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7 Tips For Choosing Your Exterior House Paint Colors

7 Tips For Choosing Your Exterior House Paint Colors

Picking colors for the exterior of your home takes even more thought than the inside! In this post, I’ll tell you about our recent exterior paint project. The end result makes us smile!

A Weekend In Charleston and Loving Animals

A Weekend In Charleston and Loving Animals

Can I show you some of my favorite photos from a recent weekend in Charleston AND give you a tip on how to find out if the products you use get tested on animals? Read on!

Southwestern Design Inspiration - 11 Tips

There is no better way to get freshly inspired than to travel.  We recently spent a week in Arizona and man oh man did I bring home a whole lot of Southwestern design inspiration!   A whole new color palette has cracked my head open!

It turns out that seeing pictures of the Grand Canyon is not like seeing the real thing (not at all), but I'm going to show you a couple of my favorite photos to illustrate what I learned:

Southwestern Design Inspiration, Tip #1 - look at the Earth.

Have you been to the GC?  Please go as soon as you can.  It's unbelievable. So beautiful, so big and endlessly amazing.  Look at those colors!  I've got a whole new respect for rusty reds, sagey greens, dusty grays and BLUE!

Southwestern Design Inspiration, Tip #2 - don't shy away from the edge.

I wasn't afraid of heights when I was a kid, but as an adult, when I'm on the edge of a cliff, I have to sit down on the ground or I get dizzy.  Here I am--VERY close to the edge (and it's a very long drop), so I'm sitting on the ground. A design translation would be to create ways to be brave, but also feel safe in your surroundings!

Southwest Design Inspiration, Tip #3 - the importance of shape

You know I have a thing for trees.  Many trees in Arizona are very twisted, scrubby and kind of tortured looking.  Very sculptural and poetic.  I think I'll frame this picture. 

Southwestern Design Iinspiration, Tip #4 - use complementary colors like Mother Nature does.

Of course I seek out houses, even the 900 year old ones.  This is the Wupatki National Monument--a 100 room pueblo in the middle of the desert.  Can you imagine what this was like when a whole community of Native Americans lived in it?  LOOK at the intense rust of the rocks against that blue sky (complementary colors!) makes it a sight to behold.  It's jaw-dropping.

Southwestern Design Inspiration, Tip #5 - always include texture.

Another stop near Flagstaff was the incredible Walnut Canyon where cliff dwellers built homes after a volcanic eruption forced them to seek a new way to live.  Look it up, it's a fascinating story.  And look at all the neutral earthy colors in this dwelling--they're all mixed up together, with a ton of stony texture.  And out the "window" is an enormous canyon with incredible trees and plants.  NOTHING is smooth out there--except for the incredible sky.

Southwester Design Inspiration, Tip #6 - Beauty Is In The Eye Of The Beholder

Remnants of the volcanic lava flow that came from Sunset Crater down a huge path showed the long-term devastation that a volcanic eruption brings. It's huge, black, brittle, prickly and kind of scary looking.  Yet now trees and flowers can be seen growing in little pockets of space amidst the lava.. Mother Earth is something else.  I felt her power at every turn.  Standing in the midst of this thing felt cosmic.


Here's the love of my life, leading the way on one of our hikes.  We walked and walked and walked.  And then we walked some more. My Merrell hiking boots came through with flying colors!  


Southwest Design Inspiration, Tip #7 - include a variety of plants.

Desert vegetation is very different  than the plants in North Carolina.  I missed my lush, leafy trees, but the cacti and other plants were stunning.  I guess plants don't have to have leaves to be beautiful. 


Southwestern Design Inspiration, Tip #8 - use the chipped plate-no one cares!


Based on a NY Times recommendation, we stopped at Macy's Bakery in Flagstaff for an afternoon snack.  Here's my peach brown sugar cake and Cappuccino ala San Francisco. Shaved chocolate is sprinkled on top.  It melts, then cools to a crust.  Life will never be the same.  I never noticed the chipped plate.  Lesson learned.

Southwestern Design Inspiration, Tip #9 -  use Indian rugs.

Gorgeous!  I'm going to remember these when I next think about rugs in a project. This collection was in a shop in Sedona --  an incredible place, known for its red rocks and awesome shopping.  I'm not a big souvenir shopper, but I made an exception in Sedona.  SO much art, jewelry, pottery and clothing!  It's fun to bring back things to scatter about our North Carolina home.  Nice reminders of a special place.


Tlaquepacque is a shopping area in Sedona that is beautifully designed.  It even has a small chapel!  A nice reminder about what's really important amidst the enticing shops.


Southwestern Design Inspiration, Tip #10 - mix the masculine with the feminine.

We stayed in 5 hotels over 7 days, so I got to see a lot of hospitality design.  This leather chair caught my eye.  Don't you LOVE the floral pattern on the fabric, the leather and the nail head trim combo?   I won't be surprised if a client ends up with a similar chair in the coming months!

Southwestern Design Inspiration, Tip #11 - when you go home, create some trip reminders in  your home decor!

I brought home the red, black, ivory and caramel wool pillow in the bottom of the photo and am using it as my jumping off point to bring Southwest colors and Native American patterns into my home.  Fabrics have been ordered from Robert Allen that will adorn the pillows on our living room sofa.  An easy way to keep the vacation glow going.



We ate delicious food, saw amazing sunsets, slept through awesome sunrises (vacation, remember?) and saw some of the most incredible views that I have ever seen in my life. We'll definitely go back some day as there's lots more to explore.  

Plan your own trip today!




Flower Power and Gratitude

  "I don't have to chase extraordinary moments to find happiness - it's right in front of me if I'm paying attention and practicing gratitude."  Brene Brown

That Brene Brown quote is so incredibly true and exactly how I felt after walking around the yard this morning.  We've got 2 acres here and every plant on it makes me incredibly happy.  If I don't pay attention, things will bloom without me!

I know I show you pictures of Casa DeCocco often.  It probably always looks the same to you.  But I see differences every day and I am in love with this sweet cottage.  Look at the fig tree over there on the corner of the front porch!  It's going to be HUGE again this year!

The side yard has benefited from lots of rain.  Grass doesn't usually grow there, and it will be gone as soon as the hot, dry weather sets in.  But I like the wild look of this spot.  It feels like the entrance to the forest.

The Annabelle hydrangeas are coming along nicely in front of the living room window.  Soon the big white flowers will fill the window!

The front porch is almost ready for me to hang up the Boston ferns.  First we need to wash away all the yellow pollen. Soon!

Gardeners out here call Hostas "crack for deer."  The only way we get to see it is if we fence it in.  I call it the Hosta Jail.  Sorry fellas--this is Hub's idea.

I've only got 2 surviving peonies, and this is one of them.  Peonies are my favorite flower.  Every year I say I"ll plant more.  Maybe this year?  The garden is in too much shade to grow veggies successfully so maybe I can have a peony garden, with enough to cut for bouquets without guilt.  Decadence!

This daffoldil is a late bloomer, and there's nothing wrong with that.  All the other daffys have dried up, so this beauty gets all the attention.

Now I'm off to pack for High Point.  The International Home Furnishings Market has started and I'll be there tomorrow morning.  I'll let you know if we find anything you can't live without!