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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Say goodbye to all the throw pillow rules you know.

Just as you mastered the art of mixing different patterns properly and just as you finally learned how to spell symmetry, the design gurus change all the rules about the perfect throw pillow selections.

For decades the idea of symmetry has been queen.  You know the look…a matching pillow or two on either side of the sofa along with perhaps an additional one placed on a nearby occasional chair for good measure.  You can see this idea in this photo of a room designed by Joanna Gaines and it looks great and right in style.

But times have changed.  The days of matching end tables and lamps and pillows is long gone…to be replaced by items that look like they have been casually tossed about and chosen at random.  Although we all know that is not the case!

mismatched pillow from alexa hamilton via marcus design blog

Does anyone do it better than Alexa Hampton?

mismatched pillows phot by christopher shane design by andrew howard via house of turquoise

photo Christopher Shane   Room design Andrew Howard

The art of fabric pattern mixing has been a difficult one for many home owners to perfect.  The rule of three–one large, one small and one medium sized pattern–as a formula to follow is now outdated.  In other words, a check, a floral and a stripe, would create that relaxed and casually thrown together look many of us craved during our french country decorating phase.

Today’s look has no formula.  A floral pillow here, a striped pillow there, a few solid colors tossed about and various shapes thrown in for good measure.  The goal is to create a look that is truly casual and tossed together and, while it is sometimes tough for me to wrap my arms around the lack of symmetry, I do like the look when I see it properly executed.

I switch out my throw pillows throughout the year.  I usually “shop” from my own collection but often pick up a new piece here and there as in the case of the dachsund on a bicycle pillow I just could not resist.  Breaking out of my symmetrical comfort zone is not easy…How did I do?

The key to this look is to select pillow colors, patterns and sizes that complement the rest of the space and overall color scheme.  In these examples we show neutrals in an all neutral space, vibrant blues and greens with a bold striped rug and a mix of brightly colored pillows in an all white space.

The good news is that the pressure is off.  No more “rules” to follow; no more worrying whether you are doing it right.  And if you already have or find a pillow you like, no need to purchase two–just introduce it to all the other pillows you have stored in the closet and under the bed and in the garage and you can come up with your own eclectic combination that will be right on trend.

Is this a look you can embrace or is the serenity of symmetry more in your comfort zone?

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Accessories are the key to your spring and summer decorating

You have heard the saying “Jewelry makes the outfit.”  Well the concept is the same when it comes to decorating your home.  “Accessories make the room.” A room without accessories is like pancakes without syrup….it’s OK but something is missing.

The change of seasons is the perfect time to add new accessories to your home and right now it will bring your spring decorating to life.  With a plethora of discount stores and home decor shops, there is something for every budget and every design style.  Here are just a few of my favorite accessories to enhance your spring decorating:

  • Pillows are always my first go-to when it is time to add personality, color and pattern to a space.  They are affordable and available in any color or pattern you can imagine.  And, while shopping for springtime pillows, don’t overlook the value of designer details like cording, fringe, tassels and other trims that will add that little extra that will separate your home from your neighbor’s house.  Check out this multi-striped pillow.  Those colors will work in any color interior and every room needs a touch of black and white!
  • Lampshades are often over-looked as a valuable accessory.  But these seemingly unimportant items can add beauty and personality to your rooms.  Get rid of those inexpensive cream colored fabric shades or, even worse, those awful yellowish plastic items!  Replace them with a shade that features a beautiful texture, fun pattern or special detailing like contrast bands.  Anthropologie features a variety of lampshades that will add a spring touch to your home.


  • Your personal collections are your best resource for seasonal decorating.  Take a look at your closets and cupboards and you just might find a selection of colored glass vases, for example, that, when grouped together, look like a curated collection of prized items similar to those shown below. Fill clear glass jars with last year’s bounty of seashells and sea glass and make sure to leave plenty of room for this year’s additions!  Swap out those photos of the kids playing in the snow or the holiday ski vacation for photos of everyone in their Easter finery or last year’s tropical getaway or the annual 4th of July barbecue.  These memories will make the season even more enjoyable as you anticipate the fun this year’s spring and summer will deliver.
  • Don’t forget the exterior of your home.  Fresh and colorful flowers in pots or a flower bed, a nicely swept front walkway and porch and a fresh, seasonal doormat will prepare your home for the new season.  Take a broom to those porch lights to remove all the spider webs and winter gunk that has accumulated.  And maybe it is time for a new paint job on the front door.  My advice…step out of our box and select a color that works well with the architecture of your home and just might add a bit of a surprise to all who visit.
  • Whimsical items add such a fun touch to any room including the bathroom, kitchen bedroom and living room.  This mercury glass fish is one of my favorites this year and you can even add a tealight for a soft glow.  After all, who doesn’t need a glowing silver fish in their living room?
  • mercury glass fish from pottery barn

What is your favorite way to decorate for a new season?

