rediscovering our favorite design books

For me, these days of sheltering-in-place have been both confusing and clarifying. I know I’m not alone in that feeling, and I also know that many of us have had the good fortune of rediscovering many things about the place we call home. I have found comfort in revisiting well-worn, well-loved design books full of beautiful homes and gardens. And I was curious about what books others return to for comfort and inspiration.

Continue reading “rediscovering our favorite design books”

Friday mood board 1.24.20

Sometimes we create in order to find something that we are searching for. This mood board is inspired by a color—hyacinth blue—that I have heard of but that I cannot exactly pin down. The hyacinth flower, a spring blooming bulb with a strong fragrance, comes in a range of colors and a variety of blues. The blues go from deep blue (close to purple) to light blue (close to periwinkle). I believe the color referred to as hyacinth blue is a lighter shade like the color in the Vermeer painting. In my quest for the true hyacinth blue I have gathered images of the various hues and other things that it brings to mind, like hyacinth vases and porcelain bulb bowls, Dutch interiors, and soothing patterns in this shade. If I’m not mistaken, my grandmother once had a bedroom in hyacinth blue, or something very close. Perhaps I am remembering that and the coming of spring.

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Scalamandre Chi’En Dragon Hyacinth Blue

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Savannah Skirted Ottoman One King’s Lane

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Girl In Hyacinth Blue by Susan Vreeland

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Antique Porcelain Bulb Bowl

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Stroheim Biron Strie Check in Hyacinth Blue

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Hyacinth vases and jars

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House & Garden UK

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Graham & Brown Fresco wallpaper Hyacinth Blue

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Cheers and happy Friday!

Holly

Friday mood board 1.3.20

One might argue that elegant is not a word that would describe the world of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women. Their world is not one of refinement and luxury, rather their New England lifestyle of the late 19th Century leans toward the simple and pragmatic. Elegance, by the March sisters’ definition, is just out of reach (over at their aunt’s estate and right next door at Mr. Laurence’s). And yet, I would say that elegance does not have to be extravagant. There is elegance in simplicity. And while the March sisters may not have the financial means to live extravagantly, they most certainly have charm and wit and the aspiration to live a good and beautiful life, which is quite elegant to me.

This first Friday of the new year, we’re inspired by Greta Gerwig’s 2019 movie, and her lovely interpretation and aesthetic of Louisa May Alcott’s 1868 novel. Scroll down for some images and some of our favorite sources for a modern Little Women look for home and garden and you!

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Cabbages & Roses

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Cabbages & Roses

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Plain Goods 

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Plain Goods

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William Morris & Co.

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Ruby Lane

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Silk and Willow

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Benjamin Moore Williamsburg Collection

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We love Larger Cross for baskets and lots of other things

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Silk and Willow

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Harpers Bazaar UK

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Ben Pentreath and William Morris & Co.

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Benjamin Moore Williamsburg Collection

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William Morris & Co.

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Etsy

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Silk and Willow

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Harpers Bazaar UK

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Louisa May Alcott’s Orchard House

Cheers and Happy Friday!

Holly & Brooke

what we love about November…

Falling leaves in shades of red, orange, and yellow, country walks, apple orchards, mulled wine, heirloom chrysanthemums, cornucopias, cozy sweaters, planting bulbs, Thanksgiving, pheasants, afternoon naps, sheaves of wheat, plaid everything on these “soft-dying days” as Keats called them…

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We hope you are enjoying these November days…

Cheers!

Holly and Brooke

into the garden: a book by artist Christian Peltenburg-Brechneff

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Every now and then a book comes along that speaks to me in an unexpected way.  Into the Garden by artist Christian Peltenburg-Brechneff is just that kind of book. It’s a collection of paintings by one artist of gardens all over the world. This idea in and of itself is quite fascinating: an artist sits in gardens and paints his version of what he sees (and of course what he feels is there as well).

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I don’t think I’ve ever come across a book like this. We have seen flowers and gardens painted by artists, but I’m not aware of an artist who deliberately set out to make a collection of garden paintings. As he explains it in the introduction, Christian came into the notion of painting gardens through his own garden in Hadlyme, Connecticut, and this passion grew from there to include gardens in places as far apart from one another and as diverse as Falls Village, Connecticut; East Hampton, New York; Sonoma, California; Nashville, Tennessee; Rocktail Bay, South Africa; Pic Paradis, St. Martin; and Lunuganga, Sri Lanka.

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I was intrigued too by what the artist had to say about how he actually paints gardens (he sits for hours and often faces many obstacles) and what it has meant to him to do this kind of work.

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The other thing about this book that caught me off guard a bit is the bold, abstract quality of the images (and that I was so enchanted by them). Van Gogh comes to mind. Most of the paintings are a saturation of vivid color with an abundance of purple in shades from lilac to aubergine. In contrast, some of the paintings are black outlined drawings that are predominately void of color. And there are large-scale flower paintings and drawings as well. (And it’s not exactly a coffee table book either because it is smaller and easier to hold in your hands, which I like a lot.)

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Purple is not one of my favorite colors and I’m not always drawn to abstract art (though sometimes I am). Yet this book captured my imagination and I found myself quite absorbed in the journey. It’s completely different from gardens depicted in magazines that show us what they are actually like.  It’s something akin to how we feel when we look at interior paintings of rooms:  it’s more like dreaming.

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A book like this brings forth so many questions about the connection between art and gardening, about creativity and design, about lightness and darkness, about the beauty of nature and the nature of beauty that I think wherever this book takes you, and how ever deep you go into the gardens, you are bound to enjoy wandering through its pages.

Cheers!

Holly