joy of nesting

joy of nesting
Shiree Hanson Segerstrom Design and Wellness for Women with Arthritis and Other Chronic Pain.

Space Planning, CAD, and Hernia's

Space planning is a term used in the design process to describe what goes where.  The first and foremost hallmark of a good designer is their use of space.  Many other elements and tools come into play but at its basis, the room and furthermore the house will look and feel amateurish if the rooms don't have enough breathing space between walls and objects, and if the rooms don't flow together.

The room above is an excellent example of space planning.  You see balance in the sofa and adjacent chairs.  There is plenty of space between coffee table and seating.  Only one slight criticism, the exit isn't as accessible as it could be but there is room to get out behind to the chairs.  In space planning you sometimes have to make those concessions.  The overall feel of the room is one of comfortable, appealing balance.

I love the watery colors shown in the room above.  Notice the contrasting darker welt on the sofas and the darker band on the lamps shades.

There are three main types of floor plans: closed plans, which divide spaces into separate rooms, open plans which provide a minimum of fixed walls, and horizontal and vertical plans which are plans that are divided into one or more storied structures.

Overstuffed cushions, print on print rugs, luscious use of color, and a strong focal point window give this room it's strong appeal.  I am so into the whole British cozy thing again!  Granted this room is an Americanized version. Even better.

I have always done my own furniture arranging for clients.  I've been known to move a sofa a mere two or three inches to get it just right.  Those days are over for me, having had two hernia related surgeries recently.  I am from here on out relying on my assistants for that.

CAD or computer assisted drafting is a great tool for every job I do pertaining to space planning as well as windows, doors, ceilings, floors, kitchen and bath design, and even landscaping.  I am currently using the 9.0 version of Chief Architect and I feel it is pretty comprehensive.  The cabinet maker I work with uses a more sophisticated program which he brings to projects on his laptop.

 A bubble diagram is a first step in designing a floor plan or planning furniture placement. They can be easily  redone over and over again as areas are planned and refined.  They are loosely drawn, free form bubble shapes which roughly outline different spaces.

Working with an interior designer or architect on new construction or a remodel is something to consider particularly if you don't have good spacial sense.  Contractors are good at building but as we know an architect or interior designer is needed if another level of quality is to be achieved.

The living room is my favorite room in the house to plan.  I always start a residential design project with the living room and work my way out. Next comes the entry, next the dining room, then the master bedroom, home office, and guest rooms.  I firmly believe a home should have proper formal living and dining rooms.

I don't care for homes in which the living room and kitchen occupy one room.  I believe this has contributed to America being a television nation.  Formal living and dining rooms give us a much needed reason to remember our manners.

In furnishing a living room, determine the quantity and sizes of the main pieces needed to furnish your room. After you and your designer have chosen paint colors for walls, ceiling, and trim, and the flooring is in, you can purchase in this order, your...

1) Anchor piece such as a large cabinet
2) Sofa and main armchair frames
3) Fabric for sofa, chairs, pillows, and window treatments
4) Secondary seating areas
5) Antiques
6) Occasional tables
7) Table and floor lamps
8) Accessories and greenery

Remember my rules of thumb, mix old and new pieces, masculine and feminine.  This will help your design scheme stay in style indefinitely with only occasional updates. 

Photo credits Wade De Mattai, Al Peters, Elle Decor


It is good to be back!  Since my last post, I have recovered from two intestinal surgeries and it certainly is good to be out of the hospital and on my feet again.

I am designing residential interiors for three clients, writing, doing a travel report for Magazine C, decorating my home for Christmas, and cooking my family's Christmas Eve dinner. I have included the menu in this post.

I almost never do Christmas decorating in an organized fashion.  Instead, I simply take a few items out of each room and replace them with lots of greenery, red ribbons, wreaths, faux ornamental fruits and vegetables, and a few Christmas novelties like Christian's childhood Christmas books, bottle brush trees, and the Santa's I've collected over the years.

Osage orange in a vintage looking bowl with holiday beverages above.

The hand painted, iron Santa looks unassuming next to my wedding silver and platter from a trip to St. Remy Provence, France.

A primitive Santa, a large vase of holly, and my favorite antique stoneware soup tureen looking pretty in the morning light.

A simple pine bough wreath with pine cones hangs on my arched front door.  The iron framed window has a clubs and spades motif which is repeated throughout the house.

Christmas Eve Dinner

Champagne Mimosa's

Warm seasoned cashews
Baguette with cumin, garlic, balsamic vinegar dipping sauce

Prime rib roast with garlic, bay, and horseradish
Roasted new potatoes with fresh chives
Butterleaf salad with red pears, peppercorn bacon, toasted pecans
and Meyer lemon vinaigrette

Chocolate mousse with raspberries

Merry Christmas to all! 

