Who among us hasn’t had occasion to feel less than neighborly with our neighbors?
It could be the dog next door that barks incessantly. Or the teenagers down the street who love to have “enthusiastic” parties and high decibel music. As if that weren’t enough, their guests think your driveway is the perfect place to park their car.
Whether living in a condo, apartment. or house, these and many more irritants can and do happen.
Human beings are never going to be in agreement all of the time. However, we do desire to live in harmony; life is just plain easier that way.
This week’s article focuses on this very subject. Houzz contributor, Lizzie Post, http://www.infiniteguest.org/awesome-etiquette/ shares some great tips in dealing with noisy neighbors. They’ll help you determine if it’s a situation you can just let go, or if you do need to voice a complaint and still feel good about doing so.
Until next time…
Blessings from my home to yours,
Dedicated to helping you live your rooms—not the other way around
You’ve just received a beautiful bouquet of flowers.
You admire the beautiful colors and you take a big inhaled breath to enjoy the wonderful scents.
You wish they could last forever.
But, of course, they don’t.
If you’re like me, you remove flowers in order of their demise and soon the bouquet no longer exists.
No, they don’t last forever, but there are ways for them to last longer.
Take a look at this short video from HUFFPOST.COM. You’ll recognize some of the tips, but there’s one in particular that will come as a surprise.
I haven’t tried it yet, but I plan to. I bet you will, too.

Until next time…
Blessings from my home to yours,
Dedicated to helping you live your rooms—not the other way around
I’ll never forget a particular weekend the summer of my 21st birthday.
It was a hot one, at least for the Pacific Northwest. Consequently, a friend and co-worker suggested a weekend hike and camping trip up into the Cascade mountains to a high country lake.
I wasn’t a hiker or camper but that sounded like fun and promised relief from the high temperatures in the city.
My friend assured me she would bring everything needed so I didn’t have to worry about a thing (famous last words)!
We met at the trail head early on a Saturday morning. As I looked around, I asked where the trail was. She replied, “It’s right over there” and pointed a finger.
I looked again and saw nothing except a forest of trees, large rocks, and dense brush.
I repeated my question and she said the trail began where a small red ribbon was attached to a bush.
That should have been my first clue that this wasn’t going to be a pleasant walk through a cool, shaded forest ending at a picture-perfect pristine mountain lake.
I was then given a 40 lb. pack to carry and the climb began.
Did it get easier? No it did not. It was only the beginning.
My friend had brought along her boyfriend and I discovered they were very experienced hikers and campers. This was an easy jaunt for them. She hadn’t shared that info with me and I, stupidly had asked no questions before hand.
About half-way into this six mile, straight up climb into hell, the boyfriend had to add my pack to his. I simply didn’t have the conditioning to physically carry it. I was terribly embarrassed that I couldn’t carry my share.
As it was, darkness had fallen and that last mile was literally hand over fist until we reached the lake.
The night was spent trying to sleep on a piece of plastic. Dawn finally arrived and with it, a mass of mosquitoes and horse flies.
Going down the mountain wasn’t a cake walk either. I tripped and fell twice, badly skinning my knees and we ran into a bad thunderstorm.
By the time we reached our cars, I was soaking wet with bleeding knees and blistered feet. Furthermore, I could barely walk for the next several days.
I made a vow then that I would never do an overnight camping trip again and I haven’t.
However, and this brings me to this week’s article—there’s camping and then there’s ” glamping” which means “glamorous camping.” I think I could enjoy this. It would be a very different experience than what I experienced that long ago summer.
If you also don’t enjoy the typical rigors of hiking and camping, this may appeal to you as well. Take a look at these photos from FRESHOME and see what you think.

It’s comfortable

When you glamp, you’re “roughing it” without the “rough” part.

