Archive for the ‘Outside’ Category

A few weeks ago, I noticed that one of the blogs I follow started doing something called “Wordless Wednesday.”  Then a few weeks later, another.  Call me slow, but apparently this wordless business is sweeping the blogosphere, and as a working mom of two who is attempting to set up house, keep up a blog she loves and do some design work on the side, all without moving to Crazyville, I’m totally for it. 

So here’s my contribution to Wordless Wednesday…a sneak peek of our new-to-us house. 

Then (a mere 4 weeks ago)…

…and now

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Fence FabricJust a couple of months after my husband and moved into our first home, giant metal fence posts showed up on the side property line separating our house from our neighbor.  First, we were concerned — had we done something wrong?  Had we offended him?  But then we got annoyed.  We were first time homeowners, so we didn’t really know any better, but it just felt wrong that a neighbor would but up a giant, u-g-l-y, chain-link fence in the front of our property without, at the very least, leaving a note on our door.  

So we gathered up our joint gusto and headed next door, trying to convince him that the chain-link monstrosity was not the way to go.  How about a natural barrier of shrubs? Um, no, the decision has already been made to have a fence.  Then how about a nice extension of our beautiful backyard cedar fence…our treat? Sorry, the posts are already in and my mother is paying for it. (hmmm…) 

We’ll never really know why he (or his mother, I suppose) wanted to put up that dang thing, but we sure wish we had known about Fence Fabric at the time, because a faux stone wall, some everlasting foliage, or heck, even a cow pasture would’ve been better looking than that thing he put up.

{Thanks, Rochelle of Studio G, for the great resource!}

Photo credit: “Brent Wood Wall” by Fence Fabric

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Butterfly Chairs

Urban Outfitters Butterfly ChairI don’t know if they’re making a resurgence, or if the great lounge chair from my childhood home just happens to be everywhere I am right now, but Butterflies seem to be following me.  First, a month or so ago while passing through Urban Outfitters — a foldable version with a leather cover.  Then in a Ralph Lauren Home ad while reading the Sunday Times.  A few weeks later, two set side-by-side as the seating area in a newly-opened local clothing boutique.  And finally, the very chair from my childhood on a recent visit to Vermont. 

Butterfly chairs, designed by Argentinian architect Jorge Ferrari-Hardoy in 1938, became commercially available when Knoll began producing them in 1947.  Since then, numerous manufacturers have produced versions of the original design, and today you can find them a retailers ranging from Modern Furniture Classics to Circa50 to PB Teen

It’s shape and endless cover choices means the incredibly versatile Butterfly can give a room a strong design statement and be used nearly everywhere.  In my house growing up, our Butterfly chair played a leading role indoors, but they can make a really stunning set up outside too, just check out the patio at the Parker Palm Springs

 Parker Palm Springs.AT


Image credit: Apartment Therapy

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Watering-Can Shower

MSLO Watering Can ShowerNow that summer has finally arrived (better late than never), I’m looking forward to long barefooted days outside.  Although the kid-proof rug in my mudspace is terrific for stopping tracked-in dirt, after my boys spend a couple of hours digging in the yard excavating dinosaurs, they’re ready for a wash-down.  Rather than giving their toesies a full-force hosing, I love this stylish and sensible idea from Martha Stewart.  Place a teak bath mat (a great slip-free surface) and a full watering can by the back door to rinse off dirty or sandy feet before coming inside.  Another dual-use option is a galvanized boot tray, souped up with drilled-in drainage holes and filled with smooth pebbles — should the rain come again (and you know it will), bring it inside and use it as a parking space for your wellies.

Image credit: Martha Stewart

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Goofproof Gardening

CalibrachoaWith crossed fingers that the sun will come out and stay out, I plan to hit my local garden center at the end of this week.  I’m notoriously bad about getting plants into the ground early in the season (somehow Massachusetts’ unoffocial gardening start date of May 15 always comes and goes without a second thought), but I’m not feeling so bad about it this year given the rain-induced plant mildew that seems to be appearing.  Anyway, Real Simple’s list of 10 almost-impossible-to-kill “goofproof” plants will definitely come in handy as I put together my shopping list:

  1. Verbena (full sun, heat-tolerant, let dry out before watering)
  2. New Guinea impatiens (partial sun, partial shade, keep moist)
  3. Geranium (full sun, heat-tolerant, drought-tolerant)
  4. Euphorbia (full to partial fun, partial shade, drought-tolerant)  
  5. Purple fountain grass (full to partial sun, partial shade, heat-tolerant, let dry out before watering)
  6. Coleus (partial sun, partial to full shade, heat-tolerant, keep moist)
  7. Calibrachoa (full sun, let dry out before watering)
  8. Sweet-potato vine (full to partial sun, partial shade, heat-tolerant, let dry out before watering)
  9. Begonia (full to partial sun, partial shade, heat-tolerant, drought-tolerant, let dry out before watering)
  10. Lantana (full sun, heat-tolerant, drought-tolerant, let dry out before watering)

Image: Cabaret White Calibrachoa

Image credit: Real Simple.com

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French Bull PicnicOver the weekend I heard a depressing statistic…here in Boston and the surrounding area, we’ve had a grand total of three days of sun in June.  Since we don’t, in fact, live in Seattle, I think enduring the ongoing deluge deserves some sort of medal, or at least this sassy and summery picnic set from French Bull.  The heavy duty insulated backpack is filled with non-breakable service for four, cutting board, salt & pepper shakers, corkscrew, bottle opener and an oversize blanket — ready for the moment that the sun comes out.  Tomorrow?

French Bull Blanket Picnic Set, $150

Image credit: French Bull

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DSC00691Ever since I started this blog (a whole month ago) I have found myself even more inspired and determined to do things to my house than I was prior to my first post.  So it only seems natural that one recent day when I was home with my kids, I became possessed with the idea of redoing our plain vanilla back door breezeway into something a little more welcoming.  And here’s the thing: I decided I had to do it that day (my husband can tell you I have issues with instant gratification and sometimes it manifests itself in really odd ways).

So it was set.  I packed the kids in the car, made two quick stops (my local paint store and Lowe’s, where I had to run an errand anyway), and the minute the boys were ready for their nap, I was masking off the door lights.  Two hours and $40 gave me the makeover hit I needed…here’s how I did it:DSC00795

1) Added color: I painted the doors (one to the house, one to the garage) Benjamin Moore’s Concord Ivory, a sunny yellow that I have used in my house already, so I didn’t need to mess around with testing colors.

2) Introduced artwork: I hung a fun, inexpensive piece of art that I had recently moved out my living room.  It’s a piece from Target that’s printed on vinyl, so no worries about the weather!

3) Gave us an ID: Until the redo, we hadn’t had house numbers on our back entrance.  It was time to admit most people enter through our back door.

4) Put up a mailbox: We finally gave the USPS a proper place to leave all my magazines — no more mail all over the floor. This is the one thing that I had to do after the boys woke up, since the second coat of paint hadn’t dried by the time they awoke.DSC00802

At some point I would love to add a new light fixture and a small bench (which is why the artwork is hung high), but until then, this redo is exactly what I needed.

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