Sunday, July 28, 2013

Favorite New Spot

Life has dramatically improved around here since we "made over" our yard...

We look forward to starting our mornings right here with a deliciously consistent cafe latte from our Nespresso machine, another wonderful "improvement" to our morning ritual!

I seriously feel like I am on vacation when I spend time out here.

I fling open the doors of our Dining Room and let the outside in.

I've always dreamed of a backyard that would rise up to greet me and I'm still pinching myself that it's become a reality!

I finally finished the large oyster shell mirror a few weeks ago and am loving how it looks.

We also pulled together a nice arrangement under the green Chinoiserie mirror that hangs on the chimney providing a nice focal point.

 I dug out this great modern Asian style console table from my prop shop and was thrilled that it fit the space so perfectly!

It should function nicely to serve cocktails & hors d'oeuvres and dessert & coffee.

The mirror reflects the tented pavilion with the white rose garden beyond.

Just a few treasures to set the scene...

 A new pillow for the rattan chaise.

And best of all!

A bumper crop of 6 varieties of tomatoes!

Life is good!


Thursday, July 25, 2013

Let there be LIGHT

We spent last weekend learning alot about landscape lighting and have started working on an exterior lighting plan for both our front and back yards.

We are finding out that it is just as, if not more challenging than a beautifully lit interior.

But nothing really elevates your home more than a well thought out landscape lighting plan.

 Exterior lighting can add so much drama to your home after the sun sets.

It can be a beacon at night with exterior lights for pathways, pools, trees and shrubs and of course, the front door.

Using up-lighting to highlight your home's architecture and landscaping can literally transform its facade.

There is nothing more welcoming than a well-lit exterior in the evening.

A great tip it is to look to the moon for a naturalist lighting design by blending a number of light sources to emulate the effect of moonlight.


But first you must choose between solar, low voltage halogen and the latest kid on the block, LED.

I think LED is the best way to go for ease of installation and energy savings.

 My only concern is the light quality.

I don't know about you but I am not a fan of the blue tone light from solar and prefer the softer warmer light of halogen or low voltage.

Someone recommended an online source for landscape lighting called Volt.

They swear their LED products are indistinguishable from halogen and the quality of the fixtures and transformers is far superior to what can be found at the big box stores. 

Though it might cost a bit more upfront, it more than pays for itself in the long run.

The options are many...  uplights, down lights, spot lights, flood lights, wall washers, accent lights, path lights and more.

What I think is most important though is using the right fixtures with the right wattage in the right spots which is harder than it sounds.

After taking a look around Pinterest I am more convinced of this than ever.

I saw many homes that in my opinion were over lit.

I also saw many examples where not enough light was utilized.

It's definitely an art and the homes that looked the best were professionally done. 

In fact, the homes with modern architecture were the most stunning!

If money were no object I would love to hire a professional but as it stands I'm going to try and light our home to the best of my ability.

I have a feeling there will be a lot of trial and error involved but I'm up for the challenge!

It's amazing that with all the time, energy, focus and money we put towards the interior of our homes, many of us forget about the WOW factor that exterior lighting can have.

So now of course I'm curious how many of you have homes that shine at night? 




Monday, July 22, 2013

I Have Never Seen One of These Before

How about you?
Any guesses as to what it is?

It is an antique French umbrella stand!

The larger holes on the perimeter are for umbrellas and the smaller holes toward the center are for canes.

It would be amazing in a grand home with a large formal entry or in a charming hotel or restaurant with lots of patrons coming and going.

It would also be wonderful for a cane collector!

I saw it at an estate sale over the weekend and wished I could bring it home with me...

I hope it found the perfect home where it can be fully appreciated!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

A Charming Idea!

Seen at The Alameda Point last weekend...

I will definitely be doing this all summer long!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Croquet Anyone?

I know I promised my husband that I would not junk up our new backyard but...

How could I possibly pass up this cool vintage Abercrombie & Fitch croquet set that I found at a church rummage sale for $20 last Saturday?

Of course I told him I would sell it and he immediately suggested that I take it to our local Abercrombie & Fitch store.

I thought that was a good idea until I cleaned it up and set it on this bench in our sideyard.

I know our yard is completely covered in pea gravel but at the end of our street is a huge greenbelt with long stretches of beautiful green grass!

I think I found the perfect spot for it!

Croquet anyone?