Backyard Parties

Most people are pushing for summer barbecues, but my favorite time of year for an outdoor party is the fall. Typically the fall means cooler days, cooler evenings, less pollen and less bugs.  Plus the weather is much more conducive to enjoying a fire pit.

Check out this fun article on how to create a great outdoor space for entertaining:

 

Inviting friends and family is the easy part so take a little time to figure out the details. Think about the flow of the space, add extra seating groups and make sure you have good lighting. Food and drinks are important but don’t forget about the music – Spotify has lots of great playlists. Definitely add in a s’mores moment if there are kids involved. Although adults will love this, too.

Your guests will be delighted and hopefully be inspired to host a backyard party of their own and invite you!

I Want That

I love everything about this kitchen…literally everything! Look at the “before photo” and see where this room started. The transformation is beautiful and inspiring which all design should be (in my humble opinion).

Houzz does such a great job of exposing us to excellent design and ideas from around the world.

These homeowners in Atlanta, GA re-purposed some space to add concentrated storage areas and more windows. The vintage vibe of the tile mixed with the rustic woods adds warmth to the room. The lighting is a special surprise – swing-arm sconces in a kitchen? What? The custom hood pulls everything together on the focal wall.

This kitchen is a lovely gathering space for family and friends!

Guest Rooms They’ll Never Want To Leave

Okay, maybe that’s not actually a good thing! My uncle once told me that 3 days should be your max stay when visiting someone. “Company is like fish. After 3 days they start to stink.” So if that’s your philosophy, then you don’t need to bother with this article.

Personally, I love to make sure my guests feel comfortable and welcome. Probably because this is how I want to feel when staying away from home. I also hate to bother my hosts with little needs like a fan or a hair dryer or an extra blanket. Makes me seem high-maintenance, which I might be, but nobody else needs to know that!

My favorite takeaway from this article in Houzz is the carafe of water! I’m always dehydrated from travel and this is such a thoughtful touch. And the full-length mirror would be super helpful. I’d suggest some fresh flowers to brighten the room, too. Check out some of the other great ideas that will make your guests feel well taken care of…

 

What Is A Vignette?

And No, it’s not something you put on salad… A vignette is just a fancy term for what I like to call a “Moment”. I’m sure that really clears things up! As I walk through a client’s house I’m always quick to say “I love this moment you’ve created here” as I wave my hand over some table or mantle or chair. They typically look very confused. I assure them it’s a compliment.

A vignette is a variety of items placed together to create a focal point or an area of visual interest. The items are different in nature and size and scale and texture and purpose. But when put together in a grouping they compliment each other to create an interesting visual moment. There’s that word again…

If you’re interested in creating a vignette in your own space, check out this article with the ABC’s of how to pull it off.

Nursery Ideas

This article from HGTV is full of the best, most calming nursery designs. I’ve always thought it strange to have a nursery made to be so girl or boy specific. What if you have more than one pregnancy? What if the ultrasound technician was wrong? What if you have twins or triplets?

I’ve always been a fan of the more neutral nursery…the grays, the khakis, the whites, the creams…such soothing palettes. Most time spent in a nursery is relaxing, napping, nursing, sleeping, reading, rocking or sleeping time for a baby. Active play areas can have more vibrant and excitable colors.

Whether you’re intentionally trying to create a gender-neutral space or a simply tranquil room, your baby (or babies) will enjoy a calming nursery design! Check out some of these nursery inspirations

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A Healthy Lifestyle

The #1 resolution at the beginning of a New Year is always health related. I want to eat better, lose a few pounds, workout more, etc.  The question is: How will I set myself up for success? Personally, I’d like to hire a nutritionist, a chef, a trainer and a house-keeper as long as we’re dreaming!

Being a realist, I’d say let’s start with the resolution that will have the best impact…exercising. If we can get exercise into our daily/weekly life, then we will also mentally feel better. And that will encourage us to eat a more healthy diet. Soon we’ll be feeling so good that the motivation to maintain this healthier lifestyle will come much more easily. Once we have a new way of living our New Year Resolutions can modify to something really fun…like traveling more!

Now that you’re ready to workout regularly,  set-up a space in your home dedicated to exercising. This article is great for thinking through what your home gym should look like based on how you enjoy working out. Give yourself room to move around, mirrors, plenty of light and a view, TV or stereo to keep yourself entertained.

 

Outdoor Decorating for the Holidays

My husband is known as a Clark Griswold in our neighborhood during this time of year. He LOVES outdoor decorating with the flashing candy canes, wrapped trees and bushes, deer family, santa with gifts and a huge snowman in the middle of the yard. One year we even had a Candy Cane Forest with Buddy the Elf in the middle of it. He says it’s “for the kids” and they do love it, but let’s be real…it’s just as magical for him.

Recently, my son’s friend was dropped off at our house and he complimented the outdoor display. He said his mom was feeling really good about hanging the wreath on the door that morning at their house…but now she was feeling super inadequate. We all had a good laugh!

This article has some good ideas. Checkout #8 – this blew my mind! Also, in #2, there’s a reference made to NOT turning your front yard into Disneyland, but I say go for it. Afterall, it’s for the kids!

 

Best Finishes for your Kitchen

This article is a gold mine of information! Everything you’ve always wanted to know about the best finishes for your kitchen. All here, in this one place!

Not only are you told what finishes are best, but you’re told why and then given a second runner-up option as well. I love that window coverings are addressed which helps explain why I never recommend soft or fabric-based treatments in a kitchen. There’s even a link for “how to clean stainless steel” since that’s often the #1 complaint for those beautiful appliances.

Check out this article by @SamFerris….he’s done all the research for you!

 

Let’s Clean Up the Laundry Room

The laundry room in my last house almost caused a divorce. Well…maybe that’s a little dramatic, but it was one of the top reasons we moved. Maybe if I’d read this article sooner and had more than 36 sq. feet to work with we would still live there. In my defense the laundry room was also the room between our garage and the kitchen, so you can imagine the shoes and coats and bags and sports gear and laundry all piled up to be tripped over constantly. Like I said…that was our last house!

I love good Before and After photos and this article has plenty. One thing I always suggest to clients is that they make the laundry bright and inviting. You’re going in there to take care of  a mundane task so the space should be pleasant. Make sure it’s functional and organized and there’s a place to store everything – out of site if possible.

Check out the Before picture on the 3rd example. I’ll be curious to know if you shake your head too!

 

Outstanding White Tile

Clients often get nervous when it comes to selecting tile. It’s much more permanent than paint or lighting or furniture. When the stakes feel high people often opt for the more neutral choice. They typically ask for a white tile. The good news is that there are so many fabulous white tiles out there that offer texture, dimension or pattern. That’s how I help my clients keep their designs interesting.

I love the tiles and their applications in this article! So much design inspiration here…