Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Psst...there's a package on your front porch!

No, not really. There isn't a package on your front porch. But seriously, when was the last time you went out there? Once upon a time front porches were designed and built for the purpose of extending the living area of the home. It was a place to cool off from long hot days spent in the fields, or to share a glass of lemonade with your neighbors. Think about it....when was the last time you actually enjoyed your front porch? Maybe it's time to stop pulling into your garage and heading straight inside! Pretend you are a visitor and head to the front door! Take a moment to figure out what's missing!

Life has become so complicated and fast-paced that we hardly pay attention to our porches! Unless you are lucky enough to have a beautiful view from your porch it's unlikely you've sat and relaxed on yours recently. They are still quite popular in home designs, but not many homeowners know what to do with them!

With a little bit of attention, you'll get a lot of reward! I recommend starting with a walkway. What says, "Come on over!" or "Welcome to our home." more than a walkway to your front porch? Make your walkway nice and wide, and think about adding some interest. Even a slight curve can change the look & feel of your entryway. Consider using some lighting along the way.

 Now that I've got you on my porch, what's next? A fun and creative way to add some style to your porch is by adding some interesting trim pieces like the ones seen here. There are many different varieties available to suit your taste or your needs. It can add a little bit of privacy or just a beautiful design element.

Lighting is also a key element to your front porch. While your lights need to be functional, keep in mind that they set the mood for the entire house. So often I see houses with outdoor lighting that is just too small. Keep in mind the size and scale of your home when choosing your lights. I love this front porch ~ the scale and design of the lanterns are just perfect!

You don't have to spend a ton of money to make your front entry way look like it hasn't been forgotten. Simply giving your front door a new coat of paint in a splashy color will do the trick!

Break away from the traditional black and try one of these fun colors! Pair it with a stand out door knocker or mix it up with diamond shaped mullions on the door.

If space allows, I always like to add seating for at least two people. Of course you can't go wrong with the traditional rocking chairs, but there are also so many updated designs available today, all in weather resistant materials. Even a simple painted bench, like this one from +Pottery Barn can spruce up the look of your front entryway.

Change the pillows with the seasons and voila! Everyone will want to sit with you! Or, bring back the porch swing. This one by The Porch Store is just perfect for that afternoon nap!

I'm not going to lie, I love the idea of a daybed swing and outdoor window treatments. It's just so romantic! Here are some of my favorites.

Porch design can range from simple to outrageous. Peaceful to useful, budget conscious to expensive. Whatever your taste or budget may be, it's a part of our home that should not be overlooked. After all, you only get one chance to make a first impression!



Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Nature never goes out of style

My love for nature started at an early age. I simply love the colors, texture, sights and sounds of the outdoors. That's why I LOVE the opportunity to take my design outside this time of year. I'm able to use nature's beauty to create a beautiful and functional outdoor space for families to enjoy. Over the years some great new products and outdoor designs have popped up, but I still love to integrate natural products whenever and wherever possible.

+Freshome recently published an article on some of this years hottest outdoor design trends. I have to admit, I love them all! A yard is an extension of our living space. It doesn't have to be big to be useful. Having a smart, beautiful design outside is just as important as having one on the inside. Your exterior is the first impression of your home. It should reflect your personality.

So where do you begin?

You can never go wrong with a fire pit. There is nothing better than sitting around a fire with family or friends and looking up at the stars. A fire pit can serve you well through many seasons, make s'mores in the summer or chase the chills away in the fall.
Enjoying the evening outside, possible with a fire pit – Rick O’donnell Architect

I am just loving the shape and placement of this firepit! 

I'll take the view that goes with this firepit too please!

I love to take any opportunity I can to use natural materials and there's no more fitting place to do so than in your yard. I am not going to lie to you...it's more costly upfront to use stone, or real wood materials but they will last longer and in the end, you'll actually come out ahead.

Beautiful natural stone bench from Finnerty LLC

 If you are short on space but want to be big on style, try installing a wall garden like this one by Debora Carl

Wonderful example of a neat wall garden – Debora Carl

We installed this wall garden at the York Decorators Showhouse. Instead of looking at a blank wall of siding this wall stands out as if there's a beautiful piece of artwork hanging there! Much easier on the eyes!

You should also remember to use plantings that are native to your region. No sense in planting something pretty, only to find out it won't survive long in your local climate. Native plants will be happier in your garden and thus thrive.
Most importantly, we should all remember to unplug and go outside. Breathe in the fresh air, soak up some sunshine, listen to the birds.


Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Home is where your mom is...

Homes are like moms, reliable, strong and beautiful. That said, your home should be that place that wraps you in a warm hug, it's always there for you when you need it, it holds you quietly when need be, or let's you be loud when the spirit moves you. It loves you even when you aren't loving it back (for the moment).  And just like your mother, your home can sometimes get overlooked, because it's so reliable and you know it (or she) will always be there for you. Sometimes we simply forget to stop and give it a little love.

Maybe this weekend, for Mother's Day, it's time to show your mom, and your home how much they are loved and appreciated!

After you've celebrated mom, how about a little something for your own home? Perhaps an inexpensive refresh!?

Here are a few of my latest, and greatest favorite finds.

I'm loving this beautiful fabric by Duralee. The orange creates a great pop of color & Mr. Octopus is just so cool!

If orange is not your thing, these pillows from +West Elm have a softer tone, but will work well with pretty much any color d├ęcor and they still feel fresh & summery.

Pair them with this cool daybed from +West Elm and you've got yourself a cozy place to relax with a good book...or a nap!

If you're looking to add some POP! of color, these should do the trick for you!

A knitted yellow pouf from +CB2 

 I love how this rug from Surya pulls together so many colors. The possibilities are endless!

Add some artwork, also from Surya, and a pretty blue lamp from +angelo:HOME Store and you've got a fresh new look!

So here's to celebrating all those strong, reliable moms and homes who are all so beautiful on the inside and out!