I want to live here–duh!

As much of the country is battling record breaking cold temperatures we here in southern California have yet to see any sign of winter.  So each of us will have different reasons why we would want to live in a house like this.  And how does one even begin to describe all the reasons why they would want to live here?

This home is located somewhere in the Hawaiian Islands and is/was for sale.  Can you imagine having breakfast, lunch and dinner at this table?  Here are just a few reasons why I could very easily move into this home:

  • Walls of windows that literally disappear when open.  Hawaii has very few bothersome insects so keeping those stackable doors and windows open all day long would be a dream.
  • Lack of window treatments on those windows…who needs them?  I am assuming the architectural overhang shades the rooms when the sun hits a specific spot.  Otherwise, there would be no need to block that view.
  • Large areas of green grass are very soothing to me.  I can almost smell the cut grass and feel the coolness underfoot just by looking at this picture.
  • All that beautiful Koa wood on the window trim and ceilings.
  • Who needs artwork on the walls when you have that view?!  I am not a particular fan of the Asian influenced art and objets shown but I am sure they are important to the homeowner, which is what artwork is supposed to be!
  • Round dining tables are my favorite.  In fact, that is what I have in my own home.  It makes for much better dinner conversation and, in this case, is a nice contrast to all the sharp angles in the architecture.  This table appears to have a built-in lazy susan which makes for fun and easy meals with items accessible to everyone at the table.

How about you….ready to enjoy a bit of aloha in this house?

Posted in Decorating and remodeling tips | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Trend alert: purple is the new black?

pantone color of the year 2018

Many of you may have already heard that Pantone’s color of the year for 2018 is a vibrant shade of purple called Ultra Violet.  According to these color experts, this shade was chosen because “… It communicates originality, ingenuity, and the visionary thinking we are seeking to create a meaningful direction for our future. Complex and contemplative, this creative, reflective and magical blue-based purple suggests the mysteries of the cosmos and the intrigue of what lies ahead in a time that requires inventiveness and imagination.”  Wow…that is deep and a bit confusing.  While I was a lover of Prince and his music, I am not a particular fan of purple but I do have clients who are and over the years we have paired various shades of purple with pinks and grays and greens and golds, all for a very pulled together and attractive look.

But what is confusing about all of these color trends is that, while Pantone says we are contemplative and reflective, Benjamin Moore went the complete opposite of contemplative and serene and chose Caliente Red as their color of the year.  Now this is more my style!  They chose it for its strong and attention grabbing qualities.  After all, few things are as inviting or provide as much curb appeal as a red front door.

red front door by benjamin moore

And yet another opposite, Sherwin Williams selected Oceanside blue as their color of the year stating “…it offers a sense of the familiar with a hint of the unknown..”  Whaaaaat?  Another deep and thought provoking statement on why a color is chosen that does not really resonate with this designer.  Oh well….for those of you who are lovers of all shades blue and all things ocean, this is probably your color.  And, surprisingly, it can even be paired with the other two colors of the year depending on your overall color and design scheme.  Here you see it paired with vibrant green and yellow for a fun and energetic office look.  Add a touch of caliente red in a lumbar pillow and you are right on trend!blue oceanside blue from sherwin williams

What all of this really means is that any color you select will work and who really cares if it is on trend or not.  But these color ideas do open your eyes to something a bit different for you that you may not have thought of before.  Regardless, you will have no trouble finding accessories, rugs, artwork and upholstery fabric featuring one or all of these colors, making it easy to incorporate a new trend into your current decor.   This rug, for example, features all three colors!

chevron rug from overstock chair from hooker

rug from overstock

This lamp shade adds a real retro touch to a contemporary or mid-century room and check out the main color…purple! (with a hint of oceanside blue in there)

So step out of your comfort box and toss a purple pillow on your neutral colored couch or paint that front door red or reimagine a powder room in soothing oceanside blue.  And be sure and share your ideas with all of us.

Posted in Decorating and remodeling tips | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

I want to live here

photo via south shore decorating blog

I have always dreamed of an all white Christmas tree but have never been able to let go of all those tree ornaments that chronicle our life as a family.  This may be my last chance because the grandbabies keep coming and with that comes lots of sentimental ornaments that will need to be displayed.  If I could I would live here for the holidays.

There is so much about this room that I appreciate.  Let’s begin with those amazing windows!  Just glad I do not have to clean them.  Here are a few other things that make me say “I want to live here”:

  • I love the furniture arrangement.  In a large room it is important to create several little seating areas and the assortment of chairs, sofa and ottomans creates a spot for anyone to pull up a chair and join the conversation.
  • In that furniture arrangement I also love the furniture styles.  I prefer clean lines and a mix of metals and the back interest on those chairs is brilliant!
  • A neutral color scheme always catches my eye.  The dark sofa is necessary in a room with this much volume or everything could look like it was floating but it also offers a nice contrast to the soft colors in the rug and the other upholstered items.
  • Three trees!!  What a luxury that is.  But imagine how silly one little tree would look in front of those fantastic windows.  When lit up at night the view of those trees must be magical.
  • Check out those simple burlap tree skirts.  Faux fur would also be fun.
  • Indoor snow.  If you have not figured it our already, snow is one of my favorite things on earth.  Sadly, it does not snow very often (never) in San Diego so I have to get my fix in other ways and a flocked tree at least lets me pretend.

How about you?  Is this a room you could live in?

Posted in Decorating and remodeling tips, holiday decorating | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Ten things that made me happy in October

happy face candy corn from clipartbestdotcom

via clipartbest.com


1.This is going to sound so weird but seeing an interview with Dolly Parton made me happy.  I am not a fan of her music or country music at all, but she is such a great role model for my generation and I hope that the younger generation can discover her value as well.  Smart and generous and compassionate with a full understanding of the effect her appearance has on those seeing her for the first time, she is a bundle of surprises.

2.Spending a whole weekend with my daughter.  Now that she is married, and even though she is temporarily living with us, we just do not get to spend much time with her.  But her husband was gone for the weekend so when the cat is away the mice will play..lol.  A fun weekend just talking and laughing and drinking way too much wine together…heavenly!

3.My girlfriend and I have attended the Harvest Festival every year for the past 30 years and this year was no different.  We rarely spend more than about $20 on a few little things but it sort of signals the beginning of the fall season for us.

4.Trick or treating with the grandbabies.  Our son and daughter in law live in one of those fun neighborhoods where the parents sit out on the driveway and hand out candy and the kids can run all around the street and everyone decorates and it is just so relaxed and safe and so fun to watch the kids get braver and braver each year.

5.Christmas movies in October?  Yes, please.  The Hallmark channel started a little early this year but that is okay with me.  The day after Halloween is the official start of the holiday season for me and I look forward to 60 days of Christmas movies every single night.

6. We are an exercising kind of family and it is so fun to step back into time occasionally which is how it feels when the three of us (Rick, me and our daughter) can hit the gym at the same time.

7.  Discovering new artists and artwork is one of my favorite things.  My personal taste runs toward the unusual so I have long enjoyed the whimsical pieces of “sculpture” offered by Cardboard Safari and even have a small moose hanging on my den wall.  However, these items are not really art until someone like Leah Yellowstone gets a hold of them and then they become one of the most impressive pieces of artwork I have ever seen.  Check out her website to see what is involved in creating these masterpieces—those are all tiny little paint dots!!moose art from leah yellowbird at leahyellowbirddotcom moost from cardboard safari

8.  Life got away from me and I totally dropped the ball on my “happiness” post for October and even November.  Lots going on in our household which I will be sure to share in  my December post.  Hope all of your fall and winter months have been full of happy thoughts and events.


Posted in Decorating and remodeling tips | Tagged | 1 Comment

Ugly Christmas Pillows

It’s that time of year…ugly Christmas sweater parties.  These have never been my favorite type of party because it seems like such a waste of money to buy a sweater you will never wear again.  However, in the spirit of environmental friendliness–why not recycle that ugly sweater into holiday home decor by turning it into an ugly Christmas pillow!

