BLOCK PRINT TEXTILES: DESIGN INSPIRATION AND A GREAT AFFORDABLE SOURCE!

A few weeks ago I got away to a little beach house in Laguna for a girls' weekend, where I sort of surprised myself by being entirely pleased with the decorating.  Not that I'm a tough crowd or anything ... except that I sort of am.  I can't help it.  Aesthetics matter to me.  Duh.

So it was a nice surprise to find that our vacation cottage was not only perfectly situated across the street from the most gorgeous little hidden beach cove, but ALSO that it was actually tastefully and sweetly decorated, not all beach theme-y and overdone.  Nary an anchor or seashell in sight.

I especially fell in love with the crisp cotton block print bedding throughout the house, all in various shades of blue.  My room had an indigo-hued duvet cover with a scallop print reminiscent of waves that felt just perfect for the ocean setting.


 And the little sleeping beauty between the sheets didn't hurt the visuals one bit ...



Of course I had to poke around until I found the tag and discovered the maker of all this good stuff, which I promise I share down below.  But first how about a little more inspiration to whet your appetite? 

I'm such a huge fan of block prints.  Long before I became an interior designer I first fell in love with them when I lived and traveled in India for a year after college. They were everywhere and so so cheap!  Even on my backpacker's shoestring budget I managed to return home loaded down with textiles that I used and dispersed amongst my friends and family for years after.



Today, some of my favorite genius designers like John Robeshaw, Madeline Weinrib, and Peter Dunham use block print motifs liberally in their beautiful spaces.  I'm endlessly inspired by this look!  It pretty much sums up my own "global eclectic layered and collected" design style.  Well ok, I might pepper in just a bit more modern and mid-century design to balance out all the richly textured patterns.  But behold this design goodness ...








 
 

















 (all photos via here, here, and here)

So the pretty bedding I discovered in Laguna Beach is sold by a little company called Saffron Marigold, and I was thrilled to discover that the prices are very reasonable!  A John Robeshaw quilt is a bit of a splurge at $300-400, but you can achieve a pretty similar look from Saffron Marigold for just a fraction of that.

 textiles from saffron marigold

Their styling and photo shoot skills on the website leave something to be desired, but you guys, you could concoct a seriously amazing bed or table with this stuff, and not even go broke in the process.  Fab bargains like this are always such a happy discovery! 

I'm working on selecting a bedding combo for myself, and I'll be sure to keep you posted about what I come up with!



MY HOME TOUR PART 8: THE GARDEN

We're moving this tour outdoors now!  You've seen the interior of my little fixer house transformed room-by-room,  and I hope it's been as satisfying for you as it was for me.  The changes to the backyard were just as dramatic, I think.

Especially considering it started out as a parking lot ...


You'll remember from Part 1, the remodel rundown, that except for a big, old, slightly diseased flowering pear tree, every inch of the backyard was paved with multiple layers of brick.  To make matters worse, crazy amounts of trash and concrete rubble were buried beneath that.  As I pulled up bricks I discovered that the yard had essentially been used as a landfill for who knows how many decades?  Fun. (Except not.)


So it felt like a major accomplishment when we finally got all the bricks and rubble cleared and were down to plain old dirt!


At that point I paid a farmer a few bucks to drive over an entire dump truck full of old horse manure to return some nutrients to the soil and start bringing it back to life again. (Ask your local feed and tack store if you're looking for free manure ... they'll know who wants to get rid of it.)  I also threw in a few hundred live earthworms that I bought at the plant nursery, to help fertilize and aerate the soil. 


This is the view of the back of the house.  Remember how there was this weird plywood addition that we had to tear down before we even did anything else?


Here's the back of the house after the addition came down, which had been built right on top of that concrete patio slab.


 And all torn up midway through the remodel ...


And here's the exterior after the remodel, but before any real patio "styling" went into effect.  We re-purposed a bunch of the old bricks for the new deck made of wood, brick, and bordered by large square concrete pavers.



Bit by bit the landscaping started to come together. 

I created raised vegetable beds off to the side rimmed with decomposed granite pathways.  I used the wood lattice up against the wall to espalier my tomatoe vines, which otherwise would have taken up all the space in my little veggie garden.  (Remember, this is a pretty tiny yard compared with much of the country, but for LA it's actually decent!)

The cinderblock walls were painted a dark color to make them sort of recede into the shadows, and I ringed the lawn with native plants.

 
Here's a snapshot of my sweet mom weeding my lettuce patch when I was overdue with my son and way too pregnant to bend over or sit down like that :)


At this point you can see how the plantings around the perimeter of the yard have begun to fill in ...


 Eventually a baby arrived.  To loll about on the grass ... 


And toddle fearlessly ...


And help mama garden ...



With some careful pruning the giant old tree was restored to health and, more importantly, to swinging condition (the wood slat swing is from Etsy and those are mason jars with candles inside that I hung for a very twinkly nighttime garden birthday party) ...


This is the detached garage that eventually became my design studio ...




I planted a fast growing bamboo hedge in front of this eyesore fence and view, for obvious reasons ...


 This is the entrance to my studio before I styled the outdoor seating area ...



 And here it is after I pulled together the outdoor space for one of the Year of Change Designer Challenges I've been a part of this year. 






Here are some parting "before and after" shots, just for your viewing entertainment ...




Happy Monday!

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