We wait all winter long for summer and the bliss that comes from being outside enjoying fresh air, sunshine and nature.

However, as we’re now entering the “dog days” of this season, many of us retreat back in-doors because it’s too darn hot!

A better way is creating shade. Fortunately, there are so many shading options available today, that you’re sure to find one that works for you.

Following are 9 ideas from HOUZZ that will allow you to stay cool on even the hottest days.

1. THE OUTDOOR ROOM

Contemporary Pool by Leanne Bertram: Photographer

With or without a pool, this solid structure offers a great outdoor entertaining area even if it rains. The mini living room contains comfy seating, lighting, and even a fan for extra cooling.

2. OPEN ROOF

Contemporary Patio by Nathan Burkett Design

This outdoor area actually has an opening roof system which can be installed with push-button control or wall-mounted switches. When open, the ceiling slats provide a beautiful and diffused soft light.

3. RETRACTABLE AWNING

Contemporary Deck by Annabelle Chapman Architect Pty Ltd

Can be opened automatically or with a hand held crank. An awning also offers excellent sun protection. The outdoor fabric is available in many colors and patterns like this vibrant stripe that co-ordinates with the furniture coverings. They also could have chosen another color in the stripe for the pillows for additional design contrast.

4. BATTEN SAIL AWNING

Contemporary Deck by Outrigger Awnings and Sails, Sydney

This type of awning also offers sun and rain protection. If placed near the house, it also cools the inside of the home.

5. DUAL SAIL AWNINGS

Contemporary Pool swimming pool shade sails by Tenshon, LLC

These shades look like outdoor sculpture. They cover a large area creating a lot of cooling shade. Each point of the awning must be fastened to keep them taut and secured.

6. CANTILEVER UMBRELLA

Contemporary Pool by C.O.S Design

These are superior to traditional patio umbrellas because they can be turned 360 degrees allowing you to follow the sun. Make sure the fabric is UV resistant and water repellent. They also can be folded and stored once the season ends.

7. CANE REED SHADING

Contemporary Deck by Sam Crawford Architects

This natural fiber adds textural interest along with shade. It’s held in place by stainless steel wire.

9. COVERED LOUNGE

Contemporary Pool by Touzet Studio

You’ll feel like you’re in a cocoon in this oversized outside chair. You only need a good book and a cool beverage to spend the afternoon. Seems like a great place for a nap, too.

10. LAST BUT NOT LEAST—A SHADY TREE

Contemporary Deck by Dean Herald-Rolling Stone Landscapes

Nature comes to the rescue with a large, leafy tree. And you don’t have to buy or do anything! Believe it or not, a tree can lower the temperature 10 degrees. Yes, I am a tree hugger and maybe you are, too.

I hope this gives you some great ideas for keeping cool during the hottest time of summer. FYI: Don’t forget to wear sunblock 30 or higher—even if you stay in the shade. You may not burn staying out of the sun, but all UV light is damaging to skin and you don’t want to look old before your time!

Until next time…

Blessings from my home to yours,

Nancy
Dedicated to helping you create spaces that foster happiness and well-being

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There’s just something so fabulous about dining al fresco; enjoying the warm air, scents and sounds of nature.

And we’re finally at that time of year when many of our meals can be enjoyed out-of-doors.

Ideally, you want your outdoors kitchen to function as well as your indoor one.It doesn’t matter if you have a smaller patio/balcony or a larger entertaining area.

It just needs to be carefully planned so your whole grilling process is easier and more enjoyable this summer.

Following are ideas shared by Freshome.com that will help you accomplish this.

1. The grill

Outdoor grills and bbq accessories - freshome.com

A Wolf barbecue grill was mounted on this built-in storage cabinet wall. Image: Lischkoff Design

What’s your favorite grill? Are you old school and a charcoal purist? Or do you love a modern, state-of-the-art grill like the Wolf barbecue above? Depending on space and budget, there’s a variety of grill options out there.

