Warm-weather days have arrived, and the move back to outdoor living returns.
Living feels lighter and easier in the summertime; laid-back entertaining and al fresco meals are a welcome respite. Setting up for company takes little else than rounding up the deck chairs and shaking out a checkered tablecloth.
I do enjoy checking out home stores to see what's fresh and new for the picnic table in seasonal decor. Rolf Glass is a cut glass studio that creates crystal and glassware with original distinctive images to suit any whim or party theme. Dozens of designs, from palm trees and dragonflies to rodeo horses and Tuscan olive branches, are artistically etched into their glassware.
This year they wanted to create a product that would make a difference and help spread environmental awareness. They turned to recycling for inspiration - wine bottles, to be specific.
Using diamond-wheel technology, they produced a unique design that completely alters the look and feel of the wine bottle. The design, combined with the blue tint of the glass, is reminiscent of majestic glaciers, and thus the name of the collection - Glacier Glass. Source through Rolf Glass, or go online to classichostess.com and click on "bar glasses."
Dear Debbie: Our 1950s-style bungalow is beige and has a light-colored brick on part of the front around a large window. There is a deck with no overhang or rail that runs half the length of the house. The door is white. Should we paint the brick and house all one color? - Judy
Dear Judy: To get a good indication of how different colors will look on the exterior of your home, do some research online, in design books and even around your neighborhood. Paint is the most economical way of changing the appearance of your home, and there are some helpful tips.
Use colors a few shades lighter or darker than the brick for a subtle contrast. (I wouldn't paint the brick; it sounds like a nice feature.) Keep to a neutral palette, but that doesn't mean strictly beige. Nature's greens and grays in light tones work well and will connect with the brick. Make the door and porch a welcome feature with a fresh white or pale yellow. Choose a slight contrast for the trim around your windows.
Dear Debbie: I am updating a tired, old bathroom in our 100-year-old home. The lower walls and bath surround are covered in cedar planks. The upper walls are wallpapered. I thought of painting the cedar dove gray and putting white and gray striped wallpaper above. However, the rest of the house is in autumnal tones. Do I have to stick with those colors? - Sheryl
Dear Sheryl: Painting all the cedar will have a big impact on your bathroom, and you have chosen a color palette that will brighten and enhance the space. Be sure to prepare the wood for paint with a high-adhesion primer to stop any color from the cedar bleeding through. A soft warm gray is in keeping with a century home and will look fresh, not out of place, against the autumn colors elsewhere.
Making a change in one room doesn't necessarily dictate that everything must follow. A new set of bed linens or a duvet, a sofa in a different shade or a contrasting carpet will give your home a shot of energy.
House to Home is produced by Debbie Travis and Barbara Dingle. Email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.