Thursday, May 31, 2012

My Favorite Garden Rooms & Inspiration


For those of you that read my other blog, Villa Cantina you know that we are in the process of building a lower patio courtyard area at our lake home in the Paso Robles Wine Country.  I wrote about the project here retaining wall is being constructed and the fence is almost done.  I will post progress photos later.  In the meantime I am perusing my favorite spaces on my Pinterest Boards here, and here . Once the after photos are posted you will understand how my thought process works.



Source Unknown

source unknown

via 5th and State blog



via quintescense



Eleanor Cummings via Cote de Texas




Ginger Barber via Cote de Texas






Sandy Koepke



image via pinterest






image via pinterest



IsabellaLang blogspot


cote de texas

via cote de texas


bunny williams

Bunny Williams



source unknown

Do you have a favorite, or one that is a source of inspiration for your own outdoor space?  There are elements in all of them that inspire me.  However that space by Sandy Koepke had me at the entrance!!


Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Enchanting Gardens of Dominique Lafourcade

When we first built our home (a Monterey Style Spanish Colonial) over twenty  years  ago I had absolutely no gardening experience.  Our home was to be built on ten acres and the building site itself literally did not have a tree on it.  I came from a family of gardeners but had no interest or expertise.  I did realize that the house needed grounding with plantings of some sort.  Luckily I was introduced by a friend to a lovely lady named Helene Daniels.  Helene immediately envisioned  a garden in the California Mission Style (I was from Indiana…barely knew what the missions were!!). When I look back I can’t believe how lucky I was to have found her.  She built the base of our gardens, much of which still stands today.  We have heavy clay soil so I found some things just didn’t work like santolina (which I replaced with nepeta).  I studied the English Cottage Gardens and experimented with that style.  The problem is on the Central Coast of California water is at a premium.  Hence my garden has evolved from the Spanish mission garden, to my experiment with an English garden, to the realization that the garden style that really works in my microclimate is that of the French.  I have replaced grass with gravel (yes we have not a blade of grass).  I love roses, not the modern varieties, but the antiques and the David Austin’s… that are beautiful in the landscape (unlike the modern roses) and are more disease resistant and require less care. Over the years I have shovel pruned many a rose and or uncooperative plant. Joni from Cote de Texas posted some pictures of my garden on her blog here   I have learned from my blogging friend Tara Dillard (read her blog here… and others that the landscape should reflect the land.  Plant the plants that thrive in your soil and micro climate.  Don’t fight the environment. The older I get the greater my appreciation is for the French Style of gardening.  If I knew then what I know now I would have wider paths, more gravel, fewer plants and more that grow naturally in my particular environment.

I can’t remember the first time I encountered the beautiful gardens of Dominique Lafourcade.  One of my first garden books was Jardins & Bouquets (in French no less). It was my first introduction to her wonderful work. I still often refer to this book even though it is in French! Every time I encountered one of her gardens I was in awe… even though I was yet to learn her identity.  Her sense of space… her own words "A garden is first and foremost a work of art, with the gardener playing the roles of architect, sculptor, musician and painter in turn. A garden should move visitors, setting all their senses aquiver"  For years she didn’t even have a web presence.  Now that she does… it is a garden of the senses…go here  Tell me that you aren’t absolutely  encapsulated in her world…I know I am….again…and again…and again….



                                                                                                                               photo via Cote de Texas



photo clive nichols

photo Clive Nichols

photo courtesy of Clive Nichols

photo courtesy of Clive Nichols

photo susan worner tours





clive nichols

clive nichols

clive nichols

clive nichols

clive nichols

clive nichols



Balmy summer evenings are spent among the classic imagery of Provence, created by Dominique on what was once little more than a barren farnyard.

photo courtesy of Roger Moss

                                                                                                                                               clive nichols



                                                                                                                               photo Events of Prestige


                                                                                                                The oft photographed Alee of Olive Trees…


                                                                                                                                              source unknown


image                                                                                                                                       via cote de texas


What do you think?  Are you absolutely mesmerized by her gardens?  I am sure you have pinned a garden on pinterest or admired a garden in some publication or blog and wondered who is this amazing talent?  Joni at Cote de Texas did one of her wonderful series titled Americans in France and showed  some of her gardens here  Trish of the wonderful blog Trouvais wrote a story about the Lafourcade’s here  if you would like a little more history.


