Sunday, July 29, 2012

Styling with Nature

Whether collecting acorns, drying flowers, or framing herbaria, I think it is charming to bring nature inside. There are many easy ways to style using nature. Grab some pine cones for an empty bowl, for example. Such an interesting way to fill a vessel. I love displaying bowls but sometimes an empty one looks a bit lonely. Filling it with pine cones or seed pods adds warmth and texture. 

So take a stroll through the garden or neighborhood and happy gathering!
 No, this is not scented potpourri :-) I placed poppy pods from a friend's garden in this antique marble bowl. I love the way it picks up the color of the metal plant stand I use as a table. The antique barrel back chair is Swedish.
 Mini pine cones and pods (from Flamant in Brussels) on 19th Cen Swedish Gustavian writing table.
 Antique books on North American birds and eggs. The quail eggs are from eBay.
 Sorry, I'm hoarding these books....they are not for sale :-(
 If you do not like using real eggs, try terra cotta or wooden ones. I found these terra cotta eggs (not old) in Sweden.
 Annabelle hydrangeas from my garden are tied with grosgrain ribbon. The Swedish Gustavian chest has reeded top drawers.
 Antique English majolica dishes inspired by nature.
 The acorns are from Terrain.
Dried lilies of the valley and vintage botanicals on Swedish writing table
Mocha on the lookout for squirrels who are also searching for acorns. Mocha would like to remind us that birds and other wildlife rely on nuts and seeds for food, so please be mindful and leave some for her friends.  

Sunday, July 22, 2012

A Classic Bathroom

Bathrooms are one of my favorite rooms to decorate. Perhaps it’s because many of them are in classic shades of white. They can be utilitarian and still fabulous. And of course, they should stand up to daily use.

Susan and Greg, whose home I featured in this former post, have such a bathroom. Not only is their master bath beautiful and peaceful, it is functional and a true classic. I’d like to thank them for letting me photograph it to share with you all.
 My antique Swedish Gustavian chest found a perfect home in this master bath. The chest provides ample storage while anchoring the pair of open washstands. Mirrors and washstands from Waterworks.
 The antique chest is an unexpected complement to this utilitarian space. Antique white ironstone dishes also from my shop.
 Slipcovered Ikea chair and antique wood table soften this expansive space.
 Carrara marble on shower threshold and the two seats.
 Schoolhouse light fixtures, pitched ceiling and subway tiles.
 
I love the custom tall step-back baseboards.
 Hexagonal tiles would have been common in homes of this period. Susan found these wire baskets from R. Hardware.
 The built-in linen / medicine closet has upper reeded glass door and glass knobs.
In case you are wondering, the water closet (ahem, toilet :-) is cleverly located behind the shower.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Summer Pillows

In my last post on our blue garden, many of you left wonderful plant suggestions. Thank you kindly!

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An easy way to freshen up a room for summer is by changing out the pillows. Whether custom or already made, pillows can perk up the decor or tone it down. With options available at various price points, it is something anyone can do.

During the warmer months, I like to bring out pillows that are fresh and lightweight. Because much of the seating furniture in our shop and home are upholstered in neutral fabrics, I can accessories with pillows in most any color or pattern.

Here are some of my favorite summer pillows:
I covered the fronts of these custom pillows in Summer Hill's "Brianna." The backs are in a plain greige linen. Notice the flange with pleated corners.
This self flanged lumbar pillow is in Robert Kime's "Susani" fabric.
I prefer pillows with a simple backing, and used a plain greige linen for the back of this one.
Here I used Baker's "Leaf Motif" in very soft 100% organic cotton. Didn't my workroom do a great job matching the pattern? And, notice the invisible dressmaker's zipper.
Peter Fasano's "Brompton" on these pillows, which I piped in a simple blue-gray cotton.
 At home two new stripes pillows for the armchairs. They are currently on sale at R. Hardware. The settee pillows were purchased 2 years ago, and they are holding up well...no fading.
 The pair of tall variegated myrtles are growing nicely.
BTW, if you would like custom pillows and do not sew or have access to a workroom, try a drycleaner that offers alteration services. A seamstress or tailor should be able to sew pillow covers. Also, I like the well priced feather and down inserts from Crate and Barrel.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Update on Our Blue Garden

Back in April, I introduced our blue garden which we planted in July 2011. This garden features plants that flower predominately blue, lavender or purple. To add depth and texture to this tone-on-tone garden, I mixed in plants with interesting foliage as well.

I designed this informal garden with scale and height in mind---one we can see and enjoy from inside our home. Also, I wanted to attract butterflies and birds. Most importantly, this garden needed to offer privacy from city neighbors.

It has been a challenge to find plants that bloom a true or pure blue color. Do you have any plant suggestions?

The following photos were taken at dawn or dusk (when light was softest) throughout May - July.
 The blue garden at it's peak in June.
I sketched this quick garden plan. For reference, bench is 8 feet long. C = Cryptomeria, M = Magnolia, D = Variegated Dogwood, V = Verbena Bonariensis, R = Russian Sage, B = Baptisia, S = Smokebush, A = Agastache, H = Hydrangea, L = Lavender
 American Wisteria blooming in early May. There are now small boxwoods under the Wisteria.
Spikes of indigo blue Baptisia flowers behind fresh green Hidcote Lavender, mid May.
 Baptisia flowers fade as Lavender blooms in early June.
 So far lots of bees, some butterflies, and even a few hummingbirds.
 A contrast of textures in June: Russian Sage, Blue Paradise Phlox, Hidcote Lavender, and Smokebush Grace's purple foliage and flowers. Interestingly, the Smokebush will turn into a big gray cloud in early August.
Early June with perfectly formed Allium Globemaster.
 A dizzying display of Verbena Bonariensis.
Buddleia Purple Emperor will bloom all summer. I took the photos during last light one June evening.
 Feathery foliage of Arkansas Amsonia with flowers of Geranium Johnson's Blue.
 Blue Satin Rose of Sharon next to chimney pot, early July.
 The courtyard garden is behind this pavilion. We planted mature Cryptomeria evergreen trees, and they are already over 20 feet tall (3 shown top right).
 Close up of Stokesia, which will bloom from July - Aug.
 Early July: Agastache Blue Fortune is another abundant long bloomer.