In all seriousness, I love holiday pillows and there are some real beauties to choose from every year.  But there are also some real doozies and that is what we are celebrating today—ugly Christmas pillows.  (disclaimer:  ugly is in the eye of the beholder).   What does your eye tell you about these pillows?:

  • If you read my blog then you already know how I feel about the use of octopuses (octopusi?) in home decor.  I must say that adding mittens and some candy cane braid does not change my mind–but the mittens did make me chuckle.
  • ugly xmas pillow octupus with mittens from pier 1

    Pier 1

  • There is something about this pillow that just sets me off.  I mean, I should like it since I like reindeer and I like hot air balloons and I like snowflakes.   But this one is not working for me.
  • ugly xmas pillow sage deer from target

    via Target

  • At first glance this looks like a pretty holiday pillow.  Sparkly snowflakes are always welcome in my home.  But this is one of those new “mermaid” pillows where a gentle rub of the sequins produces an entirely different look.  Remember the dress feud last year involving the sequin dress that some said were gold and others said was blue, or whatever the debate was.  This pillow employs that same concept–rub it and see what you get.  I don’t know about you but I like it when the pillows I set out at night are the same pillow when I awake in the morning.
  • ugly xmas pillow from bed bath and beyond called mermaid sequin

    via bed, bath and beyond

  • Need I say anything about this cartoon pillow featuring a reindeer in a race car.  A whimsical take on the red pickup truck bringing home the tree, I suppose, but pretty ugly in my opinion.
  • ugly xmas pillow reindeer cartoon racing reindeer from walmart

    via walmart

    Do you have a favorite ugly Christmas sweater or ugly Christmas pillow you would like to share?

Posted in Decorating and remodeling tips, holiday decorating | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Black is the new black..or is it?

When it comes to a color of the year for 2018, black appeared to be leading the pack.  Paint colors with intriguing names like Shadow, Deep Onyx and Black Magic were gracing the newest  swatches from paint companies like Glidden, Benjamin Moore and and Olympic Paints.   Sherwin Williams was going rogue by offering up plenty of blue and green shades, complimented by bright yellow and pinks.  And then Pantone announced their color of the year and threw a monkey wrench into the whole black paint idea!  The color of the year is…wait for it…..Ultra Violet!

pantone color of the year 2018 ultra violet

There is an actual science to selecting the color of the year but I could not begin to explain it to you.  What I do know is that once it is announced you will begin to see it in both fashion and home decor trends.  Greenery was the Pantone color of the year for 2017 and, as expected, every shade of green can now be found on sofas, accent pillows, drapery fabric and even your favorite pair of jeans or handbag.  But that does not mean the 2015 color of the year, Marsala, has disappeared; nor has the pastel duo of Rose Quartz and Serenity that were named for 2016.  These colors are still making an appearance in fashion and interior design.  Good news is you created a whole new decorating scheme around them!  And also good news that home decor trends are not quite as fickle as fashion trends and stay “in style” for many years; often easily updated by adding a more current trend to the overall look.

So what do you think? Is Ultra Violet a color you can see in your home in the coming year?

Posted in Decorating and remodeling tips | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

I wish this was still in style

Oh how I long for the good old days.  You know, when people were kind and you felt safe going to a movie or trusted your neighbor.  I recognize that the world has changed but there are many things I wish were still in style.  For example:

