Have you ever walked up to a home and stopped to see what kind of gravel or cement you were stepping on? If so, it’s quite possible the walkway had a great visual appeal that spoke to you. We will call this a Walkway That Talked. Sure, visual appeal is great, but we’d like a little audio with that too. Listed are a few walkways that just might appeal to you.
Pea gravel walkways provide a satisfying crunch! Underfoot and are especially at home in country and cottage settings. A solid edging keeps stones from escaping, and landscape cloth underneath keeps weeds under wraps. A landscape contractor will charge about $2 per sq. ft. But you can DIY for half of that!
Natural Stone. A flagstone walkway made from quarried stone is unmatched for natural beauty. Local stone is usually attractively priced because it isn’t inflated with shipping costs. So crack open your Geography book... or Google…and learn what types of stone are local in your neighborhood. You can set those beauties about three inches apart and let herbs grow between them. Creeping thyme, oregano, and chamomile are good ground cover options-that release a nice scent when walked on. Or have a ¼ inch grout fill to create a more organized and clean look.
Boxwoods and Brick. There is something about the look of white, red and bright green shrubbery that never seems to fade. This combination has been defining walkways for centuries, and looks especially good in traditional settings but both elements need upkeep. Boxwood (Buxus sempervirens) is a tough, glossy-green evergreen that even looks good in winter- trim it often to keep it under control. With time, brick walkways may settle and buckle; pry out individual bricks and reset them by digging them out or adding new sand.
Mixing Materials. Combining different elements is a great way to give walkways (and the front of your home) personality. Geometric designs bring you eye immediately downward which overall makes your home even more unique. Plastic and metal edging keeps materials from wandering and make sure the design stays in place. You’ll pay $12 to $26 per sq. ft. for this type of customized walkway, depending on the type of stone you choose and complexity of the design.
DIY Spruce UP. Square concrete patio pavers set in sod made a nice walkway but needed a little oomph to add a visual impact, and make maintenance easier! Try setting concrete slabs in groups of squares and rectangles about two to four inches apart and filling that space with red lava rock ($4.50 per bag). Solar walkway lights ($3 each) will enhance the look in both day and night, and finally some happy red geraniums complete the new look.
Now that you have learned a couple new tricks on creating a dramatic effect with your walkway, feel free to explore. Head down to your nearest Home Improvement store! Your design is only limited to your imagination.
A few days ago I found myself thinking, “Placement is everything!” Why? As a temporary Barista, I had accidentally burnt my hand with 250-degree water. I will admit that I am a clumsy individual, but never have I caused a serious injury to myself. I had traded shifts with another employee who decided to move the banana basket under the water, and there appeared to be enough room for my cup. However, upon taking my full cup of water out for my customer the banana stem had caught the bottom of the cup, causing the hot water to spill over a good chunk of my hand.
Now I don’t blame my co-worker. In fact, I blame the previous Architect or Interior Designer, who had built that “Coffee Shop” as a gift shop, and that’s it. The space was not designed to hold multiple machines, water lines and excessive amounts of coffee. If they had previously thought about making the space a coffee shop, then this individual simply had not thought things through. So today, we will talk about the importance of placement, for all objects. Everything in your home should have a designated place. Your “junk drawer” that we all have lingering near our office or kitchen; should only be ONE drawer. Even then, you should have a pretty confident idea on what lives in that disorganized drawer.
Need help understanding how things work in your home? Take one day, just one to carry with you a small note pad. Every time you leave one room- write down what you used. In a separate column make notes on how easy it was to access. By doing this, you will not only recognize all of the unnecessary “needs” you have lingering in your cupboards, but you will find a better way to organize your rooms. Here are a few examples:
KIDS. If you have children, you might be on the verge of finding it to be impossible on getting them to clean up. Now in order to get them to clean up, you too must show them that cleaning can be easy…because it can! Use colorful baskets for toys, clothes, shoes, and more. If they are old enough, take them shopping with you. A child will always respect an object more if they felt like they purchased it. Finally, when you have set aside areas for these lovely bins or baskets, create times of the day to clean their spaces. Whether you teach them that after each time they go play in a room, or after every meal. Make a game out of cleaning it up (maybe the ground is lava, and you don’t want the toys to melt!). Finally, Understand that your kids listen and watch you, all the time. If they hear you complaining about cleaning, they will complain; likewise, if they see that you leave rooms messy, so will they.
FOOD. The refrigerator can be your friend and your worst enemy. However, a way to minimize looking into a fridge for more substance is to clean your shelves, use Ziploc baggies with labels, and designate spaces for: Dairy, Veggies, Fruits, Snacks, Sauces, and Meats/ Cheeses. Find a day once a month to clean your shelves. By cleaning simply and yet everyday objects you will find your mind becoming uncluttered itself.
BOWLS & TRAYS. Make sure they can stand on uneven surfaces, and make sure they can hold with added weight. A simple way to make sure you don’t purchase an unstable object is by placing the bowl or tray on the store floor and then making sure it can hold the weight of your purse or wallet, without rocking or falling over. After you purchase your beautiful organization helper, place it in a spot where it is either so obvious or so hidden that no one can hit it on accident.
SHOES. If you are like my husband, you have an extreme tendency to take off your shoes as you close the front door, and if you’re like me you get a little ticked that seven pairs of shoes are piled up next to the first place every stranger and friend walks in. You want to make a good impression, but you also want those shoes hidden! To solve this simple dilemma acquire a bench or tiered rack, place large baskets, tubs, or matts in the necessary slots where shoes can remain hidden and yet ready to access as you prepare your daily adventure.
MAKEUP. I personally don’t like to publically display how vain I can be, so my makeup is in a drawer. If yours is too, and you have trouble separating your hair from your foundation listen up! Next time you order something online-keep that cardboard box! Or parts of it. Use the flaps to cut out dividers for the necessary sections of makeup world: your go-to brush in the bottom, foundation and powder in the top left…etc. etc.
OFFICE SPACE. At work or at home, you can be certain that one day the papers will suddenly form their own skyscraper. A great way to minimize this is with simple Walmart filing bins or any wire paper tray. They don’t have to be by category or even make sense, but the simple fact that you have something in a compact and organized-like stack will make you look like a pro.
Now that you have a few tips, go out and explore your home. What do you truly need? What could someone else use more than you do? How do you operate on good days and on terrible days? How do we make your life simpler? You have all these keys, all you need to do is a little soul searching.
Who here wants a beautiful outdoor living space? I know I do! With warmer temperatures, bright blue skies, and sunny days what’s not to lure you outside? If you’re planning on doing any of your eating or lounging out there, then it’s time to rethink how that area looks and feels. Short on space? A few square inches can go a long way. Tight budget? Work with what you already own. No garden or greenery? No big deal. From yards and terraces to patios and porches, these easy decorating ideas can work for any spot you have big plans for beautifying.
Patio Primer. Give your outdoor space a fresh look by sticking to a monochromatic palette. You can pull off a polished look without overdoing it.
Tropical Punch. Want to add a touch of fun to your outdoor space? Cue the colorful accents! A terrace can get a bold puck-me-up from cushions in vibrant colors and modern prints like ikat, stripes, and eye-popping florals.
Garden Party. Dining alfresco is about gathering family, entertaining friends, and escaping your typical daily routine. Any rules to follow? Be smart about your outdoor style and choose weather-resistant furniture, coverage from the sun, and a solid base for setting up your table.
Seeing Red. Want a modern and budget-friend trick that won’t involve an entire patio makeover? Focus on a few decorative elements that strategically weave a splash of red throughout the dinning space.
Rainbow Bright. Minimalists, you’re in luck! An outdoor space can become whatever you make of it. Carve out a casual reading or conversational area with a few smart seating options. Before you view this idea as boring, consider how a trio of punchy colored chairs instantly brightens up a stone yard.
Patio Dining. Formal without all the fuss. Surround a reclaimed teak table with wicker chairs to keep the mood light and relaxing. Choose white chicken wire lanterns for an unexpected and yet oh-so-easy tabletop décor.
Swinging Pretty. You could have all the space in the world; yet still head to the same seat every time you step outside. Longing for your own special escape? Suspend a swinging seat bench in the corner of a deck to help you breeze through those lazy days of summer.
Cover Up. If your outdoor space doesn’t have an awning, create your own with a white fabric canopy. Have plenty of seating options (stackable stools, cushioned benches) so guests feel welcome.
Swinging In The Shade. Create an intimate nook for lounging, reading, or just zoning out. Find a spot in the trees to suspend a garden hammock and jazz it up with a few hanging lanterns.
Scatter Lights Everywhere. Yes everywhere, everywhere reasonable that is. Along the pathway, on the patio umbrella, hanging down to accent your conversational area, in the trees and in the bushes, and possible Chinese lanterns along the way. This not only looks like you know what your doing in the daytime, but sets the perfect mood at night.
A few days ago I was approached by a friend, who’s parents had recently lost their home to a fire, she asked me if I wanted to take on the task of redecorating and finishing the interior of their new home that has yet to be built. Of course I was in for that challenge! My first large residential experience, how exciting! As I talked with this mother of four girls and many grandchildren, I felt an overwhelming burden.
Here I have been studying hours on end on what to do when confronting a client, on how to design model homes, and different design styles. She, however, stressed how she wanted her house to feel like a home – not a design home.
I was stumped, and was later humbled. Here I had thought all there was to a home was ensuring the best products, decorating, getting the measurements, and finally making sure my sustainable design was beautiful according to the style that my client had chosen. This new challenge, was nothing that school had taught me.
How do you build a home that feels like it’s lived in and like the home itself has experienced life, love, and laughter? Rather than a home that is plainly admired and wished for. After much thought, here are ten easy ways to personalize your home.
1. Throw Some Color Around. Dorothy was right when she said, "There's no place like home." But there's really no place like a home that's inviting and reflects your personal taste. For starters, think color! Your favorite colors are yellow and blue? Go for it! The way you combine your favorite hues is as individual as you are. One easy (no painting) way to spread some color is through decorative pillows. Mix (don’t match) throw pillows in the same color story for a fresh and lively look.
2. Go To New Heights. Give your bath and dinning décor a lift with a footed cake plate. When you put everyday items on a pedestal, you make the ordinary extraordinary.
3. Share Your Travels. This one is huge. You know how at every dinner party you’ve had you tell stories of the friends you met at your vacation away from home, and my gosh that food in that country was supreme! Show off that country. Use their art, furniture or simply a music instrument purchased there. To have an object that is a little more personalized than the one you bought at your local Super market will mean more to you and seem more appealing to your guests.
4. Put Your Hobby To Work. Why spend money on meaningless decorator accents when you can shop from your own or your families own hobby? Whether it’s the quilt you’re stitching or your music stand, or the painting in progress, display your interests.
5. Become A Mix-Master. Kick up your collectibles by displaying two different collections together. Merge your Fiesta-ware with your state glass collection. Mixing it up works, it creates a bold contrast in any room.
6. Seek The Unique. Go on flea market adventures, take a day to yourself, and you might be amazed at what catches your eye. Rather than settling for a generic table or chair, consider that unique something that will give your room personality. Likewise, great-grandma’s armoire warms up a room with a patina of family memories that you just can’t buy.
7. Make A Scene. Set your decorating apart by creating small surprises. Put your favorite childhood photo in a funky frame, set your crystal clock on a mini stand and collect bright and interesting books. See what kind of scene you can create from small household items you have lingering around your home.
8. Go To Nature. Bring the outside in with freshly cut flowers, branches, river rocks, pinecones and whatever natural, organic ingredients you can find. This is a great thing to get the kids involved in. Place flowers and branches in a tall glass vase, group your rocks, pinecones on platters and trays. You will feel more in tune with your backyard as soon as you find the perfect spot for them.
9. Pull The Photo Boxes Out From Under The Bed. Dust off those old photographs and display them proudly. Hang them on your prominent walls – in living rooms, bedrooms and hallways. Create a gallery in a mudroom or entryway. Photographs are the perfect way to personalize your space.
10. Mirror, Mirror on the wall. Add oversized mirrors to your space. Mirrors will open up your space and enhance the room’s natural lighting. Large mirrors need simply lean against a wall or rest on a mantel for a simple and perfect touch. Your room will feel larger and your party guests will feel more willing to open up.
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