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How To Make the Most of Your Side Yard

how to make your side yard a more functional space

With a smaller home it’s especially important to make use of every single available area – but side yards often turn into inefficient places to put…everything you don’t know where else to put.

Here’s how we transformed a side yard that was basically a garbage storage area into a super-useful space.

First, we added a slanted roof (for rain runoff) and closed up the walls to create a covered area. We then added shingles to the exterior of the roof so that it would match the roof of the rest of the house (and therefore look like an extension of the house from the front), reinforced the exterior gate with locks, and installed an interior gate to separate the part of the space that houses the motorcycle from the part where we keep our bikes and tools.

bike hooks hanging from ceiling

We also installed hooks to hang our bikes and scooters…

shelving for tool storage in side yard

Hung shelving for tools and cleaning supplies…

additional electrical outlets for power tools

Put in a couple of outlets for power tools and such…

antique wooden croquet set

And found a spot to store our croquet set when we’re not using it (which is always, as we have no idea how to play croquet).

We also painted the interior white with gray accents (Benjamin Moore Raccoon Fur) and power washed the floor. Knowing how much more efficient we made the space makes me wish we’d done it a looooong time ago. (Especially getting those bikes up and off the floor – such a space-saver.)

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Five Easy (And Unexpected) Ways To Update Your Autumn Decor



Fall decor can be a little tricky. The whole dried gourds/wheat/pinecones/orange/tartan thing…it’s very easy for it to feel dated and excessively fussy. Below are some modern, minimalist takes on traditional fall decor that’ll make your home feel autumnal, and anything but average.

If you’re into the pink-and-white pumpkin pile pictured above, surprise: That isn’t paint! It’s just pink and white balloons with the ends snipped off, stretched over mini pumpkins.



Obviously these pumpkins win fall. They’re like the pumpkins at school who are so cool they won’t even talk to your pumpkin.

How to make them: just paint an assortment of small pumpkins in different shades of matte chalkboard paint, and glue on studs and spikes (you can find inexpensive ones at Jo-Anns or Michael’s).

simple fall centerpiece succulents


More traditional – but still nice and simple – is this fresh-looking twist on a gourd centerpiece. Wood box, succulents, white pumpkin, a couple of pinecones. Done.



There are elements of this display that would be totally easy to incorporate into a party (the framed “Happy Thanksgiving” print, for example, or the white cake plate dessert displays). It’s a nice way to save space – the food itself becomes the centerpiece – and the staggered heights of the plates create a really beautiful, striking arrangement when they’re all grouped together.

antler center piece table

And finally: If you want to try this look and have trouble finding white pumpkins (or just think they’re too expensive, which they can be), you can always spray-paint regular old orange ones or faux craft-store pumpkins.

Ideas To Embolden Your Entryway (And Enhance Curb Appeal)

inspiration for a front door makeover

As the saying goes, first impressions are everything. Fortunately, transforming the entryway of your home into a statement-making showpiece can be an investment…but can also be done with a paintbrush and a couple of spare hours.

A handful of tips for a DIY-ed door makeover:

  • Paint a test area first, and monitor it over the course of the day – how the light hits your house at different times will likely dramatically impact how the color reads.
  • Before starting, sand down any imperfections in the door, and then go over it with a clean wet rag to remove dirt and dust.
  • If you’re making a big color change, prime the door first (and make sure the type of primer you use – latex or oil-based – matches the type of paint you use).
  • A quart of paint should be sufficient to cover a primed door. People usually go for a high-gloss paint on trim and doors (and glossy paint is more resistant to chipping, so that’s good), but you do you.
  • And finally, don’t stress too much about it. Remember: it’s just paint, and paint can be painted over.

And now: some color inspiration.

inspiration for a front door makeover

Mint accents on home exteriors are gorgeous, but can look a little too sweet without the right extras. The copper light fixture shown here adds just the right amount of industrial cool.

inspiration for a front door makeover

Here’s another example of how lighting and hardware selection can take a color to the next level. The gold fixtures shown here take any Easter egg-iness away from this robin’s egg-blue door, and make it chic and elegant.

inspiration for a front door makeover

How amazing is this Art Deco-style door? I especially appreciate that the owners decided to pair the bold color with subtle antique hardware.

inspiration for a front door makeover

This bright, modern look is completely unexpected (and of-the-moment).

inspiration for a front door makeover

The clean black lines of the accent pieces shown here give this yellow door an upscale-country vibe.

inspiration for a front door makeover

Evidence that black and white doesn’t have to be boring. The trick to this: leave the entire house white – trim and all – and the door will make an even bigger statement. The pink rosebushes soften the look and add a subtle dose of color.

inspiration for a front door makeover

Another robin’s egg-blue door, but this one is much more classic thanks to the pairing with steel grey and the traditional architecture and hardware selection.

inspiration for a front door makeover

And finally: this. Obviously this is lovely. If you love this too, surprise:

You can do it yourself. With paint.

Have at it.


Betsey Johnson’s Mobile Homes Malibu Listing Featured In National Press

betsey johnson mobile home malibu paradise cove


Betsey Johnson is selling her iconic Paradise Cove mobile home, seen in Man Repeller, Architectural Digest, and more. Since going live last week, the listing for the sale has been featured in national press including Apartment Therapy, Page Six, WSJ, Variety, and Curbed LA.

Full list of national press features below. [Updated daily.]

Curbed LA

Apartment Therapy

The Wall Street Journal

Mansion Global

BRAVO’s Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen


Town & Country Magazine

Page Six

Business Insider

Second Shelters

People Magazine


The Real Deal


Cottages & Gardens




Kim Lewis of Extreme Home Makeover Talks Texas Roots and Statement-Making Style

This is Kim Lewis. You might recognize her from Extreme Makeover: Home Editionor Tiny House Nation. We’re huge fans of Kim, and of her taste – and we’re also huge fans of statement doors. So suffice it to say that the doors that Kim designed for Rustica Hardware might be our all-time favorites.

Kim was kind enough to sit down with us to answer a few questions about how to incorporate super-bold design elements into an overall decor scheme…and play the Match-the-Kardashian-to-the-Door game (it’s a classic).

Hi, Kim! Tell us a little about how you got to the designing-awesome-doors part of your life?

Well, I started my design career working on ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, and while traveling with the show I designed over 120 homes across 46 states. After that, I worked on Bar Rescue, Bakery Boss, Tiny House Nation, and some other shows. A few years ago, I decided to return to my Texas roots and start my own design company. We design restaurants, hotels and art centers around the globe, as well as tiny homes.

What inspired your collection for Rustica Hardware [pictured above]? Is there any throughline between the the three designs, or do they all just represent different looks you love? 

I’ve always believed design should take us to a time and place, and that doors have the power to set the tone. The collection is travel-inspired – each door is nostalgic, and each one reminds me of a place I love. Marfa, for example, is a quirky artist’s town in West Texas that won my heart on a glamping trip – and clearly it involved an Airstream. Palm Springs is a whimsical, retro, bold, throw-back town, and so the door evokes that ’50s vibe. And Joshua Tree was designed to evoke the sweetness and calm of watching the sun set in the California desert. I designed the pattern on the door as a nod to our Native American roots.

Kim Lewis at home with the Joshua Tree door

Come on, tell us: you must have a personal favorite. Which one would you (or did you?) put in your own house?

Of course I love them all! In my own home, I went with the Joshua Tree to match our sunset desert vibes. The light wood and white steel mix is soft and neutral, while the pattern functions as a piece of art.

The idea of a statement door can be a little overwhelming – if someone loves these doors but doesn’t know how (or where) to integrate them into their home, where should they start?

Going out on a limb and designing your own space can certainly be intimidating, but I always try to remind people that our homes should reflect our personality. Don’t be afraid to express yourself through art, architecture and color.

The best place to start is with the big picture: think of design like fashion, and pick a style you respond to. I think that every home should have some strong elements that act as conversation pieces – and adding dimensions to the walls of your home can really bring it to life. That’s why I love barn doors so much – they’re functional works of art.

We absolutely love the Marfa door’s saturated colors and unique design – can you tell us how to work with a door that statement-making without letting it overwhelm the space?

The Marfa door evokes a real sense of nostalgia and has a big personality, so we didn’t want to take away from that. Mixing materials is a good way to ensure fixtures in a design don’t “fight” each other visually.

Leather Modern Range

Speed round: we’re going to name a Kardashian, and you tell us which Rustica door they’d be. You know, if they were a door.

Funny…I’m one of those people that has worked in TV for so long that I don’t watch much of it. I’ll give this my best shot…this is a no judging zone, right?

Kim.  Joshua Tree.

Khloe. Leather Modern Range.

Kourtney. Palm Springs.

Kris. Powell.

Kylie. Mirror.

Kendall.  Marfa.

Rob. Guardsman.

As a certified Kardashian Expert, that was pretty spot-on. Well done.

Check out Kim’s collection for Rustica Hardware here.

Copyright © 2021 Ren Smith. Site by A+A
Coldwell Banker is a real estate broker licensed by the State of California and abides by Equal Housing Opportunity laws. License Number 01866771. All material presented herein is intended for informational purposes only and is compiled from sources deemed reliable but has not been verified. Changes in price, condition, sale or withdrawal may be made without notice. No statement is made as to accuracy of any description. All measurements and square footage are approximate.