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Cabins to Cottages…

Posted on May 20th, 2013 under Architectural Elements, Architectural Landscaping, Cabin, Cottages, DIY, Garden Design, Habitat for Humanity, Inspiration, Outdoor Design, Recycling, Season Designing, Upcycling by Sandy

Winter CabinAs I sit here this morning listening to the birds merrily singing outside of my window; a sound that makes my senses dance with joy, I am comforted in knowing that my cabin fever will soon turn into a blissful Spring fever.

At the inception of winter I find myself romanticizing about a cozy little cabin amidst the evergreens.  Wood mounded high for nightly fires, and the cupboards stockpiled with ingredients begging to be whipped up into comforting meals. There’s nothing like the scent of smoldering, smoky wood permeating the crisp winter air, or curling up in front of a fire reading a great novel, or catching up on movies I missed while I was playing outdoors in the warm summer splendor.

But now, I have a serious case of cabin fever. Spring can’t arrive soon enough.  I’m ready to fling open the windows, and dive into some rich soil. I’m in a Spring frame of mind. I’m yearning for lush green foliage and plump, vibrant flowers to start bursting into a lively pageant of opulence. My cabin craving has transcended to a yearning for cottages, little garden sheds and all things fresh and perky.


Seduced by visuals of sweet little courtyards and tired old sheds turned into lilliputian retreats, I envision myself wearing an unknowing smile while I joyfully design this year’s gardens; creating and tilling away the day in rubber boots and a floppy straw hat.


From trash to treasure, and shabby to chic; these tiny gems captivated many hearts on my Facebook page. Once an old shed, or heap of old windows and doors headed for the dump; now upcycled to a captivating little haven.  It’s amazing what you can do with ingenuity, imagination and leftover materials from renovation projects (check to see if you have a local Habitat for Humanity store; you’ll find loads of contractor goods for pennies).  Let your creative side run wild. I imagine we will be seeing many of these tiny domiciles springing up this season.



There’s nothing more delightful than collecting and arranging fragrant bouquets of flowers to strewn about the house; or plucking fresh herbs and vegetables right from your very own garden. The solace of knowing the purity of the ingredients you are consuming is so precious, especially today.

Now if only I had the time to tend to a cow, a goat and a flock of chickens, I’d really be in heaven with the pure artisanal bliss of fresh eggs, milk and homemade cheeses. Unfortunately, that must wait for another time. Although I must say Williams Sonoma’s chic chicken townhouse is quite enticing.



So is this groovy Yolkswagon!

Each year I redesign and add new flora and features to my garden; a perky little walkway, a water feature, a new arbor, or an architectural element; it’s a true labor of love. I adore every aspect of design, but I find my greatest creative escape in the garden. It’s my meditative, Zen place; the place where my heart and soul are full and at peace.

The Spring equinox is arriving shortly and I am thrilled!  Warmer weather and longer days are upon us.  Did you remember to spring ahead?  Enjoy the extra hour of daylight; I know I will!

water feature garden path


Ombre Odyssey

Posted on August 13th, 2012 under Accessories, Art Design, Color Usage, DIY, Design Trends, Detail in Design, Fabrics, Inspirational, Interior Design, Patterns, Room Planning, Styling, Tablescape, Uncategorized, Window Treatment by Sandy

Ombre Odyssey CoverFINAL


Find what inspires you and take it from there.

A while back, my friend Eddie Ross threw a party in true Eddie fashion; styled to impeccable perfection. At the center of attention stood a gorgeous cake all decked out in a delicate basket weave, exposing a delicious rainbow of pink hues — this Ombré, oh sweet, sweet Ombré — had me at Hello!  It was quite impressive to say the least.

Then I stumbled upon this DIY Ombré Table Linen at Camille Styles. For ultimate drama, I immediately envisioned scaping the table in the opposite direction with plates, linens and flowers.


ombre BW def










I’ve since stumbled upon an array of Ombré, but it wasn’t until this week when I happened upon this gorgeous, dreamy blue, Ombre decor by Hickman Design Associates, over at VT Interiors that I fell head over Ombré heels in love. I haven’t seen a lot of Ombré clad design, so when I laid my eyes on this watery blue decor, I was instantly awestruck, and thus very inspired.


