Project Design: Outdoor Living Spaces

I was thrilled to be invited to participate in another Design Project post.  This feature is the brainchild of Cindy Rough Luxe Lifestyle, Mary Ann classic • casual • home and later Annie Most Lovely Things.  Today’s topic is one that is relevant to me. Not only because we’re knee-deep in summer around here, but because in Southern California warm months always include outdoor living.  In addition to the ideas and talents of Cindy, Mary Ann, Annie, we’ll get to be inspired by Kerry Graham Hill Design and Marie Marie’s Home and Garden.  I hope you’ll visit all the team contributors for summer inspiration for outdoor living.

It’s official.  Summer is here.  In our “neck of the woods” Southern California, summer means enjoying activity outside.  In 2017 we downsized from our family home of 35 years. We had several outdoor “rooms” that gave us a place to dine, escape the heat and entertain.  The area below was situated in a corner of our yard where three very large trees provided shade nearly all daylight hours.  Even with a/c indoors, this was a favorite place to escape and relax for a few minutes on a very warm day.  Our granddaughters enjoyed the pea gravel and treated it like a sandbox.

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Our home had an atrium and that provided another place to bring outdoors in.

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The patio was in the back yard and had a teak dining set.  We later changed out the chairs for the wicker Kooboo chairs.  (The chairs are now called All Weather Capistrano chairs)

Bethany House outdoor dining

Sorry for the shady photographs.  Photography is not my strong suit.

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We’ve since moved twice.  Our first move offered a lovely backyard area with Saltillo tiles.  I failed to photograph details of the courtyard (other than the flowers – below) so we’ll move on to our latest home (moved June 2019).

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We have a patio that has been tiled.  I confess I wasn’t sure I’d like the tile, but it’s grown on me the past week as I placed furniture and I enjoy the ease of sweeping up any dirt or leaves.  Mr. B enjoys sitting out here watching the world go by.  It’s shaded by a patio roof and very comfortable.

Mariposa courtyard

The other side of the patio (above) is a work in progress.  It receives a lot of sun exposure and the black half-circle you see on the floor in the picture is the umbrella base.  We put the umbrella up for the warmest days.  More to come as I complete this space with a few new plants and such.

You can create outdoor living almost anywhere…

The table set in a corner of this yard is inviting in part due to the canopy of leaves from nearby trees and large shrubs. Rustic and simple, a favorite combination for me. 🙂

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A smaller porch offers the opportunity to make an inviting dining space (you could even use a card table for a setting like this.  I’d love lunch with friends at this location!

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If you’re lucky enough to live on or near water…this would be a favorite spot for any relaxing activity.

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If your preference is to enjoy dining outdoors during beautiful weather days, here is an example of some simple tabletop additions.

Atlanta Homes outdoor living

I always try to use plants I might have already potted.  These topiaries would make a fun centerpiece grouped.

I hope you have been inspired to enjoy the season of outdoor living.

For more ideas be sure to visit:

Cindy Rough Luxe

Mary Ann classic • casual • home

Annie Most Lovely Things

Kerry Graham Hill Design

Marie Marie’s Home and Garden

 

Down the Garden Path

As mentioned I’ve embarked on my new [revisted] gardening business, Bunch Garden Design.  I’ll be posting more of my inspiration photos along the way, I hope you’ll find some inspiration for your garden as well.  My interior design friends should know I will still be doing posts on wonderful rooms that make me happy, and will hopefully make you happy too.

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Today I’m researching options for garden paths created with various materials.  I have a client who is requesting some ideas for enhancing her stepping stone path to her backyard.  Currently the path is made with irregular blue stone on dirt.  Ugh, we both know it can be more.  In California, smaller lot size means every inch has possibilities.

We have a path in our small cottage garden in the rental we’re living in…we didn’t install the Mexican pavers, but they work just fine with this small garden space. [Madison, my constant furry companion]

Copy of garden path Camphor

In our former home of 35 years, we developed this pea gravel space in our backyard.  The trees served as air conditioning in the summer…not a path but it shows the versatility of gravel.

Garden, Home and Party: happy birthday

Ground cover is an option for my client, but I seldom find it covers 100% around every stone.  So many paths with ground cover have dead patches of plant growth. If any of you have had great success with ground cover around stepping stones, I’d love to know of the plant name.

Garden, Home and Party: pareing down

The more permanent path [below] is certainly an option.  I especially like this one that includes a border of different stones as an edge to the planting area.

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Decomposed granite is a surface I particularly love because it reminds me of this exact kind of formal/historic garden.  One thing the client needs to know is that decomposed granite will need to be reapplied every few years.  I sure love the way it looks in the setting below.

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Flagstone gravel [below] is a color option for the right yard or garden.

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Brick is always welcome in the garden, this pathway stands the test of time and is classic.

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If you decide to add a garden path to your yard, here are some steps recommended to prevent weeds from trying to take over your path.

  1. Step 1: Mark out the design. …
  2. Step 2: Level the ground. …
  3. Step 3: Cover the area with weed blocking fabric. …
  4. Step 4: Add a layer of aggregate and compress. …
  5. Step 5: Add a layer of sand and level. …
  6. Step 6: Lay pavers. …
  7. Step 7: Add your gravel or plants

I hope you’re having a pleasant spring.  We’re experiencing one of the coolest springs I remember. I don’t mind, summer will be here before we know it and it may be blazing hot!

xo

 

 

 

Inviting rooms

For as long as I can remember, I’ve found visits to favorite blog sites, a good shelter magazine, design books and actual visits to pretty homes, comforting. They are not just inspirational but they seem to transport me and lower my blood pressure.  🙂

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Sometimes it can be a vignette that catches my attention and I’m happy.

Blue and White coffee table tray

Discovering a well-designed room, by a designer that is new to me, makes me smile.

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Jared Hughes Design is an Atlanta designer.  His projects include a traditional design with a global influence.  I love the two rooms below, just the right about of blue and white beauty.

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I only recently discovered Amber Lewis.  Her website All Sorts Of is filled with inspirational ideas.

Amber Interiors - Client Tupac Meets Biggie To Decorate The Diggies

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Rooms with a splash of blue and white always catch my attention.

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Gardens have once again taken a large amount of my attention, but pretty rooms will always be a happy place for me.

xo

 

Pretty California Gardens

I have a weakness for formal gardens.  I realize they aren’t for everyone, but to me they are classic and I love the orderly appearance they provide.

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Some of you may remember the formal garden I installed in our house of 35 years and while I don’t miss our old house (fond memories keep me happy), I do miss my formal garden.

When someone has a space that could use some structure and they don’t care to add hardscape to their yard, I recommend Japanese Boxwood buxus microphylla or Boxleaf Euonymus eunoymus japonicus ‘microphyllus’.  So pretty!

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Then there’s the beauty of an English garden where plants are allowed to fill in garden space and ramble a bit.  My California clients don’t often have room for this look.  We’re notorious for our postage sized lots, still there’s room in most yards for a little ramble, non-structured area of the garden.  The garden below is the yard of on of my favorite blog sites, Trouvais.  Trish may have retired her blog, but it’s still active.  If you’re interested in seeing some beautiful gardens, take a look.

Peonies, roses and lavender gardentrouvais

I’m sure you’ve heard of Velvet & Linen.  This is a kitchen garden they had in a house they owned when I first started reading their posts.  Now they live on beautiful grounds in Ojai.  You will want to visit their site and be amazed at the beauty of the home and grounds.  Inspiration is everywhere, including the charming farm animals they have.

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Velvet and Linen

I love a rustic look and this outdoor dining space makes me smile.  I think the right vine can add to and patio cover, creates an inviting dining space.

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Maybe I should dress the part of garden designer…garden design for homes or hats! 🙂

via S G GENEVA – my good friend Debra of 5th and State

Do you enjoy gardening?

xo

A New Direction – Bunch Garden Design

If you receive an email that I have a new post, don’t faint.  I know it’s been awhile.  I will explain it all…

During my years blogging at this site some of you may know this, some will be surprised to learn that I was working full time as an Executive Assistant until 2017.  Then I went to work part time at a design business.  In January of this year I officially retired but knew I wouldn’t be able to sit around for long without getting antsy.  I’ve always been a little hyper active and possibly a little OCD.  So before I gave notice I did some soul searching for my next “career”.

For 13 years before getting a full time job, my partner and good friend and I ran a landscape business.  We planted cottage gardens and gave people options for renovating their yards and gardens.  We both loved the work (and that has never ended) and we grew our business with word-of-mouth referrals.  I decided to try my hand at this work once again.  I have had 2 very large jobs (referred by friends) and know I’ve made the right decision.

I thought somewhere down the line I would revamp this site and focus on inspiration images of beautiful gardens, as well as post pictures of my work.  Note:  Photography has never been in my strong suit, but I’ll attempt the process anyway.

I received an email from someone referred to me and the first thing she said was, I couldn’t find a website for you, do you have one?  It’s time…I need to get this party started. 🙂

I am now, officially  Bunch Garden Design

So,  I will be ‘blogging’ again.  It will mostly be landscape inspiration, but I confess, I’ve never stopped loving interior design as well so you can catch a few of my favorite design inspirations as well.

I hope you’ll join me in this new chapter.

xo

Karen

Wild for Birds

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Historically birds have always had a place in homes.  They add beauty and charm whether in the form of a pet bird, framed prints from the Audubon collection, bronze or porcelain figurines, birds depicted in fabrics and wallpaper, or neighborhood birds enjoying a meal at a bird feeder in your backyard.