Forget the tent which you have to contort your body to crawl into, and instead, step into a tall canvas tent with room to spread out. Camping itself is wonderful, but sleeping on the ground, zipping in and out of tents, and less-than-ideal bathrooms can be a bit draining on most people after a while, and a complete no-go for some. Glamping means real beds that you can get some of your best sleep in — especially in the fresh air of the outdoors. They’re vastly more spacious than tents, giving you and your travel companions room to spread out both horizontally and vertically. You’ll be treated with hotel-like hospitality and the creature comforts that help you to relax and feel at home on vacation.

And there are electrical outlets, which is a big plus, right?

The locations

Glamping brings you to places that hotels and resorts can’t. You could be waking up just steps from a beach on a private island, or deep in a mountain range overlooking a serene alpine lake. As soon as you walk out of your “room”, you’re immersed in nature. It really doesn’t get much better than that.

The cost

Living luxuriously in a tent, yurt, teepee, or cabin doesn’t have to break the bank. In fact, most glamping is considerably less expensive than staying in a hotel. Look around at glamping near you or where you’d like to travel, and you might be surprised by what you find.

And you can rest easy knowing that your money is well spent. Much like AirBnB or VRBO, supporting glamping means supporting individuals and their small businesses. You eliminate the overhead of a large resort property and directly support the local community and economy.

You don’t have to be an expert

Camping isn’t as straightforward as going out into the woods with a tent and sleeping bag — which is assuming you even have those two essentials. So while camping itself is low cost, the gear needed to rough it for a few days can add up quickly.

When you glamp, there’s no additional equipment required. You won’t have to worry about bringing a cookstove or remembering the rain fly. Scout skills are not necessary here.

Sure, there are some camping purists out there who want to trek for miles and go completely off the grid for a few days. But if that’s not for you, glamping is your best bet for a memorable camping experience. Simply show up, sit back, and enjoy the simplicity of being outdoors.

It’s eco-friendly

Not only does glamping immerse you in nature, it also helps you protect it. Once you go glamping, you’ll have a heightened appreciation for nature and protecting it — while doing so. Glamping itself is a low impact green activity.

Most vacationing includes brand new, large resort complexes that are expensive to build and operate. Glamping can happen anywhere from tents to retro airstreams, but nearly all of the options are examples of low construction, upcycled or reused living arrangements.

What’s more, they don’t require the heating and electricity costs of modern construction. And for the resources glamping does require, many setups run on solar or wind power.

As ecotourism rises in demand, glamping stands a great chance to skyrocket in popularity.

It’s cultural

There’s no better way to experience a culture than to immerse yourself in it. Whether you’re learning to surf with the locals on the Baja coast or practicing your lassoing skills on a ranch in Big Sky, there’s so much to do, see, and learn while glamping.

And glamping doesn’t just mean in tents! From yurts to wagons, teepees, airstreams and treehouses, the variety of ways to glamp allow for different cultural experiences that will leave you with memories to last a lifetime.

Are you thinking about going glamping? Have you already gone? I’d love to hear about your experiences and see your pictures! Send me a few words in the comments, or on social media.

Until next time…
Blessings from my home to yours,
Dedicated to helping you live your rooms—not the other way around
One definition of bench is that it’s a long seat for several people.
But that’s only the beginning of the bench story, because few pieces of furniture can be used in so many different ways.
Benches are beautiful, versatile, and functional. They can definitely add zip to your interior and even exterior decorating.
Take a look at these photos and see how the lowly, simple bench can solve many of your decor issues and add something of beauty at the same time.
Should be a few inches below the bedding. A great place to put on your shoes, add a few accessories, or simply nothing at all.
It becomes extra seating if needed and with a tray as an anchor, it can hold beverages and/or food. Or maybe, just a comfortable place to rest your weary feet after a long day.
A bench can sometimes seat more people and take up less space than chairs allowing you to expand your seating capacity.Just make sure the bench is chair height.
A bench can serve as a space separator in an open floor plan without taking up visual room. It can allow conversation from either side, important if you have more than one seating area.
Again, can be used as extra seating, but also serves as a visual anchor in an open floor plan. It’s also a place to add a few beautiful accessories.
A perfect place for a narrow bench to change your shoes. By adding hooks above, it gives you a place to hang coats and jackets. Perfect in a small entry.
Whether it’s on a porch or patio, a bench always has a place.
A place to sit in the shower or besides the tub. Just make sure it’s made of a water-resistant material like teak.
With pillows and padded seat you have an instant small sofa. Perfect as a window seat or dining banquette. Don’t be surprised if your cat decides it’s the best place for afternoon naps.
There you have it. You may have to “bench” yourself on a  seat and think for a moment where you can use benches in your home!
Until next time…
Blessings from my home to yours,
Dedicated to helping you live your rooms, not the other way around
photos via HOUZZ

