joy of nesting

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

Topiary and Greenery... the Home's Missing Element

There's nothing quite like indoor plants and flowers to make a room feel lived in. If your room is missing something elemental and you can't put your finger on what it is, chances are good that's it's either scale, texture, color or greenery.

As greenery goes, moss has been a great favorite of mine for years. So much, in fact, that I have it scattered in select spots of my living and dining rooms as a variation of the common houseplant.

These tiny moss pots are irresistible with their silver finish and bright green texture. They would be sweet in a grouping of three along a sideboard or on a night stand in the guest room.

Rosemary topiary, lovely on the eyes as well as nose. They add a homeyness to casual gatherings, especially the breakfast table.

In my own home, I like to incorporate a variety of types of greenery. This is a dried bay leaf assembled on a thin, round wire. It would be a perfect kitchen accessory except for the fact that you would be loathe to remove the leaves for cooking!

And for Valentine's Day, the insouciant combination of pink and red roses. Tres Francais.

These triple topiary in mossy, green pots bring to mind the fleeting days of summer gardening.

Dried boxwood wreath against a black door. But do keep yours indoors away from direct light. Outdoors, they fade in a matter of days.

Add a sweet touch to your guest room with an olive lined, willow basket filled with soaps and pumice.

A fresh rosemary wreath against a rustic, linen chair.

Tiny boxwood euonymous satisfy my winter cravings for greenery. These will do well in a sunny indoor spot but eventually need to be transplanted out of doors. Do so when the weather begins to warm up as this is the best time of year for transplanting.

While our friends on the east coast are seeing snow storms, here in northern California we are having a terrible drought. My poor daffodils are blooming already and we've yet to see any real winter weather. It's meant a lot more tennis which is appreciated but if we don't get some rain, our lawns may be brown this coming summer.

Joy of Cooking...A Gallery of Ever So Charming Kitchens

My husband David retired recently and we have just combined homes for the first time in our six year relationship. Now that he's here full time, I've been spending more time in the kitchen than ever. That's not a bad thing but I do hope the calories don't find their way to our respective mid-sections.

I love cooking, baking and entertaining. And I must say, I love a variety of kitchen design styles. Here is a little kitchen gallery for you to peruse. And if you scroll down a little further to my previous blog post, you'll find a marvelous recipe for my Minestrone soup with fire roasted tomatoes and dried Porcini mushrooms.

For more of my favorite kitchens on Pinterest, click here.

My Best Vegetarian Minestrone with Porcini Mushrooms!

I created this amazing Minestrone soup last night and have been dipping into it since. I had to share the recipe with you. Because of the mushrooms, the stock and tomatoes the base is very rich. The penne pasta adds a satisfying starchy element. Even if you don't love Minestrone, you will appreciate this soup. It's rich like a beef broth but it's vegetarian.


48 oz. Pacific vegetable stock
1 28 oz. can fire roasted tomatoes and juice
1/2 box penne pasta
1/4 C. extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves finely chopped garlic
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
2/3 oz. dried porcini mushrooms
1 15 oz. can each black beans, kidney beans and navy beans, rinsed well and drained
1 C. chopped, raw spinach
2 stalks celery, chopped
sea salt and pepper to taste
water as needed (don't dilute the delicious stock too much though!)
generous handful grated, quality Parmesan cheese for topping

In a large stock pot, place vegetable stock, beans, and tomatoes. Simmer over medium low heat while chopping vegetables and grating cheese.

Add penne and cook 11 minutes. Add porcini and spinach during the last five minutes cooking time.

Serve in individual bowls topped with Parmesan cheese.

Let Me...Entertain You: A Gallery of Party Decorating Ideas

My inner, social butterfly appears whenever I see images like the ones featured here in today's Joy of Nesting blog. I especially love informal gatherings which is odd because I'm more of a formal person.

There is something warm and wonderful about entertaining ala rustica. Most of these entertaining ideas capture that rusticity. I provided photo or designer credit wherever available.

Grapefruit and rosemary spritzers on a tray.

Lovely graphic patterns from Hen House Linens.

Dining Etiquette 101, because we need a little guidance at times.

Lavender votive, sweet as can be and easy to assemble with a dab of double sided Scotch Tape.

Monogrammed bottle tags.

Dining chez Muriel Brandolini.

Margarita shots in salted lime halves. Adorable, even if a little cumbersome.

A spot of brilliance from Los Angeles interior designer Nathan Turner: green beans and dips in pewter julep cups.

There is nothing quite so convivial as a service bar. This one features olive and olive oil samplings.

One of the most charming ideas I have seen in awhile...fireflies.

There are times to pull out all the stops. This Moroccan inspired table shouts "girlfriend's birthday".

My neice Ruby Sabine would approve of this idea: slate place mats.

For the bridal shower. Swizzle sticks are easy and inexpensive to make. I did mine with quality balsam sticks from a craft store.

Rugs leading to an outdoor pavilion provide a sense of festivity.

Creativity can fall by the wayside when faced with the challenges of cooking for company. When I plan an event or dinner party, it's extremely helpful to have one or two go-to places for a wide variety of curated ideas. I like keeping mine in my Pinterest files.

For more of the ideas I've been collecting lately, click here.

As Layered as You Please...A Gallery Full of Busy Decor

As a designer, my tastes in interiors are fairly eclectic. I love applying a broad range of colors and styles to my client's décor.

One thing that seems to have a common thread throughout my work and the work I admire from my fellow designers is a "layered" look. I like layers. I like it when a room is lived in, yet organized. Evolved yet pulled together. Nothing too matchy-matchy, but definitely coordinated.

Here is a little gallery I pulled together this morning from my Pinterest board entitled Interiors.

Above image from Jacques Grange.

Scalamandre wallpaper.

When working with a "cool", monochromatic color scheme you can add lots of texture for visual and tactile interest. Shiny mercury glass adds some glitz.

Albert Hadley, above image. The corner of this room has some appealing layers.

Chatsworth in England. My son Christian and I visited Chatsworth when he was pre-teen. We spent considerable time in the barnyard area with the sheep and chickens.

No color in this little vignette but it feels "lived in" because of the books, baskets and plant.

Salvaged wood fireplace surround next to the drama of tufted leather, floor length draperies, and crystal chandelier.

A wide variety of styled furnishings work well together in this Moorish style architecture.

Busy, modern layering. The pieces featured here "light up" against one another.

Blue, red and a touch of yellow: colors that are particularly fresh together. The iconic chandelier is by Marjorie Skouris.

Cool gray painted book cases and paneling, chevron stained floors and an Aero Saarinen table: a fresh take on classic design.

Frilly, romantic, cabbage roses. Bennison and Laura Ashley fabrics were favorites in the eighties. To me, they still feel fresh.

The pop of Chinese red and robin's egg blue in a sitting area "loft". Jeffrey Billhuber.

Exuberant color and lots of "things" in this cottage styled décor.

The warmth of wood is cooled down with white upholstery and iron fixtures.

Rooms without possessions seem unlived in. Not evolved. Like a cheap hotel, they're devoid of personality or clues about the persons who inhabit them. Whatever your preferred style of living, my hope is that you'll fill your home with the things you love and enjoy them on a daily basis.


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