A Summer Table + Outdoor Ideas Party!

May 19th, 2011

Greetings everyone, welcome to the link par-tay celebrating the great outdoors!

cg kates summer table

May means the kids will soon be out of school and the days are getting longer.  The sun sets later, the weather is warmer, and that means we will be dining outdoors most evenings, so why not spruce up our mini outdoor dining space?  Yes indeedy, that’s what I did!

Just last week I popped into Anthropologie in NYC and spied the Tahitian Vine tablecloth with a fabulous ruffle detail, but it was $98 dollars, ouchy.  I was so inspired I decided I neeeeeeeded to create my own version of a bold and bright floral tablecloth with ruffled trim, but with an outdoor fabric that would resist fading.  I picked this vibrant pattern in a playful floral, than I stitched up a quick tablecloth, and added a flirty striped pleat along the bottom.

 

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Breaking Design Rules

May 18th, 2011

A reader recently wrote in and asked an important question when it comes to designing a space.  Leah W.  wondered whether some design rules were made to be broken and were there a few examples or illustrations for successfully breaking those rules? 

I asked Courtney to tackle this topic, and he is back this month with his fabulous insight!  Courtney asked a group of designers to look at issues that they encounter on a regular basis with their clients, and asked what are those design rules or commandments that are made to be broken?

Design Commandments Made to be Broken, by Courtney Lake

“When I was researching this article, I was reminded of the countless essays I wrote in high school where I used the definition of a word or phrase to introduce an idea.  Strangely, using this clichéd approach makes sense when you are writing an article on breaking design rules.  There are some deeply held beliefs that have engrained themselves within our design psyches.  For better or worse, they prescribe how we have decorated our homes for decades. So when you “break” them, what exactly are you doing?  Well according to Webster Dictionary you are breaking:

One of a set of explicit or understood regulations or principles governing conduct within a particular activity or sphere…..

Design rules give guidelines for how furniture, lighting and accessories should relate and interact within your home.  But what if you “rocked the boat” as every good designer does, picking those which make sense for your space and tossing out the rest?  Before you break these design rules, it’s best to understand why they are important.

A solid understanding of the principles of design is crucial if you want to break them successfully, so I asked four design experts their opinions on what design commandments should be tossed aside.  They each gave insight on some old and new rules that we all should gleefully break to get the homes we want. 

Design Commandment #1: Thou Shalt Not Place Large Furniture in a Small Room

Common sense tells us that if a space is small, we should scale the furniture to fit the room.  Wrong!  Design legend John Dickinson built a career out of placing out of scale furniture in rooms.  A large bed can easily be placed into a small bedroom or a large couch in a small den.  The tricks to bending this design commandment are placement and color.  As long as the furniture doesn’t block the natural sightlines of the room and is within the same color palette, the furniture will read as a unified whole, tricking you into thinking the room is larger.

Image1_FreshHome

Freshome

Image2_CandaceOlsen

Candace Olsen

 

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Project Patio Begins

May 17th, 2011

Some people have written to me asking, “Hey Kate, we’ve seen the close-ups of your flowering plants, but why have you never given us a full tour of your backyard?” 

*crickets* 

Okay, I’ll be completely frank. There are sections of our yard I’m rather proud of, like our grapevines, my lavender plants and my perennial beds which give me gorgeous blooms. Then there are sections that, truth be told, are still in an unfinished state, hence the silence on the backyard tour. 

We have a very nice courtyard area next to the house (will show that on Thursday at the ‘Outdoor Ideas’ par-tay) but we also have a large patio area we’ve never fixed up, times are tight doncha know.  We’ve grown Syrah grapes in our back hill for the last ten years (you can spy them growing to the left) and this is the one area of our yard that has the best view.  But as you can see, as of today, this space has nothing going for it except a pretty good BBQ.  

upper patio before

I have a decent set of outdoor furniture, but my cushions are several years old and the fabric is ripped and in my opinion, pretty gross.  This patio zone has been in need of some serious help for some time.  The other day, I was contacted by American Express Membership Rewards, offering me access to points to show people how to spruce up an outdoor space.  Count me in, cause I have the perfect space that is in dire need! 

The assignment?  Create a stylish outdoor space that provides shade and comfort to relax and entertain guests in the summer months.  Also, we plan to fill in this circular patio (below) I mentioned earlier this year as part of our Home Goals of 2011.   I’m not quite sure how at the moment, but I’m looking at all options, including mosaic tile and various stones. 

fill circular patio

 

I need your advice.  I’m still coming up with a design plan, but I need to know, what do you see happening in this space?  A pergola or cabana?  An outdoor rug, new cushions, planters, a few outdoor accessories?  That’s what I have in mind so far.  I would love to hear what you think I should do.  Those of you who have tackled this kind of patio, what do you recommend?  Tile, flagstone, slate, cement?  Do share your tips.

I will be redeeming points and shopping at these specific retailers: Home Depot, Kohls, Crate + Barrel, Pottery Barn, West Elm, and Restoration Hardware.  There is so much potential here, so stay tuned for all the updates over the next few weeks as we transform this space with a few DIY projects!

Disclosure: I have been provided with 150,000 complimentary American Express Membership Rewards points to spruce up this outdoor space. 

 

 

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