It’s often thought that the higher the thread count, the better a bed sheet is—better feeling and more elegant.

Actually, that high thread count doesn’t mean you’ve bought a better quality sheet.

In fact, as a designer, I’d rather my clients save the money and apply it elsewhere in their design budget.

In truth, a 350 thread count is perfectly O.K. vs. a 1,000 count one. Both in how well they hold up to many washes, their comfortable feel, and certainly the difference in cost.

Take a look at this short HUFF POST HOME video that designer ERIC COHLER did. He explains why a medium thread count is an excellent choice and gives you other info when buying your sheets.

Until next time…

Blessings from my home to yours,

Dedicated to helping you live your rooms—not the other way around

This video was produced by Alex Kushneir and Stephanie Petchers on Huffington Post

Beechwood Farms
We put time, money, and mindful thought into how we design and decorate our home.
We put the same energy into our beloved pets as they play an integral role in our family life and make us feel happier in so many ways.
But sometimes, the two may intersect and create something not so great like scratched furniture and floors or pet hair’fur everywhere.
Fortunately, by making thoughtful choices, we really can have it all—a beautiful home and happy pets.
DECOR AID put together a list of do’s and don’ts that help avoid the time and frustration that can happen in spite of how much we love Fifi and Fido. In the end, everyone wins.

Do: Choose tough fabrics that can withstand heavy use.

Area rugs made from fabrics like sisal, silk, and wool are solid choices for pet owners because they’re sturdy and can be cleaned. Also, rugs with patterns and colors can help mask shedding and light stains.

Don’t: Select materials that stain easily.

Avoid rugs in fabrics like viscose, rayon, art silk (which is short for “artificial,” and not “artful” or “artistic,” in case you were wondering). These rugs can be gorgeous, but overall they’re too delicate to withstand life with a pet.

Any hard-surface flooring is obviously going to be more forgiving to pets than textiles, but there are some other things you can do to keep things as clean as possible. For example, use a floor duster on your hard surface flooring at few times a week, or every day if your dog or cat is a serious shedder.

Do: Pick flooring that can stand up to scratches and moisture.

Tile is a great flooring option for pet owners, but you probably don’t want it in every single room. In that case, try sealed hardwood or synthetic woods, which are durable and less expensive than hardwood.

Don’t: Choose light carpeting if it’s going to make you crazy.

Wall-to-wall carpeting is OK, but obviously it’s more difficult to clean than tile or wood, and light colors especially are going to show stains more easily. Make sure to seal the carpet to avoid stains, and save yourself the hassle if you’re going to obsess over keeping a white carpet pristine.

Even if you don’t allow your dogs or cats on the furniture (and you actually believe they’re not jumping up there the second you leave for work), somehow pet hair seems to end up everywhere. Everywhere. And if they do get free reign on your furniture, the upholstery can take a beating from dirty paws and sharp claws.

Do: Opt for fabrics that stand up to stains.

Consider reupholstering your sofa or chairs in indoor/outdoor fabrics, which can stand up to frequent use without feeling hard or scratchy. Commercial-grade fabrics are another great options, because they were made for high traffic. Leather is another durable option, and you can just wipe off pet hair. But make sure to choose one with a more of a patina, which helps camouflage scratch marks.

Don’t: Buy furniture in fabrics that trap pet fur or scratch easily.

Some fabrics, like velvet and bouclé, seem like fur magnets. And once the fur is there, it can feel impossible to remove. Avoid delicate leathers with smooth, uniform surfaces. One errant claw could transform it from statement piece to yard sale special.

