Oct 14, 2017



I have posted my ideas below for your garden areas you want to spruce up.   There is only one area where I would use the drip system - the back area where you said you didn't want spray on the wall.   But you could actually put it anywhere - its just a little labor intensive and more expensive in materials.  


I keep seeing white landscape roses with rounded boxwood here, and some pops of purple.
Here are some examples of the landscape roses - they grow horizontally as opposed to vertically, and stay low and shrub-like.  They don't need to be tended like the regular rose varieties.

The boxwoods I'm thinking of have a natural rounded shape (we know you like that shape) and are called globe, I think.   They look like this without a lot of trimming.  Probably just a little here and there to keep them tidy.

I have two in pots in my back yard that I have completely neglected and they are still rounded.
There are a lot of purple flowering plants to choose from - a perennial is best here that will continue year after year without having to replant.


I think this is the perfect spot for a dramatic plant.   You mentioned you liked bougainvillea, but my choice would be wisteria.

Wisteria needs to be kept trimmed as it grows rapidly, but your gardener should be able to stay on top of that pretty easy.   As the vine is kept trimmed, the trunk thickens and becomes stronger and he will need to guide the branches against the wall into a nice tree shape.  Mission in SJC had one that was very very old - they live a long long time.  The flowers are amazing and fragrant and come in white, pink and purple.

Another idea for this area is an espalier fruit tree.  This takes a little work to shape the tree while its young and then to keep it trimmed in its shape, but it is beautiful and works with most fruit trees, keeping the fruit within easy reach and larger.   I think we could make it work if we removed all the clay soil in the planting area and replaced it and then treated it with gypsum to break up the clay soil further.  I would recommend an evergreen fruit tree as opposed to one that would lose its leaves.

I would plant a small hedge (boxwood) at the base on the perimeter of the planter and landscape roses inside to carry on the same look from the walkway.


I think we decided this got morning sun and then shade?  We may be able to do hydrangeas here, or camelias, which are evergreen, or a combination of both.  A drip system to water them will keep the water off of the wall.

Camelias come in whites, pinks, reds

and many different forms


Here I see a hedge with a fountain in the center, and low color plants at the base of the hedge.  We would have to find a way to get electrical to that area - shouldn't be hard - so that the pump can run.
There are some solar fountains, but I'm not sure how well they circulate the water.
picture a fountain in the middle of these instead of the urns or statuary


I would fill this in with butterfly bush, another evergreen flowering shrub, or hibiscus.

hibiscus you are familiar with.
Here are some other choices
butterfly bush

ceanothus (california lilac)
 comes in blues, lavender, purple, white

and pink




strawberry tree (hummingbirds and butterflies love it)


Its always good to have a plan, right?   You may not be ready to do this right now, but if you have a plan you are able to move forward when the time comes.  Or even attack it in stages.

If you were to do grass there, as a pathway, I would meander it a little like this.

with background shrubs in the borders (many of the ones listed above will work)

and a gate - lots to choose from since you have both wrought iron and stucco and white railing.

so, see through wrought iron...

more private (stucco instead of brick to match wall)

white and charming

just to get your ideas flowing.

I don't know costs.  Matine is $20/hr and a hard worker, but I don't know plant costs - they vary depending on size.  He may have a better idea.

Let me know what you think about the rest.  I have a call in to Matine - would you want him to do all of the planting, or just the drip system area?

Oct 3, 2017


Hi Kris,
I have the next step for you.  I decided to have you select the blue that you want in the room.  Don't worry about it too much, just grab what appeals to you!  It will steer me in the right direction color wise.  As you can see there are a lot of choices.

So I also just checked into getting a vinyl top for my desk, so the color is changeable. They have a bunch of solid colors and a lot of printed patterns, but they don't do custom designs yet.
Oh, and one more thing... I noticed on one of the pictures you had included that the shelves had been painted or papered on the inside backing. Maybe we could do that, if it works? Good idea.

