A burst of juicy color in a family home

I have always loved serene and neutral rooms that are popped with color in the form of artwork, pillows and accessories.  When given a choice I am always drawn to the room done in neutrals with plenty of black accents.  But when I saw this home in Traditional Home online magazine  designed by Shazalynn Cavin-Winfrey, I remembered how much I also love color.  Not sure I could live with a purple couch forever but I can certainly enjoy looking at it and admire the courage of the homeowners to step out of the beige and greige box most designers are pushing and really embrace their love of color.  I mean—pink checked drapery panels?  Gotta love it!

Photo by Gordon Beall for Traditional Home

Photo by Gordon Beall for Traditional Home

And painted nightstands are such a fresh change from the more expected dark wood tones or even a mirrored cabinet in this mouth watering orange and turquoise guest room.  Be sure to take note of other fun details like the multi-colored fringe trim on the drapery panels and the placement of fun artwork.

photo by Gordon Beall for Traditional Home Magazine

photo by Gordon Beall for Traditional Home Magazine

Be still my heart!  This is about the cutest little boy’s bedroom I have ever seen and the sophisticated textiles and colors will grow with him requiring just a simple change of artwork and accessories as he gets older.

Photo by Gordon Beall for Traditional Home

Photo by Gordon Beall for Traditional Home

And for those who appreciate the serenity and beauty of neutrals…a master bedroom to dream in.

Photo by Gordon Beall for Traditional Home

Photo by Gordon Beall for Traditional Home

What do you think—-neutrals or saturated color in your home?

Posted in Decorating and remodeling tips | 3 Comments

Why I do not live in Florida

One of the many reasons I do not live in Florida!!!  I cannot even imagine having to worry about something like this!

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10 things that made me happy in February


1.  Returning home from a trip to Las Vegas with money in our pocket.  You never know!

2.  Tulips in the grocery store.  Gerberas, daffodils and tulips are my favorite and I am always so undecided about what colors to choose so I usually buy several bunches and mix them all up.  Heavenly!  And for those who have had their fill of gray, wintery days, nothing brightens up a room than fresh and colorful flowers.

3.  An ahmazing Super Bowl game.  I am a football fan but unless my team is playing (go Bolts) the Super Bowl usually bores me but this game was so much fun to watch.  And Katy Perry rocked halftime, which is usually too loud and busy for my tastes.  Couldn’t stop singing for days!

4.  Celebrating my girlfriend’s birthday which is Valentine’s Day.  She said growing up she always thought everyone was having parties for her birthday….cute.  Let’s get real…after 28 years of marriage my husband and I pass on the crowded restaurants and have a much better time spending the evening celebrating a “real” reason i.e. a birthday.

5.  A long phone conversation with a friend who moved to Hawaii several years ago.  So nice to hear her voice after way too many years of communicating via email.

6.  The opening of a new Home Goods Store in our area.  This one is located in a fairly upscale area so the hope is that the inventory will reflect that.  Always fun to go browse, especially with my daughter.  The apple does not fall far from the tree!

7.  My precious granddaughter starting her ballet classes.  My daughter took dance for 12 years and I loved all the recitals and even just watching the class itself.  To see my little Elly Belly in her tutu and ballet slippers twirling (her favorite thing to do) is delightful.

Scrumptious! DH Design

DH Design

8.  Julie Andrews surprise appearance on the Oscar’s show.  It actually brought me to tears, not sure why.  Sound of Music is one of my absolute all-time favorites and I have always admired her not only for her unbelievable voice but for her enduring marriage and the relationship she has with her daughter (they write children’s books together).  What a joy to see her age so beautifully and maintain her unbelievable grace.

9.  An early birthday celebration with friends who share the same birthday with me.  Lots of wine and laughter but just take a look at this exquisite cake!  Those are real flowers from her garden.  This woman can do it all!

DH Design

DH Design

10.  Rain in San Diego and SNOW on the mountains!  After missing the ski season for the past two years I am needing my annual “fix” of snow.  Maybe seeing it on the distant mountains will be enough.  (not)

There you have it.  What made you happy in February?

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Funky chair delight

Has anyone been watching the new Ellen’s Design Challenge on HGTV?  If you are a lover of unique and true one-of-a-kind furniture pieces, you will not only love this show but be amazed by the talent out there, as I am.  And if you have ever worked with me you probably questioned at some point why I was trying to convince you to find a “funky” chair for some area of your home.  The answer is that, as a designer, I try to make sure all my clients’ homes feature a statement piece that is not only unique but representative of “them”;  and I love the unexpected in furniture design, in particular chairs, so the combination of a funky chair in a client’s home seems like a natural fit.

“Funky” can mean different things to different people.  To me it simply means a chair that is distinctive or unusual–maybe even a little offbeat, in form, color, material, fabric etc.  It can be fully functional or simply a piece of functional art.  Here are a few samples of what I would refer to as funky:

Mackenzie Childs has cornered the market on funky as seen here with her Freckle Fish side chair

Mackenzie Childs has cornered the market on funky as seen here with her Freckle Fish side chair.  The perfect unique touch for a beach house.

Tall and lean, funky chair in the entry is a nice counterpart to all the traditional furnishings in this beautiful home. via south coast blog

Tall and lean, the unexpected chair in the entry is a nice counterpart to all the traditional furnishings in this beautiful home.
via south coast blog

A true one of a kind chair from ad espana magazine via jason mowen blog

A true one of a kind chair from ad espana magazine via jason mowen blog

Metal peacock chair source unknown

Certainly would not curl up with a good book but funky does not always mean comfy! Metal peacock chair source unknown

Easy to accomplish with just the right amount of funky fabric via the painted house

Easy to accomplish with just the right amount of funky fabric via the painted house

Alligator chair certainly falls into the funkychair category via south shore decorating blog

Alligator chair certainly falls into the funky chair category–a little creepy, I will admit but certainly makes a statement. via south shore decorating blog

Skirted chair looks like it has feet.  Not large enough to sit on but provides a convenient spot for guests coats etc via atlanta homes

Skirted chair looks like it has little feet. Not large enough to sit on but provides a convenient spot for guests coats etc via atlanta homes

Is a nice compliment to the other unique furniture in the space

The distinctive design of this modern chair is a nice compliment to the other unique furniture in the space

And I follow my own advice with this funky chair that sits in my den.  Lovingly named the “Cat” chair by the artist, Jerry, (if only I could remember his last name), we purchased this chair from the Design in Wood exhibit at the San Diego Fair.

"Cat" chair in my den DH Design San Diego CA  92111

“Cat” chair in my den
DH Design
San Diego CA 92111

If you are in the market for that one special piece I highly recommend you take the time to tour this exhibit.  And remember, the hunt is part of the fun!

How do you define funky and what piece of funk do you have in your home?

If you are interested in more funky chairs check out this article in the latest edition of GOOP.



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Ten things that made me happy in January.



Truth be told, this was a tough one.  January is probably my least favorite month; not much going on and it has no real “identity” as a month like most other months do.  No holidays to celebrate or even prepare for, no real color scheme associated with it, no change of season etc., etc.  But I worked hard at staying positive and finding ten things, pitiful as some of them may seem:

  1. Celebrating my amazingly yummy granddaughter’s 3rd birthday.  She spent it at Disneyland so I was not there but the sheer joy on her face was enough for me.
  2. ella and jeff in car at disneyland jan 2015Gas prices that continue to drop even though California, in its own imitable way, added more road taxes that became effective Jan 1, 2015 that immediately bumped the price up by 10 cents a gallon.  But these lower prices make life so much easier for young people in southern California who need a car to get to work, get their kids to school, buy groceries etc.  We do not have a mass transit system to fall back on.
  3. Mid-week Home Goods buying trip with one of my besties, Sandy.  She recently retired so we have the freedom to go whenever we want, thereby avoiding the greedy crowds! We definitely made a deposit there and brought home some goodies that I am certain we did not need, but if you only buy what you need, where’s the fun?
  4. My new eye glasses.  I have had reading glasses for several years now but never needed them for distance–that is until now.  Aging sucks!!  I was absolutely amazed at how much clearer the TV was now that I could properly see.  Ah, the wonders of modern medicine.
  5. Blooming daffodils for only $2.95 a bunch in the grocery store.  They only last a few days once they open but they sure add a bright spot of sunshine to the room.
  6. Resuming our group dinner parties.  We have a group of 6 couples who routinely meet up at a restaurant every couple of months to catch up with each other’s lives, enjoy a great meal etc.  For many reasons we have not been able to do this for several months now but we all managed to get together this month.
  7. Pottery Barn’s washed velvet pillows.  I love the luscious new colors that include a soft coral that I think will compliment my new dining room chair fabric and my current obsession with any shade of orange.  What do you think?
  8. Washed velvet pillows from Pottery Barn

    Washed velvet pillows from Pottery Barn

    New dining room chair seat fabric


    Reaction Haze fabric from Vanguard

    Reaction Haze fabric from Vanguard

    I told you January was tough—I am short three items.  I guess I will make it up and have a super happy February!  How was your January?

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Help–I’m downsizing

Via sharybary.wordpress.com

Via sharybary.wordpress.com

Have you arrived at “that time of life”?  Time to move from the old homestead into something smaller and more manageable?  If so you have already discovered that this can be a very scary time.  But think waaaaaay back to when you were moving out of your parent’s home for the very first time…it was both scary and exciting at the same time with promises of unknown adventures ahead.  Emptynesting or downsizing is no different—scary and exciting with promises of many pleasant changes ahead that include:

  • More time to spend on those activities you enjoy vs. time spent maintaining a large yard, cleaning a large house etc.
  • More $ to spend on those activities you enjoy vs. spending those $ on home repair, taxes etc.
  • An opportunity to rid your home, and life, of all the clutter that accumulates over the years.  This can be very liberating.
  • An opportunity to decorate your home in a new style and color that was not possible in the old house without undertaking an entire redecorating project for which you had no $ because of all the expense and maintenance..yada, yada, yada.

If you are a sentimentalist like me it will take some time to get over the crying jags every time you run across a box of the kids childhood artwork or the bag that stores that adorable little outfit she wore home from the hospital….(I need a break to wipe away the tears right now!)  But then reality sets in and you actually begin to enjoy the peace and quiet, the clean floors, the food that remains in the refrigerator for more than a day, having to do laundry a couple of times a week vs. a couple of times a day and other pleasures you can enjoy when there are no kids in the house happy face winking

Now that you know how to enjoy your empty nest space, here are some decorating ideas that will help you make the most of your new, smaller home:

  • Use multi-tasking furniture.  Anything with drawers is a good idea and that includes not only the obvious chests for the bedroom but think about media units, coffee and end tables, bookcases and hutches with drawers to hide and store all of the “stuff” you could not part with or that is simply part of our modern lives.  You know what I’m talking about–remotes, DVD’s, chargers, ear buds and those all-important how-to manuals.  This unique storage coffee table does double duty as a desktop or TV tray while “hiding” your stuff and is going into my small den as we speak.
  • West Elm storage coffee table

    West Elm storage coffee table

  • Multi-tasking also includes items like sleeper sofas that can provide a bed for guests, side chairs that can be pulled up to the dining room table during dinner parties, ottomans that can be used as a table, footrest or additional seating, trunks that can store games or magazines when not being used as an end table.  The ideas are limitless.
  • One tip is to select a color scheme that flows throughout the house.  This means a chair in the living room, for example, will work just as well if moved to the master bedroom or a piece of artwork, throw pillows or a rug can be moved from room to room.  This is a good idea regardless of whether you live in a large home or small apartment.

I look forward to hearing your empty nest/downsizing stories and how you decorated your new, smaller home.

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10 things that made me happy in December

from antennaballstore.com

from antennaballstore.com


December is one of those months where you just expect it to be filled with nothing but happy days.  Well if you are six years old that is probably true but we, as adults, have come to know that often times you have to search for something that made a day “happy”.  Fortunately for me, that was not difficult as this was a good month.

  1. The Coronado Christmas parade. Few things are better than a small hometown parade with bicycles decorated with lights, police cars and fire engines as the main attraction.  The streets were closed off and stores were giving away cookies and hot chocolate and two of my besties and I sat on the center grass median and sipped chardonnay and talked the night away.  A perfect holiday evening.
  2. Gloomy rainy days.  We do not get many of these in San Diego so when they come, especially during the holidays, everyone puts on their uggs and thick sweaters and fixes a pot of chili.  Mind you the temp is only 64 degrees but it sure feels cold to us!
  3. Taking my scrumpdillyicious granddaughter to see Traditions of Christmas, a local holiday variety show of sorts that was a family tradition when our own kids were young.  To see her eyes light up and to watch her sit enraptured is worth more money than I could ever have…best present ever!ella jen and I at traditions of christmas 2014
  4. Quiet evenings spent with friends.  We had our share of many years of black tie events and a December calendar stuffed to the gills but find we now prefer to spend our time in a casual environment with good friends.  There is still no shortage of good food, fine wine and good entertainment…we just make it all ourselves instead of paying big bucks to attend a corporate or political event.
  5. Navy’s football team coming to San Diego to play in the Poinsettia bowl.  As I have mentioned often on this blog, my father was a career naval officer so it is in my blood.  My most fervent wish would be that he is here to share the excitement but I am sure he is watching.  And what a nail biter it was!
  6. Participating in my grown kid’s own holiday traditions that they are creating for their own young families.  At first it seems sad to let go of our traditions but there is something so rewarding, not to mention stress free, about spending Christmas in someone’s else’s home.  One of the newfound joys of empty nesting.
  7. Receiving boxes of homemade cookies from my very talented friends who are great cooks.  This is one tradition I love and am glad many of our friends continue to deliver their homemade goodies in pretty containers.  And so is Rick!!
  8. Quiet days spent with my husband.  Another one of the joys of empty nesting, once you get used to it, is learning to enjoy the peace and quiet and the freedom to drop everything and head to the gym, go to an afternoon movie or just run errands with each other.  It helps that we like each other!
  9. Babies in holiday sweaters…..
    my three month old grandson

    my three month old grandson

    Need I say more?

  10. Snow in the local mountains.  The temps have dropped quite a bit and we rang in the new year with very cold temperatures that brought snow to San Diego County.  Ski season here we come!

What made you happy in December?

Posted in holiday decorating, miscellaneous thoughts | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment