The weather is great! Time to move outside!

Beautiful-photo-of-spring-flowers-taken-by-wrenda-goodwyn

Wrenda Goodwyn • special to the Fort Myers News-Press • April 6, 2019

It’s spring and if you are like me, the past few weeks of perfect Southwest Florida weather have you getting outdoors as much as possible. It’s the time to create or enhance your outdoor living space.

Because I was born and raised in the south, I love porches. Today, it can be a porch, a lanai patio or balcony if you are up a level.

When I was growing up, the "porch" was where the family headed after dinner. I can hear my mother saying, "Help me finish the dishes and let's go out on the porch." It was where all important discussions and decisions took place. Even though the "porch" was only a small cement stoop with a couple of aluminum chairs. It was still the place where we retreated at the end of the day. And so did all of the neighbors.

As a Southwest Florida interior decorator, I’ve had many "porches" since those days. Small apartment balconies barely large enough for two chairs, front porches with comfortable wicker furniture, large lanais' with summer kitchens surrounding a pool and filled with friends. But to me, they are all "porches." And I love them all.

Frontgate’s Myla collection brings a laid-back coastal vibe to any outdoor setting. All-weather resin wicker is intricately handwoven in an open looped pattern around durable powder coated aluminum frames. Add a rug to tie the area together. Photo: Frontgate

Frontgate’s Myla collection brings a laid-back coastal vibe to any outdoor setting. All-weather resin wicker is intricately handwoven in an open looped pattern around durable powder coated aluminum frames. Add a rug to tie the area together. Photo: Frontgate

For years, I have helping my clients makeover their outdoor space as an extension of the home's living space. No matter what the size or budget. I hope a few of my tips will inspire you to move outdoors!

Don’t crowd your space. Decide what is most important. Dining? Relaxing? TV area? And plan the space accordingly with the appropriate sized furnishings.

Protect from water and sun. Purchase cushions with performance fabrics such as Sunbrella.

Anchor your seating area with an outdoor rug. Even on a tiny balcony this works and adds color to the space. It also makes it an extension of your home.

Lighting for atmosphere. If there is space, add an outdoor lamp, twinkly lights, a few lanterns.

Add a bar cart. Yes, it's great for a party but you can also use it for storage...liquid refreshments, cups, stirrers, coasters, books, magazines, speakers, and anything else necessary for a relaxing retreat.

Purchase a new set of dishes, place mats, glasses. Add some color with a few new table enhancements that will bring some fresh, new color to your space. Use them indoors as well. After all, we will soon be heading into summer so let’s make it easy!

Replicated from original watercolor renderings, the Venetian-inspired patterns that artfully accent this outdoor dinnerware collection provide a creative pop of blue and white to an outdoor space. Use it indoors or outdoors. Photo: Frontgate

Replicated from original watercolor renderings, the Venetian-inspired patterns that artfully accent this outdoor dinnerware collection provide a creative pop of blue and white to an outdoor space. Use it indoors or outdoors. Photo: Frontgate

Something blue. Paint the ceiling blue. Why? It's pretty and adds another dimension to your porch. Giving your own outdoor space a hint of blue is the perfect way to play into history, and it just might keep wasps and evil spirits away, too! According to the legend, years ago, in the deep South, many people painted their porch ceilings a specific shade of Haint Blue, a soft blue-green, to ward off evil spirits called "haints."

It's especially common in the historic homes around Savannah, Charleston and Key West. It’s believed to keep wasp and bird nests from forming because they confuse it with the sky. Two favorites: Benjamin Moore Bird’s Egg 2051-60 and Palladian Blue HC 144. I don’t know about the legend but I love the look.

Anchor the space with a rug. Even small spaces are perfect for summer days. Check out Pier 1's Coastal Collection. Photo: Pier 1.

Anchor the space with a rug. Even small spaces are perfect for summer days. Check out Pier 1's Coastal Collection. Photo: Pier 1.

Add some green. Give it your personal touch with lots of greenery. If there is space, add some pots, a small tree and a vase or two of fresh flowers. Use perennials so you will not have to replace them each year.

Go vertical. Hang a piece of artwork or sign on a wall. This makes it feel like part of your living space.

Tiny space? No problem! Bistro table and chairs may be all that you need. No room for furniture? Fill your tiny balcony with plants and let the outdoors inside.

Wrenda Goodwyn is a Southwest Florida interior decorator, A.S.I.D. associate and certified gold member of the Interior Redecorators Network. She helps homeowners throughout Southwest Florida with timeless, affordable ways to create beautiful spaces and solves decorating problems. Her article appears the first Saturday of each month. For more information visit her website at spectacularspaces.com. Call her at 949-1808 or e-mail wrenda@spectacularspaces.com. For more decorating tips, articles and photos, visit spectacularspaces.com/blog

Easy changes to refresh and renew your home and spirit for spring

Wrenda Goodwyn • special to the Fort Myers News-Press• May 9, 2015

Bring springs colors into your home with marbleized bud vases. Photo: Pottery Barn.

Even though in Southwest Florida, we typically go from winter (such as it is) straight into summer, with a few cool and breezy days in between, it is still human nature to mark the change of seasons.

And spring is a time to take a mid-year evaluation of how we want to transition into summer with subtle ways of renewing and refreshing our homes. And our spirit.

So, do a little inventory of you home and decide what makes you happy this spring. And make a list of a few easy changes you do to honor the season and refresh your home. Some of my favorite rituals to acknowledge this subtle shift may help!

Declutter. Spring is the perfect time as you refresh and renew your home. Eliminate anything that bothers you. A mini downsize of your "stuff" is healthy and don't be afraid to open up some space!

Open the windows. Yes, some fresh air. Let all of the bad chemicals and cooking fumes out and some fresh air in.  My green expert friend and designer, Peggy Oberlin of Oberlin Interiors in Naples, uses the plastic bag analogy when explaining what our homes are like. We live in air conditioning without fresh air and everything builds up inside to one big unhealthy trapped batch of air.  Open the windows and let it out!  

Pottery Barn's pretty spring table with turquoise dishes and glass based coral stands.

Bring a little "green" inside. We know that plants are healthy for our environment but I notice in most of my client's homes, there are very few plants used as decor. This does make some sense since we are surrounded by beautiful outdoor landscapes and our lanais are all filled with trees and potted plants. But pick up a few for the inside. No green thumb? Try succulents.  They live despite the fact that you don't have a green thumb.

Replace a few things. Like those yucky switch plates that have been around forever. Like the front door welcome mat. And definitely add or replace a few pots of annuals around your front door. They just shout out "welcome" spring.

Set a pretty spring table with turquoise dishes and glass based coral stands. Photo: Pottery Barn.

Paint baseboards and window sills. One of my favorite spring rituals. This gets rid of scuff marks and gives your home a little sparkly clean feeling.

Now, let's add some bursts of color.

Paint the front door. This is my favorite low-cost change that will make a big impact and it will also make you happy when you walk in the door. But here is the big change: paint the inside of the door as well so you can see it from your entry. Trust me. This is a great one! My favorite front door color (both sides) of the moment is Benjamin Moore's Boca Raton Blue.  But try a color that you love. The choices are endless.

Add spring with outdoor Astrid trellis embroidered pillows. Photo: Pottery Barn.

Paint a ceiling blue. Yes. Blue. There's just something about a blue ceiling.  My favorite locations: bedrooms, bathrooms and lanais. It's a very tropical, cool, calmingthing that is also brings big impact for very little money. Try it. You will thank me.

Paint a piece of furniture. Add some color with an old table that you feel is brown and dull. A nightstand in the bedroom or a even fireplace mantel. Give it a new life. It will brighten up a room instantly and give it a little personality.  

Add wallpaper. Okay. You don't have to go crazy with this one if you are afraid. But a powder room (my favorites) or your closet are great rooms to play with. These are rooms that you are not living in all day but will love some spring pizzazz! Be brave! And while at it, add a chandelier.  Spring glam!

Rotate your artwork. As a Fort Myers interior,  I do this for many of my clients. We all have artwork in the back of our closets because there is not enough space. Bring it all out and pick a few pieces to rotate for a season or two. It's like shopping in your own closet because you have probably forgotten about it!

To celebrate spring, there are a few purchases that will go a long way to welcoming a new season.

Pillows. If you don't add anything else, change the pillows on your sofa for a totally new look for spring.  I like doing this frequently and it is perfect for a seasonal transition.

Set a pretty table. Think about an inexpensive, colorful set of dishes. Napkins, table cloth and centerpiece. There is not any better (and fun) way to bring spring into your home than a new table setting.  You know you are bored with the same old tired looking stuff. Time to refresh it!

Create a spa in your bathroom. This would be a great time to give your bathroom a mini makeover. Transition it into spring with a spa look. White walls, blue ceiling, white fluffy towels, white rugs. Frame the mirror.  Voila! A new bathroom.

Add fresh flowers to every room. This is my favorite. Because it will not only add color to a room but it just makes you feel food. Invest in a few new vases and be creative about what you purchase. My favorites:  turquoise and green bottles. I like to buy large bouquets and break them into bunches of solid colors and arrange them throughout the house. And don't wait until house guests arrive. Do it for yourself.

Whatever changes you make to welcome spring, enjoy your home in this new season. There are only 32 weeks until Christmas!

Wrenda Goodwyn is a Southwest Florida interior decorator. Home Inspirations appears the first Saturday of each month. Visit her website at spectacularspaces.com. Call her at 949-1808 or e-mail wrenda@spectacularspaces.com. For more decorating tips and photos, visit spectacularspaces.com/blog

Home Inspirations: Start spring decorating with curb appeal

Wrenda Goodwyn • special to the Fort Myers News-Press• March 7, 2015

Spring flowers, trees and a bench in the entry set the tone for the exterior. 

We always talk in this column about decorating our home's interior and how to make our outdoor spaces beautiful (coming soon), but with spring around the corner, I think we should pay a little attention to the sometimes overlooked curb appeal of our homes.

One of my favorite British sitcoms features in every episode, a home that has a broken mail box, a garden gate that falls of the hinges, car with a flat in the driveway, cracked sidewalk leading to the house, light fixtures hanging from wires, chipped stairs leading to the door. And when the homeowner greets guests, you see that the interior perfectly matches the exterior: a disaster.

I laugh at this show every week. And no, in all of my years as a southwest Florida interior decorator, I have never encountered anything quite this dramatic while making my way to a client's front door. Although I did once break the heal on my shoe because of pavers that were too far apart and I did have a client's dog eat my shoes while I was on a ladder hanging artwork.

The fact is this: with a few good tips, we can improve the curb appeal of any home in a short time. If you are selling your home, it will attract a buyer and if not, you will feel much better every time you pull into your driveway. Try these tips for a quick (pretty) fix starting at the curb. It will say "welcome home" to you and your guests!

Decorative items, shutters, lighting and flower pots say "welcome home."

Before you get started, as with any decorating project, clean and declutter. Spring is the perfect time to take care of your landscaping by trimming, weeding and pruning. Pressure wash roof and driveway. Clean out gutters. Now for the fun tips:

•    Upgrade your mail box from the one that you have had since you moved into the house. If this is not possible because of homeowner rules, at least clean it out (cobwebs) and plant some colorful flowers around it.

•    Repair pavers or cracks in the driveway or sidewalk.

•    Freshen up the house numbers. Invest a few dollars little in a customized decorative plaque with your numbers.

•    It's a great time to clean/replace outdoor light fixtures and make sure you have enough light. A dark entry is not inviting nor is it safe.

•    Paint the front door, trim on the house and shutters if you have them. If you read this column regularly, I always suggest painting the door and the trim around it every spring. Give some thought to the style of the home and don't be afraid to go bold! Mine is currently turquoise!

•    Evaluate thepaint. If you are selling your home, a fresh coat of paint is the bestway to update your curb appeal.

•    Update your door bell or knocker. •    Plant spring annuals in your front yard. Around trees and to line your sidewalk or driveway.

•    Style the front entry. I do this for all of my clients. A seasonal wreath on the front door. Container gardens from a nursery, Lowes or Home Depot are my favorites. They are fast and inexpensive. Place them in pairs on either side of your door to add a welcoming touch.

•    Add some accessories! A piece or two of artwork that is weather-resistant such as a birdbath in the yard surrounded by plants and flowers or a metal sculpture at the entry, set the tone for entering your home.

•    Replace your door mat.

•    Welcome home.

Wrenda Goodwyn is a Southwest Florida interior decorator. Home Inspirations appears the first Saturday of each month. Visit her website at spectacularspaces.com. Call her at 949-1808 or e-mail wrenda@spectacularspaces.com. For more decorating tips and photos visit her blog at spectacularspaces.com/blog

Spring forward with these tips to refresh your home

Spring forward with these tips to refresh your home

Wrenda Goodwyn • special to the Fort Myers News-Press• April 7, 2012

Since this is a close to spring as we get in Southwest Florida, most of us are looking for ways to give our homes a little freshening up! Some decluttering.  And maybe a couple of home projects that we have been thinking about since the holidays. Something about spring, wherever we live, always gives us a nudge to shake things up a little. And even if budgets are tight, you can still do a little decorating to make an impact.

Photo of vintage pickle jars from Pottery BarnAdd spring color with vintage glass pickling jars from Pottery Barn.10 tips for putting a little spring into your home:

• Say goodbye to clutter.  Spring is the perfect time to get rid of anything that you don’t love.  Go room by room and drawer by drawer.  Closet by closet.  I find that tackling one room at a time works best. Don’t aim for perfection.  Just try to make a dent. And don’t forget to dump all of the piles of magazines that you have not read in the past two years.  Too many collectibles?  Put some away and rotate them back in the fall.

• Don’t try to redo the entire house but pick one room and give it a makeover.  Maybe the family room or the bedroom.  Make changes that you have been thinking about.  Spend some time and plan it out like a decorator.  Find photos in magazines or on the internet.  Make a vision board.  Establish a budget.  Set some priorities.  Have fun.

• Add some color for the biggest change.  Try some pops of that Tangerine Tango that you have heard so much about.  Pantone’s Color of the Year is cheerful and bright.  Try new throw pillows, a throw, picture frames. It goes with almost anything when used as an accent and is a very happy color!

• Give the kitchen a facelift. Not a remodel but some small changes that will make you love your kitchen again. Take all appliances off the counters (you will have room in your cabinets or pantry that you have decluttered).  Okay, leave the coffee maker.  But seriously, remove everything else.  Now you have room for a vase of beautiful spring flowers.  Now…replace the drawer pulls and any other outdated hardware. Then add a fresh coat of paint.

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Decorating focus: Spring

Photo of colorful rugs

Realizing that it is only January 15, I woke up this morning to 35 degrees in southwest Florida and started to think about spring. It must have been a flashback to my Virginia Peninsula roots. This is the time of year that I always started to dream about summer days and wish they were not so far off.

Photo of bathroomPhotos courtesy of Garnet Hill.Today is a glorious, sunny, blue sky day in Florida. But it is cold. We have about three days a year that are like this. So, while I was rummaging through the back of my closet for my Ugg boots, I was thinking cold. But when I saw this gorgeous photo from the Garnet Hill catalogue, aside from wanting this room with its great light, beautiful distressed, whitewashed flooring and the jewel-toned hooked rug, I started to think about spring. 

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