Around my house, I’m embracing the autumn days instead of rushing the holidays. I’m lingering on the falling leaves, the changing light, and the cool air that means sweaters and blankets and fires because this season is fleeting, unlike winter, which stays and stays. My mother decorated seasonally (it was one of her great talents and joys), and she was firm about keeping the autumn mood going strong until after Thanksgiving (her small gesture of placing a Christmas tree ornament on our Thanksgiving dinner plate was her way of easing us into the excitement to come). Continue reading “around my house: embracing autumn (and some thoughts on decorating)”
Plaid is having another moment this fall. Despite its ancient status (I won’t go into it now, but a brief history of it can be found on Smithsonian.com), or maybe because of it, plaid has had its ups and downs. Some years it’s wildly popular and other years it’s pushed aside as being too frumpy and that type of thing. But I’ve always been fond of plaid. Somewhere there is an old photograph of me wearing plaid hip hugger, bell bottom pants (which I adored). And there are several photographs of my brothers in plaid shorts. My mother did a kitchen in black and white windowpane plaid wallpaper. It’s in my blood, and right now plaid is everywhere I look: on the pages of fashion magazines, in shop windows, on tablescapes, and in our homes. Continue reading “how to add plaid this fall (and make it chic)”
It’s always worth our time to revisit a classic. And how refreshing, even now, so many years later, are Nancy’s rules. Nancy Lancaster (1897-1994) was born and raised in Virginia in a beautiful house called Mirador that she loved dearly and its Southern spirit stayed with her throughout her life. She married an Englishman (and then another one) and lived most of her life in England. Her story is one filled with large estates and meticulous, magical gardens, and yet, what she wanted most was to create places of “comfort and pleasing decay.” She thoroughly embraced the English country house and is credited (along with her business partner John Fowler) with creating the style of decorating that we think of today as English country. Continue reading “master class: Nancy Lancaster’s 7 rules of design (and why they still matter)”
If something can be formal and whimsical, it is the topiary. And so is this wallpaper: Topiary in Leaf Green by Cole and Sons. I think it would look gorgeous in a dinning room as long as it was softened with flowing drapes and curvy furniture. I’d love it in a bathroom, especially with an old-fashioned claw foot tub and black and white tiled floor. And of course in a sunroom or garden room that had lots of plants spilling over tables and off of shelves. Where would you hang it?
I’m at a tag sale and there is a long, narrow Victorian daybed with a simple curved shape in a cherry wood stain with a blue ticking mattress. It’s clearly old but in good condition. The price is reasonable. I circle it and circle it again. A young couple is also beginning to circle it. It’s elegant, we say and we love it.
But I can’t think what to do with it, just now. Continue reading “daybed dreaming”
Not long ago, on the terrace of a restaurant near a lake, I saw nasturtiums tumbling out of urns. They were accompanied by some herbs: rosemary, thyme, lavender and so on. It reminded me of my love for nasturtium that began years ago when I had a sunny garden and grew them from seeds. It also reminded me that I had bought some packets of nasturtium seeds early this season with the intention of planting them in containers on our rooftop deck, but sadly this didn’t happen for various reasons (lots of rain and forgetfulness). Continue reading “nasturtium: the unsung hero of summer flowers”
You already know about my love of interior vignettes (an art form open to everyone, one that resides in our humble homes, and one that can be permanent or fleeting). So, despite my affinity for things with a countryside vibe (more land than sea, I suppose), I am taken by some of the coral sculptures that have become popular accessories over the last few years. No longer a fad, they seem to be sticking around and can look quite elegant and timeless—giving a room a summery, seaside feel, but also as interesting objects reminding us of the sea throughout the year (because isn’t remembering what our “things” are really about?). Continue reading “seaside notes: 3 vignettes with coral”