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.


  1. Oh what a great patio and outdoor space. Gorgeous. I love it all.

  2. What a wonderful inviting outdoor space, I could happily while a way a few hours on the sofa with the view and in cooler months with the fire pit keeping any chill at bay. Most of all I could sit out there and eat your fabulous salad nicoise, one of my favourite dishes so long as it is made, as you have made it, with fresh tuna. Yum yum

    1. Notice no hard boiled eggs? Cindy doesn't like eggs. And I like snap peas better than haricots verts :)

  3. What a wonderful back yard makeover. The yard looks like its in a beautiful setting---nature's best.
    Your salad and rose sangria are going on the 'must try' summer cooking list.
    Enjoy the weekend.

  4. That back deck redo is fabulous! Boy...what a difference. It's so inviting and a wonderful place to enjoy the view and read a book or to entertain a large group of friends! Just perfect! Sounds like you're having a fun start to the summer!

    1. Thanks, Gail. I'll be down your way...going to email you.

  5. It looks much prettier and more practical all opened up like that. Having two textures for the flooring is a great idea. It gives contrast and makes the seating area like its own room.
    That is the fanciest salade niçoise I've ever seen!

    1. The first time I had Salade Nicoise was in Nice and our little children played on the beach in front of the restaurant.

  6. What a beautiful setting. And such a great makeover. It's the perfect place for a glass of Sangria! That salad looks delicious! Happy weekend.

  7. The space is lovely. I love CALIFORNIA and eating/living outdoors almost year-round. There have been many years when I have used my BBQ to make some of the items for Christmas dinner!!! Your place setting and meal also looks fantastic. Thanks for sharing and inspiring.
    Best & Bisous,
    Michelle from Simply Santa Barbara

    1. YOU live in a gorgeous place, Michelle.

  8. What a great make over...looks so inviting! I called my local paint store that also sells wallpaper and they had a couple recommendations for wall paper installers. Good luck!

    1. Great idea! And one of my clients has a suggestion. I had to get suppliers from scratch up here.
      Thank you .


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