Monday, April 29, 2013

Weekend Warrior Project Under The Blazing Sacramento Sun

The weather this past weekend in Sacramento was very warm.  On Saturday, it was in mid 90s.  However, it didn't keep me from playing in the backyard arranging the outdoor seating we purchased from World Market.
I had been wanting to replace the wrought iron furniture we have had for years but wasn't expecting it to happen on Friday.  However, Papa Dan and I agreed, we couldn't resist the 30% off sale(ended April 28) for this elegant and comfortable outdoor seating collection.  The cushions were included!
  We were anxious to get the pieces home the day we bought them so we immediately went back to the house to empty both of our vehicles to make as much room as possible to transport the furniture.  We made it home with a couple windows open to accommodate chair legs. 
The collection is named "Solano".  It is made of a durable resin wicker woven over a steel tube frame.  The chairs feel very sturdy and well made.  Both Papa Dan and I are both 6' tall and over 200lbs so construction was very important to us.  The pieces came un-assembled which makes for easier transport.  However, the slipper chairs were only 2 pieces which you put together yourself with the provided 6 screws making the assembly easy enough that my 5 year old son was able to help by placing the screws in place for me.   Each took less than 5 minutes. 
We purchased 6 slipper and 1 corner chair that can be attached as an entire sectional.  Or, arranged separately for entertaining guests.

In addition to the playing with the new furniture, I painted the wood fence on the east side of the yard black and hung planter boxes with dwarf boxwoods for interest.  I embellished the boxes with the round wood medallions from Michaels crafts and painted them a metallic gold.   The temporary center console is an old sofa table made of a mix of synthetic materials to mimic stone.  We had it for many years in the living room.  It was originally purchased and used in Dan's old office before moving to a new location.  Instead of getting rid of it right away, I used it in the backyard between the chaise lounges.  It had a unattractive beige glossy finish which didn't work well with the rest of the yard so I painted it a galvanized silver.
 Eventually, I want to replace it with something more utilitarian like an outdoor bar cart or buffet station with cabinets for additional storage. Although I haven't told Papa Dan yet, the chaise lounges will be replaced as well with something that coordinates with the Solano's wicker style.  Unfortunately, the collection does not offer them.  Stay tuned.
Solano Accent/Dining Chair

The next project is setting up an outdoor dining space.  The chairs are from the same Solano collection.  The table is going to be wrought iron.
I am looking forward to sharing the completed look with you....In the meantime, martini dreams from Sacramento.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Spring blossoms at the Russian River

The weather couldn't be more beautiful this past weekend at the cabin in Guerneville.  It was perfect for spending it near the water or taking a long walk alongside the river into town for lunch and maybe a little thrift shopping. Which is exactly what we did. 
It was obvious Spring had arrived at the river.  Colorful blooms could be seen Everywhere.  I just had to bring home some of its beauty into the cabin.  Below are images captured of some of the blooms on our trail back to the cabin from town.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Bay Bliss: Seven Design Compositions to Make the Most of Your Bay Window

By: Jay Harris

Decorating around windows and doors can be tricky, as these structural elements usually limit a room's layout, dictate the type and amount of lighting installed, and form a connection to the landscape beyond.
And when the feature itself makes a strong statement, such as a bold bay window, making the most of it becomes even more of a design challenge. However, with challenge comes possibility, and bay windows certainly provide plenty. 
image via Pinterest

  With a bit of smart dressing and careful arrangement, these architectural darlings can raise the sash on a space's personality through both form and function.
Below, I draw back the curtain on seven attractive bay window compositions that will capture the character you desire with the utility you need. I've included ideas on how to beautifully dress the window, along with inspirations for taking advantage of the intimate space they provide -- mix and match these suggestions to fit your own home.
image via

Space: Dining room 
Feel: Dramatic 
Treatment: Install a curtain rod made specifically for a bay window about six inches below the ceiling. These drapery systems, which usually include telescoping rods and flexible or hinged corner connectors, can be found at your local hardware store or ordered through a window treatment designer. Hang floor-to-ceiling silk drapes in a saturated color at the intersection of each window unit, as well as on either side of the bay. 
Design: Nestle a round dining table into the bay, if space allows, or situate a long rectangular table just beyond the window and include a focal point such as an elegant sculpture or tall plant within the bay. At night, the darkened windows will play against the deep hues of your drapes to form an impressive backdrop.

