The return of the cafe curtain

I grew up in a home with curtains.  We had cafe curtains at the kitchen window and sheer curtains hanging on the living room windows and curtains in fun prints on the bedroom windows.  And when we would move to a new home the curtains and curtain rods followed us  (my Dad was in the Navy so we moved occasionally) and my mother would hope they would fit the new windows.  And somehow they always did!

There is a difference between draperies and curtains.  Draperies are usually more formal in appearance and are attached to a rod with pins and closed with a traverse style mechanism. Curtains, on the other hand, are often shirred onto a stationary rod or hugn with tabs or grommets and physically need to be pushed aside to let light in. One of my favorite curtain styles is the tried and true cafe curtain.  My Mom always had them hanging at the kitchen window and it just seems so charming.  What a refreshing change from today’s window covering choices like woven blinds or shutters.  Don’t get me wrong, I love big fat plantation shutters or the texture of woven blinds but if I had a kitchen window it would be dressed with old-fashioned cafe curtains.

Family Kitchen

In my childhood home the bathrooms also had curtains instead of the blinds you find in today’s homes; easy to maintain, adds color and pattern and provides total privacy.  These cafe curtains in this modern bath are crisp and clean, just like the room itself, but are totally functional in the space.  Love this room!
Curtains are the perfect choice for a bedroom for both children and adults.  Simple and elegant or fun and sassy, they are an affordable option to plantation shutters or expensive pinch pleated draperies
Girls Room

Cafe curtains are the perfect choice for utilitarian spaces like laundry or craft rooms.   Theyprovide privacy and let the natural light in at the same time.They can designed in any fabric be it a fun pattern to add a bit of whimsy or a beautiful traditional fabric like the one shown below.  And what a perfect solution for the lower areas you may want to disguise!

So what do you think?  Are you ready to return to the past and hang cafe curtains in your home?
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Anthropologie hits it out of the park

Anthropologie just introduced all the new arrivals in their House and Home department and boy did they get it right!  Along with the highly anticipated whimsical and unique items we have come to expect from them there are some classics that have been given a modern twist to suit today’s discerning homeowner.  Here are just a few of my favorites:

Give me green and give me velvet and I am one happy girl.  This green velvet chair is also available in more than a dozen other colors that will add just the right pop to a living or bedroom.  And just FYI, velvet is a big trend in both fashion and home decor right now.


Rivona chair from Anthropologie

This whimsical cutting board is available in two dog breeds but considering that three of my “granddogs” are dachsunds my heart went out to this one.


Best in show cutting board from Anthropologie

I think that the unique and unusual are what sets any home apart from their neighbors, and this carved sideboard certainly falls into that category.  I can just see this piece in a rustic mountain cabin next to some plaid dining chairs and a rough hewn farm table with plenty of snow on the ground outside. still my heart!


Land and sky buffet from Anthropologie

Texture, texture, texture!  This woven wall hanging would be perfect next to my newly upholstered dining room chairs, don’t you agree? (animal print is the “before”)


Kilim wall art from Anthropologie

dining room chairs old and new

New fabric on right is a velvet chenille zigzag that feels so wonderful on the tusch!

And if you have followed this blog at all then you know about my love of anything acrylic.  If budget were of no consideration, this bed would be on its way to my home as we speak.  Oh yea, and if my husband shared my love of this modern material, but, sadly he does not.


Oscarine acrylic bed from Anthropologie

And anything with stripes and big colorful buttons will always catch my eye and this chair is no exception.


Folkthread chair from Anthropologie

What caught your eye in Anthropologie’s new collection?

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Revisiting a favorite Halloween post

One of the most popular blog posts on my site is on the topic of decorating for Halloween all year long.  Written three years ago, in 2013, most of the ideas are timeless so I thought it might be an appropriate time to share it again.  Read on to see how I might update the ideas for today’s trends.

Halloween decorating all year round?  But I don’t want to look at witches and pumpkins in the middle of summer and I certainly don’t want ghosties and goblins surrounding my Christmas tree.  Relax!  I have found items that certainly celebrate the Halloween holiday (even if in name only) but don’t really have anything to do with the celebration.  Don’t believe me?  Check it out—–

I see dead chairs.   Ever heard of the “ghost chair”?  (Insert scary laugh and maybe a high-pitched scream)  This acrylic chair is appropriately named as it is see-through and is one of  my favorites.  In fact, I use this chair as a desk chair in my home office as it is surprisingly comfortable and very sturdy.  Can you even spot them in the photo below? Now you can have ghosts in your house all year long and no one will ever know.

photo courtesy of Lloyd Ralphs Design

On to something many of you may appreciate even more than the ghost chair–vodka! The makers of the highly prized Crystal Head Vodka skull bottle hit the jackpot with this design.  I didn’t know it was designed by Dan Ackroyd, did you?  Anyway, no well-stocked bar is complete without this scary skull, especially during Halloween, but it looks pretty cool all year long.  Check out this site and you might get lucky and find a “rehab” bottle turned into a vase or candy dish.

Crystal Head Vodka

Pumpkins and gourds are harvested during the autumn season and so, are naturally, a Halloween tradition.  But these blown glass gourds and pumpkins are way too beautiful to be hidden in storage after the festivities are over.  Chef and styling extraordinaire, Lisa Leonard, supplied us with this gorgeous photo and she keeps her own collection on the kitchen counter year round.

Photo courtesy LML Artworks

Skulls have made their way into the mainstream of interior design and can be found on fabrics, in artwork and wallpaper.  Designs range from the whimsical
Sugar Skull - red

to the elegant
Skull Damask - black on white

to childlike and everything in between.  One might say there is a skull for every season (or not).

And owls.  How could we not include the ubiquitous owl?  While not exactly a Halloween motif they do seem to make an appearance this time of year.  Regardless of whether you prefer something whimsical or realistic, they are definitely a year round accessory.  I have this little owl pillow in my living room and I love seeing the shine and sparkle every single day.

Pillow from Pier I Imports

And we mustn’t forget the worst creepy crawlie of all…spiders!  This adorable burlap lampshade with a spider motif would delight the budding scientist in your family.

Spider lampshade available on Etsy

Do you believe me now?  These beautiful items will add a designer look to your home and do not have to be hidden away after the holiday, but rather, enjoyed year round.

Update-September 2016

What is it about skulls?  They continue to make an appearance in home decor but I am here to tell you that they are not in my home.  However, I can appreciate a good design so here are some of my favorites:

This chair is just so cool…I might consider it in a teenager’s room.


By Geoffrey Bradfield for Kyle Bunting

While not for my home, this skull artwork showcases artist Ali Gulec‘s talent


Living/Media Room


The ghost chair has multiplied and morphed into pretty much any item of furniture you need as evidenced by the set of nesting tables in the room above.  Console tables, benches and occasional tables are all now made in this ghostly material and available in all price ranges.  Check out affordable sources like CB2, All Modern, DWR or even Neiman Marcus.

So how do you decorate for Halloween all year long?

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These are not your grandmother’s subway tiles

When you hear the phrase “subway tile” what comes to mind?  Dirty subways, old-fashioned tile, time to renovate?  If any of these words define subway tile for you then you, my friend, are in for a big surprise.

For those of you who’s first thought was dirty subways, you are partially correct.  The tiles were named after the white wall tiles found in underground train stations (subways) in the early twentieth century.  At the time they were white in color, made of ceramic and rectangular in shape, 3″x6″ to be exact.  And oh so practical–easy to clean, heat resistant and light reflecting–they soon became the go-to surface for use in kitchen and bathrooms.  So, based on this information I guess those who felt the proper word is old-fashioned would also be partially correct.  But for those who think subway tiles means it is time to renovate–you might want to think again.

