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California Dreaming

The Beach Boys sang "I wish they all could be California, I wish they all could be California, I wish they all could be California girls,..." (Now you will have that ear worm in your head all day; you're welcome) California girls, California celebrities, California beaches, California eating...there is something very appealing about the southern California lifestyle. Or at least our idea of what the southern California lifestyle might be, if we happen to live in, say, Minnesota or Ohio. Sun-kissed, relaxed, all surf and convertibles and perfect tans; palm lined streets, beautiful people and jaw-dropping homes; children named after fruits and directions; avocados and lemons growing in your yard. Blonde hair blowing in a gentle model-pose breeze, flowing caftans, a tall, icy drink, lounging on a chaise while the tan and buff pool boy is shirtless and sweaty and busy at work...oh, sorry, I got distracted for a minute.

But just because we can't all be California girls or boys doesn't mean we can't have a taste of it. Whether you are living in Podunk, Kentucky or Gnaw Bone, Indiana or Toad Suck, Arkansas or Booger Hole, West Virginia (yes, those are real places) you can bring a little bit of West Coast chic to your land-locked home.

Southern California style tends to be earthy yet sophisticated, natural but upscale, comfortable but the height of fashion. It is light and neutral and expansive; indoors and outdoors are pleasantly blurred.

The Sonoma 14 Outdoor Room Package has some nice West Coast elements.


outdoor pergola

The vaulted pergola features stucco posts and a privacy wall. You get that nice, open air expansiveness with a bit of cozy thrown in. The Sonoma Gas Fireplace is a perfect west coast touch with its stucco surface and rough-hewn stone. The St. Martin Grill Island continues the stucco theme. Why so much stucco you ask? Stucco ties California to its close neighbor, Mexico, and it speaks to the native Americans who were building homes there first. Esthetically, stucco just looks right with windswept beaches and driftwood and rolling surf as a backdrop. Also, stucco became a building component of choice in California because if you have to be in a building when an earthquake hits, you don't want to be buried in tons of brick. No, really. Stucco and wood frame houses are the best place to find yourself.

So stucco can give a real SoCal feel to your Midwest backyard.

This phenomenal room package also offers airy wicker furniture featuring cushions with a palm tree motif, and the matching tables offer natural stone tops.

All of these textures in this package; the redwood, the stone, the stucco; the comfortable wicker and subtle tropical cushions contribute to that laid-back, not too far from the beach or border sensibility that defines southern California.

An outdoor fireplace creates an ideal ambiance for any style; looking for touches like a stucco surface and sand-colored stone will give you that nod towards the west coast you admire.


outdoor gas fireplace

outdoor wood burning stove
Or go for something more unusual yet still beachy like this Caribou White Fire Pit

outdoor fire pit

This Luxury Q Grill Island finished is finished in stucco and will lend a semi-tropic sensibility to your Midwestern backyard.

outdoor grill island

Another nice beachy touch is this Astral TC Shademaker

It's large and unusual and will kick up the chic factor of your decor as well as provide some nice relief from the sun.


outdoor umbrella

Your outdoor furniture is, of course, an easy way to bring the Golden State home. Sectionals always feel chichi and sumptuous. The Cozy Sectional by Caluco has just the right combination of texture, design, color and class for any Malibu estate.

teak outdoor secitonal

Any of these deep seating and dining sets speak sand, surf and sun: the gorgeous Harbor Island Sectional by Cast Classics

modular outdoor sectional

the casual Leucadia Sectional by Sunset West

wicker outdoor sectional
and the crisp and clean Orlando Rectangle Dining Set by Campamia

outdoor dining set
I love this furniture - the Aviano Armless Deep Seating by Tommy Bahama. The organic shapes, interesting pieces, sublime texture and top shelf quality gives this set a "yes I live in a gated community by the beach" vibe.


armless wicker sectional sofa

Not ready to commit and just want to stick your toes in the Pacific? Try adding one of these unique pieces to your outdoor space. The 10 Tierra Chaise Lounge by Caluco is a sophisticated Kardashian-friendly double-wide chaise

double chaise lounge
and the Tres Chic Chaise Lounge is exactly what it claims to be; very, very chic.


contemporary outdoor chaise lounge

Add a bit of "I can lounge here all day if I feel like it" to your outdoor room with the Leucadia Two Piece daybed by Sunset West.


outdoor daybed

And, of course, you gotta have water. Family Leisure offers a multitude of pools; both in and above ground. Check out this in ground pool project completed by FL.

inground pools

Who needs the beach? Okay, we do. Once a year. The rest of the time, we can hang ten in Chicken Bristle, Illinois and be glad we don't have to drive in LA traffic or worry about falling into the ocean.

California Fun Facts

  • Before California was the "Golden State" it was the "Grizzly Bear State." The bear population got wiped out and CA took on a new identity. But the bear is still on their state flag, even though the last reported sighting of a wild grizzly in CA was in 1924.
  • The state motto of California is Eureka, which is associated with the Gold Rush. It's just Eureka; no exclamation point. Don't get excited.
  • California has hosted both the summer and the winter Olympics.
  • One out of every 8 Americans is from California; it is the third largest state and the most populous state in the union. It also has more people than the entire country of Canada.
  • The fortune cookie was invented in California.
  • California boasts both the highest point and the lowest point in the contiguous US. Mt. Whitney is nearly 15,000 ft high and is only 76 miles from the 282 feet below sea level Death Valley.
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger worked for free as governor of California.
  • The world's largest tree, standing at nearly 380 feet, is in California. It's exact location is a secret. So I guess we have to take their word for it.
  • The entire California coastline is a national monument.
  • California is the birthplace of the film industry, the internet, the personal computer, and the hippie counterculture.

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