Green Plum Design House Painting

Hi All,

Spring is sprung, the daffs are out and the days are getting longer…

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It feels so very good to be writing a new blog again- it has been a patchy affair in recent years and on this fine day in March, I am here to let you know what has kept me sooo busy…

After working for so long helping people choose colors for their homes and project managing re-models, I decided I needed to take charge, get my own contractors license and run my very own House Painting company -  rolling the color consultancy and painting into one glorious package -Green Plum Design House Painting!

I have been working as a painting contractor for over a year now and know more about lead paint and sanding techniques than I will ever need to know…

I was the only woman in my contractors license exam and again in my lead certification course – there must be other women contractors out there but I have yet to meet them.

THE most important thing is that I have an incredible crew of painters who all have years and years of experience and to whom I daily take my hat off to for their fabulous hard work, diligence and creativity.  They are all a—mazing.

Here’s a little glimpse of some of the work we have done over the last year…

This gorgeous house with the lovely clapboard siding took quite some sanding..

but blossomed so beautifully for all the careful prep work.

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Here’s is another beautiful home with painted shingles that came up so well…

 

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And of course stucco – a surface I am appreciating a little more these days as it stands up so well over time…

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One of the things that I  love about this new direction in my work is that I get to see this one week…

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And a couple of weeks later…a whole new place…

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Yes, there was power washing, sanding, patching, filling, more sanding, priming, and finally painting somewhere in the middle but what a beautiful transformation to witness in a fortnight.

And for me, all the little details…

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and final touches…

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and painted hinges…

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So now you know.

If you need to get your house or office painted,  look no further.

And that is what has been filling my days for quite some time…

Up to my eyeballs in painters tape, HEPA vacuums, primer and beautiful, thick, gloopy paint in colors I could get lost in…

Back soon with more transformations.

Ros

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Posted in California, Color, Front of House, Green Plum Design, House Painting, Inspiration, Interior design, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

A Studio of One’s Own

Letterpress artist, Elizabeth Hubbell worked for fifteen years in the garage next to her Berkeley home.  She wasn’t complaining.

It did the job…housing her 1905 Chandler and Price letterpress and guillotine, the scrumptious paper on which she prints and the wonderful work she produced after adding the magic ingredient of her beautiful designs.

But just recently, she had the opportunity to transform her workplace into something a bit more special.  With a design provided by her talented uncle-architect David Rulon, the contractor Thomas Goetze and the fabulous craftsmen David Pickell and Gawain Kessner, Elizabeth’s garage transformed… from this…

Into this..

Tucked away from the road.

It is such a treat to walk through the gate and discover this…

beautiful studio.

So light…

And airy…

I just want to be sitting at that desk with all that big white space around me…

The press looks at home…

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And the creative work…

Creativity Central - Green Plum Design

Can continue…

Beautiful Letterpress Work - Green Plum Design

The stairs were inspired by a book that Elizabeth had on compact living in Japan.  She showed it to the multi-talented David Pickell and he came up with this beautiful design…

David Pickell Designed Stairs - Green Plum Design

Yup, just completely and utterly jealous.  Even the bathroom is heaving with style and simplicity…

And from the garden you can sit and enjoy…

This gorgeous design and custom made color…

Did you know that if you don’t particularly like any of the many colors offered by Benjamin Moore, you can do what Elizabeth did and mix your own perfect color on some thick white paper.  Just take it down to East Bay Paints and they will mix it up for you…

Mix Your Own Color - Green Plum Design

Thank you Elizabeth for letting us see into your beautiful studio.  To see a little more of Elizabeth’s wonderful work, click here.

Back soon with news of the exciting new direction of Green Plum Design…

See you.

Ros

Elizabeth Hubbell Letterpress - Green Plum Design

 

Posted in Architecture, Bathroom, California, Green Plum Design, Inspiration, Interior design, Light, office, Re-Modelling | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off

Green Plum Design Movie!

Hi Everyone,

I hope that you all had a good summer and are getting back into the swing.

Personally, I am clinging onto that summer feel with my fingernails and avoiding all shops with “Back to School Supplies” written in the window.

Instead, I have locked myself in my office and spent the last two days putting together something a little different for your viewing pleasure.

I have made a little film about Green Plum Design.  Yes, my very own company is now rubbing shoulders with the big boys on YouTube.

Heaving with plenty of Befores and even more Afters, it attempts to answer the question that I sometimes ask myself at gloomier moments “what exactly do I do all day?”

Wonder no longer.

