Five elements

I've just returned from a long overdue vacation out to the west coast. The beauty of that part of the country made returning home to a seemingly endless amount of emails to catch up on and an even longer to-do list all worthwhile. I'm a west coast gal at heart and immediately felt at home out there. The sights and sounds immediately brought me back to my roots and my senses!

Surrounded by beauty in every direction, I couldn't help but think about how much I love to design using the earths five elements: earth, water, wood, fire and metal. This vacation brought me new inspiration!

Our travels started in Oregon where we were surrounded by lush greenery in shades we couldn't have imagined. Of course, Portland is known to be the "greenest" city in the U.S., although they aren't exactly referring to the landscape! One can't help but think that many other cities are "green with envy" at the beauty of this environmentally conscious city. Seeing colors this vibrant and so saturated explains why I love to infuse lots of unexpected bursts of color into my design work. The energy that it brings to a room is indescribable.

Photo credit: thenines.com

Photo credit: thenines.com

Photo credit: thenines.com

Photo credit: thenines.com

Next we made our way to the Golden Gate bridge where we were reminded of the strength and beauty of steel. Very often in design we use some sort of steel element to bring in that sense of strength and stability.

steel design

Photo credit: Renee Carman

This pair of metal Hubbarton Forge table lamps work well as bedside lighting. Strength + Beauty = Stability.

Lighting by Hubbardton Forge.

Lighting by Hubbardton Forge.

Lighting by Hubbardton Forge

Lighting by Hubbardton Forge

Our visit to Muir Woods had us doing our forest bathing and also reminded us of the daily need (and respect) for wood. I love working with wood because each piece holds a story and brings its own natural energy to room. There are endless ways to bring wood into your design, Try adding a barn board accent wall to your room, or a handmade piece of wood furniture that speaks to you.

Muir Woods. Photo credit: Renee Carman

Muir Woods. Photo credit: Renee Carman

Muir Woods. Photo credit: Renee Carman

Muir Woods. Photo credit: Renee Carman

Can you imagine what the barn board inside this 1850's barn would say if it could speak? Well, I felt like it did speak to me during this remodel and I think the result was both warm and playful, with a respect for the past and present.

1850's redesign by Mandeville Canyon Designs.

1850's redesign by Mandeville Canyon Designs.

The mix of wood and steel used in this redesign literally makes me giddy!

barn renovation

1850's barn renovation by Mandeville Canyon Designs.

As we wiggled our way down the California coast, the ocean was always our steadfast partner. The scent and majesty was awe inspiring (not to mention a nice boost of negative ions!). So many of us work really hard to incorporate the look and feel of the ocean into our home décor and for good reason! Water's natural beauty is out of this world. Perhaps it's the color palette you are drawn to, or the feeling you get when you are near the coast that you are trying to recreate. Why wouldn't you want to recreate that in your home?!

Photo credit: Renee Carman

Photo credit: Renee Carman

Photo credit: Renee Carman

Photo credit: Renee Carman

Even though it was April we found ourselves surrounded by many working fireplaces throughout our trip. I love the majesty of a fire! Adding the element of fire to any room, indoor or outdoor creates a royal sense of warmth. Just look at the ambiance we created in this master bathroom and bedroom by adding a two-sided Ecosmart fireplace!

Master bath designed by Mandeville Canyon Designs

Master bath designed by Mandeville Canyon Designs

Master bedroom

Master bedroom designed by Mandeville Canyon Designs.

Gather with friends and family around an outdoor fire pit that looks beautiful day or night!

Designed by Mandeville Canyon Designs

Designed by Mandeville Canyon Designs

outdoor fire pit

Designed by Mandeville Canyon Designs.

In the end, our road trip reminded me that Mother Nature is the ultimate designer. The rest of us are just trying to keep up!