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.

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from the archives: Hillwood Estate and Garden

Since we can’t visit many of the public gardens and museums that we love, especially in springtime, I have reached back into the archives to a rainy spring Saturday a few years ago. Hillwood Estate and Gardens is not in the countryside, but in Washington D.C., however while you are there you feel miles away from city life.  I hope you enjoy…

Continue reading “from the archives: Hillwood Estate and Garden”

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.

Scalamandre Chi’En Dragon Hyacinth Blue


Savannah Skirted Ottoman One King’s Lane

Girl In Hyacinth Blue by Susan Vreeland

Antique Porcelain Bulb Bowl


Stroheim Biron Strie Check in Hyacinth Blue

Hyacinth vases and jars

House & Garden UK


Graham & Brown Fresco wallpaper Hyacinth Blue



Cheers and happy Friday!


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

from the archives: a New England cape cod decorated by Kathryn M. Ireland (5 ideas to borrow)


These are days, these late days of September, of hanging on and letting go. And I think that’s what we do frequently in our homes: we hold on, we let go, we try something new. With this in mind, I’m revisiting a home featured in House Beautiful Magazine (2016) that I think captures this time of year and this spirit. It is a classic Cape Cod once owned by Bunny Mellon that was redecorated by West Coast designer Kathryn Ireland. So East meets West and old meets new.


It’s essentially a summer house but there are tiny hints of fall throughout. I can imagine being here (or someplace like this) in late September when we are clinging to the warm, carefree days of summer yet welcoming the coolness and colors and new slant of light that are beginning to be part of our days.


I especially admire how the coastal environment is reflected in soft shades of blues, grays, and greens, with natural elements like grainy wood and wicker (this is a refreshing change from the nautical look that we have come to expect in a house like this).


Simple window treatments—roman shades, long sheer curtains, and classic white shutters—allow the natural light in and do not compete with the water views.

Ireland has honored the past by keeping some original and antique pieces that belonged to Bunny Mellon, but she has mixed in her own lively, smart patterns and soft comfortable furniture for modern living.


The flowers are simple and seasonal.



Attention has been paid to details, like tasseled trim on curtains, pretty fabric draped on tables, and mosquito nets and coronets over beds.



What inspires me the most about this project is how Ireland has given New England understatement just a touch of flair and drama by boldly blending patterns and including her signature “pop” of red into its rooms.


Well, I think that’s six ideas to borrow, but who’s counting….

Happy Friday! Cheers to the weekend!


(* All photographs by James Merrell for House Beautiful Magazine)