Sassy south of the border home decor

Cinco de Mayo is a highly anticipated day of celebration here in southern California.  I dare say we celebrate it more than our neighbors to the south!  Margaritas, guacamole, chips and salsa…all of these ingredients help turn an ordinary meal into a Cinco de Mayo celebration that sort of signals the beginning of summer for many of us.  But don’t limit your celebration to food and drink—add some of the fun colors of Mexico and Baja to your home’s decor and you can enjoy the spirit all summer long.


Otomi fabrics are one of my all-time favorites.  Their folk art designs and bright colors just make me happy.  And this season they can be found everywhere!  But first, a little history lesson–the Otomi are an indigenous group of people from central Mexico who have become known for their colorful embroidered fabrics.  Much like Native American weavings, designs usually depict images of the spirits they worship including animals, trees, the sun and other figures. These lively designs can be found on  wall hangings, table linens, pillows and even shoes and other clothing.

design otomi pillow from target

This amazingly affordable Otomi style pillow from Target may just make an appearance in my home this year.

These outdoor pillows from Pottery Barn are perfect for a south of the border look on your patio or deck, wouldn’t you agree?

design otomi pillow from pottery barn

Easy to spot figures such as bees, birds and burros are common in Otomi patterns.  Pillows Pottery Barn

Color, color and more color

Pick your favorite primary colors and mix them all together and you have a zesty color combination for the entire summer.  Reds, blues, greens and yellows can be applied to the wall or brought in via throws, dishes, artwork and other accessories.  These melamine dishes from PierI are the perfect size for a bit of guacamole and chips.

design mexican dishes from pier i

Appetize plates from Pier I


Now, about those souvenirs.  For some reason unknown to you now, you could not resist purchasing those paper flowers, sombreros or serapes as you ended your Mexican vacation.  But the good news is you can put them to good use in your summer decor.  A serape is a fun table covering or upholstery for a small bench, for example, and those paper flowers can be a summer centerpiece when fresh flowers are not available.  Sorry folks, I have no use for that sombrero! (maybe turn it upside down and serve chips and salsa in it)

Santa Fe Style Guest Bedroom Interior Design by Jennifer Ashton, Allied ASID
How do you celebrate Cinco de Mayo and do you decorate your home with a little salsa flavor?
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3 interior decorating trends I love, 3 not so much

Hello, my name is Diane and I am an interior decorating addict.   ( I am in no way demeaning the importance of those organizations that use this phrase in their counseling sessions).  I must admit that I am unable to walk past a newsstand without glancing at the shelter magazines, although that number has shrunk substantially in the past several years.  My inbox is crammed full every day of decorating blog posts and I read each one of them for inspiration and enjoyment.  I am online all day sourcing fabrics and products for design clients.  For these reasons I consider myself somewhat of an expert on current design trends.  Some I love and hope they stick around forever, others—not so much.

I love

Greige.  I am always drawn to a neutral interior.  I find them calming and soothing and timelessly beautiful.  When gray became the “it” color it was difficult to find a shade that did not make a room look like the interior of a battleship.  But gray has evolved into a beautiful and warm shade that some clever person named “greige”–a mixture of beige and gray that is warm and inviting and truly a neutral that goes with every color in the rainbow.

Not so much

Lanterns.  I have always felt that a lantern belongs outdoors and fear that those hung over a dining room table or kitchen island will seem outdated very quickly.  Oh, I can hear all of your ranting about that as we speak!

I love

Black and white.  The stark contrast of this combo has always appealed to me and I am happy to see it coming back into vogue after years of trendy warmer color combinations.  But the real answer is I love black with any color and the more contrast the happier I am.  Every room needs a touch of black somewhere to anchor the room and provide a spot for the eye to land.  Picture frames, lamp shades, book jackets or fabrics with a touch of black will all work and can be incorporated into any color scheme or decor style.

Not so much

Trellis patterns.  I just feel like the trellis pattern has been overdone and it is time to say goodbye to trellis patterned rugs, drapes and fabrics.  Perfect for a sunroom or breakfast area but not so much in other areas of the home.  Again, I can hear you disagreeing with me right now!

