Monday, August 16, 2010

In the beginning

It always starts innocently enough. A trip planned for some much needed relaxation becomes a seed of inspiration. This time, it was a drive up California’s Sonoma Valley to view the rustically-charming vineyards and taste the fruits of European-inspired wineries.

Our wisteria-covered pergola is a perfect spot to entertain friends.

I came home with a growing wine list of new-found favorites, as well as a rumpled journal full of alfresco dining sketches and a rehearsed sales job to present to my project-worn spouse (and gifted handyman).

Yes, another design-build project was born – this time a wisteria-covered dining pergola inspired by a stop at the beautiful Chateau St. Jean. Okay, it did take a couple of years for the ‘wisteria-covered’ part to take shape, but an otherwise barren landscape was immediately transformed into a welcome respite from the Texas sun and a perfect spot to entertain friends.

And, that’s the way it always goes. I’m constantly inspired to convert hum-drum into ooh-la-la! It’s a curse, it’s a gift, it’s a curse – and my darling, impressively-skilled husband takes on the build from hand-sketched pages ripped from one or another of my crazy idea journals. I love to complete the finish work with paint or fabric – just give me a brush, glue gun or hammer, and I’m in my element.

For the pergola project, I played designer, construction assistant and stonemason. Thankfully, my novice masonary skills fit the rustic look!

So, in my mind, I thought it would be fun to build this blog as a way to share some of the creative designs, raw materials and elements of style that have inspired me as I have traveled to sites throughout North America and Europe. I’ll reveal where I find sanctuary at home and abroad as well as favorite entertaining ideas, d├ęcor and libations that I hope you, too, will enjoy.

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