July 29, 2010

Interview with HGTV's Leslie Segrete!

I was sooo excited the other day when a representative for Leslie Segrete came across Finding Fabulous, contacted me and asked if I'd like to interview Leslie in a post about decorating outdoor spaces. 

What?  Are we talking about THE Leslie Segrete...designer from HGTV's Trading Spaces & While Your Were Out?  Here on Finding Fabulous...YES! 

And so without further delay...The fabulous Leslie Segrete is in the house!

Here's our interview...

J. My blog is all about Finding Fabulous...for less! Do you have any money saving tricks up your sleeve for decorating outdoor spaces on a budget?

LS:  Outdoor lighting is a wonderful way to brighten up your outdoor space so you can enjoy it day and night. The best part is, it doesn’t have to cost you a bundle; choices can range from simple twinkling lights for about $4 a strand or decorative lantern string lights for around $10 to low voltage landscape lighting for under $80.

If you’re entertaining, something as simple as multi-color paper lanterns with string lights can spruce up your outdoor area dining area when draped under your umbrella or pergola. We even have simple white twinkle lights wrapped around a wrought iron trellis for a festive feature in our yard all year long.

A fire pit is a fun and comforting focal piece to add to your outdoor living space – and best of all… it won’t break the bank! A fire pit can create a central point for a seating area perfect for after sunset conversation and the occasional ghost story. Plus, a fire pit is great for one of the classic summer activity of roasting marshmallows and making S’mores.

Finally, a barefoot and weather-friendly outdoor rug can add a sophisticated yet comfortable look to make your deck or patio more unique. An outdoor rug can also help to create a seating or dining area in an open yard if you don’t have a deck or patio. If you stick to a rug with neutral colors you can add color by accessorizing your outdoor space with vibrant flowers and landscaping. For a more festive feel add a burst of color on the floor with a vibrant and bold patterned rug option.

J.  What are some of your favorite design elements when decorating an outdoor space?

LS:  It’s super important to play off of the natural settings of your outdoor space. Design around a stand out tree, favorite garden spot, or even architectural feature like a trellis, arbor, or pergola. By using a special spot in your backyard you can instantly set the tone for what that space is going to feel. Then, depending on your budget, your outdoor space can be simple, with a natural paver patio, a table for dining or a seating area depending on how you like to use the space, and of course a grill for relaxed outdoor dining. Or, build your dream outdoor space with a fully functional outdoor kitchen. Imagine a great cooking and prep area from natural stone complete with a sink and a refrigerator for a truly gourmet experience. Go for all weather materials and choose some great outdoor seating. Build a pergola for shade and a base for climbing plants to wander and of course add landscape lighting. Be sure to highlight your favorite tree and add down lighting for a soft moonlit glow.

J.  If you have a little bit of money to spend, what outdoor decorating updates would you recommend for summer?

LS:  The most important product for your outdoor space is all weather outdoor furnishings that suite the way you use the space. If you enjoy dining out of doors cover a table and chairs with an umbrella. If you’re a loungy conversational type, consider comfy chairs or group two love seats with some tables. Either way your outdoor space is an extension of your home and should be a place to relax. Outdoor furniture has come a long way; treat yourself to comfortable seating with plush cushions. The best part is that it is actually affordable. Then when your budget allows, layer on the decorative items that really show your true personality.

J.  If you could buy one item to update an existing outdoor living space...what would it be?

LS:  If you have some money to spend and you’re looking to replace that old grill of yours, a grill in a fun new color is a great addition to your deck or patio. I love to entertain and host large barbeques, so a grill with a large cooking surface is important to me. Kenmore has some really great options for grills. I love the Kenmore red grill available at Sears and Kmart because not only can it cook up to 40 burgers at a time but it also adds a splash of vibrant color to your outdoor space – sure to impress any summer guest!

However you choose to spend your summer décor budget make choices that are going to last year after year to maximize your spending, so go for that grill or perennials that will stay with you for summers to come.

