The well designed garden this fall

Designers and architects will tell you that it can take up to 5 years to make a house feel like home—to reflect your taste and sensibility. I've always liked that idea because it gives us permission to let things evolve over time to fit our needs and lifestyle. 

It seems that with most homes design challenges pop up unexpectedly and require a change of direction or a new way of thinking. This happened last year when I learned that we needed to remove one of the most beautiful trees on our property. It was a tall aspen and had been planted too close to the house nearly 20 years ago. In the mornings the birds just outside our windows would wake us with their chirping and the branches were large which allowed for privacy in the front windows. But, the tree grew in height and girth to the point that it constantly hit the roof during winter storms, removing shingles and damaging the roof line. I was determined to save the tree (joking that we should move the house back one foot!) as I had grown attached to this giant quaking aspen that shimmered at the front of our house. It also covered the front in a way that I appreciated, softening the look of the wood exterior. After calling in several experts for a 2nd, 3rd and even 4th opinion I had to concede and the tree was taken down, the stump removed. After mourning the loss of the tree for weeks and feeling like the house was all too bare in the front I began my search to figure out how to solve this new and unwelcome design dilemma.

I researched fountains, bubblers, sculptural garden elements, and kinetic sculptures. My research took me from summer into fall and I quickly realized that the autumn months are indeed the best time of year to purchase water features, plants and trees as everything is on sale. So if it seems like gardening season is winding down, it is, but the deals to be had in the fall make it an enticing and cost effective time of year to add to your garden wish list. Before purchasing I looked around for a fountain that had a hint of the warm terracotta colors found in the stone on the house and patio. I ended up finding just the right thing at a nearby nursery although I was also considering some great options online. I also wanted something on the tall side to have some substance in the space vertically without being too big or overpowering. In the above photo you can see my final fountain choice.

Steps for installation were easy:
1. Smooth the dirt and compact it with a shovel so it is very firm. If there are any roots remaining you will want to pull those out as they can cause the dirt to settle as they decompose. 
2. Purchase a large slab of stone from a quarry that will hold your fountain. I chose a wide cut stone that spread the weight over a larger section for greater stability over time. I saved the stone shown below from our back patio renovation but you can go to a quarry and hand select one.
3. Have the fountain delivered and placed on the stone so you don't have to hoist it on your own. I needed help with this as each piece of dyed concrete was very heavy. It took 4 delivery guys to put this in position. 
4. Your pump will fit inside the center with a tube that will run down to the bottom. An electrical cord will come out of the groove at the base. 
5. You will need nearby electricity to plug in the fountain and you may want to consider a timer that will turn the feature on and off, otherwise you will plug and unplug as needed.
6. Fill the fountain with water and you are ready to enjoy the birds that will be coming to visit as well as the sound of the water at your entry or on your back patio.

Planting around your fountain:
Choosing your plants and laying them around the garden is the fun part. In this particular case I was working with north facing exposure with little sun in the morning for a short summer season and cooler temps in the spring and fall months. There are very few trees that would survive in this spot so I opted for shade loving plants keeping in mind that I wanted to layer my plants from short to tall, have some flowering options mixed with lots of foliage and mix the blues and greens. 
When searching for your plants keep in mind that the same way we talk about color, texture, layering, pattern and solids for designing in the home can also apply to designing our gardens and planting beds. The plants you choose for your garden will depend upon where you live and the sun/shade exposure of your particular garden. It always helps to look up your zone in local gardening books and speak with an expert for your climate at your local nursery.

This is one of my favorite gardening books:

Or this one below for more waterwise gardening:

Design decisions for planting:
Layer your plants!
• In the Front of the garden I chose to plant a border of a small gray-blue ground cover that grows a few inches tall and looks great near boulders and rocks. It has small blooms that come out early summer. 
• Second layer: I chose a taller growing ground cover that fills in quickly called Bishops Weed. I didn't have to add much as it is an aggressive grower requiring that I thin it out through the summer so it doesn't take over the other plants. It has a lovely green/white variegated leaf. 