Until next time…
Blessings from my home to yours,
Dedicated to helping you live your rooms—not the other way around
When you think of flooring, what first comes to mind?
Usually, carpets, hardwood, or tile.
But there are so many other choices you may not have thought of. Different flooring selections that are interesting, very appealing, and functional as well.
Take a look at these examples and see if it doesn’t give you some new ideas to give your home a fresh sense of personality.
They’re presented by YANIC SIMARD, Houzz contributor and Toronto interior designer.
Until next time…
Blessings from my home to yours,
Dedicated to helping you live your rooms—not the other way around
Memorial Day is but a memory and we are full-on into summer.
Those glorious days of heat, blue skies and fluffy white clouds.
Balmy evenings and star-filled skies.
Gardens bursting with so much color, we wonder how nature could gift us with such abundance.
Trees with their canopy of leaf-filled branches that help us stay cool.
Notice I purposely have not mentioned hail and thunderstorms, mosquitos and flies.
I know they’re a reality of summer, but prefer to think about the positive aspects of this glorious time of year.
While more time may be spent outdoors, we want our indoors to reflect the lightness and airiness of this season as well.
Here are 15 ideas for summer from my favorite blogger, Laura Gaskill, www.lauragaskill.com.
You’re sure to glean a few ideas that will help you get your home in the spirit of summer.
I wish you a safe and happy one.
The days are lengthening; the nights are warmer — it’s time to start thinking summer. From white curtains billowing in the breeze, sleeping porches, shell collections and wildflowers to fresh juice in the morning and nautical stripes, certain things just beg to be a part of your summer routine. Here are 15 fun, crafty and creative ways to get your home in the spirit of summer.
Until next time…
Blessings from my home to yours,
Dedicated to helping you live your rooms—not the other way around
Photos via HOUZZ
How often have you looked around your home and thought “If I only had just a little more space.”
Most of us have experienced this at one time or another. While we can’t expand the footprint of a room without re-modeling, there are design tricks that can, at the very least, give the feeling of more room.
Take a look at this infographic from WIMDU, a Berlin-based rental service. They offer 7 decorating mistakes made with small spaces and how to correct them.
Sometimes, it only requires small changes to make a big difference in how a room can be designed to feel larger than it is. The result? A happier home.

7 Decorating Mistakes That Will Make Your Home Seem Smaller [Infographic] by the team at Wimdu

Until next time…
Blessings from my home to yours,
Dedicated to helping you live your rooms—not the other way around


Until next time…
Blessings from my home to yours,
Dedicated to helping you live your rooms—not the other way around
Do you remember wall-papered kitchens of old?
You may recall the  cute collection of teapots scattered everywhere you looked. Or, it could have been a ceiling border of grape vines . And who could forget the trailing ivy which was a favorite choice back in the day.
The wallpapers of today are contemporary and elegant.
They can be found in almost any design you can think of. Whether you favor subtle or bold, there is sure to be one that catches your fancy. Check out casartcoverings.com for fabulous examples.
Wallpapers can be an excellent design choice in a kitchen, especially where we are so used to seeing paint, tiles, and stone applications.
They can also be used in expected places. Take a look at these photos for ideas you may not have thought of.
TIP: When papering behind the sink or stove, use a professionally coated wallpaper or wall coverings made of vinyl for obvious reasons
1)  Paper applied to an accent wall only.
2)  Add eye-catching interest to the front underside of an island.
3)  Give the range hood its own attention.
4)  Look upward for ceiling appeal.
Traditional Kitchen by Adams + Beasley Associates
5)  Cover the blank area behind open shelves.
6)  Instead of just paint, paper above wainscoting.
7)  Surround your stove.
8)  Use a wall covering instead of tile or stone.
9)  Separate an eat-in area from the rest of the kitchen.
10)  Give your pantry its own personality.
Until next time…
Blessings from my home to yours…
Dedicated to helping you live your rooms—not the other way around
Photos via HOUZZ
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