Friday mood board: 5 things to elevate your Thanksgiving table

It’s easy to get overwhelmed with the thought of Thanksgiving, all the food shopping, the meal preparation, the cooking itself, and the presentation (not to mention the cleaning up!). But if we really think about it Thanksgiving is just about gathering together, enjoying comfort food, and counting our blessings. And it has managed, somehow, to be a more subdued affair than other holidays.  The best part for me is sitting down to a pretty table that someone has dressed up for the occasion.  I love the moment when all the hustle and bustle has stopped, chairs are pulled up, candles are lit, and we are all seated, looking across the table at one another taking it all in. 

Continue reading “Friday mood board: 5 things to elevate your Thanksgiving table”

upcoming holiday events


The holidays are upon us! We will be participating in two wonderful events and thought we’d share some information about them with you.

On Friday December 6th and Saturday December 7th Ladew Topiary Gardens hosts its annual Christmas Open House and Greens Sale.  This year the theme is Winter Wonderland, and each room of the historic manor house is decorated for the holidays by a different floral designer or garden club.  We will be decorating the Drawing Room in Elegant Country Style.


The following weekend, December 13, 14, and 15th Honeybee Home will host The Hive Winter Holiday Market at Mary’s Land Farm.  This is a sip and shop event with over 50 vendors, live music, carolers, food trucks, and valet parking.  Elegant Country Style holiday floral designs will be on display and for sale in the main farmhouse living room.

Both venues are beautiful country settings and are sure to get you in the holiday spirit.  We are so thankful for all of your support and encouragement, and do hope to see you there!  (click on links above to purchase tickets)


Holly and Brooke

antiquing (and other things) in Annapolis

1D114624-33B5-4965-9BFA-93A447F74416This weekend the weather was perfect, blue skies and low humidity, so we took a little jaunt down to Annapolis to take in the summer sights and do some shopping. It has been too long since we paid a visit to this lovely historic town, and it was nice to revisit some favorite shops and discover some new ones. Maryland Avenue, directly off the rotunda around the State Capital, is a quaint street with some of our favorite haunts. 1DC57626-E8C1-4712-868D-549A1D7CDAE81890BCC1-E32C-4FA8-9149-E8694B6366DBAt Evergreen Antiques and True Vintage you will find reasonably priced vintage and antique pieces. Proprietor Joanna Young has a great eye for the eclectic and elegant. She’s got the best selection of vintage clothing that I’ve seen in a while (I bought a yellow silk beaded shift dress right off the mannequin when I walked in). There is also a nice selection of artwork—interesting mid-century paintings and sketches with a Bloomsbury, Bo Ho feel to them.EB344734-68D5-44A3-AD5E-DB12180C299BF059625B-F196-4426-8652-198A97801A06629852D2-ED54-4B41-84B6-8B53D5C08B6DBlue Crab Antiques is an old-school shop brimming over with wonderful collectors’ items—mostly maritime themed pieces, but other beautiful decorative objects as well. There is an impressive collection of Wedgewood US Naval Academy Plates and stunning oyster plates for the serious collector.AC82E37A-CB5C-49EE-A079-8605765A73EF75408979-48BA-4675-8285-F6F8225B585396DD6CCB-869C-400A-89A1-F21B4F5D620A418A65BB-EB1D-4D93-A1C2-3038AF4820FDDBD34AE4-98D2-4E81-BCD6-C02D68D10401If you love used bookstores with volumes stacked everywhere and a shopkeeper who knows exactly where every book you ask for is located, then The Annapolis Bookstore is for you. It was certainly my kind of place! (I found a copy of Colefax & Fowler by Chester Jones for a steal and an MKF Fisher that I haven’t read and… you get the picture…)DDAB35FF-6DAA-4897-AAA5-25D9DE1AEE22996191DD-43FB-4BCB-BC64-8DA7351F5853B5244A1A-5858-464E-8C54-D8ACAE0F114C50B77D95-FD71-4EEE-9FBD-06095C43AD36Natalie Silitch’s shop has what I would call a Parisian coastal feel to it. There are striking pieces—like a black chinoisserie table, French tole trays and tables, botanical book pages (perfect for framing), herbarium pages (already framed), Florentine tables, coral pieces, and a gathering of charming small original paintings scattered around (perfect for vignettes and bookshelves and a great way to start collecting art for your home).  The main attraction is Natalie herself, an artist who creates and sells her whimsical folk art pieces.  1A6AAA78-8277-4480-8F87-A0F96C3CD124A15858E6-5DD3-4D22-93D0-FBA0B421DD142F7B58D1-5802-4A5A-A73D-9457DBEE82C1There are two wonderful shops for home interiors on Maryland Avenue as well. Be sure to stop in Peake House, which has two floors of beautiful and sophisticated pieces for a traditional look, and Be Home Annapolis, which has a lively and smart collection of home and gift items.

Of course there is much to see in Annapolis down closer to the docks and along the other side streets, which we walk just to look at the old narrow houses and be inspired by their beauty and their history. We ran into a bridal party rushing for photographs (the bride’s attendants wore a perfect colonial blue color and I couldn’t help sympathizing with the floral designer who worried that the bouquets were wilting!).D3D9C366-1C48-4E57-A45A-BE9B09EDB728


(All photographs by Michael Sneeringer, Jr @elsneero)

house tour: English shabby chic by Max Rollitt


Max Rollitt was trained as a cabinetmaker then went into selling antiques (in a shop he inherited from his mother and has apparently truly made his own). Now he decorates interiors as well. I don’t remember exactly when I came across Rollitt’s work; all I know is that I liked it a lot. For one thing—he puts a smile on your face. His Instagram is often funny and his rooms, for all their beauty, don’t take themselves too seriously.

In an ivy covered old Hampshire vicarage featured in House & Garden UK, we can see the hallmarks of his style that I find so interesting and fresh and full of charm.


Here’s what I think is worth noting about Max Rollitt’s approach to design:

Color: Color is used everywhere, rich and unexpected colors (that I myself would never think to incorporate) in drapes and on furniture and on walls. But the rooms are not saturated—the colors are given room to breathe and be noticed when placed against natural materials and the rougher edges of old houses.


Floors and walls: Here, floors are wide planked wood from Victorian potteries, left natural or painted a glossy white. There are sisal rugs and antique oriental rugs layered throughout. Walls are painted in lovely natural colors, like the dining room in Light Blue by Farrow and Ball or wallpapered in Lewis and Wood patterns that work so well to compliment the essence of the house and property.


Quirkiness: Why not dress a Romanesque bust with a black top hat? The British have this kind of humor that we just can’t pull off over here (when we try we just seem silly). There’s a lighthearted and joyful feeling that transcends the walls and fills the space that I love.


Lived in and loved not decorated: There is attention to details that “make the house not just decorated but lived in and loved.” Rollitt achieves this with layers and a blending of materials and periods and style, accessorizing with interesting collected items (he includes high-end antique pieces but is not opposed to reproductions if done right), and a respect for the past that embraces imperfection combined with modern day comfort.


Attitude: It seems to me that a Max Rollitt room is about confidence and fun and taking some risks to get the mix right. And when the mix is right, it’s elegant and very lovely.

Hope you are inspired on this rainy Monday…Cheers!

(All photographs by Mel Yates published in House & Garden UK).



b is for beautiful benches (inside and out)


Benches can solve design and decorating problems: They can occupy a narrow space, create a focal point, and be very useful.  Not to mention the fact that many of them are quite beautiful pieces of furniture.

CC5A8719-EDA4-4469-BBB9-71A4ACD91012So, I’ve gathered some images of pretty benches that might just help solve a decorating dilemma or simply add a finishing touch to a space.

CEF764C0-4095-4DF9-98EB-F935729CB370I love a good entryway bench where you can slip your shoes off and hang up your coat, or just take in the atmosphere of the house before you come or go. The bedroom bench is popular these days, usually placed at the foot of the bed (if you have room, which I do not). Benches in breezeways and loggias, those lovely transitional spaces between indoors and out, can be both useful and charming.




And garden benches just steal my heart. I cannot pass one without sitting down because really it changes our perspective of a place once we do sit on a bench. And to me, the mere fact that someone thought of placing a bench somewhere suggests an invitation to stay for a bit.




I learned some very specific things about choosing a bedroom bench in this article in Architectural Digest.







Whether plain or elaborate, antique or new, benches (inside and out) offer us a moment in our busy busy days to pause and take a deep breath.