A Little of This & That… Renovating, Decorating, DIY Projects & Family
A Little of This & That… Renovating, Decorating, DIY Projects & Family

Really Digging… Giant Baubles

Giant Baubles | PepperDesignBlog.com

The Little Mill | One White Sunday | Mod Fresh
Shop Lula Pearl | Coral and Cloud | R Kite KT

I don’t know what it is about these guys but right now I think they’re kind of awesome. I bought a mint green and light pink clay beaded necklace from The Little Mill just a couple of weeks ago and it makes me smile every time I wear it.

Playful, colorful and happy. Maybe they remind me of the girls a bit (I think Liv might have a wooden shapes necklace – like daughter, like mother?). They brighten up my maternity dresses and that’s always a sweet thing.

I’m traveling today for work and Kev has the littles solo tonight. I’ve packed one of these necklaces along just as a reminder of my girls.

PS have you ever sold your clothes online? and more style board fun… 

The Finished Backyard ‘Refresh’

Our Yard in Progress | PepperDesignBlog.com

The backyard is back! With the weather being so very warm here in San Diego, we’ve been spending a lot of time outside. Brunch with friends, family dinners, lounging around the outdoor couch…

I shared that I was planning on giving this space a little love back in July and while it’s taken almost all of August to find the little touches that are beginning to make this space bright, colorful and special, I’m really happy with where it’s at now.

Here was my inspiration (resources):

Backyard Refresh Ideas | PepperDesignBlog.com

And the end result:

Our Backyard | PepperDesignBlog.com

Just for a really rough comparison, here’s the space ‘before’. I know, not a very detailed picture at all (I don’t seem to have any??) but the color scheme was pretty neutral with a few orange accents (via some cool Craigslist glass lanterns that have run their time out here).

Our Yard in Progress | PepperDesignBlog.com

What a nice difference navy, pink and even little bits of lime green can make! Feels summer-y, feels brighter and so much fresher.

Our Backyard | PepperDesignBlog.com

If you’re new here (hi!), it’s hard to believe how far this space has really come. When we bought the house the backyard was an outdoor room of sorts with a carpeted floor, wall paneling and windows. Inside (top left), outside (top right – it’s the building behind the one in the foreground). We tore out the flooring and walls (bottom left) and eventually the roof (bottom right). Next came adding saltillo tile and flagstone as a beautiful ground covering, Kev built the outdoor fireplace and grill area with a lot of materials that we collected from Craigslist (the structural concrete block and even the grill itself), eventually we added the wraparound deck to finish off the space (full transformation broken out here).

Our Yard in Progress | PepperDesignBlog.com

Our Backyard | PepperDesignBlog.com

My first goal was to track down new outdoor throw cushions for the space. Having settled on navy and pink, I found this shop on Etsy and ordered 4 solid navy 20″ pillows and 2 pink lumbar pillows during a sale. I was beyond thrilled with the price and quality (and the sweet lady that runs the shop), and feeling like this space needed one more accent color, ended up also splurging on 2 lime green pillows as well. If you’re searching out new pillows (especially outdoor ones), check out this shop.

Our Backyard | PepperDesignBlog.com

Our Backyard | PepperDesignBlog.com

Our Backyard | PepperDesignBlog.com

Garden stools from Ruelala are actually what sort of triggered some new decor out here. We don’t currently have a table for drinks and snacks, so when I found these guys I thought they’d be a perfect stand-in. Eventually I’m hoping to find some sort of cool, round, giant ottoman (maybe metal, like a brass? Maybe ceramic?) and move these guys to another spot in the yard. But for now they’re working out pretty well. (Similar here, here and here.)

Our Backyard | PepperDesignBlog.com

Possibly my favorite addition are these AMAZING porcelain bird feeders that I’ve had my eye on for some time. The shop and ladies behind it are so sweet, more to come on that.

Our Backyard | PepperDesignBlog.com

The shape, the color… everything about them.

I wasn’t planning on it, but when I came across a huge Pottery Barn outdoor sale and found my Chesapeake cushions on super sale, I pulled the trigger and updated our dirty, well-loved cushions with new ones in ‘mocha’ (I believe they usually retail for about $650 – we DIYed our first set - but scooped up this new set for just over $200, which is actually the same price as they’re on sale for now + a 15% coupon). That’s definitely the comfiest upgrade we made, these real cushions (as opposed to the handmade version) are so soft and relaxing.

Another update is the addition of a few more fun pots, plants and succulents to add to the mix. I’m really beginning to understand what can grow well out here.

Our Backyard | PepperDesignBlog.com

Our Backyard | PepperDesignBlog.com

Not too many updates to share once we round the corner to the deck… but a few more pretty pictures (thanks, Katie!).

Our Backyard | PepperDesignBlog.com

My succulent clippings are still going strong (even though the planter is seeing a little outdoor wear-and-tear). We still use this table all of the time. To those that have asked, I’m trying to get Kev to put together a DIY to share!

