Posts Tagged ‘Outdoor Living’


Harmony House Ready for Guests!

June 17, 2014

So much for good intentions! It’s been two weeks since I set the goal to blog about old design and color projects on Thursdays. Although it’s not a Thursday, I wanted to follow up on my previous post about Harmony House, the house I created the architectural design of  that’s now available for rent as a private B&B retreat (private meaning you get the whole house to yourself!). I was there visiting the new owners yesterday who were putting the finishing touches on it for their first guests due to arrive this Friday, so I snapped a few photos to share.

You enter both houses from a large screened in porch, which many say is their favorite part of the house. I call Harmony House “Mon Soleil on steroids” because we added five feet to the width and eight feet to the length, a much grander staircase and a bay window in the living room.

HH Porch

The spacious screened porch is comfortable year around with its ceiling fans and fireplace.

 The extra width increased the ceiling height in the Living Room from 20′ to 23′ and it includes a kitchen and dining area with a staircase leading to a loft bedroom with two built-in Dutch beds.


The main living area is open onto a kitchen and has another huge fireplace that shares the same chimney as the porch fireplace.

HH Kitchen

The kitchen has all the modern conveniences and a huge island around the stove where everyone likes to gather at parties.

The Master Bedroom opens onto a spacious deck complete with hot tub and outdoor shower:

HH MBRMaster Bedroom walls, ceiling and trim are all painted “Edgewood Green”.

The downstairs Guest Bedroom has two twin-sized Dutch beds and with the added square footage, its size increased considerably from my little 7′ x 10′ guest bedroom, so that this one has a reading nook:

HH GBRWalls and ceiling are painted “Spring Green”. Trim throughout the house is “Edgewood Green”

The most spectacular part of Harmony House is the outdoor areas. I wish I could take credit for these but those kudos go to the previous owners. However, I supplied the willow furniture made by Fred Hunt of Broken Bow, Oklahoma who is now operating his own B&B ( He also made 20 pieces for Michael J. Fox’s Sharon, Connecticut home, thanks to their designer Marc Charbonnet who put together that sale for me!

HH deck

This covered deck is one of several decks.

HH OutdoorThe screened porch leads to an outdoor fire pit and picnic area.

As you might have imagined, this wonderful little oasis is deep in the Louisiana woods and has a 60′  foot bridge with a deck in the middle spanning a 150 foot ravine that leads to another house which is currently being spruced up for guests. Photos and more on “Melody House” soon! For more information on Harmony and Melody House, email Keith Koppens at, Vincent Chatelain at or Pam Randazza at

If you would like your own little sanctuary/retreat, that’s my specialty! I have taken these house plans and re-worked them for two other clients, so email me at


Throwback Thursday: Harmony House

May 22, 2014

For my second Throwback Thursday post, I thought I’d share a local project I’ve been helping with. Back in 1998, I was asked to design a house based on the design of my own home, but bigger. Part of my task was to come up with a plan to market and rent it out as a bed and breakfast.

As luck would have it, the local historical society’s annual Audubon Pilgrimage home tour was scheduled about the same time as the construction completion date, so we came up with the idea to turn “Harmony House” into a decorator showcase house as an added bonus to the tour. We named it “Harmony House” since several designers had to work together due to it’s open floor plan.

The large one-room living, dining, kitchen area has a staircase leading to a loft bedroom upstairs. The designer for downstairs wanted mustard walls and the designer for the loft upstairs wanted red brick walls, but there was no way we could use both colors together as there was nowhere to stop one color and start another. Personally, I thought both colors were too strong for the huge space. To compromise, we created “Terracotta Sand” which worked beautifully with both designers’ fabric choices. (This was before I had my line of Full Spectrum Paints.)


“Terracotta Sand” walls & ceiling with “Edgewood Green” trim, which brings the outdoors in.

Since then, the house was bought by one of the B&B guests and recently sold back to the original owner who plans to rent it out again as a bed and breakfast. He hired local painter Mike Small to repaint everything, using the same colors, but this time the colors have my full spectrum formulas!

Today I got to see once again what a huge difference full spectrum makes in not only brightening up the place, but also in the way the energy shifted. I’ve had countless psychics, channelers and regular folks like you and me rave about the great energy radiating from our paints and this project is a perfect example. Dr. Doreen Virtue in her book, 21 Days to Improve Communicating with Your Angels, says one of the first things you can do to purify your home so that angels will want to come in, is to paint your walls!


Since the beginning of Full Spectrum Paints, I have visualized and prayed that everyone who comes in contact with them is joyful and balanced.

Mike Small, who is doing a fabulous job painting, also gave me a couple of painting tips I’d like to share. He said when painting with an eggshell finish, it’s important to paint “wet on wet”, meaning to start rolling the walls while the paint from cutting in is still wet. This avoids lapping or flashing. He also said he adds a little bit of water to the paint when touching up. Having never used our products, he’s loving both the coverage and application of our products and is using all three finishes from the Diamond 350 and Lifemaster product lines. Locals, Mike can be reached via his cell: 225-245-1269.


The former Harmony House owners used “Terracotta Sand” again in their new home shown here because not only did they like it, but it also happened to blend in perfectly with the already pickled cabinetry! Since the rest of the trim was white and nothing special, we minimized it by painting all walls & trim the same “Terracotta Sand” in an eggshell finish.


Local Talent & Local Events

October 3, 2012

It’s been way too long since I’ve posted anything. I must confess, I haven’t been quite myself this Summer as I was attacked by a bulldog in July and it threw me for quite a loop! I was squatting down to look at some paint cans at a client’s camp and their bulldog charged at me from across the porch and both hit and bit me in the face in one hard punch! By the time I got to the hospital, my blood pressure was 200/116. I’ve never had high blood pressure before in my life and the trauma was so shocking, I’m still battling it. Thankfully, my face is healing fairly well and that part of it could have been much worse. I’m still trying to figure out “the lesson” in all of this, but for the life of me, I have no earthly idea! Any thoughts or ideas are most welcome.

On a more pleasant note, my dear friend Beverly Walker, who’s well-known around the St. Francisville-Baton Rouge-New Orleans area for her brilliant and beautiful parties and flowers, has outdone herself once again, by creating one of the most beautiful weddings I have ever seen! I couldn’t resist sharing some of the photos.

The wedding was at the bride’s family home which was designed to look like Live Oak Plantation. 


I love the tablecloths Beverly used which are made from bleached burlap.


Beverly even used some of the same bleached burlap to make the grooms’ boutonnieres.


The Bride’s Bouquet

As you can see, Beverly is our local “Martha Stewart” and is available both locally and she also will travel to create magical parties just about anywhere. She can be reached via her email: (Rosebank is the name of the plantation where she and her family have lived in St. Francisville since 1989 when I first met her.)

On another note, Randy Harelson and New Orleans’ photographer Richard Sexton just came out with a gorgeous and most interesting book, New Roads and Old Rivers, on Pointe Coupee Parish which has already received glowing reviews by Southern Living Magazine. The town of New Roads in Pointe Coupee Parish is just across the beautiful new bridge from St. Francisville and I love making the short trip (now only 15 minutes!) because it has such a totally different landscape and architecture from our English-inspired parish.


Pointe Coupee is one of the oldest settlements in the Mississippi Valley, dating to the 1720s. French for “a place cut off,” the name refers to the area’s three oxbow lakes, separated from the Mississippi over centuries. A peninsula edged by the Mississippi and Atchafalaya rivers, Pointe Coupee remains a land rich in Creole heritage, distinct in geographical beauty, and abounding in historic homes and farms. 

If you are thinking about planning a visit to our area, now is the perfect time as fall weather has finally arrived! Winter is also an excellent time if you live in the cold northern climates as temps can easily get up into the seventies during our mild winters. And if you are looking for a unique and private place to stay, Shadetree Inn in St. Francisville has never looked better after sprucing things up for Willem Dafoe, who stayed in our Gardener’s Cottage while filming his new film with Matt Dillon and Tom Berrenger, “Whiskey Bay”. He liked it so much, he brought back his wife for a visit!