A wonderful custom built in bench with side bookcases and storage underneath the seat.  Recessed spot lights above, rectangular picture frame molding and lots of pillows give this bay window a sophisticated and inviting feel.  (image via

Flanking the bay window with swing arm lamps or  sconces on end gives the space a warm and inviting ambiance perfect for evening entertaining or a quiet night of reading. image via Houzz

Space: Living room 
Feel: Cozy 
Treatment: Built-in bookshelves on either side of the bay or an adjacent ceiling arch sets the space apart from the remainder of the room and creates an alcove for a hideaway feel. Opt for a straightforward treatment such as a box valance, or simply go naked. 
Design: Tuck a small sofa in the bay, or if floor space is at a premium, construct a built-in bench. Dress the seating area with loads of pillows and cushions, then situate an upholstered ottoman in front. This can serve as a place to kick up your feet, as well as a coffee table when outfitted with a tray.

S.F. Designer Jay Jeffers designed this gorgeous nursery with it's organic hues.   The box pleated valance and drapes in a fun abstract pattern frame the bay window and seating area beautifully without obstructing the light. (image via Jeffers Design Group)

Space: Child's bedroom/playroom 
Feel: Cheerful 
Treatment: Got a bright wall color? Play up the architectural details of your bay window by dressing the window with crisp white trim. Hang inside-mount flat Roman shades in a fun fabric for a whimsical look. 
Design: Kids love nooks, so install a built-in bench with lots of cushions. Bonus storage space can be gained with a hinged lid or cubbies below.

image via

Space: Office 
Feel: Masculine 
Treatment: Plantation shutters lend a sophisticated aesthetic to a traditional workspace, while also allowing flexibility in airflow and lighting by way of louvers. 
Design: Tuck a small desk into the bay with the chair facing the window. This permits you to get to work with the shutters closed to block any glares, or if your schedule allows for a bit of daydreaming behind the desk, to open the shutters and visually escape to the landscape beyond.

image via

Space: Master bedroom 
Feel: Romantic 
Dress: Light-filtering curtains that cover the entire window can be mounted on the aforementioned bay window drapery rod system for privacy. These sheers also allow sunlight to trickle in for a gentle morning wake-up. 
Install: Tuck the head of your mattress into the bay and the window becomes a stand-in for a headboard. A long, thin table nestled between the window and bed provides space for a table lamp, alarm clock, reading material, and other nighttime necessities.

image via

Space: Kitchen 
Feel: Relaxed 
Dress: Simple fabric roller shades are ideal for adding a pop of color to the room while also allowing in plenty of natural light to warm the space. They're available in a variety of waterproof and stain-resistant fabrics to hold up in the kitchen. 
Install: A cushioned banquette built into the wall below the window creates a welcoming dining nook that nicely hugs a curved table. Opt for an elliptical table to emphasize the shape of the bay window. Have a box bay? Select a rectangular table instead.

Space: Family room 
Feel: Organic 
Dress: If you're growing plans for an interior garden, you won't want to block the outside light from pouring in. But natural wood shades kept in the open position can offer visual interest and tie in with the exterior view. 
Install: Provided it isn't shaded by eves, a south-facing bay window boasts sunlight from the east, south, and west, making it a prime space for windowsill container garden. Try herbs or succulents for textural variety.

Do you have a bay window that you've designed the room around in your home?

Jay Harris is a Home Depot "on the floor" sales associate and a regular contributor to Home Depot's blog. His interests include providing household tips on exterior shutters and casement windows.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Guest Post: How to Mix Antiques Effectively With Modern Styles?

By: William Robinson

Loveday London Antiques

Georgian Serpentine Chest
Deciding on the style of a home can be challenging.  Often, homeowners get confused by the elements of many periods that appeal to them. Some get drawn to the elegance of craftsman
techniques while at the same time finding the comfort of Victorian style furniture irresistible.  It is possible to have a mix of pieces from various eras.

Those with a Georgian sideboard and an Eames chair may wonder if the two can go together.  With a few principles, homeowners can mix modern and antique furniture to create the style that reflects exactly who they are.

Pay close attention to the pieces used.