I love

Design details.  Tufting, contrast welting, hand embroidery, button detailing, nailheads, pillow and drapery trim–all of these details add the finishing touch that is so important in design.

Not so much

Chalk paint.  Like all things, it has a time and a place but it seems to be applied to everything these days.  While I love painted furniture I lean more towards the high gloss enamel finish that really makes a statement vs. the shabby chic look of chalk paint.  How about we really go out on a limb and let the beauty of the wood stand on it’s own.

Vintage Coastal Beachy Nightstand Bedside

So what are some design trends you love and some not so much?

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Stripes, stripes and more stripes.

According to the interior design marketplace, Viyet, striped fabric is a perennial favorite of designers and furniture and fabric manufacturers.  That news makes this lover of stripes very happy.

As an individual I prefer stripes, checks and plaids over florals and tiny prints.  Strong contrasts make them all the better.  Graphic black and white, cozy red and black, patriotic red, white and blue or sweet pink and cream always catch my eye.  See what I mean?

A pop of black and white in this bright kitchen adds a touch of modern appeal and some visual weight to all the white surfaces.

A big fluffy bow softens the look of this striped pillow and adds a feminine touch.

A pink sriped ceiling will make the little princess in your home very happy.  Is this the cutest room?

striped ceiling froom designer krista salmon

Designer Krista Salmon

 I never tire of black and white stripes, even in small doses like this $3 pitcher from Target…what a find!
design flowers daffodils in black and white striped vase
The hand-painted stripes turned this laundry room from ordinary to extraordinary

doyle laundry room after all done

Stripes and florals are a classic mix.

A subtle and restful stripe is achieved in this nursery by using the same color paint in two finishes, flat and semi-gloss.

ellas room and crib

Design by DH Design Bedding by Serena and Lily

I have always loved painted furniture and no one does it better than Mackenzie-childs.


design mackenzie childs yoyo table

Yoyo table from Mackenzie-childs

Do you have a favorite way to use stripes in your decorating?

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Ten things that made me happy in March

  1. happy face birthay from pinterest

    Happy Birthday to me! via Pinterest

    Celebrating my birthday with our Montana besties.  As someone once said, nothing is better than a good bottle of wine, good friends, in a good spot and that is so true.  64 ain’t so bad either!me and rick and bowlins on birthday in 2016 at cabin

  2. Early spring.  Everywhere I go I see gorgeous trees and shrubs beginning to bloom.  I know they are all so confused by the ever changing weather but I am reveling in their white tree with brown bark in st george ut
  3. Exhaustion makes me happy when it is as a result of watching these goofballs while my daughter-in-law attended my daughter’s bachelorette party.ella and brendan on st pats day 2016
  4. How can black and white stripes not make anyone happy?  Does this make me weird?design flowers daffodils in black and white striped vase
  5. The prospect of summer backyard living.  Like many of you, we have been sprucing up our small back patio in preparation for summer.  New pillows, rugs and accessories all add a pop of color  and stores like Pier I and World Market are brimming with ideas.  And don’t overlook Target…check out this pillow I found online for the bench on my front cute!bee pillow from target
  6. No more RSVP’s!  They have all been returned and now the work begins trying to figure out who to seat where.  Help!!
  7. This is a design blog but wedding fever has taken over here at our house.  A sneak peek at two of our “flower babies” .charlotte in flowre girl dressgriffin in ring bearer clothesThose sweet faces would make anyone happy.
  8. Little design projects galore for clients.  While I always enjoy the challenge of a large project, the small updates like reupholstering and choosing paint colors is actually more fun.  And the end results are so satisfying!
  9. The return of Dancing with the stars…a guilty pleasure of mine.  Now I just wait patiently for the return of American Ninja Warriors and my TV watching for the summer will be complete!
  10. Learning the value of strict adherence to the rule “Don’t talk politics or religion at a dinner party”.  Enough said!!

What made you happy in March?


