I live in a town that happens to have many old homes with great character and architecture. Every once in awhile, one of these homes is lucky enough to be saved from a builder, who would tear it down and build a brand new 3500+ sq foot McMansion.
My clients, Beth and Steve, bought one of these old homes, and I was lucky enough to work with them on designing their living room:
(You can see a little of the wood beamed ceiling in this shot, just gorgeous!)
I was recently at a clients home to review the final purchases for her kitchen/breakfast room/ family room and started discussions for her living / dining room. Half way through the meeting, her husband swooped in and politely asked "Would you follow me Dawn? I have a few projects of my own I'd like to discuss....." He continued his brisk walk knowing that I would follow him, as his wife Lisa profusely apologized to me for his abrupt disruption.
This often happens on the off chance he's around when I stop over. This time, though, my assignment was really fun and an easy one to knock off my list. He recently purchased art at the Hinsdale Art Fair - a local art fair - for their guest bedroom, and wanted me to select frames and update the bedding using the art as my starting point.
I met Carol and Emmett - dubbed my Ranch Project Clients - at a park one day while swinging our respective little ones. We started talking and discovered that both our boys took baseball together! Our conversation blossomed from there and before I knew it, Carol mentioned she needed help pulling her home together. I directed her to my blog to take a look around and told her to give me a call if she was interested in help.
We have made extensive changes to our home, inside and out. However, some of the most high impact changes happened to be the cheapest / easiest ones we've made.
(Our house at the end of last summer)
Last year, I shared the before and after of our exterior, here. However, the many changes that we made were done over the course of about 4 or 5 years. The change that took our renovations from nice, to wow, in my opinion, was\ painting our brick and adding fresh landscaping. Don't just take my word for it, take a look. Here is a picture of our home after we changed the roof-line/windows/siding:
This picture was taken just about a year ago. I remember being so excited to get our flower boxes planted, stepped back to take it in, and realized it was kind of sad looking! That is when I knew something had to be changed. Here is our home after new paint/plants:
Our winter was cold and long. My family has missed our time spent outside in our backyard and on our deck. My son has spent the past few months asking me, daily, if we could "please eat outside on the deck, mom!" The weather has only barely broke, but our deck is all ready and waiting for spring / summer!
Did you notice the dead looking tree in the background of the picture above? That usually has leaves by now, but due to the (miserable) weather in our parts, it's still yet to bloom! Can you tell I'm just a little bit ready for consistent warm weather? I'm not bitter at all.... I swear.... ok maybe just a little. ;) I lost five newly planted rose bushes just on the other side of the deck over the winter, so maybe that is why I decided to go for the gold with these already full hanging baskets this year rather than planting them myself and waiting it out to fill in:
Last year I gave our home exterior and landscaping a makeover to help improve our curb appeal. One of the updates we made, among the many shared here, was to line our front entry path with planters and boxwood's to help create an entrance:
I chose two large scale planters to line the start of the path so that I could add drama and color to the landscaping each year with annuals. Today I'm going to share the plants that I chose this year to fill these planters. By now I think most of us have heard the formula for creating an eye catching planter: thriller, filler, spill-er. With this in mind, I made the following selection:
As I mentioned the last time I posted, I wanted to share some of my favorite snapshots from our recent Napa getaway. It was an awesome time and I tasted a lot of great wines! We visited a variety of spots in Napa and Sonoma, and the ones I've included here were a few of my favorite.
One of our first stops, Far Niente, had the most beautifully manicured grounds of the wineries we visited. This makes sense considering the owner originally made his money in the nursery business! All of the spring flowers were in full bloom when we visited in early April. The wines were really great as well, mostly Cabs, and my husband liked them so much we joined the wine club! Two more notable items about Far Niente are the underground caves which were carved out after the building had been there for many years. Unfortunately, I didn't get a lot of great snapshots of the caves since I would have needed a stand for my camera. Additionally, as part of the tour you get to see the owner's car collection (added bonus for the husband). I will note, though, that our tour guide - Zack - corrected me when I called it a "car collection;" he was quick to point out that these cars are driven regularly. La dee da. :) A few snapshots from this stop: