Our typical 3rd Wednesday of the month Women’s Networking Event will be PAUSED for the remainder of the Summer. We will be reconvening + reconfiguring in the fall.
Soak up the Sun. Read a book. Go to the Beach. And enjoy time with Friends & Family.
See you in September!
It’s true! My daughter, Elle, is headed off to college! Not only did the last 18 years go quickly but most especially the last year! She started with at amy dutton Home last fall out of the sheer necessity to make money for college (and as a dependent, I don’t have to take taxes out of her check = more money in her pocket!). It all sounded great, but I don’t think either one of us expected it to work out as well as it has.
Elle is an incredibly organized person and quickly taught us how to leave notes for her, would follow up on emails and complete projects. Elle’s communication skills are always appreciated because we are a busy office that moves fast but we want our customers & clients alike to know that they are important and valued. She is great with customers and will gladly answer questions, enjoys a friendly chat with the customers – then rings up the order and wraps purchases beautifully. She dresses fashionable but professional and is always on time as well as keeps to the schedule that she is given. Lastly, many of you have liked and followed her social media posts – they are fun and keep you updated about what is happening at amy dutton Home.
Do you have the same qualities and capabilities as Elle? Are you available on Saturdays from 10-6pm? If you are interested in replacing Elle, let us know! Please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and to schedule an interview. Interviews will start the week of August 15, so schedule yours sooner than later!
Yes, August 25 brings the departure from our home as well as amy dutton Home. She will be attending George Washington University in D.C. but will study her Freshman year in Paris, France. While I will miss her, I am so proud of her and know that it is time for the journey to begin!
If you have a neighbor that you can see from your house, chances are that you need to create privacy, perhaps by using landscaping. True, living urban means that you are pretty much guaranteed a privacy issue. However, I have also been to many houses that even though they own more than an acre, the houses are situated such that privacy is still a concern.
So, what to do about the situation? You actually have many options and opportunities to consider. The path that you will take should work for your specific needs. You can talk to your neighbor about the situation but ultimately, if you are on your side of the property line, you are free to do whatever you want.
I have a new neighbor who moved in and removed a key privacy tree then built a long landing and stairs that encroaches on the privacy of our backyard and driveway. We are faced with a new challenge – how to we create privacy in such a tight space (our houses are only 15’ apart and our driveway runs between the houses).
1) Because we live urban, often off-street parking is essential but difficult, so we didn’t want to loose parking spaces in our driveway. This meant that we couldn’t plant anything too wide to avoid loosing part of our driveway.
2) Our kitchen windows line up creating many awkward situations standing at the kitchen sink. This is our opportunity to deal with the privacy issue.
3) The height of the neighbor’s house is such that a fence could not be tall enough vertically to accomplish privacy. Additionally, our city has a 8’ height limit to fences.
4) The realtor told me that they can see right into my backyard from the master bedroom. Their house is very tall and I live in a bungalow so I needed to figure out a way to get our backyard privacy!
5) Our front porches align perfectly. This means that we can be on our front porch and the neighbor can hear our conversation and see what we are doing with little to no effort. I have bamboo planted there but it doesn’t fill in enough to be a visual buffer.
1-3) Vertical Privacy: We planted a row of Emerald Green Arborvitae that are between 8-10’ high. Hale’s Landscaping did a wonderful job and it is perfectly straight. In about 2-3 years it will fill in to create a wall of green that is 12-14’ and keep going vertical to about 20’. These plants are narrow so we won’t loose parking despite the fact that it is tight.
I also have large pots with tall plants and a bench of herbs at the end of our driveway. These create a visual buffer from those walking down the sidewalk. We use the end of the driveway as additional backyard space in the summer. In the winter, these pots get stored and we are able to park closer to the door since because we don’t need the backyard space in the winter. It also means that we create a buffer between our relaxing patio and our vehicles.
4) Backyard Privacy: Because their house is so tall, as I sat on my patio I realized that what I needed was an awning or sun sail. We saw them in Australia over pools and such. It didn’t take long to find one the perfect size on Amazon for $60.
5) Front Porch Privacy: The solution seemed pretty straightforward. I hung up a rod and curtains. These are simple curtains from Target because they do get wet in the rain and I didn’t want to invest a lot of money for this test. I keep the curtains open for the most part. But when we are out on the porch, we close them. This creates a very nice room feel and we appreciate the privacy.
I tell you this story because I personally know how upsetting it is to have your private space invaded and how essential it is to find a solution that will work for you. As you can see, we needed to use a combination of landscaping as well as fabric to accomplish what we needed to create for privacy. As the landscaping grows in, we will gain more privacy so it becomes positive long-term investment in your property.
Landscaping can be a very powerful tool to create visual, auditory and even olfactory buffers between neighbors. Hale’s Landscaping worked with me to find just the perfect tree to accomplish this. I’m happy to be part of the conversation with your landscaper to create a beautiful and organic privacy buffer for your home that compliments and solves any privacy issues that you might have.
As you are wrapping up construction on your home, the last question of how to create a welcoming walkway may be begging for an answer.
