Throw pillows are your friend

I admit it….I am a pillow junkie.  I can’t help myself….I come to a point where I say out loud “I will not buy anymore pillows” and then something like this beauty

catches my eye.  Sigh!!

Follow along as I share some of my favorites this year that just might join my always growing collection of throw pillows.

Velvet is still a home decorating trend this year and these pillows from Pottery Barn come in a variety of colors.  Purchase a matching pair for the sofa or just use a rainbow of pillows for a colorful change.  The velvet texture is perfect for the fall and winter season.

design pillows velvet from pottery barn

I am a huge fan of the HGTV show “Fixer Upper.”  Joanna has designed a collection of pillows that are somewhat pricey but oh so beautiful.  (similar designs can be found at West Elm for less $) I saw some of these in person at their store in Waco, TX and they are well-made and substantial and will add that rustic and graphic punch to your home.  While these colors do not work in my home I think they are so pretty and I love the lumbar shape…I may just have to pick up the sage green colorway.  Somebody stop me now!!

Don’t overlook the big box stores for real pillow bargains.  Target, Walmart and even Costco can be great sources for inexpensive accent pillows for both indoors and outdoors.  This floral pillow from Walmart is less than $15!!  The dimension and design hint at a much higher price.

design pillow from walmart

Love the romantic touch this jacquard pillow will add to my master bedroom.  Many items in my home feature a black contrast welt so I think this will work great.  And did you look at that price!?

design pillow floral jacquard from west elm

I really like smaller pillows tossed onto a chair.  If you use a mini size (12×12, 14×14 etc) it is a good idea to make sure the pillow has an interesting design; a small solid pillow will just get lost in the room.  This small pillow will be making its debut in my living room this Halloween season

design pillow chihuahua from pier 1

What are your favorite pillows in your home?

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I want to live here

I just returned from a week in Big Sky, Montana so I have beautiful mountain views on the brain.

big sky madison river shot from dave doss

This home in Aspen,Colorado spoke to that and makes me want to return as soon as possible.  As John Muir so succinctly put it “The mountains are calling and I must go.”

i could live here mountain home in aspen emily minton redfield photographer via mountain living mag and ccy architects

What is NOT to love about this outdoor space?  The gorgeous mountain and valley views are breathtaking, the intimate outdoor space that begs for a quiet afternoon spent reading a book or sharing good wine and conversation are perfect and the flowers are right up my alley.  This space was designed by CCY Architects, beautifully photographed by Emily Minton Redfield and shared by Mountain Living Magazine in a way that makes me want to move in tomorrow.

The interiors are as beautiful as the exterior.  Who needs a bedroom when you have a space as beautiful as this living area to sit and relax in?  Simple minimalist decorating, stacking windows that literally bring the outdoors in and pops of color set against a neutral background make this decorator very happy.  I can just imagine those mountains covered with snow in the winter and a roaring fire to complete the look and feel.  Yes, please.

i could live here aspen home by ccy architects living room



How about you?  Is this a space you would like to live in?

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Ten things that made me happy in June

happy face daisy from clipartpandadotcom

What a fun month June is!  So much anticipation of the summer months ahead combined with an easy-going schedule makes this a great month.  Here are a few things that took place in June that made this decorator very happy

  1.  Family vacay.  It is rare when we can get the whole “fam damily” together for a weekend but we succeeded.  We rented a large home in Palm Springs and that was the perfect solution.  The 118 degree weather was tough but the pool and misters made it bearable and the kids didn’t seem to mind.  This picture shows my daughter and son-in-law along with their niece and nephews (my grandbabies) cooking breakfast.  I was one happy mom/grandma!ella with jen and griff etc in palm springs
  2. June gloom was in full swing in San Diego so when the sun did peek out in the afternoon it was energizing.
  3. Enjoying a quiet afternoon with a cold glass of iced tea, a stack of magazines and plenty of catalogs to peruse.  Nothing is better than a staycation in home territory.
  4. The annual San Diego County Fair.  This is always a fun time, especially when I get to see it through the eyes of first time fair- goers like my grandbabies.

    ella laura and bren at the fair 2017

    A little foot massage makes the fear much more enjoyable!