Hickman Design Associates

Staying true to her mantra, Tracy Hickman enriches her clients experience of “coming home” by accommodating their lifestyles, not just furnishing them.  With clean, uncomplicated lines, this home conveys an understated elegance that is sophisticated, yet relaxing, thanks to the natural quality of the elements within the decor; slip covered furniture, natural linen and a very soothing color palette. The Ombré pattern mimics an oceanic feeling; you can almost smell the salt air and feel the sand between your toes. There is an ease about this space; it’s not overdone or fussy, making this a delightful home coming.

Hickman Design Associates 5

Ombré meaning “shaded,” is a technique for dying and weaving fabrics that is centuries old. The process is used to create a gentle progression of color from light to dark.

The Ombré color gradation can be quite subtle giving off an ethereal quality, or it can take an extreme turn to the dramatic; depending on the depth of color, or the graduation from one color to another. As the process of fabricating Ombré is similar to tie-dye, the result is not that 1960’s brash, peace-out, psychedelic style we imagine. Ombré translates those evocative qualities in a much quieter tone, bringing with it a more modern approach.

The Ombré shades of orange are reminiscent of a breathtaking sunset, the blues transcend you to the waters of a tropical island; lending these palettes to a very nature-like sensation. What’s not to love?

Ombré translates beautifully in design; the lines are blurred, so its characteristics do not clearly define a stripe, and it’s bolder than a strié making its presence more visible. Ombré design takes away clear definition and blurs the lines, making this a pattern that plays well with others.

So follow my inspiration is exactly what I did this week; I went on a mission for all things Ombré. From every colorway, to couture Versace gowns, to the rocker chic bandage dresses of Herve Leger, to accessories, to star-studded, color-tiered Ombré hair, to the faceted array of colorful gradient manicures & lips (who has time for all this primping?); my Ombré odyssey continued…


This Ombré tablescape from Full House is divine with it’s peacock colors. Originally conceptualized for a Thanksgiving affair (refreshingly outside of the traditional holiday box); this color palette is always in season with its refreshingly vibrant and lively colors.




Even Vera Wang is dip-dying in Ombré Dots.

vera wang

OMBRE_BLACKThis chic enamel Trina Turk, Orange Layered Ombré Necklace caught my eye!




This chair went from drab to fab reupholstered in this Ombré Maze by Kelly Wearstler for Lee Jofa.


Cassaro also carries a decadent collection of Italian jacquard & velvet Ombré — Zambezi & Ombre.

The fine velvet of the Zambezi collection is woven with an Ombré effect on a textured neutral ground. The luxurious sheen of the pile combined with the soft Ombré shading creates depth and luster. With a colorway ranging from spicy orange and deep blues, to soft neutrals, this collection is an interpretation of the great Zambezi river gorge and the mottled patterns of the majestic animals that roam the vast plains.

zambeziNamed after the Mediterranean winds that inspired the Ombré collection; an eclectic mix of classic and contemporary patterns that are both free form and geometric, in colorways that seamlessly flow from the warm earthy Moorish tones, to the cool shades of the Aegean Sea.


There are wonderful arrays of Ombré fabrics, tile & wallpaper (take a look at Brett Designs Ombré Collection) on the market; this is just a little taste of this rainbow colored world.

For those of you just “dying” to get your DIY Ombré on, here are a few fabulous finds to get you going.


I love beautiful packaging, so when I stumbled upon this Ombré Gift Tag from Say Yes to Hoboken, I immediately pinned this to my Ombré Board (along with all of the other amazing Ombré photos used in this blog; please pin away onto your own boards).

For the truly ambitious, let me acquaint you with the Ombré DIY queen herself, Martha Stewart. Take a look at her step-by-step video for designing your own Ombré sheets. The same technique can be applied to tablecloths, draperies, fabric design, etc.  If you’re looking to brighten up your lamps, you won’t want to miss her DIY Ombré lampshade; this is a great way to pop color into your decor instantly.




So what do you say to Ombré?  Is this a trend that caught your eye? Will you Kiss it Hello, or Kiss it Goodbye?