July 2012

We’ve wanted a potting bench in our yard for years and finally got around to building one last weekend.  With space permitting, potting benches are a useful tool in your backyard that makes gardening a pleasant chore!  Tuck a potting bench under an eave, inside a shed, or build them freestanding and you have convenient storage for pots, soil, hoses, gloves, and tools. 


wood potting bench bhg


Another benefit of an outdoor potting bench is you can tuck the pots away and turn it into a beverage serving station for alfresco entertaining.


built in potting bench bhg


When I read the Better Homes & Gardens plans for building a potting bench (seen below) I knew  we could build our own too. 


bhg potting bench


The plans are very simple and straightforward.  The above bench was built out of pallets but we opted for redwood instead.  We also used 4” x 4” legs and expanded the size to a full six feet.   Here’s our very own potting bench in our sideyard, built with the BH&G plans


diy potting bench

redwood potting bench


For more details, hop on over to read how we built our redwood potting bench thanks to plans found right here at Better Homes & Gardens!




One of the first concerns for any homeowner when they move into a new home is how are they going to cover the windows?  We all need the function of light control and privacy, but beyond function, we also crave beauty and style too.  One no fuss solution for covering your windows is with the use of woven shades. Textural bamboo blinds are so versatile they can be used in just about any space, I’ve hung them in bathrooms, kitchens, and my master bedroom. 

Woven shades bring a casual breezy element to your home and warm up any space with their wood tones.  Bamboo blinds are less formal than ceiling to floor window panels, and more textural than metal or wood blinds.  Here are a few ideas that may inspire you to choose woven shades for your home too!  

In this entry, honey tone blinds filter light and complement the warmth of the wall painted a deep shade of orange.


woven shades in entry bhg


The choice of variegated tone bamboo blinds in this is cozy sitting nook downplays the formality of the traditional table and fixtures.  


woven shades breakfast nook bhg


Kitchens are the perfect spot to hang woven shades.  The darker versions in this space add rich contrast when suspended inside the windows trimmed in white. 


dark woven shades in kitchen bhg


Consider the use of beaded fringe to add an interesting detail like the wood balls that add a dose of whimsy to these woven shades. 


woven shades ball detail bhg


Like the rope cord on the pendant light, this simple inside mount woven shade brings texture into this light and bright kitchen.  


woven shades behind pendant in kitchen


Woven shades can be mixed with window panels too.  Hang them across the room or underneath drapes for a layered effect.  


woven shades living room window seat bhg

woven shades living room bhg


Bedrooms are sanctuaries, so opt for lined versions for better light control for grabbing extra sleep on the weekends.  Inexpensive roller blinds hidden underneath your outside mount woven shades are another option for when you want to nap or sleep in.


woven shades above bed bhg

woven shades bedroom bhg


Your not limited to windows by any means.  Bamboo blinds are a clever solution for hiding open shelves in a laundry space.  


woven blinds to conceal storage bhg


With their natural materials, they’re a great fit outdoors.  Use woven shades to filter sun on your porch, patio, or cabana and to create a room like intimate setting.


woven shades outdoor cabana bhg


Woven shades are inexpensive and eco friendly choice for covering he windows of your home.  Look for them online (try Blinds.com and BudgetBlinds.com) or check your local Lowes – they have ‘cut to fit’ Levolor blinds you can take home the same day. 

Have you used woven shades in your home? 

Got a great resource you’d like to share?


Welcome to the third installment of a series exploring how to display artwork in your home!  It began with how to display art in a symmetrical fashion and continued with tips on creative asymmetrical arrangements.  One more way to add visual interest to your spaces is through wall galleries and eclectic collections curated with the purpose of reflecting your personality and design style.   

Meaningful objects on display bring warmth into your home, and there’s no need to restrict wall art to paintings, prints, or photographs.  Everything from plates to mirrors to found treasures are all welcome choices! 

