Archive | April 2015

Derby Day

RUN FOR THE ROSES

Saturday, May 2nd is the 141st running of the Kentucky Derby. Let’s party! This is one of the easiest theme parties to have. Your guests have a good idea as to the attire and the menu is traditional. What a terrific time to host a mid spring cocktail party.

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You may or may not be a race aficionado, however planning the details are as much fun as the event itself.

Moving a sideboard outside is fabulous.

Moving a sideboard outside is fabulous.

Admittedly, moving a sideboard to the garden or patio may be a bit over the top. However, this makes a stunning impression. I gave this a bit of thought and realized there may be a multitude of occasions for this idea…bridal and baby showers, a Sunday Brunch. By no means am I suggesting you use a fine piece from your formal dining room. Instead, keep an eye out for a slightly scratched and marred one at consignment shops and flea markets. When not in use, cover and store. This sounds outrageous, I know, but…

The Mint Julep

The Mint Julep

It wouldn’t be a Derby Day without Mint Juleps. The cup, of course, is critical. They are available from many retailers to on-line shops. I bought a dozen a few years ago and have used them numerous times for parties and as vessels for reading glasses, pens and posies throughout the house.

Drink and Decorate

Drink and Decorate

Love monograms

Love monograms

Fun presentation

Fun presentation

We may not have an assortment of Loving Cups in the attic, yet again, enter the flea market! Antique shops are loaded with such pieces. They may not be at the top of your search list, just keep them in the back of your mind.

Beautiful

Beautiful

Having a Julep ready and waiting as the guests arrive is the best way to ring the Derby bell. Setting up in the entry before heading outside is a great touch.

Festive

Festive

Yum

Yum

Derby Day food is very traditional. This is yet another reason for this to be one of the easiest parties to host. Hot Browns, Benedictine Spread, Chocolate Bourbon Truffles, Cheese Straws, Ham Biscuits…

Ham Biscuits

Ham Biscuits

Candied Pecans

Candied Pecans

Hot Browns

Hot Browns

Benedictine Bites

Benedictine Bites

Juleps and Cheese Straws

Juleps and Cheese Straws

Shrimp Tea Sandwiches

Shrimp Tea Sandwiches

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Derby desserts are traditional as well. Chocolate Bourbon Tortes, Pecan Tassies, Bourbon Pound Cake…just to mention a few.

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Cute Derby Hat Cookies

Cute Derby Hat Cookies

Kentucky Bourbon Pecan Pie

Kentucky Bourbon Pecan Pie

Pecan Tassies

Pecan Tassies

There is nothing to say that you shouldn’t get a little frisky with one or two items with your Derby menu!

Chocolate and Bourbon Popsicles

Chocolate and Bourbon Popsicles

Most of us live some distance from the Bluegrass state and have never attended a Kentucky Derby. Well, many of us have not attended a Super Bowl but that hasn’t stopped us from creating what amounts to be a national holiday party. Having friends with us on any occasion is the sweetness of life. Be it Derby Day or plain old Wednesday, it matters because…

EVERY DAY MATTERS

Small Beginnings…Living Areas

SMALL BEGINNING-SMALL FINISHING

When we begin to make a home, we must be ingenious and creative as well. Most of us are limited by a small budget which, if you adopt the right mindset, can foster a sense of design you may not have otherwise recognized in yourself.

Genius is at work with this room divider

Genius is at work with this room divider

Imagine your first home is actually a large room. Perhaps a loft or area above a garage. It is possible to divide areas in a way that is artistic. The above photo is a terrific example. Rather than two overhead, hardware store lights…why not lanterns? Having a woodworking friend or family member with a miter box will give you an opportunity to inexpensively create a custom fit room divider.

Love it

Love it

A studio apartment does not only allow futons and milk crates. Flea markets, consignment shops and Grandmother’s attic are loaded with treasures that will make your small space a home rather than a temporary stop.

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Deep and rich color

Deep and rich color

There are two misunderstandings with regard to small spaces. Large pieces and dark color will make the space seem smaller. This is not at all true. A dark, rich chocolate complimented by cream trim is warm, welcoming and quite dramatic. One or two large pieces will make a more comfortable statement than five or six clutter bugs.

Large statement pieces

Large statement pieces

Many young couples are choosing to buy a small, older home in an established neighborhood rather than a city condo or apartment. When this is the case, there is no reason to “wait until we get a bigger place” to decorate every inch. Again, this is not a budget buster. Buying something to just make do is no more costly than picking up those second hand pieces to rework into your space. This also does not mean only Shabby Chic.

Home Sweet Home

Home Sweet Home

The little house

The little house

Making an Entry

Making an Entry

Your first home may or may not have a separate entry. If the entrance from the front door empties directly into the main living area, it is still possible to create a sense of entry by the selection and arrangement of the furniture.

So crisp

So crisp

As we transition into a life in retirement we tend to lessen our load. Call it paring down or empty nesting, we want less space but not less quality.

Lovely

Lovely

I do not think there is a more attractive design than a small space with magnificent art and antiques sharing life with those sink down, comfy chairs and sofas. A lifetime of acquiring beautiful pieces should be respected and loved wherever home is at the time.

 

Charming

Charming

Perfect at any time

Perfect at any time

Great composition

Great composition

Small yet stunning

Small yet stunning

For the time being, the formal dining room has taken a back seat. In older cottage homes, the dining room continues it’s presence. Unfortunately, some have elected to repurpose this space for a home office or den. A table for twelve does not a dining room make. Occasions for dining rooms have been diluted by logistics…I say no!

