Monday, October 11, 2010

Creating Fall in the Home

Fall is the only time of year we welcome all the warm colors of rust, reds, yellows, oranges, browns, blacks and creams into our homes without reservations. What inspires us to do so? In many parts of the country Fall comes naturally by way of Nature. In Southern California we need to create our seasons by bringing these colors into our Homes and gardens.

For me... It begins with hunting for Pumpkins out in the fields and bringing them back to the shop. But it isn't until the arrival of Bittersweet that really gets me in the hunting and gathering mood.

First I roam through the nurseries, the Flower market naturally, and then start in at home looking for different elements to inspire Fall decorating. Pottery, pots, garden tools, baskets, containers, linens and some treasured collections.

This Fall I seem to be drawn to whites and blacks and just a few accents of color. There's always a gardening theme in my home as well.

First I strip down the areas I want to focus on redecorating and then I begin adding in . White pumpkins are a must along with white pottery. I found this old quilt from India and hung it for pop of color

For the dining room table I filled a Vintage French soup tureen with rusty red mums. More white pumpkins , white candlesticks and candles with a gardening motif.

I have a collection of white Ironstone in a small European hutch. I added a few pieces of Brown Transferware to give a Fall feel.Tiny mums in a bowl and hand carved giant acorns in another add unique touch.

In the bay window I went really tall! There's always something I can't resist like this beautiful orchid in the same colors as my quilt. Flanked by white pumpkins on vintage pedestals, with a violet under glass and terra cotta pots filled with color!

Ahhh... then there's Bittersweet. Every year it gets it's debut on the piano in this creamy urn with my beautiful carved birds!

Moving to the Fireplace I was inspired by this Garden Trophy artwork. On the left side I filled my little French wheel barrow with a collection of hand carved pumpkins. On the right side some collected garden elements . A vintage watering can, a French wire gathering basket, a mossy cloche brought in from the garden, a topiary for height, and a few more pumpkins.

Black and white Bridgewater Pottery is a favorite of mine! So are these delicious pumpkin chocolate chip muffins I've been Baking every Fall for 25 years. Yes, I'll share the recipe too!

So many think of Ranunculus as a spring flower, however they really begin blooming in the Fall. Love them!

Even the guest powder room gets a mini makeover. Yummy French Orange Ginger soaps , new hand towels , fresh flowers, violets and ivy, and more little hand carved pumpkins too!

The Front porch definitely needs some attention. Even though Fall is a transition time for planting... mums, begonias, greenery and pumpkins will keep me happy til Winter! A fresh Rosehips wreath will dry beautifully on the front door.

A witches work is never done... or is it...There's no rest for the wicked!

Don't for get the Treats! Happy Halloween!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

From the Ground up!

Going to Atlanta to hunt for all things great for the new shop was the easy part. Coming back to reality and realizing the goal was to open in just a few weeks was going to prove just a little more challenging! August 1st. we were happy to announce "We've got the keys to 1367 foothill blvd in La Canada." This was just a few doors up from the previous shop.

After taking a look around a few things were very clear. This was a much smaller location than the last shop. This was just fine. I felt I needed a much more manageable space. It has big front windows filling the location with sunshine. Lastly we would need to take down the mirrored monster and paint the entire shop walls and the floors as well. I needed a blank canvas to start!

My inspiration for the shop colors were a beautiful remnant of European Grainsack fabric. This was the look and feel I was so attracted to over and over again in Atlanta. Not to mention I love to collect old textiles. The colors I chose were Greek Villa for the walls and Sealskin for the floors.

Doing all the work ourselves, my husband Brian gets the Husband of the Year award for tackling this project. It took nearly a week from start to finish. Meanwhile I was painting, painting and more painting! Brian really pitched in when I came down with a nasty summer bug and my arms were ready to give out.

The result I was looking for was perfect. Crisp clean walls and the floors the color of 85% dark Valrhona Chocolate. Oh Yum!

It's time to start moving in. First I need to make the outside look like somthing belonged here. And... I hadn't gardened in over 2 weeks. Now I had a different Bug, The Gardening Bug!

With an over abundance of Terra Cotta pots at home into the moving truck they went. All filled with white roses of different varieties, I spruced them up with some summer annuals and herbs that could take the summer heat. Little did we know over 100' temps were on their way! Too many Pots in front of the shop? Who cares, I love it!

Aside from a few favorite Pine cupboards saved from the previous shop all my collecting has finally paid off. My love of garden furniture will now all be put to good use in the new shop. I'll also mix in the new furniture pieces from the Atlanta show that will be for sale. Brian's definitely been working to much. Silly Guy!

With 1 week to go before we open the UPS man is nowhere in site. I just keep waiting, very impatiently I might add. It's one thing to order the goods, but another alltogether to actually receive them in a timely manner. What's the one word a merchant never wants to hear"BACKORDER" Oh goody here he comes! It's going to take quite a bit more than one dolly full to fill up the shop!

Down to two days to go until the shop opens. My Topiary order arrived and I've been the mad potter! Still waiting for more merchandise to arrive. Nothing like waiting until the last minute!

The day before the shop's to open so much more arrived. I think it's the chair I've been waiting for don't you? Along with the tables and lamps and some other wonderful items tomorrow will be a good day. It's off to the flower market at 3am to put the finishing touches on the shop. What would my shop be with out a beautiful fresh arrangement of flowers to greet you on opening day!

Julie O'Keefe Home and Garden opened on Wednesday August 18th. All I have to say is" Good Thing Come in Small Packages" and" It feels Like Home to Me".

To view a current slide show of the new shop go to

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Once a Shop Girl... Always a Shop Girl!

This year has not only been a year of rejuvenation for my garden, but for me as well. While working from home was a wonderful experience I found I missed being a shop girl. An extraordinary opportunity presented itself to begin a new shop. So off to Atlanta I went looking for wonderful new finds for Julie O'Keefe Home and Garden!

The Atlanta Gift Show is wonderful a source of accessories for the home, garden, gifts and best of all... inspiration! I just love these Terra Cotta Pot light fixtures. I must create one of these for the new shop.

There is a Vintage Area where it's hard to resist all the great Antiques. I wish those French bakery tins would fit in my suitcase. Makes a great statement on a wall for a kitchen. Industrial salvage is a big influence this show. The wheels in my head are turning!

Jewelry is a huge weakness of mine. Who wouldn't love all these stands of pearls around their neck. This new line of Pure Sanctuary jewelry will be in the new shop for sure.

Focus Julie! Back to what I really came here for. This new garden line is a must. Look at these vases hanging from a wire display. I can envision these at a party where all the guest could take one home. Those would be so fun in the new shop too.

In another favorite showroom, this fabulous stencil would make a very graphic statement. The poem is so charming. Maybe I will actually use the stencil with paint for an inviting entry to a home.

There's even a Band of hysterically funny costumed musicians playing through the floors in one of the buildings. You can't help but laugh out loud. This keeps a smile on my face the rest of the day.

Atlanta is always full of surprises! My room mate coaxed me into something new. A night out for Sushi and Cosmos. This was just what the girls needed after a 10 hour day of hunting and gathering for our shops.

Atlanta is always a worthwhile trip, but there's no place like home! I can't wait to get started. Bring it on UPS!

Monday, June 21, 2010

A June Wedding

It all began with a pair of purple pumps as the inspiration for these beautiful wedding flowers. Ranging in hues from lavender to purple, with delicious creams and bright greens.

At the first meeting to discuss flowers I was given samples of colors in the form of paint chips which I think was a very clever idea. When it came time to select flowers it made my job so much easier. The bride also had fabric samples and a few pictures of bouquets and flowers she liked. The rest was up to me!

After much planning and ordering, market day finally arrived. Starting out at 3am, bright eyed and bushy tailed, I reached downtown hoping all my wishes would come true. I so desperately wanted very special flowers for this occasion. I was stunned, every flower in every color was there. Wrap them up! So far so good.

Home at 6am. With help, all the flowers were prepped and resting in buckets of fresh water by noon. First up... 8 bridesmaids bouquets, corsages, and boutonnieres.

I can't wait to see these bouquets with the girls dresses. Love it!

On to the brides bouquets. I've decided to make two different ones for the bride to choose from. Both beautiful, one to keep and one to throw!

I wonder which one the bride will choose?

All the personal flowers are to be delivered tonight. A hard days work and a good nights rest. Tomorrow, 0ver 40 arrangements to be designed and off to the reception by 2pm. Yikes!

Off we go, and on schedule too!

Here at the reception in this beautiful setting there were 30 tables with exquisite champagne colored silk tablecloths. A tent complete with swags of sheer fabric on the ceiling and crystal chandeliers for ambiance.

Arrangements were placed on the tables, in the home and reception area. A private collection of mercury glass and wire vases were used. This always creates a more intimate feel. Here are just a few.

The finishing touch were these flower sacks I designed especially for the wedding. Each one with a pocket to hold a photo of the bride and groom. Each flower sack was filled with fragrant purple sweet peas, hanging from one chair at each table to welcome their guests.
I wonder who will get to take them home?

And they'll live happily ever after!