Monday, January 9, 2017

Time Flies

A year ago this week, we moved into our home in the City, after a whole year of construction.
It was well worth the wait, but in hindsight, we probably could have waited a few weeks longer.
But, I just needed to be here!

Truth be told, I needed to be here so that I could finish off the design while living in the house.

I made a few mistakes ordering furniture pre-move in, but luckily I was able to correct them.
The dining table was the perfect choice for this room though and was delivered a few days before moving day.

It was so much fun hanging our clothes in the master closet after a year in the rental with no closet space!
Here it is on moving day.
To be staged later.

In March, we finally got our window coverings, so we no longer were living in a fish bowl!

They made such a difference.
The house finally felt like it was coming together.

Slowly, the rest of the furniture arrived.
The sofa from Restoration Hardware came in June.
The coffee table and chairs from Williams-Sonoma Home soon after.

The family room sat empty for a while.

Eventually, it came to me to furnish it with a leather sectional and hang my collection of pastoral oil paintings above.  

With most of the inside coming together, I decided on a whim one day to hang the vintage floral oil paintings in the garage that once lived on our stair wall in the old house.

Which brought me to the idea to just use the same paint that I used on the outside of the house, inside.
Now the paintings really stand out.
It give me such pleasure to see them, even in the garage!

Probably the biggest project though was finishing off the roof deck with plants for privacy.
Martin hoisted every shrub up to the deck with a rope and pulley.

Planting day ended up being one of the rainiest days of the year!

A few weeks later, he hoisted the furniture up.
It was a nail biter!

The finished deck.
Thank you Martin!

I still had a few projects left in me though.
I eventually bit the bullet and ordered wallpaper for the dining room.
It was a little scary to paper this room because it's oval and there are arches without moulding.
The installer was flawless though, and I'm so glad I did it!

The finished dining room!

I also wrapped the guest room in the same paper, in the charcoal stripe.
Finally, the house was done.
No more "projects!"

I don't think a house is ever really "done."
It evolves over time as centerpieces come and go, decorative objects are moved around, shelves are restyled, linens are refreshed, and pillows updated.
That's the fun part--being creative in your living space.

When we sold our old house, I felt like I lost my design muse, but after a year in our new house, I feel like I found my muse again.

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Monday, January 2, 2017

New Year's Day In Asti

 All was quiet on New Year's Day.
It was a lovely, unusually warm sunny day and I spent as much time outside as I could just walking around and photographing the garden in the dead of winter.

 Even though it's winter, this lavender growing against the house never stops blooming.  
I've never trimmed it, and it is taking over the path. 
 I like it that way!

 I made a mental note to put a potted French lavender plant in the olive bucket for Spring.

 Even the Iceberg roses are still blooming!
My culinary obsessed son picked as many as he could to make rose jelly.

The vineyards are finally bare. 

For me, observing the garden really reveals the passage of time.
I'm reminded of that with the words to this poem:

Winter, a lingering season, is a time to gather golden moments,
embark on a sentimental journey, and enjoy every idle hour.
~John Boswell

I'm linking to Savvy Southern Style for Wow Us Wednesday.
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Saturday, December 31, 2016

Times Like These

I for one, am happy to see 2016 end!
It has been a year unlike any I've personally lived and while I worry about the future, I'm hoping that 2017 is better than the last and we can "learn to love again."
While listening to an old favorite song this morning, I asked myself what can I do to make 2017 better in "times like these." 
So instead of the proverbial New Year's Resolution where I say I'm going to lose weight and work out more, drink more water and get more sleep, yada yada yada...
I'm going to try to incorporate these 5 changes in my life, however small in to the new year.
One human connection at a time:

  1.  Give out compliments!  We could all benefit from a little recognition and validation.
  2.  Be kind to strangers, even just to say "Hello."  "Good Morning"  "How are you?"  I believe  these small connections can make a difference, if we all do it.
  3.  Listen.  Listen to others, even if you disagree with their views, beliefs or politics.This could be  hard because we have all surrounded ourselves with others who share our beliefs, so listening  to opposing views and understanding their viewpoint is key to making a change for a better  future.
  4.  If possible, perform a random act of kindness.  Again, large or small like holding a door open  for someone or offering to help a friend with something they could use help with. 
  5.  Every morning, awaken with gratitude and sit, coffee in hand, appreciating the gift of another day. 