The first rule of thumb for creating a gallery of art in your home is to display what appeals to you most.  Whether it’s illustrations, old world maps, or pops of colorful abstract art, your home is happiest when your personal favorites are in the spotlight.   


art gallery on folding screen bhg

framed abstracts on wall bhg


Salon galleries are a popular option for blank walls because they allow for a display of favorite objects large and small.  For a well thought out and less cluttered look, unite frames by color, or work with a collection that shares a constant theme. 


eclectic botanical collection bhg

fruited wall gallery


Create major impact with a collection of meaningful numbers, symbols, or letters in varied styles and colors.


mixed eclectic art wall bhg

mixed letters on wall bhg


Plates or platters are also great candidates for mingling with mirrors or other works of art.  Add visual appeal by changing up the shape, style, and scale. 


mixed paintings wall gallery bhg

wall gallery above sofa bhg

eclectic gallery above sofa bhg


Finally, think beyond frames by shopping for inexpensive mirrors to reflect light in your home, or opt for a display of art or wallpaper scraps applied with decoupage medium on inexpensive wood plaques. 


mixed mirrors on wall bhg

wallpaper gallery bhg


When it comes to artwork on your walls, anything goes!   Curate artwork or treasures that are special to you and display them with pride for an inviting home filled with meaning.

Happy decorating! 

kate signature image


One of the most common struggles in home decorating is how to incorporate color with confidence!   With so many paint colors and fabric samples to choose from, decorating in color can quickly become overwhelming, and the tendency is to go with a “safe tan”.  Great news!  There’s an inspiring new 250+ page book filled with tips, tricks, and inspiration on the topic, featuring the very best spaces that have appeared on the pages of Better Homes & Gardens publications for the past few years. 

Seeking the tools to pull together color schemes to express your personal style?  

Introducing Color: The Complete Guide for Your Home! 

bhg color


This inspiring guide is broken down into six parts, beginning in section one with where we all start, color inspiration!  It addresses overcoming color phobia and starting the process of pulling color into you home by beginning with whatever catches your eye, whether it’s an image, a piece of cloth or jewelry, or a collection of favorite treasures.  Included are tips for finding color palettes from unlikely places to favorite ones such as the seaside or farmer’s market.


floral window panels bhg


Section two offers an analysis on color from a mood perspective, taking an in depth look at every hue, what each one communicates, and how they work together.  You’ll find helpful tips from interior designers that give you options for freshening a lackluster spaces with suggested color pairings.


taupe cabinets orange accents bhg


Section Three begins a discussion about using color in every room and common space related challenges.  Mixed throughout this room-by-room chapter are suggested combinations of fabric, paint, trim, and decorative elements, and also useful tips on layering prints, textiles, and furniture silhouettes in entries, living rooms, dining rooms, kids rooms, kitchens, and more. 


yellow and white breakfast nook bhg


Section four breaks down the step-by-step approach to decorating with color, and how to incrementally layer your spaces over time.


blue and green family room bhg


Section five teaches how to unite color throughout your home, creating a connection through rooms as they flow together by repeating various colors or elements room by room.  


warm tones living room bhg


Finally, section six provides and in depth primer on color analysis, breaking down the complexities by starting with the basic color wheel and defining analogous, complementary, triad and tertiary colors and how they work together to make a successful space! 

Look for Color: The Complete Guide for Your Home at you local bookstore, or pick it up online for less than $20, it will be a handy resource for years to come and a worthy addition to your bookshelves. 

Happy decorating, with color!  

kate signature image



Last week was the start of this series on displaying art in the home (don’t miss the first article on hanging artwork symmetrically) and today we’ll look at strategies for successfully arranging artwork in a casual and captivating way, through asymmetrical placement.    

Symmetry is defined as “correspondence in size, shape, and relative position of parts on opposite sides of a dividing line or median plane or about a center or axis.”  Asymmetry represents something different – it is balance achieved when no mirror reflection exists between opposite ends of a center point.  So how do you successfully introduce an asymmetrical display of artwork into your home?  Here are five strategies!       

