Wood-Gas-Infrared Brick Ovens: Options For Indoors Or Outdoors


If you’re looking to beef up your outdoor kitchen or living area (or even your indoor kitchen) Renato Ovens offers Americans the “age-old tradition”, flavor and taste that wood-fire cooking offers.  It brings this ancient tradition up to date with it’s woodburning brick ovens, rotisseries and charbroilers merging the flavors of old with the innovative, techno savvy ingenuity of today.


  After years of his childhood spent as the errand runner and brick layer at a brick factory, founder Renato Riccio, left home at the age of 20 and immigrated to the United States with $3 in his pocket. He spent several years in the food industry here when he “caught a scent” and  began to long for his homeland cuisine.


He had no idea that his years of brick laying along with his years in the food industry would one day work together many years later to combine an Old World tradition and flavor from his hometown in Tuscany, Italy with new age technology for a “new way of cooking” here in the US. 


His is a product that can adapt to a large restaurant or a simple family kitchen – indoors …..




or out.


This flame-broiling method emphasizes healthy, nutritious foods, enhancing natural flavors without having to add artificial additives or seasonings.




A fun, healthy, innovative way of re-creating the ancient, age-old taste of Italy.

Click here for some of his amazing pizza recipes.

Happy Decorating!

Backyard Bliss: Great Outdoor Living Ideas


I know I’ve done a couple of posts on the Kaleidoscope of Homes already, but they had such great ideas and fun stuff to look at I have to share more.  These are some pictures of the outdoor areas:  Fabulous swimming pools and inviting living areas. Since that’s the craze of the day that everyone’s enjoying now and since it’s something that adds tremendous selling power to your home I wanted to share these backyards with you.



Do you like clean, uncluttered lines?  This design might be something that interests you for your own backyard. 


These large pots with their beautiful foliage helps soften the edges and bring in color.

PA210429How’s this for a nice outdoor set up?  Great amount of space; comfortable, attractive seating; gorgeous floral for color and an indoor homey touch.  And, of course the wonderful fireplace.



Wouldn’t this bar be amazing?  Look at all the people you could seat.  Love the stone and the granite.  This has all of the amenities of the indoor kitchen to provide ease and convenience outdoors when entertaining.  And, of course, you’ll notice the flat screen TV.  What would we all do without five TV’s in our homes?

IMG_8693I like the iron embellishments in the windows, too.  Nice detail.


Another offset sitting area provides more seating and a little shelter from the hot Texas sun.

IMG_8735 This is a wonderful dining space.  It’s covered for shelter from the elements, and includes the corner fireplace and a small kitchen.  Check out all the details:  Flagstone flooring, stone fireplace with that cool iron grate, richly stained bead board ceiling.  Notice the “indoor” touches as well:  Picture over the fireplace, candles on the table, copper bells in the corner, and the floral on the cook area.  This creates all the warmth you’d find inside the home.  Don’t be hesitant about bringing this type of decor outside.  It makes it cozy and inviting.  What a great space for family and friends. 


I’ve always loved this look.  Large concrete or stone pieces with the grass border in between the stone.

IMG_8737 Another cozy sitting area.  This one is smaller than the others, but serves the purpose beautifully.  Love the furniture they chose.  Again, notice all the detail work here:  The bead board ceiling, the flagstone floor, the stone wall, the artwork above the mantel, the iron grate, the candlesticks on the end table and the vases tucked in the corner.  All of these details create a very cozy atmosphere.

Lots and lots of great ideas for your outdoor space!  If you can’t do all this -  carefully study what it is you like about each space and duplicate it on a smaller scale.  That’s what I did!  I can’t have these huge, grand spaces, but I can still have the outdoor kitchen and outdoor living spaces.  I just trimmed them down to accommodate my yard and my budget.  It can be done!  Just get creative, innovative, plan very carefully (or call me and I’ll do it for you!) and you’ll have a beautiful space of your own!

Happy Decorating!

Outdoor Living: Create Your Own Cozy Retreat


By now everyone knows what a craze outdoor living has become.  (Why it hasn’t always been the case is beyond me.)  Being outside always brings that natural element to the ambiance that just can’t be duplicated.  Whenever the weather allows that’s exactly where my family is – either out on the screened in deck or hanging in one of the living areas we have sprinkled around our backyard. If you are looking for some great backyard ideas for your own yard take a look at some of these pictures from Southern Accents:


 Would you like to add an outdoor kitchen?  Check out this spread.  Anything you could do indoors could be done in this outdoor kitchen.  And, who wouldn’t rather be outdoors?  Take note of the details:  the stone, the slate, the teak wood, that incredible vent-a-hood…..


Or would an outdoor living area where you can just lounge around and visit with family and friends better suit your needs?  This great space is as visually appealing and comfortable as any indoor living area.   Again, notice all the details here – the screen, the lamps, the chandelier, etc….Would you have thought to incorporate all those cozy details outside?


 This outdoor living area has the added benefit of a wonderful stone fireplace.  Outdoor elements like the large stone pieces create the cocktail table and colorful plantings surround the seating.  The seating has the “indoor touch” of colorful throw pillows. 


 This interesting walkway takes you to a wonderful outdoor dining area and fireplace. 


 Well, the view speaks for itself, but notice the mix of textures and inviting seating, lamp and potted plants.  All of these elements create an inviting living space.


 It doesn’t get much better than this gorgeous outdoor space.  The stone wall, the rattan seating and dining area, the stripe rug.  Mmmmm….yes, I could see myself here sipping on a glass of wine.  Couldn’t you?


 This is an interesting contemporary take on outdoor living.  Clean lines, retro table (it reminds me of The Jetson’s – remember them?)….all the comforts of an indoor space brought to the outdoors to enjoy.



More of a country setting with the bench table, rattan chairs, antique brick floor and stone fireplace filled with candles. 



This is a great setting with this poolside seating, bistro table, fireplace and pergola.


1726579-private-porch-xl How about a great, unusual fountain like this one against the brick wall, angular stone work floor and dark contemporary style rattan?  Great for conversation or reading the paper.



This enclosed patio brings the outdoors in, but not the exposure to the elements.  This bright, yellow stripe brings more outdoor color to the space creating a happy, warm atmosphere.

Consider what you’d like to see in your own backyard and what your budget will allow.  Is it a living area, a fireplace, an outdoor kitchen…..or maybe all of it?!  Now that fall is here you might be thinking fireplace, but spring as always, is just around the corner so be thinking about that, too.  It’s not too early to start planning.  Map out your area and treat it like you would the indoors. 

1) Consider what type of living area you’d most like to see and what it needs to include – comfy seating, fireplace, kitchen?       2)   Determine your budget     3) Define your style – contemporary, traditional?  4)  Decide on a color scheme    5) Plan how much seating and space you need for entertaining.              6) Depending on what you decide to do and how much you can do yourself you will probably need to contact a qualified professional to help you.  (If you’re in my area I’m happy to help!)

 It’s time to get motivated and create that cozy outdoor retreat of your own!

Happy Decorating!


Fabulosity In Fort Worth: A House Of Tuscan Splendor


When I started working with Marion on her dream home in Fort Worth the builders (Fred Parker Construction) had barely broken ground.   But, as building a home tends to go we needed to make some fairly quick decisions and get to work selecting the stucco color, the roof tile, the stone to use on the patio, etc….  After that it was onto the next item, then the next and the next.   A whirlwind of constant selections and decision making whether it was with the landscaping, the pool, the interior, the driveway, the garage….you name it.  But we had a ball working together and it actually turned out to be a two year labor of love.  Marion is fun, funny, an absolute blast to work with and the biggest sweetheart you can imagine.   Not to mention she has spectacular taste!  We were laughing the other day at how we were practically joined at the hip for a couple of years, then suddenly the project was finished.   Take a look at our fabulous “labor of love”.

Tuscan Style Home

We added iron balconies to the windows after I took this picture which adds a lot of charm to the exterior, but for some reason I don’t have a picture of it.  So here it is before we added them.


This is the amazing two story fireplace.  We had it installed so that it looked like it was completely dry stacked.  (The box in the middle is where the TV would go.)


Marble and Wood Floors 

Beautiful marble and wood floors in a diagonal pattern grace the living and dining rooms.



This kitchen is one of the best features in the home with a large bar area off to the left, loads of cabinets, beautiful tile back splash and great pendent lighting.   It has a combination of textures that create a rich warm vibe with the granite countertops, hand scraped wood floors, stone bar front and wood bar front.


Tumbled Stone

Beautiful, spacious bathroom with a lovely medallion in the center. We used a combination of honed marble and tumbled stone to create this fabulous look.



Gorgeous granite countertops!



This is the stairway leading down to the wine cellar.  We gave the stairs some pizzazz  by using large stone tiles on the step and small staggered 1×2 slate pieces on the risers.



Cool cellar door leading into the wine cellar.


Wine Cellar

This amazing wine cellar is big enough for a dining table for entertaining.  The floor is actually porcelain tile that looks like natural stone.

 Large Stone Steps Leading To Outdoor Shower

These large steps lead up to the outdoor shower facility.  Just passed this door is the  enormous outdoor shower.


Outdoor Kitchen

In the back yard is a fabulous swimming pool and a large outdoor kitchen.  Great space for entertaining or just hanging out with the family.  Notice the stone around the pool, the stamped concrete deck and brick floor in the kitchen area.


Upstairs Balcony

This is the view from the upstairs balcony.  We used slate again placing it on a diagonal here and framing it with 1×1’s to create this pattern.


After this labor of love, and so much fun making all the selections and building this beautiful home they decided not to move in after all.  (I know, can you imagine!) But, in the end when all was said and done, they decided they just couldn’t leave their children and friends, or all the land they were used to living on with their horses in Aledo,  a small town outside Fort Worth.   So they sold the house and stayed put!  But, I must say, it sure was fun working with Marion,  going through this process to build this fabulous home and see the amazing end result.  I’m sure the new homeowners will love every square inch of our blood, sweat and tears……..and all the laughs and fun we had along the way.


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