Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Progress of Garden

Our kitchen garden isn't actually finished, but I couldn't abide administration a few advance pics with you!! Like I mentioned in my endure column about the garden, I'm animate with a acceptable adolescence acquaintance of abundance Danylo Kosovych, who owns Organic Comestible Area in Arlingon, Virginia, and specializes in creating comestible landscaping. 

I capital a amplitude with lots of paths and abstracted beds so we could actually adore getting in the amplitude and walking through it. And here's how it's searching so far:

Next week, Danylo will be abacus added atramentous admixture to the acme of the beds for a added accomplished attending (and because it's acceptable for the plants too ;) and they'll be acid all of the bamboo poles (which are for tomatoes) to the aforementioned height. 

Here's a appearance of the accomplished garden and you can see I haven't confused in my additional pot yet as I'm debating what to in fact put in the pots in the centers of the paths.

The one pot pictured actuality holds my hydrangea but it needs to go aback to my patio so I'll either get added of these or do bake-apple copse if possible. (I'd adulation to do lemons but I'm actually abhorrent with befitting things animate central throughout the winter so I'd rather something that can break out in the winter... I did see some appealing appletrees bygone but don't apperceive if they'll outgrow their pots too quickly... assumption I should allocution to my garden artis.

I added delphinium bygone throughout the area because I had to get my annual fix and am impatiently apprehension for my veggies to get tall!! The beds are belted in boxwood (which of advance charge to abound in) and I've put a agglomeration of boxwood basil amid them to ample them out a bit for this season. 

I'll go over aggregate that's in there if I can get some bigger pics next anniversary but I achievement you enjoyed this little peek!! Have a abundant day!!

Friday, 24 May 2013

more FAQs

Yay for Friday!!  I've got another round of most frequently asked questions for you...  Like I mentioned before, I'm really not able to keep up with emails & questions these days, (due to work, family & life in general)  so I'll be doing FAQ Roundups to hopefully answer as much as I can. I appreciate your patience!! Thank you!!

Here we go: 

Q: Hello. Love your table. Can you share how the lucite holds up to scratches. if it scratches can they be removed? Special cleaner needed etc? 

A: My lucite table has gotten a beat-down at our house.  Our boys have scratched it to death with toys and it looks pretty terrible after three or four years of abuse.  I have to admit, after I saw that it was getting so badly scratched, I sort of gave up and figured that we'd replace it later.  I keep magazines or a tray and books on the coffee table anyway so it's mostly hidden.  I've also watched my kids fall on it more than once without crying, which is what's kept it in the house for so long.  They also love playing under it and around it because of the clearness.  (Nothing's funnier than watching a newly crawling baby ram his face into it ;) ;)  However, I recently purchased a lucite buffer/ polishing kit (by Novus) and one of these days am going to give it a try.  I'll definitely post to let you know how it goes.  Lucite should be cleaned with a super-soft cloth (never paper towels) and hot soapy water.  Don't ever use a cleaning product like Windex or anything else in a spray bottle that isn't specifically for lucite.  

{Our client's custom porch swing}

Q:  Where did you get the porch swing?

A: We had our client's custom porch swing made by Vintage Porch Swings , who did a beautiful job.

Q: I JUST read your post about not having time to answer all questions, so I get that you might not get to this and no hard feelings! Anyway, I've admired this room for awhile. I'm looking for the right paint color for my room and I'm struggling. I want a cream or white, and then noticed the curtains in this room. Are those the Pottery Barn Velvet in Ivory?

A:  Sorry it's taken me so long to get back to you!  The walls in this room are seashell by Benjamin Moore and the curtain panels are custom and made of oyster-colored linen.  

{Our kitchen, when the island was still in-progress}

Q: What type of floors do you have in your home?

A: We used unfinished random width (4"-8") wide plank white oak and had it finished with  gray Woca oil.  We got our floors from Mountain Lumber Co. (specifically, Janel Conforti) who couldn't have been more helpful.  Woca Oil "contains primarily cold pressed vegetable oils and aromatic hardening oils that penetrate into the surface of the wood floor and, as they cure, harden to form a very protective surface that becomes part of the wood floor. This means that normal wear and tear, such as small scratches and indentations, do not show up as much as on a floor with a urethane finish.  The oil finish will also let the wood floor breathe through its surface.." (taken from their website)  I loooove the finish on our floors as it's matte and very natural-looking.  Oils do leave marks on the the floor and it's already started to develop a patina, which is what we're after.  

