New Deck, Slate Patio and California Casual Entertaining

Hope your summer is off to a great start!  Are you loving the longer daylight hours?  Chief and I are!

Cindy Hattersley came up from central California to spend the night while Howard is away on business.  Since I didn't want making dinner to interfere with our "catching up" I assembled a simple Salade Nicoise.
In the morning, I made Ina Garten's potato salad.  Then, before dinner, I pan seared fresh tuna and added tomatoes, radishes, Greek olives and steamed snap peas plunged in ice water...all on top of arugula.  Little individual pitchers of home-made white balsamic mustard vinaigrette was served on the side.  

Look what Cindy gave me as hostess gifts....too much!  LOVE it all though.
Fun evening with my pal!

Living in California, we are fortunate to be able to use our outside spaces practically all year long.  My client, Sue and her family wanted to take advantage of that with a spruced up backyard!

I drew up this neutral backdrop plan so that Sue can change colors with table settings, flowers and accessories.

Here is a before photo.  A peninsula closed off the space.
So, it was removed...
And this area was leveled for slate in a random square/rectangular pattern.
 Here it is now...the slate is actually darker but it was a bright day when I took these "less than great" shots.
The deck is a bit red, but it will fade and I love the pergola painted all white.  We still have a few more pillows and the umbrella for the far left corner coming.

The fire pit is from Restoration Hardware.  Funny... this larger fire pit was on sale for less than the smaller one.

After shopping around, Sue found these durable party lights at Costco.

This is on order... (and on sale right now).  It's great as it can be used for a beverage center or to roll over next to the BBQ with a couple kitchen stools to keep the cook company during a party.

Nice place to roast marshmallows when the sun sets.
Soon, the exterior of the home will be painted and that will make a big difference, TBA.

 One of these would be nice out here:
Mary Ann's Recipe:
One bottle of dry French Rosé Wine
1/2 cup St. Germaine Liqueur
1/2 cup sliced strawberries
one sliced lemon
1/2 cup chopped watermelon
1/4 cup blueberries
Stir and chill in refrigerator for one hour.
When ready to serve pour into glasses and 
add sparkling water to taste (more if you are a light weight like I am) 
and a couple ice cubes.

PS.  Can anyone recommend a wallpaper hanger for the San Francisco East Bay Area?  Thanks.



Just about every room could use a mirror for light, style and functionality.  Here are some of my tried and true favorites.
Living Room
This beachy starburst mirror makes a fun statement.
Convex Mirror can expand a room.  Comes in other colors.  White is nice for our Newport Beach house below.

For a mantel, too, or above a bar cart.  Round mirrors are very current!
My daughter is getting this well priced mirror from Urban Outfitters for above her sofa.
For a vintage look, this Anthropologie Mirror is very sturdy with a good patina.  It's a good backdrop for the "playing around" that I do with our mantel.
This simple beveled square one from Pottery Barn makes a nice statement and you can layer it.
Turquoise Faux Bamboo Mirror.  This is versatile.  We bought it for my client's foyer in her previous home and now it's here in her living room

Kitchen or Family Room
Again, a mirror in a kitchen or family room can enlarge the space.  Similar one here.  It brings your eye down into the room.
Dutch style mirror on sale at Wisteria.
I like it in this finish, too.
Dining Room
The Grand Palais Mirror makes a statement on my client's previously bare wall.
Louis Phillippe Mirror is so classic.
Here is another one mixed with more modern furnishings.  You can't go wrong with this style.
A reasonably priced Venetian mirror (with me in the lower right corner).

We are considering this to dress up a small powder room.

We used this tall RH antiqued riveted mirror for a little industrial edge in a powder room re-do.

Do you have any favorites?