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A tribute to the women in my life or ten things that made me happy in March

I turn the big 65 this month…what I like to refer to as a speed limit birthday.  And while I have never paid much attention to the number, this one seems to be giving me pause for some reason.  Maybe because the whole damn world seems to know how old I am right now based on the number of phone and mail solicitations I receive on a daily basis reminding me that I am now a medicare recipient and, therefore, OLD.  This is so hard for me to come to grips with since I feel and look like I am 45…ok..55 (on a good day and if you don’t look too closely).  But it is also Women’s History Month where we celebrate all the accomplishments of women throughout the centuries.  So what better time to celebrate all the women in my life who make me very happy every single day.

  • Janis.  Childhood friends are the best.  We cannot get together without talking about and reminiscing about all the people we have known since we were 11 years old.  We became fast friends in sixth grade when I was the new kid on the block and have remained so throughout marriages and divorces and death of parents and health issues and distance and all the things that take place throughout a lifetime. But as we begin this next phase of our lives as seniors and as grandparents I vow to spend much more time with you.
  • Sharon.  I have always prided myself on the fact that I have several friends that I have had for decades and you are part of this prized group.  We grew up together as babies in the business world and while our lives took very different paths I continue to count you as one of my most valued friends.  You know the kind…those you can count on no matter what to defend you and support you and be by your side regardless of distance or how much time has passed.  I mean, really..who else would offer to fly over from Hawaii to help me when Rick had his heart surgery?  I am so happy that you will be almost a neighbor again and we can spend more time together.  March babies rock!
  • Grandma Lou.  You accepted me into your family and your social circle over 30 years ago without question and we have been inseparable ever since.  I treasure our visits to Home Goods and traditions like annual visits to Canterbury Gardens and the Harvest Festival and, especially, the many millions of bottles of wine we have shared in your living room while we solve all of the world’s problems.  You and your wonderful boys mean the world to me.
  • Lisa Lisa.  While 10 years in age separates us I am constantly surprised at how parallel our lives are.  We are so different yet so much alike.  I am so impressed by your creativity and your friendliness to others and your loyalty to your family.  Who knows, someday we may even be on the same page politically…..not!
  • Kate.  No one knows more about my family dynamics than you and I have so valued your professional and personal input throughout the years.  We have been through many storms together yet I learn something new from you each time.  No one can make me laugh like you can.  You are an honorary Haynie, like it or not!
  • Bowlin.  What can I say?  We had an immediate connection from the moment we met as did our husbands, which makes our friendship that much sweeter.  You are the sister I always wished I had and there is no one I would rather watch “White Christmas” with, share a bottle (or two or three) of fine wine with, discuss books or ski down a mountain with than you.
  • Kathy F.  You will always be Kathy “Flirty” to me.  And even though thousands of miles separates us, I think of you often and look forward to the two or three letters/cards we share throughout the year and have done so for the past 35 years.  We need to get together soon if, for no other reason, so I can make fun of your accent!
  • The group.  Sharon, Paula, Deb, Denise, Kathy, Patti, the bingo ladies, and all those other ladies with whom I share fun and special moments.
  • Jenna bear.  While you are my daughter I also count you as one of the most important, if not THE most important woman in my life.  You have become the type of woman I want to be friends with–kind, compassionate, smart, funny, motivated, brave and positive.  While I take much credit for that (lol) in all seriousness, it is all your doing and how you put to work the tools we gave you along with your own personality.  No mother could be more proud to call their daughter a friend than I am.

These are the “things” that made me happy in March and every other month of the year.  My hope is that you have many women friends in your life that bring you joy and laughter every single day.


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I want to live here


Ritz Carlton at Vail Resort  design by Worth Interiors @erikadowefitz

Oh my!  While the photo does not show the exterior I can imagine grounds full of snow and plenty of evergreen trees and maybe a deer in the yard and a cardinal in the tree.

What do I love about this room?  To borrow from the great Bard himself– Let me count the ways:

  • That reclaimed wood wall!!  Are you kidding me?  Could it be any more perfect?  The wood comes from Stikwood, an online site that is worth your time to investigate.
  • The industrial chic elements like those hanging light fixtures and metal bed frame.  While not an exact match, this headboard would work just as well in your industrially chic bedroom
  • Cool accessories.  I love the metal vase and the primitive horse sculpture and that LA coordinates sign is so fun.  Etsy is full of items like this–think I will order one.
  • That bedside table.  I have that exact unit in my family room that acts as my media cabinet and it is perfect in this room (and in my little family room)It is no longer available in this size but West Elm offers a smaller version that you can see here.
  • It is in Vail, Colorado.  As a skier, anything in Colorado catches my attention.
  • The neutral color scheme of gray and beige.  The varying textures keeps the room from being boring and allows that amazing wall to take center stage.  And no need for any type of artwork–the wood does it all.

What do you think?  Could you live here?

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How to turn a bland water closet into a showhouse worthy room

We turned our client’s ordinary and rather bland water closet into a room that is worthy of any showhouse!

We began with this beige room that had all the necessities a toilette needs, except a personality.  And this homeowner had several pieces of jewelry that were miniature works of art themselves and, like most women, did not wear them very often because she simply forgot she had them.  So we created a way to showcase them that would serve as a functional work of art in the bathroom but also make it possible for her to wear them more often as they were easily accessible.

Our inspiration came from this photo


source unknown

We wanted to add some texture to complement all the smooth surfaces that are found in a water closet as well as complement the adjoining master bath wood cabinetry and granite countertop and shower surround.  She also wanted to keep the look light and bright so we chose to create a wainscoting effect using reclaimed wood pieces.  However, since we live in an urban area, locating reclaimed wood was not as easy as we expected it to be and we had to come up with another solution.  We opted for something that, I think, works just as well and was easier to install–engineered wood flooring.

patti bathroom flooring box label for wall

To add even more personality to the space we chose to install it horizontally rather than the expected vertical installation and it came out perfect.  My genius handyman created a top using basic floor molding that was stained to match and we hung a small cornice over the single window using a remnant piece of flooring that ties the whole look together.  The homeowner’s lace panels diffuse the bright sunlight and add a feminine touch and nice contrast to the space.  Here is the finished result:

patti bathroom with wood wall peg board and cornice all done

photo DH Design

patti pegboard withjewelry hanging

To make this peg board you will need:

  • a piece of standard white peg board
  • frame molding
  • decorative hooks-we chose various designs for an eclectic look
  • one very talented handyman

This is one water closet I wouldn’t mind spending a little bit of time in!

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Ten things that made me happy in February


What an odd little month February is.  No real holidays unless you count Valentine’s Day, which my husband does NOT consider a holiday, and a short month stuck between winter and spring.  But it happens to be one of my favorite months for no real reason.  Here are ten things that happened to me during the short month of February that made me very happy.

  1. This tongue in cheek design book, Catalog in Living, made me laugh out loud.  Available on Amazon, it is well worth the money!
  2. Taking this little guy to his very first movie. (sorrry..no pic available due to an uncooperative two year old)  He was entranced by the big screen and the whole experience was made even more enjoyable by the treats he got…after all, best part of going to the movies is the popcorn and candy…right?
  3. Time spent with my daughter makes me happier than anything else in the world.  She ventured down from her new home in the bay area for work and we were in heaven knowing she was sleeping in the room right  below us.  Moms…you all know what I mean!
  4. Scheduling a future trip to Hawaii!!!!!!  We will be celebrating 30 years of marriage in April so we are returning to where it all began…Lahaina, Maui, where we were married.  We actually returned to the islands every two or three years after we were married but have not been back for 11 years.  Other travel and skiing took over our time and travel $ but we now have both and are planning on enjoying every single minute.  I could not be happier!
  5.  Minor decorating projects in both my own home and that of friends and clients keeps me busy and in touch with what I love—design.  A couple of bigger projects coming up that I will be sure to share as we progress.
  6. Kate Spade surprise online sales.  Do you get these emails?  If not, sign up at Kate Spade and you will be able to purchase your favorite items at up to 75% off..truly amazing sales.
  7. This video is absolutely hilarious and gave me a great laugh!  Take a moment and watch it—guaranteed to put a smile on your face!
  8. The wildflowers are in full bloom in San Diego.  What I call “freeway daisies” are everywhere and all the trees are beginning to leaf out and the hills are as green as they have ever been.  Thank you weeks and weeks of rain!  Just might scratch off something on my bucket list this year and head out to the desert to see the wildflowers.  And this pillow from Pottery Barn is the perfect way to bring a bit of the desert wildflowers into your home.

Another unexpected death in our family has shortened this list but, as always, very happy for the health of myself and that of my family.  What made you happy in February?

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