Third layer around the stone: Look for taller growing plants with some blue-toned leaves to compliment the greens in front. I put in 3 Hosta plants, all with different color leaves that have a lovely purple floral shoot in the summer. 
• Lastly, I sprinkled bleeding hearts and a few ferns between all of the green to add color. Next I will be adding small stones behind the fountain and around the stepping stones that lead to the water faucet. 

Mixing it up:
• If possible purchase your larger plants in odd numbers— 1, 3, 5, etc. unless you are creating a border.
• Look for plants with red, blue, blue-grey leaves to arrange around your green leaf plantings—this will add a nice visual relief for the eye. 
• Scale: look for variation in size of leaves and size of plants to create depth in your garden. 


Happy fall planting and fountain hunting!

Here are links to a few of my favorite fountains:

Wayfair: Gorgeous and In different finishes

Hayneedle: Love this one

Restoration Hardware: On Sale Now

 

Add color to your home—Interior Design maven Stephanie Hunt tells us how!

 Entry way  // Painting at center by Hyunmi Lee 

Entry way  // Painting at center by Hyunmi Lee 

 Dining Room // Painting by Jayne Sweet

Dining Room // Painting by Jayne Sweet

 Master bedroom // paintings over the bed by Unni Wood 

Master bedroom // paintings over the bed by Unni Wood 

Stephanie Hunt of @flairhunter is one of my favorite people for many reasons but mostly because she loves to laugh, thinks about her style choices in a similar way to her interior decorating decisions and most importantly she can rock a pair of marigold colored jeans! Not only is Stephanie fearless with color she also has a great sense of humor that she brings to her well designed spaces and has a refreshing lightness of being that comes across the very first time you meet her. Truly, I was content to visit with her all day!

Stephanie is a highly sought after interior designer with an eye for the unique. I asked her recently to tell us about how she thinks about color when designing spaces so that we can all channel a little of that happy into our own homes. 

Q: Stephanie, Clearly, you are very comfortable working with bright colors. Where does your color sensibility come from?
A: One could argue that I was powerless over this as my mother was a slightly zany, abstract expressionist painter in the 1960s-80s; an era of MORE IS MORE. My earliest memories are of homes and studios with enormous canvases [sometimes greater than 6 feet tall] filled with splattered palette knives, brightly smudged easels and tubes of oil paints in turquoises, fuscias, happy yellows, moody blues, and so on. The texture of sand and the gleam of gold leaf were occasionally mixed in with the explosion of vibrant colors. A friend once said ‘A blender with the top off’ which describes my mother’s art studio. My most vivid memories are of the oils, watercolors, tapestries that filled my parents home and their friends homes—even more so than the events that took place in those homes all over the world. [Directly below: Paintings by Unni Wood, Stephanie's Mother]


Q: Is it challenging to move your clients toward bright color in their homes if it is something they have not done before?
A: The homes I live in and design for others have a way of celebrating my tendency to embrace strong color. I also fully understand that achieving it for others, or nudging them to do it for themselves, can sometimes be a tall order.  Color can feel scary, some say or an expense that feels risky. Too much, too loud; a potential hot mess! A home that makes me want to know more about the person/people living there is so much more interesting than wanting to know the name of their designer. My clients hire me to help them achieve this in their own personal spaces. I see my clients more so as my partners, collaborators, co-conspirators. We have a LOT of fun, coloring and collecting the things for their world.


Q: Stephanie, your house is playful and colorful while still being sophisticated and elegant. Could you give us a few ideas of how we could enliven our own living spaces through the use of color?
A: Yes, I have quite a few ideas on the subject! Grab a cup of tea and read on!

1. Think of color as confidence, character and energy. Color is your personal flair.  We all have certain colors that resonate with us. What are yours? If you love that deep aqua color in your favorite blouse what if you found a similar color for throw pillows on your sofa? 

2. Don’t be afraid. You don’t need the entire rainbow of color. A room that is well done in neutrals or even blacks and whites can suddenly be made more interesting and lively with the simple addition of ONE color. Upholstering a pair of chairs in a vibrant color like marigold linen, grass green chenille or Chinese red velvet is sophisticated, lively and unexpected. Hang a small painting or framed print that includes the smallest suggestion of that same color and you’ve suddenly made the room more interesting.  Start with small steps of adding color and I bet you keep going.

