California designer Shiree Hanson Segerstrom's weekly tips for decorating, gardening, and stylish living

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Styling the Patio: Tips and Inspiration for Cultivating Outdoor Spaces


Spring is my favorite time of the year. I love getting outside and working in the yard. I love maintaining the fountains, pruning and feeding the potted plants, hand watering, and just sitting on the back patio with my dog and an iced tea, looking up into the terraced garden.

JOY OF NESTING BLOG above shiree hanson segerstrom

One of the new trends in home décor is happening outside, on the patio. Patio furniture has a tendency to look quite generic. Mixing in mismatched, weather resistant elements such as ceramic garden stools, outdoor fabrics and a few well chosen accessories will customize your patio and keep it from looking like an impersonal store display.

Summer is the time to linger, dine and entertain outdoors. Here are some tips to make your outdoor living spaces comfortable, practical and inviting.




I’ve noticed good selections of outdoor furniture and accessories in many home and garden stores, discount stores, catalogs and online sources.

Choose items that are both attractive and useful such as over sized lanterns, candlesticks, potted topiary, big comfy pillows in weather resistant fabrics, and even subtle wall décor. By furnishing your patio with things that have a purpose you’ll keep it from looking pretentious or overdone. Adding even one piece of interest like a fashionable teak daybed with lots of pillows makes a big style statement.
above via DANNY SEO
I found my own patio hard to plan. It has half light shade and half deep shade making plant choice difficult. There is a central beam right in the middle of it which I surrounded with big potted ferns, myrtle and star jasmine. Though it takes up a bit of space, I love its romantic, Mediterranean effect.
With a combination of iron, wood, wicker, and aluminum it’s a space that works well for two or twelve. We eat outside most summer mornings, especially on the weekends and we often entertain outdoors. Because a portion of my patio is covered I can get away with feather cushions and pillows with indoor fabrics.


JOY OF NESTING BLOG above shiree hanson segerstrom
There is a Moroccan inspired lantern over a black metal daybed. At a local discount store, I found Ralph Lauren feather pillows in bright orange cotton and dark brown awning stripes. The wicker settee has matching orange rectangular pillows and purple pillows in embroidered, Suzani inspired fabric. The aluminum table and chairs are not beautiful to look at but are lightweight and practical in small spaces like this one. The table looks quite charming with a collection of potted topiary in varying heights and sizes. The chairs are exposed to the elements so the pillows are in weather resistant, blue awning stripe fabric.
To tie the space together and make it more garden like, I purchased three 6 foot tall, rusted iron grates from which I’ve hung more plants. There is a wall fountain and a collection of large pots with tall double ball ivy topiary. There is myrtle, asparagus ferns, and my darling, “must-have” boxwoods. On the tables and on the ground dotted around the seating areas are a five foot tall iron candelabra, several black bamboo/glass lanterns, and a favorite statue.



JOY OF NESTING BLOG above shiree hanson segerstrom
Last summer I hired one of the younger Segerstrom cousins to clear all the furniture and plants out so I could paint the patio. I love paints by Kelly-Moore, Benjamin Moore and Pratt and Lambert and used Kelly-Moore’s Timberbox Red which is really a russet colored paint the color of my tile roof. I painted the patio myself with a broom handle and a roller brush and Erik moved everything back for me when it dried.

It’s a place I love to be nine months of the year. I listen to music here, practice Yoga and read. It’s a place I entertain sometimes but it’s really my private oasis, made quiet from the mature trees surrounding the lot.



Shiree’s Style File

Instead of matching all your outdoor furniture, mix materials such as iron and wood for an artsy, eclectic “look”.
Limit accessories to “purposeful” items like candelabras, potted plants, lanterns, and throw pillows.
For continuity, use cushions and pillows in coordinating colors.
Choose quality pots for the patio and front door areas. I especially like pottery in turquoise, cobalt, celadon, and dark brownish-red. Mix in iron urns for visual interest and variety.
Vintage pieces like wall candelabra (such as scrolled metal pieces from the sixties) or wood shutters make subtle wall art.
Have at least one statement piece, like a beautiful daybed, a pair big iron urns with privet, or a vintage wire plant stand.
If your patio is exposed, use year round treated wicker, teak or aluminum furniture and weather resistant accessories like outdoor pillows and iron candlesticks.
Understand that outdoor furnishings require more frequent upkeep and replacing.

