I want to live here!

In my daily job and online activity I run across photos of beautiful homes all the time. Sometimes they are not my own personal style but I can appreciate the design and other times they are spot on and I want to live there.  So I decided to occasionally share these rooms with you.  Won’t you join me in dreaming?  I want to live here!

Modern Living Area
Where do I begin with this incredible space?  Is it those amazing windows that allow an unobstructed view of the outdoors?  Yes.  Is it the unique sunken built-ins that just seem to be grow right out of the floor?  Yes.  Is it the touches of red and orange found in the pillows, rug and artwork? Yes.  Or is it the unique and funky mid-century style furnishings that look oh so comfortable? Yes.  I can imagine an evening with friends gathered around this large area talking and laughing and enjoying a glass of wine in front of a roaring fire.  And I can envision a quiet afternoon curled up on the sofa with a good book and just possibly enjoying a long nap.
What do you think?  Is this a room you would be comfortable in?
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Peter Piper picked a peck of paisley


Try saying that three times, fast!  Ok..now that I have your attention let’s get down to business.

As a child of the sixties I have had a long love affair with paisley so I was pleased to see that it is making a comeback in both fashion and home decor.  Let’s start off with defining paisley.  That ever realiable source, Wikipedia, defines it as “a droplet shaped vegetable motif of Persian (Iranian) origin.” You can read all about the history of paisley by visiting it’s very own site- Paisley Power.

All types of apparel, including shirts, dresses, trousers and even shoes sport this versatile pattern.  But since this is a home design blog let’s look at the ways you can use paisley in your home.


Upholstered pieces are an obvious choice and the bigger the better to show off the beautiful pattern.  This settee features a subtly colored paisley fabric that adds pattern to the somewhat rustic setting.

Steamboat Springs Mountain House
Use your favorite paisley fabric to upholster a headboard, side chair or large ottoman.
Luxury Northwest Portland Remodel
Along with other small items in a room such as lampshades or throws, accent pillows are a simple way to introduce just a hint of paisley to your decor.  Let them take center stage or combine them with other patterns for an eclectic look.  Checks and stripes are a great complement to paisley but you might want to exercise a little care when adding floral patterns to the mix.  In this bedroom a paisley pillow is paired with a zebra animal print and a nordic looking stripe, creating a designer inspired combination.
British Colonial in Pasadena
Window treatments
Draperies, roman and roller shades, valances and cornice boards provide a wonderful opportunity to display paisley fabric.
Estate Model Home, Brampton
 Wallpaper and tile

Yes, even tile can be applied in a paisley pattern as this bathroom so beautifully illustrates.  Stunning!

Master Bathroom - Clayton, MO
A paisley patterned wallpaper really allows the fluidity of the paisley design to show.  A powder room is a choice spot to display your love of this ancient design.  Go elegant–
Swallow Drive
What are your thoughts on this iconic pattern?  Do you use paisley in your home decor?
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You won’t need a glue gun for these five fall home decor projects

Like most people,I am often initimidated by the beautiful and supposedly simple
” DIY” projects that dominate the internet.  I am never able to replicate them so I don’t even try.  But I do get a good laugh over those “I tried” posts that share photos of attempts to master a look such as the one below attempted by my own beloved, and usually very talented, daughter.  First photo is the inspiration–an adorable cake made to look like a slice of watermelon:


and my daughter’s attempt:


Makes me chuckle every time I look at it!


Because of all of this I decided to create a list of fall home decor projects that do not require the use of a glue or nail gun, seamstress skills or even an imagination.  These very talented people have tackled all of that for you and all you have to do is (dare I say it?) copy them.  Here are five of my favorites:

  1.  Fall leaves are an iconic symbol of the season and they are so beautiful both on the trees and covering the sidewalks and roadways once they fall off the trees.  Preserve this beauty with this incredibly simple idea—place a colorful leaf between the glass panes of a rustic wooden frame and Voila!–instant autumnal artwork.

    2. Mother nature does the work for you with these rocks naturally shaped like a heart nestled atop a collection of fallen foliage.  Place this grouping in a bowl on your coffee table or use it as a dining table centerpiece and you are all set.  Nary a glue gun to be found with this one!


    via LML art

    3. A trip to the pumpkin farm and local nursery where you can stock up on those giant cauliflower looking plants and your fall porch will be camera ready.


    Photo by Kate Trongale near W. Harrison NY

    4. Items from your grocery store are perfect for simple centerpieces and will last all season long.  Buy your favorite nuts still in their shell or select beautifully shaped vegetables like the artichokes shown and fill a simple clear glass vessel, surround it with a few fallen leaves picked from your own front yard and you have a centerpiece that will carry you through from the beginning of fall to the Thanksgiving holiday.  Even easier—-a bag of unpopped popcorn and tri-colored pasta poured into glass canisters or mason jars for kitchen decor.


    source unknown

    5.  The simplest and easiest way to incorporate lovely DIY fall decor without having to use small tools is to visit a site like Etsy and order from your favorite store.  A wreath is a popular way to welcome guests to your home and I am particularly fond of the simple twine one with fabric flowers (seen on the right) from A Work of Heart on Etsy.


    via Etsy shop A Work of Heart

    There you have it—five incredibly simple ways to add fall decor to your home without lifting a finger other than on the keyboard.  What’s your favorite?

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Ten things that made me happy in September

  1.  Flowers always make me happy and this photo of pretty in pink hydrangeas placed in a room by Stacy Mclennan and photographed by Stacey Van Berkel is just so pretty!  This blush pink is my go-to color this fall.

    2.  More flowers.  My friend’s garden.  Welcome to fall in San Diego!


    Imagine waking up to this every morning!  Courtesy of Lisa Leonard Art Group

    3.  Design decisions.  We have struggled with the lighting plan of a client’s “refresh” and now that the decisions are made, I am very happy.  As many of you know, it is difficult to refresh an older home and deal with all the architectural quirks that were trendy at the time.  Will share some photos when the project is complete.

  2. 4.  Not being able to control this numbering system and not letting it bother me makes me happy.  Life is too short, right?
  3. 5.  Jimmy Smits.  Wow…does this gorgeous hunk of a man ever age???  Just caught a glimpse of him on the Emmy’s and he looks exactly the same as he did when he played Sifuentes on one of my all time favorite shows “LA Law”.  I am sure that ages me.  Also loved “Thirty Something” so now you know I am really old!
  4. The fact that this election year will be over in just one short month.  I have never seen the likes of this campaign in all my years and the way it has divided people and the vitriolic behavior of those on both sides is exhausting to watch and read and listen to so this girl will be SO HAPPY to have it all end regardless of the outcome.
  5. The beginning of football season (I’m a fan) and the fact that the Chargers have  at least won a game!  In San Diego we celebrate the little victories as they can be few and far between.
  6. OMG…please let me win the lottery so I can visit the MIT Glass Lab pumpkin patch next year!  To see more pumpkin heaven check out my pinterest page.
  7. This very colorful bedroom makes me very happy.  I am not usually a fan of groupings of plates hung on the wall but this whole room is just so cheerful and charming.  And the story behind the bedroom is even more compelling so visit her blog and read about how she rebuilt her home after it burned to the ground.  Something many of us here in San Diego can relate to and think about around this time every year.

  8. Having my daughter stay with us for a week before she moves away makes me very happy.  I forgot how nice it is to sit with someone and watch TV and giggle and talk.  I will miss her SO much but this is supposed to be a happy blog, right?
  9. New fabric collections. This gorgeous grouping from Duralee’s Highland Court Intermix collection is right up my alley–graphic patterns in neutral colors with a bold touch of black..aaaaaah!deesign-pattern-fabric-mix-from-duralee-highland-court-intermix-collection-fall-2016Duralee Highland Court 
  10. In light of my husband’s recent emergency open heart surgery, this photo says it all and brought a real smile to my face!  Mooooooocow-black-and-white-cow-from-decor-8-daily-blogphoto courtesy of Decor 8
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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.  Ah..be 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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