3. Plants. Never underestimate the power of green. It is magic in my book. Mother Nature [or God’s, work with me here] perfect, clean, happy, magical color. Green goes with everything. I cannot put red next to everything but I can put it with green. By adding pops of green in the form of plants [ or succulents], green pillows, or even majolica plates you enliven the space.

4. Choose something you love and start with that as your inspiration. My favorite thing to start with is a painting [shocker]; pulling colors from within the painting for the room I am working on.  The colors in that painting might inform the tulips I buy from Trader Joe’s or the pillows I’m buying or making for the sofa, even an enormous bowl of a single fruit—think lemons, apples, grapefruit on the kitchen island all add pops of color. I once found the most perfect little oil painting of a piece of toast with a pat of butter. Odd, maybe, but so interesting that I ended up pulling the yellow from the butter, the silver from the frame and the chocolate velvet color from the toast itself. That painting informed the palette of the space. 

5. Another great way to get rolling with color is to begin with a great solid or patterned rug. Instead of the painting on the wall informing the direction of the room let the color underfoot be the project driver. Adding solid color pieces around the room and allowing the colorful rug to be the hero in the space.

6. Color does not mean pattern. Some people think that they do not like color but they are confusing it with pattern. Or they don’t like multiple colors within a pattern because they think it is too loud or too busy. Not to generalize but I have found more men feel this way. My husband, case in point! God love him. In fact, I fell in love with him because he had framed Diebenkorn prints in the bedroom of his beat-up surfer apartment when he was just out of college. [Diebenkorn prints! Seriously! We were destined to be together!] He loves color but the second I introduce a multi-color pillow or fabric or wallpaper for our home he looks at me like I’m a swarm of bees. Taking one color and using it in a pattern with just black or with just grey, taupe or white, is easier to achieve and to live with for many people. **Do not confuse all of that with the idea that I shrink from pattern, I love it!

7. Color from books and book spines. I am a sucker for a whole library of books. Shelved top to bottom, floor to ceiling when possible. The assortment of color on the spines of the books create their own art form and add character to the space. Like a tapestry of sorts or a giant mural of colors and text. Throw a sunshine yellow sofa in the room with a celadon desk lamp and a glass jar of coral tulips. Or any one of those and the space is happy, energetic and interesting with so much flair.

8. Color is youthful. I don’t mean unsophisticated, I mean that in the sense of freshness, openness, willingness to embrace the new. We all knew this when we were young(er), and perhaps we had a more youthful willingness to take on the world. We didn’t overthink it. Sadly, life gets in our head. It has a tendency to make us more fearful, less willing to take risks. And that can make us a little rusty and dusty. Way less interesting, in my mind. Who wants to be around rusty and dusty!? Why not fill our spaces with a big bunch of sunflowers or an overstuffed, white slipcovered sofa with a royal blue or green cashmere throw?

9. Adding color won’t change the world. But perhaps it can be a catalyst for change in other areas. Color can uplift the feeling in a space, it can create an openness to other more youthful ways of living and thinking. Make your home feel more like a colorful, happy accident— full of energy and flair! I’m pretty sure this is my credo, or my way of going through and responding to life.

10. Most importantly, have fun with your living space and surround yourself with colors that speak to you.     

 Stephanie with her sons   //   Photo credit:   Sarah Knight Photography

Stephanie with her sons   //  Photo credit: Sarah Knight Photography

Thank you Stephanie, I am looking forward to your blog coming later this year and am also ready for bright yellow pillows in my house!

You can find Stephanie @flairhunter on Instagram or by email

Interior photos by:  SARAH KNIGHT PHOTOGRAPHY

7 steps to create beautiful succulent & cacti mini-gardens for your home

As I sit here writing there are small snowflakes coming down outside my window. It is only early April and I am already daydreaming about long summer days. Setting up the patio for summer entertaining is still weeks away but I am getting a jumpstart on indoor gardening that can transition to the patio once the warm weather arrives. 

