What message is the exterior of your home sending?

Contemporary Entry by Bend Architects & Designers Christian Gladu Design is simple, clean and inviting with a few seasonal items added in the form of pumpkins and gourds.

Take a good hard look–what  message is the exterior of your home sending?  Does it say “We are proud of our home and we welcome you” or does it say”We do not have time to take care of things outside so who knows what the interior looks like”?

The exterior and entry of your home is the first space visitors see when they visit.  What would you rather they see?

  • Scuffed paint on the front door, windowsills and siding
  • A dirty and crooked doormat
  • Filthy porch lights
  • Dead plants


  • A fresh paint job
  • A welcoming doormat lined up with the door
  • Clean and sparkling porch lights
  • Fresh and alive plants

If you chose the first list this blog post will not be helpful.  However, if you chose the second list it is now time to step outdoors and take a look at your home with a critical eye.  If you are falling short in any area it is time to make a trip to your local home improvement store to pick up some paint and flowers and get busy.

  • Hopefully, an entire house painting job is not needed.  But step out of your comfort box and paint that front door in a new color that appeals to you and compliments your home’s exterior color.  Sophisticated gray, bold yellow, luscious green, your favorite shade of green or the perennially popular red will create a welcoming greeting.
  • One of my pet peeves is a crooked doormat.  The purpose of a doormat is to catch dirt before it enters your home.  How can it do it’s job if it is lying somewhere near the front door?  Please keep it lined up and in its proper place.  And if it is beginning to look a little “hairy” due to weather and wear and tear, now is the time to find a new one.
  • Remove all the spider webs and gunk on those porch lights with the hose.  Another pet peeve of mine (yes, I have a ton of them) is when the bulbs in porch lights do not match.  One might be the new squiggly bulbs while the other one might still have a standard incandescent bulb.  So replace the bulbs and enjoy the new sparkle and shine.
  • Is there anything more unattractive or unwelcoming than an old pot with a dead plant?  I don’t like to look at that so I assume neither do visitors to my home.  If you can’t plant new ones right away at least get rid of the offensive one until you can.  And, for goodness sake, take them out of the black plastic pot and place them in an attractive holder that coordinates with your overall color scheme.
  • Add some personality.  Whether you hang a fun door knocker that represents your favorite hobby or a chic monogram or (heaven forbid) group your favorite gnomes on the stoop, personal items will set your home apart from your neighbors.

Remember, you only have one opportunity to make a good first impression and that is what your exterior entry does—creates a first impression of you and your home.

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4 design trends I hope disappear in the near future (and three that can stay forever)

Boy am I sticking my neck out for I know I will get a lot of “hate” mail for some of the items on this list.  Don’t get me wrong….I love a good trend and I admire those who introduce trends into their home’s decor.  But some trends catch on so quickly and so vastly that I see them in every single blog post, pinterest photo, houzz ideabook, magazine cover and model home.  Let’s see if you agree with me (and don’t be afraid to tell me if you don’t…I can take it because I plan on reading the comments with a bottle of my favorite chardonnay nearby to kill the pain).

  1. Fiddle leaf plants.  I love plants and fresh flowers and all living things but this humongous plant seems to be multiplying as fast as a rabbit and appearing in every single room setting I see lately.
  2. Chevron.  Oh, I can hear the screams now!  But I am so over chevron patterns on everything from throw pillows to window treatments to floor patterns to upholstered furniture to dishware to glassware to painted furniture to …see what I mean.
  3. Orange and turquoise color scheme.  Another colorful trend that seems to be enjoyed by many.  While I like both colors and, in some instances, together, I prefer to use them in my jewelry and summer barbecue outfits.  A hint of one or the other is fine but an entire room….not so much.
  4. Chalk paint.  While this is not one of my favorite looks I do appreciate it when used properly i.e. in Rachel Ashwell’s home.  But I am a little bored with Grandma’s dining room server with a coat of chalky white paint and hand-rusted hardware.  It was already an antique, why make it look even older and more distressed?

And the three trends I hope are around forever?

  1. Glass tiles.  These little works of art offer such a luminous glow to any kitchen or bath and the color combinations that are available are truly stunning.
  2. Black accents.  I don’t care how it is used, I have always felt that a touch of black is necessary in every well-decorated room.  It could be a lampshade, picture frame or vase or something larger like window moldings or upholstery fabric…..it just works.
  3.  Animal prints.  This classic pattern has been popular for centuries and remains so to this day so I guess I do not have to worry about it going out of style.  I am not talking about a safari themed room here…I am referring to the chic animal prints that appear in carpeting, on upholstery fabrics and even home accessories.

I said three but I can think of many more–edison bulbs, subway tiles, wood floors, nesting tables, sisal rugs, mid-century furniture, the color red in any form, gourd lamps, gallery walls, custom anything.  What are your three favorite and least favorite (you know you have one) design trends?

OK, I have said my piece.  If you are hanging on to one of the trends that just might be a bit over-used, as Queen Elsa sings in “Frozen“–let it go.  Scale back or replace them completely with something new and unique.

Speaking of Queen Elsa, if you have anyone in your home under the age of 10, then you already are familiar with the popularity of this movie and song.  And my 2 year old granddaughter is here to prove it (when she put on this costume she thought she was stunning and said “I really am a princess now”.  Melt my heart!!

ella as princess anna

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Do you toss, fluff or karate chop?

No, I am not talking about your salad making skills.  I am talking about how you display your accent pillows.  If you know me then you know about my obsessive love for throw pillows.  In my humble opinion they are the easiest way to update a room, add some color and pattern or make switches for the holidays or changing seasons.  But decorating with pillows is more than simply placing it on the bed, couch or chair.  So the question of the day is:  do you fluff, toss or karate chop your pillows?

Toss or throw

Tossing a pillow involves just what it says–simply throwing or tossing it onto the chair for a casual and relaxed feel.  Hence the name “throw pillow”, which, by the way, is the same thing as an accent pillow– meant to be decorative vs. a bed pillow meant for sleeping.

A random selection of pillows casually tossed onto a window seat.  photo from Tory Burch

A random selection of pillows casually tossed onto a window seat. photo from Tory Burch


If you are a fluffer you know what this term means.  You are the person that punches, smooths or plumps up a pillow, especially after someone has had the audacity to move the pillow, thereby altering the shape and look of said pillow.

Karate chop

Some designers say the karate chop is dead but I disagree.  To begin with, a karate chop is simply an indentation placed in the top center of the pillow by “chopping” the pillow with the side of your hand.  Fortunately, yelling out “heyah” while doing it is not required but go ahead if it releases some tension.  I like the finished look this gives the pillows.  This can only be accomplished if the pillow is stuffed with either down or feathers—the shape of solid foam cannot be altered.

Some throw pillow tips:
  • Choose a pillow throw that is at least 2″ larger than the cover for a plump look.  Ex:  an 18″ pillow case should be stuffed with a 20″ form.
  • A symmetrical placement is a bit more formal than a casually tossed arrangement
  • Have zippers sewn into pillow cases in order to easily store them when not in use and to reuse the pillow form when you switch out pillows.
  • Update your pillows for new seasons, holidays or when you just need a change.
  • Throw pillows are a great way to try out a trendy color or pattern without committing to the look with something expensive such as an upholstered chair or sofa.
  • Always finish the edges with a self welt, contrasting welt, fringe, cording, tassels or fabric flange. This will give your pillows a finished and designer look.

So fess up—do you toss, fluff or katate chop?

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I loved this article from ElleDecor (and a gratuitous baby pic)

ella dresswed in jewels and tutus oct 2013

All dressed up and ready for a day of home decor shopping!

I loved this short article from Elle Decor.  After all, at some point we have to grow up and the items in our home should reflect our more adult status.

One of my favorites was their number 1 “Art you love”.  Art does not have to be expensive; all you have to do is love to look at it and it will work in your home.  A drawing from one of your kids, a poster of your favorite vacation spot or a watercolor you found on Etsy, all beautifully framed of course, will personalize your home.

To #5 I would add, a bed frame that lifts your bed up off the floor.  Gone are the days of putting your mattress on the floor.  A simple metal bed frame is very affordable or go for broke and purchase a platform bed, upholstered or otherwise, for an updated and grown-up look.

To #6, I would add that a collection should be properly displayed in your home to fully enjoy the fact that it is a collection.  Group like items together for full impact and appreciation.  And keep in mind that we are talking about a “grown up” home so your collection of shot glasses or mardi gras necklaces does not count!

Along with quality “forever” furniture, you will begin to enjoy adding beautiful and meaningful items to your home’s decor.

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The beauty of winter

photo courtesy of Thistlewood Farms Blog

photo courtesy of Thistlewood Farms Blog

photo courtesy of Ron Bowlin

photo courtesy of Ron Bowlin

I was born in the south and live in San Diego but I should live somewhere in the northeast. I love the snow, I love the cold and I love the mountains and green trees.  I can hear the collective “you can have it!” from all those who are enduring this chart topping winter of 2014.  But I have enjoyed all of the blog posts and beautiful photographs that you have all posted such as the one above from Thistlewood Farms. And this quote shared on one of my favorite blogs, Back Porch Musings says it all:

Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire:  it is the time for home.

~Edith Sitwell

It brings back such fond memories of wonderful afternoon and evenings spent with good friends after a long and cold day of skiing….nothing better in the world!

enjoying a cold winter day with best friends

enjoying a cold winter day with best friends

So I think I will put a pot of chili in the crock pot and set a rustic table and enjoy this “cold” and damp day in San Diego.

Stay warm and enjoy this quiet time before all the hustle and bustle of spring and summer are upon us—it is coming, I promise!

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Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

family photo dec 2013Our family continues to grow, much to our delight!  We will share this exciting time with the truest of believers, our young grandbabies.  Our wish for all of you is a holiday filled with family and friends and that Santa brings you everything you want.

See you in 2014!

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Christmas decorating ideas for your kitchen

To get this look from Decorators Best simply wrap candy cane shaped tin foil in your favorite holiday fabric and glue the ends.  Too cute for words!

To get this look from Decorators Best simply wrap candy cane shaped tin foil in your favorite holiday fabric and glue the ends. Too cute for words!

Let’s face it.  No matter how much you decorate the rest of the house, you spend most of your time in the kitchen during the holidays, often with lots of family and guests hanging around.  So why not make this room as festive as other rooms in your home?

Decorating ideas

When it comes to decorating areas like the kitchen, function must come first.  After all, you do not want pine needles dropping into your gravy.  Here are some simple ideas that will make all those hours spent preparing meal after holiday meal a bit more festive:

  • Something as simple as replacing utensils with red ones will add a pop of seasonal color.  Wire whisks, spatulas, and even wooden spoons are available in pretty holiday colors.
  • Fill your clear glass canisters with colorful ribbon candy, holiday shaped pasta or bottles of colorful sprinkles.
  • If you are lucky enough to have a kitchen window, pop a pretty topiary tied with a red ribbon on the sill or hang a fresh rosemary wreath from the top to add a wonderful scent.
  • Let your groceries become decorative items.  A big bowl of red and green apples make snacking easy and add such pretty color to your kitchen counter.  Pomegranates, artichokes, nuts in the shell and oranges can survive outside the refrigerator and make such pretty displays.
  • Enlist the kids.  If they are underfoot, put them to work creating cutout snowflakes to hang on the window or door or paint the tops of wooden spoons to look like Santa. ( I did this 20 years ago and pull those spoons out to this day)  Let the really talented kids paint a holiday design on clear glass salt and pepper shakers that you can use on the table or give away as gifts.

  • Switch out your everyday dish towels and pot holders for holiday themed textiles.  Easy to do and will add an instant pop of seasonal color.
  • Make sure the sounds of holiday music can be heard in the kitchen via Pandora, your IPOD or, best of all,  the kids practicing on the piano (a girl can dream can’t she?)
  • A surprise kiss for the cook is guaranteed with a sprig of  mistletoe tacked to the doorway.

The kitchen really is the heart of the home and is made even more so this time of year with a few simple holiday touches.

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