outdoor wicker, metal and wood- new and vintage.

My advice is not to get the cheap stuff.  Prioritize what you like to do outside.  If you love to entertain and eat outside, then you should focus on a great dining table and chairs.  If you have a pool and enjoy inviting the neighbors over, get a couple of lounge chairs or a sofa/sectional so you can hang out and drink wine while the kids go crazy.  

I often make "wish lists" with my clients.  It is a list of everything that they want to do. Then, we prioritize the list.  You can do this for your interiors as well.  Once you figure out what is important, you start at the top of the list and work your way down.  It may not happen in 1-2 years, but stay the course and follow the plan.  Then, you will achieve what you set out to do.  If you can only get two lounge chairs this year- do it! Then, next year you can add on.  Before you realize it, you will have everything you want.  You can get new cushion covers made when you have all of the furniture you wanted.  

Getting new cushions will be a good call anyway.  The cushions don't last very long in California.  We keep them outside all year round.  So, although some fabrics are guaranteed to last 8-10 years, I have NEVER seen that happen. It's not because they are worn out, they just get moldy and dirty.  Sunbrella says you can wash the fabrics in bleach as long as you rinse well. The bleach will not change the colors.  But, the reality is, that we Californians are not running out to take off the pillow covers every week to keep up on the maintainence. This may not be a California thing either...

When you have an amazing hang out area outside, you will use it.  So, who cares if you need to change out  pillows every year or two?  Seriously, look at this area with Dedon furniture.  I would never go inside!  One of my clients has this lounge and with new covers for the cushions it will look this good again!

Dedon Lounge
The kids love playing in the Dedon Orbit!

Dedon Orbit
I adore this Italian line by Emu.  It is so retro fun!  I have a friend who has a mid century modern home and the two lime green Emu chairs look hot.  Now, do you want to hang out in these all day?  No way.  They are just the little jewelry in the backyard.  They are paired with a cozy sectional.

I mentioned that investing in good furniture is a great idea because it will last.  McKinnon and Harris is a perfect example of great quality.  Their furniture is made from aluminum and is hand crafted in Richmond, Virginia.  Each piece of furniture is signed and dated by the craftsman who works on the piece.  They guarantee the furniture for life and consider it to be heirloom quality.  

McKinnon and Harris

McKinnon and Harris

duVal Alexander by McKinnon and Harris
Another great company is Kinglsey-Bate.  They are known for the premium teak they use in their outdoor furniture.  The gray the teak turns is gorgeous.  They also use mortise and tenon joinery so the furniture lasts a long time. 

Kingsley-Bate has expanded their line to include stainless steel elements which work with modern homes.
Here is another product expansion- outdoor wicker.  It looks traditional with modern lines.  
Have you done your summer purchasing yet?  I want to have some new pillows made.  I looked in my pillow cover stash and didn't find anything I love.  So, I am off to hunt again.


Friday, April 27, 2012



I'm feeling it.  It is Friday and it is sunny and beautiful!  When is summer coming?  I am getting antsy to feel the sand between my toes.  The ocean is so beautiful and inspiring. Look at the range of colors!  Remember when you were in kindergarten and drew an ocean in the "blue" Crayola crayon?  Let me tell you, there is no one color!
Ocean colors
The ocean makes me think of my dream house on the water- or a couple of feet away from the water.  I am NOT picky!  I would plant some beautiful hydrangeas that are the color of the ocean so that when I walk up my front path, the stage has been set.

Gleysteen Design

Then I see my little niche by the front door.  OK, I should be dreaming bigger.  A spacious foyer?  No, I still think I like a little niche where I can put a fabulous piece of furniture that is the color of beach sand and a gi-normous clam shell on top.  Maybe I will fill it with colored floats...

Covetable Designs

These old floats will do the trick.  They will bring the ocean indoors.  All of the floats will be used; some with little stings still attached, maybe a little water still inside.  I actually have one that has water in it.  I always wonder where the water came from!  Then, I can stare at them and wonder where the floats have bobbed around in their life time.

After pondering the life of the floats,  I will open walk over to my little antique apothecary chest and start opening drawers.  I will pull out sunglasses in the top row of drawers- #1 will have the sunglasses for those really bright days, grab some flip flops that will be in the second row of drawers, then get some clear swim goggles from the third row.

Alex MacArthur Antiques
To remind myself why I like in my beautiful home, I will peak outside to see my view. Ahh, another beautiful day in paradise!  Good thing I found that driftwood to make the coffee table:-)

Coastal Living
I look down and see my collection of sea glass that I found during my endless walks on the beach.  That reminds me of the collection of Martha Stewart Paints that I have been saving for my dining room.

Oh my gosh, it looks like my husband got home early and painted the insides of the display niches.  (I can hear you roaring with laughter!  Who's husband would do that!?!) The coral collection pops off the wall with new paint.  He did a fabulous job!!

Coastal Living

I must stop by my living room to see my shell collection.  Now you can see where I used the paint the first time.  At night, the lights make the shells glow.

Century Furniture

Did I mention how clean my house will be?  I will not be having children skateboarding back and forth down the hallway like I do now.  I understand the kitchen is at least 10 feet away and it is too tiring to walk, but in this house skateboards inside will be banned!  That goes for rollerblades, razors and bikes, too.