Shadetree Inn‘s Gardener’s Cottage features 13 stained glass windows and sweeping vistas overlooking the 4 acre hilltop in St. Francisville’s historic district. (Above photo is of the living room in the Gardener’s Cottage.)


Bringing the Outdoors In

March 27, 2012

I just love it when I get happy emails and photos from paint customers! I especially love it when they take my advice and see for themselves why what I suggest works. Over twenty years ago, when I was building my own home, I had already decided to paint all of the trim in my home “Ashen Green”, but it wasn’t until the “Ashen Green” was painted over the white primer on my window and French door trim, that I realized how it pulls your eye out into the view. In sunrooms or rooms with lots of windows, it can give you the feeling of being outside on a porch.

Natasha Nyberg, the client I wrote about in my October 25, 2011 post who won the Apartment Therapy contest for her room painted in our “Caribe”, emailed me recently asking to suggest a color for her sunroom (pictured below). I suggested pretty much any of the greens from our Nature’s Palette and Natasha, who lives in a cold climate and is drawn to warm colors, chose our “Peridot”.


Although her white sunroom certainly looks pretty, here’s what our “Peridot” on both walls and trim did for the space:



“I am SO HAPPY with how it turned out. The green is perfect. I really couldn’t be happier. It’s everybody’s favorite room in the house now. We never used to go back there, and now we’re always spending time in there–and the only things I had to buy were the paint and some of the plants!” 

– Natasha Nyberg

I especially like the way her newly painted “Pumpkin Spice” kitchen glows through the interior window. The Peridot reminds me of the Spring greenery outside my window right now. There’s just no other color like it for rejuvenation. For more on about the properties of the color green and to see another example of painting everything green in a small room to expand the space, read our February 14, 2012 post. For more photos from happy paint customers, check out our Facebook page.


11:11 and 11-11-11

November 8, 2011

For as long as I can remember, when I look at a digital clock, it often says “11:11”. It wasn’t until I started reading the Kryon books back in 1990 recommended by my friend Sidney Coffee (more about her later), that I discovered this is supposed to be a “cosmic wink”–a reminder by the angelic beings that surround us, that we are divinely connected and to shift our thoughts from negativity to something positive we’d like to manifest.

Since then, I have been on a spiritual quest, drawn to channelers of angelic beings like Kryon, shamans and sound healers like Tom Kenyon and Robert Coxon, Doreen Virtue, whose numerous books on angels and nature spirits have thoroughly intrigued me, and especially to metaphysical books on color (like Meredith Young-Sowers’ Agartha).  It seems I have read very little “fiction” over the past 20+ years.  Of course, some might call what I do read “fiction”, since these books are about the “unseen”. Not surprising that I have been so drawn to color, since the color we see when we look at something is in fact not its real color. Every object absorbs all the colors that it really is, and reflects the color it is not, and that’s the color you see!

Back to 11:11. Seeing 11:11 on clocks has been happening more frequently (almost daily!) and just the other night, I was awakened by my iPhone which was charging across the room. I jumped up thinking it might be my daughter texting me and when I looked at the phone, there were no texts, no alerts, nada–just the time: 11:11!

With the approaching date this Friday of 11-11-11, I’ve been getting all kinds of newsletters about what a powerful day of manifestation this will be. According to Gillian MacBeth-Louthan of, “11:11:11 is a number activation sequence. Each time that you see this number on a digital clock it represents that you are being given an opportunity to walk into a Gateway of Instantaneous Manifestation. The universe has just taken a snapshot of your thoughts, which then are manifesting into the physical in record speed. The time period from November 11 to January 11 is considered to be the HOLY TRINITY months. All in All it is a divine decree and opportunity issued to all of earth. Wake-up, and become your true light.”

There are many celebrations and meditations taking place all over the world this day. I know I plan to light candles and focus on all things positive. My friend Sidney Coffee, who I mentioned previously, has invited me to her Zen House (see previous blog post and newsletter) this Friday which will be open to the public Sunday evening, in conjunction with LSU’s Hilltop Arboretum Fall Garden Tour in Baton Rouge. An article, “Zen Retreat” came out today with more information and photos.  If you are in the area, I hope you’ll come by on Sunday. I’ll certainly be there!

Sidney & Al Coffee's Zen House is the highlight of "Moon Shine: A Walk on the Night Side"

Surprisingly, for the first time, I Googled “11:11” and found a wealth of information. Here are some I found interesting:


Spring Full Moon at Sidney’s Zen House

March 23, 2011

In my Winter 2010 Living Well Newsletter, I wrote about my friend Sidney Coffee’s “Zen House”, a 10′ x 16′ screened in structure her talented husband Al Coffee built in their backyard.  What a magical space they have created!  One of my favorite times to visit is at sunset when the 7 foot strands of mirror garland that hang inside the screened walls sparkle in the sunlight as they sway in the breeze created by the ceiling fan.  I actually made something similar a couple years ago and hung them from trees out in my yard because I heard that they attract fairies. Not sure about the fairies, but I’ve never seen as many fireflies as I do now! Thanks to Sidney, I have tracked down a source who sells them and have ordered some that will be for sale on my website soon.

Sidney and Al visit their son, Tyler, a bilingual anthropologist and resident of  San Miguel De Allende often; so the interior of the space is filled with wonderful religious artifacts that help create the ambiance of the space. Sidney says she enjoys it year-round since she’s added Sunbrella curtains to keep the rain out and a wood-burning fire pot for chilly nights.  The entry door is a 36″ wide screened door on a sliding track which further creates a “Zen” feeling and doesn’t take up the space that a typical swinging door would have.

The moon was so beautiful the other night, I just had to take photos and share!


Al shared that the tin roof is a 45 degree angle & the base is recessed.

The Zen House sits at the rear of their enclosed backyard/courtyard that is filled with little white lights that not only create the magical atmosphere, but also doubles as inexpensive outdoor lighting.


The huge cross from San Miguel sets the mood for the space.


A huge full moon added even more magic to an already magical evening! Al enjoyed creating the Zen House so much, he’ll build one in your backyard (phone: 225-964-6544). Their son Tyler customizes tours to archaeological sites and to sacred places in Mexico, including tours to “La Canada de la Virgen” that just opened to the public fo the very first time–an extraordinary site just outside San Miguel. Tyler helped work on the site some years back and recently finished interviewing the indigenous people throughout the area where the site is. Tyler can be reached at 225-963-0870.

Work in Progress

March 8, 2011

Thought I’d share a local project I’ve been working on in Baton Rouge.  It’s a rare treat to consult locally since the majority of my business is out of state. I have often admired this big old stucco house in the Garden District, so I was thrilled when I was asked to help select (& create) paint colors for it.


The house before painting started.

It has been many years since it had been painted a light pink/peach. The homeowners had only painted a few accent doors a blue, much like our vibrant “Mykonos Blue”.

The owner’s wanted to keep the blue accents and bring it back to it’s glory days like in the old photo they gave me below:

As you can see, the privacy wall was added later. We love the awnings & shutters and plan to add them back.

Coming up with a stucco color to work with the blue accents, the original old red tile roof and the red tiles around the pool was a little tricky. It needed to be orange enough to compliment the blue but brown enough so that it wouldn’t clash with the red tile roof.

Initial test of new stucco color on pool cabana

I love this color we created because it looks like clay. Here’s a photo (below) of the privacy wall:


As you can see, this will be quite a transformation!

Trim will be in our “Snow” and there’s 3,000 square feet of porch ceiling off of the pool that will be painted a custom, light, sky blue. It won’t be too much longer since Arthur Barras of  Custom Made in Baton Rouge ( is working right through today’s Mardi Gras holiday!  By the way, Arthur is quite “the find” if  you are in the Baton Rouge area!

Happy Mardi Gras!

(More to come on this project soon!)