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-an independent landscape designer with over 2,700 projects since 1981, giving me tremendous insight and expertise that allow me to solve design problems quickly. Services and styles are tailored to the specific needs of the client; ranging from scale drawn master plans with hardscapes and plantings to on-site consultations utilizing spray paint and flags for instant visualization. My specialties and services offered include residential and commercial, both large and small.

Friday, February 25, 2011


Woodie and I were sitting around today wishing it was warmer outside.
Since I don't feel like working on taxes, I thought I'd share his story with you. Woodie's primary job is to keep anyone from sitting on my grandmother's antique desk chair. It had been repaired 3 times when I met Woodie at the Prizm  art store and realized he would look better on that chair than any of our guests. (Murphy's Law #275: the largest man will sit on the smallest, most valuable chair.)
Our friends, Dave and Ellen, joined us for an evening of Caipirinhas and conversation. Many cocktails later Dave decided the pestle was better suited as a pistol for  the newest member of our family.

He was so innocent and helpful in the beginning. Not only did he protect the chair, his silhouette in the front window was a deterrent to criminals.

Eight years ago, I was regularly awake at 3 in the morning. Some people count sheep to go back to sleep- I thought up seasonally appropriate hard-ons for Woodie.

Yes, Woodie speaks softly and carries a large stick. A precious gift from my husband, Bill found this beaver gnawed bough while fishing in the Cheat River in West Virginia. Woodie's left hand rests on the green scrapbook which contains all his exploits. Humping Humphrey, the little dog on his leg, was a gift from our friend Pat, who knows how much I love battery operated toys!

 At this point, you may be wondering if we are providing a proper environment for Woodie. While the cleaning ladies have refused to dust him, we make sure he is in a temperature controlled room. Last year while listing several boxes of books for sale on Amazon,  I discovered Woodie's sordid past.

Money is no problem. We will spend anything to right the wrongs.  It is a new year and we hope to finally rehabilitate Woodie.  Can you recommend a good glue?   We saved all of his fingers.

Monday, February 21, 2011


Thirty years ago we rebuilt the steps and replaced the broken step tread where the railing was attached (lower right corner of photo) which satisfied the city's point of sale violation.

Fifteen  years ago this tree root seemed to be our only problem. Our plan was to remove the tree,  landscape to allow for growth and get on with other projects on the Maple Road to-do list. Then the arborist took a cell phone call while he was grinding the stump.   The grinder hit the railing knocking the corner off the concrete porch and breaking the step tread again.

Twelve years ago the floor refinisher spilled dark stain all over the concrete porch floor. Though highly recommended by Angie's List, we sadly discovered he had no insurance.  Thus, we decided to put our money into covering the porch floor with Naturestone. We have been thrilled with this choice.

  We managed to live without a railing for many years, but I do wear high heels occasionally and our friends aren't getting any younger. Three years ago, I hired American Ironworks (216-641-5050)  to create a  durable railing from my design. Owners, Tom Rose and Bryan Harko worked with me suggesting materials, coatings and installation methods.

The offset posts will guarantee that we never break another step tread because of stress on the railing.
Good design solves problems.
1/3 homeowner input  + 1/3 design + 1/3 contractor = 100% successful project.
Too many home owners are afraid that professional design advice and custom-built projects are beyond their budget. In fact experienced design guidance empowers people to make informed decisions and custom work is often surprisingly affordable.

"The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten." -Ben Franklin

Saturday, February 19, 2011


 Life was simpler back in the late 70's. We had not yet filled our home or  bodies with lots of stuff that required maintenance. Without the distractions of cable TV and technology our friends got together  nightly, partying and playing bridge! Our first house was located close to all the bars in Cleveland Heights. As a result, our first child, Holly, an English Springer spaniel was surrounded by Stroh's beer bottles almost every day.

Constantly surrounded by adults, Holly was a precocious pup. I spent hours training her to do tricks, including the classic "roll over."

 Any bottle of beer left on the floor  immediately became Holly's.

Having positioned the bottle of beer between her two front paws she would roll over on her back and chug it.

Bill's older brother Bobby (in the blue leisure suit) was a career army sargeant.  Bobby taught Holly a trick worthy of David Letterman's Stupid Pet Tricks. He would bark at her, "What does that girl do for her money?"
Our sweet little Holly would immediately drop to the floor, roll onto her back and throw all four  legs straight up in the air!
Our friends with children would remark how much different life would be once we had a real baby. Yes, life changed for us and for Holly!
Holly was perfectly trained in less than a year and thirty years later we are still working on Greg.

Discussions regarding who is the real bitch in the first photo should include Liz Anson-Talbot. How cute was Liz back then?!!!!!

Sunday, February 13, 2011


Bill and I met in 1974. It is 2011 and we are still together. Maple Road has been our home since 1981. We  officially implemented Feng Shui in the early 90's. Furniture was arranged with an eye towards logic, comfort and flow. Color choices were influenced by the bagua to optimize all areas of our lives. Objects were placed to enhance desired effects and "cure" areas needing improvement. 

The fountain in the rear right "RELATIONSHIP" corner of our garden.


Being clear about what we want.........

the couple in the rear right corner of our dining room,
 which is in the rear right corner of our house;
 which is our relationship corner!

after all these years....
Happy Valentine's Day!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

There are eight million stories in the Naked City; this has been one of them.

Riveting video-thank you Channel 5

Bill and Greg killing time before the big implosion October 1982.
The  Cuyahoga Building and the 16 story Williamson Building

the morning after the implosion

200 Public Square aka the BP Building
Photo by Lisa Chamberlain Category:Cleveland, Ohio )

Thursday, February 3, 2011


Life was simpler before I met this rabbit in 1975. My income was as small as my accumulation of possessions. This bunny was the beginning of my downfall. He was the first tchotchke I ever bought AND I paid full retail!

Liz Anson was living with Bill and me in our first home on Whitethorn in Cleveland Heights.  Liz and I went to the Higbee's at the new Randall Park Mall. (Hard to believe that 35  years later this shopping center is a ghost town where I wouldn't feel safe getting out of the car and Higbee's is now Dillards.) I agonized over spending the $10. It's been down hill ever since.
 "White Rabbit" by the Jefferson Airplane  came out in 1967 but still reminds me of the music we were listening to in the 1970's. Two weeks ago Bill and I went to a benefit at the Western Reserve Historical Society. It was titled Somewhere in Time: 70's Fever. The honorary chair was Hank LoConti, owner of the Agora. I focused on 70's/Agora and not on Fever and was surprised to find the theme was disco. We were with good friends and had a great time regardless. As soon as I got home I googled the music of the 1970's. I was relieved to discover that I had not fried my brain. I feel sure the party was planned by thirty year olds.

I still adore my white rabbit, but the Year of the Rabbit is going to find me selling, not buying, more stuff!

What were you listening to in the 1970'?