Thursday, May 30, 2013

Outdoor Living, Part 3: Bring it Home

Hi everyone!!  Have you missed me?!  Sorry for the absence lately.  It is crazy 'round these parts, no joking.  Let's get back to it, shall we?

At this point, we've chosen our furniture and we've brought the garden onto the patio with our pots, planters, and containers. So, the next to do is to make the space cozy and comfy!  So, let's talk textiles!

I think the most obvious place to start is with a rug.  There are SO many options out there, ya'll.  I mean, a ton.  And for every (EVERY) budget!  Before shopping, you'll want to consider your style and your desired color palette.

If you like a graphic pattern, these are some great options:

1 * 2 * 3 * 4 * 5 * 6 * 7
If you're a more traditional/floral kind of person, here are some great ideas for that particular aesthetic:

1 * 2 * 3 * 4 * 5 * 6 * 7

If all of this is too much pattern for you, you can always go with a small-scale pattern, plain, or bordered outdoor rug, like these:

1 * 2 * 3 * 4 * 5 * 6 * 7
As you can see, these tend to be a little more muted, but that may be your thing, and that is great!  If you crave color, but aren't too sure about the graphic or patterned rugs, you can still use a plain rug and use the other textiles in the "room" to punch up the color.

Speaking of "other textiles"... it's hammer time!!  Just kidding.  It's pillow time.  (Obviously.)

Here's a selection of what's pre-made and out there to choose from right now, in all ranges of the budget spectrum.

Some warmer-hued ones...
1 * 2 * 3 * 4 * 5 * 6 * 7 * 8 * 9 * 10 * 11
Cooler tones...
1 * 2 * 3 * 4 * 5 * 6 * 7 * 8 * 9 * 10 * 11 * 12


1 * 2 * 3 * 4 * 5 * 6 * 7 * 8 * 9 * 10 * 11 
Of course, you can always hire someone to make custom pillows for you, if you're that type of person. (I always love a custom pillow.)

You may think we're out of textiles to discuss, but au contraire mon frere.  What about... drapes?!  You may think that you don't have anywhere to hang a drape outdoors, and that may be true, but any where there is a column or overhang, you can put a drape.  Here are some pictures of outdoor rooms with some lovely drapes.
courtesy of sarahleeab
over at Knight Moves
by Beach Chic Design

If you just have NO place to put drapes, you can skip it.  OR you can create a spot!

You can go easy-peasy DIY-done-in-a-day and do something like this:  (I'm pretty sure this is bamboo tied together and sunk into planters.)
at Rooftop Linnaeus blog
Or tackle a big project (or hire it out) and do a freestanding pergola for your drapes!

via Superior Awning
I just LOVE a pergola, don't you?!  Here's another (drool-worthy) one, just for fun.

created by Shade Voila
Let's meet back here soon for a wrap-up!  Part 4 of Outdoor Living is coming next week!

Do you have an idea of what you want to do, but need help putting things together or forming a concrete plan?  Don't know where to start?  Contact us for a free consultation.  We can help.  ;)

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Outdoor Living, Part 2: Contain Yourself

The next thing I want to talk about in our Outdoor Living series is: Plants!  Specifically container gardens.  Let me be clear:  the reason we are talking specifically about potted gardens is: I am not a gardener.  I have no idea where to begin, how to encourage things to grow, or what to plant where.  It's all a little overwhelming to me.  For my personal home, I worked very closely with a landscape architect to achieve a manicured look for my yard that wouldn't need a lot of maintenance that depended on anyone besides the yard man.  So, dressing up an outdoor space gives me a good opportunity to add some more garden to my backyard without screwing up what the landscape architect designed.  I'm not going to go adding flower beds willy-nilly, people!

If you're like me and are a little hesitant to go making huge (permanent) changes to your backyard's landscaping, or, if you're in the middle of a backyard patio redo and are wondering what else you need, read on!