Give yourself three minutes and fifty seconds and you will see with your very own eyes.  I have even gone so far as to feature myself casually chatting to the camera as if I do it everyday.

Best dress on, hair brushed, extra vaseline on the lens…

Take a look and please don’t be shy to make a comment – I would love to know what you think.

So, sit back, make yourself comfortable and click on this baby  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RV3GY9j0DKk&feature=youtu.be

See you soon,

Ros

Posted in Adding more space, Bathroom, Bedroom, California, De-cluttering, English Countryside, Filing Systems, Front of House, Garden, Green Plum Design, Green Plum Design on Youtube, Inspiration, Interior design, office, Organizing, Organizing Paperwork, Re-Modelling, Re-organizing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Spring Cleaning The Mental Clutter

Hi Everyone

I am so impressed at all the efforts you have been making to de-clutter and clear out. Fine work my friends, I especially love all the pictures.  Keep them coming!

So now that Spring has officially sprung – we are well and truly into that traditional time of year to clean up and throw out.

Ha, we are ahead of the game!

Well…actually,  I don’t know about you but the de-cluttering, chucking out and whittling down is a never ending task…

So I have been tackling a corner here a corner there…

I went through ALL our books and gave a whole lot away…

I ploughed through a few more hideous drawers…plenty to chuck…

And even got out my paintbrush and gave the walls with the most finger marks ( that really show up in the afternoon light ) a quick once over…

But what about the clutter that I can’t put into a bag and take to Goodwill?  You know, the clutter of stuff that you carry around in your head and weighs you down with nagging feelings of guilt.

That letter you know you still haven’t replied to, the phone call that you must return, the eye appointment that is long overdue.  Dare I mention the mammogram…?

Back at my house there is also the small matter of a very large and very dead tree taking up most my front garden – I have been looking at it for about a year now.

A YEAR.

And now that everything is blooming around it, it’s looking extra dead.

That is a full 365 days where I have opened my front door and thought – I must do something about that – I’ll do it tomorrow – OK, definitely next week…FOR SURE before the Spring…

So, what if you tackle all of those things that you have put off, ignored and buried deep for quite some time?

Here’s what I am suggesting…

TACKLING TASKS YOU HAVE PUT OFF FOREVER

1. Make a list of everything you can think of that you haven’t done and know you should…

2. Give yourself a realistic timeframe to tackle the lot – maybe one week with perhaps 30 minutes to an hour given to it for a few days?  If your time is really tight, give yourself a month and try and take an hour or so on a Saturday and Sunday over four weekends.

3. Make sure you make an end date for the list to be done.

Having just made my list and got through a few items, I am amazed at how quickly I am checking those babies off…

I wrote three LONG overdue letters – oh the joy when I put them in the mail box!

Made four appointments for things I have conveniently put off for really…ahem quite some time – not looking forward to at least two of them but feeling smug all the same…

Called Peter Rudy, the fabulously amazing tree man – dead tree removed in two hours.

Took up an over-long pair of curtains that have been dragging on the floor for ten years – yes, I really did say ten years  - took 25 mins exactly.

And that was just for starters…

Highlights still un-checked on my list include:

Nasty horror of my kitchen cupboards.

The prospect of painting above cupboard doors..

And of course there is more.  Am planning to be done by the end of the month…

So there we have it.  I can tell you in all honesty that the time it takes to tackle a job you have spent quite a bit of mental energy dodging and putting off  is nothing as compared to the time that you have allowed it to gnaw away at you.  It is a ridiculous ratio.

So go out there folks and make that list, tackle it head on… and let me assure you that unbridled joy and mental clarity awaits you…

Back soon,

Ros

ps this is how you will feel when you have got through the list…

Posted in Cleaning up, De-cluttering, Green Plum Design, Mental Clutter | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Simplify your Life

My mission this year is to Simplify Life and I have just printed a new card to kick this resolution into 2012 and show you that I mean business!

Despite the millions of labor saving devices our ancestors never knew about, we are none the less generally too busy, stressed, over stimulated, overwhelmed and tired.  It is the modern curse.

So this year, I am going to focus my blog largely onto the subject of simplifying life. Physically and mentally.

And I am going to start with the very physical world of ‘stuff‘.  A world that we can, to a large extent, actually control and a world that can have a huge impact on our mental wellbeing.

Imagine your home clutter free and ordered.

No, I can’t either but you have to admit, it makes you feel good just thinking about it.

Clear sides, organized drawers, systems in place…

So, I am going to start small and kick off with some basic de-cluttering tips and one very manageable project.

DE-CLUTTER PART ONE

Two-Top-Tips To Start With…

  • Just pick one small area to tackle.  One drawer, one cupboard, one corner…
  • Give yourself one hour to tackle the job and no more…

I began with my office drawers and gave myself one hour…

Looking good from the outside…

But the inside, these babies are filled with stuff.  Who knows what’s in there?

So, here’s what to do…

1. Take the drawers out and put them on the floor.

2. Take everything out of the drawers one by one and put in one of two piles – either KEEP or CHUCK.


3. Clean out empty drawers with a damp cloth.

4. Go through the KEEP pile and decide what is going back in the drawers and what needs to be put back somewhere else in the house.  Make little piles.

(I found a lot of stuff that needed to go into my small art cupboard in the kitchen and tons of sewing stuff that could be re-distributed into some mini-Ikea drawers I have for that purpose.  Strangely, I had lots of unused Christmas cards which I re-directed to my Christmas decoration box etc.)

4. See if more could be added to the CHUCK pile…be brutal, if you haven’t used it or thought about it for two years…chuck…

5. Throw away or re-cyle the CHUCK pile.

6. Scurry around the house putting away the bits and bobs from the KEEP pile that really live somewhere else and put everything else back in the two drawers in neat piles.

There you go!  That took me just under an hour and frankly, it made me want to do more.

Now it’s your turn – let me know what you can do in one hour….and no more.  I mean it, I am waiting to hear!

Back soon with more,

Ros

ps.  If you have jumped over from the lovely Beach Cottage, a big welcome!

pps.  If there is someone you know who you think might like my blog, just send me their email address to roswyatt@greenplumdesign.com with SUBSCRIBE in the subject!  Thanks for all the emails you have already sent.

Posted in Cleaning up, De-cluttering, Green Plum Design, Inspiration, Interior design, office, Organizing, Re-organizing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to all of you Lovely People!

I wish you all a very happy 2012.

And just to warn you – I am kicking off a De-clutter special this January – so get ready to roll up your sleeves, chuck, sort and organize….!

Lots of love Ros xx

Posted in Cleaning up, Flowers, Green Plum Design, Inspiration, Interior design, Organizing, Re-organizing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Front of House 3

Hope that you are all good.

I wish I could say that I was – I am currently tucked up in bed with a double ear infection. Yup,  I am almost completely deaf, which, with three children has advantages and disadvantages…

But as I sit in bed, one of things that has really cheered me up is this early December light and yesterday, when I ventured gingerly downstairs, this is what greeted me…

The very best of Northern California’s light hitting the table with it’s long low beams – so beautiful.

And looking at color in various lights is what I have spent much of the last month or so doing.  One very pleasurable wing of Green Plum Design is working as a color consultant.

Yes,  I can spot the difference between  Benjamin Moore’s Brewster and Templeton Gray at a hundred yards.  Which is probably why Kate and Kevin’s craftsman home first caught my eye.

Color.

The house paint ( Kelly Moore’s French Quarter and trim in Swiss Coffee ) and the plants all work so beautifully together to create a sea of grey greens, citrines and the odd hint of a muted red.

Kate’s brilliant choice of plants looks effortless.  ( I know it wasn’t, I saw the much considered original plan for the garden )

They blend so well together – the greeny-grey euphorbias…

And the hint of tangy yellow-green in the kangaroo paw…

The gorgeous silvery dymondia grass…

The cone bush with a beautiful splash of pinky red…

The soft and fluffy mexican feather grass…

So delicate and wonderful in the morning light…

And the cotton lavender’s yellow popping out so well against the green…

All set beautifully against the soothing grey color of her home.

So here’s the humbling bit – Kate and Kevin only moved into this house in 2008 and at that point had one baby and one on the way AND Kate works….

Just to get a measure of this achievement, here’s what it looked like when they moved in…

And now again…

Yup…Kate is one impressive woman and as well as quite possibly copying her garden plan, I also take my hat off to her, Kevin and the family!

And now, another home that caught my eye back in the Summer when the garden was in full bloom…

Christie’s beautiful shingled craftsman is another great example of how the planting at the front works so beautifully with the house…

Just take a look at the way her Eastern Redbud guards, shades, and shields her house, it is quite stunning…

From the front, you can just peek at house through the gaps…

If you shimmy to the side a little, you can see a gorgeous wisteria running along her porch, hanging lazily over some gently swaying Mexican Feather Grass…

Here’s one more of the Mexican Grass – SOOO beautiful – frothy, soft and delicate – I just love it.   Christie says that it has multiplied a lot all by itself.

And then, if you venture up the steps, you come onto a beautifully proportioned porch with a comfy place to sit and rock and watch the world…

The front door leaps out at you with fabulous color, contrasting nicely with the green trim…

And generous pots of succulents dot the steps…

I could have photographed this house all day – Christie has made her home and garden into a magical place that just draws you in.

So big, big thank you to Kate, Kevin and Christie for allowing me to photograph their gorgeous houses.  They are an inspiration.

So that’s it from me.   As I sit in bed, I feel quite cheered by looking at all those photographs.

Back soon, hopefully with both ears working!

See you soon,

Ros

ps Welcome to all those people who have hopped over from Sarah’s lovely Beach Cottage.

pps  If you have a friend or someone who you think might enjoy my blog, just send me their email address to roswyatt@greenplumdesign.com and I will add them to the list.

Posted in Adding more space, English Seaside, Feeling At Home, Flowers, Garden, Getting Away, Industrial Design, Line Dried Washing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

WOOL

A beautiful Autumnal day here in the Bay Area – sunny and crispy and perfect for sitting outside with a book, a cup of tea and a blanket…

And I do love a wool blanket.

Like…a lot…

Even in Sunny California – wool is fabulous on so many levels, the texture, the warmth, the colors and most of all, the promise of comfort … the dry equivalent of a large hot bath…

So it was no coincidence that my very first business, back in England, was a little company called Plum ( yes, I really like the word Plum…) which sold things made from recycled vintage blankets.

It all began when me and my super-talented design partner, Ellee Kellett, stumbled upon a large source of used woollen blankets.  Right bang in the middle of England and not far from all the old woollen mills that were thriving just a century earlier.

It was a warehouse the size of a couple of football pitches filled with huge floor to ceiling cages of blankets  -  beautiful, scrumptious woollen blankets of every color, thickness, size and texture.  And for an incredibly small fee, we would fill up the boots of our cars with the very finest merino and lambswool offerings (with those lovely satin edges) until we couldn’t see a thing out of the back…

While gathering a few traffic offenses, we giggled all the way home not able to believe our luck to glean so many beautiful blankets for such a bargain.  And then there were all those possible things we could make with them…

Throws…

Hot water bottle covers…

And most popular of all, Christmas stockings – all made from recycled vintage wool…

Of course, our business was cashing in on that point in time when everyone seemed to collectively choose not to be trapped under their own body weight in bedding and be delivered each morning from their woolly cocoon with a pair of forceps…but rather to opt for lying beneath a gentle sprinkling of duck feathers.

An option that caught on like wildfire and soon had everyone donating their old blankets to Oxfam at whose headquarters we were taking our pick…

But even now with all those feathers floating around on top of me, I still love having the comfort of a warm blanket at the end of the bed for those extra chilly nights…

So together, Ellee and I  made lots of things from all of this lovely wool, not least from the beautiful labels…

In fact,  I could never bear to throw away the labels as they were all perfect miniature designs in themselves.  I eventually re-mounted some of them onto the softest blue blanket I could find to make a big pillow…

To show them off a bit.

They were all so original…

And then, when I moved to the U. S of A,  I went into a new business with my superlative kick-ass entrepreneurial partner, Binni Hackett, making… wool blanket knitting bags to be filled with…well… wool…

So, you can see there is a long woollen thread running through my life and if you take a glance about my house, it’s all over the place…

And round every corner…

I just love it and even though things are a little warmer in Northern California than the Derbyshire Dales, I am not planning on getting rid of it anytime soon.

That’s it from me today.

Coming soon, a new beautiful line up in my Front of House series.

See you soon,

Ros

ps Welcome to all those from Sarah’s lovely Beach Cottage

Posted in California, England, Garden, Green Plum Design, Inspiration, Interior design, Vintage Fabrics, Wool | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Burlap Love

Hi Everyone,

Hope you are all good and back in the swing of things?

A beautiful September’s day here in Northern California with the light working it’s usual magic…

On what I think is my last hydrangea to blossom this year.

Autumn is nipping at our heals.

But for right now…a new subject…

Have you noticed that so much of what is in fashion at the moment was once a functional, workman like product that was not primarily meant to look pretty but just get on and do the job?