JOY OF NESTING BLOG above shiree hanson segerstrom




Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter to All My Peeps


Easter is my favorite holiday. I love the symbolism of rebirth. I love the message of forgiveness. I love any excuse to get together with my family, although this year we weren't be able to be together.

Here's hopping, 'er hoping your Easter is a basketful of joy, love and lots and lots of Easter eggs. Preferably chocolate.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Shiree's Summer Design Book Picks


Collecting design books has been a passion of mine for close to thirty years. And I've saved them all. The pages of these books are well worn and many of the images emblazoned in my memory. I can look back and see exactly why I loved a space and what made it a stand out.

Many of the rooms still look good to my eye, and the reason is they were timeless designs to begin with. Timeless to me means evolved. Personal. Slightly off. And most importantly, an evolution, a mix of eras.

Here is a look at a few current design books that look intriguing. They are available on Amazon.

Decorating Fearlessly by Susanna Salk has over 150 pages of beautifully photographed designers' homes. The book looks at a variety of design principles such as color, pattern, and mixing and matching while encouraging the reader to take chances with their own homes. Salk also provides tips and philosophies from the designers themselves.


This book is the ultimate guide to living and entertaining with fine linens. As the founding owner of fine linens company Leontine Linens, Jane has spent the past two decades studying, collecting, and innovating the lifetime enjoyment of fine linens. In an engaging Southern way, she introduces us to the art of beautifully made linens and shows how easy it is to use them to personalize your home and change looks and moods without redecorating.

Throughout, the book also offers liberal doses of the author's expert advice and savvy insight on use and care, as well as contributions from leading decorators and home stylists. Beautifully photographed linen-filled rooms detail applique, embroidery, and monograms-and their myriad weaves and colors.


In his first book, talented and prolific designer Jay Jeffers displays the sophisticated yet playful spirit of his work. Jay is known for his fearless and inventive use of art and eclectic furnishings including antique, vintage, and modern styles. An inspiring, organized and witty book filled with details on Jay's design process, use of color, furniture, and accessories.


When it comes to interiors style, antiques, and Southern vernacular architecture, Furlow Gatewood is a one-of-a-kind classic. This book features his highly personal property in bucolic Americus, Georgia, where he has meticulously restored his family's carriage house and added intimate dwellings and outbuildings, several rescued from demolition. To accompany the book's atmospheric images, close friend Bunny Williams writes about the lessons she has learned from him. I am looking forward to exploring Gatewood's intriguing and hospitable residence via this new book by Julia Reed.

George Stacey and the Creation of American Chic by Maureen Footer

From the 30's to the the late 60's, Mr. Stacey created colorful, sophisticated interiors that embraced French design in a classic yet slightly irreverent way. A must-have book for design aficionado's.


Interior designer Jacques Garcia obtained Chateau du Champ de Bataille twenty years ago in a state of virtual ruin and lovingly restored it to its former splendor.

The chateau is filled with 17th and 18th century architecture and antiques, priceless collections of paintings, books, sculptures, porcelain, and silver. An inspiring book for anyone interested in interior decoration, French art and restoration.


Axel Vervoordt was in his teens when he began his amazingly successful career in antiques. In addition to his interior design work he is renowned for exhibitions at various major antique fairs, including the New York Design Fair and TEFAF Maastricht. He combines antiques from many countries and uses little color or pattern yet his homes are incredibly rich in texture, scale, history and shadowed nuance.

This book features over twenty homes in Europe and the United States designed by Vervoordt and photographed by Christian Sarramon. From the rustic charm of a Swiss chalet to the classic style of a Bordeaux château to the modern appeal of a Miami mansion, Vervoordt’s creations are always in sync each space and it's inhabitants.


Featuring the homes of creative types from musicians, writers and producers to stylists, designers, and tastemakers. Featured styles include themes such as bohemian modern beach chic. Each space artfully reflects how to live well among one's passions and personal histories.

Homes from Italy, Los Angeles, New York, Copenhagen, and beyond leave the reader thoroughly inspired to live with what they love-- creatively. Beautifully photographed, it is a must-have for those who love artful, sophisticated living.

For a peek at inspiringly "bookish" spaces click on Living With Books on Pinterest.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Bonny Blue Decor: High End Textiles Enhance an Architectural Relic

One Saturday morning I received a phone call from a woman who had just read an article about me in the Sacramento Bee. She said she found the article intriguing because it talked about how I enjoy working my projects around some or most of my clients' existing furniture, particularly antiques. That initial thirty minute conversation led to a mutually satisfying, four month project.


