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”

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?

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.

interiors

an elegant butler’s pantry

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Historically, a butler’s pantry was a transitional space between the main kitchen and the dining room where the last minute preparations before service of the meal took place (because those dining were not to be exposed to the messiness of the kitchen), in a house, or estate, wealthy enough to have a butler, and therefore this luxuriance.

These rooms and this concept have gone out of style. We are more likely to have open kitchens and great rooms in our homes today. But there is something lovely and romantic about this butler’s pantry above with its double arches and blue and white mural and the ceiling-high plate rack and charming collection of delft wall sconces. For those of us who favor smaller rooms and spaces with distinct boundaries and who have a fondness for old-fashioned, out-of-style notions, why not embrace the idea of a butler’s pantry, with or without the butler.

interiors

a chintz sofa: classic English country style

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A chintz sofa, yes, I’m aware that there is nothing at all new about it, in fact it’s a bit old-ladyish (which really doesn’t bother me in the least), but I’ve always been drawn to them (though I doubt I could make it work in my own house), and then there is this Colefax and Fowler fabric that I’ve long had my eye on: Bowood chintz in green/grey, used here by interior designer Gabby Deeming in a striking manner. It is fresh, but also full of warmth and a sense of the past.

John Fowler (1906-1977), of Colefax and Fowler, discovered this pattern in the archives of Bowood House in England. And it (along with the green painted paneling and the spare but noble feel that Deeming  has given this room) absolutely fit Fowler’s belief that, “A room must be essentially comfortable, not only to the body but to the eye…well-behaved but free from too many rules…mannered yet casual and unselfconscious.”

And I do think that that’s exactly what elegant country style is all about—being well-behaved but free from too many rules…mannered yet casual and unselfconscious.

So just a note for now…Fowler will come up again I’m sure. And his partner Sibyl Colefax. And perhaps Bowood chintz, and certainly other chintzes and lots more English country style. I hope you’ll check back and continue to follow the threads…