Ten things that made me happy in January

  • Rainy days in Southern California.  We could sure use it and as an added bonus, it is dumping a ton of snow in the mountains for us skiers!
  • Trips to the gym with my husband.  We have both always exercised regularly but usually at different times and, for many years, in different gyms.  Semi-retirement makes it possible for us to go at the same time and for some reason it is just one of those small things that makes me happy.
  • Gotta say it…the fact that the inauguration has taken place and all the marches are over makes me very  happy and gives me hope that maybe things will settle down a bit and every single piece of news we see and hear will not be rude or nasty or involve name calling….maybe?
  • Mid-week lunch and shopping with girlfriends.  This is so cliche, lunching with the ladies, but it is truly one of those luxuries that can really only happen once you are old and retired.  We solve the world’s problems over a salad and iced tea.  The only problem we have never been able to answer is how can we sit and talk at a table for 3 hours?!
  • Freeway daisies blooming in January…heavenly!
  • New furniture makes me almost as happy as a new pair of shoes!   I just ordered this piece for our living room and, while it is backordered for about 60 days, it will solve both a storage and display space problem we have.  Downsizing does require decorative creativity!bookcase-from-wisteria
  • This munchkin who just turned 5 years old!  How can that be when I remember so clearly the morning she was born.  Grandkids are the best!!!!ella-and-i-at-her-5th-bday-party
  • The anticipation of a visit next month from our daughter.  I miss her so much it hurts now that she is living ten hours away.  But knowing I am going to see her for a whole week in just a few weeks makes this lonely mama very happy!
  • A design job well done.  A seemingly simple thing like new lighting can turn a once dull stairway into a thing of beauty.  We replaced the builder grade flushmount fixture at the top of the stairs with a beautiful Tiffany style light and added sconces to the walls in the stairway, on a dimmer.  In the lower left corner you can catch a peek of the new chandelier that replaced an ancient one dripping with dusty old crystals.  The whole effect is absolutely gorgeous in person.patti-hallway-with-new-lights-turned-on
  • Snow in our local mountains.  I know I talk a lot about snow but it is just something I crave and get very excited about.  Who would ever guess that this picture was taken in San Bernardino county?!

    Photo via After Orange County blog


    What made you happy in January?

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I want to live here

div>Hog Pen Creek Residence

How do I love thee?  Let me count the ways:

  1. Those windows that literally bring the outdoors in.  And that view!
  2. The sliding barn style door that hides the TV is brilliant.  And for once the TV is hung at a comfortable viewing level for everyone in the room.
  3. Mid-century design in both the architecture and the furnishings.  It reminds me of homes in the sixties in Pebble Beach where I grew up.
  4. A pop of orange, one of my favorite colors.
  5. An attached screened in porch (hidden on the other side of the fireplace).  I have always loved screened in porches and wonder why more homes in southern California do not have them.  Yes, we DO have bugs and lizards and other crawly things that can hamper the enjoyment of a summer evening.  My bucket list includes a home with a screened in porch some day.
  6. A raised hearth and modern fireplace.  I can easily imagine this same room on a rainy winter evening made so cozy with a fire and some pillows on the hearth.

How about you…could you live here?

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Ten things that made me happy in December

cute chunky smiley face snowflake

cute chunky smiley face snowflake

  • Falling snow will always make me happy.  I love nothing better than to stand in a quiet spot on the mountain and simply listen to the sound the snow makes when it hits the trees and the ground.  Heaven!  Click on this link and experience the sound and sight of falling snow for yourself.
  • The announcement of this year’s Color of the Year by Pantone–Greenery.  I love this shade of green and am way ahead of the game as I recovered the bench at the foot of my bed in this color green velvet  3 years ago.  You will be seeing a lot of this color in the next year and don’t be afraid to introduce a touch of it into your own home.  It pairs beautifully with almost any color and will add a bright spot to your existing decor.design-color-of-the-year-2017-greenery-pantone-15-0343
  • A successful real estate staging project.  Statistics prove out that a home properly staged sells quicker and often for more $ than a home that is empty or full of the owner’s belongings.  In support of this statistic, my most recent staging project sold in less than 24 hours for a full price cash offering and a short 15 day escrow!  How do I know staging was a factor?  Because the new buyer asked to purchase several items.
  • New holiday traditions.  Admittedly, it has taken me a couple of years to accept and adjust to the fact that my beloved Christmas traditions were being replaced.  But with the recent wedding of my daughter coupled with her crazy work travel schedule, Christmas was spent away from our home and at her place in the SF Bay area this year.  We didn’t even put up a tree for the first time in my entire life!  Still adjusting…..but how proud I was of my daughter and the attention she gives to the holiday and establishing her own traditions.
  • Holiday movies every single day and night on the Hallmark channel.  I could watch them over and over, and did.  And for some reason, the main female character in several of these movies is an interior decorator.  I wonder why?
  • The faces of little children during this magical time is enough to make anyone happy, including me.  How I love their little pre-school holiday recitals, dance class gift exchanges and the look of delight when experiencing their very first performance of “The Nutcracker”, as my 4 year old granddaughter did this year.  And is there anything more delicious than kids in Christmas jammies?  I think not!ella-and-brendan-in-xmas-jammies-2016
  • Having my daughter home for a couple of days during the month made this lonely mom very happy.  She flew down for her company Christmas party and stayed to work in the local office for a few days.  How I loved waking up in the morning and having her under my roof!!
  • Relaxing time with friends.  For some reason the holiday season makes everyone feel just a bit more sociable.  Casual card games, easy dinner parties and long lunches were part of our holiday festivities and I loved every minute of it.
  • The Holiday Bowl is a tradition that makes me happy.  We have attended every single game since 1986 and while our tail-gating has changed a bit over the years we both still enjoy the game and the pomp and circumstance and, most especially, the military presence in the form of the Leap Frogs and, if lucky, an F-18 flyby!
  • In a strange sort of way the end of the football season makes me happy this year.  I am a huge Charger fan so was glad to see a torturous season come to an end.  Who knows where they will be next year but not having to listen to the owner’s rhetoric anymore will also make me very happy!

What made you happy in December of 2016?

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I want to live here


Oh my…I could SO live here.  Let me count the ways:

  • I have to begin with those amazing chairs.  I love what I call funky chairs and these certainly fit the bill.  And if a little more softness is needed for the toosh, just add some faux sheepskin throws.
  • Second only to the chairs are those floor to ceiling windows that make the view part of the room’s decor.  While the snow covered view is my favorite, just imagine how lovely it must be in the springtime with wildflowers or the changing colors of autumn!  Heavenly!
  • I love the mix of rustic elements like the wood table set against more modern elements like the fabric chandelier and colorful artwork.
  • Speaking of artwork, colored glass is one of my favorite forms of artwork and those beautiful vases add a nice pop of color to the otherwise neutral space.
  • The curves of the racetrack style dining table add softness to all the squared edges in the room and is such a versatile shape for dinner parties.

How about you—is this a room you could live in?  You can see more beautiful mountain homes at mountainliving.com.

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Merry Christmas from DH Design

Some of my favorite Christmas trees–my gift to you.  Merry Christmas to you and yours!



via Renee Collier facebook


courtesy of slim paley

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Design questions answered: what is a live edge?

I have recently been asked by several different people what “live edge” means, so I thought it might be time to discuss this current trend.

Live edge refers to the natural edge of a table or shelf as opposed to an edge that has been smoothed out, sanded down and/or re-shaped.  This idea is most commonly found on table tops, counters and mantels.  Woods with a naturally gnarly design or reclaimed wood are often the best choices for this detail.

Live edge (sometimes referred to as natural edge) items are versatile enough to be right at home in both a rustic or a contemporary interior.  Take a look at these items and see if this is a look you might want to add to your home’s decor.

Incorporate a trend with small items like this dough bowl from Pottery Barn. Fill it with natural items like pine cones or green clippings or leave it empty to enjoy the beauty of the wood and the shape of the bowl.  And because it is a natural edge, each bowl will be unique.


Live edge dough bowl from Pottery Barn

Coffee and dining tables provide the perfect opportunity to display the natural edge of a slab of wood, as seen here.


Live edge dining table from West Elm

or for those who want something “lighter” in appearance, a live edge slab of stone or marble can become a beautiful and functional accent table:

And how stunning is this live edge coffee table in this contemporary setting?!  The wood warms up all those colder surfaces and the edge of the table adds some softness to the straight edges found in other pieces in the room.

2007 ASO Decorators Showhouse & Gardens


So what do you think?  Is this a look you could use in your home?

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Snowmen, reindeer and Santa (pillows)..oh my

It is no secret that I am a lover of throw pillows.  I have closets and bins full of these colorful decorative accents and cannot stop myself from buying more…especially during the holidays.  You can pick up affordable versions at discount stores like Home Goods, Marshalls and Target or you can opt for something a bit more elegant and unique at stores like Pottery barn, Neiman Marcus and Restoration Hardware.  Not to mention the unlimited styles available on Etsy.

Regardless of your home’s decor or your favorite holiday motif, there is a holiday pillow with your name on it.  Check out these options:

Pier I is always a favorite holiday destination.  They have such a wide variety of sizes and designs and this happens to be one of my favorites.  I especially like the mini size that makes it just right for the back of a dining room chair or to add to a jumble of pillows on your couch.  And who doesn’t love a dog in a cap and scarf?


A long time favorite of mine has been this pillow featuring a car with a Christmas tree in the back.  It just seems to say it all.  This version is available at Pottery Barn but other similar looks are available at World Market and Etsy, just to name a few sources.


Every holiday home needs a reindeer or two or three.  And this pillow from Pottery Barn proves that you do not have to use red and green in your holiday decorating in order to set the mood.


The man of the hour, Santa Claus, is a necessity in every holiday home and this vintage looking Santa pillow from Target is perfect and oh so affordable!



Some pillows can even be educational.  An Advent pillow  like this one from Garnet Hill not only helps teach the kids about the real meaning of Christmas by counting down during Advent season but helps with counting and number recognition and adds to the excitement of the holiday.


A little fur goes a long way in setting a festive mood and the best part, these pillows can be used throughout the winter months, not just during the holidays.  Therefore, more bang for your pillow buck, so to speak.


Typography is popular year round but never more so than during the holidays.  There is no prettier way to express your holiday wishes than with a pillow, beautiful in it’s simple message.


Plaid, plaid and more plaid.  Enough said.


Pillow from Neiman Marcus

And, last but not least, the lovable snowmen that melt my heart and celebrate my love of all things snowy and bright.  And you can enjoy this cute guy from Target all winter long!





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