Mar 27

Hot Desert Colors

Posted In Decorating, Redesign, Styling, Travel, Uncategorized

I’m back to “partly cloudy,” after almost a week in the warmth and sunshine of beautiful Scottsdale, Arizona. This gorgeous spot always gets to me… especially this time of the year when the city fills up with baseball loving, sun seeking foodies.  It feels like the best place on earth.  Yeah, we did work a little, but we ate more, watched some fun games (go Cubs!), and even fit in a few workouts, notably a climb up Camelback Mountain.

Have you seen Camelback… rising from the desert floor, looking much like it’s namesake?

It’s not an easy hike, even though it starts off looking harmless…

But it quickly becomes a straight up scramble, so steep that several sections have been outfitted with railings to help you pull yourself up the rocks.

We finished in a little over 1 1/2 hours… the 360 degree view is spectacular… and were busy congratulating ourselves when 2 studly looking men ran past. One, aged 72, was heading up the mountain a 2nd time and the other, 75, was starting his 3rd trip.  Oh. Wow. OK… I’m a wimp.

Well, we still deserved a celebration of sorts… a big breakfast treat… so decided to check out the restaurant at the new Saguaro Hotel… another MUST for Scottsdale visitors.

The Saguaro, a Joie de Vivre Hotel: Front Entrance signage, can not miss it

Recently purchased by Joie de Vivre Hotels and completely remodeled, this BRIGHT spot opened in January of this year.  No muted terracottas or earth tones here! Most surfaces are painted the colors of Arizona wildflowers… hot pinks, oranges, yellows, reds, lime greens, purples… and lots more.  You can’t help but feel happy and ready for a good time when you walk in!

Image of The Saguaro, a Joie de Vivre Boutique Hotel, Scottsdale

LOVE these lights!  Did you know you can make them?  Here are directions from

Only the bar is somewhat muted, paneled in weathered barnwood, while still sporting a few brightly painted niches.

The orange tips on the barstools really got me. Such a simple feature makes a BIG impact.


Nice display idea.

Check out the purple carpet in the rooms and hallways.

The Saguaro, a Joie de Vivre Hotel: The Saguaro - Guestroom

HAPPY happy colors!  Hmm…. am now rethinking the desert house.  I’ve always loved warm earth tones, and lots of wood, rock, metal and other materials found in nature.  But maybe these bright hot colors would be even better for a weekend place….  You can’t help but smile and relax when surrounded by this.  What do you think??

tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

No Comments »

Feb 24

Reclaimed. Recycled. Repurposed.

Posted In Art, Budget, Green Design, Old to New, Recycle/Reuse, Styling, Uncategorized

Have a few thousand spare picture frames laying around? You could panel your ceiling with them like Dan Phillips has.

I admit to being more than a tiny bit impressed, even obsessed, with what Dan, of Phoenix Commotion in Huntsville, Texas has been building with recycled and salvaged materials.  Homes… entire homes, that are artsy, unique and just plain crazy-wonderful.

80% of the materials for these houses are salvaged… they are definitely one-of-a-kind. Look at what Dan creates with everyday items:

Like with wine corks… floors!


Bottle caps make beautiful floors too:

As do broken tile bits:

He uses thinly sliced logs (from the local Bois D’Arc trees… they grow like weeds in Texas!) to make floors and countertops:

Bois d’arc logs also make gorgeous rustic railings:


Even cow bones (must be quite a few lying around in Texas!) become super cool furniture, light fixtures, signs, even floors.


For roofing, Dan hits up the DMV for expired license plates. The thick metal reflects that hot Texas sun well and provides a roof that will last for 75 years.

Recycled asphalt tiles in every color make splashy rainbow-like roofs:

Glass… bottles, plates, pyrex dishes and lids, mirror shards.  All are put to good use:



Dan builds these homes with the help of apprenticed labor and the soon to be homeowners.  Even though the last few years have seen a large number of the homes going through foreclosure, they have since been snapped up by higher income individuals who appreciate the beauty of these artistic structures formed from repurposed items.

I’m taking notes…  and making plans for my desert house!











tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

No Comments »

Jan 03

2012 Dreamin….

Posted In Green Design, Old to New, Styling, Uncategorized

OMG… It’s 2012!! Our guests have left and both daughters have returned to their homes.  booohoooo. The house is still a mess… Christmas stuff is everywhere. Bills are waaaaay past due. BIG bills. Laundry is stacked up next to the washer. Old leftovers crowd the refrigerator. My skinny jeans don’t fit very well and the bags under my eyes… oh my. (is it true Preparation H works for that?) I’m back to work today and have got to find my briefcase. I’m, well, just a little bit overwhelmed.

I DO plan to clean up from Christmas. Soon. Decorations will be packed away, cupboards will be cleaned and reorganized, furniture will be rearranged and decor will be freshened up. Many trips to Goodwill will be made. I will get on that ASAP. And that list of resolutions, goals and plans for 2012. Definitely. Coming soon!

Meanwhile, I also plan to dream BIG dreams in 2012. One will surely be my recurring dream… one that I’ve been unable to shake for years now. Have I told you about my desert dream?

My love for the California desert is HUGE. I spend a great deal of time imagining the weekend place that Mr. Motorcycle Man and I will someday own in this beautiful part of the state. This will not be a slick home with a giant pool and golf course view in a fancy Palm Desert neighborhood, but a rustic cabin nestled amongst the giant boulders of the high desert near Joshua Tree.


I dream of a place with sand dune and mountain views in the mysterious, fascinating, even magical  areas close to Landers and Johnson Valley. No lights or city views. Just big sky, gorgeous sunsets, millions of stars and QUIET.

This desert home will not be fancy at all. Nothing would be perfect, in fact imperfect would make it just right. It would be a shack where sand and grit, motorcycle and hiking boots, spilled food and wine and lots and lots of family and friends, young and old, would be welcome. It’d be constructed with found items, repurposed materials and a lot of imagination.

It’s possible we will build it out of pallets.



Or… a collection of colorful bottles:


Maybe we’ll consider old shipping containers. They make interesting structures:



AS do retired vehicles of transportation:

Tires, rammed earth, straw bales, wood, concrete, and corrigated metal could also be used to build this dream home in the desert. SO many choices…

As funky as this all looks and sounds, I promise this desert home won’t be ugly. It’ll be wildly interesting, beautiful even, in that perfectly imperfect way.  Gorgeous views, warm breezes, sunsets and the mystical aura of the high desert will be the stars in this setting.

SO. I keep a dream file. Of ideas, pictures, projects for the house that does not yet exist. Nor does the land. Mr. MM and I continue to look and dream knowing that someday this perfectly imperfect scenario will present itself to us… maybe even in 2012. IF meant to be. And if not… the dreaming and planning is just so much fun. We’ll enjoy the process.

And for you, I wish a happy happy 2012:  a year full of good health, joy and love! AND… one where the best of your big dreams and plans come true!

tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

No Comments »