We recently asked our friend and style maven [with a green thumb], Anne Livingston, to show us how she creates her beautiful and unusual succulent and cacti arrangements. I spent an afternoon with Anne and learned a few of her tips for creating and caring for low water plants. They are easy to make and much more interesting than picking up a potted plant at the nursery. Follow her quick and easy steps below to create your own!

 Cacti, black stones and A BUDDA CANDLE HOLDER make this an interesting center piece or patio planter

Cacti, black stones and A BUDDA CANDLE HOLDER make this an interesting center piece or patio planter

 a variety of blue and green succulents planted in glass bowls  with white sand for the FINAL LAYER

a variety of blue and green succulents planted in glass bowls  with white sand for the FINAL LAYER

ABOVE: TRIPOD PLANTER [ACQUIRED AT A BEAD SHOP THAT WAS CLOSING ]  WITH NEWLY REFRESHED SUCCULENTS AND OBJECTS. AFTER A SUMMER ON OUR  SOUTHERN FACING DECK. "I SLIDE THIS TRIPOD PLANTER INTO OUR DINING ROOM WHERE IT ASSUMES A SCULPTURAL ROLE".  

ANNE'S 7 STEPS TO CREATE BEAUTIFUL MINI-GARDENS FOR BOTH INDOORS AND OUT

1. Find Your Vessels for Planting: 
Visit junk stores, antique stores and garage sales for unique finds. Don't settle for what you can find at the local gardening store. Think clear glass or old containers that can be repurposed. What objects would you enjoy seeing on your table or on your patio?  
Often it is the unexpected container that enhances the arrangement. Also consider bowls or dishes that are interesting and fit your mood or style: modern, natural, traditional, vintage and don't be afraid to mix it up a little. 

ABOVE: A VARIETY OF SUPPLIES AND VESSELS COLLECTED FOR PLANTING

2. Objects for Your Mini-Garden:
Look for interesting—not overpowering objects that will enhance the planting. Allow yourself to experiment with some fun and unexpected objects:
• pebbles and rocks [ I've even used sand found at the pet store] 
• cast sand or small concrete objects [look at places like TJ Max, World Market, Pier 1 ]
• aquarium objects from the pet supply store
• beach glass 

3. Plant Selection:
Once you have your vessels for planting you will want to choose your plants. Most gardening stores have a good selection of succulents and cacti this time of year. You really cannot go wrong but below are a few key things to keep in mind when shopping for your plants:  
• Color: combine colors like silver-blues, blue-greens, reds, bright greens
• Texture: spikes, fuzzy, smooth, nubby, the more textural variety the better
• Form: short leaves, round or flat leaves, small or broad pods, cascading tendrils, and upright growers
• Height: some succulents are low growers and can be placed in the front while the taller, more upright growers should be positioned near the back of the pot to create height and layering. 
• Remember that a variety of forms, textures, color and height will add interest

ABOVE PHOTOS: CACTI AND SUCCULENTS IN A VARIETY OF TEXTURES, COLOR AND SIZES 

4. Potting Soil:
Ask your local gardening store to point you to the best soil for succulents and cacti. These plants like to have well drained soil and they do not do well in standing water. 

5. Planting: 
If you have a deep vessel for planting you can build it up with stones then add planting soil. Once you have the plants arranged the way you like them you can easily drop them into the dirt as they do not have deep roots. Once all roots are covered with soil you can add a top layer of white sand or pebbles to complete the look. 

6. Watering:
Good news—these plants do not like a lot of water. Drop ice cubes where you can on the soil to water every week or two. This is much more efficient and keeps the plants from getting over watered. Keep in mind that succulents and cacti have different watering requirements. Read the sun and water requirements for each and you may want to plant the succulents in a separate container than the cacti to help manage both better. Overwatering, resulting in root rot, is the most common mistake with succulents and cacti, and using a vessel without drainage is more likely to have that result. Sometimes if I'm modifying a vessel not intended for this use, I will drill holes at the bottom to ensure drainage. The other "Cheat " with succulents is that they will actually tell you if they are getting under-watered by becoming dimpled. Depending on the variety, their leaves act as cisterns—If they're thirsty. Suffice it to say less water is best versus overwatering. 

