Archive for the ‘How to…’ Category

During this time of year when it’s a bit cold out and I’m not truly able to garden, I feel like I need to do something that feels like I’m in the garden and getting my hands dirty. Therefore, I thought it would be fun to put together a succulent arrangement for dinner tonight. And, if I think it’s going to get truly cold, I can always bring it indoors until it gets a bit warmer.

So, I went to my local garden store and selected these succulents. I love the color and sometimes I think it’s nice just to use one variety.

I just planted them all in and then added gravel on top as a decorative element.


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Realizing we’re all living some crazy busy lives these days, I love sharing ideas on ways to simplify our lives while making them as enjoyable and beautiful as possible. Therefore, today I’m sharing a very simple way to put together a holiday wreath. Did I mention is was simple?

I found this wreath for about $15.00 dollars at my local craft store.
For the past couple of years, I’ve been obsessed with this gold/rust color that you see on the berries above. It was actually these gold berries which inspired me to put this wreath together.
I decided to go with three different variety of embellishments for my wreath but you could get crazy and do tons more — whatever makes you happy.
I started with the berries because they will dictate where everything else will go.
I started by adding them in the middle of the wreath on both sides. Working my way down and layering them as I go, my goal was to meet at the bottom while still leaving a little room for the pinecones.
Next, I added these little pinecones, with the goal of creating a small cluster at the bottom of the wreath.
Then, I added these two embellishments for more greenery.
Just add them above the berries on either side of the wreath.
And her she is! From start to finish it took me about 20 minutes. You could always add a beautiful ribbon at the bottom if you’d like.
Note: You may need some floral wire to attach everything securely.


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 Designing exteriors is one of my favorite things to do and when I get the opportunity to design an exterior, my first step is to determine the overall style. Once this decision is made, it really sets the tone for the rest of the project — including the landscaping and what happens on the interior. A couple of days ago I received a project in Santa Clarita, a city just north of Los Angeles, and below are several style options that I’m considering. Which is your favorite?


via Daniel C. Cuevas Interior Design



A simple, yet elegant, approach for an exterior — with beautiful light fixtures and a couple of potted plants, this may be the winner.

In a couple of weeks I’ll post the winner plus the before + after photos. Happy Wednesday!

~ Shannon

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A Gallery Wall provides us with a great opportunity to showcase our personal style, as well as some of our treasured photos and artwork.



When considering a gallery wall, there are several different styles you could choose from. You could go with a random order style, as in the photo above, or you could design a more organized gallery, as in the photo below.


via Becki Owens

Another option would be to use picture rails as shown below. The benefit to this is being able to rearrange your artwork anytime you want.


Pictures by Annika von Holdt (@annikavonholdt)

 When designing a gallery wall, I tend to go with the more random style of gallery — and my approach is quite simple.

First, I have my client pull the photos and artwork that they want to use. Then I measure the space where the gallery will be displayed.

Next, I choose the color of frame that will work best with my client’s home. I then purchase different sizes of frames and always purchase extra (much easier to return the ones you don’t use then to keep running out for more).

I then use measuring tape, on the floor, to mark out the space (you could also you painter’s tape).

Next, start placing your frames. I normally go with about 5 to 6 inches of space between frames, but it really depends on the size of wall and personal preference.

After playing with the frames and finding the layout I want, I then photograph the layout (so I follow my plan), and proceed to hang one at a time, leaving the rest in their place.

For my Austin clients (below), I went with a simple black frame, but then added a couple of brass tone frames as an accent color.


Above, you can see how I use the measuring tape.


If my client doesn’t have enough artwork for all the frames, I’ll go ahead and hang the gallery and then use instructional post-it notes in the empty frames. This gives the client some direction, and allows them time to find just the right piece.


One of my favorites, from this gallery, is this bird drawing by their 5-year-old  — Love!


If you’re looking for more ideas on putting together a gallery wall, check out my Pinterest board, Gallery Walls.

Happy Monday!

~ Shannon

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Like so many, I absolutely love the gardens in Provence! When I visited the region 5 years ago, I fell in love with this part of France including its gardens & slower pace of life. The beauty, simplicity, sophistication and disregard for contemporary ingenuity was beautiful to me. The effortless style drew me in and I tried to take notes of everything that appealed to me. I particularly loved the areas in the gardens which were designated for eating or entertaining.  The materials were so simple — an old farm table, rustic chairs and simple plantings all made up that certain feel that is so desirable for so many of us. Therefore, while remembering my Provencal vacation, I thought I would put together some simple tips on how you could create your own little South of France right in your backyard.


Although, many of us don’t have a charming French farm-house or the amazing Mediterranean climate we can still obtain “the look” in our own backyard. It’s relatively easy, all you need is some space and a couple of items.



First, figure out the area in your garden where you are going to add this little Provencal nook — preferably a shady part of your garden.



There are many types of gravel but the gravel usually used in Provence is similar to our ‘pea’ gravel.

(Click here, for a how-to video, from This Old House, on installing a gravel pathway (same steps would apply when doing a larger space). Also, click here for more examples of gravel spaces from Houzz)



A place to sit and sip on a glass of Rose and enjoy a late lunch is always nice. I like a simple picnic table and benches but it can be really anything. Places, like Restoration Hardware, Ikea and Pottery Barn offer some type of “farm” table. If you don’t want to wait years to get an aged look, try Craig’s list for a used (weathered) teak or picnic table.



Of course, plants like Lavender and Rosemary are well know Provencal plants but there are tons more. Plants like Pittosporum, roses, salvias, and certain citrus are popular as well. If you don’t get full sun in your garden, or live in an area that doesn’t allow for you to grow Mediterranean plants then try plants that are similar. It’s really about working with the climate you are living in and using similar shapes and textures to Mediterranean plants. Also, these gardens tend to keep the plant list simple — using only several varieties of plants. Too many varieties and it becomes more of an English cottage garden. Your local nursery should give you the best advice on which plants would be comparable.



Pottery adds a certain sculptural element, as well as a sense of history. (Restoration Hardware has some gorgeous ones at the moment)



We all know it’s not really what you put outside but what you do with it or how you live in your space. Even if you only have a simple courtyard or balcony, the main thing is to take time with friends and family, pour a glass of wine or a cup of coffee & just enjoy the moment.


~ Shannon

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Creating a garden in an urban setting might seem tricky, but actually it can be quite easy. Recently, I was asked about some ideas for a very small urban garden, so I put together 4 simple steps that could help anyone interested in planning a garden in the city.


Step 1: Figure Out Your Needs

Decide what you would enjoy most in your small urban space. Would you want an area to lounge around in, or would you rather it be more for entertaining? Would you like a sit down eating area? Do you need a place for a grill or maybe a water feature? Some of you may be able to include a couple of different areas, but for those with limited space, you may have to narrow it down to your 2 most important needs.


Step 2: Figure out the Arrangement

Once you figure out your needs for your urban garden, the next thing to consider is your layout.  At this point, you should have some idea as to what furniture/items you will be using in your garden space. Begin with an overhead sketch of your space and arrange your areas including any furniture/items you are wanting to purchase. By planning ahead and figuring out your arrangement, you might end up eliminating something that isn’t absolutely necessary, as well as avoid returning any items.


Step 3: Choose plants that fit your Lifestyle and Environment

If you have a busy lifestyle choose several large amazing plants/containers that make a statement and that are low maintenance — like proven shrubs, succulents and cacti.

Step 4: Set up your areas

This is usually everyone’s favorite part, seeing it all come together!


The picture above, of a very small courtyard, is a great example of using a small space wisely. The fig ivy on the wall for a bit of green, candles for ambiance, a love seat and chair for a conversational area, and a small table to place a book or beverage on. Perfect!

Other quick tips are:

lattice to help with any privacy issues,

fountains to drown out city noise,

& a mirror to make your space feel a lot bigger!

urban3The Ultimate Urban Jungle. A bit unruly but amazing at the same time. I can imagine parties out here would be quite wonderful.

If you would like more urban garden ideas, check out my board,”the urban garden”, on Pinterest!

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