March 26, 2014

Project: Back Fence

Along with many of  you, the arrival of Spring has me thinking a lot about sprucing up our outdoor space. At the moment, I'm trying to stay focused on more practical and realistic changes. I'd love to furnish the deck with an outdoor sectional, table & chairs, etc... but I'm not sure this is realistic this year. But, I am convinced we can make some significant changes with a little elbow grease and creativity! Let's check out some inspiration...

Like I mentioned in yesterday's post, I'd love to have our home's exterior painted in neutrals. While this may not be happening in my near future, I'm thinking that a neutral paint color is a good idea for the fence bordering our back yard. It's likely that I'll eventually incorporate color through cushions and such, and similar to my approach to an interiors, I tend to prefer a neutral backdrop which allows colors to really stand out. 

And since our interior already includes quite a bit of color, and looks out directly to the backyard, I don't want the two competing with one another. Already, we've kept most of our plants in the green and tropical family, which we both love. My preference would be to have a few larger palms spreading their branches over our yard, but those puppies are expensive! In looking at these photos, I'm thinking we need to incorporate some other types of (more inexpensive) lush foliage to define the borders of the deck and yard (until the tropical plants all grow huge!). The first step is painting the back fence - some instant gratification to keep me motivated. I primed it this past weekend, which gives me a sense of how it would look painted white. I'm also considering a dark color, to create a cozy, closed-in effect. We'll see what happens! 

March 25, 2014

Our House... The Exterior!

It's funny -- you've seen so much of our home's interior, but unless you know us personally, the exterior is an unknown. This is about to change! 

There you have it! Our home is a traditional Italianate (a little different than a Victorian, which most people are more familiar with), build in the late 1800's (it survived the massive 1906 San Francisco earthquake, which is pretty reassuring!). The interior has all been renovated in recent years, but most of the original character still exists on the exterior. 

I may have mentioned this before on the blog (sorry - I don't remember!). The exterior needs to be re-painted soon, so I've been spending a lot of time thinking about our options. When most people first see our house, they're not surprised by the bright colors, and assume that I chose them. I didn't, and they're not my favorites. Don't get me wrong - I LOVE our house and thank God for it every day. And now that we have the opportunity to select paint, it will be something different. :)

In general, I love contrast ... juxtaposition ... mixing the unexpected. I think this helps explain why I would paint the house all white, if it were up to me. The expected treatment for this type of detailed facade is to highlight every nook and surface with different colors. To me, this feels like traditional + traditional. I prefer traditional + modern. To me, all white would be a fresh and modern take on a traditional home. And ideally, I'd plant huge palms all around the white exterior. Think New Orleans. Ahhhhhh!!! Anyway... I know this won't make sense to some, but it's the best way I can think to explain it (and I'm okay with the fact that not everyone will agree with me!). :)

Now, when it comes to interiors, my husband pretty much lets me have free reign. Very rarely does he weigh in. However...he seems to have stronger opinions about the outside, and he loves the idea of using multiple colors to highlight the detail on the house. So, we're working on a compromise. :)


I LOVE these dark exteriors with the white trim. But I don't think this is what he has in mind. So, next step is for me to find some exteriors which incorporate color, and see if we can get closer to the same page. Fortunately, my city has no shortage of inspiration here. I need to walk through certain neighborhoods and get the wheels turning. As always, I'm excited about the idea of a change!

March 24, 2014

A few 'teaser' shots from recent photo shoots!

I've been bursting at the seams to share my new photos with you all! I'm still working out the best way to 'launch' the portfolio photos and my website, but in the meantime I am going to share just a few, mainly 'detail' shots. Eeeeek...I really can't say enough about the overwhelming talent of my photographer and friend, Ruth, and she captured these spaces just beautifully! Please enjoy....

I offer complete design services as well as styling assistance. Many of the above shots illustrate the power of a little styling. It can be as simple as a well-placed stack of books or plant (and the right type of plant!), some beads from a thrift store, an extra pillow or two... I really believe these little details engage the senses in a powerful way and bring a little joy to the home. If you're interested in sprucing up your home for spring, I would love to talk!

send an email to for rates and availability

additional portfolio photos available for viewing upon request

all photos by the lovely and talented Ruth Sonza

March 13, 2014

good morning!

I picked up this crazy-head vase planter (oops!) at the hardware store a few weeks ago. My plan was to save it for the shelving (I'm hoping to have) in my office, but I couldn't resist bringing him out to the front porch last week. I'm sure he'll rotate as the weeks go by, but for now I'm loving this little scene just outside our front door. It really is the little things, isn't it? 

March 12, 2014

Vegetable Garden...I Need One!

I've decided I need to try to grow a vegetable garden this year. I say 'try' because this idea hasn't been very successful in the past, for a combination of reasons....neglect, poor planning, and the fact that our backyard tends to fry most plants, with the exception of succulents. I know this sounds crazy -- San Francisco is not the warmest place around! -- but our backyard is a crazy little micro-climate of south-facing sun + not much wind, which results in an amazing little oven (which I LOVE!). This just means that we should be able to grow peppers and such, right? That's what I'm counting on!

At the moment, I'm really motivated to get going on this project, and am trying to decide on the right balance. We need to carve out a little more space for the garden, for one thing. I know myself, and if I can be more hands-on and really get in the garden, I'll be more likely to keep up the maintenance. A tiny corner in the back corner of our yard was not motivation enough to get me out there regularly. However, I also don't want to get carried away and end up being overwhelmed by the project!

I also know that if I'm drawn to the space aesthetically, I'll be excited to spend time there (duh!). This means, it is TIME to paint the fence in our backyard, and I'm going to tackle that so soon. Just wait. I also need to think a little more about the layout of the garden. Symmetry doesn't always appeal to me, but given that a garden has a wild edge to it regardless of the layout, a somewhat symmetrical layout could bring some refreshing order/visual calm.

And of course, I can't wait to reap the financial benefits of growing our own produce!! The idea that we've been missing out on this kind of drives me crazy, but all we can do is move forward, so here we go!

I also recently came to the realization that although I don't necessary feel like our schedule can afford the time commitment required to tend a garden, I'm convinced it will be a healthy project for me. Alone time is how I recharge, and I've let this slide over the past year or so. I could go on about this, but let's just say I'm pretty sure this will be a good thing!