Garden, Home and Party: Audubon Park

I was recently contacted by Audubon Park with a kind offer to provide me with a bird feeder and special seed to attract most varieties of birds in our neighborhood.  An instruction book and journal was included.  {Thank you, Audubon ParkYou may remember our foray into feeding birds from my posts HERE and HERE.

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I can share with you that it has been a relaxing and enjoyable experience and we have marveled at the visits by some of the most colorful birds, most we had no idea were in our neighborhood.  Should you wish to embark on this peaceful pass time, and with winter fast approaching it’s a great time to feed birds, Audubon Park not only provides these Tips for feeding birds but their site has information on where to buy their premium food and more:

  1. Know your local birds. [We happen to have a Field Guide to California birds].
  2. Feed them their favorite food
  3. Make them feel at home with trees, shrubs, flowers and a bird house
  4. Give them bath and drinking water
  5. Keep them safe: Make sure your seed, suet or nectar is made-in-the-USA and place feeders away from windows and predators

Because I can’t pass up an opportunity to showcase a pretty room, here are some additional ways birds find their way into our hearts and homes.

A chandelier ready for autumn, complete with a pair of faux American Crow perched on attached moss-laden branches…

Garden, Home and Party: Audubon Park

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Love this wallpaper with birds in flight…

Garden, Home and Party: Audubon Park

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Hotel Van Zandt, Austin, Texas displays birds made from old LP vinyl records…

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a favorite room by the talented Holly Mathis, dressed for Christmas, features some wonderful Audubon prints…

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Love the needlework peacocks in this bedroom…

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How sweet is this flamingo wallpaper for a baby girl’s room?…

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Classic beauty in green and white…

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I hope you’ve enjoyed this visit to the world of our feathered friends.  I’ve definitely had fun bird watching from our kitchen window.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Autumn flora in the home

Good morning, my friends!  So much for getting back to regular posting, right?!

Garden, Home and Party: Autumn Flora

I am an avid fan of fresh flowers and plants in my house year round.  I’ve used branches from shrubs and trees in the yard, and flowers from the market for our home most of my married life.  I also have several living plants in my home.  Ivy topiary, Peace Lily ‘spathiphyllum’ and a large pothos live in various rooms of the house.  When Christmas rolls around I’m happy to use faux garland, embellished with live cedar and pine.

Garden, Home and Party: Autumn flora

Garden, Home and Party: Autumn Flora

Garden, Home and Party: Autumn Flora

So it was with some hesitancy that I returned the kind email I received from Silk Plants Direct.  They were offering me a shopping visit of their site, where they would ship a product of my choice (with a generous pricing limit) for my honest review.  Still doubtful, I visited the link and found many of their plants to look very believable.  The item I selected reminds me of bittersweet, something that is sold live per stem by florists this time of year in our area.  I’ve always loved the look of bittersweet in autumn arrangements and wreaths, but couldn’t always find fresh stems.

I emailed my contact with Silk Plants Direct and was thrilled with the speedy delivery and the quality of the stems.  The flowers filled the large porcelain blue and white vases and finished the mantle decor for the season for me.  Thank you Silk Plants Direct!

Garden, Home and Party: Autumn Flora

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Garden, Home and Party: Autumn Flora

Silk Plants Direct, a Silk flowers and plants retailer, has a user-friendly site and provides a column on their home page that allows shoppers to narrow their search by topics such as category, size, price, color, variety and season.

If you’re a die hard fan of real live plants and flowers, as I consider myself to be, you may be in for a surprise. I urge you to take a look at Silk Plants Direct.

Disclosure:  I received a free product sample in order to do this review. There was no compensation. The honest opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

 

Nailed it!

As I mentioned earlier, I recently had our very tired, very sad red and white buffalo check sofa reupholstered. I’ve been using a more neutral palate wherever possible.  I have read it will calm me, so far, not so much. 🙂  You can take the Type A personality out of the chaos, but you can’t take the chaos out of the Type A.

We decided to add oil rubbed bronze nail heads to the arms this time  (in the picture they look brass, but in person they are definitely oil rubbed bronze in color). I like the extra detailing on the sofa and began to notice how many pieces of furniture in my ‘saved’ furniture file have nailheads.  {Sorry about the dog dishes in the kitchen, missed that in my viewfinder while taking this picture}

Garden, Home and Party: Nailed it

The New Jersey Star Ledger explained that this is an enduring element of furniture design…

The decorative use of nailheads on furniture is believed to have begun in 17th century France with the ornately carved wooden seating of the Louis XIII period. During this time when the most luxurious furnishings were coveted, craftsmen would use decorative nails to secure fine upholstery such as velvet, brocade, tapestries or leather.

