Entries from June 9th, 2011

Daydream Travelin’: Little Palm Island, Florida



A little 5 1/4 mile island lying discreetly off the fabled Florida Keys coastline is a place so remote it can only be accessed by sea plane or boat.

Little Palm Island is a resort that I’ve been infatuated with  ever since I saw a travel channel episode of Great Hotels with Samantha Brown a number of years ago.

Located just 25 miles south of Key West, Florida lies Little Torch Key at mile marker 28.5  places are so off-the-beaten path in this part of the country that directions are given according to the mile marker. Once there guests are greeted by an off-white building with a thatch roof, located there is the resorts Welcome Station where you register and then are whisked away in a complimentary motor yacht shuttle where you will arrive on Little Palm.

Crushed seashell pathways connect just 30 oceanfront bungalows tucked away on the island.

Each one more private than the next you feel like you are a million miles away.

All photos courtesy of Little Palm Island Resort and Spa.

For more information including how you too can visit Little Palm Island check out all the details on the resort’ s website.

Psst: Be sure to check out the other posts in our weekly series  Daydream Travelin‘.

Time for a yard update and a plan



Since summer is here and we’ve been working diligently in our yard I thought it was high time to stop take a look around and see where our yard is today, where it was and where it’s going.

I updated this cute little (not to scale) drawing of our backyard that represents some notes of where we’re thinking we are heading with our yard overhaul.

Click on the image above view larger

Here’s an overhead view of how the yard looked when we first bought the house on the day of our home inspection. We had so many ideas from the day we laid eyes on this view.

Here’s an in-progress shot from the same angle as it looks today. It’s been a little bit of a construction zone over the past couple weeks, we’re working towards making it a really inviting retreat after a hard day at the office. It’s super sunny and aitch-oh-tee-tee. HOTT down there when the temperature rises above 60 degrees. I’m not kidding, you could fry an egg on the stones on a hot summer day.

We’re updating the pool deck platform to make it a cool inviting area. One where you can relax, get your toes wet and watch the kids floating the days away in the pool. We’re thinking that will probably include some sort of shady, relaxing, lounge area.

The deck platform will have a couple of steps to gradually transition from the lawn level to the pool level, and a fence and gate to keep curious little children safe and sound.

The path to below is currently being updated to include some natural stone steps (you can read all about how this surprise project started here).

As you head down the stone steps you can see that you just can’t get away from all that white stone that we inherited, in small doses those stone may be attractive but it doesn’t exactly lend itself to kids playing barefoot in the sprinklers the way it is now.

As you come down to the water’s edge we think this is an ideal spot for a small patio and an area to sit and relax, some shade maybe in the form of shade sails or a pergola and if we get really spunky an outdoor bar would be totally cool after all this is the money spot right here.

And then is this corner we’re thinking some really fun (think sherbert colored with a punch) Adirondack chairs would be lovely instead of the extra row boats (which are soon to be on Craigslist) that we somehow acquired.

We’ll also add a garden in front of the pool side that faces the lake with some flowing ornamental grasses that rustle in the breeze contrasted by rose bushes, camouflaging the less than stellar above ground pool look we’ve got going on.

And if you didn’t get enough of the before shots  here’s a little video of the space as narrated by a 14 month old boy!

Needless to say we’ve been thinking about this for a little while and have come up with a preliminary collection of things we like.

Click on the image above view larger

The kind of things that are likely to change at least 1,000 times before we’re totally finished but for us part of the fun is in the journey, although the finish line is looking really good right now!

Psst: If you like any of the items in our inspiration board hop on over to our Our Lake Life’s Lakeside Inspiration Pinterest Board for all the details and sources along with tons more.



Bright Bold & Beautiful!



I recently came across a the most fantastic artist by the name of Laura Trevey while browsing CasaSugar. A bright, cute, blue crab caught my attention.

Bay Blue Crab Print on Etsy

At $18.00 for the print I thought it was such a cute little fun print and clicked on over to check it out and see if there were any other fun surprises in the shop. Oh boy, was I blown away by what I found.

Italian Street Scene Original Painting on Etsy

Summer Breeze Giclee on Etsy

Laura is the curator and artist behind the Etsy shop Bright Bold & Beautiful and blog by the same name.

Caribbean Time Print on Etsy

Summer Glow Watercolor Print

All of her art is just that, Bright, Bold & Beautiful! I love every piece of it.

Custom Home Watercolor on Esty

She’ll even create you a custom watercolor of your home. Such a great gift idea!

The beautiful thing about Laura’s shop is anyone can take a piece of her art home. She caters to all price points by offering anything from prints to giclee to original art. And not only is Laura a great artist she has the most inspiring Bright Bold & Beautiful blog.  I can’t get enough of it.  Her beautiful art studio was featured on House of Turquoise. I’m in love.

Art Studio Image via House of Turquoise

Are you as inspired by Laura’s art as I am?

Raising a deck



Over the last couple weekends we’ve been making some real progress with our little deck building project. We began way back last fall with the adding some stone pillars and have continued to add on from there.

A couple days ago I had some Photoshop fun creating a little drawing of how our vision is all going to come together for our yard. So you can get the lay of the land…more or less.

The guys started out by digging six holes to for the new support posts for the deck. We rented a power auger from the Home Depot but after about six seconds and that many rocks it was clear these lovelies were going to have to be dug the old fashioned way.

Once the business of hand digging the holes was finally out of the way they were able to start laying the posts into the freshly dug holes.

They started setting the posts in the holes and cutting the posts to height by calculating what we wanted the finished height to be minus the height of the joists and decking material. Ultimately it would sit flush with the pool rim, making it easy to sit relax and dip your toes in the water on a hot summer night.

Next came building the support beams for the perimeter by nailing two 2 x 8 pieces of lumber together to support the weight of the deck.

Then there was A LOT of leveling, measuring, nailing and leveling some more to build the outer frame that would support the entire structure.

After everything was perfectly in place and held up with some temporary braces to makes sure things stayed level and straight the guys mixed up a batch of concrete to pour into the post holes. The step is key because no one wants to stand on a wobbly deck and once dry this would secure the entire structure together.

Once the cement set in the post holes and it was good and strong they were able to take down the temporary supports and get to adding the deck joists. If you’ve ever seen a house being built it was just like the day when they raise the 2 x 4’s that will form the walls and finally you can really start to see how the space is going to take shape. It’s super exciting.

They placed the joists every 16 inches on center meaning that if you measure from joist to joist every 16 inches would be the center of the next joist. It’s standard code building measurements that’s helpful when you place your deck boards on top. With standard factory lumber the edge of each board will line up with the center of a joist if you use the 16 on center rule. It’s crazy how these things are all planned out.

As if there wasn’t enough fun digging the posts they also had to dig out where the steps would sit that will bring onto the deck from the lawn. Poor guys it was awfully hot and sunny that day. But they persevered with the help of their assistant in charge of coolness.

After all that hard we we have the making of a pretty awesome giant deck area for lounging around the pool. The dimensions are about 19 feet wide and about 26 feet deep spread out over two levels to make up for the height difference from the lawn to the height of the top of the pool.

Overall, we’re pretty please with how it’s shaping up. I can hardly wait till we’re swimming in the pool sitting on some lounge chairs.

Psst: If you would like to see how this all started out check it out here.

A 3 hour tour (part 3)



It’s time again for another installment of our 3 hour tour series.  Where we take you  house crashing to some of our favorite homes on our lake, as seen only by boat. We love exploring and looking at all the gorgeous waterfront homes, camera in hand to capture all the delightfully delicious details.

I’m taking you back to a home we first featured on the last edition of the 3 hour tour series.  Because, well, I’m in love with this house, the colors, the location, the yard, just about everything. What’s not to love?

If I were going to build a house I think I would build this one.

I’m a sucker for those round turret rooms and large expanses of  lawn. I imagine being a kid a doing to “tootsie roll” down the grassy grassy hill.

The best part is it’s location. It’s on the most amazing water cul-de-sac. Nestled right into a cove that protects it from the harsh boat wakes of the main lake, right next to a home that has an equally extraordinary green grassy greatness. The two together are breathtaking.

The neighbor is an older brick style home. I’m really fond of areas where homes have organically grown together over time instead of being choreographed sometimes not so successfully by a team of developers. Especially on such a wonderfully organic setting on the lake. It lends itself to an overall feel of a home grown community.

Even the two lower buildings near the water are inviting. The right structure is the boathouse which let me tell you is an awesome luxury. Boathouses are basically a garage built over the water for your boat, now that would come in handy. The structure on the right I imagine is a wonderful guest house, many of the homes on the lake either feature and in-law suite or sometimes guest quarters. I wouldn’t mind being a guest there!

So what do you all think of the 2 fabulous homes? Are they not dream places?

Well thanks for joining us for another episode of our 3 hour tour. If you want to see more be sure to check out the 3 hour tour (part 1) and the 3 hour tour (part 2).

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