Think Oddly.   Interior designers consistently arrange objects in odd numbers for greater interest, and the same principle applies to displaying artwork.  Below, trios of framed botanical paintings are spread out across two ledges while the centered painting below the floating ledges grounds the elevated display.   


floral paintings chocolate walls bhg


Odd numbers are in play in this charming arrangement of framed vintage labels with a total of five mixing and mingling with collected white ceramics.  The larger square frame on the top left provides visual weight with the shape repeated on the bottom to the right.  The hobnail pitcher on the top right brings balance to the books and smaller white ceramics on the bottom left completing the criss-cross pattern.


framed vintage labels on ledges bhg


Heavy On the Left.   Because we read from left to right, the eye is accustomed to and comfortable with heavier pieces placed to the left in asymmetrical displays.  On ledges or mantels, layer the smaller frames in front for greater visual appeal.  


assymetric art arrangement bhg

   asymmetrical art floating shelf bhg


Work with a Theme.   Hanging artwork in an abstract arrangement is engaging when the subject matter is consistent.  Choose paintings, photographs, or framed fabrics in a similar theme, and vary the size and placement of your collection between the edges of a piece of furniture.  


asymmetrical ship paintings bhg

asymmetrical framed fabric


Find the Center Line.  Use the center of the mantel or sofa as your guide and create with your eye an invisible vertical line straight up from the center.  From that midpoint, hang various sized artwork in angles up, down, and away from the center line.    


asymmetrical art over mantel

   asymmetric kids art display bhg


Mix It Up.   Displaying art asymmetrically is more whimsical and instinctual than the formality of symmetrical displays anchored to perfect placement.  Add collectibles, gadgets, or favorite objects to express your personality – be sure to mix it up and have a little fun!   


asymmetrical cubby display


fun asymmetrical arrangement of art bhg


When in doubt on how to balance an asymmetrical arrangement of art on your wall, here’s a very handy trick.  Cut craft paper in the same size as your frames and move them around your wall with easily removable painter’s tape.  Once you settle on the arrangement you like, get busy hanging your artwork!   


kraft paper wall gallery design


Next week will be the third and final installment of the series, where we’ll examine a few eclectic collections arranged in creative displays, and also explore the ever popular salon gallery wall, stay tuned!     

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Travel abroad is inspiring for all of the sights, sounds, and flavors we experience, but it also has a dramatic impact on the way we decorate our homes.   Design elements from the east have influenced interior design over the decades, and internationally inspired accessories are again surging in popularity.  

Global inspired textiles possess amazing hues in spice and jewel tones arranged in traditional or bold patterns crafted with threads of saturated color.   Many retailers and designers have been so inspired by their own travels they are now including Moroccan or Indian inspired fabrics or accessories in their seasonal collections. 


global inspired textiles bhg


Remaining in the interior design spotlight are quatrefoil and trellis patterns, burnished metals and carved wood furniture.  Suzani and Ikat patterns from Asia continue to be as en vogue as Dhurrie and Kilim rugs, block prints from India, and lanterns and pendants with Moorish styling.   

   global inspired textiles and pillows bhg


global inspired pillows bhg


Adding colors and patterns inspired by Morocco, Turkey, and India to your home will add an air of the exotic to your spaces.  Here are some of my favorite style picks this season!  

  global inspired accessories bhg


From top left:  Quatrefoil Mirror, Shades of Light, $329; Silver Hanging Lamps, Viva Terra, $295-$485; Marrakesh Tray Table, Pottery Barn, $399; Hexagon Table, Clayton Gray Home, $675; Casablanca Lanterns, Z Gallerie, $15; Metal Ball Pendant, World Market, $70; Marrakech Curtain, Anthropologie, $168; Gold and Blue Wall Panels, Horchow, $975; Gather & Glean Pillow, Anthropologie, $188; Embroidered Suzani Pillow, Sukan on Etsy, $149; Bone Photo Frame, Wisteria, $39; Multicolored Suzani Pillow, John Robshaw, $275; Kilim Floor Pouf, West Elm, $249; Suzani Doormat, Wisteria, $34; Vintage Suzani, Jayson Home, $795;  Carved wood daybed, Mosaic House; Vintage Moroccan Carpet, Madeline Wienrib; Antique Settee, Jayson Home, $3,495; Sumba Stool, Serena & Lily $98; Carved Wood Table, World Market, $399; 8 x 10’ Karmen Medallion Rug, Pottery Barn, $799

Raise your hand if you’re a fan of global inspired textiles!  Have you brought any internationally inspired decor into your home, or incorporated a favorite accessory from your trip abroad?  




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