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Friday, May 18, 2012

Erin Martin Epitomizes Rough Luxe


“The Chic Attic of a Mad Design Scientist” is how the San Francisco Chronicle magazine describes her showroom in Saint Helena. What do you think?


                                                                  Love the tree house feel of this space


                                                Study this…the unexpected splash of red…those stools…amazing…


This bathroom just boggles my mind.  The unrestrained use of unexpected materials and surfaces is just plain genius…love the shower door pull and the scratched up vanity….



Rustic Modern Bathroom Interior Design of House of Mirth by Erin Martin, California


                                                      Take note of the elements used in styling this bookcase



                                                 This barn setting is positively luminous with or without candles.



                                 I am not even sure what these things are hanging on the wall but the overall effect is stunning.



                                                This kitchen is sort of Robinson Crusoe meets R2D2.  I love it!

                                         Trinchero Family Estates Winery’s new Hospitality Center by Erin Martin

If you would like to see how Erin’s style has evolved check out Trish of Trouve’s blog  post here.

Or if you want to be totally inspired stop by Erin Martin’s St. Helena Showroom at 1350 Main Street St. Helena.

You can also see more of Erin’s portfolio here:

What do you think?  Pure genius?


Monday, May 14, 2012

Cheap Chic Side Tables Under $230

I am a firm believer in mixing the high and low.  Wouldn’t you rather spend your money on an antique, a piece of art, or even a great mattress?!! Every piece in your home does not need to be museum quality unless of course you want your home to look like a museum. 

I love this great side table from Horchow. I actually have one in between two wicker chairs in my family room. Right now it is 25% off of $199 here

 Rustic Side Table at Horchow.



 How about this one from  here  I think it would look great in the garden as well. It is an incredible bargain at $103.99


Steel Square Rivet Natural-colored Stool (India)

 This one from Crate and Barrel would work inside or out as well at $229. It has a great look for the money.




Ballard Designs Bornova side tables at $219.00 are a bargain  They are produced by others at much higher prices while you get much more bang for your buck here.  I would give them a coat of tinted briwax to tone them down if they were mine.


Bornova Side Table


 See similar or same table used by the talented Erin Martin seen here in house beautiful



 Or here in this Napa House featured in House Beautiful via Vignette Design blog here:  If you haven’t read her blog you are in for a treat!


ceiling, light


For a more organic look Ballard Designs also has the Patras Side Table made of reclaimed Teak and Zinc at only $219 here

Patras Side Table


Or West Elm’s Natural Tree Stump Side Table here at $199.00


Natural Tree Stump Side Table


tree-stump side table

Or if you wanted to glam it up you could gild it like they did here

tree stump side table

                                                                                                                       image via pinterest


How about this little gem from Crate and Barrel  here  At $119.00 a couple of these would be great under a console table for another layer of texture.


The Abaca Ottoman also at Crate and Barrel, is on sale for $119.00.  Another great find in my book!



I adore this West Elm Turned Pedestal Side Table here for $199.00  I think it could be used in a modern organic space or just as easily in a more traditional space. It is a great price as is but you know West Elm it will probably be on sale soon.  I have recommended this table to numerous clients.  I think it looks even better in person.

side table. west elm.


 I am not a huge fan of these garden stools in general,, but this one from Wisteria kind of speaks to me. It has an earthiness  that the shiny varieties lack.  Again a coat of dark briwax would give it even more depth.  It is a great deal at $219. You can find it here



This great little table is on final sale at Restoration Hardware.




How about this seagrass stool from PB here  I think it would be great with a stack of old books beside a chair.



As you can see there are a lot of options available on the internet. Flea markets and tag sales are other great sources.  Use your creativity to mix the high and low.  Create a priority list for your big ticket items and fill in with some of these little gems. A room full of furniture from World Market can be too much World Market.  A few pieces interspersed with some finer pieces speaks to your creative side.  I would love to hear what your splurges and cheap tricks are.