The Back of our Cottage Before and After

"Social Climber" is the name of our climbing rose bush. I love that name!
We planted it right after we finished the remodel of our beach cottage in Newport Beach, California.
Below is the rear exterior of our house before we added
a new railing, windows, smooth plaster and a new wooden garage door.

And here it is after...

Our Social Climber is supposed to grow two stories high...which will fill in the space to the
left of the balcony.  I took this photo a couple of days ago and there are even 
MORE blooms on it now.

I would have preferred a garage door like this one below from 
Vignette Design's great post on carriage style garage doors.
But we thought the windows could get broken by a basketball 
(and we were at the end of the remodel budget).

Here are two other garage doors that I admire on Lido.
Tommy prefers playing basketball at the courts, SO IF we win the lottery, 
I may switch out the garage door for a more stylish "carriage cottage"one.

I was not crazy about the Bose electronics showing on my bedroom dresser 
(more about the master bedroom remodel HERE).  So...
I found this cute metal quatrefoil tray at Target...it seemed a little light weight so I bought a 
placemat there and cut it to fit the bottom.  Antiqued mirrored glass cut to fit would be nicer 
but this was inexpensive.

Just added some accessories to camouflage  the electronics...



 Aren't these great succulent arrangements from Roger's Gardens?
The crown one on the left is a birthday present for my sister, Teresa
(she is kind of the princess in our family).


  1. Mary Anne I love everything you have done!! Excited to see more!

    ....I wanted you to know...I am featuring Anita Rivera, Friend, Designer and Paper Artist with Castles Crowns & Cottages, & her Giveaway on my site!

    Art by Karena

  2. The social climber is gorgeous! It's going to be spectacular once it grows the two stories.

    You are a genius to add the placemat to the tray. I'm obsessed with that tray. Is it, by any chance, a recent purchase?

  3. Great idea about the tray. Of course, I love all trays! :)

  4. Love all the pretty "Mary Ann" touches throughout your beautiful home. Funny I bought that same tray while at Target in red (only color they had) as part of a birthday gift for a friend (reds her favorite color and she has a lot in her kitchen) Its a great tray and what you did was so creative!
    Love it all.....

  5. that looks like a 'milling road' dresser by baker.
    is it?
    anyway...everything looks great.
    and i am with you...
    the other garage doors are divine!

    xx thank you for the support xx

  6. Your "social climber" will be the star of your neighborhood....just give her a little more time. Beautiful!

  7. Mary Ann-
    I love what y'all have soon with the cottage. It is just beautiful.
    I am swooning over the rose bush. Such a beautiful color.
    Happy Wednesday.

  8. Oh, the climber is so pretty, wonder if it would do well in CO? I'm going to ask at the nursery! Very clever idea for the tray, I use one to make our remotes look better, too! :)

  9. Love that rose, I can't wait until it reaches your second floor. Four years ago when I did some work to my old craftsmen house, I wanted a carriage style garage door, but the opening was an odd size, and I was out of money. My contractor was able to fake up the wooden door (similar to yours) with forged iron faux strap hinges and handles for about $100 that he found at a hardware store that specializes in new hardware for old houses in Pasadena. It really looks like a carriage door style garage door.

  10. Hi! The rose is beautiful but I have to say I love the transformation of your house. It is fabulous! Not that it didn't look good before. I really love it.

  11. I love the climbing rose and the stucco on the back. What a pretty back of your house! I love the plants too.

    Have a great day.

  12. What a transformation. Love all the things you did to the outside of your home and the climbing rose is gorgeous!! How crafty are you - love the placemat in your cute tray!!

  13. LOVE the social climber@ And you did a nice job on the redo. You can always replace the garage doors someday down the road if these don't grow on you. They look okay to me! Love all you have done there-xo Diana

  14. What a beautiful climbing rose. Love the house redo. What a cute bike.

  15. Your home is so beautiful, Mary Ann, even your garage area!! Love the "social climber"! So pretty on that wall.

  16. It looks beautiful. We were down in Newport last week. We usually park on the street near Orange St. My hubby likes avoiding the pier because he wants to surf where there are less people. I like the windows too, but we have lots of kids and have always thought the same thing about them breaking. Sometimes I guess we're too practical :)

  17. Love all the changes and your rose with the wondeful name is just beautiful! I must look out for one here in South Africa. The colour is just breathtaking! x Sharon

  18. Beautiful!!! Your kitchen is uh-mazing!!! You live in my favorite place ever ;) heading there now to be with my sis!!! Yeah!

  19. Beautiful plants!! Love what you did with that Target tray.

  20. Love everything you have done! You certainly have an eye!

  21. The rose climber is beautiful. I love all the changes you made to the exterior, especially the plaster and railings. I did a similar thing to my garage door that anonymous describes. The door was clad with a rough sawn Texture 111 siding. Then I found old French bronze door handles on ebay and antique strap hinges from a dealer friend. All that is required is heavy duty springs for the additional weight.
    I like the way you dealt with the cable equipment on your dresser. It minimizes the importance of the cable boxes and brings attention to the pretty things. (I am sure most of the men out there are wondering why these boxes bother us.) I just installed a TV on the wall and had all the equipment installed in an adjacent closet. It operates the TV wirelessly, but I don't know if it only works with certain TVs.
    The succulents are beautiful, as is your kitchen.
    All the best...Victoria

  22. Hi Mary Ann,
    I love the "carriage house-garden gate" type of garage door too. I will have to wait until our well-made, raised paneled garage door breaks before I can justify a new door, but a girl can dream and plan, right?
    I really like what you did with your home and the rose is so pretty on the stucco.
    Trays are a favorite accessory for me and they seem to create a nice vignette for almost any surface. Way to go, the t.v. electronics are hardly noticeable now.
    Enjoy your day.

  23. Love all the changes and the little details you have added. Your home is beautiful. I was at Target yesterday and saw those cute tee towels you posted. My new favorite thing is succulents.

  24. I am with you on the carriage doors, they are in the back of my design mind all the time and so is a little arbor over the garage door. the last picture on the right would tie in perfectly with you balcony and roses. I am just like you with speakers, I have to hide them!! Great job on your part!! Happy Thursday,

  25. Hi Mary Ann,

    Nice before/after photos and love the climber! That will look so pretty as it grows. I love the succulents in your kitchen. I've been picking them up at the nursery for indoor pots. They are so easy to care for!

    That's a cute tray from Target! Love to pick odds and ends up there :)


  26. Hi There! Just discovered your blog and wanted to say hello- I'm in OC as well and love Rogers! I think it's one of the happiest little places on Earth! The Social Climber is stunning. Great color paired with your newly plastered walls.

  27. ** G'morning, Sweetie!!! Oh how I WISH we could grow roses (and hydrangea!!!) here, but alas, the desert just does NOT seem to "like" them! YOURS IS BEAUTIFUL!!!

    As always, I lovvvvved visiting~~~ you never fail to delight, m'friend...EVERYTHING you share is always sonice!!!

    In keeping with the desert, all our garage doors are copper, and yes, I lovve it!!! If we WEREN'T here, I'd choose green grass, yummy flowers of all kinds and very cool garage doors like the ones you shared!!!


  28. Your Social Climber is beautiful and will be magnificent as it grows up to your balcony.
    I always enjoy your before and after photos. Because you have a basketball player in the family I think you were wise to skip the glass on the garage doors. My neighbor did a make-believe carraige garage door with added hardware and no one believes it's make-believe. I think what you have is wonderful but if you really wanted the other look their are some "not so expensive" options. Fun post!

  29. Absolutely ADORE the tray and your kitchen is AMAZING!!!

  30. Yes...I love the roses! I was just reading an article in BH&G today about some pretty climbing ones. BUT...that bike is my fav! So love the color.....House is looking good. Love how you accessorized the dresser.....just a little fluffing goes a long way!

  31. Hi Mary Ann, thank you so much for your lovely comment! Just took a quick tour around your home! Stunning! Beautiful yet comfortable - with a hint of French - totally my style. Your whole home is beautiful but I really love your kitchen - divine! Your blog title really reflects your design ethic. You must be thrilled with the results of all your hard work - can't wait to finish my place - I've only started!!

    Re this post - love the name of your Rose - don't know it and love finding new roses! Had to laugh at you hiding technology - my husband and I are having a 'discussion' about the stereo - he wants it in on my sideboard in the dining room in front of my French Mirror!!??!! How do I hide a big stereo???? :0


  32. It looks so beautiful! Love the social climbers!
    The potted succulents are so gorgeous! I have that on my to do list for the kitchen. Have the container, just have to put it together. What a great idea to have a topiary in the center!
    Thanks for the inspiration!

  33. I like what you did with your electronics. We have a television over the fireplace in the great room, and the wires are all internal behind the walls. However, there is an ugly receiver box that is sitting right on top of the mantel. It is so ugly, and I just don't know what to do with it.

  34. I always love seeing photos of your gorgeous home. I am with you on those carriage doors! Great job on the tray - don't you just love Target?! xo Sherri

  35. The tray is wonderful. I am hoping Target still has some I have the perfect place for one in my house. Oh and I LOVE your bike!

  36. Mary Ann,
    Love everything...including the beach cruiser! Love how you customized the tray with a placemat cut to fit...it's all the layers that really make everything perfect. The succulents are gorgeous...like your entire house! I never get tired of seeing it.

  37. Love it all. Great remodel, the garage doors look great. I am really loving what you did with the tray and you did a good job of disguising the electronics. Thanks for sharing. Ginger

  38. Please adopt me! I want to be your sister and get that Crown with Succulents for my B-day!!!!

  39. I love the transformation to the outside! The social climber is gorgeous! What a fun name! The flowers are so beautiful. And I love what you did with the dresser. It really hides the tv accessories well! Have a great weekend!

  40. You know I love those carriage doors! And that tray from Target is so cute! I haven't seen it. Might have to pick up one myself as it would match my rug! Thanks for sharing!

  41. I love your gorgeous roses and the way you camouflage the electronics.

    Oh, your bike is super cute by the way!

    Have a lovely weekend, Mary Anne!


  42. Those roses are fabulous and make such a *huge* difference! I should pay more attention to our rose bushes (c: And those succulents are fabulous! I love those because I can't *usually* kill them (c:

    Don't forget to hop over and enter the Perricone MD $150 cosmetics giveaway!!!

  43. Your climbing rose is the perfect solution for filling up the bare wall. It already looks gorgeous, but imagine how good it will look fully grown. So cool!

  44. lovely! I too adore climbers, every cottage should have one & yes, those succulents are just amazing!

  45. I love what i see! You can't get better then climbing roses.

  46. Love your back of house redo - that social climber is gorgeous!! And isn't it amazing what a different a little accessory can make? I totally believe in the design power of trays!!

  47. That wall will be stunning covered with the climbing rose. Love the tray!

  48. Thank you for joining me at Home Sweet Home!

  49. The back of your cottage looks lovely indeed. I like the cleanliness of the colors. I love what you did on your garage door. It's very compelling.

    Garage Doors Perth

  50. Those garage doors are really lovely especially when it's that clean. Thanks.

  51. Stella By StarliteJuly 24, 2012 at 11:18 PM

    Loved all you did...great inspiration ....Roses are my fav...thank you.

  52. Very nice indeed. That garage door would be nice if they are remote-controlled. Our garage garage door remotes in perth took a while getting used to. I used to open the door manually and seeing my sister laughing would make me realize the door is remote-controlled!


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