Today’s version of subway tiles are available in any color imaginable and crafted in ceramic, glass and even metal.  Edges can be beveled and various sizes make them so versatile.  These tiles are being installed in kitchens and baths as well as mudrooms, laundry spaces and fireplace surrounds.  And they are equally at home in a contemporary high-rise as they are in a traditional bungalow, in a beach cottage or a rustic slopeside retreat.  Feast your eyes on these beautiful subway tiles and then let me know if your definition has changed:

Clean and reflective, white subway tiles and white grout are the perfect choice for this traditional bathroom.  Nothing old-fashioned about this room!

Shelter Island Beach House


Metal subway tile backsplash turns what would be an OK kitchen into a real show-stopper
div>Chicago Net Positive Luxury Home

Turquoise glass subway tiles add a jaw dropping pop of color to this white kitchen
Cabinets, Kitchens and Bathrooms

I did say subway tiles are finding their way into other rooms in the home and this laundry/craft room is a shining example of this.  The use of white subway tile throughout is a wise choice since they will resist moisture and are heat and stain resistant. I wouldn’t mind spending all day in this space.

Lido Isle Home


My own contemporary kitchen with white subway tile and white grout.  The perfect complement to glossy white cabinetry and stainless hardware.

Do any of these gorgeous spaces alter your opinion of subway tiles?  Would love to see how you have used subway tile in your own home or design projects.

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The holidays are here??


No, not yet!  No need to panic just now but it is definitely time to start thinking about any home decorating or renovations or new furniture you would like done before the holidays.


Whether you are purchasing a new sofa bed for out of town guests or have finally decided to recover your husband’s favorite chair, the eight to twelve week production time can put you beyond the holidays and you will be very disappointed!  And while reupholstering does not take that long, this is a very busy time for your upholsterer and fabric back orders can also create delays.  So get going on that decorating plan and you will be ready when the doorbell rings.


If you want to undertake a remodeling project in preparation for the holidays I sincerely hope you have already begun the process.  Any construction process is synonymous with “delay” so just prepare yourself and have an alternative plan if you should run up against those delays.  If you are lucky, that new bathroom, kitchen or outdoor area will be complete and ready for you to enjoy during the holidays with your family and friends.  And be sure and send some photos…would love to see what you have done!


Catalogs and retail stores are just itching to begin selling this year’s holiday decorations. They start early which means they sell out early.  So if you see something you like, snatch it up right away rather than wait until you are ready to decorate your own home as you will, once again, be disappointed.  Candles, seasonal throw pillows and other decorative items are fun to buy so keep your eyes open.  I am intrigued by this year’s mongolian fur trend so may just have to add one of these to my already huge throw pillow collection.  How cozy for the Christmas holidays.

design faux fur mongolian lamb red pillow from houzz

Small projects

Keep in mind that if you are planning on sprucing up your home for the holidays, chances are so are many other people.  Therefore, your painter, handyman, carpet layer or other trades people will be busy.  Plan those jobs now to insure that you can get on their calendar and complete your project before the holidays arrive.

The day after Labor Day signals to me that fall has arrived and I start switching things out.  I replace summer’s cheerful throw pillows with something that is warm in color and textural such as brown velvet and a suede patchwork, for example.  The fun black and white throw gets replaced by a warm golden check and the bowl of seashells goes back into the closet to make room on the coffee table for some potpourri and pinecones.  Once October 1st arrives I add in a few halloween themed items and, on November 1st out comes anything Thanksgiving related.  We have several December birthdays so the Christmas holiday items do not make an appearance until after December 8th.  Trust me, this waiting period is not an easy one for someone who loves holiday decorations as much as I do.  But no worries, the Christmas music starts playing as soon as it is available on the radio!

When do you begin your seasonal decorating?

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Ten things that made me happy in August

happy face back to school from mpsazdotorg

Along with January, August is my least favorite month of the year, But after everything that took place at the end of July, August could only get better!  Fortunately, there were many happy occasions and happenings that made me happy, not the least of which was, my husband came home from the hospital and is on an amazingly fast road to recovery!  I made a point of being aware of my surroundings and those small happy feelings all month long that took place and here are the top ten:

  1.  This sweet girl’s first haircut and how pretty she felt.  Ladies, we all know the feeling of a good hair day!ella first haircut and cute braid aug 2016
  2. Fall items in the stores.  I am loving the color palette that is available this year in both fashion and home decor.  My new favorite is what I am calling tobacco.  Mix it with my other new favorite, mustard, and you have a warm and cozy fall look.  This sweater has now joined my collection along with these boots.  And check out this room—-so inviting!
Olstad Drive Residence Master Bedroom 3
3.  Get well cards.  It is amazing how something seemingly so simple can bring such comfort and joy when one is recovering from an illness.  We have wonderful and thoughtful friends who sent cards, flowers and gifts of prayer and all were much appreciated and made my entire family happy in August.
4.  A fat-free, sugar free vanilla yogurt cone that only has 136 calories makes this girl very happy.  Oh yea, it only costs $1!  I didn’t think one could beat Costco’s $1.35 sundae but this comes pretty close!!  Thank you Ikea.
5.  My husband driving!  After his “ordeal” each little step becomes a milestone.  3 weeks ago we did not know if her would live or, if so, if he would walk etc. so this hurdle jumping makes me deliriously happy.

6. This photo.  I love flowers and I love original art so this kind of satisfies both of those.  I think it should be turned into fabric or wallpaper.  Some people are just so clever!

design fall flowers from leaves from thistlewood blog

Thank you Thistlewood Farms for this link

 7.  Military bands.  Heard the Marine Corps Band over the weekend and I am such a patriot that I always get goose bumps just seeing those young men and women in their uniforms and marvel at their courage and their talent!  Does this make me a nerd?  If yes, then so be it!
8.  New pink shoes.  I am in love with this color for some reason and I am a major shoeaholic so had to add these to my closet that holds more shoes than I care to admit!
pink shoes
9.    Hooking up with old friends.  How can almost two years go by when we only live ten miles away from each other?  So good to catch up on everyone’s lives!
10.  The fact that this month there were more than ten things that made me happy!
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Do you have a favorite blankie?

You know what I mean…that favorite piece of cloth you pull up over your legs when the weather gets a bit chilly or you just need a tender touch, and here in San Diego that means as soon as the indoor temps drop below 70 degrees!  These blankies gave you comfort as a child so why not re-create that feeling now that you are an adult?

I am not a fan of forced air of any type, hot or cool.  Therefore, we have always had a large basket of blankets and quilts within easy reach of a TV chair.  They are a mishmash of colors, designs and fabrics but they all have one thing in common—a COZY factor of 100+.  The current basket includes an old lap quilt my daughter used in her room as a tween, hence the favorite tween color combo of pink and purple.  It is just the right weight to toss over your legs on a cool evening in front of the TV.  Also in the basket is a felt blanket my sister-in-law made for us that requires no sewing…just cut the fabric and tie it together to create the fringe on the ends.  Here is a link to a tutorial if you are interested in making one of these.  Also in the basket is one of those fleece throws you can buy at almost any bed and bath or discount store for about $14.99.  They are indestructible and warm and fuzzy and large—perfect to wrap up in on a cold winter’s night.

design throws in basket from our house

Here are some of my favorite blankies you can purchase right now in anticipation of the soon to be here fall and winter months:

We all know how good a thick and warm sweater feels to wear.  Well you can experience that same feeling with this cable knit throw from Pottery Barn.

One of my all-time favorite blankies is a faux fur throw blanket purchased at Sam’s in Flagstaff, Arizona for $14.  Similar items can sell for over a hundred dollars in high end stores but the cozy factor is worth whatever price you pay.  High-end is this beauty from Williams-Sonoma….more affordable options can be found at stores like Home Goods and even Target.

design throws from william sonoma faux fur

Like accent pillows, while functional, a pretty throw can also be used to change up your decor.  Toss a holiday inspired one across the back of the sofa or a add a patterned throw to the arm of a solid colored chair for contrast.  It creates an inviting and warm look any time of year.

So ‘fess up….what does your favorite blankie look like?

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