Anyway, I'm off for the day & have amazing Memorial Day weekend!!!  To check out my last round of FAQs, (including questions about my wall mural on my dining room wall) go here.


If you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Search emails, Google Drive, Calendar and more as you type

As part of field trial we opened in October, it became possible to instantly see your relevant emails, Google Drive files, Calendar events, and more when you search in Gmail. Those of you who participated in the field trial told us that you like the time-saving convenience of searching for all your stuff from one place, and over the coming week, we'll be rolling out this feature in English to all U.S. users. Now you can find what you're looking for faster right in Gmail.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Happy 1st Birthday to Lou!

One year ago today, this little guy arrived:

He's one of the loves of my life and is just such a happy kid.

This is really what it's all about for me.  (yes, sleeping too ;) ;)

I love my wild little thing!!

Happy Birthday to Luke (Louie/ Lou/ Lulu) 
We love  you.

If you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.

Friday, 17 May 2013

Progress Photos of a Client's Cool House

A very sweet client of ours lives in a home that overlooks the most beautiful stretch of woods near the Potomac...  Her builder (many years ago & has since stopped building) designed her incredible home to fit right in with the land.  The views are seriously breathtaking.  

{we recently had the red walls painted a soft cream and replaced recessed lights in the foyer with overscale glass orbs.  The front hallway acts as a gallery where our client displays special pieces they've collected over the years.}

Behind the house is a steep forested hill overlooking a stream.  The first time I saw it was in the Winter and you could see forever into the woods.  It was incredible!!! As you can see from the photos, now it's like being up in a treehouse surrounded by lush green everywhere you look.  We added a cozy little hangout area on the stair landing so our client and her family/friends could enjoy the view:

{Some of the wood in the home including the interior doors was a pink pickled oak while the floors were a red hardwood.  They really clashed and changing the floors wasn't an option so we decided to stain the wood black and paint the trim cream to unify everything.}

Throughout the home we also had all of the window mullions and doors painted black to frame the views and it's made such a difference!!

I love this quiet little writing nook off of the living room... A chair for the desk is being made now:

The photo of her mother is so beautiful...

Anyway, I'm off for the weekend but hope you enjoyed these little peeks into our client's home!!  

If you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Take action right from the inbox

Email is an important part of how we get things done -- from planning an event with friends to organizing that family vacation to Costa Rica. And today, getting those things done is getting a little easier with new quick action buttons in Gmail, designed to help you tackle your digital to-do’s as quickly as possible.
These buttons appear next to certain types of messages in your inbox and let you take action on an email without ever having to open it. For example, you can RSVP to your friend's party invitation or rate that restaurant you went to last night all right from the inbox. You’ll be checking things off that to-do list in no time.

Flight confirmation emails are also becoming a bit more useful. Whether you’re frequently up in the air or just the occasional traveler, when you open a flight confirmation email in Gmail, all the important information about your flight will be displayed right at the top. You’ll be able to see whether your flight is on time, when your connection is and more -- no scrolling required.
These quick actions will roll out over the next few weeks, and we hope to add even more useful actions moving forward. If you are a developer and want to add actions to your emails, check out to learn more.

Send money to friends with Gmail and Google Wallet

Paying back your friends is now as simple as sending an email, whether you’re chipping in for lunch or reimbursing your roommate for your share of the rent.

Google Wallet is now integrated with Gmail, so you can quickly and securely send money to friends and family directly within Gmail -- even if they don’t have a Gmail address. It's free to send money if your bank account is linked to Google Wallet or using your Google Wallet Balance, and low fees apply to send money using your linked credit or debit card.

To send money in Gmail, hover over the attachment paperclip, click the $ icon to attach money to your message, enter the amount you wish to send, and press send.
While sending money in Gmail is currently only available on desktop, you can send money from Google Wallet at from your phone or laptop. You will need to have set up Google Wallet to send and receive money, and Google Wallet Purchase Protection covers you 100% against eligible unauthorized payments.

We’re rolling out this feature over the coming months to all U.S. Gmail users over 18 years old, so keep an eye out for the $ icon in the attachment options. You can also get earlier access if your friends have the feature and send money to you.

To learn more, visit our website.

Try out the new Hangouts experience in Gmail

Today we announced Hangouts, a big improvement to Google’s real-time communication services. Instead of different versions of chat, video chat and calling across Google products, Hangouts gives you one consistent way to connect with the people you care about.

What does this mean for your Gmail? You now have the option to switch from the current version of chat to Hangouts. Simply click “Try it out” next to your chat list to switch to Hangouts and give your chat an instant facelift (literally!). You’ll now see the profile photos in the order of your most recent conversations. With Hangouts, you’ll also be able to quickly send messages, have video calls with up to ten people at once, and share photos. You can start a conversation with just one friend or even a whole group.

Hangouts transition effortlessly between desktop and mobile -- in fact, Hangouts will be available in Gmail, Google+, Android phones and tablets, iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch and as a Windows, Mac or Linux desktop application using the Chrome extension. You can start a Hangout on your phone, and pick it up in Gmail right where you left off!
The new Hangouts experience in Gmail is rolling out as an optional switch starting today. Click the “Try it out” button when it appears next to your chat list to switch right away, or you can switch later. Learn more about the new Hangouts here.

Garden Plans!!

I  mentioned a while back that I'm working with one of my good childhood friends, Danylo Kosovych, to put a vegetable garden onto our property.   (Kindergarten photo below: Danylo is the blonde boy under the   1987-1988 writing and I'm to the left of the writing with the awesome mushroom cut.  ---Thanks for that Mom! :/   )

Danylo owns Organic Edible Gardens and specializes in organic edible landscaping in Northern Virginia.

I love the designs that he & his designer John have come up with.  John's drawings are gorgeous!!

Our house is a cedar contemporary but I tend to like more classical gardens and have always loved the idea of a "garden with paths" so the design was a bit of a challenge.

{We've been working on relaxing all of the heavily pruned shrubs a bit so they look more natural...  This was the real estate photo from when the house was on the market.}

Here's another picture of our house before we bought it & added the patio:

The garden will be going to the right of the house along the fence and it will be as deep as the house.  This was a tough decision for us to make because it will reduce the size of our "playing field" and we're constantly playing soccer or football or something else out there:

...But we decided to give it a go because the yard is still going to be large enough to play football or soccer even with the garden.

Besides where we were going to put the garden, we also had a bunch of other decisions to make: raised beds or in-ground beds?  What should the paths be made out of?  Should we go symmetrical/classical or more casual/ meandering like the rest of the landscaping at our place?  My biggest fear was (and is!) that the type of garden I really love doesn't exactly "go" with the style of my home.

I collected a bunch of images on pinterest of gardens that I loved and of course, I was drawn to the more classic gardens.  Many had brick paths...


...or gravel ones:

All had a series of paths because I want us to be able to enjoy actually being "in" the garden vs. just being beside it.

{My friends' Brooke & Steve Giannetti's kitchen garden in the front yard of their previous house...  When we visited them, the first thing I remember noticing was the smell of lavendar as we walked up to their front door!!! Heaven!!}

I love the use of focal points in gardens.  In Brooke's garden, above, your eye is drawn down the path to the garden table, which looks like the perfect spot for working and relaxing, making the garden feel more like a "room."

I also  really love the look of gardens with gravel paths...

...But I'm a barefoot kind of person and I don't like walking barefoot on gravel so we've decided to try grass paths this year and see how they work out.

When deciding between raised beds or in-ground beds, I reviewed my inspiration gardens and realized that I was drawn to gardens that were edged in a plant or shrub, like this classical boxwood hedge:

I want my garden to feel a little bit wilder so we are going with boxwoods, but they won't be pruned into a square hedge like in the photo above.

When I saw this Country Living Garden (below) I really fell for it's structure yet relaxed look.  It's more rustic than many of the classical ones I've fallen for but it still has that symmetry that I love:

 Seeing a garden like this made me think that we could maybe try to combine the more classical gardens with  country ones and maybe make it work with my rustic-modern home.  Can we get away with it???  And the grass paths are just what we'll be doing. which I think really relaxes the look and will blend it better with our house.

And of course, one of my favorite local places to visit is Mount Vernon:

{One of the Kitchen Gardens at Mount Vernon}

Aaaaaaah!!! I love everything about it!!!!  It's so classic yet definitely more primitive and relaxed then some of the more formal European gardens.  I love how the grass paths look here.  

So...  after talking Danylo's ears off (I MIGHT possibly be the worst client ever!! hahaha) we came up with this:

The round spots in the center will be for potted trees because I wanted some sort of focal points in the garden... Right now I have some hydrangea trees but hopefully one day we can try fruit trees of some sort.  

The guys are building a teepee for the boys near their favorite climbing tree:

{This tee pee is insanity and I can't wait to have one!!!}

Here's a picture of the fence where the garden's going:

It's going in now so I'll be sure to post pictures once it's all planted!!!  I can't wait!!!  And of course, thanks so much to Danylo and his team for everything!!!  They were so patient with my craziness and are incredibly creative and know their stuff.   If you're in the DC-VA area and are looking for a kitchen garden or eco-friendly landscape in general, definitely check out the Organic Edible Gardens website & get in touch.  They're amazing!!!


If you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.

Monday, 13 May 2013

Bringing it all together: 15 GB now shared between Drive, Gmail, and Google+ Photos

Cross-posted from the Google Drive blog

Life gets a bit easier when your Google products work well together—whether that’s inserting a Drive file into an email or sharing a photo from Drive on Google+. As this experience becomes more seamless, separate storage doesn’t make as much sense anymore. So instead of having 10 GB for Gmail and another 5 GB for Drive and Google+ Photos, you’ll now get 15 GB of unified storage for free to use as you like between Drive, Gmail, and Google+ Photos.

With this new combined storage space, you won’t have to worry about how much you’re storing and where. For example, maybe you’re a heavy Gmail user but light on photos, or perhaps you were bumping up against your Drive storage limit but were only using 2 GB in Gmail. Now it doesn’t matter, because you can use your storage the way you want.

We’ll also be making updates to the Google Drive storage page, so you can better understand how you’re using storage space. Simply hover over the pie chart to see a breakdown of your storage use across Drive, Gmail, and Google+ Photos. And if you need more storage, this is your place to upgrade, with plans starting at $4.99/month for 100 GB.

Pro tip: This change means you’re no longer limited to a 25 GB upgrade in Gmail—any additional storage you purchase now applies there, too.

These changes to Google Drive storage will roll out over the next couple of weeks. Google Apps users will also be getting shared storage, so visit the enterprise blog to learn more.

Posted by Clay Bavor, Director of Product Management

Happy Mother's Day!!!

To all of my readers who are moms--- I hope you had an amazing mother's day!!!  

Becoming a parent changes you inexplicably:  It's hard to explain, but I seem to feel both more and less.  Being a parent has relaxed me about most of life and helps put things into perspective.  So much that was a big deal, just isn't.   Yet I feel such an intensity of feelings too.  That feeling when you're holding your child...  it's definitely real and it's definitely both emotional & chemical.  It's such a strong palpable thing.  (And this is weird: I've realized that when I'm looking at one of my kids and thinking that he's so cute I need to squeeze him, I do this thing with my teeth where I sort of grind them.  A little piece of my bottom tooth chipped off last weekend!!! Seriously??!!! )  Yeah, probably too much.

I never thought the hi-light of my week would be a five year-old's soccer game.   (It really is... I sit on a blanket with the two littler ones and yell my head off cheering.  Yes, I'm THAT parent;)  

If I'm being honest, being a parent also makes me forget things, has squashed my vocabulary, and it makes me tired.   But anyone who is one, wouldn't ask for any of their brains back in exchange for a kid.  (At least on most days... I haven't hit the teenage years yet ;) ;)

One of my best friends visited last weekend and seeing her and her husband with their daughter was amazing.  My other best friend and my cousin (also my maid of honor) are both due with the first babies and I couldn't be more excited for them.  They're going to be amazing parents and I am going to grind some teeth when these babies are born!!  :( 

{Baby Hailey (my best friend's daughter) and Louie- our little guy enjoying a bath}

I also just wanted to share a bit about my mom- she's one of the strongest people I know and I love her so much.  She was a single mom for most of my childhood and always put me first.  She gives such honest, unbiased advice and is always there when I need her.  (and pretty much anyone else in her life.)

{My mom & me peeking out from behind... and my "bunny}

So, happy mother's day to all of you moms out there!!  Thank you so much for taking time out of your week to visit here!!


If you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

A Little Imperfection in the Seat

I've developed a love for a bit of "imperfection" in the seat of a sofa or chair.

An uneven-looking upholstered seat cushion often results from being a down or down-wrapped seat cushion, so I think I'm a bit like Pavlov's dog and when I see a seat that's slightly uneven, I associate it with a down-wrapped cushion (which are super-comfy) and it looks more comfortable to me, which makes me like it more.  You also see it a bit more in single seat cushions or double because the longer a seat cushion is, the more it will vary.  
{Sofa by Verellen}

There are the quarter-bouncing seat cushions and the more slouchy down ones and while I think both are great (and each definitely has its place in certain homes or rooms) I myself love the more imperfect look of the slouchy ones in my own home because I'm an extremely casual person (it matches my sweats better ;) and when I sit in sofas, I tend to curl up in them & get cozy vs. sit on the edge of them & sip cocktails.  (And you can sip cocktails from a curled up position just as well- trust me  ;) ;)

{Garden & Gun--- loooove this house!!}

In my work for clients, we do both types of seats- quarter-bouncers and relaxed seats.   It really just depends upon my client and the function of the room.  I find my perfectionists & very busy clients are often more drawn to tighter seat cushions because of the look and the fact that they don't need fluffing.  (Flipping yes, always, but fluffing, no.)  I consider myself pretty busy too, but I guess I just have a thing for imperfection.

I'm the type of person who usually picks a favorite but still appreciates the alternatives.  It's probably why our client & client projects are all so varied...  I think different things are right for different people.

You don't often see imperfect down seats in photos because they usually get fluffed and primped before they're photographed, but you can still pick them out:

{perfectly fluffed, but you know she's a slouchy sitter... love}

I've found a couple of photos which look like they were shot just after my boys visited and had a party on the sofa, but they somehow look really beautiful & chic to me:

{I'm not sure where this image is from but I think about it a LOT.. someone let me know it's from Lonny}

I particularly love the look of a down seat without piping on the cushion.  Piping adds more "structure" to the look of a seat cushion and so a doubleneedle stitch often takes that away a bit and makes the seat more round/ less squared off.  (like above)

I can spy a little bit of the doublestitched down seat on the sofa on the left below:

Here's a leather seat cushion that really doesn't seem like it was prepped for it's photo and I love it (with piping):


There's often so much newness and perfection in a home that's getting decorated that I really love to see elements that feel as if they're been there for a while & that have patina like the gorgeous leather on the wing chair above.  People often have unrealistic expectations with what will happen to a piece of furniture after it lives in a house for a while.  The reality is that pieces with fabrics and cushions and stuffing will change over time and that's okay.  Sometimes that change (or need to fluff/ whatever you want to call it) is a hallmark of quality & natural materials, which have their own innate beauty.  Good shoes can scuff, a great t-shirt gets softer, and jeans fade...  Life makes its mark on everything, so of course it will affect the things in our homes too.  I see this as part of everything & think these slow subtle changes are good.  Eventually, something can wear through to tatters, and you fix it or recover it, but along the road to tatters, that piece has a beautiful life as long as you take care of it.

It's the pieces that are made so that they look like they shouldn't change that end up looking bad as life hits them.  (In a sofa I'm thinking of an inexpensive foam or cushion insert that just gets smashed down and doesn't come back up leaving the seat cushion all baggy & lonely looking.) Like this:

{Image from Apartment Therapy}

Upholstered furniture requires care & maintenance:  flipping cushions periodically, vacuuming gently, washing or spot cleaning...

The seats on the chairs above look like they might be quarter-bouncers, but I love the slipcovers on the chairs because there's the tiniest bit of movement/ wrinkle in the fabric.  I love that little bit of reality which I think is beautiful.  (Reminds me of an unironed linen napkin = love}

Here's a room that's totally not my own personal style but that I find really charming.  I'd love to visit and  curl up:

{via Cote de Texas...  love the seat cushions!!}

Here's a pretty example of the slightly imperfect seat cushions I love on an English arm sofa:

{love this and found it on pinterest but am not sure of the source}

There's something so inviting about it to me.

 Here's a totally primped picture but I know these pretties are what I'm talking about:

Here's an example of a French mattress-style cushion that doesn't look like it's down wrapped but that still has that very "real" look I like:

I did a few of these layered together in the DC Design House a couple of years ago for a relaxed and "imperfect" feel:

 Anyway, I'm off for the day but would love to hear your thoughts on perfectly imperfect upholstery. Tight perfection? Love it or hate it?  Have a great day!!

If you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.