You know…like steel lamps and tables, wire books cases, concrete floors and counters – things made from strong,  durable materials…

Even the metal stools that I used to sit on in Physics and Chemistry are now featured in all the grooviest stores with a hefty price tag dangling ( let’s hope they’ve scraped all the gum from under the seat…)

What we are looking at here is a welcome rise in the popularity of industrial design….and one of the happy spin offs is the impact it’s made in the world of textiles with the growing prevalence of the workman like burlap

Most famously, we think of the large old burlap coffee sacks that held together many a bean with it’s coarse and breathable weave.

Rough and ready and strong as an ox.  It is sturdy stuff and I love it.

Nowadays you can see burlap cushions strewn across the sofas of Pottery Barn and Restoration Hardware … still paying dues to their industrial roots with black lettered prints saying things like ‘Banque de France’ and ‘Product of Columbia’.

Anyway,  I thought I’d have a go printing on this lovely stuff myself…

I decided to screen print some navy blue swallows swooping about…

Here’s my first set of prints hanging out to dry in the sun…

I ended up making a bag or two…

And lined them with some left over blue linen I had knocking about…

I love the combination of the burlap and linen, surely second cousins in the textile world – one made from the skin of the jute plant and one from flax fibers…

And with the rest of the prints, I put together a few pillows

For inside…

And out…

And I know that these babies will last…

That’s it from me today – I think it’s time for me to sit on that chair outside with a nice little pot of tea before four hungry people walk through the door.

I will be back very soon.

See you later,

Ros

ps Welcome to all those people from Sarah’s lovely Beach Cottage – thanks for dropping by…

pps    If you would like me to add someone to my email notification list, just send their email address to roswyatt@greenplumdesign.com – thanks for all the ones you have already sent…

Posted in Burlap, California, Feeling At Home, Flowers, Garden, Green Plum Design, Industrial Design, Inspiration, Interior design, Light, Vintage Fabrics | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

A Little Corner of France

Hello Everyone,

So I am just about back into the swing of things and now slightly readjusting…ahem…my idyllic vision of Britain with jolly Bobbies on the Beat….to incorporate fully armed police units, frustrated and enraged youths, burning buildings and spluttering Tories…

‘Jeruslalem’ aint playing anymore…

But I did promise you a little glimpse of France…

Brittany, to be specific.  The beautiful North-Western corner of France where buildings are made from gentle colored stone…

That look so warm and pleasing in the afternoon sun …

The windows, like the buildings, are uniformly tall and narrow…

And the iron work wraps itself casually around a building…

Or graces a front door without a song and a dance…

And those doors…Oh those doors – beautiful, heavy, engraved wooden doors… always painted and looking better for being a little worse for wear…

…and of course, there are those gorgeous dormer windows that seem to be two a penny in this neck of the woods….giving the roofline a little extra interest and height and making that attic space work for it’s money…

There is a real uniformity about this place – everything pulled together and consistent…

Take the blue and white enamel house numbers – everyone seems to have one – and they are just lovely…

And when it comes to planting – there seems to be a natural collective leaning towards hollyhocks, hydrangeas, geraniums…tickling first floor windows everywhere I look…

And the placement of trees is uniformly so fabulously disciplined, they create the true meaning of the word ‘avenue’…

The French just know how to pull things together…they just know…

You only have to glance into the window of any patisserie to see that…

Even the displays in the shop windows are done with some flair…palette, oils, tortured soul and all…

The plain fact of the matter is that the French….dammit…are just effortlessly stylish.

For sure there must be some ugly places, somewhere in Brittany…believe me, I was really searching…but I have to say, I was hard pressed to come up with anything on the duff side of gorgeous…

Here in California, where I live, everything is relatively SO much newer – it’s just a tiny baby compared with Brittany.

And in this new land, everyone has their own idea of what sort of house they want to live in,  they are all pursuing their own dream…

I have said this before, it is not unusual here to walk down a street and see a craftsman house, next to a mediterranean, next to a ranch-style, next to a colonial, next to a modern box, next to an igloo…

The individual has conquered.

But back in Brittany…old as the hills, what can I say… beautiful, stylish and most of all pulled together by an invisible collective hand.

I will be back very soon,

Ros

ps Welcome to all those people from Sarah’s lovely Beach Cottage.

pps. If you would like me to add someone to my email notification list, just send their email address to roswyatt@greenplumdesign.com – thanks for all the ones you have already sent – they are plugged into the system and ready to go!

Posted in Architecture, Brittany, California, France, Front of House, Green Plum Design, Inspiration | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments