Decorating · Holiday · Travel

It is beginning to look scary out there

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This may be my favorite time of year.  Trees are showing of their brilliance with red and gold as leave change and fall.  The are leaf piles for jumping in, corn mazes to explore and pumpkins patches to mine.  Let’s not omit the apple orchards with their bounty of delicious apples.  The air is crisp and cool causing me to reach for a coat before leaving the house.

I love walking around the town looking at the Halloween decorations.  Ghosts and pumpkins decorate the lawns and doors lending a festive, if not haunting, sense to the air in anticipation of the Feast of Samhain (if you are Irish and like the Celtic version of the holiday), or Halloween, or All Hallow’s Eve as we more traditionally think of the celebration.  It is the festival marking the end of the harvest and the beginning of winter.

Munchkins, ghosts and goblins will grace my front door on Halloween for a treat.  I love seeing the children attired in their festive costumes.  After the last visitor had received his or her treat, it is time for movie night.  For me that is my annual viewing of Halloween followed by the Fog.  Capping a wonderful night and leading to the celebration of All Saint’s Day.

Last year I spent the holiday in Ljubljana, Slovenia.  I arrived on October 31 to see a Halloween celebration in a country far away.  What was more surprising was the celebration of All Saints Day in what was once a communist country.  A national holiday, everything was closed in celebration.  Huge flower bouquets decorated the cemeteries in respect of those who passed.

In anticipation of the season, I’m heading to the pumpkin patch to pick out a pumpkin or two for decoration and carving.  Then it is time to find my receptive for stew in anticipation of a hearty Halloween dinner to be eaten in between receipt of visitors.

Decorating · Family · Home · interior design

A change of seasons

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Yesterday I looked down at my calendar and saw the notation, “first day of autumn”.  It’s been cool here in Virginia, somewhat unusually so for the beginning of September, but it also cues a sense of anticipation, of something new to come.  I love the fall, but then again, I love winter, spring, and summer.  The change of the seasons feels like a right of passage.

I enjoy fall for its crisp cool nights, change of leaves, the fall fruits and veggies like the squash and apples I find at the farmer’s market.  What is more fun than a corn maze, mums on the front porch, or  a ride along the Blue Ridge Parkway at the height of leaf color?  As the days grow shorter and the weather cooler there is a sense of an ending as is appropriate for fall and the approach of winter.  The anticipation of spring will soon follow and start the cycle over again.

Growing up I heard stories of my grandmother changing the curtains and rugs for summer and then back again at the start of fall.  Something of that rubbed off for me.  I tend to “decorate” for Easter, fall, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and, of course, Christmas.  Nothing as elaborate as Christmas, but seasonal centerpieces for each holiday.  So, this week I pulled out my velvet pumpkins for the dining room table.  The geraniums I’d lovingly planted in containers on the front porch at the beginning of spring were on their last leg.  It was time to freshen up the front door with mums for fall.

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As I write this, I’m also making my “must do” list for the fall.

 

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  1. Gather a group of friends and fin a corn maze to explore.
  2. Take a drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway and remember to bring my camera.
  3. Take 29 from Charlottesville to Lynchburg for a drive for leaves and fresh apples.
  4. Find a pumpkin patch and bring home fun pumpkins.
  5. Pull out my ceramic jack o’ lanterns for the front porch.
  6. Plan a movie night for all my favorite scares movies, calling John Carpenter!
  7. Football and tailgate Saturday, bonus points if I can arrange it for Kenan stadium.
  8. Cook up a pot of Brunswick stew.
  9. Change out my closet for warm clothes.

What is on your must do list for the fall?

Decorating · Home · interior design · Travel

The Summer of Show Homes: Southern Living Idea House 2017

I call this the year of show homes.  I’ve visited all that are near me and a couple, not so near, that  I’ve stumbled across.  While I missed my annual trip to the Kips Bay House in New York, I did make it to the Charleston Symphony House, the Raleigh Boys and Girl House and now the Southern Living Idea House.  I think the decorator houses appeal to some dormant creative gene in me.  I love seeing how someone puts together a room.  It gives me ideas for my own home.

 

This year’s home is not my first Southern Living house tour.  I’ve visited several with the last one being the one Bunny Williams did in Charlottesville.  It was spectacular.  This year’s lived up to the Southern Living standard.

The 2017 idea house is found on Bald Head Island, NC.  Bald Head Island is located at the convergence of the Cape Fear River and the Atlantic Ocean and is accessed by a twenty-minute ferry ride from Southport, NC.  The island is idyllic.  A subtropical climate, prime white sand beaches, birds, and sea turtles all make for a wonderful escape location.  Travel on the island is principally by golf cart or bike – no cars!

There were many details I loved about this house, but the fire pit and outdoor kitchen have to be at the top of the list.  The laundry room was another highlight for its design.  The living room and porches were beautiful and I could just imagine them filled with family on vacation.  The master suite was another favorite and the closets were to die for.

There were choices that left me scratching my head.  The master bath was beautiful.  I particularly loved the shower design but where was the tub?  The outdoor shower was lost on me.  Not so much the concept but the way this one was designed.  If I’m coming off the beach, then I want to be able to access the shower without going through the house.  The gourmet kitchen was something of a miss for me.  I liked the appliances and overall design but would have preferred different counter tops and where was the pot filler?

Tips I may use?  I loved the drawer refrigerator in the game room over the garage.  It was perfect for drinks and snacks.  Finishing the wallpaper with grosgrain ribbon in the upstairs bath off the “yellow” room was a nice touch.  The hooks near the door to the garage were a nice touch for all those things like totes, recycle bags, hats, and dog leashes.

If you get the chance to visit the home or just the island, do so.  It is a wonderful way to spend an afternoon.  Take time to visit Old Baldy, the decommissioned lighthouse.  It is the oldest lighthouse in North Carolina that once lit the way for sailors through Frying Pan Shoals and the Cape Fear.

Decorating · entertaining · Home · interior design · Travel

Inspiration

I’m always looking for inspiration for a flower arrangement.  I’m constantly snapping pictures of flowers and arrangements that I like with my iPhone.  My new favorite flower is the ginger blossom, the blossom on the ginger plant is so fragrant and wonderful – I can’t get enough of them. I first saw it in the flower market in Hong Kong.  Now the question is where do I find ginger blossoms in the States?  Hum, a challenge!

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I thought I would share some of my favorite arrangements!  I find them everywhere – hotels, airports, shopping centers, anywhere there are flowers I find inspiration!

 

The Peninsula Hotel, Hong Kong

 

The Four Seasons Hotel (Hong Kong, Austin, Texas, and Las Vegas, Nevada)

 

The Ritz Carlton, Atlanta, GA

 

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The Winter Antique Show, NY, NY

Frederick Fekkai Salon, 5th Avenue, NY, NY

The Blue Ridge Ball, NY, NY (The Univeristy Club and the Cosmoplitian Club)

Ljubljana, Slovenia –  Saturday Market

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Charleston Symphony House, Society Street, Charleston, SC

Colonial Williamsburg, The Inn – Williamsburg, VA

 

The Greenbrier- White Sulpher Springs, W. VA

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The inspiration sometimes shows up in my home, in this case, my dining room!

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Decorating · Home · interior design

My Blue Room

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For the past few months I’ve been rearranging two rooms in my house.  Both bedrooms, I decided to repurpose the one on the front of the house as a sitting and tv room and the other as a guest room.  The guest room was easily set up but the new sitting room I tackled as a new project.  I scoured decorating magazines and design books and toured every show home within driving distance before settling on a plan.

I decided on a blue and white color scheme.  Inspired by the master en suite at the Raleigh, NC show home, I contacted Palette Paint on Ivy Road in Charlottesville palettepaint.com.

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They are wonderful!  They carry Farrow & Ball and Fine Paints of Europe paints.   The room I’d seen in Raleigh had a lacquer finish that I wanted to copy.  My twist was that I wanted to give the ceiling that high gloss finish.  A decorator in New York who did one of the rooms in the 2016 Kips Bay Show Home first clued me into Fine Paints of Europe.  If you are looking for that lacquer or very high gloss finish, then you want Fine Paints of Europe paint.  It gives a mirror like finish that does not disappoint.  They can also custom mix the color to your specifications.  I wanted to match a blue in a fabric I planned to use in the room.

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I used a high gloss white on the ceiling and a Farrow & Ball blue color in the Fine Paints satin finish.  One caution, the paint quantities differ from the usual gallon or pint you get at Home Depot and I recommend using their primer, especially for a deep color.

I also recommend working with your paint specialist. Palette was absolutely amazing.  They worked with me to select and customize my colors to come up with the perfect solution.  As an added plus they were fun to work with.

Since the room had a window seat perfect for reading I wanted an upholstered seat cushion.  Second Yard, also in Charlottesville, was my go to for fabric (thesecondyard.com).  After multiple fabric swatches, I found the perfect fabric for the window seat and the desk chair.  Once I had the fabric for the desk chair that was the color I took to Palette to match for the walls.

A white egg chair and Meis van der Rohe daybed make up the large pieces in the room.  The daybed is great for a nap or stretching out with the quadraped and, since it is the same size as a twin bed, can be used for an overnight guest.  I tapped CB2 for acrylic tables and scooped up lamps, a rug, and sideboard from Palette. The desk table is a family antique and the bookcase made by my Grandfather for my parent’s first home.

I completed the room with a painting by my great-grandmother, an illustration by Inslee Farris at insleebydesingn.com, photographs I’ve taken on trips abroad and framed, and my special treasure – a piece of hand made paper that looks like lace that I found in a small shop in Paris in the Marias.  Last, but not least, two whimsical touches, a leather dachshund, named Rosemary, and a leather Kangaroo, named Roo, that serves as a magazine rack.

Now on to my home office, my current work in progress . . .