J.  Which design style do you gravitate towards when decorating outdoor spaces?

LS:  I really love to let my natural settings inspire me. It really depends on what the surroundings are for how I decorate the space. If its poolside I think of more clean lines all weather resin wicker seating with comfy clay toned or white cushions. If it a shade fern lined garden I think of a nice table setting for intimate dinners outside. Of course lighting is super important. Some spaces beg for Moroccan lanterns while others just sparkle with white Christmas lights.

J.  Many people decorate the insides of their homes, but forget about their decks and porches. What advice would you give these people?

LS:  Get outside summer is almost over! You don’t have to spend a ton just get some adorable and functional furnishing that are made for outside and use that space. If you are lucky enough to have any outdoor space it would be a shame not to take advantage of it. I think most home owners are afraid they have to make their outdoor space this extravagant setting, where in reality it can be simple with a couple chairs and a lovely little table. Just make sure you add some of your interior design flair with accessories like pillows, lighting, and even wall décor with pieces that are made for the outdoors.

J.  What inspires you most when decorating your outdoor living space?

LS:  Nature, whether is a tree or the city skyline.

J.  Where do you like to shop for fabulous outdoor furniture and accessories...without breakin' the bank?

LS:  I love finding affordable options at stores like Sears and Kmart. They have great home and outdoor décor from the Country Living and Jaclyn Smith lines that are made to stand up to outdoor elements and are well priced and have a very high end look. A couple years ago, bought expensive outdoor furniture and ended up getting rid of it a few years later. It was destroyed because it didn’t hold up to the weather.

J.  Finding Fabulous Readers love Revamping and Repurposing things! Have you repurposed anything recently for your home or outdoor living spaces?

LS:  I had an old armoire that I loved but had no use for it inside my house. I put it outside and made it a little storage unit for all my planted pots and gardening tools and supplies. It looks so lovely sitting outside in our backyard and it just gets better looking the more weathered and patinad it gets.

J.  What are your favorite color choices right now in outdoor design?

LS:  As of now, I think neutrals with brighter accents are the way to go. I would do a softer color for the outdoor seating such as a beige or warm khaki and spruce it up with bright red pillows or use an old tapestry as a table cloth that has an antique feel of washed out colors. You can always choose chair seat covers in a fabulous bright print and have a simpler off white table cloth. It is all about mixing and matching!

J.   Can you give us the scoop on popular design trends you’re seeing right now in outdoor living spaces?

LS:  Container gardening is always big. You can mix a blend of earthy glazed ceramics in deep watery tones with modern zinc planters for a modern yet eclectic feel. Be sure to fill them with a mix of local annuals at a variety of height and be sure to see to allow some to overflow from the top.

Using all weather fabrics to create curtain panels on a porch is lovely. You can play it safe with a solid or go bold with a fun and large scale pattern.


Wow, how exciting to have Leslie here on Finding Fabulous sharing her fabulous design ideas...I am so honored, thank you Leslie!

 Leslie co-hosts a nationally syndicated home improvement radio show called The Money Pit with Tom Kraeutler, and is currently filming a new series.  This top secret project will feature lots of great money saving ideas using items you already have around your house.  Ahhh, money saving design ideas...I can't wait for this new series! 


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  1. Great interview and some wonderful tips!! How exciting that she wanted to be on your blog!! Very cool!

  2. Wow, way to score a plum interview! Very good tips as well, just awesome!

  3. Thanks guys...I am so excited Leslie could stop by! Her thrifty design ideas are awesome!

  4. I like her, she is really cool on the shows. GJ!

  5. Wow! This is awesome!
    Thank you so much for sharing!

  6. Great interview! She is one busy woman.
    Paula Grace ~

  7. Great questions you asked. How exciting to be able to interview her.
    Loved all her tips.

    If you have any halloween inspiration that you wanna share, I am having a linky party until the end of this month over here


  8. Wow Jane - How exciting! I enjoyed reading your interview - Leslie had some great tips!


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