7. Sun, Sun and More Sun!
It goes without saying that succulents and cacti need lots of sunlight and indirect sun is fine.  Bear in mind, my dining room with a 20 foot awning outside is ANYTHING but direct, yet does the job for 6 to 8 months of the year when temps are too cold outside.

The main thing I want you to remember is to have fun with this project and let it be an extension of your taste and sense of humor. They also make really great gifts. 

Thank you for sharing this with us Anne!

Please let us know if you used any of her great ideas and email us photos of your project
and we will add them to our facebook page. Happy planting!

 

 

Charming + Ethereal Paper Sculptures by Artist Duo: Papier à êtres®

  photos:   ©Fabrice Besse

photos: ©Fabrice Besse

  photos:   ©Fabrice Besse

photos: ©Fabrice Besse

  photos:   ©Fabrice Besse

photos: ©Fabrice Besse

photos: ©Fabrice Besse

Several years ago I had the pleasure of attending a production in the Paris Opera House. Sadly, I cannot remember the name of the opera I saw that evening but I was struck by the luminescent, and ethereal paper sculptures that were perched on either end of the large scale counters in the lobby. It just so happened that over the next few days I would see the unique sculptures again in shop windows and in a gallery in downtown Paris. They were so lovely that I had to know more. 

About Papier à êtres
The award-winning artist team Sophie Mouton-Perrat and Frédéric Guibrunet have worked with paper for over a decade—each in their own way. They met in 2007 and by 2008 they were collaborating on "common creations, lighting sculptures, diaphanous and light."

Sophie attended art school and began working with paper by folding iand creating in paper mâché. Frédéric graduated with a degree in chemistry and is self-taught in paper-making. He has traveled extensively in Europe, Asia and the United States to find the best techniques. He works only in white.

To create the Mademoiselle series (see photos above) Frédéric develops the lower part while Sophie shapes the top, figurative part. It is a true collaboration of talent and skill. 


"He structured the paper, she poetized it.
She exhibited in Paris, he in Toronto,
they met to Brouage.
And there was born the union of two beings of paper.

Since their works were outdone (Toronto, Paris ...) and seduced :
the gallery of the Opera of Paris, Charmey, TAAJ, Fleux
the Museum of the decorative arts of Paris,
the gallery Talents, Van Cleef & Arpels ...

Their works are long-lasting, realized with attention
and respect for the pleasure of their buyers."

  A GLIMPSE OF THEIR STUDIO WHERE THEY MAKE UNIQUE,   ALWAYS ONE OF A KIND  PIECES, IN WHITE LINEN PAPER.     PHOTO CREDIT:   ©FABRICE BESSE

A GLIMPSE OF THEIR STUDIO WHERE THEY MAKE UNIQUE, ALWAYS ONE OF A KIND  PIECES, IN WHITE LINEN PAPER. PHOTO CREDIT: ©FABRICE BESSE

 PAPIER À ÊTRES® is featured along with other artists in this beautiful book. Click on the Title below to see a preview and where to get it!

PAPIER À ÊTRES® is featured along with other artists in this beautiful book. Click on the Title below to see a preview and where to get it!

Thank you Sophie & Frédéric for sharing your beautiful and inspiring work with us. We are huge fans and are daydreaming about a life size piece in our homes one day! What began as my simple inquiry for a table top sculpture has developed into a complete fascination—bordering on obsession!  
There is much more to see from this creative team—if you have a moment jump onto their website. Visit the PAPIER À ÊTRES® site HERE / Facebook Page HERE     
All photos ©Fabrice Besse. 

Mid-century Modern: Cherner's Classic Chair—Then and Now

 Cherner Walnut side chairs 

Cherner Walnut side chairs 

 Cherner Bar Stool found on  Cherner Chair Company

Cherner Bar Stool found on Cherner Chair Company

 I ran across these lovely Cherner bar stools, covered in red, in a stylish  restaurant in London

I ran across these lovely Cherner bar stools, covered in red, in a stylish  restaurant in London

Norman Cherner above with contemporary versions of his chairs produced today by his sons. 

The Artist at Work, Cover of the Saturday Evening Post 1961 by Norman Rockwell. Note the Cherner armchair. 

