Outdoor Spaces: Do Something Unexpected

Outdoor spaces are a great way to extend the space of your home and provide a place to entertain, relax and unwind.  Every home no matter how big or small has an outdoor space.  Often we neglect these areas and don't use them to our advantage!  Don't we?  With spring here and summer around the corner, now is a great time to work on the areas we have.  Outdoor spaces are a great place to decorate with something that is unexpected, like an old mirror, door, chandelier or window frame. 

One day as I was leisurely driving down the road, I saw a beautiful garden with an ivy covered wall.  As I was driving by, I noticed that the owner of the home had propped a large mirror, probably from a bathroom renovation, against the wall and had trained ivy to go around it.  It was gorgeous and unexpected!  What a great way to re-purpose something that might otherwise have gone to the landfill!  Mirrors are something we don't expect to see outside but are a great way to reflect a beautiful outdoor scene.  Above, you'll see how this homeowner used a mirror to create a console table area.  It reflects a beautiful scene across from it. 


Entertaining outdoors is a great way to enjoy cool nights and moonlit skies.  It's also a great way to expand your entertaining space.  Old wooden barrels can serve as a way to create serving tables.  I used mason jars with votive candles to hang in trees, line the cobblestone pathways and decorate tables for mine and my husband's wedding.  We all have them sitting around so why not use them? 

To add a burst of color to your fenceline, use children's old rainboots!  Instead of throwing away my daughter's rainboots, I have kept them to tack to my fenceline and plant flowers in.  My mother in-law also shared an idea of using old Crocs by lining them with sheetmoss and planting flowers in them.  I think this year I will pull out my daughter's rainboots and Crocs and do just that! 

This is a pretty elaborate covered patio.  We would all would be so fortunate to have one like this, wouldn't we?  I love the use of the colored glass bottles.  Also notice the round mirrors hanging on the wall.

No matter how great or small, there's one thing about it, everyone has an outdoor space to decorate.  Carefully planning your space is important to maximize the use of it.  Above is a beautifully decorated balcony. 

You know how I talked about the unexpected?  Again, I love the use of the mirror but I also love the use of the lamp.  It brings low lighting onto the covered patio.  Also, notice the way baskets and a wood bread bowl was used to serve guest.  Take a look around your own home and see what you might have to use to serve with. 

This is a beautiful patio and a fabulously decorated table.  My husband travels to Florida a lot for work and family.  Recently, he brought me home one of these shell mobiles.  I wasn't too sure about it until I saw this one in this picture.  Isn't it beautiful?  Also, another way to create a table like this, might be to use old wrought iron sewing machine stands.  When you have large groups, it's always nice to have 1 long table where everyone can congregate together. 

As for my own outdoor space, it falls in line with my philosophy, "Great Design Takes Time."  It's still a work in progress!  Several years back my husband built us a beautiful deck with a patio underneath.  Last year, a beautiful hand-forged wrought iron patio table and chair set came into Classic Home Decor, much like the one that is in the store now (see above).  These sets cost over $1300 new, but again shopping consignment is the way to go and it's only $549. 

Take a look around your own home, see what you might have in storage or what you might have that you can re-purpose.  Whatever you do, do something unexpected and create yourself a new space that you can entertain, enjoy and relax.

Your Truly,


Bringing Nature Inside

This is the time of year that I really notice nature!  After a very rainy winter season in Birmingham, Alabama, I have been ready for spring since February! In the last month, the Red Bud trees first kicked off signs of spring with their brilliant fuchsia on their woodsy branches, along with the Jonquils that pushed up out of the cold wet ground. Following them began the Bradford Pears and Tulips. Here soon we’ll begin seeing Aazaleas, Dogwoods and my Granny Hatcher’s favorite, Gardenias.

Spring didn’t come early enough for me.  I was tired of the rainy, dreary, cold weather!  So did something about it!  I began spring indoors in February in my house.  I started decorating with bird’s nests, forced bulbs, live greenery, shells and dried and silk floral arrangements.

Here is one of the bird's nests that I added to an end
table. I used a stoneware bowl. I purchased
the nest and eggs at a decorating shop.
Bird’s nests are a great way to bring spring indoors. You can use old stoneware bowls or crocks, baskets, terracotta pots or just casually add a bird’s nest on a table or shelf. When September rolls around, I put the eggs away as if the birds have hatched and flown away. Sometimes I even add a few fall colored leaves in and around them.

Above you'll see a different type of container
used for forced bulb gardening.  Deer moss was
added to give it a different look.

Forced bulbs are fun to plant. They make a great live floral arrangement. last longre and cost less than your average bouquet of flowers. Also, you can plant them any time of year when you plant indoors! For spring, I chose white tulips. The trick is that you need to buy your bulbs in the fall or you'll have a harder time finding them. If you like the idea, I suggest you make a note in your calendar now to remind you later. I used a glass container and added a layer of rocks to the bottom. Then I added my bulbs. You'll want to put the whole packet in so they are close together and you'll have more of a chance of have at least 1 or more blooms at the same time. Next, I added my rocks between the bulbs to hold them in position. Lastly, add just a little water to the bottom of the container so that the water doesn’t touch the bulbs and place them in a sunny area of your home. Eventually, the bulb’s roots will reach for the water and begin to sprout. If you are wanting to time it for a special occasion, plant them about 6 weeks out from the time you'd like them to bloom. This year I planted mine around Valentine’s Day and I timed it perfectly for them to bloom for my Easter luncheon with family. They were a great centerpiece for my table.

Lemon topiaries are a beautiful live greenery to use
in the kitchen. You can find these at specialty
gardening stores.

Live greenery brings life to a room and creates a touch of freshness to the space. This year, I have focused on adding a small pot to each hard surfaced table top. I've used small urns, terracotta pots and ceramic pots. Anywhere I have a hard surface, such as a glass top table, granite counter top or painted furniture, I add a plant. I have found small plants at Wal-Mart but my best plants have been found at the more expensive nurseries. Succulents, ferns and herbs are fun to work with. It is amazing how a plant can soften the space and add a designer touch to your room!

Using tiered trays are a unique way to
display a collection of shell. Adding deer
moss in the arrangement adds interest to
the collection.
Shells can be used in most rooms. We use to only see shells in a beach house or bathroom. Not anymore, you'll see shells used in living rooms, dining rooms and even kitchens. You'll see them cleverly displayed on bookcases, end table or even a dining room table. Having a young daughter has given me a renewed love for collecting shells.  As a child, my mother saved shells from our beach trips in a glass jar in her bathroom.  Following in her footsteps, I purchased a jar to put Adelyn’s shells in.  Adelyn has encouraged me to add shells in other areas of our house. We all need someone else to help bounce off decorating ideas, including me!  I have listened to the suggestions of my 8 year old and tried to accommodate her ideas into my decorating as well!

Custom floral arrangements are a great way to bring color to any
room. This is a custom arrangement made using a color combination
 that will work with most any pallet.
Silk floral arrangements are making a comeback with a new flair. If you don't have a green thumb, then this is an excellent way to soften an area and give it a designer look. Adding a moss ball to the top of an urn adds interest. Also, succulents are a big hit this year. You will find these large and small and you really can't tell they aren't real!  Dried arrangements are the rage in floral arrangements. You'll see magnolia leaves with lavender and fresh green hydrangeas.  There are some many ways to use silks.  Creating custom silk and dried floral arrangements is a passion of mine.  We have a number in Classic Home Decor and if you don't find one there, just send me a picture and I'll be more than happy to help create just the right design for you.
There are lots of ways to bring the outdoors in. Just look around at the season you are in. In the fall, bring in pine cones and large acorns. In the winter, add miniature evergreens or a stack of firewood. Regardless, bring some life indoors and enjoy the beautiful nature that surrounds you.

Sincerely yours,