Our Backyard | PepperDesignBlog.com

The yard finishes off with the girls’ sandbox (they could spend all day out here, which is a great thing) and veggie garden:

Our Backyard | PepperDesignBlog.com

Our Backyard | PepperDesignBlog.com

A Garden Box Harvest | PepperDesignBlog.com

Amazing that she started as a jungle, and then a space in disrepair (nothing quite usable about it), and finally, became one of the most LOVED spots in our home. So much time, sweat, energy… This in-progress photo takes me back.

Our Yard in Progress | PepperDesignBlog.com

Now let’s head back to that new party space – she’s looking like she’s ready for a nice little soiree, right? :)

Our Backyard | PepperDesignBlog.com

We’re ready.

Family Love | Pepper Design Blog

Family Love | Pepper Design Blog


  • navy, pink and lime green pillows – PillowsCushionsOhMy on Etsy
  • oversized blue and green patterned pillow – local consignment shop
  • turquoise patterned pillows and pots – c/o Lowes
  • porcelain bird feeders – (1 c/o) l&m studio on Etsy
  • white garden stools – Ruelala (similar herehere and here)
  • glass string lights – Target (left over from our wedding! but still available)
  • outdoor sectional – Pottery Barn
  • outdoor hairpin leg slab table – handmade by Kev (similar legs)
  • shade sail – eBay (similar)
  • outdoor farmhouse table – handmade by Kev
  • outdoor table black chairs – Lowes
  • geometric planter – handmade by Morgan
  • children’s wicker chairs – Ikea

Sort construction and project posts here for more on the flagstone, saltillo tile, grill area, fireplace, wall, deck, sandbox, garden box and more. Thanks for stopping by to check it all out!

Photo credit: Katie Beverley (an especially big thanks for catching that above family photo that completely makes my heart flutter.)

The Tidy Up Rules

Do you have any fun ‘efficiency rules’ that you live by? I have a couple and I was chuckling to myself about them the other day as I was reading The Happiness Project (a book which I pick up every few months and flip through for inspiration). The author and I have a few quirks in common, though I have much to learn from her.

So, family and friends who are reading this post – no judging when you come over and my house is not tidy… but for the record, here’s what I try to live by:

1. Never leave a room empty handed. If I’m leaving the living room and on my way to the bedroom, I always scoop up some random pieces of miscellaneous knowing that I’ll be walking through the kitchen and by the girls’ room. Could be a pink shoe, a glass of water from the night before, a stuffed animal that needs to find its way home. Boy does it actually make a difference! Little by little a room unclutters itself.

PS I started this tradition by always picking up three things to take with me (read that somewhere) and it slowly grew into how-much-can-I-stuff-into-my-arms.

Our Efficiency Rules - Tips for Tidying Up | PepperDesignBlog.com

2. The one-minute rule. This one can be hard to follow (especially when you’re in a hurry or feeling quite lazy), but if any task takes under one minute to complete, it deserves to be done right then and there. That could mean shredding mail, filling out a permission slip or unloading a bag of groceries. This is one I’m still working on – so easy to leave that bag from the beach on the deck for a couple of days or toss shoes into the girls’ room rather than walk them over to the correct shoe bin – but I think it’s a good one to take note of.

3. Organized piles. This might be in direct contradiction to #2 in a few select cases, but I tend to save similar mundane tasks until there are several similar mundane tasks to tackle all at once. I call these my organized piles.

Papers awaiting filing are an excellent example. I have a pile going on the edge of my desk of work receipts and bills that is growing ever larger day by day – sure, I could file each one right away, but it makes more sense to me time-wise to let that little pile grow until it becomes an actual stack, and then I pull out my metal file cabinet from the first drawer on our bookshelf in the office and sort accordingly.

Girls' Room | PepperDesignBlog.com

4. Straightening up before bed. There’s something so calming about starting your day with a fresh, clean slate. I like to do a walk through of our three main living spaces – the kitchen, dining room and living room – at the end of the night to pick up what might be out of place. Even if it means just clearing and wiping down the counters in the kitchen and filling up the sink with dishes awaiting their turn in the dishwasher (loading them is an even better bonus).

Kitchen Command Center - Cork Board Tiles | PepperDesignBlog.com

Command center that’s 10% as full as it usually is. And on any normal day there’s a diaper bag, briefcase, a couple of pairs of shoes, miscellaneous toddler clothing, etc gathering at its base…

Things I don’t mind include: visual clutter (school notices, birth announcements and paintings by Liv that fill up our ‘command center’ set of cork boards in the kitchen), anything stacking up in my office (this is my free zone – the space that I’m allowed to let unfinished projects rest and to throw a bag of to-be-sorted play clothes into), stuff in my car (no food or old wrappers, promise, but I actually don’t mind a few toys on the ground or bags of unopened fishies in the pocket organizer thing that hangs on the back of my seat. Just, you know, no melted crayons on the seat).

Gretchen Rubin, the author of The Happiness Project, notes that “one of life’s small pleasures is to return something to it’s proper place.” I would couple that with the feeling of satisfaction when walking out of a clean roomThere’s just something so gratifying about it, no?

photo credit: middle and last by Katie Beverley

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