I know I sound like Pollyanna, but I'm guilty of not doing much of the above and living in my own bubble.
That's why I intend to watch more HGTV instead of the "news!"
Less social media and time on the computer, except for blogging.
And yes, I hope to lose weight, work out more, drink more water and get more sleep too.

"It's Times Like These"
An old song and one I've always loved, but it means more to me now than ever.

"I'm a new day rising
I'm a brand new sky
To hang the stars upon tonight"

"It's times like these you learn to love again
It's times like these time and time again"

Wishing you all a Happy New Year in times like these!
Let's make 2017 the best year ever, one human connection at a time.

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Wednesday, December 21, 2016

A Greek Inspired Christmas Tablescape

 Christmas traditions shared by friends and family are to me what makes the season so special.
One tradition that is dear to me is a holiday dinner hosted by my friend.
Last Saturday was our twelfth holiday dinner and the table was so awesome, I had to share.

  The table was Greek themed, starting with the gold layers patterned with a Greek key edge.

Our placecards were even written in Greek!

The centerpiece was a collection of busts wearing crowns of boxwood.

They all looked like Greek gods!

White roses, white amaryllis and boxwood in little mint julep cups completed the centerpiece.
Flower arranging is obviously my friend's passion!

 An urn in the hall holds white hydrangeas and winter greens, lit with lights.

Simply breathtaking!

 At the base of the urn, a Greek crown sits atop a book of Greek art.

 Of course the menu was entirely Greek, starting with avgolemono soup, followed by lamb and Greek green beans.
Dessert?  Baklava!

I really do think my friend outdid herself on this one!
I don't think I've ever seen a more elegant table setting.  
It's pure eye candy!
When I think about the effort that went in to creating it, it's mind boggling!
Want to see more eye candy from my friend?
Follow her Instagram, The Boxwood House.

I'm linking to Savvy Southern Style for Wow Us Wednesday.
Between Naps on the Porch for Tablescape Thursday
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Friday, December 16, 2016

A Tartan Christmas Table Redux

 What a surprise when I unpacked these "Joyeux Noel" salad plates, which were in storage for three years.
It was like Christmas!

I love the way they go with the tartan dinner plates and linens so much that I decided to use them for two Christmas tablescapes.
First, for last night's Christmas company dinner party...

...and second for Christmas Day dinner with family.
Afterall, I need to get my money's worth!
All $3.99 per plate from Homegoods.

Silver chargers, little trees in silver pots... 

...and the centerpiece of red and white flowers in a silver engraved champagne bucket add to the tartan tablescape.

You might remember this tablescape from Christmas 2013, featured in our old dining room.
I think it was one of my favorites.
I'm not going to lie, I miss that dining room!

But it's fun to recreate the same tablescape in our new dining room.

Even though the new dining room is much smaller, it is also more intimate.
And cozy!

The dining table fresh and updated and ready for our first Christmas in our new home!

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas!

Joyeux Noel salad plates:  Royal Stafford
Tartan plaid dinner plates:  Pacific Rim
Silver chargers, plaid linens:  Homegoods
Crystal wine hocks:  Vintage heirloom from Grandma
Red water glasses:  Vintage Anchor Hocking
Bone handled silverware:  Restoration Hardware
Mini Christmas trees and flowers:  Trader Joe's

Linking to Savvy Southern Style for Wow Us Wednesdays.
Between Naps on the Porch for Tablescape Thursday
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Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Simple Christmas Decor

 Last Thursday, I went to the San Francisco flower mart, hoping to stock up on paperwhites, garlands, wreaths and greenery to deck the halls.

Even though this is our first Christmas in our home, I'm not going all out, instead concentrating on an all natural look using flowers and plants.

 I chose holly for its long lasting quality for the newly acquired blue and white porcelain collection.
I love those paperwhites, but they're already spent!

Trader Joes had boxwood wreaths for under $10 and I loaded up to hang them on mirrors.

 For the mantel, I chose a leafy garland and white amaryllis.


 More of the same garland for the dining room chandelier.

Since we are hosting a holiday dinner next week as well as Christmas dinner for our family, I will end up at the flower mart again for centerpieces, etc.

Where is the tree, Mom?
I know.  Coming up...
This year, I'm thinking of just a small, table-top tree to sit atop the piano.
If we're feeling energetic, maybe a large tree in the family room.

I like pacing the decorating throughout the season.
It's more fun that way.
Just put on the carols and deck the halls!

Linking to Savvy Southern Style for Wow Us Wednesday.

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