I want to share some of my recent, and not so recent, furniture with nailheads finds…

Garden, Home and Party: Nailheads on furniture

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Garden, Home and Party: Nailheads on furniture

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I love the nailheads on these chairs, as well as the ikat fabric.

Garden, Home and Party: Nailheads on furniture

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Aren’t these beds wonderful?  Perfect for a room for adolescent teens or visiting guests. {also, isn’t this wallpaper great?}

Garden, Home and Party: Nailheads on furniture

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Garden, Home and Party: Nailheads on furniture

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Garden, Home and Party: Nail heads

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This pretty chair is covered in Sebastian Tattersall in Sky, a part of the new SMW Home textile collection.

Garden, Home and Party: nailheads on furniture

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Garden, Home and Party: nailheads on furntire

What are your thoughts?  Do you like nailheads or could you skip them?

Karen

 

Matching paint – trim and walls

Hi there!  Happy Wednesday.

There is a relatively recent trend to paint walls and trim the same color.  I’ve seen some rooms done this way that are very appealing.  I confess, I’m old school and appreciate a distinction, no matter how subtle, between the two.

Garden, Home and Party: Paint

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Houzz gave the trend press in early 2013, with a quote from architect Treff LaFleche who states  that matching trim and walls “emphasize the functional purpose of architectural trim and creates a more understated and contemporary composition.” I agree, but my traditional leanings probably balk at the “contemporary” reference.

Garden, Home and Party: paint

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There is something modern and soothing about trim painted the exact same color as the walls. It creates a seamless look and works well if you plan to leave your walls bare or cover them with a thousand pieces of art.  -Houzz

Garden, Home and Party: paint

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Garden, Home and Party: paint

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This butler’s pantry is striking—slate walls, cupboard fronts and trim.

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The wood beadboard, crown moulding, window trim, and casing, match but the toile breaks up what could be too much of any one color.  A lively example of contrast between wall and trim.

Garden, Home and Party: paint

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All white kitchens are always beautiful to me.  Maybe the variance found in the counter, the stainless steel appliances, and the tile backsplash over the range give it the added pop of contrast.

Garden, Home and Party: paint

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Garden, Home and Party: paint

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Garden, Home and Party: paint

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What do you think?  Would you paint the trim and walls the same color?

Karen

 

Books, the subtle accessory in a room

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hello my friends, happy wednesday!

If you’ve visited me throughout the years you may have picked up on the fact that I love libraries.  Weather public, university or home libraries, they all hold equal interest for me. [HERE, HERE, and HERE] I love books and the warmth they give to a room.

This post was inspired by a post in late spring by my friend, Vanessa, of Reviving Charm. She shared information of a London based company known as Ultimate Library.  They will curate and assemble an entire library for you, whether it be a residential or commercial project. To read more about how this works and some of the locations where they have done this service visit HERE.

Garden, Home and Party: books, accessories

Today I’d like to talk about the role of books as an accessory.  I realize that anytime a book is placed in a stack on a coffee table it could be considered an adornment, as well as something to read, but it seems to me books have advanced to a more prominent place in a room today.

Beribboned antique books are used alongside an assortment of other tabletop antiques.

Garden, Home and Party: accessories; books

These beauties make such a statement in this bookcase.  Wouldn’t you love to open one {carefully} and read it, look for the date?

Garden, Home and Party: accessories; books

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This desk vignette is beautiful and the books definitely play a role.

Garden, Home and Party: accessories; books

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I’ve always loved a library table.  Wish I had room for one.  This book display hits all of my hot buttons. Art work, a vintage pocket watch, the tray and a scented candle, and the still life effect of it all by adding the bowl of apples, perfection.

Garden, Home and Party: accessories; books

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I’m certain you’ve seen this trend in displaying books.  I guess you either hate it or love it.  I confess it appeals to me and I’ve done a version of it in my own bookcase with my design books.  Where do you stand on the color coordinated books topic?

Garden, Home and Party: accessories; books

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…and what about removing the jackets.  Again, I’m sure there are those that feel it is sacrilege and others, like me, that actually like the look of the books better without their jackets than with!

Garden, Home and Party: accessories; books

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I really like the way we all use books to elevate items such as this orchid and the smaller accessory on the chest when decorating.

Garden, Home and Party: accessories; books

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Blue and white beauty with books and other wonderful items of interest.

Garden, Home and Party: accessories; books

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I also like color coordinated books in a vignette.  Intentionally placing a stack of green books with the blue, white and green set-up just makes it all the prettier in my view.

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The collection of magnifying glasses, along with the leather books is divine!

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This space has a library feel to it.  The vintage prints, marble bust and books!

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I love this narrow opening in such a formal setting, filled to the top with vintage books!

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Tell me, do you decorate with books?

♥ Karen