I have lately been exploring the world of the terrarium - 
It would be the perfect thing to put near my kitchen window.
They bring nature and the garden right to your face - and they are beautiful!

First I wanted to know if I could keep them alive...
I'm the Great Houseplant Killer in my family...
Don't leave one in my care.  

Refinery 29
They do seem easy to care for, requiring only sporadic, minimal water 
as they create their own little microclimate in their container
and the glass (especially if it has a lid) creates a greenhouse effect.

They need bright indirect light, but not direct sunlight as that, combined with the glass container, 
would fry them quickly.
My kitchen window looks out onto a covered patio - no direct sun - the perfect spot.
I have plenty of glass containers to try, but not all have lids, 

and a lid seems to allow more control of the terrarium environment.
If the glass fogs up a little and there is too much moisture - 
removing the lid for a minute or two can correct it.  

Centro Garden
Put it back on when the fog is gone and it prevents further evaporation 
making it possible to go for long periods without adding moisture.

Then I saw these solutions for containers without lids...
Glass orb... great idea!
Zest it Up
wooden disk with a knob -
problem solved!

Better Homes and Gardens
Here's a link from Better Homes and Gardens on how to make them 
and a tutorial from Martha Stewart...if you'd like to join me in this experiment. 

For more beautiful inspiration, here's a link to my Pinterest board Terrariums and Topiaries.

If you have tried these small world gardens with success, I would love to hear about it!


Hi there,
I have oak kitchen cabinets in a kitchen/ dining room in one.  The dining room table and hutch are oak as well.  I need a suggestion for a paint colour to bring out the set.  The oak isn't really light, yet not too dark.  I have lots of light coming in from dining area.  Can you suggest a colour for the walls and drapery?  It is painted a sage green and I would like to make a change.  The trim is white and I want to leave the trim the same  ( counter top has different brown in it)  I look forward to hearing from you

Carol | 

Hi Carol,

To bring out a warm color - go the polar opposite.  Try a cool gray toned color.  For example, the opposite on the color wheel to red, is green.  The opposite of orange, is blue.  The opposite of yellow, is purple.  Red, orange and yellow are warm colors, and their opposites, or the colors that bring out their best, are cool colors (green, blue and purple).  You have lived with green for a while and want a change, so I would try a gray with a blue or purple undertone to bring out the warm tones of your wood.  

You can go gray and try these with a blue or purple undertone.

BM Abalone (Purple)

BM Pebble Beach (Blue)

BM Rockport Gray (smidge of Purple)

BM Eternity (Blue)
BM Sandlot Gray (Purple)
BM Wet Concrete (Purple)

Or you can go color and try these with a gray undertone.

BM Pleasant Valley

BM Slate Blue

BM Mauve Desert

BM Victorian Mauve




They are called Storybook Style homes.
[Well, the name is obvious.]
Storybook homes were a product of the early 20's
and had passed from popularity by the late 30's,
a casualty of the Great Depression.

The depression put a bit of a damper on all that quaintness
and probably the $$ it took to create them...
They originated in California, and so they have some of the best examples -
but there are storybook style homes in many parts of the country and the world.

These storybook homes are in beautiful Carmel, California
They're adorable.
The town they are located in is adorable.

The setting is magical -

cypress trees
and fog...
like a fairy tale....

They are picturesque,
quaint, and charming.

They have cobblestone paths,
arches and arbors,
cottage gardens, 

forged iron lanterns,

Whimsical arched doorways, 

wee little chimneys that would rival Disney's best efforts
and steeply pitched gables are part of the charm.

Some have steam shaped shingles 
made to mimic thatched roofs.

Some have eyebrow windows

and exposed timbers,
others have multipaned windows overlooking cottage gardens

It seems the setting is as important as the house itself.

Los Angeles county is also home to many of these homes -
this one located in Glendale...
Away across the pond,
the British village of Blais has a few of these quaint homes...

and more - found all over the United States and other parts of the world...

This home is known as the witch's house - located in Hollywood, California.