With warmest gratitude, Shiree' Hanson Segerstrom


Dear Readers,

I hope this finds you all well and getting into the spirit of the season.  I will be taking a few weeks off due to medical issues but will resume posting at Joy of Nesting very soon.

Blessings to everyone!

Shiree Hanson Segerstrom

Renee and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, Introduction to a Two Part Report.

During one of our Costa Mesa family reunions, the Segerstrom family received a sneak peek of
The Renee and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall.  It is a magnificent work of architecture and miraculous acoustics.

The Renee and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall is a jewel in the crown of Orange County.  We are so appreciative of the generosity and kindness Henry and Elizabeth continue to bestow upon the art and music communities. 

The first post will be the afternoon of Thursday, December 2nd.  Please join Joy of Nesting for one of the most talked about concert halls in California, and certainly the most beautiful.

My Trip to ROSEMARY VEREY'S Garden in the Ruby Shore's Persimmon Cookies!

In 1998 my then 14 year old son Christian and I went on a business trip to England with my husband Jim.  Jim did a lot of business in Europe and Christian and I picked and chose the prime spots for tagging along.

I had been reading about the famous British gardener Rosemary Verey in the American magazine Victoria and decided to drive the long, lonely country roads to tour Verey's "Barnsley House" garden.

We arrived at closing time almost crashing into the Barnsley House front gate.

 The garden tour was about two pounds. Christian was free.  You dropped your money in a little tin bucket hanging on the entrance fence. The honor system.  I was so charmed.

Once inside, an attendant stopped to talk to us.  She said "Rosemary's in the garden today. Perhaps you will see her".  We did not but we enjoyed the beautiful gardens she created.  I have a picture of Christian sitting on a bench in front of the house.  He took pictures of me in her potager.  

I was pleased that a fourteen year old boy could appreciate the beauty this woman had created.  My favorite is Mrs. Verey's knot garden, a low evergreen and herbaceous bed of rosemary, boxwood, lavender, and various other greenery.

Mrs. Verey has written over a dozen books on gardening, helped Prince Charles in the design of his beautiful garden at Highgrove, designed gardens for Elton John, and other royalty.

Barnsley House in Cirencester, Gloucestershire England is available for events.  Who wouldn't love to have their wedding in the garden at Barnsley.  

Ruby Shore's Persimmon Cookies

My sister in law Sharon gave this chewy persimmon cookie recipe to me.  They are the best I've tasted.  I like to add extra walnuts to mine.  Don't you love the taste of cinnamon and clove this time of year!
Preheat over to 350 degrees.

1 1/4 C. persimmon pulp
1/2 C. butter, softened
1 C. sugar
1 egg
1 t. salt
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. ground clove
1/2 t. ground nutmeg
1 t. cinnamon
2 C. flour
2 C. chopped walnuts (original recipe calls for 1 cup)
1 C. raisins

1) Cream together butter, sugar, salt, and egg. 
2) Add cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon
3) Add baking soda to persimmon pulp to dissolve
4) Beat together all ingredients with flour 
5) Add walnuts and raisins
6) Drop onto cookie sheet lined with foil (or greased cookie sheet)

Bake for 13 to 15 minutes.


What a stunning fall we are having in northern California. I am amazed the trees are so vibrant considering temperatures don't seem to have dropped enough to turn them. Today it is sunny and in the mid 80's.

Fall is traditionally the busiest time of year for designers but yesterday I took some time off after lunch to shoot the pistachio and maple trees downtown.

This weekend David and I are attending a housewarming party in Sacramento for my younger cousin Rich and his wife Danna. It is their first house and we are so happy for them! I am going to wear something yummy for autumn: a fitted lambswool cardigan with a three quarter sleeve, a tie belt, and a beautiful faux mink stole. All I need to go with it is a pair of brown leather skinny jeans.

Last weekend David put the last of the upper garden furniture away for winter. I am sad to see it leave but at least we are still able to enjoy the great California outdoors. I hope you are too.

CHANGING Shiree's Turkey Chili

The eastern United States in fall is something to behold. I have seen Cape Cod, Washington DC, Virginia, North and South Carolina, and Pennsylvania in the fall but never Vermont.

The fall colors, the people, the history, and the architecture of this part of the world require more attention than I am prepared to give right now so I will just share with you some images that struck me as beautiful.

Fall for me used to represent a sad time. The end of the summer weather, messy yards and streets. But now fall means fires in the fireplace, all my favorite soups, homemade breads, and stews. It means our families coming together for Thanksgiving and of course my October birthday.

My husband Jim loved the fall and I think that's how I learned to embrace it. I'm grateful for letting go of that old dread and among other things, am looking forward to chilly morning walks with Riley and Mr. Spreckles in their new plaid jackets.

Shiree's Turkey Chili

This is a healthful, flavorful meal in a bowl. I often make it for myself as a high protein, low calorie dinner.  

