On my Fourth of July blog last week I posted pictures of a newly installed porch in a house that I designed in Nantucket. I have been so inspired by the idea of summer outdoor living that I decided to dedicate an entire blog to those special spaces.

We recently completed this outdoor area in South Hampton.  One of things I strive to accomplish is to create ample living spaces with enough room for lots of friends and family to gather. 

My years spent in Los Angeles, where outdoor spaces are usable year round, make me appreciate even more the time I have in the summer to live outside of my home in Connecticut. I like to think of outdoor spaces as an extension of the indoor rooms of a home, they should be comfortable, well designed and invite gathering for games, reading a book, a summer nap or a casual brunch or dinner party.

The abundance of beautiful outdoor fabrics allows for almost any piece to be brought outdoors. There is nothing more lovely than a poolside barbeque, sitting on a porch watching the sunset with a glass of rose or dining by candlelight surrounded by summer roses on a beautiful terrace. It does not have to be grand, even a simple café table surrounded by hurricanes in the garden can provide a perfect spot to enjoy the long and luxurious days of summer.

Here are a few of my go-to ideas for outdoor spaces:

Keep it simple with classic designs but make the details stand out with contrasting piping and buttons.  

Wicker furniture is timeless.  The good news is wicker patio furniture is offered in weather resistant materials that I love to use with patio installations.  It works so well with patterned fabric including chintz and checks.  

Carolyne Roehm, who has flawless style, uses blue Restoration Hardware hurricane lamps to pop an outdoor dinner table.  

I love hanging vintage lamps with candles to create a romantic scene.  Having cake plate jars is not only beautiful but helpful to keep things fresh. 

Move the living room outdoors!  I love white slipcovered sofas, blue and white Chinese jars and stools mixed in with vintage pillows. Different textures like linens ,rattan and ceramics give the space a true lived in feel. I love to bring a lamp outdoors as well.

 

Be spontaneous! I love to invite friends over with short notice to enjoy a beautiful night on my porch overlooking the water.  Have a proven formula on how to throw a dinner party!  It's relatively easy when you know how to set up the table (that's why I encourage clients to have collections of plates , vases, linens etc), organize the dinner with prepping as much ahead of when guests arrive and with a menu that is delicious.  The results is everything looks effortless and everyone has a wonderful time.  

Happy Fourth of July!  How lucky are we that the birth of our great nation’s independence coincides perfectly with the warm days of summer. Think of how differently we would celebrate if our freedom had been inked in the dead of winter.  

There is a languid simplicity, surrounding the holiday that is the essence of all-American style. It conjures up images of home town parades, baseball, beach picnics, back yard barbecues, classic patriotic colors of red, white and blue on proud display and the always awe inspiring and magical fireworks.  It is a beautifully pared down style that I call romantic American and it is the aesthetic that guides all of my work. To me, there is nothing more perfect than a beautiful blue and white stripe, freshly cut hydrangeas or summer roses placed in simple containers, a picnic table laden with farm-to-table food served elegantly but casually for all to enjoy.  These are the hallmarks for me of Fourth of July, American summers and American style. 

As I am known for my love of blue and white color palettes, I also love to incorporate some red accents.  I love how this room, overlooking the Long Island Sound, turned out for our clients.  

This recent patio install in Nantucket for clients is all ready for Fourth of July.  A perfect place to look out over the Atlantic, read a book, or gather with family and friends.  

 

This Fourth of July, I will be celebrating with my family at our home overlooking the water on our porch, making fun cocktails, big dinners, amazing deserts.  Best of all I will have all of my daughters home!  I have put together the perfect menu for entertaining (see below).  It is inspired by traditions and experiences on both coasts.  Wherever you are and whatever your inspirations and traditions are.  I wish you a Happy Fourth!

Menu for Fourth of July

Guacamole and homemade lime tortilla chips

Homemade onion dip

Homemade potato chips

Spicy Buttermilk oven fried chicken

Fresh corn

Baby tomatoes with mozzarella and fresh basil from the garden 

Herbed garlic bread

Big green salad

Peach raspberry crisp

Ice cream sandwiches 

Happily our blue hydrangeas are in full bloom this year for amazing center pieces!  

As a mother of three wonderful daughters, there is nothing more I love than hanging out with them in the kitchen, cooking their favorite foods, and at times having a glass of wine over funny stories.  When I design homes for my clients, I know how important the kitchen is for family gatherings and everyday life!  

I take into consideration the way my clients live and how they want to use this space that is frequently called "The Heart of The Home".  There is always lots of seating whether at the island or the kitchen table.  If for a big family, or when the kitchen is used for entertaining big crowds. Some of my favorite dinner parties take place in the kitchen.

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I adore showcasing platters from client's favorite collections. Banquet seating with kid friendly faux leather lasts forever.  Myrtle trees are my favorite indoor plants and work so well in the kitchen.  They are always in my clients homes and mine too! 

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These Peter Dunham fabric shaded pendants make this kitchen so inviting. I prefer kitchens to feel more like living spaces than totally utilitarian. This particular kitchen gets used all the time as the client is an incredible cook and loves to entertain.  It's a coveted invite I could never turn down! 

An image from my home we built in Los Angeles.  This was one of my favorite kitchens to cook and spend time with my loved ones.  The pot rack is from Howard Kaplan in NYC.  My husband and I flew to NYC twice for this pot rack as the store was closed on the day we first went to buy it!  Oh well, we had a great time in NYC twice in two weeks!  The pot rack really showcased my love of collecting copper cookware. 

There are too many things to say about this kitchen. The lighting, the cabinetry, the thick marble and the color of the island plus great seating make this kitchen located on the water with incredible views of Long Island Sound.

The matching fabric on the lamp and curtains is le Gracieux.  Our clients spend a lot of time at this breakfast table and who can blame them when you have beautiful views . 

Sometimes its all about being creative and giving a young family a way to spend time with Mom while she is cooking. This custom banquette survived with two cute twin boys and a baby daughter.  

Creative lighting can give a kitchen a spark and  personality.  Again we used thick Calcutta marble for this real cooks kitchen.  

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Working outside of my comfort zone of all white kitchens but this time it really did work when my clients asked for a provencal looking kitchen. It's one of my favorites.  The fabric on the lamps is from Carlton V and the lamps are from Mulligans in Los Angeles. 

There is a part of me that could design an entire house just in ticking stripes. They are crisp, clean, and preppy yet relaxed.  I envision them anywhere from a seaside home in the Hamptons or Nantucket to Santa Barbara and Malibu.

Ticking stripes in cotton or linen seem to be the perfect fabric for slipcovering, which is one of my favorite ways to upholster furniture. 

When it came time to choose the fabrics for my home collection it was so important that I capture the scale and texture of a true collection of fabrics. So if one wanted to, they could use the collection and do an entire room of furniture with our pieces. 

One of my favorite fabrics from the collection is the ticking stripe. It works well on every piece of furniture we have designed. 

Below are some images of ticking stripes in all of their glory!!!

One of my favorite and most popular pieces from my home collection  The Montecito Ottoman

I have several slipcovered wing chairs in my own house.  Casual meets formal.

I love the fabric matched headboards and wall covering.

Here's my favorite ticking stripe fabric offered on my home collection. 

We also offer these gorgeous stripes in addition to the ticking stripe.