antiques, gardens, inspiration, interiors

a garden room

 

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It can be fancy or utilitarian or a little bit of both, but you can make a garden room (or garden nook) almost anywhere that leads from indoors to outdoors. Garden rooms have been around since the days of ancient Greece, and they come in all shapes and sizes (from the spacious garden rooms of grand country homes to small decks of city apartments). They are places for starting seeds, potting plants, storing tools, arranging flowers, keeping notes or a journal, sitting a spell, and above all, finding inspiration.

Why not make a mudroom more garden roomy, or a back hallway or a small porch? Continue reading “a garden room”

inspiration, interiors

7 fun fabrics for summertime

 

 

Summertime: time to lighten our load, our mood, our clothes, our rooms. Here are 7 charming fabrics to add delight to a sunroom or porch or morning room or bedroom. Imagine a rattan chair under a pergola with cushions covered in Radish Moon’s Indigo Radish. Or throw pillows in Holland and Sherry’s Ostrich in a garden room. I even like the interplay between the fabrics, so some combination might work for you. Whismy. Chic. The possibilities are endless…have fun as you lighten things up for summer in elegant country style! Shop the look. Continue reading “7 fun fabrics for summertime”

inspiration

favorite things: peonies

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There is something about peonies: their lush, feathery petals, their intoxicating smell, their rich, dark green foliage, their old-fashioned beauty…and they don’t get as much attention as the rose, but they should. They don’t have thorns, and they are easier to grow. All you have to do is stake them when they flop or better yet, clip them and bring them inside. I’d love to have a field full of peony bushes like Martha Stewart does at her country house above, but since I don’t, here are a few of my favorite things that would add a touch of elegant country style to a home wherever it might be. Continue reading “favorite things: peonies”

interiors

gracious rooms

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Barbara Westbrook’s rooms aren’t all in the country, but her way of decorating a house has roots in the countryside of Virginia, where her grandparents had a farmhouse that she loved and remembers fondly—and these memories infuse her work. I stumbled upon her book Gracious Rooms at my local library (I love when this happens, when I’m not looking for anything in particular, and something beautiful appears). I’m always on the lookout for unexpected ways that elegant country style is expressed. Continue reading “gracious rooms”

interiors

a mantel vignette

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The mantel, as we know, is the perfect place for a still life vignette because the fireplace is often the focal point in a room (especially in a country house), and because most mantels are shelf-like, with space (but not too, too much space, for vignettes should be smallish things) to create an artful display of objects.

(And there is indeed an art to the vignette, which I find fascinating because they might be formal or casual, and they might be short-lived or permanent, and they tell a little story of the house, and I will be exploring them much more in future posts.)

Interior designer Justin Bishop’s American country vignette in black on this bright white mantel is thoughtfully balanced and interesting (if not whimsical, then certainly curious with the dangling leg of the figurine, the top hat echoed in the antique print hanging above, the shadowy hound, and the small American flag, a trinket). There is a silhouette quality at play here that takes us back in time, but instead of being stale is crisp and fresh. And like a good vignette should, it makes me wonder: what will come next?

gardens

the gardens at Monticello

 

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Monticello was Thomas Jefferson’s attempt at creating an American villa rustica, or gentleman’s farm. Jefferson wrote: “…cultivators of the earth are the most valuable citizens. They are the most vigorous, the most independent, the most virtuous, & they are tied to their country and wedded to its liberty & interests by most lasting bonds.”

interiors

another transitional space

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The hanging straw hats, the long bench, the large mirror (for straightening our hat), and the freshly clipped flowering branches in the white pail suggest that this space is one where we make the transition from indoors to outdoors and visa versa. Like most transitional spaces (even the much fancier butler’s pantry from last post), it is utilitarian in nature, but also quite pleasant. This one, a mudroom or back entry hall from Martha Stewart Magazine, is spare and minimal and bright and has a touch of the Swedish country style in its look, with its unadorned windows, simple rustic mirror, painted floors and exposed beams, and the elegant wooden bench with Gustavian lines.