Jackye Lanham

Jackye Lanham

 

Wow

WOW

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Perhaps there will be a time of life when a second home is in the cards. Most likely this will be smaller with golf and water commanding most of your attention. As with our small beginnings, do not cheat yourself out of a thoughtful interior.

Carmel, California

Carmel, California

California Dreamin

California Dreamin

Weekends at the lake

Weekends at the lake

A place at the beach

A place at the beach

The Second Home On The Water

The Second Home On The Water

Water Cottage

Water Cottage

The small home will be a part of our lives at some point. Whether it is our first home or our last, it will undoubtedly be one of our favorites. Sentimental, memorable…however you choose to describe it you will recall that it was home every day because…

EVERY DAY MATTERS

 

This entry was posted on April 28, 2015. 5 Comments

Small Beginnings…Kitchens

STARTING SMALL-FINISHING SMALL

Most of us fondly recall our first home. This doesn’t necessarily equate with that first apartment after college or the small house in the burbs shared with roommates.  Our first home is when and where we decide.  There is an emotional connection.  It is unlikely that this will be your last home, however it is no less important than the bigger, newer one of the future.

Small but striking

Small but striking

Dynamic details

Dynamic details

Whether you are a city mouse or country mouse, square footage may be lacking in your home.  I hesitate to use the term “starter home” as there are those who elect to stay in one of their first homes for a long time.  A little less square footage should not mean any less style.  Actually, I find styling smaller spaces easier.

Not your standard condo

Not your standard condo

The window balanced by oil paintings...fabulous

The window balanced by oil paintings…fabulous

When dealing with a boutique kitchen, I would elect to eliminate upper cabinets. This provides ample opportunity for art, mirrors or open shelving.

Before

Before

French inspired

French inspired

Imagine a small 1960’s kitchen.  Maple cabinets, Formica counters, linoleum floors.  Transforming that image into the above vision is nothing more than material choices.  The first, budget fitting home has every possibility open to you as a custom, mid life, McMansion.

Charming

Charming

Why not?

Why not?

Now the presence of a fantastic La Cornue stove seems to contradict the subject of first homes, but stay with me here.  This is an investment worth consideration.  This stove will be with you for life.  The magnificence of it’s quality aside, it will travel with you from your first home to your last.

Windows are critical in small kitchens

Windows are critical in small kitchens

There are the bungalow style homes of the 1940’s which often have a back porch.  This is fantastic opportunity to enlarge the square footage of the kitchen as well as add dramatic, large windows such as the above.

A small galley can still be stunning

A small galley can still be stunning

Turning our attention to the second opportunity for less square footage…paring down.  The children are grown, retirement is on the horizon.  Editing our belongings down to those precious few does not translate to less style.

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There is nothing grandiose about the above space.  The elements that comprise this beauty are thoughtful and very appealing. Choices are vast and available if you just expand the possibilities.

Marble is stunning

Marble is stunning

Standard, perhaps.  Stylish, absolutely!

Standard, perhaps. Stylish, absolutely!

Who needs a huge space when you have this style

Who needs a huge space when you have this style

Great style

Great style

Love the choice for the island

Love the choice for the island

Home is the emotional center for all of us.  Be it the tiny apartment that welcomes you at the end of your first day on the job. The dear two story that witnesses the bonds of parent and child.  Or the serene two bedroom reward for a life well lived.  Regardless of life stages or bank accounts, your home provides comfort every day because…

EVERY DAY MATTERS

 

 

 

 

This entry was posted on April 25, 2015. 7 Comments

And Soon We Shall Have Summer

SUMMER ENTERTAINING IDEAS

We are swiftly approaching that sweet season of summer.  Gardens are coming into bloom, the sun remains a little longer with each passing day and we find ourselves less hesitant with regard to entertaining.  Guests seem to arrive ready to relax and demanding very little fuss.  Having a few ideas for presenting your summer fare on hand is your assurance that paper plates and plastic cups remain elsewhere.

Love the juxtaposition of sterling and wood

Love the juxtaposition of sterling and wood

Somwhere in our past we were made to believe that lovely flatware, glassware and silver had no place outside of the walls of our home.  Nonsense.  We spend the weeks of November and most of December determined to bring Mother Nature’s winter into our interiors.  We strive for the beauty of  joining sparkling crystal goblets and holiday china with branches of evergreen and pine cones.  Well let’s just reverse this.

Help yourself

Help yourself

These apothacary dispensers are available everywhere.  It matters not if they drip with a little condisation…you’re outside.  Your guests are not intimidated to help themselves.

The Bar Cart

The Bar Cart

Well stocked bar cart

Well stocked bar cart

Bar carts are perfect for summer entertaining.  Perhaps even more than one.  As we all know, people tend to congregate around the liquids. Having two or more carts strategically separated will expand the party.

Love the dough bowl

Love the dough bowl

I am quite fond of wrapping flatware and cloth napkins together in a pretty presentation.  However, I am also open to having a bit of fun with a unique, eye catching change of pace.

Lavender sprig wrapped napkins

Lavender sprig wrapped napkins

Clever

Clever

Entertaining in the summer doesn’t necessarily mean steak or burgers.  Cocktails and an array of breads, cheeses, summer fruits and vegetables are casual and satisfying.

Basket trays are summer perfect

Basket trays are summer perfect

Wonderful, natural wood

Wonderful, natural wood

Love the breadsticks

Love the breadsticks

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Clever containers

Clever containers

Silver...outside...yes

Silver…outside…yes

Move the topiaries to the table

Why line up the glassware?

There will always be the occasion when those steaks are on the grill.  That doesn’t mean the presentation of the accompanying fare shouldn’t be unique.

Corn on a platter?  I think not.

Corn on a platter? I think not.

Wow a crowd with this

Wow a crowd with this

Not burgers tonight

Not burgers tonight

Why not have an evening with a signature cocktail?

Why not have an evening with a signature cocktail?

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Whether your guest list is four or fourteen, summer evening entertaining is a joyful and relaxing occasion.  With a little imagination and a closet of reliables, a party can come together in short order.  Spontaneity is a trait I need to work on myself.  I am determined to do better.  Perhaps I should try being spontaneous once a day, because…

EVERY DAY MATTERS

 

The Art Of Plate Display

PLATES ARE FOR MORE THAN SUPPER

I hesitate to refer to hanging plates as finding a space filler, however they do the job masterfully.

Perfect accent for a narrow space

Perfect accent for a narrow space

Long, narrow spaces should not be orphaned. I must admit though, I would prefer the space to remain vacant rather than cluttered with odds and ends.  Enter the plates!  They are individually interesting as well as collectively.  The narrow space becomes intended.

Interesting break between windows

Interesting break between windows

Composing the arrangement is all about the balance. Done correctly, this arrangement becomes a singular work of art.  Lighting adds another layer of depth.

Soft illumination gives this tone on tone depth

Soft illumination gives this tone on tone depth

An alternative to books on the shelves

An alternative to books on the shelves

Displaying plates in confined spaces such as shelves and hutches give equal impact to the room as does individually hung on the wall.

 

Symmetrically pleasing

Symmetrically pleasing

Beautiful color contrast

Beautiful color contrast

Abundance

Abundance

A composition of plates vary in style, pattern and size.  A collection of identical plates on a grid gives a different impression than one of varying sizes, patterns and color.

Grid pattern

Grid pattern

Another grid

Another grid

Smart use of the breakfast niche

Smart use of the breakfast niche

The blue and white plates are most popular used for display.  They are a good example of the lasting attraction of traditional elements when decorating

Charles Faudree

Charles Faudree

The late Charles Faudree had a passion for blue and white porcelains.  He had a magnificent collection which followed him from home to home over the years of his multi residences.

 

Charles Faudree

Charles Faudree

Blue and White

Blue and White

Blue and White in the breakfast room

Blue and White in the breakfast room

Beautiful blue and white in the great room

Beautiful blue and white in the great room

The displaying of plates often solves the dilemma of what to do with that awkward space in high ceilinged rooms.

Adding interest in high spaces

Adding interest in high spaces

Display plates in unexpected places.  Bedrooms, powder rooms and hallways make good canvases.

Eye catching in a powder room

Eye catching in a powder room

A bedroom

A bedroom

In a petite kitchen

In a petite kitchen

Variation

Variation

Adding interest to a foyer mirror

Adding interest to a foyer mirror

I am quite fond of plates displayed among books.  In cases or on table tops, they are good companions.

Charming

Charming

Lovely

Lovely

Very creative to let one plate rest on the surface

Very creative to let one plate rest on the surface

Surrounding art

Surrounding art

Unusual layering

Unusual layering

The manner in which plates are arranged can be as creative as you are.  The photo above took creativity to a new level by layering the plates as they are hung.  This adds depth to the composition.

Closely clustered

Closely clustered 

When perusing flea markets and antique shops, keep an eye out for a few plates which appeal to you. Once you have the amount and space, arrange them on the floor.  Tweak here and there.  Now this is a bit unorthodox, but I do not measure. I trust my eye to space by beginning in the center of my composition.  It helps to have a companion to hold the plate while you stand back and guide.  The weight of plates vary, therefore the spring hangar will have some give.  To have them hang evenly to the eye may mean the nail holes are somewhat off measure.  It isn’t difficult and once you’ve given it a go…you will become quite skilled.  Another day, another decorating skill under the belt because…

EVERY DAY MATTERS

 

 

 

 

 

 

This entry was posted on April 19, 2015. 6 Comments

Clever Contrasts

STRIKING CONTRASTS IN DESIGN

“But it doesn’t match!”  Those are the four words I dislike the most when discussing design.  Matching sets of furniture, particularly in living areas, leave me cold. Rooms should be a composition of various textures, weight and form.  It is a delicate dance.  There are no rules.  The finished product should emotionally satisfy the eye.

This represents perfectly the beauty of contrast in materials

This represents perfectly the beauty of contrast in materials

Antique wood complimented with antique silver

Antique wood complimented with antique silver

Beautiful

Beautiful

 

The contrast of dark and light seems quite natural.  In most cases, this contrast tends to enlarge the space to the eye of the viewer.

Light contrasting with dark

Light contrasting with dark

The photo above illustrates two forms of contrast.  The light walls contrasting with the dark oil painting as well as the contrast of a formal light fixture with the aged wood of the table.

Black and white contrasts with the patina of waxed wood

Black and white contrasts with the patina of waxed wood

Two dark upper cabinets in a room of white

Two dark upper cabinets in a room of white

The task of marrying differing furniture styles is tricky.  Trial and error or referring to an eye catching magazine photo are the practices that seem to prove most effective.

Terrific combination of styles

Terrific combination of styles

English claw and foot table married with Swedish side chairs and a tufted velvet settee.  This striking combination works because the common thread is one of formality.  Yet the room is casual.  This is also attractive because it is possible to have a striking room when first making a home.  Flea markets, consignment shops, even hand me downs are possible sources for great design.  Great design does not equate to great cost.

