Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Decorating A Small Outdoor Space

"Small is beautiful" ~E.F.Schumacher.

What can we do make a "little room" appear more spacious?

·What is your space's purpose?  Think through traffic flow, spacial needs and priorities.  So, you don't have room for an outdoor fountain, a children's play area, a hot tub and the fireplace you want.  Which is most important?  Narrow down your choices!
Photo Courtesy of Better Homes & Gardens
· Keep it simple. You should minimize the number of elements (accessories, furniture, lighting) in the space. Your furniture need not be tiny to accommodate your space's needs.  Just choose a few pieces or one large accessory for impact!  This gives a space more appeal and looks less cluttered.  Make judicious use of blank space.
Photo Courtesy of Better Homes & Gardens
· Create a strong, uncomplicated focal point such as a water feature, a magnificent view, or a stunning
  wooden bench. 
Photo Courtesy of Better Homes & Gardens
· Unify the space with a topical theme. For example, use  shapes (many circles), material (all wicker), or color
  (shades of white).
Photo Courtesy of Good Grounding
· Due to the limited floor space, be sure to make use of  vertical surfaces. Vines on trellises, fountains hung on fences or walls, lighting hanging from an arbor...get creative small space solutions!
 Photo Courtesy of Better Homes & Gardens
·Eliminate grass altogether.  Lay some paving stones with moss or pea gravel.  Labor saving and beautiful! 
 Photo Courtesy of Alford English Gardens

Use your imagination and plan well and you'll enjoy your little room in a big way!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

My Romantic Home

So many of us live in our own little Jewel Box® Homes!  I really wanted to hear from those of you out there who struggle with the everyday challenges of living in a small space and who delight in the cozy atmosphere of your tiny abodes.  So occasionally we here at The Jewel Box® Home would like to feature some "real people" in their "real homes" who are generous enough to lend us their house key to take a peek inside.

Today our guest is Cindy Santiago from the very popular home blog "My Romantic Home".  Cindy  has been featured in many publications such as Romantic Homes and even has done a guest appearance on HGTV!  If you are not a reader of Cindy's blog, I highly recommend it and she even showcases some of her beautiful treasures in her etsy shop!

TJBH:  Tell us a little about your Jewel Box® Home?  What type of home is it?  Are you in a suburb?  Do you have large rooms, but few?  What is the home style?  Is it a new home?  Apartment?  Condo?  Do you have outdoor living space?  Just a brief summary of how you came to live in your current small space. 

Cindy:   My little home is an apartment which is part of a four-plex and it’s located in the Silicon Valley area of California.  It’s very small, just a little over 900 sq. feet.  The complex was built in 1969 and it has the living area downstairs and two bedrooms upstairs.  We have a small private patio area off of the living room.   The little backyard is what made me fall in love with this place.  It’s hard to find an apartment with a private yard around here.  I also love that it was a two-story. 

TJBH:  What are some of your favorite storage secrets in your home?

Cindy:  I actually have quite a bit of storage for such a small place.  There is a huge walk-in closet under the staircase.  It has shelves on one side and that’s where I keep all my old magazines and my cookbooks.  I turned the entry way closet into more storage for my kitchen. I just took out the clothing rod and put in a large shelving unit that I found on craigslist. I also have a large linen closet upstairs and then another walk-in closet outside. I keep our bikes, tools and Christmas decorations out there.  I utilize every hidden space as well, there are things tucked under my beds, under my sofa and under my hutch!

TJBH:  How do you individualize your home in such a small space? 

Cindy:  Most of my home is done in blue and white so the color scheme is consistent throughout.  I think that is really important in a small space. 

TJBH:  What (or who) influences your style of decorating?

Cindy:  Most of my inspiration has come from magazines and now from blogs.  I originally chose the shabby chic style because the look could be achieved on a tight budget. I bought most of my furniture at thrift stores and painted it myself. 

TJBH:  What has been your biggest challenge of small space living? 

Cindy:  Arranging the furniture has been a bit of a challenge.  I like to move things around to get a fresh look but because the space is so small there isn’t much I can change.

TJBH:  What is a spot in your house that makes you very happy?

Cindy:  I love my dining room.  I love collecting dishes and it’s fun to play with different ways of displaying them.

TJBH:  Do you entertain much in your Jewel Box® Home?  Tell us a little about your favorite get togethers and some entertaining secrets.

Cindy:  I would love to entertain more than I do but because my place is so small I don’t.  I do belong to two supper clubs and so I host the dinners at my house once in awhile.  It’s nice when I can open the back door and extend the party out onto the patio. It makes my small space seem larger.

TJBH:  Describe your home in five words.

Cindy:  Small space, lots of décor!

TJBH: What is the best piece of decorating advice you’ve ever received?

Cindy:   Buy what you love and you will find a place for it.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A Cottage tour for Saint Patrick's Day!

I just had to share this beautiful little cottage from Martha Stewart Living  for St. Patrick's Day.  Enjoy!

The Living Room

The Library


 The Kitchen

The Kitchen Sink

Staircase from the Kitchen 
Isn't that red perfect here with the black stair treads!

Bedroom Cabinet

The Bedroom

May your year be filled good luck and good health!


Friday, March 12, 2010

Take a look at this Jewel Box®!

The Stone House at Cote de Texas.

One of my very favorite bloggers is Joni at Cote de Texas.  I haven't had a chance to visit her much lately, but this morning I ran over for a quick catch-up.  You absolutely have to take a look at her latest post about the Stone House.  It is a perfect little Jewel Box®!  Click here to take a peak.  And Joni's blogs - Cote de Texas and the Skirted Round Table - are just wonderful. This week on the Skirted Round Table - which is always a podcast - Joni talks about jealousy in blogland.  A perfect topic for me since I'm frequently envious of all the wonderful blogs out there and all the fabulous things that are being done.  I can barely manage to post every week, let alone take beautiful photos and add all the bells and whistles I see on other blogs.  Thanks goodness I have Amber at my side to help!

Anyway, if you get a chance, do run over to Cote de Texas and The Skirted Round Table. 

Enjoy your weekend!


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Spring Cleaning!

Photo Courtesy of Better Homes & Gardens

It was a beautiful 65 degrees here today!  I opened all the windows of my little Jewel Box® Home and let the breeze air out my little cottage.  It is such a nice feeling to turn my thoughts toward spring.  Whenever I think of springtime, my mind begins to form a little list within itself.  I immediately begin planning projects and start thinking of all the spring cleaning my little Jewel Box® needs!

Photo Courtesy of Better Homes & Gardens

Sometimes the thought of a large cleaning project can be overwhelming and seem too daunting.  The trick is to not let yourself get stressed about it and just do a little at a time.  The best way to start, especially in a smaller home, is to create a map and start in one corner and work your way around the entire house.  This way, there is no wasted energy from walking back and forth.  Take a basket with you and pick up misplaced objects and place it in the basket as you go!  Instead of spending an entire weekend cleaning, break up chores to one day, or one afternoon.  Schedule it in.  

Here are some helpful shortcuts to make spring cleaning and routine cleaning jobs easier in the long run!

Photo Courtesy of Better Homes & Gardens

Keep your kitchen in order by creating a place for everything. Store cookware and utensils near the range so they are within reach. Keep a spray bottle with a solution of one part bleach to four parts water or an all-purpose spray cleaner in the kitchen for cleaning after meals.  

Photo Courtesy of Better Homes & Gardens

In the bathroom, stash a spray bottle with all-in-one cleaner and an extra roll of paper towels under each sink for surface cleanups.

Photo Courtesy of Better Homes & Gardens

Create a cleaning center!  To make your cleaning center efficient, use baskets, bins, and caddies to store products and supplies. Also, buy a wall rack to hang brooms, mops, and dustpans in one place. Create customized cleaning and supply checklists. Post daily, weekly, and monthly chores on a small bulletin board in the cleaning center. When a product is running low, note it on the list before the next shopping trip.

Photo Courtesy of Better Homes & Gardens

Keep all laundry supplies together in a basket. This will save time when doing loads of laundry and will keep the laundry area tidy.

Photo Courtesy of Better Homes & Gardens

Recognize your limitations and know when to hire a professional!  Consider hiring a professional window cleaner once a year, especially if you have a two-story house or storm windows. Hire a gutter- or roof-cleaning service in late fall. Choose services that are bonded and insured, and get at least three references. Depending on your time and house size, rent the necessary carpet-cleaning equipment, or hire a service. If you are renting equipment, steam-clean all carpets at the same time to save money. When hiring a service, some companies offer discounts to clean three or more rooms. 

Spring cleaning doesn't have to be a task to last all season!  Once the house has gotten its once-over reward yourself with a cup of tea and a new bouquet of flowers to welcome the weather change!

I am soooo ready for sunny days!


Monday, March 8, 2010

Curb Appeal!

If you are at all like me this time of year, you long to get outside love on your Jewel Box Home from the outside!  But, alas, the weather in my part of the world does not allow me to do much.  We have had snow and ice and cold temperatures here for most of the winter.  But I dream of spring and those little loving touches that keep our homes looking tidy and fresh.

One thing we can do during the winters if the weather is not too inclement, is think about the curb appeal of our homes.  Oh sure, we can't get outside and plant new shrubberies or embark upon huge projects, but there are several projects that can be completed in a day of sunny weather with just a little foresight.

It is amazing what a little color can do to a front door!  Consider painting your door a vibrant blue or red like the one below.


Photo Courtesy of Country Living 
Photo Courtesy of Country Living 

This family didn't do much-only replace their door and hang some new lights.  A few potted evergreens on the porch make such a difference!

One of the easiest things we can do for our entry way is decorative lighting!

Photo Courtesy of Country Living 

No one wants to walk up on an un-lit porch to visit a home.  Consider shopping the sale aisle at your local home improvement warehouse for new front porch lighting!  An easy fixer-upper!

Photo Courtesy of Country Living 

I love shutters!  They add another dimension of color and style to your home.  They can be operative or not and often are quite inexpensive and easy to hang.  

Photo Courtesy of Country Living 

Window boxes provide yet another simple way to improve your home's curb appeal!  The exterior of a home is complemented all season with fresh flowers or evergreens.  

Fresh paint and new porch railings make an inviting walkway in this front porch re-do.

Photo Courtesy of Country Living 

Photo Courtesy of Country Living 

Your entry sets the tone for the rest of your home so we want our porches and walk-ways to be the first Welcome our guests see!

Photo Courtesy of Country Living 

Although it is not seasonally appropriate to think about greenery in my neck of the woods, a girl can dream!  In my head and in my Home Journal I am sketching simple arches with roses and pots of beautiful plants!  Well-tended greenery is such an inviting sight.

Adding a fence can transform your home's curb appeal while providing safety and privacy!

Photo Courtesy of Country Living 
 I long for days in the sun gardening and working outside.  But for now I will take some stolen time with a quick DIY project and consider that giving my home a Hug from the outside!


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Bedroom Bliss!

I love bedrooms!!!  My special retreat.  My oasis of calm.  A place of solitude and peace.  I am always doing something to spruce up this space.  But in my little home, the bedrooms are tiny, so I have to get creative and use imaginative ways to add TLC to my space.  My husband is such a handyman and this past summer he knocked a big hole in our bedroom walls and added French doors to our bedroom.  They lead outside to our backyard deck and it is so nice to have the extra light and it feels much more airy and spacious in our tiny room!



The above pictures were taken right after he installed the doors and everything was green and lovely!  Since then I have continued to add little special touches like new sheets, new wall sconces, lovely sachets for the drawers and armoire.  Sprucing up the boudoir doesn't have to mean a huge construction project!  I have garnered many ideas from the images below and added them to my project and ideas list!! 

Photo Courtesy of Country Living

I love the serenity of a white bedroom.  But I also love color!  This homeowner added a splash of color simply by using lovely colorful bedding.

 Photo Courtesy of Country Living 

Fabric used in interesting ways is such a wonderful way to add seasonal changes to a bedroom.  This bed has slipcovers on the headboard and footboard.  Just slip it off for a change of scenery!

 Photo Courtesy of Country Living 

White added to a warm room with dark colors adds serenity and space!

 Photo Courtesy of Country Living 

I love built-ins!!!  What a space-saver this daybed must be.  With drawers and storage underneath-it adds charm and whimsy to this bedroom.  Love it!

 Photo Courtesy of Country Living 

Feminine fabrics and layers add a decadent, bohemian look to this bedroom getaway.  An inexpensive, fun way to add personality to a small bedroom!

 Photo Courtesy of Country Living 

If I stayed in a guest room as charming as this one, I would never leave it!  Look how adorable this fold away daybed has been made to look.  A temporary fix for a guest has been made into a fun and lovely retreat!!!  Just by adding the mosquito netting, stringing a few lights and providing fluffy bedding, this cot has been made into a haven.  

 Photo Courtesy of Country Living 

Windows and natural light add the illusion of space to a tiny bedroom!

Photo Courtesy of Country Living

No headboard?  No problem!  A canopy from an old store display found at an estate sale give a vintage look to an impromptu headboard.   Strung with pearls and old hats, this homeowner's vintage style is on display!

Everyone's bedroom needs a little sprucing up now and again!!!  Take a good look around yours and see what you can do to give your bedroom getaway a little love.