Potted gardens (or container gardens) are a really easy, temporary, adjustable way to put more flower power on your patio.  If you change your mind about their placement, you can move them with a dolly and a little muscle flexing!

source unknown

Pots are a great way to add more color and texture to your outdoor living room!  Just look at this beauty:

The layering of all of the different heights and sizes of planters really makes this potted garden a special element in the "room."  It would just feel incomplete without all of the plants, don't you think?

Planters can separate spaces and give them all defined start and end points.  Elaine Griffin created this outdoor space using a ton of elements, so it's hard to pinpoint just exactly what makes the space so special;  but in the forefront of the picture you can see the rectangular planters she's used to really create a beginning for the space and an entrance into it.

Planters can also give a space more privacy.  Take a gander at these planters au boxwoods lining the iron fence that borders this space.  Just imagine how NOT private the space would be without them!  (And if the homeowners get sick of them, they are easily moved or changed!)

All of the green additions to this particular space really soften it up.  (Hard stucco walls, hard flagstone tile, hard concrete table... You get the point.)

Now that you can (clearly!) see the merits of potted gardens in your outdoor spaces, lets talk about types of planters.  Planters, like anything these days, come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and materials.  The best way to choose the right planter for your space is to know your style.  

If your home is country chic, you could do a galvanized planter like this:

You could also use reclaimed wood:

Aren't those charming?!

If you like a bit more traditional vibe, you can't get more classic than terra cotta pots.

Or a natural stone look:

on my Pinterest page pinned from this location

If you crave color, you can do a paint treatment on clay pots, like these by Amanda Wright of Wit & Whistle, featured in BHG.

Or buy glazed pottery like these:

found here

If you gravitate toward a more modern look, you can go with really different metal containers like these:

Found here

Or white glazed pots like these:

Bondi Pots

Now that we've got our planters selected, we have to decide what to put in the planters!!  You can pot herbs, ornamentals, veggies, trees, or succulents, but make sure whatever you plant, it is the right plant for your zone and sun exposure.  Not only are there different things to plant, there are different WAYS to plant pots.  Remember the lessons from the post about styling bookshelves?  (Find it here.)  You should apply those rules (in large part) when planting a container!  

You can plant one thing in each pot.  If you are doing the each-pot-gets-one-plant style, use pots of different sizes layered in front of one another to achieve a visually interesting look.

(source unknown)

You can plant a mixture of many things.  If you're taking the many-things-one-pot approach, think about achieving different height, using the entire pot to layer, and dropping things over the sides!

thanks to Indulgy for this image

For more inspiration photos for outdoor rooms, visit our Outdoor Living Pinterest board here.  For more planter ideas, visit our Potted & Planted Pinterest board.

For Part 1 of our Outdoor Living series, go here.

Inspired by this post, but don't know where to start?  Contact us for a free consultation specifically for your outdoor space!  We can help.  ;)

PS.  Come back soon for Outdoor Living, Part 3: Bring It Home!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Back In A Flash

Hi friends!

I'm off on an adventure celebrating my fifth wedding anniversary, so I won't be posting anything this week!  Check back next week for Outdoor Living: Part 2!


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Outdoor Living, Part 1: Have a Seat!

With all of the posts I'm reading about outdoor spaces (herehere, here, and here), I'm dying to update someone's (perhaps my own?) back yard!  The weather here is simply perfect for outdoor time right now.  So, I decided (since no one has hired me for a patio project) to write about them!  Thus was born: my "Outdoor Living" series, and this is part 1.  Welcome.

Really, the very first thing when thinking about updating the back yard is the patio hardscape itself.  We have a lovely patio made out of paving stones at our house.  Other options for decks include poured concrete (I recommend staining it, too!), a wooden deck (easy to install in a weekend), and flagstone.  Grass is (obviously) lovely in a back yard, and you can certainly create seating areas by plopping furniture down in it, but I don't have spectacularly high hopes for your relationship with your yard man OR the grass if you choose to do so.  But it's definitely an option if hardscape is non-existant and out of budget for you!

So!  Once you have your deck situation worked out, the next thing to think about is seating!  You might ask: "What type of seating do I need?"  And my response is a 2-part question: 
1.  How do you use your outdoor space?  Do you eat al fresco?  Do you sit around chatting and surfing the web while your little ones play?  Do you sunbathe beside a glittering pool?  All of the above?  
2.  How much space do you have?  You may have room for a conversation area OR a dining area. But you might have room for several different areas: conversation/lounging, eating, plus a fire pit or outdoor kitchen, perhaps?!  (More on those elements at a later date.)
Your answer to those two questions should guide you fairly well.

Let's talk materials.  There are so many options out there (especially right now), folks.  Metal frames always hold up really well, no matter what the weather.  (Unless there's salt in the air.  Then it might hold up moderately well and have a heck of a patina.)  I really love the set Kelly at View Along the Way used in her deck makeover, featured on Home Depot's blog here.

Another material I've always been really drawn to is wicker, like the lounge set pictured here:
at Crate & Barrel

Wooden furniture is also a great-looking option, but can have a really shortened life here in humid, loved-by-termites Texas.  If wooden furniture is your jam, plan on spending a pretty penny for teak.  It'll last forever.

not gonna lie: I google searched this one.

Now you might be saying to yourself: "Those all look beautiful!  What if I can't decide?"  You can definitely mix furniture types in your backyard seating arrangements.  

I have two suggestions regarding this decision: 
1.  make sure an eclectic vibe is something you're comfortable with,
2.  use one type in each space; vary by seating area only

The picture below is a great example of mixing two different styles of furniture material, but she was smart about it and used iron pieces in the lounge area and wicker in the dining area.  (Notice the very eclectic, bohemian vibe.)

courtesy of That Bohemian Girl

If you like a more calculated, less collected look, going with all one type is probably a better fit for you.  Believe it or not, they make wicker dining furniture to go with the loung-y stuff that is so popular.

Can't you just see this with chair cushions and a great table setting?!  Love.

Now, most material options are available in all different aesthetic styles, so don't be discouraged if you don't see a combo of your chosen material and style here!  There are literally hundreds of thousands of collections out there to suit every budget, style, and purpose!

What is your favorite material for outdoor furniture?  Do you have a desire to dine al-fresco on a dashing deck?  What about lounging languidly while little loved-ones lope?  (A little aliteration for you, there.)  Could your terrace (fancy!) benefit from a trained eye and a focused approach? In other words: do you want some help?  ;)

PS.  Come back soon for Outdoor Living, Part 2: Contain Yourself!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Before and After: Ms. Kay's Shelves

Today was a pretty great day, I must say.  It started out not-so-good with a damaged piece of furniture being delivered by one of those final-sale-no-returns types of online outlet places.  But it quickly turned around after I got to my newest client (and one of my favorite former teacher)'s house for a styling session!

Guys, this house is totally perfect.  When Ms. Kay had me over to do the consultation, I was astounded that she thought she needed me.  We did, however, manage to find a few places that could use just a little help.  (Really, everything looks amazing, though!)

This is a picture of the bookcases in Ms. Kay's living room before.

And after:

Here they are again:

Here are some of the individual vignettes:

Isn't the little lamp just the cutest thing ever?!  I LOVE a lamp on a bookcase.  LOVE.

I hung this special decoration on the back of the case!  It's metal and crystal.  PERFECTION.

Used the mini cake stand to collect some of the tiny vases bought in Hong Kong.

I made sure there was a spot for a fresh bloom from Ms. Kay's GORGEOUS garden.

Will you believe we didn't spend a single penny on any of the accessories on these shelves?!  I did borrow from different places around the house, though!  It doesn't have to cost a lot to have great style!

It was SUCH a pleasure to style Ms. Kay's bookshelves today, and her reaction to the work I did (tears of joy, ya'll!) made my day.  I'm excited about the rest of the projects we're going to do: I promise ya'll will be seeing more of her house soon!

What do ya'll think?  Could your house benefit from a little styling?   Do you want some help?  ;)