Happy Valentine’s Day

Have you spent a lot of time making great bites for your friends only to find they don’t eat much? Maybe they would prefer jewels! A few very easy and fast nibbles with a valentine jewel can make a luncheon for close friends a festive and give them an unexpected surprise. Serve a one pot dish for more substantial fare and a heart shaped dessert – voila! a success!

I’ve saved some ideas on my Brunch Pinterest board. Take a look! 

Draw People Together with a Fireplace

The most inviting draw for your home during cooler weather?  A fireplace!  Kitchens are natural gathering spots with the hostess and food, however, a fireplace is a natural draw.  With comfortable seating for family and friends, you can create a welcoming and relaxing area for memorable moments.  Many options are now available to make this easier.  It is hard to top a real fire but there are pollution restrictions and messy clean ups.  Gas logs have long been an option and they have become very real looking.  The popular lineal fires are an entirely different and very popular look.  Napoleon Fireplaces’ lineal fires have options that may be utilized in  remodeling or specified in new builds because they can take less than 6” to being part of a build out that looks deeper.  Venting options make it versatile enough to start with design placement and then figure out where the heat will vent.  Explore the cozy options on my Pinterest board – Fireplaces!

What To Do With Those Old Railroad Tie Steps

What to do with those old rotted railroad tie steps?  Here is a great option that I completed with the help of Felix, my trustworthy tile installer. You frame the steps, pour concrete and add the pavers!  Voila!  A new look replacing a dirt pile and concrete blocks!

Home maintenance is time consuming. It helps to know a good handyperson or several different ones depending on the job.  My clients routinely have painters, floor finishers, etc. for a continually well maintained home.  Make a list, set a date and go for it!

Home Gym

Thinking of New Year’s resolutions?  A home gym may be at the top of the list!  Maybe a designated room, a specific area or a scattering of temptations throughout your home.  An iPad for your elliptical can entice you to enjoy a program while exercising.  Other options are easy to use weights, a Simply Board or a foam roller by the television.  AND there is a new Mirror!  It is an interactive fitness coach allowing users to stream live workouts and get feedback from trainers! Check this out!  If you need to add a mirror for full length inspection anyway, you might want to consider this Mirror which allows streaming as well. A home gym can become an easier option than going to the gym!

Holiday Tables

Are you planning a holiday table for a special dinner? Whether a gourmet feast or a pot luck, setting the mood for the gathering can be achieved with a table that says “I’m excited you are here!” From table linens, china, centerpieces, even chairs, the key is color! Repetition of color is what you notice first! It gives the setting continuity. Not enough dinner plates from your china pattern? Every other place setting can be from two different sets or every other one can be a totally unique plate. Once you have used coordinating dishes for a unique look, matched dishes will look boring! The challenge is using variety while maintaining the color theme. The personal details on the table can lead through family history, travels or collections. Adding a garland of fresh greens is aromatic. Candlelight is flattering. If children are coming, provide a craft activity and extend the table to include them! Have appetizers ready before guests arrive and a use a simple menu to enable the hostess to enjoy the guests. Many dishes are fine at room temperature. Here’s to a happy holiday season! #Champagneforall #HolidayDining

Dining During the Holidays

Recently I was working with clients with an insurance claim who were starting over with furniture! It was a similar situation to many home owners when they move here without the baggage of past homes! Over numerous years working for a design studio that was within a furniture store, it was quite interesting to see the continuity achieved when we weren’t dealing with existing furniture.

Whether you are replacing or starting over, some consider key furniture pieces as keepsakes to treasure forever! Others in today’s world, consider everything disposable and just want a fit for the current location! Therein lies the challenge of acquiring dining room furniture. During the holidays we’re looking for family dining areas. After the holidays, we’re looking for free space.

After a lot of entertaining, designing custom homes and working on spacing issues in remodels, my favorite solution is the least expensive and easiest! I combine light weight outdoor tables or folding tables (not necessarily the same size and width but square or rectangular) into as long of a table as we need usually in adjoining spaces. Matching or coordinating tablecloths are added for unity. Use whatever you have in abundance for the centerpieces – candles, fruits, pumpkins, squashes, small limbs with foliage or flowers to create a one-of-a-kind table. It is more flexible than a big table that never accommodates the exact number of spaces we need for a given group. Sometimes existing furniture has to be moved for the day but it is always festive and inclusive. #FriendsfortheHolidays! #HolidayDining

Sherwin Williams 2019 Color of the Year

What color do you think of first when the Southwest is mentioned?  Terra Cotta!  With the tile roofs, Mexican tile interiors and patios, chimeneas, pots and sunsets, we are already there for Sherwin Williams new color for 2019 – Cavern Clay!  Maybe it was a natural reaction to warm up the ongoing gray trend!  Over the years many clients have preferred this color base in rugs for an inviting interior.  Mexican tile patios have always been a favorite of mine as I can find pots to coordinate in all sizes and shapes.  Although this is a departure from our current modern, mid-century trend those of us in the Southwest know our influences from Mexico and Spain will always be classic. 


If you have changed to a more contemporary look, warming up those grays with textiles, rugs and wall hangings in this warm color palette will add the color and coziness you are looking for!  Cavern Clay on the walls with white cabinetry is a fresh look. But right now – on with red (my fave) for the holidays!

Contemporary Backdrops

Contemporary backdrops! Roche Bobois ads illustrate the huge difference between plain drywall with a lonely piece of art compared to a backdrop with significant interest! The settings vary from Asian, Old World, color drops, extensive lighting and some are quite simple. Our current contemporary trend allows for expression or a clean, simple less is more look!

Beauty of Mosaics

Remember all of those mosaics in the entries of McMansions? Initially those were made in the US with laser jet cutting techniques. Then they started to come in from China and the local market diminished. With the recession behind us the technology is being used for the most beautiful mosaics! You may not want to clean or maintain them in high use or water areas, but if that is not an issue then their beauty is significant for a great focal point wall or backsplash.