Distressed burlap contrasts with casual black and white

Distressed burlap contrasts with casual black and white

Kitchens are another area which have recently moved away from the “same as” mindset.  Islands are often contrasted from the rest of the cabinetry by color.  This has been the initial baby step in the process of returning kitchens to the original composition of varying pieces of furniture melded together for task.

Storage need not be considered only for upper and lower cabinets

Storage need not be considered only for upper and lower cabinets

An otherwise very contemporary kitchen is contrasted with a lovely wood piece.  I have admired several kitchens which have had an industrial design complimented by one significant antique.

Clean design.  Formal fixture

Clean design. Formal fixture

Zinc tabletop contrasts with French antique

Zinc tabletop contrasts with French antique

Contrasts are impressive in small doses as well.  A table vignette, a first floor powder room, an entryway console or perhaps a dinner party tablesetting.

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Lucite and Leather

Lucite and Leather

Powder Room

Powder Room

Formal Williamsburg hurricanes against aged stone and wood

Formal Williamsburg hurricanes against aged stone and wood

Contrast on a tabletop

Contrast on a tabletop

Rustic contrasting with refined

Rustic contrasting with refined

Simply assembled...beautifully presented

Simply assembled…beautifully presented

Thoughtful contrast

Thoughtful contrast

When planning outdoor entertaining this summer, give a bit of thought to contrast.  It is an interesting way to experiment with this design form.  There is enthusiasm that accompanies a new view of design. Embrace something different, something which contrasts with what is the usual.  Try this just a bit in whatever way you choose.  Try this just a bit everyday because…

EVERY DAY MATTERS

 

Grandchildren’s Sleepover

GUEST ROOMS FOR GRANDCHILDREN

There are numerous joys being grandparents.  Having our sweethearts overnight is at the top of the list.  Whether your sweet ones live close or across the country, having a room just for the kiddos is fun for them as well as logistically smart.

An abundance of floor space

An abundance of floor space

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Room size need not be an obstacle.  Daybeds and built ins transform a small room into the perfect child’s room.  This arrangement is ideal for the young child who requires plenty of floor space for play.

Daybed in a larger room

Daybed in a larger room

There may be occasions when more than one or two grandchildren are visiting.  Having two rooms available, one for the boys and one for the girls, would be even more advantagous.

Little Boy Love

Little Boy Love

Betty Lou Phillips

Betty Lou Phillips

For Little Boys

For Little Boys

Room for all of the girls

Room for all of the girls

...puppy dog tales

…puppy dog tales

Bunk rooms are another smart solution for visiting grandchildren.  If your family has a vacation home, it is likely many grandchildren will be in house at one time.  Bunk rooms are as much fun for them as the trip itself.

Perhaps three granddaughters

Perhaps three granddaughters

Great Bunk Room

Great Bunkroom

Such a fun idea

Such a fun idea

For older girls

For older girls

Guest rooms for grandchildren should evolve as the children grow.  They will appreciate the respect.

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So sweet

So sweet

Sweet for all ages

Sweet for all ages

Of course there are those little extras that are intended for the grandchildren.  Grand mommy needs them too!

Precious

Precious

Grandparents help host the best tea parties

Grandparents help host the best tea parties

As long as bedrooms are being specifically designed for the grandchildren…let’s include a bathroom.

For the girls

For the girls

For the boys

For the boys

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Girly girls

Girly girls

Great combination for the girls

Great combination for the girls

Those of us who have lived in one home for many years are keenly aware of it’s evolution.  Paint has been changed, furniture rearranged and children grew up.  We made most of these changes to accommodate the changing stages of our lives.  This need not stop when our kids are grown and on their own.  Creating rooms for our grandchildren furthers the sentimental journey of a home.  We love this journey everyday because…

EVERY DAY MATTERS

 

The Southern Kitchen

THE HEART AND SOUL OF THE SOUTHERN HOME

The heart of most homes is the kitchen. This is never more true than within the warm and welcoming walls of the Southern Home.  Generations of southern cooks pass beloved recipes on to the children with love and the charge to keep these treasures part of their lives.  Equally as important is the kitchen where the southern cook creates and recreates the memories.

North Carolina

North Carolina

Striking color palette

s Striking color palette

Imagine the activity around this island

Imagine the activity around this island

Today’s southern kitchen has conveniences of modern day, yet continue to pay respect to homes of sometime ago.  Local material and craftsmen, generous space and an ample amount of southern sunshine.

Jackye Lanham

Jackye Lanham

Heirloom China takes up residence in these ceiling high, glassed cupboards

Heirloom China takes up residence in these ceiling high, glassed cupboardsx

Jackye Lanham

Jackye Lanham

Impressive

Impressive

Savannah Kitchen

Savannah Kitchen

Traditional center table

Traditional center table

The Southern Kitchen is presented in all sizes and locations.  There is the city and the country.  Two diverse attitudes with the common link of delicious southern cuisine.

Southern River Cottage

Southern River Cottage

Charming weekend cottage kitchen

Charming weekend cottage kitchen

Kichen windows provide that magical southern sunshine

Kichen windows provide that magical southern sunshine

Southern lake cottage

Southern lake cottage

Be it Atlanta, Charleston, Birmingham or Savannah…the Southern Kitchen is captivating.  Sterile will just not do.  The warmth of the kitchen reflects the warmth of its people.  Attention is paid to every detail, from the floors to the ceilings, from the door knobs to the fixtures.

Beautiful in Birmingham

Beautiful in Birmingham

Style in Savannah

Style in Savannah

A North Carolina kitchen

A North Carolina kitchen

Charleston Kitchen

Charleston Kitchen

 

The Southern Kitchen is a hub of activity in the evening as well as a quiet welcome to the morning.  Children tumble underfoot and couples discuss their day.  Taste tests are made and futures are pondered.  Cookies are baked and broken hearts are mended.  The Southern Kitchen is life over the years, it is constant yet ever changing, it matters to those who matter to southerners most because…

 

 

 

EVERY DAY MATTERS

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Southern Home

THE SOUTHERN HOME

It is common knowledge among my family and friends that I love the southern style of home.  When we built our house, Charleston was on my mind.  It continues to be to this day, twenty seven years later.  I am a traditionalist at my core.  I appreciate all design particularly when done well.  I am not one to be influenced by current trends as they eventually pass.  Southerners are traditionalists for the most part in most aspects of their lives.  Passing along family heirlooms from one generation to another.  I have witnessed these pieces blended with contemporary design in a beautiful manner.  These statement pieces anchor the home…especially the Southern Home.

 

Ahhhhh...Charleston

Ahhhhh…Charleston

Sunrise in Charleston

Sunrise in Charleston

The gas lanterns of Charleston

The gas lanterns of Charleston

Charleston perfection

Charleston perfection

Love this home and guest house

Love this home and guest house

My husband and I had the privelage of being guests of this lovely Charleston home a few years ago.  The guest house was absolutely charming in every way.  I could have stayed quite a bit longer. Be it this gorgeous Charleston home or one in Atlanta, the entry of a southern home always makes a statement…Welcome.

The pineapple signifies southern hospitality

The pineapple signifies southern hospitality

The entry

The entry

The magnificent southern entry

The magnificent southern entry

A Charleston entry

A Charleston entry

Perhaps Tara

Perhaps Tara

Charleston

Charleston

Beautiful antiques

Beautiful antiques

This is the work of Charles Faudree

This is the work of Charles Faudree

 

Southern colors

Southern colors

Southern parlor

Southern parlor

Lovely entry into the livingroom

Lovely entry into the livingroom

Jacquie Lanaham

Jackye Lanham

Charleston

Charleston

Charleston

Charleston

 

The mild southern climate provides opportunity for living out of doors a majority of the year.  One of the great pleasures of this includes dining outside on verandas and in gardens.

Life on the veranda

Life on the veranda

Lunch anyone?

Lunch anyone?

Breakfast at eight

Breakfast at eight

The rooms in the Southern Home are warm and welcoming.  Attention to detail is critical and yet it comes across as effortless.  Acquisitions for the room may have been made in a matter of weeks yet the effect is that of years of accumulating and editing.

Jackey Lanham

Jackye Lanham

Jackey Lanham

Jackye Lanham

Jackye Lanham

Jackye Lanham

Jackye Lanham

Jackye Lanham

Jackye Lanham

Jackye Lanham

Jackye Lanham

Jackye Lanham

 

One of my favorite southern designers is Jackye Lanham.  She absolutely has the soul for southern design.  This is evident by her sensitivity for color and composition.  Once you study her work, you will be able to identify one of her rooms immediately.

 

I will continue my focus of the Southern Home with my next post.  The Southern Kitchen is deserving of a post, or two, dedicated to the heart of the Southern Home.  This is where families and friends gather to enjoy the pleasure of creating the delectable dishes of the southern cook.  This is not a seldom occurrence, it is a daily event because…

 

EVERY DAY MATTERS

 

 

 

 

Southern Travel

I LOVE EVERYTHING ABOUT THE SOUTH

As I sit in the Atlanta airport, I reflect upon a familiar sense I have every trip I make to the south.  People are kind, thoughtful, embracing…and it is so very natural for them.  There is a quiet grace with which southerners speak that begs one to lean in a little closer so as not to miss one morsel.  Tradition is respected, celebrated and never considered inconvenient.  Food is enjoyed, shared and never feared.  Children are guided by impeccable manners that are particularly noticeable when encountering young adults.  Home is generational be it the same brick and mortar or a few states away.  It’s the south and I love it.

Southern Hospitality

Southern Hospitality

Charleston gas lantern

Charleston gas lantern

Charming Charleston

Charming Charleston

In my opinion, there is no one city in the south more southern than Charleston.  I am currently pulling out all of the stops to convince my husband that a second home, in Charleston, would be perfect for us.

 

Charleston

Charleston

 

Charleston Carriage House

Charleston Carriage House

Elegance is not forgotten in the south. Fine china and silver is loved and shared from one generation to another.   Monogrammed linen napkins are within reach whenever and wherever one might partake of food or drink.

So Southern

So Southern

If it stands still more than a minute...monogram it

If it stands still more than a minute…monogram it

Love these

Love these

My husband is convinced I would have monogrammed him if I had thought of it.  There are several iconic southern loves, monograming certainly being at the top of the list.  Although I have never waivered in my obsession, there was a period of time when it was considered stuffy.  I am happy to witness a resurgence of this treasured touch.

Everyone should have monogrammed stationary

Everyone should have monogrammed stationary

Southern sweetness

Southern sweetness

Southern ladies of all ages love their pearls.  Yes, a southern lady is always perfectly put together.

Love the hat

Love the hat

As I make my way through the South, I become even more of a foodie.  Southerners know what speaks to the soul when it comes to food.  How to prepare and to present.

Ham biscuits are southern through and through

Ham biscuits are southern through and through

Delicious

Delicious

Southern cheese grits

Southern cheese grits

Fried Green Tomatoes

Fried Green Tomatoes

Cheese Straws

Cheese Straws

Love My Sweet Tea

Love My Sweet Tea

 

Southerners are true artists when it comes to food…both preperation as well as presentation.  Nothing presents more beautifully than silver.  Let me tell you, Southerners treasure their silver.  Appreciating the beauty and history contributes to the determination to use these pieces to create memories.  That is impossible if these treasures are packed away and seldom seen.  A fear of silver polishing is a tired excuse.

Generations of Holidays

Generations of Holidays

Heirloom silver

Heirloom silver

Presentation is everything

Presentation is everything

Silver Julep Cups

Silver Julep Cups

Southern Style

Southern Style

Sweetness

Sweetness

As I now board the plane that will take me home, I realize I leave a part of my heart in this magnificent part of our country.  However, I always take a bit of it with me.  I will do my best to emulate what I have seen, tasted and observed.  My next few posts will be devoted to the homes of the South.  Yes, I have been attracted to the southern home style since I was a girl…but there is more to it than design.  The Southern Home is the people who occupy the space.  Love of family and friends provide the breathtaking accents.  Southerners drink in life in a way and with a consistency like no others.  They innately understand that…

 

EVERY DAY MATTERS

 

 

 

 

 

 

This entry was posted on April 13, 2015. 6 Comments

It’s Only Natural

NATURE’S CONTRIBUTION TO DECOR

Today’s manufacturers have done an admiral job of mimicking nature when producing faux natural elements.  However, there is no substitute for Mother Nature.  Convenience is not an even trade for having real flowers in your home.  It does not begin or end with just florals.  There is so much available to us as long as we are observant and respectful.

Lovely and natural combinatiom

Lovely and natural combinatiom

Sticks and stones

Sticks and stones

Bare branches are nothing less than a work of art.  We tend to shun their natural form when they are bare from winter because we have come to the conclusion that there is no point in seeing beauty in what we perceive as death.

Love moss

Love moss

The magnificence of natural elements lies in the fact that every morsel is one of a kind.  Colors vary, leaves become brittle…it’s all beautiful.

Gathered wood is one of natures most impressive accessories

Gathered wood is one of natures most impressive accessories

Gorgeous sea shells

Gorgeous sea shells

We do tend to seasonalize what nature provides for our decorating desires.  I admit that I am a bit conflicted myself.  This is where I would have to say…do what makes you happy.

Antlers are naturally shed

Antlers are naturally shed

Natures lovely hue

Natures lovely hue

Naturally attractive textures and scents

Naturally attractive textures and scents

So much of nature's beauty in so many ways

So much of nature’s beauty in so many ways

Welcome

Welcome

A gorgeous welcome

A gorgeous welcome

Another attractive composition

Another attractive composition

When creating a table vignette heavy with natural elements, be conscious of weight, height and balance.  In order for the elements to be complimentary of one another, there must be balance.

Nature is well represented

Nature is well represented

Dramatic and not at all complicated

Dramatic and not at all complicated

When selecting cuttings from your property for use in the house, do not be timid.  If you have a high ceilinged entry or dining room, think limbs rather than twigs!  Why be timid with a traditional vase of ten and twelve inch cuttings that dissolve into the rest of the room.

The softness of Spring

The softness of Spring

We are now in to Spring and awaiting the blooms and blossoms.  This is the time of year my attention gravitates to the exterior of our house.  The weather, temperamental though it may be, is so often too seductive to ignore. Over the years of trial and error, I know what plantings I want where.  I keep in mind that the eye does not stop at the window glass, therefore the colors of the plantings in urns at the back of the house MUST compliment the interior rooms.  This is another way to use nature in accessorizing your home.  It visually provides an opportunity to enlarge the space.  Enjoy nature’s beauty in numerous ways every day because…

 

EVERY DAY MATTERS

 

 

 

This entry was posted on April 11, 2015. 5 Comments

The Kitchen Island

AN ISLAND UNTO ITSELF

The constant work horse of many kitchens is the island.  It’s called upon to be a prep zone as well as a buffet.  People gather around it for conversation as well as for a culinary lesson or two.  Most kitchens are capable of accommodating some form of an island.  I find that the more unique the island, the more attractive the kitchen.  Repurposing is a wonderful tool.

Perfect scale for the space

Perfect scale for the space

What could be the origination of this beauty

What could be the origination of this beauty

Classic Jack Arnold

Classic Jack Arnold

A pastry table is an ideal island for a small space

A pastry table is an ideal island for a small space

There are a variety of antique pieces that are successfully repurposed for kitchen islands.  Shop counters, architect’s chests and pastry counters make stunning islands.  There may be a bit of retro fitting necessary, but it will be worth it.

Antique french fabric cutting table

Antique french fabric cutting table

A very unique shop counter

A very unique shop counter

Fabric cutting table

Fabric cutting table

Architecture's cabinet

Architecture’s cabinet

Small yes, but perfect

Small, unique, perfect

A repurposed counter is a remarkable contrast in an industrial loft

A repurposed counter is a remarkable contrast in an industrial loft

Grand

Grand

A charming Charleston home

A charming Charleston home

Kitchen islands make such a statement visually.  I am particularly attracted to the kitchens in which the island contrasts with the rest of the cabinetry.  Regardless if the kitchen is abundant in size or limited in space, the contrast of a repurposed piece will create a custom kitchen effect.

Antique French shop counter

Antique French shop counter

Antique dressmakers counter

Antique dressmakers counter

Great design

Great design

The kitchen island brings opportunity to make a significant change to the kitchen.  We are open to making changes in several areas of the home.  Changing or adding the kitchen island should be just as acceptable.  When antiquing, have with you the measurements of the kitchen floor space, tucked away in your wallet or daytimer.  You never know when you might stumble upon a terrific piece.  Circumstances may require you to store the piece for the time being.  Do not pass up the opportunity to possess a magnificent, one of a kind piece because you have some logistics to consider.  Purchase it. This will give you joy and enthusiasm today and years of joy in the future because…

EVERY DAY MATTERS

 

 

 

 

 

 

This entry was posted on April 9, 2015. 5 Comments

The Breakfast Room

THE BREAKFAST ROOM

We have heard several times that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  I believe the surroundings for this meal is equally as important.  Busy families often fall into the habit of eating on the run.  I so wish that habit would break.  An attractive and comfortable breakfast room may just help with that effort.  By breakfast room, I realize that is most likely an eating area in the kitchen.  So be it.  As long as the area is respected for what you intend for it’s purpose.

One of my all time favorites

One of my all time favorites

Holiday breakfasts with family

Holiday breakfasts with family

Betty Lou Phillips

Betty Lou Phillips

A lovely tall case clock is a treasure in a breakfast room

A lovely tall case clock is a treasure in a breakfast room

Perhaps not a breakfast room, however the spirit is present

Perhaps not a breakfast room, however the spirit is present

A corner is ideal for the designated breakfast room

A corner is ideal for the designated breakfast room

An open corner in the kitchen will become a significant space for breakfast by the use of significant pieces.  This is achieved by using your imagination.  Rather than a “matchy-matchy” table and chair set, vary the concept.

Another stunning corner

Another stunning corner

Charles Faudree

Charles Faudree

Imagine starting your day here

Imagine starting your day here

Why not dream

Why not dream

A beautiful welcome for the morning trip downstairs

A beautiful welcome for the morning trip downstairs

An authentic breakfast room

An authentic breakfast room

There are homes which have a true breakfast room.  Albeit, these are most likely homes built before mid century.  Hopefully in most cases they have not been transformed into home offices tangled with computer cords and paper shredders.

Classic

Classic

Perhaps Connecticut

Perhaps Connecticut

The television is the only nod to our need for knowing it now

The television is the only nod to our need for Modern communication

This is a breakfast room

This is a breakfast room

Beautiful

Beautiful

The high ceilings are fantastic in a breakfast room

The high ceilings are fantastic in a breakfast room

Whether your breakfast room is separate from your kitchen or an extension of it, give it importance.  With a little fore thought and maybe fifteen minutes less sleep, be determined to make breakfast a priority for your family.  Start the day nourishing those bodies with healthy food and nourish those souls by starting the day together because…

 

EVERY DAY MATTERS

 

 

 

 

This entry was posted on April 6, 2015. 6 Comments

The Gallery Wall

THE GALLERY WALL

One of the most dramatic statements of art is the Gallery Wall.  This is a grouping of frames hung on a grid.  This is ideal for high ceilinged walls where one large painting would be prohibitive.

Love this in the breakfast room

Love this in the breakfast room

The subject matter for your gallery wall is up to you.  Obviously, all the frames should match and be matted with identical measurement.  Antique botanical books are perfect.  The pages are without text and the variation of aging of the paper adds even more interest.

 

Sheet music in the nursery

Sheet music in the nursery

This gallery wall gives the illusion that these are individually framed sheets of music.  The effect is exactly right.  Imagine the pages of an antique book of nursery rymmns.

Perfect hall gallery

Perfect hall gallery

Oh, woe is the poor neglected hallway.  If attention is paid at all, it is most likely the recipient of that “what should we do with this” framed what not.  Now I love and appreciate family photographs, I just prefer them framed on a table.  A collection of years of family photos in varying sizes and frame finishes can be overwhelming.

Perfect little cubby

Perfect little cubby

That awkward space beneath the stairs in the lowest level of the house often becomes the parking garage for items that traveled down the stairs, headed for storage, but made it no further.  This idea is quite an eye catcher with the gallery of prints.

Double gallery

Double gallery

Perfect for the end of the hall

Perfect for the end of the hall

The dark wall gives even more of a gallery appearance

The dark wall gives even more of a gallery appearance

Grand

Grand

This indeed makes a statement

This indeed makes a statement

Above this French buffet making a singular visual

Above this French buffet making a singular visual

So very clever

So very clever

I understand all of the benefits of mounting a television.  However, when not in use I prefer not to see it.  This is a very satisfying solution.

A narrow grid

A narrow grid

Perhaps a gallery above the desk might be of old letters

Perhaps a gallery above the desk might be of old letters

If you have been wise and saved letters from loved ones, a gallery wall would be a lovely tribute.  Because the stationary will vary in size, have the matting cut accordingly as it is essential that the frames are identical.  This may be one of those projects that will evolve as you search for the ideal subject matter.  Ponder the possibilities of where a gallery wall would be most striking.  One is sufficient per home as it should stand on it’s own.  Hopefully your choice will give you joy everyday because…

 

EVERY DAY MATTERS

 

With A Touch Of Black

BLACK MAGIC

I have long been of the belief that every room must have a bit of the most dramatic neutral…black.  Whether a little or a lot, black will make an object, a piece of art, a lamp, a tabletop or even an entire wall speak to the rest of the space.  As with the perfect jewelry, that touch of black is the perfect accessory.

That single black lamp makes the room

That single black lamp makes the room

A bright and breezy room on the water is delightful.  However, by adding the black shaded desk lamp, the room becomes a sophisticated statement.  One might initially choose a blue and white ginger jar or pastel porcelain lamp.  Pretty, yes.  A source of night light, sure.  A fixture that will make a statement of the room, not so much.

That single lamp!

That single lamp!

Who would have thought

Who would have thought

Perfect candle choice

Perfect candle choice

I admit the easiest method of incorporating black in to a space is with a black shaded lamp.  Love them.  However, there are other ways.  Something as simple as candles or art for the wall that is dominate with black.  Perhaps a pair of accent pillows or a coffee table floral container.

Genius...absolute genius

Genius…absolute genius

A bit more black for contrast

A bit more black for contrast

When the opportunity for building a home or even redecorating a single room, give thought to incorporating one architectural black element.  You will never regret the decision.

This truly is black magic

This truly is black magic

Would you have noticed this bannister otherwise

Would you have noticed this bannister otherwise

Great steel door

Great steel door

Tell me what you see first

Tell me what you see first

Anything other than black for the table would be a shame

Anything other than black for the table would be a shame

Lighting fixtures are another strong vehicle for using black.  Remember, black is a neutral.

This fixture is as important as the table it shines upon

This fixture is as important as the table it shines upon

Small shades, great impact

Small shades, great impact

Just the right amount of black

Just the right amount of black

If you are so inclined, look around each room of your house and imagine a unique way to bring a bit of black in.  This may be done by merely changing the shade on one lamp or a pair if you have them.  Paint a small chair black.  Once you start thinking about this black magic, you will be amazed by the number of ideas you will have.

The dramatic desk lamp

The dramatic desk lamp

Using black in the entry...yes

Using black in the entry…yes

This is a perfect example of the wonder of contrast

This is a perfect example of the wonder of contrast

I love the use of a small lamp on dining tables...and black

I love the use of a small lamp on dining tables…and black

Elegant

Elegant

Whether the room has a great deal of pattern or very little, those wonderful black lamps are a perfect choice.

Beautiful in a room of pattern

Beautiful in a room of pattern

Beautiful in a room of little pattern

Beautiful in a room of little pattern

The height of the black shaded lamps is a bonus

The height of the black shaded lamps is a bonus

 

Regardless of your favorite color, that touch of black will accent beautifully.  It adds depth as no other element will.  This is not limited to the formal rooms of your home.  From the powder room to the kitchen, every room matters because…

 

EVERY DAY MATTERS

 

 

 

 

 

This entry was posted on April 3, 2015. 1 Comment

The Hostess Gift

THE PLEASURE OF GIVING A THOUGHTFUL HOSTESS GIFT

My mother always told me, “Never arrive empty handed.”  I am a stickler about being a grateful guest Which means I do as my mother taught me as well as to be prompt with a thank you note…a handwritten thank you note.  I love to put real thought into the hostess gift.  If time allows, I will do my best to order a gift that is monogrammed.  It does not require great expense, just great thought.  There is nothing unacceptable with purchasing gifts and tucking them away for a future occasion.  If you have a friend who collects and you come upon one of their desires, purchase it.  I love to please the host or hostess with something other than the traditional bottle of wine.

Leather desk items

Leather desk items

Monogrammed cocktail napkins

Monogrammed cocktail napkins

French soaps

French soaps

French candles

French candles

Antique silver napkin rings

Antique silver napkin rings

French olive oil

French olive oil

Linen napkins

Linen napkins

Antique monogrammed silver

Antique monogrammed silver

Monogrammed coasters

Monogrammed coasters

Gourmet chocolates

Gourmet chocolates

Antique books

Antique books

Unique cutlery

Unique cutlery

A leather journal

A leather journal

Champagne

Champagne

Whatever your choice for your gift to the hostess, give equal thought to the wrapping.  I confess that for many years I detested gift wrapping.  It was a chore.  Where are my scissors?  What did I do with that roll of paper?  The tissue?  The ribbon?  I then realized that I was going about this all wrong.  I love details in decorating…I need the same attitude with wrapping gifts.  Also, the fact that I dislike gift bags!!!!  So I ordered silver grey tissue in bulk, spools of various ribbon, a variety of sturdy boxes and I buy rolls of wrapping paper often.  Now that my wrapping room is set up and organized, I have a sense of excitement at the thought of gift wrapping.  I also have become inspired by the artistry of Carolyne Roehm.

Carolyne Roehm

Carolyne Roehm

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Add a little extra

Add a little extra

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Perhaps a hint of what is inside

Perhaps a hint of what is inside

Beautiful gifts coordinated and ribboned together

Beautiful gifts coordinated and ribboned together

image

image

 

Stunning yet simple

Stunning yet simple

Charming

Charming

The gift suggestions are endless.  Seasonal is always appreciated and who can resist sharing something delicious.  I have ordered bread from Poilane in Paris which arrives in two days, is not expensive and will WOW your hostess.

The French patisserie ships overnight from Paris

The French patisserie ships overnight from Paris

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Knowing your host and hostess’ likes and hobbies gives inspiration to books on the subject.  Always a good idea.

Coffee table books

Coffee table books

Monogrammed stationary

Monogrammed stationary

This requires a bit of thinking ahead, but will be ready for the occasion

This requires a bit of thinking ahead, but will be ready for the occasion

Gourmet pastries

Gourmet pastries

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I now recognize that this will not be a singular post subject.  Hopefully it will inspire you to give a bit more thought to your gift for the hostess.  Whether it is a couple of friends gathering for coffee, a dinner party or a few cocktails before dinner out…please do not be empty handed.  These are occasions that are meaningful to all involved and these occasions certainly matter because…

EVERY DAY MATTERS

This entry was posted on April 1, 2015. 2 Comments