Creating Coastal Curb Appeal


Curb appeal creates the first impression people receive before entering your home or when passing by. It is the opportunity to create a style or identity for your home that is all of its own, join me as I share some of my favorite ideas for creating “coastal” curb appeal.

Hang Decorative Shutters– I am a huge fan of wood shutters with nautical cut-outs, bam instant coastal curb appeal especially when painted in a tropical color.


Build A Breeze Way– Slightly easier in new construction but it can also be created if your existing garage is detached and a nice distance is left between it and the house.

PicMonkey Collage

Add a Nautical Symbol, Sign or Door Knocker– Yes, it can be as simple as that and still have a big impact on the exterior.


Change Your Railing– By changing your existing spindles on your railing to a more decorative fretwork you are creating visual eye candy. Fretwork is beautiful when designed properly and inherently coastal feeling.


Style Your Stoop– Potted plants in fabulous ceramic containers that resemble the color of the ocean combined with rustic lighting and a rattan chair to create a warm coastal welcome. Here are even more ways to style your stoop for any style.


Hang a Hammock– A simple, budget friendly option to create an instant coastal entry. It doesn’t hurt that this exterior boasts palm-trees, a second floor balcony, a board-walk in front and fabulous wood shingles.


Paint A Tropical Color– Painting your house or a portion of the house in a tropical color will give the house instant coastal curb appeal. Looks fabulous when the neighbors decide to join in the fun don’t you think?

I hope these ideas inspire you to create some of your own coastal curb appeal, share your ideas with us, we would love to hear about your creations.


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How To Design Your Dream Home Office


The home office has become a standard for many of us these days with one out of five Americans working from home, reported by Forbes. Here are a few tips to consider when designing your work-space to help make it as aesthetically pleasing as it is functional.


Designate A Space– Finding a space to work in sounds like an easy task but for many of us it means rearranging, relocating and reorganizing the way we live. Just tossing a desk in the basement corner or laundry room, when you may be working several hours a day there, does not create the most inspiring work environment. Consider ditching a guest room and adding a pull-out sofa for the occasional guest or how about that rarely used dining room or living room, french doors are a nice addition in this scenario. You can always add a table with leaves for those Thanksgiving dinners.

Old & New Furnishings– Several home-offices become junk rooms for old furniture that was handed down or not currently being used. Don’t fall into this trap, find another family member that may want them or donate the pieces that don’t work in your design. Re- furbished pieces that I find work best are desks, bookcases, chairs and chandeliers. Check out How to Paint Furniture Like a Pro and think outside of the box when accessing old pieces, you may surprise yourself.

Create a Layout– If you have the entire room this is fun, you can actually decide which direction you would like to face. It is a nice option to face out into the room and have a credenza behind you or if the room has multiple functions I like when the work-station wraps the walls.


Consider Built-Ins- I am a huge fan of built-ins if they fit into your budget. When you are laying out your office it is the perfect time to decide where the built-ins will be and how they need to function. If you are handy or know an inexpensive handyman, you can achieve a built-in look on a budget by adding a bookcase to a work-surface as shown below. Cut off the base of the bookcase, add crown molding and bolt to the wall.

Don’t Forget The Lighting– One of the most important design decisions in the room that can increase your work productivity and mood when designed properly is lighting. The idea is to create an even light level in the room and to have light directly over your main work-surface. I recommend a combination of recessed lights and decorative fixtures. Just hanging a central fixture may not provide the light level you need if your work-surfaces are against the wall. If recessed lights are not in the budget you can always add a desk lamp.


My best advice is to create a room that you “want to spend time in”, one that reflects your personal style while meeting your needs for your daily tasks. Here are more tips and design advice to get you started creating your the office of your dreams.


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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.


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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!


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