Coastal Living At Its Finest: Corona Del Mar, CA


In addition to my own tiny beach cottage I am working on several estates due to Hurricane Sandy. I was searching for inspiration for a client that wants to use a circular window and I came across this gem from Brandon Architects. Located in the picturesque community of Corona Del Mar (Spanish for Crown of the Sea), Newport Beach on historic Ocean Boulevard overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Attention to detail and luxury living, a winning combination perched above the seaside.


Natural materials, driftwood hues with touches of blue are combined with subtle nautical inspiration and stunning architectural detail inside and out.



Here is the window that drew me to the house, a picture frame for magnificent sunsets. The master suite is a soothing blend of white and pastel hues allowing the exterior beauty to become the focal point of the room. The master bath incorporates a fabulous central shower with a Carrara mosaic floor that adds just the right amount of sheen.




Part of Newport Beach, Corona Del Mar has an aesthetic all its own, vintage cottages and stunning new houses sit side-by-side on flower- named streets. This home combines elements of a vintage cottage with cutting edge design surrounded by natural beauty. I hope you have enjoyed the tour and have the opportunity to visit California, I honestly haven’t been to an area I didn’t fall in love with.


Images via

How To Use Chalk Paint Like A Pro


In my Just Ask category I receive dozens of questions about painting furniture and I love sharing ideas and tips that have been passed down in my family. Recently the questions pertain to chalk paint so I wanted to share how I like to use it and exactly what it is for my readers that are just learning about it.


What is chalk paint- Often confused with chalkboard paint which it is not. Chalkboard paint is also a favorite but you use it to create a chalkboard that you can draw on with chalk. Chalk paint is a velvety smooth, matte finish paint that is easy to use with just about no priming necessary and can be used indoors as well as outdoors.

Select Your Color- I adore Annie Sloans Chalk Paints, her colors are exquisite and feel fabulously antique and French. You can’t go wrong if you have a basic idea of the design aesthetic you are looking to achieve.

Select Your Finish- Which finish fits your design aesthetic best; sleek and smooth, a vintage distressed feel or a wash that allows the wood grain to show through.

Create A Smooth Finish- For a smooth finish add a little water to the chalk paint and use a flat brush. It is easy to apply and the results are always consistent.


Create a Distressed Finish- For a vintage feel thicken up the paint by leaving the lid off and apply with a bristle brush. Once fully dried I use a hand sander to distress the areas where natural wear would take place, sand paper also works.

Create A Wash- For a finish that allows the wood grain to show through with subtle color add more water. Don’t be afraid of mixing chalk paints or adding water, it is a very forgiving product to work with.

Protect Your Work- Use a clear wax to protect the finish, Annie Sloan has one or Minwax Clear Wax also works well.

The best part of chalk paint is that you can use it on wood, plastic and even metal. You can easily revitalize an old piece of furniture, increase your curb appeal by painting your shutters or give the floor a fresh feel, you are going to love it!


Image {1,2,3}

Five Steps To Design Your Bathroom


Whether you are renovating an existing bathroom or building a new home there are certain tips for designing and renovating that I follow every time.

aayes3 1. The Process- What does the process of renovating a bathroom entail and what will it cost? The steps to renovation are; rent a dumpster, cap off the water sources, remove the fixtures, gut the bathroom down to the studs, install rough plumbing and electrical, install the proper sheetrock for the shower and walls, install tile, install the fixtures, install vanity and paint. A typical full bathroom cost ranges from $8,000 to $25,000. A DIY bathroom is about $3,000.00.

2. Contractor or DIY- The first choice is to hire someone or to “Do It Yourself”. If you are hiring someone I recommend having three contractors bid on the project, you also gain three different perspectives which can be helpful. DIY includes electrical and plumbing so you may want to hire an electrician and/or plumber for part of the project but there are still plenty of things you will be responsible for as you just read.

3. Time to Design- Layout the plan considering where the current plumbing is located if renovating. Keeping the plumbing close to where it is currently located will be kinder on your budget. Once you have decided where the fixtures and vanity will be its on to lighting design. I like a combination of recessed fixtures and decorative wall mounted fixtures. I also recommend deciding the fan location at this time which I prefer in a corner on the ceiling. When you select your tile create a tile plan; will the floor be straight or on an angle, will there be tile on the walls, what will the shower interior walls look like, will the shower floor be tile or a pan and is there any decorative tile? Don’t forget to add a shelf on the inside of the shower, recessed shelves are my favorite.


4. Selecting Materials & Fixtures- A fun step as a designer but one that can be frustrating if you have never done it. I recommend finding inspiration bathrooms to work from, I have dozens here. It will simplify the process and help narrow down your choices for; tile, counter-tops, vanities, toilet bowls/sinks/faucets, lighting and accessories

5. Project Management- Even if you have General Contractor overseeing his contractors you will still need to manage the process. This means making the selections, placing orders, following up on deliveries, scheduling, making sure the project stays on budget and that the scope of work is being carried out properly and in a timely manner.

A fresh new bathroom is such a treat and can feel like a vacation. I hope these steps help guide you through the process, here are even more tips and remember you can always email me.


Image {1,2,3}

A Country Treehouse



My obsession with treehouses and tiny homes is alive and kickin, I think it has to do with the idea of living more simply with exactly what you need verses want. Something I could probably never do LOL. Today’s “treehouse” tour combines the charm of cottage chic styling with attention to detail and function.

My favorite treehouse designs are those that blend in with their surroundings, seamlessly integrated into the environment. This treehouse does exactly that, built around the tree trunks incorporating vintage pieces and cottage design elements. It also has a wrap around deck to enjoy the beautiful views and sunsets. A pop of vibrant blue complements the antique stained glass window, lovely.





Every inch of the house it utilized including a sleeping loft, kitchen area and dining table. Simple lace is hung over the window and hand-made quilts are the perfect accessory.







Who says tree houses are just for kids? I think this is the perfect spot to settle in with a good book and a cup tea in the afternoon or cocktails at sunset, I really need to build one.


Images via