Okay, the thing about landscaping is that by the time the project gets to the hardscape (or stonework) to create walkways, stone walls, and patios, two things have happened:
- “Project Fatigue” has set in. Pure exhaustion over the project and people just simply want to relax and enjoy their homes.
- “Financial Woes”. Typically, the tap has been run dry due to the project running over budget and landscaping was forgotten or put on the back burner.
Regardless, creating a welcoming walkway is excrutiatingly important! I encourage you to give due attention to this vital part of your home. Why?
- It is the first thing that your guests see and sets the tone for experiencing the entire home.
- It is a functional necessity. HOW a person moves from the driveway or sidewalk to your front door, controls how they will enter your home.
- In New England, many people are known for not using their front door (even to the point that furniture might be in front of it), so the walkway to the primary door that will be shoveled and marked for daily use is worth the investment.
So now that you have agreed that it is just as important as installing a kitchen in your home, how do you overcome the “Project Fatigue and Financial Woes”? Planning!
At the beginning of your project, as the earth is disrupted and excavation is taking place, start planning and budgeting for your walkway! This is your opportunity to create a welcoming walkway. Here are a few tips:
- Stand in the driveway or sidewalk and decide where exactly you think people will start their journey to your door.
- Walk this direction avoiding a straight path. Try to move away from the house in a biomorphic or somewhat curved shape.
- Every house should have a Drip Edge – a gravel space that is between the foundation wall and the line of the roof + 4”. This is where the water will land. Additionally, you want to keep mulch and planting away from the siding to avoid rot and insects from getting in the house.
- Foundation Plantings are a must on every home. These are plantings that buffer between your house and the lawn. They are very important in the visual experience of your home and should be partly evergreen so that in the winter they remain.
- The walkway should be on the outside of the foundation plantings. Using landscaping spray paint, begin to spray out your pathway. Once you are happy with the shape, call a few landscapers to come over and discuss the project.
- A good landscaper will give you ideas about materials and budgets. This is a conversation and process. Once you choose a landscaper, create a budget with them and commit to using them for the work.
- This is your budget for the end of the project. Take the plan and the budget number and make sure that it is preserved for the finish work.
Knowing that you have the plan and funds set aside will give you peace of mind and a relaxed knowledge that all will be well at the end of the day. It will also eliminate the stress and worry or simple avoidance of creating the most welcoming walkway ever!
If you need help in designing a welcoming walkway, let me know. I’m happy to help you with the process and design.
By Amy Dutton, Founder, Amy Dutton Home
Are you getting ready to paint your space and want to be able to define your design aesthetic and create a visual foundation that will make your vision come to life successfully for a beautiful interior? Great!
First of all, you need to think about space beyond the doorway. Often when I walk into a space people ask me to help them pull the space together to create a cohesive, well-designed feeling throughout the entire interior. And one of the most common problems is they have painted one room at a time resulting in a jarring or startling effect instead of calming and cohesive. If you think of every room as a separate unrelated space, the total effect throughout your home will be disjointed.
Selecting a color scheme that you love and carrying it throughout the entire space is very important. This doesn’t mean every surface needs to be painted in exactly the same color without any variation or diversity. But you need a consistent foundation to build on and create connection from room to room. Trim is the easiest way to maintain consistency from one room to the next. But wall colors should work together even if they’re not all the same.
Two of my favorite white trim colors are Benjamin Moore White Dove and Simply white. White Dove has a tiny bit of yellow so it is a warmer color and works beautifully with wood. Simply white is a pure white that reads very neutral. If you are looking for a color in your trim, Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter is an excellent option. Beyond your color selection, the other key to success here, is to have the same trim color and sheen (ideally semi-gloss) throughout the entire house.
When selecting your wall color, you can use the same color as your trim but use an eggshell finish on the walls and a semi-gloss finish on your trim. Typically, I recommend this approach if there is a lot of movement, texture and interest in the space that you want to focus on, while allowing the walls to be less of a statement, more as a quieter background to let other design element stand out.
Adding color to the walls brings an opportunity to blend materials and interest for your space. When choosing a color, it is best to have at least one item you adore that is already prominent in the space – such as furniture, rugs or unique accessories – that include the wall color of choice. The spectrum of wall paint colors is literally infinite, so you’ll have a much easier time basing that choice on items you already own and love, rather than struggling to try and make other items work with your paint color.
A few of my absolute favorite wall colors are these (all by C2):
- Esoteric C2-989
- Pearl C2-852
- Salt Water C2-979
- Inuvik Ice C2-232
- Milk Mustache C2-692
- Chit Chat C2-208
- Slinky C2 975
- Cricket White C2 916
- Wellspring C2-977
C2 is a wonderful, high-end paint line that has a fantastic line-up of colors. When looking through the options and marking your colors, be sure to use either plain masking tape or white post-it notes. If you use anything with a color, it will change the way your eyes perceive the wall color you’re examining.
Another key item to be aware of is color matching from one brand of paint to another. While paint shops can try to match C2 colors and blend them into other paint brands, the result is not a truly exact match. If your painter wants to switch to a paint brand they’re familiar with rather than one you specified when choosing colors – it is well worth the extra step, to approve the color sample before the entire room is painted.
Enjoy your colors, thanks reading, and for being part of our Amy Dutton Home community.