Gorgeous Coastal Living

While in Rochester NY last week I drove by this gorgeous picturesque scene and just had to turn around for a picture.  I LOVE everything about this coastal home…the immaculately manicured yard, the shingles on the roof, the gray-on-white  color scheme, and more than anything, that view!  And not just from the street, can you imagine the view from that sunroom?

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Picture Perfect!

 


Florida Summer Homes

If you’ve lived in South Florida, you’re probably familiar with the “snow birds”.  Every year flocks of Northerners descend by the thousands on the Florida coasts, turning typically sleepy beach towns into vibrant, bustling beach destinations. For many this is an annual migration and most have summer homes ready to inhabit between the months of December through April.

Last August I spent a few days in Bonita Springs located on the west coast. My sister has a condo there so it’s a familiar destination for me.  Bonita is a relatively small beach town with it’s fair share of summer homes. This particular street is lined with Royal Palms and flanked on both sides with amazing Florida homes, each as unique as the next one.  Some have permanent residents, but most are boarded up and serve as the summer homes of the snow birds!  I share with you some of my favorites.

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A Quaint Backyard Patio

Now that the weather is getting cooler, we’ll be spending a lot more time outside, making this a great time to spruce up your outdoor space, which is exactly what we did in this quaint backyard patio.

Before

Sometimes, we don’t pay as much attention to the outdoor living areas, but just like our interiors, it’s important to create the right “feeling” for maximum comfort, relaxation and fun!

For this patio, the client’s request was clear and simple…”we want it to be fun, a party area”, so we went bold on the colors , infusing vibrant shades of blues and greens. Continue reading…


Trend Alert – Patio String Lights

Soon, it’ll be time once again to enjoy the outdoors, at least more frequently than in these current 105 degree Dallas days!  Next month is September with promises of cooler temperatures.  A wonderful time of year to enjoy dining and drinking under the stars.

This year, why not try a little mood lighting?

String lights are most popular during the Christmas holidays, but they can be used year round.  In Europe, they’re commonplace in many gardens and patios.  They’re an economical and not-permanent lighting option that is more about “mood” than about light.

You certainly don’t want to go overboard like you would at Christmas, but go ahead and border the perimeter or outline your overhang.  It’ll transform your outdoor space to a magical place.

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My Sister’s Garden

On a recent visit to Miami, I had a great time taking photos of my sister’s garden.  It’s a colorful and versatile garden…full of beautiful flowers, vegetables, fruits, foliage…the variety is incredible!  All delicately loved.

Peppers and Tomatoes

Lemons and Avocados

But it’s the FLOWERS that take the show!

Can you believe how gorgeous these are?  And there’s more…

The cashew tree

The garden feels wonderfully casual and random.

Thanks ST, for sharing it with us.

Hope I’ve inspired!


Ideas To Take Outdoors

Spring is in the Air…

Before you know it, Spring will be in full bloom! I love Spring. You can feel the renewal and the energy in the air, which makes it the perfect time to live outdoors.

So, whether you have a grand patio with a pool, or a modest balcony, your outdoor space should be comfortable, inviting, stylish and reflect your personality. Here are 10 simple ways to boost the energy of your outdoor space.

Put Out a Bird Bath

Bird baths are sculptural art for the yard. They come in all shapes and styles. Find one you love and place it where you can see it. Our feather friends are sure to appreciate it as the weather gets hotter, and there’s nothing more precious than seeing little birds splash in the water.

Wind Chimes

If you don’t have a wind chime, I highly recommend them.  Not only are they pieces of art, but their soothing tones promote relaxation and reduce stress, anger and tension.  Their tone will depend on how they’re made and what they’re made of.  So, listen before you buy.  I personally prefer the deep baritone sounds, but the important thing is, how the sound make YOU feel.

Add a Fountain

If you love the “water” idea, but not the wildlife, try adding a fountain. Whether a standing or a wall fountain, there’s nothing like the sound of water. Many fountains are inexpensive, easy to install and create enormous atmosphere. You might consider looking into solar fountains too.

A Portable Fire Pit

Now that you have a water feature, bring in the FIRE!  Like water, fire evokes warmth, life and energy.  And today, there are many ways to enjoy fire outdoors without actually having an outdoor fireplace.

Outdoor Curtains

What better way to bring the intimate indoor atmosphere outside? Outdoor curtains are not only beautiful but also functional. Depending on where you hang them, they can provide privacy plus heat, sun and mosquito protection. But DO make sure they’re made for the outdoors. Interior panels won’t hold up to the elements.

Suspended Relaxation

Have you considered a hammock?  No matter if you hang it between 2 trees or the stand it comes with….once you’ve experience this suspended relaxation, you’ll wonder how you ever did without one.

Or how about this hanging lounge?!  This outdoor hanging lounge looks like a bird nest. It’s the perfect place for relaxation, meditation and conversation outdoors.  It’s called Nestrest and was designed by Dedon, a German company that creates really amazing furniture for outdoors .

Wall Decor

If you’re lucky enough to have an outdoor space with a wall, you should take full advantage of it.  There are no rules that say you can’t hang art outside.  And there are no rules that say “art” has to be a painting.  Clocks, canvases, sconces, murals, wreaths, iron…as long as it can withstand the elements, it can be used outside.

Container Gardens

It’s SO much easier to water and maintain a container garden than one planted on the ground, especially if space and time are limited.  Yet, the impact is no less colorful. Container gardens are perfect for annuals, and allow you to create and enjoy a garden anywhere you want to place it.

Hanging Ferns

I LOVE hanging ferns.  Oh, I suppose there are many plants that you can hang on your porch, but there’s something exquisitely Southern about a fern that just screams “hospitality”.  Think of them as an annual accessory…you can get them for less than $10 each, water them frequently and they’ll last through the summer getting bigger and lusher.

Area Rugs

Here’s another design element that I’m passionate about…area rugs!  Today’s outdoor rugs are not the same as even 5 years ago.  With modern weaving techniques and modern yarns, today’s outdoor rugs are durable and more colorful than ever.

Yes, Spring is almost here.

Hope these have inspired you to breath in the air,soak in the sun and enjoy your outdoors!

Till Next Time,

Alba



Furniture for Outdoor Living

I’ve been a member of the Interior Design Society for 10 years, and currently serving as treasure of the IDS Dallas/Ft Worthchapter.  Most months, our chapter…an amazing group of women in the design field, visit with new resources and are introduced to the latest products, styles and trends. 

This month, we visited Janus et Cie, a supplier and manufacturer of casual furniture, primarily for the outdoors.  But this is not your run-of-the-mill outdoor furniture.  It is quality and style at it’s best.

I was most impressed with the uniqueness of the many styles.  All of them stylish enough to be used outside AND inside. 

I was also impressed with the quality.  While they carry some brands, most peices are proprietary and the craftsmanship and materials are top notch.

 

This table below and dining chairs also come in a few other color options.  It is one of their best sellers.  The surprising part is that most buyers are using them inside the house.

Umbrellas are a big part of outdoor living.  The base on this one rotates 350 degrees. 

This chair is part of their teak collection.  Although it LOOKS like teak, it’s made from recycled plastic.  All the beauty of teak, without the maintenance.

Outdoor spaces are extensions of our indoor living areas.  So it makes sense that we make them as beautiful and comfortable as your interiors.  And with so many new and fun styles out there, it’s never been easier.

 For more styles and outdoor ideas, go to the Janus et Cie Website.

A big thank you fo Jennifer Janian, manager of the Janus et Cie Dallas Showroom, for a very informative presentation and the awesome hospitality.

 Till Next time,

Alba

 

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