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Happy St. Patrick’s Day

ella and brendan on st pats day 2016

Faith and Begorrah!  If this does not make you smile then I am afraid I can’t help!  To all my Irish (and non-Irish) friends…..Have a great green day!

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Ten things that made me happy in February


happy face valentine by comicvinedotcom


What a fun month this was!  Full of friend’s birthdays, gorgeous sunny days, lunch with the girls, new design projects and best of all, my daughter’s bridal shower.  How did February make me happy?  Let me count the ways:

  1. Gorgeous and unseasonably warm days have allowed all the freeway daisies to bloom.  Everywhere you look there is something blooming from the flowering plums down the street to the ice plant along the highways to the bouganvillea everywhere. Thank you El Nino for stopping the drought and allowing color to return to San Diego!
  2. All the sweet friends that attended my daughter’s bridal shower—both her friends and mine–and who were so generous with their gifts and their time.  It is times like this that I realize how lucky I am.jenna and i at shower wth props
  3. Tulips, gerberas, daffodils and hydrangeas galore!  This flower loving girl is in heaven every time I walk into the grocery store  (which is one of my least favorite things to do, btw, as I am certainly not a cook!)
  4. My funny and thoughtful and sweet and smart husband of almost 30 years.  I always seem to leave him off the list but most of the time he makes me very happy.
  5. Witnessing first hand the amazing power of good medical care.  We all have daily complaints about the health care system in the US, and rightly so, but just like a good jury, you are very glad it works when you need it.  Thank you to all the doctors and nurses at the ICU at Scripps Memorial in San Diego–you are truly amazing and made a very difficult time for my family somewhat bearable, which makes me happy.
  6. A client who sends me updates as they put my design plan to work in their home always makes me happy. Just imagine how good this space will look once the new painting is done, artwork hung, new rug etc.  Something as simple as a new entry way light fixture can be so inspiring!
  7. john and karen adler house entry after with new light fixture same paint and rug
  8. Short list this month.  We experienced a couple of deaths which colored the rest of the month but in the midst of sadness I try very hard to find things that make me happy.  It is times like these that we reach for and find happiness in the simple things and, for us, that would be the faces of these smiling babies.
  9. ella kissing brendan feb 2016
  10. What made you happy in February?  (and why does this system number even when I ask it not to??)
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Say yes to wallpaper

All I need to do is mention the word “wallpaper” and I am met with nasty looks and loud and disaproving words and sounds.  Can you spell “UGH”?

I am here to tell you that, while wallpaper can be a real pain in the patooty to hang and remove, a well-chosen wallpaper can add texture, drama and beauty to many a wall in your home.  Take a look at these examples and then let me know if you have changed your mind:

Obviously not a well-staged photo in the before or the after, it does show you how an accent wall covered in a statement making wallpaper can turn a dull master bedroom into a room where the magic happens, if you know what I mean.  Here is the before….yawn

doyle master bedroom before with other owner stuff

and here is the after.  Much better, don’t you agree?

doyle master bedroom after with wallpaper lots of stuff laying around

This wallpaper, Best in Show by Osborne & Little, has long been a favorite of mine.  And it is the perfect choice to add a whimsical and contemporary touch to this traditional entry way.

wallpaper best in show from osborne and little

Best in show wallpaper by Osborne & Little

And the Philipp Jeffries grasscloth and studded wallcovering I hope to install in my own small den. Can’t wait to see how the room is transformed and I will be sure to share it with you.

design wallpaper philippe jeffries nailed it pattern

A powder room is one of the best places to showcase a beautiful wallpaper.  This is a room that you do not spend a lot of time in so there is no concern that a bold wallpaper will be overwhelming but, rather, beautiful.

This one is perfect for a lodge, vacation home or mountain cabin.  Wish I had one of those (mountain cabin that is)

or this wallpaper in your beach house or seaside retreat.  So fresh and summery!
If the thought of removing wallpaper down the road is keeping you from insalling this beautiful design detail, here are some helpful tips on how to remove the pesky stuff.
Have I changed your mind?  Are you ready to start selecting your favorite wallpaper pattern and transform a room?  Would love to see your wallpapered rooms.
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