  5. For those of you who have worked with me you already know how important inspiration photos are to your decorator.  I encourage anyone who is looking to decorate their home to scour magazines, online sites like Houzz and even model homes to find rooms, items, paint colors etc. that appeal to them.  This article illustrates this concept well.
  6. Seeing the beauty this country has to offer.  We just got home from a ten day road trip through Montana, Idaho and Utah and I must say some of the scenery took my breath away.  And California wildflowers pale in comparison to those that literally cover the mountainsides in Idaho!  I was in floral heaven!
  7. A surprise visit from my daughter.  Since she moved away last year I literally ache for her presence sometimes!  I know that sounds silly but I am sure all parents out there can fully understand.  After all, she is my only child and I kind of got used to having her around for 29 years even though she has not lived in our home for the past 6 years, at least she lived in the same city.  So anytime she cpmes into town for work I am very happy.
  8. Visiting old friends.  As I get older I have come to really appreciate and understand the value of friends who have been with you through thick and thin and are more like family than friends.  We are fortunate to have many such friends in our lives and when we get together it is like time has stood still.  I miss them already.
  9. The happiness on my husband’s face as he crossed several activities off of his bucket list on our recent vacation.  He was truly like a little boy on Christmas morning as he learned to fly fish, shoot clay pigeons, raft etc.  Even a dunk in the very cold water couldn’t dampen his spirits!

    big sky rick with fish and guide

    my husband is the guy on the left with the silly grin over this little fish!

  10. As a lover of Picasso’s talent, these Picassoish pillows make me happy.  (maybe not en masse like this….a big

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Belly up to the bar stools

With summer upon us it is time to start thinking about all the entertaining you will be doing in order to enjoy the longer days, balmy nights and overall relaxed lifestyle. Comfortable seating, including bar stools, is a must for those fun indoor and outdoor gatherings.

Stools are one of the most versatile types of seating as they are available in an endless choice of styles and various heights.  Here are a few of my favorites.

Bar height stools.  A bar top is higher than the standard kitchen countertop; therefore it requires higher seating.  Bar stools usually have a 30-31″ seat height, making them comfortable for use at a bar.  Styles range from backless to those with a high back or some with a lumbar back.  The style you select will be based on your home’s overall design.  Prices run the gamut as well.  Very affordable options can be found at big box stores like Target, Walmart and Ikea while custom or designer labels will cost you more.

This masculine stool from Williams-Sonoma Home would be the perfect addition to your man’s cave, for example, and the leather seat will be able to withstand wear and tear in a game room.

A more affordable option might be this wood and metal stool from Target.  I love the sleek look combined with the warmth of the wood, all at a very affordable $120.

Counter height stools.  A counter height stool is used as seating next to an island or countertop.  They are generally 24″ in height vs. the standard bar stool height of 30″ and can be tucked underneath a counter or table.  The lower height makes them easy to move from one room to another as seating for a meal or as additional seating in the living area when the crowds gather.

This casual backless stool from Pottery Barn will complement most design styles and can easily be moved from room to room.

This swivel seat barstool in red leather is what I use in my own kitchen.  The backless style allows them to tuck nicely under my countertop and are a favorite spot for guests to sit and chat while I am preparing dinner.

design bar stool from grandinroad

A popular trend these days is a counter height dining table and chairs.  I would caution against purchasing this style for your home unless you have very high ceilings as it will look over-sized and crowded in the average home.

Options.  There are many ways you can customize a bar or counter stool to suit your needs.  Consider a swivel seat that makes it possible for people to get in and out without moving the stool, possibly scratching your floors!  A metal footrest is a nice option to protect your fabric or wood frame from being scratched or stained by shoes and dirty feet.  Special motifs can be found to honor almost any hobby, sport, animal etc., making a personal statement in your design.

Add a couple of bar or counter height stools to your furniture inventory and enjoy summer entertaining, knowing you have plenty of seating for everyone!

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Home decor: I am currently loving…

I am currently loving woven baskets hung on the wall or anything that looks a bit tribal or boho chic.  Blame it on the fact that I came of age in the seventies and had a beautiful gallery wall of baskets in the den in my first home, along with a rust/orange chenille loveseat and a brown chenille chair and ottoman.  Amazingly, this is all back in style and I am in love with orange again and those walls of baskets.

Fortunately, this is a very affordable trend.  You can purchase mass-produced items at stores like Target and World Market or you can put your $ to good use and purchase hand-made items from sites like; or if you are lucky enough to have collected these from your own travels you have an instant wall arrangement.  Take a look at these photos and tell me if this is a trend you could incorporate into your own home?

Colorful and fun

baskets on wall colorful from vt wonen

via vt women

Neutrals always work

design baskets on wall from sarah bartholomeow via design chic blog

Sarah Bartholomew design via Design Chic blog

Too much?

baskets on wall source unknown

Are you embracing this new trend?

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Ten things that made me happy in May

April showers bring May flowers but what do May showers bring?  We had torrential rain in May, very unexpected and somewhat unpleasant.  But there are always sunny skies ahead.  Here are ten things that made the month of May special to me:

  1.  Those rain showers did not stop these two munchkins from playing outdoors.  This pic would make anyone happy!ellan and brendan playing in rain may 2017
  2. Two visits from my daughter.  Anytime she is sleeping under our roof, all seems right with the world.
  3. Disneyland with the grandkids.  I have not been to the park in many, many years and it was so fun to experience it once again through the eyes of little ones.  It is always magical, no matter what your age!ella and bren with us in disneyland may 2017
  4. Visits from out of town friends.  We had a month full of out of town visitors, some we have not seen for over 40 years!
  5. Maui, Hawaii.  Our visit in April extended into May so I am going to add it to this list as well.  Just the mention of Maui makes me happy.
  6. Simple fixes.  I have been searching for the perfect set of outdoor porch lights for 4 years now and just could not find something that would work.  Enter my magician of a handyman who simply cleaned up and spray painted my existing lights and they are perfect.  And the best part is that there is no touch up painting or stucco repair necessary as there would have been with new lights.  Makes this girl very happy!
  7. Breakfast in bed and my daughter in town, nothing could make me happier!jenna breakfast tray on mom day 2
  8. The first baseball game of the season for us.  While our local team, the SD Padres, have long been pretty much the worst team in ALL leagues I do enjoy going to the games and eating a hotdog and watching the planes fly over the beautiful skyline.  This game was made even more fun as our friends came down from central California and joined us.  After all, everything is better when shared with friends, right?
  9. Anyone heard of  After just spending over $700 for new glasses at the optometrist I visited this site to get an affordable pair of sunglasses I could use to read outdoors.  With a 40% off coupon they cost me a total of about $9 including shipping and they arrived within just a couple of days along with another 40% off coupon.  Definitely worth a visit and I think they will make you as happy as they made me.
  10. When back-ordered fabric becomes available!!  As many of you know, finding the right fabric for an upholstery project can be a daunting task, made even more so once you find it only to discover it is back-ordered for who knows how long.  The opposite feeling to that is when you receive notice that the yardage you need has been made available.   This designer is very happy…let’s get this project started!

    design robert allen fabric cheetah velvet from beacon hill

    Velvet from Beacon Hill

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Ten things that made me happy in April

I love the month of April.  I love the warm and breezy days that signal spring has arrived in San Diego.  I love all the colorful clothes in the stores and I love the flowers that are growing everywhere! I love the anticipation of summer just around the corner and I love the longer days that make it possible to watch the sunset from many vantage points around town.

  1.  The fact that stores like Target were actually closed on Easter Sunday.  We all move way too fast and fill our calendars with activities that make us feel important and involved but I think it is time to remember how wonderful Sundays were when we were growing up.  Nothing was opened so the day was spent with the whole family either at the park or indoors.  (I spent my early youth in Indiana while my Dad was in college so weather was a factor)  Summers were spent in Arkansas with my grandparents and Sundays were truly a day of rest and family dinners.  Thank you Target and Nordstrom and Costco and anyone else who acknowledges the value of recognizing these holidays.  Makes me happy!
  2.  The California super bloom.  I witnessed some of this in person driving to Northern California where entire hills were orange or yellow.  It was stunning and made me and my travel mate, Sandy, so very happy!

  3. Being as in love today as I was 30 years ago when I married my husband and celebrating in our usual way (quiet dinner at the same restaurant) makes me very happy.  I feel so lucky to have a solid and happy marriage!
  4. Maui, Hawaii.  What else needs to be said.
  5. Be still my heart!  Don’t know if you followed this but here is a link.april the giraffe being kissed by mom
  6. “Fixer Upper” is one of my favorite HGTV shows, for many reasons.  I love the new line of pillows designed by Joanna Gaines that, while a bit pricey, are right on trend but not trendy and offers soft and muted colors that will work in any decor.  This is one of my favorites but visit Pier1 to see the entire collection of pillows and rugs.

    design pillow from joanna gaines

    Magnolia Homes pillow via Pier1

  7. As I get older the simple things in life give me great pleasure.  Card nights with friends, shopping trips with a bestie even if we buy nothing, a completed design project, Old McDonalds (as they call it) with the grandbabies, my list goes on and on.  What are the simple things you enjoy?
  8. Friends who drop off big pots of hot soup and buttered bread when they find out you are STILL sick with that damn cold!!  You’re the best, Kate!
  9. My post on the women in my life last month did not include two very important women, my two aunts–Kay and Sarah.  One is my father’s sister and the other is my mother’s sister.  Both of my parents are gone so they are the only connection I have to my parents.  These two women have been around my entire life (obviously) and I so appreciate their presence, their quiet southern demeanor and their commitment to family and community.  They are truly role models in every sense of the word.
  10. I have had a long love affair with Picasso and Jonathan Adler so pretty much any artwork with a face makes me happy.  My daughter feels the same way so I purchased this little vase for her which she promptly filled with one of our favorite flowers..tulips.  For these reasons this picture makes me very happy.  Picasso, yellow tulips and black and white accents…scrumptious.  (and a daughter who shares my design aesthetic!)

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