Here are the colors available for the desktop. It would only be available for the big part of the desk unless I purchased another one and cut it down for the shelf that the monitor sits on.
If we were to change this, I would go with the polar white, to tie in with the bookshelves and sewing table.

1. For the wall color pop, a gray blue.

I have examples of gray blues below.  Look them over and select 3-4 to try as samples in your office.  When you get a sample - paint it (two coats) on poster board with a white border around it.  Then you can take it into your office and tape it to different walls, side by side, and see it throughout the day.  If NONE of these appeal to you, let me know which way we need to go.   

The reason this step is necessary is that paint is effected by light, room size, ceiling height and direction - to name a few things.  You need to see the colors in your room to determine if it is right for you.

Choose what you like, and we will determine if it is right for the wall color, or the accent pop of color wall.  We can always go lighter or darker.
Benjamin Moore BREWSTER GRAY

Benjamin Moore NIMBUS GRAY


Benjamin Moore SILVER GRAY

Benjamin Moore SLATE BLUE


Benjamin Moore WEDGWOOD GRAY

Benjamin Moore BOOTHBAY GRAY

Benjamin Moore SOLITUDE

Sherwin Williams GRIS

Benjamin Moore MOUNT ST. ANNE

Sherwin Williams SLEEPY BLUE

Benjamin Moore GLASS SLIPPER

2. No work table. OK
3. Photo collage would be art, maybe some needlework, too? OK
4. For chair mat painting, maybe sand and stain instead? Do a spray laquer finish? I'm attaching a picture of what I envisioned to start with. :)  I think what you have is neutral enough, especially since I would like to see an area rug in this room.
 Inline image 5

5. What I love... Hmmm.  I love reading, camping, sewing, animals ( I have chickens) /farming/ gardening, walking, autumn, my family, kids, rain, cooking, computers, the gospel, wrapping up in a cozy blanket with a fire going, chocolate chip cookies, mountains/forest. Haven't traveled much, but we go to a family cabin a few times a year. I play piano and it's a big part of my life. I like quiet and peace. Does that help? Let me know if you need more... :)  I think these serene blues will speak to you.  


If you want to see these on the computer, you have to create a desk, I think. Here is the link for the page I took the photos from:

Inline image 4Inline image 2Inline image 3Inline image 1

Hi Kris, here is what you told me, and my comments are in BLUE.

I'm attaching some palettes that appealed to me when I was looking online. I like the beachy one and the one below it the best.
Inline image 2
Inline image 4Inline image 5Inline image 3Inline image 1

1. Yes, I would consider changing the wall color; I think it still needs to be kind of subtle. I also like gray. I like red in deeper shades, orange, blue, green, gray. I don't like pink, yellow, bright colors (depending), probably not mauve or purple. Unless maybe a dark purple. I think I like contrast, but maybe not so much as the bright blue picture you sent. More contrast than the 3rd picture (the sage green). I like the idea of painting one wall a deeper version.
It looks like blues make you happy.  I can relate, that's my favorite as well.  I like the idea of a neutral room with a feature wall and pops of color in the blues.  If you had to choose a blue for that feature wall, which one would you like best?  Dark blue, a turquoise, an aqua, a gray blue.... pick one!

2. I think we could paint the quilt ladder.  
Great.  I would paint it the same color as the shelving units so that it blends more and doesn't compete with any quilts that you may have on it.

3. Functions: I am in school to get a Bachelor's in computer programming, so the desk and chair are new and need to stay (I had to get a desk that has adjustable height because I was getting tennis elbow from mousing!). That is the primary use of the room. OK, that helps me.
I do have that closet that is full of some sewing stuff and some genealogy stuff and some scrapbooking stuff... :) So I don't think I need any more storage. OK.  I use the window seat to read and it's pretty comfortable. I wouldn't mind having another small chair in here. Currently when my kids come in, they sit in the other office chair and they can roll over to my desk and see what's going on. So yes, a retreat as well. Also, when my parents stay with us (about 3 times a year) they bring their air mattress and use this for their bedroom, so I don't think putting a cutting table in the middle will work for me. 
Would a work table on wheels that you can quickly roll out of the way work, or would you rather not have one at all?

4. I was thinking a photo collage on the wall above the sewing machine. I have a black vinyl lettering thing I bought that says something like "Do what you love" in cute letters. I was thinking to put that up somewhere, maybe in the collage, maybe over the closet doors, maybe over the window seat?  Great idea.  Would the photo collage be family pictures or art?

5. Furniture I'd like to have stay: desk, desk chair (can change), chair mat (can change - what did you think of the painting idea?), (don't know how durable that would be) white sewing table (this expands in the back so I have a bigger cutting table when I pull it out to sew). I am open to suggestion about the white bookcases, but I just got them last Christmas from Ikea. I would definitely keep them.The black massage table I can put somewhere else, and the standing lamp isn't necessary. Can probably put the cutting mats in the closet. Ok, that helps so much.
6. I like the idea of color in window seat pillows and valance. I would be comfortable making pillow covers. I have never done a valance, but I'm willing if you help me get some directions.  They are pretty simple.  I can probably whip up a tutorial for you.
7. I'm more about function. I hate dusting. I like cozy and welcoming, probably not overly feminine (frou-frou). I don't know if I like cool or warm. Color is hard for me. :) I think the colors I'm sending you are somewhat cool-ish? I'm a little tired of the yellow-y look.  You are definitely living in the COOL zone.  Lol!  

Thanks!!! So excited to get started. These before pictures look even worse when I see the ones you sent. :)
So, if you can answer these questions quickly, I will have all the information I need (I think) to put a little plan together.  I like the feeling of clean and uncluttered, but cozy.  I like the idea of softening the black of the desk with an alternate top, too.  I want to bring in some definite color.  You wanted to make this room all about you and what you love - so you need to tell me a little about what it is you love, what makes you happy, what your ideal space would feel like.  Don't worry about color, just tell me about yourself a little, your kids, family, favorite vacations, etc.  Then lets make your room reflect all those things about you.

Hi Kris,
It's so fun to see your space.  You have some great architectural elements in here.  I do have some questions to help me get a feel for your personal style, since you mentioned your husband has made most of the choices in your living areas but that you wanted this to reflect you and what you really love.  What colors do you love?  I see Navy Blue in here, but the rest is pretty neutral, so I'm not getting a feel for what you love as far as colors.
Lets start with the wall color.  You have a nice neutral color currently.  
Is the wall color something you would consider changing?

The quilt ladder - would it be possible to paint it, or does it need to stay in the wood tone?

 What functions do you want in this room?  I see you use it for computer access, and sewing/quilting.  Do you also want storage (or do you have a big closet there?) shelving? comfortable seating for knitting or reading?  Is this a room you want to use as your retreat?  
Quilt on this wall?  Or photo collage?

The furniture I see in these pictures - does it stay or could it be replaced? 

Here is a little inspiration - I will tell you under each picture why I chose these for you to see.

 This is my favorite because it is a room I would love to go to and spend time in.  It looks comfortable and full of personality. Although the walls are neutral, we have fabrics and rugs and window valances and bright pops of color.  I like the idea of the computer tucked between the two bookcases at the back, and then in front of that a table to use for cutting fabric and crafting.  I like some kind of lighting overhead, and a chair or two for comfortable seating.   Please tell me if any of this appeals to you.

These are pretty bright colors, and you may not like this intense of a palette, but I do like the idea of a color on the wall where you would like to have your white frames and photo collage.  Think about what color you like enough to have a deeper version on a wall.

that color could be something more subtle, like this.

 We could also use a little color in a window valance and window seat pillows.  I know you quilt - are you comfortable creating pillow covers and valances?
I chose this example just to throw some pretty color your way.

 Your turn.  Let me know what you like and what you don't like.  You won't hurt my feelings, so be frank.  Do you want a functional look or a feminine look.  Stark or cozy?  Cool or warm colors.

Thanks for having patience while I was fighting the flu.  I hate that it always comes at the busy time of the year!  You can post in comments below or email or text me.

Best wishes.