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Front Porch Living

It’s yet to feel like Spring is here, but we had a little taste of it this weekend and I want more. One of my favorite things to do in the summer, is hand my kids a bunch of sidewalk chalk and hang out on my front porch. So what makes a good front porch?

For me, it starts with the basics: a good front door (I tend to go classic colors on mine like this rich BM Hale Navy), a great light with clear glass shade, simple accessories in contemporary numbers, doorbell and a no-frills mailbox. The next thing to bring in that is invaluable is two comfortable chairs and a combo of affordable pillows. I love these ones from IKEA for a covered porch. Then bring in a ceramic stool in a contrasting color so you have somewhere to set down that evening cocktail you’ll be enjoying while your kids ride bikes in front of your house (sound Americana enough??) I like to use boxwoods in varying sizes of the same pot; at the end up the summer you can plant the boxwoods and enjoy them all year.

Front Porch Living


I like to keep my front porch design simple…nothing too showy from the road (maybe the modest Canadian part of me coming out!) Hopefully soon we’ll all be able to actually hang out outside soon.

Tessa Signature

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DwellStudio for Robert Allen

One of my favorite lines of fabrics is DwellStudio for Robert Allen. We used this fabric in a bedroom design we did and I just love it and keep coming back to it as a top choice for drapery in my family room.

DwellStudio Medallion Band, Mineral

DwellStudio Medallion Band, Mineral

Now, with spring (finally) here, we look to outside living. Now, DwellStudio and Robert Allen have a collection of Sunbrella fabrics called Modern Bungalow (geez, enough brands in one sentence??)

DwellStudio for Robert Allen Sunbrella

DwellStudio for Robert Allen Sunbrella

This is DwellStudio’s first outdoor collection and they chose to go with bold colors, patterns and a lot of green in the palette. We love geometric patterns for outdoor living and this line really delivers. Here are a few of my favorites from the collection–would love to use a few different ones for the upholstery and cushions to create a really fun, eclectic look outside.

Dwell Studio for Robert Allen Modern Bungalow collection

I can’t tell you how anxious I am for there to be a string of 70+ days!

Tessa Signature

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A Reader’s Garage Makeover

There is nothing that excites me more than seeing a space that has been totally transformed with organization (I know, lame right??) In fact, over the weekend, I helped Tessa go through piles and piles of papers in her office- it was so fun to be able to see the floor in her office. As a side note, a good lesson here is that when you have a big cleaning job to do, have a friend help you. They’ll encourage you to clean out more than you might be willing to do on your own!

So when a reader sent me these before and after shots of her garage, I knew I had to share them with all of you.  AMAZING- and I would do the happy dance everytime I walked in this garage if it were mine. The garage is one of those places that can become a dumping ground for junk, but it doesn’t have to be a mess and it’s often a space that provides huge opportunity for extra storage…if properly thought out.

Here’s a shot of the wall before:

garage space before

Lisa has two little boys and lives in California so they are the lucky ones that get to be outside year round…and have all the gear to prove it! She specifically needed a place to store beach items, sports equipment and a large amount of shoes By the way, I’ve already asked how one family could own so many shoes! (And, seriously couldn’t Nike just invent one shoe that fits all sports for kids?!?)

And, tah dah! Here’s a shot of the new space:

image 1

As you can see, Lisa grouped all of her like items together…bicycle helmets, beach equipment and balls are stored in these easily-accessible shelves.

items alike

I told you they have a lot of shoes! But, imagine all of your shoes neatly lined up like this instead of thrown on the ground by the door…heaven right?


 Love this drawer to hold all of the balls for easy access.

ball drawer





One thing that I think is worth pointing out is that when Lisa went to the Container Store (this is the Elfa System) to design this organization system, she thought it would be a place to hold only sports equipment. After installing the system, she realized she still had enough room to add other items.  One entire shelf is dedicated to her Costco bulk items.


Lisa was so impressed with the sales associates at the Container Store.  I asked her if she was overwhelmed in designing the system but she said that part was easy.  She went to the store with an idea in her head of what she wanted to store and the associate gave her tons of ideas and put the plan in action.

In case you’re wondering….here’s a glimpse of the other walls in her garage.


Bikes off the ground


This is the perfect spring project to take on. Take advantage of all the possibility for extra storage in your garage!

Amy Signature

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