1 lb. ground Diestel's turkey
1 1/2 T. ground mild chili powder
1/2 T. ground cumin
1/2 t. ground coriander
1/2 chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, chopped
4 to 6 T. olive oil (I prefer more because turkey is so lean)
vegetable broth
small can kidney beans, rinsed
salt and pepper to taste

In a large stock pot sautee' onion in olive oil. Add ground turkey and chopped garlic and brown well. Add remaining seasonings and enough vegetable broth to barely cover turkey.  Simmer for 30 to 40 minutes till liquid is reduced by half.  Note: you can add more olive oil if needed.

Serve with grated white sharp cheddar, chopped tomatoes, and low fat sour cream or low fat Greek yogurt.
Serves 4. Double the recipe for leftovers.

NATURAL AUTUMN chicken rice soup with red cabbage, lime, cilantro, and avocado!


Being outdoors is the greatest joy of living in California. If you are lucky enough to have a great yard, it is an added bonus.  There are plenty of outdoor pleasures to be found in winter and summer, but fall and spring are by far the most inspiring.


Floral arranging with fresh greens and flowers from one's own garden is very satisfying with such a bevvy of materials to choose from.  You will need a few vases to start and some inexpensive materials. A list of greenery that works best in floral arranging follows.

Here is a simple list of things you will need, most of which you probably already have in your kitchen or tool kit...
1.   sharp garden clippers 
2.   frogs (little glass or metal things you put in the bottom of your vase to keep the stems in place)
3.   floral tape
4.   bamboo skewers
5.   a variety of vases with large and small openings, tall, short, clear glass, ceramic
6.   novelty containers
7.   baskets
8.   floral preservative powder
9.   vase inserts (I like large cottage cheese tubs) for non-water tight vessels and baskets
10. a hammer
11. reindeer moss and Spanish moss
12. "Oasis" (the one that holds water!) at most floral supplies and craft stores


The easiest way to do fall floral arrangements...

1. fill your sink or a big bucket with water
2. gather your cutters and fill vase with water, preservative, and frog
3. cut your arrangement materials at a sharp angle
4. keep them cut side down in water while working
5. start with the materials that have the firmest stems as they will provide structure
6. hammer the ends of branch-like stems well so they can absorb water
7. fill in with remaining greens and flowers

To determine the length of the stem before cutting, simply place the vase next to the end of the counter and hold the branch or flower up next to it at the preferred height. Eyeball the spot where the bottom of the vase ends and cut your branch there. Err or the long side and re-clip as needed.

Stand back and look at the arrangement from different perspectives. Does it have balance, symmetrical or asymmetrical?  Are the color and texture contrasts pleasing? Is the vase interesting and of good quality?  Trim off any extra long twigs that will catch on clothing as people pass by.

Conditioning plant, shrub, and tree cuttings for fall arrangements...

bear breeches-dip in boiling water before arranging
maple-hammer stems, place in water
laurel/bay- hammer stems, place in water
Michaelmas daisy-crush stems and dip in boiling water before arranging
barberry-crush stems, place in water
birch- hammer stems, place in water
dogwood-hammer stems, dip in boiling water before arranging
ferns- char stem ends with flame and place in water
privet- hammer woody stems, place in water
olive- hammer woody stems, place in water
cotoneaster- hammer woody stems, place in water
kumquat-hammer woody stems, dip in boiling water before arranging
nandina bamboo- just cut and place in water
pyracantha- hammer woody stems, place in water
pomegranite- hammer woody stems, dip in boiling water before arranging
fig- hammer woody stems, dip in boiling water before arranging
persimmon- hammer woody stems, dip in boiling water before arranging

The floral tape is for loose hanging fruits. Choose dark, natural green to blend in with stems and leaves and use as a support to keep fruit from falling off. I also like to use masking tape to criss-cross over the opening of the vase which adds extra structure to the arrangement.The skewers are for heavy flowers like sunflowers. Reindeer and Spanish moss are excellent fillers in baskets and other wide mouth vessels.

Chicken and Rice Soup with Red Cabbage, Lime, Cilantro, and Avocado

This soup is absolutely delicious and very flavorful! I love to make it for myself when I feel I'm getting a cold.

1 32 oz. organic, free range chicken stock
1 32 oz. organic vegetable stock
3 chicken breasts
4 cloves garlic, chopped fine
1 C. long grain rice

place the following ingredients in bowls and let guests serve themselves...
red cabbage
fresh  lime juice
avocado slices

In a large stock pot bring to a gentle boil chicken and vegetable stock, chicken, and garlic. Let simmer until chicken is cooked. Remove chicken and shred.

Add rice and cook covered 25 minutes, stirring only once.  Add water or more stock till desired consistency. You now have the basis for the soup and guests can decorate their soup bowls with as much cabbage, lime juice, avocado, and cilantro as they prefer.

Serves 4


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