 Ensure the entire room has the same basic shapes.
Curved pieces should be used with curved pieces. Angular mirrors can be placed next to coffee tables that have the same lines. Modern painting with wavy lines can be placed next to an antique sculpture or sofa with the same feel.
Painted mirror

Use neutral backgrounds when mixing modern and antique pieces. Let the pieces in the room speak for themselves. Paint walls with a crisp Navajo white. To make the pieces stand out, make the wall colour fade into the background. Good colours that work well with a mix of modern and antique décor include light yellows and fading shades of brown.

Use accessories

This should be used judiciously. The room should be designed to create greater focus on the mix of antique and modern styles. Use only a handful of pillows on the corners of the couch.  Let the open spaces of the modern furniture stand out. Keep all accessories such as flower vases, family photos and vases at a bare minimum. Consider using black and white pictures
rather than colour photographs.

Maintain the same scale in the room

This depends on the size of the room. Tailored pieces do not go well with overstuffed
furniture. Low profile furniture with good construction and fabrics go well with modern
furniture. Position a large fainting couch next to a beautifully curved 17th century grandfather
clock. Or place a modernist lamp on top of a small marble table. The scale of the pieces
should work together.

Use new fabrics

Upholster Recamier sofa with marimekko fabric. Breathe some life into old pieces by using
fabric choices that complement the modern room elements.
Marimekko pattern

Create a unifying element in the room.

Curved Windsor chairs go well with angular modern tables. Place oriental rugs in a room with modern art and leather furniture or platform beds with pine chests. Another stunning design is to include Scandinavian country pieces with modern designs.

Accent a room with antique pieces with a few modern touches. Limit the influence of the modern pieces by creating an eye-catching focal point. For instance, hang a modern painting in a traditional dining room.

Minimize furniture

Beautiful rooms do not have a lot of furniture. Save space and focus on mixing few good
pieces of modern and antique furniture. Put clothing storage in the bedroom closet and focus
on incorporating high quality modern bed frames with neo-classical end tables topped with
high-tech lamps.

Author Bio:

William Robinson works at Loveday
Antiques who stock a wide range of antique furniture as well as specialist modern art pieces.
He enjoys working in the antiques trade and going to antique fairs and has his own collection
of footballing memorabilia.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Guest Post: Finding the Right Color Scheme For Your House

image via LDA Architects
By: Tom Gilmore

For many people, decorating is one of the most enthralling parts of being a home owner. You'll get to pick out curtains, choose frames for pictures in the living room and, of course, decide on a color scheme. While painting can be redone, it's not something that's necessarily easily changed. How can you make sure you choose the right color scheme? Read on to find out :)

 Room by Room

If you try to look at your house as a whole, you are going to get overwhelmed and not have very much luck in terms of picking out a color scheme. Instead, think of each room as its own entity.
image via
Each room does not have to be within the same color palate, but you might want to establish a sense of continuity. This can vary depending on the ultimate themes you choose, the size of your home, your budget, etc. A light blue room next to a burnt orange one can really have a striking contrast, but you also don't want to convey a sense of gawdiness.

 Establish a Theme

Before you make the final decision on the colors, you should consider what the theme of the room is going to be. Perhaps you want to have a beach-themed living room.
image via
  In that case, a light blue is just perfect for the walls; you might even want to do an off-white if you're going to have blue couches. Perhaps you want to have a kitchen that reminds you of Italy, and you could select a deep red shade as your color.

 What You Like

 Sometimes, people get so caught up in what colors they want to paint their house that they forget part of it is about their own personal preferences. For example, if you detest yellow, do not feel as though you must incorporate this color into your house simply because it will match. In certain cases, it is easier to start with your dislikes. Cross the colors you absolutely do not like or want off of the list. After that, it will be easier to narrow down your choices and pick the colors that are just right for your home. You want your home to be warm and welcoming - if you're not even comfortable in it, it'll be hard to pull that off.

 Test Them Out

Take those little samples out of the book you have and put them up on the walls of the room. This method might not be enough to really get an idea of what colors the walls should be though. If that is the case, then you can buy some of your final choices and put samples of them on the wall. In doing so, you will actually get to see what the paint will look like in the final version. You can try out a few different examples to get a sense of the best fit for each room of your dwelling.
image via

 Picking up colors for your home can be difficult, but that does not mean it must be impossible. Of course, you do not want to be constantly painting and re-painting your own. However, remember that paints colors can be changed. This fact might help take some of the pressure off your shoulders and give you some ease in the decision-making process.

 Tom Gilmore writes about his career in the design industry. His recent work is about how make the transition from interior design to a graphic designer.