mid-week inspiration: late summer mood

It’s late summer here and it’s been an odd one, so perhaps that’s why half of me wants to let it linger and the other half really wants to move on.  As school starts (whatever that looks like), schedules change, summer flowers begin to fade, and the views from our windows begin to alter, our homes are already shifting their mood.  Can you feel it? (Do you remember when rugs were taken up and heavy curtains were replaced with light panels and houses really had a different air about them in summer? And all that work!)  Anyway, there’s still time for summer things like dining al fresco, taking a dip, lounging lazily on the lawn, going for ice cream, or doing whatever keeps you in the summer mood.   

Here are some of my favorite spaces with a nice summer vibe.

Continue reading “mid-week inspiration: late summer mood”

how to arrange sunflowers (because they can be divas)

We are in full sunflower season here.  And while sunflowers are certainly show-stoppers and crowd-pleasers (think sunflower festivals), sometimes it’s hard to handle them.  The sunflower is easy to grow from seed and glorious in a field or tucked in the back of a garden.  But, as a cut flower she can look stunning one minute and then quite dismal the next, her large head bent over like she has overstayed her time at the party.  Depending on the variety (and there are many), stems can be thick and curved in odd ways, and heads can be heavy and large and, well, awkward.  As my sister says of the sunflower:  She wants to do what she wants to do.

Continue reading “how to arrange sunflowers (because they can be divas)”

Friday mood board 6.21.19


Two things initiated this Friday’s mood board: a beautiful painting and a bad habit. I challenged myself to design a room around a painting that I love. In this case it is Robert Dash’s “Pink Field, White Field” (1965). I quickly decided to put it in a kitchen rather than where we might expect a painting like this (living room or dining room or bedroom). And when I began designing, I thought about what I’d love in a kitchen and that would be a comfy, vintage sofa. This is my bad habit (as my husband can tell you): always wanting to eat my meals sitting on the sofa.

The colors of the painting and the mood (uplifting and enchanting) dictated the direction of the room. Two fabrics that I’ve had my eye on, by Alice Sergeant, would work nicely for curtains or shades and cushions. I’d accessorize with green kitchen cabinets (I know…they are back in style!) with marble countertops, an extra-wide Dutch door painted black, copper lighting and other copper accessories, and a big, rustic antique French farm table. Of course there’d be potted red geraniums on the windowsill and my big comfy floral vintage sofa.


Cheers and happy mood boarding!


styling a summer mantel

Markham Roberts

Mantels are the perfect place in the house for seasonal vignettes that come and go according to the weather and the occasion and our mood. In my house, some of the objects on the mantel are mostly permanent for one reason or another, and I’m not as apt to change things around as my sister, but I do love the idea of the mantel as a blank slate for creating still lifes that represent a passing moment of our lives.

Summer mantels, it seems to me, should be even more whimsical and relaxed. And, contrary to popular belief, they don’t always have to include seashells (but of course they can if that is what you love or if they remind you of a special summer place).

I’ve gathered some mantels with a summer vibe to get your creativity flowing as summer unfolds before us…no telling where it will take you and what your mantel will say about your summer days.

Home and Garden

A nice ensemble of natural elements, including feathers, drift wood, moss spheres, and nature prints.

Maura Endres

I like this natural mantel too–It’s got a bit more of a maximalist look to it but everything is still within the same palette.

Taditional Home Magazine

Here is a bolder take on the shells and coral theme.  The pink in the curtains is reflected in the mirror and echoed in the conch shell.

Nora’s Nest

A light and airy display with sea fan coral on a lucite box.  I like how it looks against the gold mirror.

India Hicks

India Hicks has added height with the palm fronds and kept the tone muted.

Nell’s Hill

I love the repetition and the simple potted fern next to the blue and white dish.  I could see some birthday cards tucked behind the candle holders too.


One King’s Lane

Lovely and classic.  Blue and white ginger jars, white summer flowers, and almost perfect symmetry. So this is not a mantel but the vignette could certainly work well on one!

Sincerely, Marie Designs

A simple summer cottage coastal vibe.  Looks great with the green and white check wing-back chair.

So much better with age

Repetition is always pretty.  Simple dairy jars with flowers.  An odd number works best I have been told.


Another pretty version of this idea using vintage bottles.


I like the rustic and muted tones with the texture of the baskets.  This might be more of a late summer into fall vignette with the dried hydrangea and white gourds but you could certainly do an early summer version as well.

Life from Home

I’m always happy to see milk glass being used like this.   White with white, repetition, and symmetry.  And an even number here.  Whatever works!

French Garden House

I love the potted lavender and the pretty plate.

Thistle Key Lane

Simple and elegant honeysuckle in glass vessels.

Bunny Mellon

Bunny Mellon’s mantel looks summery to me with the botanical prints propped up.  She is letting the painting steal the show.


Cheers and happy styling!




7 patterns to take you away (a mid-week pick me up)


Have you ever been sitting in a room and realized that your mind had wandered off somewhere else? And then you realize that it’s quite possibly the room itself that has transported you to a different time and place. I’ve noticed that sometimes when this happens to me, it’s the subtle influence of a pattern. It might be a tropical motif on the wallpaper, or a pastoral pattern on the toile drapes, or a playful animal motif that casts its spell on you.

With that in mind, here are 7 patterns that have transportable powers and would be fun to add to a room (town or country) that might need a touch of magic.  Or just fun to look at for a mid-week pick-me-up!  For more on patterns take a look at Susanna Salk’s latest book The Power of Pattern.  Enjoy.  And do let me know your thoughts on these enchanting designs.

BAF69016-72D4-404C-A72E-FE9BE6629182Rockbird Signature in Multi by GP&J Baker

15028225-C1CC-43CA-A745-F8DAA6B74F9DPagoda in ruby by Katie Ridder 

41550906-D97E-441C-A4F6-69DACDF13032Ismaelia by Pierre Frey

A9107603-69B1-48D1-96FC-42E3EC3083F6Lochwood in pink by Nina Campbell

0EDA7B03-1CC6-425F-917F-C5E5D605BFC9La Parisienne, noir by Manuel Canovas for Cowtan & Tout

D6BBC0E8-E5D3-4681-9B5B-827AC66A266DMarine Toile in indigo by Schumacher

B417BB4C-DCD4-4BD1-9305-3B2E57EF4475Wren in ochre by Mark Hearld for St. Jude