Kay Douglass

Oh, I almost forgot,  the creamy white walls and white furniture are really only meant to be looked at.  No, I will have everything slip covered so we can walk in with our sandy feet and dirty bathing suits and throw the soiled slipcovers in the washer with a gallon of bleach.

Coastal Living

There is nothing like dreaming!!  Have a fabulous weekend and hope you get down to the beach.  Unless your dream house is somewhere else.  Where is it?


Thursday, April 26, 2012


Pillows and More Pillows

Who doesn't LOVE and OBSESS on pillows?  OK, my husband for one.  Other than HIM...Are there actually people out there who don't change and move and buy pillows (oh- I think the last reason is the real reason my husband doesn't like my obsession!)  They make a room fresh, fun and fab!  Whether it is your living room or bedroom, the space becomes finished and new again with the addition of a different pillow.

Pillows add color, texture, warmth and energy depending on the fabrics.  When they are all piled up they make me want to jump into them:-)  My dog does, in fact, dive into the piles everyday, all day and ruins the perfectly fluffed pillows.  I think it is so cute to see her snout poking out of a Euro on my bed.  (I know Mom, I didn't train her properly!)

Anyhow, enjoy the fun pictures below.  I could add photos ALL day to this blog...but maybe I will do another blog on pillows so why not wait??  

PS.  I have added the links to the caption under each pillow, so if your significant other isn't looking you might want to do some shopping:-)

Caitlin Wilson Textiles

John Robshaw

Les Indiennes

Peter Dunham
Kathryn Ireland

Galbraith and Paul

Serena and Lily

Serena and Lily and Crate and Barrel

Do you have a favorite?  I don't know if I do!!


Monday, April 23, 2012


Before and Afters: Exterior

I thought it would be a fun to do a AFTER-BEFORE instead of a before-after.  When your eyes look at the first photo, I want your brain to say, "Oh, that's pretty." Then, when you see the photo after your brain says, "What?  Is that the same house!?  Let me go back." Sound fun?

I know.  I am soooo crazy!  Haha.  

Here is the first exterior photo.  It is a little beach cottage near the water.  It was built in the late 40s and had this awful, gross brick on the outside that had mortar spilling out (imagine peanut butter and jelly coming out of sandwich bread!)  
So what happend to the brick you ask?  That's right, I covered it up!  You can't paint over that mortar.  So, why take it down, when you can just put something over it?  Much less expensive and keeps the structural integrity of an old home.
This home is a California beach modern.  Fresh, simple and clean!
Yes, it used to be a sad, gray Pizza Hut-roofed home.  We did a fun "green" remodel including solar heating, a live green roof and new insulation made out of old blue jeans! Taking away from the existing helped bring it up to date.

This exterior had a few changes but enough for a big impact.  There are new garage doors, a new railing, new paint and freshly sand blasted driveway.  Much better!

I hope you have enjoyed the mini "curb appeal" photo session!


Friday, April 20, 2012


Pink Pagoda Give Away

My fabulously talented blog friend, Jennifer, from The Pink Pagoda is having a give-away!  She has the most darling note cards and prints.  It is a bit of chinoiserie heaven!  She has an amazing shop on Etsy and a great blog.  I hope you take a look!!

She also taught me an amazing blog fact about "following!"  To quote her blog,

"One, be a follower of the blog.  That's different from subscribing (it's possible to do both).  If you're not already a follower, click on the Google Follow button on the right directly under my Connect section."

SOOOOO- will you do the same for me?!  Click on the Google Follow button (the +1).  I am not sure what I can give away to encourage you, but I will really be happy!! Haha!

Give Away Fever!

Have a great weekend!


Thursday, April 19, 2012



I feel summer in the air!  My daughter came home from school yesterday and said that she only had 8 weeks and 3 days left of school.  That shocked me but at the same time, got me excited. 

I started thinking about the beach and beach houses and wanted to share a project I worked on in Laguna Beach, CA.  The before and afters are great!  It shows what a little imagination can do to a home.  I did the remodel design and the day to day managing on this project- so the openings of doorways, wall treatment, woodwork, painting and fireplaces as well as the bathrooms, kitchen and deck.  My sweet friend, Erin Curci designed the interiors.  It was a fun collaboration!

The house has an insane view of the ocean and a ton of light, but the rooms felt dark when I first saw the project.  My mantra was, "How can we make it brighter in here?" Tearing down walls always helps:-)  In the 7th photo (I put numbers below the photos) you will see a wall that closed the back half to the ocean view.  So, down in went.  By the end of the project you could see the ocean from the back yard.  

Walls were widened and brought up when possible. The kitchen opening is a perfect example.  Space is at a minimum, so we kept some upper cabinets but removed most. The open shelving allowed more light into the kitchen.

It is a fresh, beachy home that the homeowner calls her "shimmer house!"  Enjoy!  The home was featured in Coastal Living.  I put a link to my website where I posted the article.  

Living room and fireplace



Dining and Kitchen



Second Bathroom




Master Bath



Get your beach on!