Home Sweet Home: Outdoor Decorating Ideas

June 1st, 2015

Interior design: Beautiful modern terrace lounge with pergola at

By Cathy Osoria

The temperature is rising, and sunny days draw us outdoors. If one has thoughts of enjoying outdoor space by entertaining, eating or just relaxing, then it is a good time to rethink how that area looks and feels.  Great outdoor decorating can be achieved on a tight budget by working with existing furniture or planters. Outdoor space does not need to be a large backyard. Decorating a small patio, terrace or balcony can be just as rewarding.  Some outdoor themes and clever ideas help to keep the budget intact and to enable the creation of a beautiful space.

Give the space a fresh face by sticking to a simple monochromatic palette.  Mixing an oversized white canvas outdoor umbrella and light grey- taupe toned furniture and cushions creates a modern clean crisp patio feeling.
Tropical Pop
Add a touch of color to the outdoor space by purchasing cushions, pillows, pillow covers, and planters in vibrant colors like tangerine, turquoise, fuchsia and bright yellow.  Mix stripes, modern patterns, dots, plaids and floral prints to create an interesting display of color and patterns.

photo2Tight Space
If the outdoor area is surrounded by fencing, use that as an advantage.  Think of the fencing as being walls in a home.  Hang open frames painted bright colors, or hang an outdoor canvas like wall art.  If the grill is placed near the fence, hang the cooking utensils, and spices from shelves or utensil hanging racks. Maybe add a weather proof clock, and just picture it resembling the indoor kitchen except it is outdoors.
Inside Out
Outdoor rugs come in a huge variety of sizes and colors and can be purchased at most home accessory stores or online.  Use an outdoor rug under the patio table and then set the table with full tablecloth and plates and napkins. Then add a fresh flower centerpiece, and a unique outdoor experience is created. Outdoor rugs can also define a seating area and create a comfortable conversation area. Adding a variety of occasional tables to accommodate food and drink is helpful to guests also.
Extend your outdoor hours by layering in lighting along with a mix of lanterns. Hanging outdoor string lights above a dining or lounging area can create ambiance and be functional also.  Lanterns can be purchased from home accessory stores and candles or flameless candles placed inside for glow and extra lighting. Mason Jars with tea lights are inexpensive and an easy effortless addition to any backyard party.

Be Shady
If the outdoor space does not have an awning or is not naturally shaded by trees, then create some shade.  A white canvas canopy can be attached to fencing, trees, posts or poles inserted into the ground, The shade will be more pleasurable for guests on those hot sunny days. Outdoor umbrellas come in a variety of sizes, shapes and colors and are easily moved to exactly where they are needed to create shade.

photoHanging Out
Create an intimate nook for lounging, reading or just taking an afternoon nap.  Find a spot in the trees to suspend a garden hammock and jazz up the area with some hanging lights. Home improvement stores carry outdoor decorative chandeliers, lamps and hanging string lights.

Greenery and Plants
So many beautiful varieties of flowering pot plants can be found at nurseries and home improvement stores.  Any blooming colorful garden plant added to a colorful pot and placed on the outdoor table or side table of a seating area is the most natural way to add stunning color to your outdoor space.  It is the watering and maintenance that causes one to be tempted to buy fake flowers, but nothing beats the real beauty of nature.

Luxury Outdoorsman

November 1st, 2014

2015 Cadillac Escalade

2015 Cadillac Escalade

By Don Armstrong

Put a lid on it! That’s pretty much what General Motors did when they created the Suburban – dubbed “Carryall” in 1935.  General Motors simply replaced the bed with a lengthened cab and put in on the same half-ton truck chassis. A GMC version quickly followed, and in 1999 Cadillac badged its own iteration called Escalade. Now comes the 12th version of the iconic “Carryall” for 2015.

The Cadillac Escalade is at the top of the food chain when it comes to full-size heavy weights; and we do mean heavy, as in poundage. Rolling out of its birthing ship in Arlington, Texas, the Escalade, branded four wheel drive Suburban, tips the scales at three tons.

Moving all that weight is a 6.2-liter V-8 delivering 420 horsepower and 460 lb.-ft. of grunt; more than enough juice to also tow another 8,000 pounds. That’s why we thought this would be the ultimate luxury hauler, not only for people and their stuff but a nice sized bass boat or camper.

The new sheet metal is fitting for a modern do-all with plenty of edgy Cadillac styling cues including LED lighting all around. This big beauty makes heads turn no matter what neighborhood you’re cruising.

Ride quality has always been part of the Cadillac success equation, and the Escalade is no different. To achieve its comfortable level, without sacrificing control, the Caddy engineers installed GM’s Magnetic Ride Control system; first developed for the Corvette.

Wind and road noise used to be a given in most vehicles. Not in the Escalade.  Triple door seals and lightweight, yet very effective sound deadening materials, bring a new meaning to a quiet interior.

2015 Cadillac EscaladeSpeaking of interiors, this is where the Escalade really shines. When we used to speak of fit and finish, our minds went to most financially unreachable rides. Say hello to a new era. Cadillac suits said, “We can do that too, but in volume,” and they did. With layered materials, cut-and-sewn craftsmanship and real wood accents, you are officially dared to compare.

Remember that heavy, old third row seat that most owners removed and stored on their dirty garage floors? No more, ‘cause there’s no need to remove it. Both the third and second row seats fold flat with the touch of a power button. Finally.

Pricing starts at $71,695, but with 72-month notes available…well, you know you want it.