driftwood Archive


Outside In

It’s starting to feel a lot like spring but I know I’m still a few weeks away, if we are really, really lucky with the weather this year. So instead of trying to take the inside out this month  we’ll talk about bringing the outside in. Using organic materials inside a home has been a big trend for the last few years. We’ve painted tree stumps and set them next to a favorite chair or beside the bathtub to naturally hold our towels or a tray of exotic bath salts, we’ve set oversized balls made from driftwood next to the sofa and smaller ones ontop of the coffee table, we’ve hung mirrors adorned with petite sea shells in the foyer and have laid down organic wool area rugs that look as if they are made from tumbled pebbles and have filled our decorative vases with knarled boughs from the orchard but now we are taking the organic movement one step further by bringing the exterior building materials inside as well.

Looking through the pages of your favorite design porn, you’ll undoubtedly start to notice rock and natural stone being used more frequently on interior walls in addition to the exterior walls of a home. I love this look of rough natural textures as a back drop for sleek leather furniture, long sensual shags, faux fur rugs and glass and metal table tops. Wow, what a wall finish. I’ve been waiting to bring this look into my own home for a while and last weekend my husband finally had a little time to start covering the walls with my stone blocks. I ordered three different sizes of granite blocks to be made 13×13, 18×18 and 20×20. Not only was the stone cut in three different sizes but it was also cut with varying thickness-from half inch to three inches. Masonry wall art! This is something that I would have expected to see at a chic hotel or public building but these finishes are on their way home. From luxury villas to modest suburban homes look for designers and builders to start showing off fabulous stone feature walls.

Although I chose geometric patterned stone walls for my personal home, we are currently working on a show home that will feature a more natural round stone feature in the dining room. Brick cut, au natural round or geometric it’s all about the texture. As you know rock also comes in a variety of colours to work with any palette, I went for grey granite to work with my palette of concrete, rich espresso browns, white and blue but in the show home we are working with a travertine coloured stone to work with our palette of olive, black, grey and mushroom.

Can I do this work myself? Absolutely as long as you have a wet saw that is able to cut through the stone, although you can also consider using cultured stone. It’s also heavy work, I got a great work out last weekend carrying all the stone pieces to the wall. Besure to chat with your local concrete supplier and let them know the details of your project so that they can supply you with the right cement to hold the stone on the wall. Now that’s fabulous living!

Wouldn’t you love to walk into a space and have the light turn on automatically? I love this idea and recently changed the light in our powder room to be motioned sensored. Its easy to do, all you need is a motion sensored light switch (the sensor is imbedded into the actual light switch which is available at you local do it center). A great idea for laundry rooms, powder rooms and even closet spaces.


Classic Summer

When I say “summer”, what’s the first decorating item that comes to mind? Seashells, coral, driftwood, sand butterflies?

These are classic summer motifs that you can use to enhance your summer decor and at no charge.  How often can we get free decorating items that look amazing and are perfectly suited for our rooms? Almost never – so let’s decorate! One of my favorite summer do’s is to take a group of glass vases, canister or urns and fill them with sand I bought home from the beach and then to add a few shells on top. This group looks great on a bathroom counter-top, the fireplace mantel even the kitchen table as a center piece, they’ll also look fabulous outside on the patio table. What the heck, we love this idea so much let’s create two sets: One for inside the house and one for outside. A tray or bowl filled with sand and a shell or two also looks great mixed in with this group or as a stand alone piece.

A designer friend of mine keeps a collections of apocathery jars and every year she collects sands from her travels brings a bag of it home, fills a jar, labels it by beach and year and displays the collection amongst her books. Because we love design surprises during the summer we always lay a few shells or beach pebbles around the drain in the bathroom sink or if you have a beautiful larger shell, carefully drill two holes through it and insert about two meters of cording and make your own drapery tie back. We also love to cover mirror frames, lampshades and even furniture with shells. Keep the project going year to year as you gather more shells- it doesn’t have to be finished in one session and even a partially finished (shell covered) project looks great.

In my living room I have three large glass floor vases sitting behind my sofa each with a five foot piece of drift wood set in it. Driftwood is one of my personal favorite found items and I’m an avid collector. On our deck off the master bedroom sitting beside a pair of arm chairs we have a large piece of wood that we hauled home a couple of years ago from the Eagle River. As much as Roger, my husband, protested about hauling this sanding, ant covered hunk of wood in the car, he is now the first one to comment on what a fabulous piece of wood this is. Of course when I got it home I gave the wood a thorough hosing and even a quick coat of clear varnish and now it is natural sculpture. I’m a lover of weathered wood and one of my favorite pieces is an old weathered piece of two by ten that sits on the sofa table (inside or out). I added a couple of feet to the bottom and drilled holes just the right size in the top for tea lights-fabulous!!

Show off a great shell or butterfly collection using bell jars. Put the shell on top of a stacked set of coffee table books and set the bell jar on top or use a tray instead of books and set it outside on the sofa or coffee table. A bell jar displaying a summer classic can also work amongst the glass vase collection. Mix and match your summer collectables for fabulous summer living.

Sam and I were shopping for groceries last week and we came across solar powered white pvc planters. OMGosh for around fifty dollars these planters lit up the patio beautifully so we of course went back for more, now they sit on the dock and all around the house. But as always we try to think creatively and outside the ‘box’ or in this case the planter and now use a few of the planters as summer chillers. We fill the bowl with ice and then stock it with bottled water, beer or soda drinks when companies over for a summer gathering-When not in use they still look fabulous empty.