Although it could resemble a fairy tale involving one, the name came from the owner who liked to hand out Halloween candy dressed as a witch...

The Witch's House is one of the earliest storybook buldings, built in 1921 by a Hollywood art director, originally serving as the offices for Willat Studio - a silent film studio.  It was moved to Beverly Hills in 1926, (or possibly 1934 - accounts differ).

 A real estate agent purchased it upon hearing that interested parties were going to tear it down and build something else.  He and another Hollywood art director undertook a comprehensive restoration of the home and brought it back to its former glory.

But whatever the story, these Storybook Style homes are a whimsical and charming part of history that delight the eye and warm the heart,

whether found in the US, the UK or Europe.



New Zealand

I look at these tiny little fairy tale cottages and the curmudgeon in me wonders...
"What if you lived in one of them and woke up one day and couldn't take another minute of 'cute'?
Or became sick to death of 'charming?'
What if you craved plain.
Strait lines.
What then?
But I do like this place...
Still charming, but not overdone...
with a little english country garden style yard that is perfection
and inside, more classic than cute -
I could live in this kitchen without a minute's hesitation

And they lived happily ever after.....


Your blog is just Dreamy!! I love houses and design oh so much. I joke with my mom and husband I should wear a sign "will work for money to design". Doing it yourself is my main way to go as I have young kiddos and a limited budget. I just spent 4 days transforming a yucky oak kitchen with beigy-pink Formica to white painted cabinets with black painted Formica counters 😄.  

Painting oak is not very fun at all- but super rewarding

That being said I have to ask you about the exterior of our home.  We just redid the front porch as it was literally collapsing from awesome 1960s construction in Chicago.  I am trying to convince my husband that our house was born to be painted brick or washed. Would you please share with me your opinion? I truly respect it and believe you will know the right choice. Here is the exterior. Our master is in the back with terrible white vinyl siding. That's another great reason to paint it all white, then the siding will blend in a smidge better.😉

Thank you thank you for any insight you may provide. The shutters definitely need to be redone and sized properly; but I am waiting until we decide about exterior so that I don't have to change colors on new shutters. Thank you thank you!!!

First, Brava! on your kitchen repaint - looks great!  Can't wait to see it with the hardware on - you will send a photo, won't you?

So your home is what is lovingly referred to as Greek Revival.  People who wanted to emulate classic Greek architecture,

back in the day, painted  these homes white to look like white marble - It was a very formal look - a power look as you will see by the most familiar photo below...
That's right, The White House.

However, your house is not a state building or a national monument... it is a home - and so we want it to look welcoming - right?  Your new porch is beautiful and I love all the detail and the stately columns.  As far as painting the brick goes, however; I'm not seeing white as the answer.  

I fear white would blend into the porch and make it disappear and you would lose all that lovely detail you just created.  

A whitewash on the brick could work if the wash allowed the brick to show through enough to offer some contrast.  This is popular in the South - and I wish we had more brick here in Southern California just so I could do this - but alas, we dwell in stucco land...

As you can see on this partially whitewashed brick house, it mutes the common red brick and softens the look.  

Hard to find an example with your exact portico, but use your imagination a little and you will get the gist of it.

As for paint - I think that a medium beige/gray would keep the stately feel and allow the porch to shine.  
Similar to these colors...
While these examples are not Greek Revival, they do show the white against the gray and beige tones.

There doesn't have to be a lot of contrast, but enough to be noticed.
Not necessarily recommending Yellow, but I love how the architectural elements pop against the house when they are entirely different colors... just not '90's colors....

You mentioned trying to match the vinyl or aluminum siding.  
There is paint specifically designed for siding, so I wouldn't worry too much about trying to tie in to that color.  
If it is white, the portico may be enough to tie it together, as in the photo below...  

If it is a more unfortunate color, both Sherwin Williams and Benjamin Moore paints have a  product specifically for painting aluminum and vinyl siding.   I'm sure it comes in a wide variety of wonderful colors!   

Good luck!  So happy you enjoy decorating and reading the blog!


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