One look at a Cherner chair and you want to know more. The unique shape combined with built-up layers of veneered plywood led me to adopt these modernist and sculptural pieces into my home to accompany a Saarinen table, nearly a decade ago. I love the design, the finish and the "sit"— never once regretting the decision. However, my dining table and chairs purchased at an undisclosed mass retailer—with the intention of being able to seat large dinner parties—was a huge mistake. I chose function and practicality over style and aesthetics—regretting the decision ever since. I share this with you so you can be a much wiser shopper than I was that day! 

A brief history:
Molded plywood chairs were initially explored by modernist designers rebelling against ornamentation of the past while looking for new materials and processes. Norman Cherner (1920-1987) was an architect interested in affordable housing—designing prefab homes. He was also an instructor at the MOMA in New York in the late 1940s and a published author among other accolades. Cherner originally designed his famous molded plywood chair for a company called Plycraft who later told him that they had decided to not follow through with the project. Plycraft went on to produce the chair, insisting they had designed it. Eventually Norman Cherner sued them for payment and won royalties. Plycraft discontinued the chair in the 1970s leaving it only to be seen in design museums or happened upon in thrift stores. In 1999 Cherner's sons, Benjamin and Thomas started the Cherner Chair Company after years of requests by fellow architects. Using their fathers original specifications the Cherner chair was reintroduced to an audience enamored with modernist design, art and artifacts. 

Where to find them:
I recently found quite a few Cherner Chairs on one of our favorite sites, 1st Dibs. If you are a purist and want the originals from the 1950s-60s this is the place to find them. Here, here and here

Otherwise you can purchase them new at DWR

"...After all, a chair can be viewed as a work of art. Forget class,
social superiority, authority, and distinction. Enter line, proportion,
shape, materials, decoration, and craftsmanship—all criteria
for appreciating chairs as craft, sculpture, as pure form". 

~The Chair: Rethinking Culture, Body and Design, by Galen Cranz

Red haute for your home

stools.jpg

Red is the hero in this fabulous interior at Talisker Club in Deer Valley, Utah. I love how the red club chairs create a cozy spot to relax in front of the large-scale fireplace. Pendleton-inspired fabrics with red accents are used on the small stools that nest together to form a bench. As it gets cooler in Utah, the warmth and design of this room make for a great hang out on a snowy day.

redporch.jpg

For those of you who live in warmer climates think about adding red on your front porch to create an inviting feel at the front door. I love how my style-savvy, sister-in-law, Kelly put together this charming rocking chair with a modern print on the pillow and rug. Well done Kelly!

 

Patio Party + an Indian Summer Color Palette

 Talented Saxophonist and Vocalist  George Gregory  bringing his jazz vibe to the party.

Talented Saxophonist and Vocalist George Gregory bringing his jazz vibe to the party.

Truly, there is nothing better than spending time with good friends. Mix in great food, a mountain setting, tea lights, jazz music, a hostess who loves to entertain and you have the perfect summer evening. Recently our friend, Janet, and hubby held a patio party at their mountain retreat at 8000 feet elevation. Everything from the food to the decor was beautiful and I especially loved her choice of Indian Summer colors: oranges, yellows, and golds. 

  Above: one of several steel planters that the homeowners rusted, by drenching in a vinegar solution, sits at the entry while a young girl played next to the water feature.    Just below: Colorful pillows, tablecloths and sunflowers brighten up neutral backgrounds of stone and textiles. 

Above: one of several steel planters that the homeowners rusted, by drenching in a vinegar solution, sits at the entry while a young girl played next to the water feature.

Just below: Colorful pillows, tablecloths and sunflowers brighten up neutral backgrounds of stone and textiles. 

 As dusk settled in– paper lanterns lit the steps from the driveway to the patio party below. 

As dusk settled in– paper lanterns lit the steps from the driveway to the patio party below. 

Although there was a quite large guest list, and couches to accommodate everyone, I loved the intimate dining option of the bar height tables which were draped in cheerful orange, with turquoise sashes and bouquets of sunflowers. Colored glass and votives were placed throughout the patio and on tables adding light and warmth as the sun began to set . 

And the winner is......