SERENA and LILY, above

Her house has the "good bones" you often hear about when discussing quality architecture.  It is a 1940’s home built on a beautiful, tree lined street of old William Land Park.  The client had all the furniture, antiques, artwork and mementos generally collected over a lifetime.  Remodeling had taken place in recent years.  Everything was as it should be except for one thing: the fabrics. 

What she wanted was to recover all the seating in the home as well as have made new, custom window treatments to replace the store bought curtains with which she’d been "making do". She also wanted to do custom bedding, upholstery and window coverings for the master bedroom.


Custom fabric treatments like these are a passion of mine. I usually lean towards understated designs that visually pull together the client's architecture and furnishings. I love mixing antiques and vintage furniture with new fabrics because I find homes age and evolve well with a mix of eras.


The client's preferred color is that warm blue that verges on periwinkle. The color is a natural in bedrooms but is problematic when used in public spaces like the living and dining rooms. The challenge was to keep fabric colors in the common areas from being too "sweet".




All her furniture is of excellent quality and merited re-upholstering. We covered  the sofa in a textured Pindler and Pindler blue linen blend and dressed it up with throw pillows in GP and J Baker’s classic, Bird of the Nile floral. We had the legs changed to gain some needed seat height. A diminutive arm chair was covered in a sunny yellow, graphic, Robert Allen print and I designed a small, matching tufted ottoman which the client likes to refer to as a "tuffet". A roomy club chair and matching ottoman were done in a Stroheim and Romann blue quilted fabric with a small yellow dot.  Custom draperies were made from a crisp, tone on tone blue stripe fabric mounted on custom painted wood traverse rods that matches the other wood work in the room and perfectly flatters the room’s architecture.


via HOUSE and GARDEN above

Though the other rooms were also done in warm blues, they have their own distinct style. A little den off the dining room is where the husband watches television and does light office work. We recovered the sofa and matching chair in a textured Kravet upholstery chenille in a warm, powdery blue. Down filled, eighteen inch throw pillows were done in a Kravet, periwinkle blue, graphic print fabric.

via VANITY FAIR Simon Watson above

In the dining room, next to a beautiful, Hepplewhite mahogany dining set and sideboard we hung draperies in blue tone on tone stripe to match the living room. This provided a nice continuity from room to room. The brass chandelier hanging over the dining room table was an old reproduction from the client's trip to Historic Williamsburg. They speak fondly of carrying it home on board the plane.


The master bedroom is a light filled room overlooking a quiet, shady street. On the windows we did floor length stationery drapery panels in a Fabricut Collier Campbell, periwinkle blue linen print mounted over privacy sheers. I couldn't convince them to have room darkening window coverings of any kind. A mistake in my book but in the end, we must do what the client wants.

We recovered an adorable little arm chair that was the client's grandmother's in an off white quilted, Collier Campbell fabric with striking, contrasting blue welts. We were able to use the existing, pale yellow, quilted fabric headboard and I found a quilted fabric for the bed skirt that coordinated with it beautifully. The duvet, pillow shams and throw pillows were done in the same fabrics as the bed skirt and curtains.


I do my very best to work within the client’s tastes because if you take it too far from their own comfort zones, the project invariably becomes the designer’s and not the homeowner’s. The homeowner is much happier if their opinions are taken into consideration. It takes more effort to work this way because you have to do a lot of “tweaking” to get it to look right but it’s worth it in the long run because it means the client is really happy with the end result. Ignore their input, and it will often backfire.

There are many things that determine the direction of a design project: the architecture, the existing furniture you’ll be working with, the location/geography, the budget, the client’s personal aesthetic and their lifestyle. Whether I’m a fan of blue and yellow or not (I actually appreciate all colors), it’s helpful to realize that each homeowner has different frames of reference and unique ways of seeing color and style.



Shiree’s Style Sheet

When using “sweet” colors such as blue, lavender, pink or pastel yellow, offset them with masculine elements like dark stained or rustic woods.

Having the same color scheme running throughout a home is hard to “pull off”. Try alternating one color per room. In other words, instead of blue and yellow in every room, do a room in blue and green, and another in blue and dark red.

Upholstery fabrics are heavier than window covering and bedding fabrics. Make sure your upholstery fabrics are double rub tested for longevity and your window covering fabrics are lightweight enough to use on a traverse rod. Throw pillows and valances can usually be done in either type fabric as long as the welts are of lightweight material.

Never wash custom bedding, slipcovers, draperies or pillows. Dry clean only!


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