2. Outdoor grill ideas that add counter space

outdoor grill ideas that add counter space - freshome.com

Additional countertop area can be added to even the smallest patio using rolling carts or a small butcher block table. Image: Ikea

Nothing makes your barbecue area more functional than extra counter space. If you can’t add a built-in cabinet and countertop, consider adding a rolling cart, butcher block or stainless steel restaurant prep table next to your grill.

3. Grill lighting

Ways to trick your outdoor grill with grill accessories - freshome.com

A wall sconce installed next to the grill lights the barbecue at night while party string lights add a warm, festive feel to this outdoor kitchen. Image: Envision Landscape Studio

Why stop the grilling party just because it’s getting dark? Add some task lighting near the grill to help light the area. If there’s no electric connection, consider using a battery-powered LED light.

4. Storage

Modern outdoor grill ideas for small spaces - freshome.com

Adding storage to your grilling area creates an outdoor kitchen look. Image: Inspired Garden Design

Any grill master will tell you that the BBQ accessories and grilling gadgets take up space. Add some storage to your grill area by making a spot for an outdoor cabinet, cart or shelving.

5. Essential grill tools

The best grill tools and bbq accessories - freshome.com

The ultimate tricked out grill area featuring a Kamado grill and a pizza oven. Image: Woon Theater

For a tricked out grill setup, you’ll need some key accessories and grilling tools to make the job easier. These include:

  • A long set of tongs
  • A long-handled spatula
  • A digital thermometer
  • A heat-proof basting brush

6. Grill-side dining

small outdoor kitchen ideas - freshome.com

A table for six is the perfect place for eating and socializing while grilling. Image: Cornerstone Architects

7. Cool grill accessories

Cool bbq gadgets - freshome.com

A Kalamazoo pizza oven is the ultimate grilling accessory and can be placed on any counter. Image: Williams Sonoma

Grill accessories are optional but add a personalized touch to your barbecue. A pizza oven would be the ultimate, but smaller accessories like a custom branding iron with your initials or a hot plate for warming food would be a great addition.

8. Safety items

a wall-mounted storage cabinet for bbq tools - freshome.com

A low-profile, wall-mounted storage cabinet can store barbecue tools, glasses and servingware. Image: Home Depot

Safety is always a priority, especially when working with fire. Mitts are essential for keeping your hands safe when handling hot surfaces. A fire extinguisher mounted nearby is also a good idea.

9. Serving items

Grill accessories and bbq serving utensils - freshome.com

Storage cabinets with baskets in this outdoor grill area hold serving dishes, glasses and grill utensils. Image: Circle Creek Home

Having serving platters and trays handy make serving your grilled foods stylish and easy. Trays make it easier to carry several items at once, saving you time when you need to go in and out of the house.

10. Garbage and cleanup

Outdoor barbecue setups - freshome.com

A wall was painted in a bold black and shelves mounted to serve as counterspace in this small outdoor kitchen. Image: Ikea

Make cleanup quick and easy by keeping the right items nearby. A good trashcan for trash, a grill brush for scrubbing the grill while it’s still warm and a roll of paper towels are a good start.

I hope this post gives you ideas that will make your outdoor entertaining even more enjoyable—that special time with family and friends.

Until next time…

Blessings from my home to yours,

Nancy
Dedicated to helping you create spaces that foster happiness and well-being

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Summer…

The season that begs us to be outdoors and enjoy nature’s bounty that we only have this time of year.

Yet we don’t want to just sit on a blanket. We want to create a beautiful living area just like we have in our indoor living room.

We want a beautiful and comfortable outdoor space where we can easily entertain or simply enjoy alone with a refreshing drink and the latest summer blockbuster book.

Here are 4 ways shared by FRESHOME that will help you design your perfect outdoor living room—your new favorite place to be.

COMFY SEATING IS A MUST IN AN OUTDOOR LIVING ROOM

Expand your living space with an outdoor living room

An outdoor living room is a great way to expand your living space. Image: Contract Furnishings Mart

 

ADD A HEAT SOURCE

Outdoor fireplaces can be a focal point.