Thank you to all of you who entered our Robert Siegel Porcelain Vase set drawing and giveaway! There was a great amount of interest in the vases and we hope you enjoyed seeing his work! He is a huge talent.

We both loved reading the comments and seeing everyone's enthusiasm. We also want to thank each of you for taking the time to go through all of the steps to enter! Since we all seem to share in a mutual admiration for Robert Siegel Handmade we will partner with him again in the future for another giveaway!

Although we wanted to send vases to everyone who had expressed a deep love and heartfelt enthusiasm for them, we could only pull one name from the hat. That name is Iliana Macgrath!

Congratulations Iliana! We asked Iliana if she wouldn't mind sending us a photo and a little bio about herself!

   Iliana McGrath  is a marketing professional who spent over a decade working in the corporate world before taking time away to raise her two young children. As a native of Los Angeles, she takes every opportunity to enjoy the culture, beaches and mountains with her brood in tow. In her free time, she might be found creating jewelry, exploring home design or traveling.

Iliana McGrath is a marketing professional who spent over a decade working in the corporate world before taking time away to raise her two young children. As a native of Los Angeles, she takes every opportunity to enjoy the culture, beaches and mountains with her brood in tow. In her free time, she might be found creating jewelry, exploring home design or traveling.

A special thank you to Robert Siegel and all of you who entered!
It was very fun and we look forward to doing this again soon.
Cheers,
Marianne & Pamela

 

Hanging Herb Garden

I have mentioned how much I love summer so many times now that I'm starting to sound like I should relocate to a warm, beach side community! With only about 6 to 7 weeks left of summer in our mountain town I'm trying to finish my summer outdoor projects and still taking advantage of each sunny day. My projects this summer have included putting in a fountain, a stone patio and gardening. The wall garden shown above was easy install and I love the results!

A friend gave me a black wall planter made of a hardy composite/fiberglass a few months ago. I hung it with heavy duty screws to the wall in my back patio and planned on using it for succulents that would require little water. I ended up changing my mind and planting an herb and veggie wall garden instead. I purchased mint, peppermint, marjoram, strawberries, cabbage and oregano in small containers and transferred them to larger containers. The shelves are on a slight slant and I can water directly into the planter or take the small pots out and water more thoroughly.

I can now walk out my back door and easily harvest for salads, pasta, garnishes and more from my patio plus it looks great!

conversation:
Marianne:
P, I love this idea! How big is this box and can you move it inside for the winter?


Pamela:
M, It is around 30" wide x 35" tall. It is a nice size for my smaller back patio wall. I don't think I will move it into the house but will cover the box and replant in the spring. I will experiment with more herbs next year. I loved the idea of planting strawberries so the vines would grow long at the bottom but so far they have not done as well as they usually do with a regular strawberry planter. But plenty of mint!

An eclectic space: inside a designers home

There are so many things I could be writing about today but wanted to pause for a moment and share this unique home interior. For some reason, during the summer months I dream of a house with white floors, while linens, and a white kitchen. [ Perhaps I need a beach house!]  I love how this designer has used white as the foundation to showcase her lovely handmade scarves and blankets. The blend of weathered objects mixed in with modern furnishings and accents gives this home a unique feel that is quite charming.  I can imagine sitting in the ghost chairs at breakfast or snuggling into the linen bedding at the end of the day.

Marianne:
P, there are so many things I love about this house!
1. The mix between weathered and contemporary - vintage & new
2. Eclectic mix of artwork, rugs and pillows add color to the neutral backdrop
3. Painted white floors with smooth white walls
4. Light filled rooms – nice when you can get it!
5. Love the minimalistic feel - I've something to learn from this house in that regard ;)


Pamela:
M, I also love the pops of color in this white space like the yellow couch with the turquoise zigzag lamp as well as the scale of the handmade objects in this home. How unexpected and fun! Remember several years ago when we traveled to Maison d' Object–the international home decor show together and saw furniture, and rugs which were created with over sized knitting needles?  I should try to dig up some of those photos to show at a later date.

Marianne:
P, Lets go to that show again next year! Paris here we come!

Thank you to Radostina at 79 ideas for sharing these lovely photographs with us.
photography: michael wee / styling: david harrison for homelife