  • A hand-written thank you note.  I know it is quick and easy to send an email or an electronic card but you can’t wrap those with ribbon and store them in your top drawer to read again and again and remember good times.  I have a girlfriend who still sends postcards when she travels and they are such a treat to receive.
  • Money clips.  My husband always carried a money clip when I met him and it is not only a great organizational tool (keeps all your bills in one spot) but just seems so sophisticated.  But putting a bunch of debit and credit cards in a clip does not seem to have the same panache.
  • A good old fashioned phone chat that lasts an hour and does not involve texting.  My girlfriend and I still chat on the phone but we have to schedule it as in “I will call you around 2:00 on Sunday” and then you have to wait by the landline or be someplace conducive to a phone chat–not in the middle of the mall or driving the car.  We do solve a lot of the world’s problems during those phone calls so even though they lack the spontaneity of the good old days, they are still enjoyable.
  • Sunday drives.  When I was growing up we would hop in the car on Sunday afternoon and take a drive to wherever my parents felt like going that day and it always ended with a drive-thru at the local A&W for a frosty root beer.  It was easy to do in those days as everything was closed on Sundays and gas only cost a few cents a gallon and the traffic was light and my parents came home relaxed and refreshed and ready to start the next week.  We could all use a little of that, these days.
  • Manners.  When I was growing up my two brothers had to pull out the chair for myself and my sister whenever we were at a restaurant and this was when we were under ten years old.  We stood when an adult walked into the room and we answered all questions with Yes, ma’am or Yes sir.  We knew how to behave at a restaurant and I can assure you that did not include eating with our hands or throwing a tantrum or getting up and walking around the room. I never heard my parents or any other adult swear.  I am lucky these days to avoid having a door slammed in my face when a man enters before me and the language I hear from people standing in line or at the movies or anywhere else in public is sometimes shocking.
  • Card games.  We play cards with some friends every 5 weeks or so and I always look forward to it.  Whoever is hosting provides dinner, drinks and dessert and the  game and we take turns.  It is a casual and fun and good-natured evening that stretches into the late hours.  More people should have casual nights with friends like this, IMHO.
  • Cocktail parties.  Remember the old-fashioned cocktail parties your parents hosted where the ladies showed up in cute dresses and fancy drinks were flowing and bowls of nuts and little snacks were set out on every single surface.  So much easier than a dinner party and a good excuse to try a new drink or two.  My step-son and daughter-in-law live in a neighborhood that has taken a step back in time where the neighbors all get together once a year for a progressive dinner where each house volunteers to host a portion of the meal and then you walk to the next house for the next course etc.  No worries about drinking and driving and what a great way to get to know your neighbors (and take a nosy peek inside their homes to see how they decorate).  Who knows, you just might pick up an idea or two you can steal.
  • Dressing up for the theater.  I am not proposing we go back to the days of gloves and hats but a little bit of a dress code would be nice.  We go to the theater or the symphony and see people in shorts and flip flops and Budweiser t-shirts. Admittedly, we no longer dress up as much as we used to–I mean, we do live in southern California—but we do clean up just a bit and why not?

I know all of this makes me sound like an old lady who refuses to change with the times and nothing could be further from the truth.  But there are many things that may seem a bit outdated that are still good ideas.  After all, what is wrong with wanting to live in a kinder and gentler and safer community filled with lots of friends and easy to enjoy activities?  What do you wish was still in style?

Posted in Decorating and remodeling tips | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

I want to live here

Please, Santa, let me wake up in the morning in this bedroom from the 2017 Mountain Living Home of the Year.  (photo David O Marlow)

I could live here bedroom photo david o marlow in ountain living mag

There is really no need to list the things I love about this room since it is absolutely everything but I will give it a try:

  • Let’s begin with those incredible windows and the lack of window treatments.  After all, the only “people” looking in are the moose and bears and I am okay with that.
  • A neutral color scheme is my favorite and you will notice there is not one ounce of color in this room which is what makes it so relaxing and inviting.  That view provides enough color and, I am sure, is ever-changing with the seasons.  I can only imagine the breathtaking beauty when covered in snow or fallen leaves.
  • A fireplace in the bedroom is certainly a luxury and one I would definitely enjoy.  And I like the modern and somewhat industrial appeal of this fireplace.
  • If you have a fireplace you have to have a couple of cozy chairs that provide a spot to sit and enjoy that fire.  The style of these chairs is perfect and a shared ottoman is one of my favorite design tricks.  In fact, I use that idea in my own little family room where two leather chairs share one ottoman.  Makes it easy to play footsie with the ones you love.
  • Symmetry in design is very important to me so the matching lamps flanking the fireplace, matching chairs, even the placement of the metal studs in the fireplace surround satisfy my need for order.
  • Notice that the only pattern in the room is in the rug and that is subtle because of the colors chosen.  A beautiful persian rug would have worked just as well but would break up all that calmness and serenity by adding too much color.  The real pattern in the room comes from all the textures i.e. the quilted coverlet, chenille upholstery, leather ottoman, interesting table lamp and those faux fur pillow covers.

How about you…could you live here?

Posted in Decorating and remodeling tips | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

What is it with the Llama trend in home decor?

While I recently wrote about my confusion regarding the octupus home decor trend, I am equally as confused by the current Llama trend.  Do the designers just randomly choose an animal and then flood the market with items, hoping it will catch on?  If you have a pet llama it might make sense to have a cute pillow honoring your favorite furry friend but other than that???  Here are just a few of the items currently on the market that celebrate the Camelidae family.  ( I hope you are impressed by that word!)

This little llama would certainly be cute set on top of a stack of books on your bookshelf but the real benefit is that you could create some exotic story of visits to Marrakech where you picked this up in a street market or you could just say you purchased it at your local World Market.  In fact, they have an entire section dedicated to these creatures appearing on items that range from small paper clips to tea towels to ring holders, pillows, mugs, lamps and plenty of holiday ornaments.  Is there a shortage of reindeer or is global warming making it necessary for Santa to switch over to a desert dwelling animal?

llama decor for bookshelf fro world market

If you are, in fact, planning a vacation to Marrakech, these sandals from Kate Spade just might come in handy.  They are kind of cute!llama sandals from kate spade

Waddup with this pillow?  I don’t know about you but nothing says holidays to me more than a turquoise pillow that features llamas singing a Christmas carol!  llama pillow from anthropologie

And no need to leave the kids out of this current interior design trend.  Let these cute llamas sing your kids to sleep as they lay their head on their new sheets from Target.

llama sheets from target via young house love

via one of my favorite blogs

Do you have a favorite way to use llamas in your home’s decor?

Posted in Decorating and remodeling tips | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Not all pumpkins are jack-o-lanterns


As you can see from the photo above, not all pumpkins are jack-o-lanterns.  Your fall decorating will benefit from the use of many different styles of these giant gourds.  BTW, did you know that a pumpkin is a member of the same family as gourds, squash and other types of melons?  Yes, folks, I do try and make this blog educational as well as pretty!  One easy tip, you can use the same pumpkins for both Halloween and fall decorating by simply turning them around!  I do this every year with a group of clay pumpkins I place on my front porch…funny face out until Oct 31st and then I simply swivel them around to show their backside–easy, peasy. Let’s take a look at some other ways you can display pumpkins until it is time to bring out the santas and snowmen.

Love all the autumnal colors and textures in this room setting by Target  (via centsationalstyleblog) and what a great way to eliminate the black hole an unused fireplace creates. Not a jack-o-lantern in sight!pumpkins not for halloween from target great fall photo

Many homes are decorated in a color scheme that is not suited for the colors we most often associate with the season–orange, gold, russet red, brown.  For those who still like the idea of showcasing pumpkins throughout the fall season, velvet pumpkins in alternative colors is a great idea.  The taupe, ivory and black shades of these pumpkins feature  actual stems that create an authentic look to your fall display but the shop offers collections in jewel tones, coastal colors, even purple–something for everyone.pumpkins with real stems from love feast table

Turn your pumpkins into beautiful vases for blooming plants like mums.  To protect the surface underneath and prevent the pumpkin from getting soft, place the flowers in a vase or even a water glass or line the pumpkin with foil and use florist’s foam to keep your flowers hydrated.  Better yet, hot glue some real or faux flowers to pumpkins for a beautiful centerpiece.

pumpkin covered mums from bhg

source BHG

This beautiful collection of blown glass pumpkins and gourds decorate the dining table in this southern California home year round, never seeming out of season.

There you have it, plenty of ideas that make it possible to enjoy pumpkins even after all the ghosts and goblins have been put away for another year.

Posted in Decorating and remodeling tips, holiday decorating | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments