fabric, inspiration, interiors, Seasons

shades of aubergine: 5 fabrics to try (if you dare)

 

I’m way out of my comfort zone here. But let me explain. Not long ago I was standing in the butler’s pantry of Harvey Ladew’s manor house learning how to arrange flowers in the rooms (Harvey’s way). There was another discussion going on about Harvey’s bedroom being restored to its original décor and color, which was aubergine. I had to think for a long minute about that color (not to mention how to pronounce it). Aubergine means eggplant or the deep and bright purple of that vegetable. Not something I would ever think to use. And not in a bedroom. My aversion to any color in the purple family is why I steer clear of mauve. However, aubergine—this color, this word, and this bedroom—began to intrigue me. Continue reading “shades of aubergine: 5 fabrics to try (if you dare)”

antiques, featured designer, inspiration, interiors

featured designer: Liliane Hart on Martha’s Vineyard

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A casual entrance hall with botanical prints, wallpaper above wainscoting, and an antique French country bench.

I thought I’d continue the coastal theme that I started last week, and show you some rooms decorated by designer Liliane Hart in homes on Martha’s Vineyard. One of them was just featured in the July/August issue of House Beautiful and I was immediately drawn to the home-spun, yet elegant simplicity of Hart’s approach. She is a new favorite here at ECS. Continue reading “featured designer: Liliane Hart on Martha’s Vineyard”

inspiration

4th of July in elegant country style: 5 favorite things

Say you have never been able to do much with the 4th of July decorating schemes that are readily available, or say you didn’t grow up celebrating this particular holiday (even though your mother celebrated every little thing, this was not something she took much notice of). But say you now live in a town that is known for two things, and one of them is the 4th of July. Why not embrace it all, and find a way to make it your own?

Here are a few things that have caught my eye over the years that I thought might be worth sharing with you in case you have had similar feelings. Or perhaps one might just strike a chord of creativity and get you in the spirit. Continue reading “4th of July in elegant country style: 5 favorite things”

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”

antiques, art, books, inspiration, interiors

on my book shelf: “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 “on my book shelf: “Gracious Rooms””

interiors

a chintz sofa: classic English country style

ECS_Bowood Chintz sofa

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…