Use an outdoor fireplace as your focal point. Image: Concrete Works

Keep in mind that most seating areas are arranged around a particular focal point, or a design element that draws the eye. Where outdoor living rooms are concerned, a heat source like a small firepit or larger built-in fireplace is a particularly good choice.

Not only will this feature lend a sense of drama to the space, but it’s also incredibly utilitarian. Adding a heat source to your outdoor area will increase the amount of time you can spend enjoying it. It will allow you to weather chilly nights and seasonal changes that would otherwise render the area unusable.

That said, live flames aren’t the right fit for everyone. Families with young children or those who simply don’t want to take the risk should look into purchasing a heat lamp. They typically run off of propane and, in the past few years, have become increasingly easy to find in home improvement stores like Lowes.

 

CONSIDER A COVERING

A covering will expand the space's use.

Consider adding a covering to expand the outdoor living room’s use in varying weather. Image: Marylou Sobel Interior Design

When shopping for coverings, there are plenty of options to choose from. Recently, pergolas like the one shown in the picture above have seen a spike in popularity. However, umbrellas, awnings, lanais or even indoor-outdoor sunrooms are on the list of potential options.

Since coverings often require building an additional structure, your best bet is to hire a qualified contractor. Be honest with them about how you’d ideally like to use the space, as well as your budget. They’ll be able to recommend the type of covering the best suits your needs.

 

MIX PATTERNS, COLORS, AND TEXTURE

Mix and match different patterns and textures.

Mix pattern and texture to create visual interest. Image: Sage Outdoor Designs

Once you have all of your desired features in place, your next task is to turn an eye to interior design. For the most part, the same rules apply to any space, regardless of whether it’s within walls or not. However, outdoor living rooms do have a few unique considerations you’ll want to be aware of as you’re bringing your vision to life.

The biggest thing to keep in mind is that, since outdoor seating is often sold as a unit, it can look monotonous if left alone. You’ll need to add in other design elements with a variety of patterns, colors and textures to create visual interest.

Adding in textiles like accent pillows or an outdoor rug is a great choice because they can bring in lots of visual interest, but can be easily switched out as trends change. Incorporating different types of greenery is another natural choice since you are in nature. Even structural elements like pathways, decks and patios can play a role in your design, if you choose complementary materials and finishes.

I hope this helps as you create your outdoor living room.

One other suggestion for very hot days would be adding an outdoor/patio mister. You stay cool in spite of rising temperatures.

Happy summer!

Until next time…

Blessings from my home to yours,

Nancy
Dedicated to helping you create spaces that foster happiness and well-being

 

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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.
“HERE ARE SIX REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD GO GLAMPING FOR YOUR NEXT VACATION”

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,
Nancy
Dedicated to helping you live your rooms—not the other way around
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While visiting a friend’s home a few days ago, she showed me her back yard and I was taken aback.
While she might not have fully realized, she created an outdoor space that appealed to all of her senses which, in turn, increased her sense of well-being.
She created an outdoor space where nature ruled, allowing both humans and nature to relate and work together harmoniously.
We can’t live very well without creating a positive relationship with nature. Studies show that being surrounded by and integrating with nature can:
  • Reduce stress
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Increase well-being
  • Enhance problem-solving skills
  • Reduce fear and anger
It’s good, maybe imperative, to create outdoor spaces that speak to our soul. That allow us to be in harmony with our surroundings and with ourselves.
Your special “secret garden” needn’t be large or elaborate. Just a secluded nook that is peaceful and harmonious. A quiet space to quiet the mind.
Take a look at these photos. You’ll feel calmer just by looking at them. You’ll smell the trees and flowers; feel the grass beneath bare feet while enjoying a beverage; feel the warm air caressing your skin; hear a soft breeze ruffle the tree leaves; daydream and let fears drift away. You’ll enjoy just being.
Like my friend, your “secret garden” will engage all of your senses and feel glad to just be alive.
Until next time…
Blessings from my home to yours,
Nancy
Dedicated to helping you live your rooms—not the other away around
Photos via HOUZZ
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There is something so wonderful about the fall season, that it seems natural to bring some of nature’s bounty indoors
Perhaps it’s the brilliant colors, or the many shapes, patterns, and texture
No matter why, they inspire and comfort us. We want to be surrounded with the beauty that only nature can provide.
So pour your favorite beverage, snuggle up with a throw, and look at these photos for some easy decorating ideas that you can do to celebrate this glorious season.
FIRELOGS
If you have a non-working fireplace, fill the space with firelogs. The texture they provide is beautiful and a wonderful way to fill an otherwise black hole. Just make sure if you bring them in from outdoors, they’re bug-free!
Traditional Living Room by Design Manifest
BOOKCASES ARE NOT JUST FOR BOOKS
Same idea as the first photo, but this time use a few shelves to fill with logs. The rustic charm they provide is delightful and unusual.
BRING IN FALL FOLIAGE
What a lovely way to greet yourself and your guests. Use a large container in an entryway filled with brilliant branches of fall leaves. Just make sure there’s enough weight in the bottom of your container so it doesn’t topple over.
DECORATE YOUR DINING ROOM CHANDELIER
Bring in branches from outdoors to nestle into your light fixture. I would not use the actual berries as they can fall into your food and I’m quite sure they’re not part of your menu! Instead, purchase faux berries from a craft store and attach them to the wood branches.
ADORN YOUR TABLE NAPKINS
You can choose anything that is small such as herbs or wildflowers. Attach the bundles to the napkins using twine. It’s a lovely way to greet guests to the table and it’s fresh—especially if they’re naturally scented.

PINECONES

Whether they’re from your yard or purchased, pinecones are a wonderful gift of nature to decorate with. Simply fill completely any container of your choice. If they don’t have their natural scent, don’t add an artificial pine smell. I’ve never found one that smells like the real thing. Simply enjoy their shape and texture.
USE YOUR CAMERA
You don’t even need an actual camera. The one that’s built into your smart phone takes beautiful photos. So while you’re on your nature walks, snap photos that appeal to you and have them framed. In this case, you are the artist with a little help from nature! And you’ll smile each time you look at them.
Photos via HOUZZ
Until next time…
Blessings from my home to yours,
Nancy
Dedicated to helping you live your rooms—not the other way around
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I’m working with a client who has chosen to freshen her home and part of this “refreshment” includes fabric.
She has two guest bedrooms and each has a window seat overlooking beautiful trees that were screaming for comphy  cushions.
Partly because she has active grandchildren, we chose indoor-outdoor fabric for the cushions.
We call it indoor-outdoor fabric because it’s come a long way from the heavy canvass always associated with outdoor material.
You’ll find examples that have the feel and texture of regular indoor fabrics. Two of my favorite sources are SUNBRELLA and DURALEE.
While indoor-outdoor fabric is extremely durable and fade-resistant, it’s not indestructible. However, it’s much easier to keep clean than many other fabrics. SUNBRELLA has a website, www.sunbrella.com/stainchart that gives instructions for removing a wide variety of stains.
The cost of this fabric from Sunbrella and Duralee runs from $25 to $130 a yard. With minimal care, you can enjoy indoor-outdoor fabric for many years to come.
Take a look at this photos from HOUZZ. They’ll show you examples of how beautifully they can be incorporated into your interior decor. You’ll see why bringing  outdoor material indoors is a good thing!
Indoor-outdoor fabric has come a long way from the heavy solids and limited stripes of yesterday’s outdoor fabric choices.
Wovens
Prints
Sheers
The perfect fabric for stools and chairs

Don’t forget Fido’s bed

Until next time…
Blessings from my home to yours,
Nancy
Dedicated to helping you live your rooms—not the other way around
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Summer is that time of year when much of your entertaining is out-of-doors.
It’s also that time of year when many celebrations take place.
Weddings, wedding receptions, bridal showers, birthday parties, holidays, and special get-togethers with family and friends.
This week’s design ideas are some product examples that add fun, elegance, in some a little whimsy, and all around make your celebrations even more special. And don’t you just love it when guests  remark how beautiful everything looks and wonder how you did it all?
Most of these products can be ordered directly from Houzz or, if not, the source is listed on the photo. You may see an item or two that is just what you’re looking for when planning your parties this summer.
Until next time…
Blessings from my home to yours,
Nancy
Dedicated to helping you live your rooms—not the other way around
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After experiencing two sunny days in a row with temperatures hovering around 70 degrees, I know summer is just around the corner.

For those of us who live in the Northwest, as with all who live in northern climates, it can’t arrive too soon.

And like a bear coming out of hibernation, the lure of being out-of-doors is simply too strong to ignore.

We feel re-born.

We want to be outside and enjoy our private outdoor spaces. Free to relax, dream a little, enjoy friends and family, read that summer romance novel. And we absolutely love to eat out meals under umbrellas, clear blue skies, and evening sunsets.

Take a look at these photos of different styles and materials of outdoor furniture. These examples come from a Belgian outdoor furniture company MANUTTI.

They are beautiful, comfortable, and practical. After all, it does rain and storm even during the summer.

Mindfully designed, your private outdoor spaces can truly make you feel like you’re on vacation without even leaving your property!

We're kicking off our search with wicker furniture. Resin wicker is weather resistant so can be left out for years in the sun, snow and wind thanks to its synthetic polyethylene make-up, unlike regular wicker that would only last about a year out in the elements before it started to break down and lose its beauty. All weather wicker is widely available and looks great when teamed with tables of other materials too.

We’re kicking off our search with wicker furniture. Resin wicker is weather resistant so can be left out for years in the sun, snow and wind thanks to its synthetic polyethylene make-up, unlike regular wicker that would only last about a year out in the elements before it started to break down and lose its beauty. All weather wicker is widely available and looks great when teamed with tables of other materials too.
Resin wicker chairs come in all manner of shapes and sizes, but check out these armchair style pieces that have been teamed with a wooden table, the look is très chic! With a few extra cushions added to soften the backs of the seating, guests are more likely to linger later for after dinner drinks. Don't forget to leave a few cozy throws around too, just in case some guests begin to feel the nip of the breeze as the sun goes down. A patio heater is also a handy way to keep guests warm and toasty into chilly evening time, or if you'd like to set a more atmospheric scene, how about an attractive outdoor fireplace or centrally placed fire pit?

Resin wicker chairs come in all manner of shapes and sizes, but check out these armchair style pieces that have been teamed with a wooden table, the look is très chic! With a few extra cushions added to soften the backs of the seating, guests are more likely to linger later for after dinner drinks. Don’t forget to leave a few cozy throws around too, just in case some guests begin to feel the nip of the breeze as the sun goes down. A patio heater is also a handy way to keep guests warm and toasty into chilly evening time, or if you’d like to set a more atmospheric scene, how about an attractive outdoor fireplace or centrally placed fire pit?
Advertisement
We're not discovering a brand new idea here, wicker outdoor furniture has been around for a very long time, but it really can look amazingly contemporary when selected in the right silhouette.

We’re not discovering a brand new idea here, wicker outdoor furniture has been around for a very long time, but it really can look amazingly contemporary when selected in the right silhouette.
The black seat cushions on these keep things looking sharp and bang up to date.

The black seat cushions on these keep things looking sharp and bang up to date.
The chairs can have a lovely light look, especially in a white finish with a slimline outdoor table.

The chairs can have a lovely light look, especially in a white finish with a slimline outdoor table.
Black wicker can look pretty cool too though–team with matching decorative bowls or fruit baskets for a cohesive look. A buffet of colorful summer fruits will zing against the backdrop of a black table too.

Black wicker can look pretty cool too though–team with matching decorative bowls or fruit baskets for a cohesive look. A buffet of colorful summer fruits will zing against the backdrop of a black table too.
These sets are great for both modern and traditional gardens.

These sets are great for both modern and traditional gardens.
White wicker chairs

Outdoor wrought iron furniture has always been a firm favorite, so a dining set of this style is definitely worth consideration when kitting out your garden patio or pool deck. The main draw back however is that these pieces are typically very weighty to move around, so they don't make a great choice if you commonly move your chairs to follow the last rays of the setting sun.

Outdoor wrought iron furniture has always been a firm favorite, so a dining set of this style is definitely worth consideration when kitting out your garden patio or pool deck. The main draw back however is that these pieces are typically very weighty to move around, so they don’t make a great choice if you commonly move your chairs to follow the last rays of the setting sun.
Solid and traditional, and elegant in design, these pieces make the perfect place to serve brunch, or sip tea in the sunshine. This chair design has a timeless appeal, and a neat table completes the look perfectly.

Solid and traditional, and elegant in design, these pieces make the perfect place to serve brunch, or sip tea in the sunshine. This chair design has a timeless appeal, and a neat table completes the look perfectly.
Black wrought iron outdoor furniture
Wrought iron outdoor chairs
Wrought iron chairs table
Now, onto teak finish, another sophisticated choice. Sets like these have a laid-back feel whilst retaining a smart edge.

Now, onto teak finish, another sophisticated choice. Sets like these have a laid-back feel whilst retaining a smart edge.
Teak chairs look warm and inviting, especially when matched up with a teak table.

Teak chairs look warm and inviting, especially when matched up with a teak table.
This table would even look at home in an interior setting.

This table would even look at home in an interior setting.
Round teak table
Outdoor dining benches are extremely in vogue right now, and provide a great opportunity for squeezing in a few extra diners at the table.

Outdoor dining benches are extremely in vogue right now, and provide a great opportunity for squeezing in a few extra diners at the table.
Colorful exterior chairs are a fun and bold choice.

Colorful exterior chairs are a fun and bold choice.
Wood black outdoor table
Outdoor table
White outdoor chairs
Outdoor dining set
Subtle colors that blend into the surroundings keep things looking clean and uncomplicated.

Subtle colors that blend into the surroundings keep things looking clean and uncomplicated.
Wood white outdoor dining suite
Round white outdoor table
Black outdoor chairs
A white simple lined set has always looked fresh.

A white simple lined set has always looked fresh.
White outdoor dining set
White outdoor furniture
Outdoor dining stools
Don't forget you can mix and match all manner of colors and materials in a modern setting.

Don’t forget you can mix and match all manner of colors and materials in a modern setting.
Black outdoor dining chairs
White wood outdoor dining set
Contemporary outdoor dining bench
Modern outdoor table chairs
Outdoor table chairs set
Surrounding nature can inspire your color palette, like this cool blue ocean scene.

Surrounding nature can inspire your color palette, like this cool blue ocean scene.
Green blue outdoor chairs
Outdoor dining
Outdoor dining bench
Metal outdoor furniture
Modern outdoor dining set
Modern outdoor chairs
Gray outdoor chairs
Orange outdoor chairs will bring sunshine to the dullest of days.

Orange outdoor chairs will bring sunshine to the dullest of days.
47 Orange white outdoor dining set
48 Round outdoor table
49 Outdoor wicker wood dining chairs table

50 Chic outdoor dining suite

Photos: via INTERIOR DESIGN IDEAS

Until next time…

Blessings from my home to yours,

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

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We’ve had more rain during this first week of March then we normally have for the entire month. I mean the kind where fish swim across the road and cars are floating instead of driving. Enough already!

Today, however, dawned with a beautiful pink and blue sky, no wind and warmer temperatures. I had to get out outside and what a joyous gift awaited me. It was a feast for the senses. I swear the air was perfumed with the earth coming alive. Birds were singing as if in celebration. As I walked and looked around, I saw pink cherry blossoms, flowering white tulip tree blossoms, daffodil’s saying “good morning” with their cheery yellow flowers. As I looked up, there were the spring green buds on the trees that in a few months will offer their cooling shade. It seemed to have happened overnight.

As I took deep, cleansing breaths, it just felt so good to be alive. I realized again how profoundly healing nature is.

It doesn’t matter if we live on a park-like estate, have a small yard, or a deck or patio, we can create our own version of an outdoor paradise and feel connected to the outdoors with all of its bounty and the healing power it gives to our mind, body, and spirit.

This week, I’m sharing with you some exquisite photos and quotes that I guarantee will lift your soul and remind you of nature’s constant renewal. They remind us, too, of how our lives are constantly being renewed as well. As the long winter turns into spring, we also get a new start.

So take a break, enjoy a cup of coffee or tea, take a deep breath and let your mind enjoy a little journey as you view the photos and read the beautiful words. You’ll be glad you did!

“There’s something very important to me about having a kind of relationship, with plants and animals, that can be transacted wholly without language. The warmth of one’s body is a form of communication. The stroke of one’s hand is a means of communication. In the garden those forms are heightened. I have a tendency when I’m walking in the garden to brush the flowers as I go by, anticipating the fragrant eloquence of their response. I get a sense of reciprocity that is very comforting, consoling.” — Stanley Kunitz, The Wild Braid: A Poet Reflects on a Century in the Garden

“Gardening, as compared to lawn care, tutors us in nature’s ways, fostering an ethic of give-and-take with respect to the land. Gardens instruct us in the particularities of place … For if lawn mowing feels like copying the same sentence over and over, gardening is like writing out new ones, an infinitely variable process of invention and discovery. Gardens also teach the necessary if un-American lesson that nature and culture can be compromised, that there might be some middle ground between the lawn and the forest … The garden suggests there might be a place where we can meet nature halfway.” — Michael Pollan, Second Nature

“One’s sense of one’s self as the center of one’s life, all life, dominates and we forget that, despite the striving, anguish, limitless sensations and desires, we will become the earth itself. A life feels so large and sprawly, so magnetic — it attracts people and objects to it — and when all is said and done, despite the flares of helplessness or angst, it feels sufficiently controlled: it is impossible to imagine ourselves reduced, anonymous, disconnected.” — Diane Ackerman, Cultivating Delight

“The earth and our own bodies, by casting shadows, seem to be the opposite of light. But if you have gazed up through the leaves of a tree at the sky, if you have watched the jeweled crests of waves, or held a shimmering fish in your hand, or lifted you palm against the sun and seen ruby light blazing through the flesh of your squeezed fingers, you know that matter is filled with fire. Matter IS fire, in slow motion … The resistant stuff we touch and walk on and eat, the resistant stuff we are, blood and bone, is not the opposite of light but light’s incarnation.” — Scott Russell Sanders, Staying Put: Making a Home in a Restless World

“The essential thing is not so much that children should grow up (although they must), as that grown-ups should not lose altogether the innocent sensual pleasures that we knew at our beginning. We should be able to find our way back to the bright discovery days of the world as it was perceived and known in childhood, when every day brought new things to experience and learn … There is nothing like a garden to stimulate and satisfy each and all of our senses.” — Allen Lacy, The Inviting Garden

“To tip a weed from the earth is satisfying. There is a pale, crackling sound heard in the head and felt in the hand as the tenderest root fibers break from their holdfasts; then a bright, cheery crunch as the clump itself gives way. I like the weightiness of the clump; I like the way the weight lightens as the soil, shaken out, beaten out, spatters its sustenance back to the ground. There is a fine sensation of murder.” — Sara Stein, My Weeds: A Gardener’s Botany

“Compared to gardeners, I think it is generally agreed that others understand very little about anything of consequence.” — Henry Mitchell, The Essential Earthman

Until next time…

Blessings from my home to yours,

Nancy

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

Images courtesy HOUZZ

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