Monday, October 8, 2012

Patio Paradise in Progress

We've reached that wonderful, hopeful point where autumn might really be around the corner in Phoenix.  The temperature still climbs dangerously close to triple digits in the afternoon but mornings are really beautiful...and it's time to update my patio to enjoy it.  Through countless dust storms, rain sprinkles and months of total neglect, the patio is looking pretty rough.
 
 
The backyard still holds a challenge I just don't have the energy to tackle right now.  There's too much potential and too much work to achieve it...but the patio is something I want to deal with so I have a place to enjoy those days when it's cool enough to be outside.  Pinterest provides all sorts of inspiration - I love the overall effect of these examples and would like to mirror it in my own space:
 
 
 
 
Granted, I don't have the pillars and old-growth ivy that it takes to mirror the details but I do have a great space - and it could look something like that last photograph if I worked really hard. 
 
The first step I tackled this weekend was the patio furniture.  The former homeowner left behind a table and three chairs - very nice of them, though it leaves a lot to be desired.  After researching the high costs of patio furniture, however, my leftover table didn't look so bad.  Certainly it wasn't anything a can - or four - of ORB spray paint can't fix!  The old stained white-ish chairs were stripped of the grosser-than-gross old cushions and went through a good cleaning.
 
 
Ignore the weeds...clearly, I do!
 
Three coats of ORB spray later, I had beautifully updated chairs.
 

 
Granted, the patio is still a mess.  The table is still dirty and unpainted, the plants are still dead and the chairs still need cushions.  But it's progress and it makes me happy.
 
Now the hunt begins for inexpensive chair cushions.  The craigslist options are pretty much limited to this:
 
 
And these lovely options from Target are a jaw-dropping $79 each!
 
 
 If only everything were easily fixed with a can of spray paint!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Home Hopes and Hotel Highlights

Happy fall!  I'm settling back into "real" life after an amazing summer of travels, but before I delve into all the yardwork that needs to be done (sorry, neighbors) I wanted to share some great interior decorating ideas I captured during my trip to South Africa and Namibia.
 
It began with the ever-so-chic Washington DC, still one of my favorite cities on earth.  My hotel had these delicious stripes in the bathroom - now that made me feel right at home.
 
 
My hotel in Cape Town was far more stylish than I will ever be.  Check out the whole wall of thick, bi-colored drapes that both covered windows and provided a stylish backdrop to a small room.  And that chair?!  I lovingly referred to it as "my throne," though I never actually had time to sit there.

 
South Africa continued to prove its trend-setting status with this amazing curtain/art in Johannesburg.  The mural began on the wall (left) and simply continued on the stiff fabric of the curtains - they were one panel that did not roll up or push back, but instead slid almost like closet doors.  I've never seen anything like it and I don't know that I'd want it in my house (I prefer those barn doors I keep seeing!)
 
 
But here's a trend I would love in my guest room: simple white, narrow paneled walls that serve as a can't-go-wrong photo wall.
 
 
And the lighting...*happy sigh*  I did find some lighting love.  Including this hallway of lights in the Swakopmund, Namibia hotel.  I love the way they blend perfectly but aren't identical.
 

And to make it even better, the ceiling lights were surrounded by the most beautiful accents I've ever seen.

 
This smaller version would work better in my little house, however - aren't they beautiful with that colorful tile in the background?  I'm going to keep referring to this photo for inspiration as I get courage to add color to my guest room.

 
I found lots of landscaping inspiration in the beautiful flowers and trees I saw but of course the Arizona climate is different than...well, anywhere else on earth you could possibly go.  So I started paying more attention to this trend: trees in pots, often placed indoors.
 
 
 
One trend NOT to adopt: a giant ball of fake flowers hanging...anywhere.  (Though I did love this one just because it reminded me that I was in a September spring!)
 
 
Now it's time for new beginnings in the American version of the desert.  That means winter grass, fall flowers and freshly-trimmed trees. 

 
I'll share details of the messy grass-seeding, flower-planting process soon!