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When we moved in 17 1/2 years ago with a three year old and infant,

our first priority was the yard…and living in an area beset, graced,

with deer…we quickly fenced the perimeter and found someone

to create stone columns, and then over the years, a series of

retaining walls.

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The triangular shaped lot slopes up to the house…

and the house is actually built into the slope,

so that the master bedroom at the far left has its own

outdoor patio, and my little office at the right top

has a bird’s eye view of the surrounding

hillside…

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This is the downside view of the original 1939 house…

set in beyond the grape trellis is a one car garage that

we use as a project room…and at it’s back my

husband has claimed a storage room for a wine cellar..

Up above is the living room from which this garden

view was snapped last spring…

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Running the length below the house where the best sun is…

is my pride and joy, despite the weeds and a persistent gopher…

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Behind the rows of lavender, on both sides are about 20 peony

plants, several espaliered apple trees and a dozen antique Bourbon

roses with wonderful French names. In Northern California

many people ice their peonies but I do my own gardening and

save myself as much effort as possible…

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Practically edible beauty…

with so many plants, if we suffer through a nice cold winter

I can usually count on a 100 blooms…

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Found this from a stone yard for @ $20 years ago…

love adding bits of architectural detritus amongst

the pretty living things…

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This is a forest area below the garden…

I planted white Ice Wings narcissus and Spanish blue bells years ago

that come up in the spring, sometimes in the summer

we string our hammock between two oaks…

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These zinc lanterns are my attempt to dog proof our entry

after the house was repainted last year…

Our German Shepard “Bronte” is over 13 years old…

Her name is a nod to the literary Bronte sisters..

and means thunder…which is appropriate in her case…

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So…to be honest…there are usually 15 pairs of shoes

scattered about the entry…want to put a nice honed bull-nose

piece of Carrara marble on the table…

Hmm…I could go for gray here…any advice?

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Immediately to the left off the entry is the kitchen…

I was thrilled when I found out the guys that did our retaining walls

would do the floor, laid out the limestone tiles, numbered them,

and hovered over every piece as it was installed..

added just a few pieces of a grayish stone tile to break it up…

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Counters are Jerusalem Gold honed limestone,

Back-splash a marble mosaic…I wouldn’t let the installer¬† put grout

over the joints because I thought he’d over do it…so yet

another thing I need to get around to doing…

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We kept the original custom cabinets, and painted them antique ivory

with an aqua interior, added crown molding only to cabinets…

stainless steel appliances, work table…

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A cozy corner in the kitchen…

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To see the garden in the spring click  here

to be continued…