Category Archives: House Updates

Design Inspiration: Craftsman Glass

Our bathroom is beautiful. Mediterreanean-style cabinetry and two different colours of chocolate-coloured marble. Sadly, the view through the window over the tub is less beautiful – the black hosepipe atop our pergola for the solar shower and the telegraph pole that carries our phone and power supply. I do my best with interesting accessories but…:(

Then sometimes life surprises you. A friend came for dinner in our newly finished kitchen (and I promise an update eventually) with a beautiful stained glass star she had made. Not only that, but it turns out she also runs a stained-glass class nearby, and can design and make pretty much anything you want in stained glass. Which got me thinking – why not create the view I wish I had?

I love the Greene and Greene / Torrey Pines style Craftsman glass that graces turn-of-the-century homes in this part of the world. And it seems like Margit and I are on the same wavelength. So here are our inspirations. Craftsman glass montage


After a fun morning picking out glass I am eagerly anticipating a sample or two (which – yay! – I get to keep) ad then I will get my view! More to follow as the project progresses.





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Design Inspiration: Henrie Haldane

On my last trip to England I managed to connect with the talented painter Henrie Haldane. We originally met through a women’s business network and I was instantly captivated by her work. Lovely Man and I commissioned this 20140731-081248-29568428.jpgfor our house in England, inspired by photographs I’ve taken of nearby lakes.

She now lives in Spain and the colours and light of her new home shine through in her latest works. 20140731-071513-26113813.jpgWe commissioned another painting, in a darker palette inspired by this20140731-071513-26113055.jpg and on my current trip I’ve finally been able to see it in place.  

 Isn’t it gorgeous?

Henrie can be contacted via her website


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Filed under Art, Decor, England, Happiness Project, House Updates, Photography

Friday I’m in Love: Pink Roses

I love almost every colour of rose, but I think pink roses are my favourite. And even though it goes against my California-native/drought-tolerant principals here in California, I couldn’t resist a few David Austin roses in my new planting schemes. This

Gertrude Jekyll rose with deer sageis one of my all-time favorites, Gertrude Jekyll, planted last year and finally hitting her stride. Doesn’t she look great against the grey of the deer sage?

And this

Charles Rennie MackIntosh budsis a new friend, Charles Rennie Mackitosh, planted in February and about to reward me for my faith. You can take the girl out of England… ūüôā


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Filed under California, England, Flowers, Gardens, Happiness Project, House Updates, Plants, Seasonal Pleasures

Friday I’m in Love: Hibiscus

Another new addition to my courtyard. Hibiscus 1


Hibiscus 1Such a glorious colour, and complements the grevillea beautifully!


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Filed under California, Flowers, Gardens, Happiness Project, House Updates, Plants, Seasonal Pleasures

Design Project: Bedspread

I want to make a new cover for our bed. Our current cover Newcomb under the bedspread - bellesideesis what the French call a boutis, a double-sided padded quilt (a variation of trapunto work) in a¬†single colour with a scalloped edge. It has done sterling work for the last four years but it’s time for a change. But what to replace it with?¬†The bedroom has a slightly French-Asian¬†vibe and a traditional pieced patchwork would look out of place, so I started looking at alternatives.

First I found Hawaiian quilting. Although I’m not a fan of the traditional strong¬†color¬†contrasts I love the geometric qualities of the pieces (the patterns are made by folding and cutting paper, usually into four) and the fact that the motifs can be quite large-scale. Look at this beauty!

Hawaiian quilt with lolekani pattern from


Done in a more monochrome colour scheme this could look stunning.

And then I discovered sashiko. I love the idea of hand-stitching, even though it would be a laborious process.

Sashiko stitching{source}

And it echoes back to the machine stitching in the French boutis, which is about to be reincarnated as a bed skirt like this.

French bedskirt{source}

I think my new bedspread might take a while…

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Filed under Crafts, Decor, General, House Updates, Textiles

Friday I’m in Love: Scented Camellias

In Descanso Gardens last week I was distracted by a wonderful fragrance. After following my nose¬†for a while (much to Lovely Man’s amusement) I homed in on these:IMG_0759


Guess what is going to be incorporated into my next planting scheme…

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Filed under Descanso Garden, Gardens, House Updates, Plants

Summery Summary

Happy Labor Day! While the distinction is irrelevant in SoCal (where September is often the hottest month of the year), for most Americans today symbolises the end of the summer. So it seemed appropriate to mark the day with a summary of the summer chez nous.

Work on the house has seen less progress than we’d like. We do finally have a fence at the back of the kitchen garden IMG_0708so that’s one promise kept, but the¬†original doors on what used to be the kitchen proved to have termite damage and it has taken FOREVER to get new ones. Hopefully, once they arrive it should be a fairly quick process to finish the floor and paint the walls.¬†That said, the spa area is almost complete…IMG_0712expect a longer post soon!

As distractions, there was a wonderful weekend in Charleston with my Lovely Man IMG_0697and visits to family in England and France. IMG_0713As to the rest, just kicked back and enjoyed the summer!


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Filed under California, England, France, Gardens, Happiness Project, House Updates, Photography, Travel