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)

summer places: Chappaquiddick (by way of Edgartown)


To get to Chappaquiddick you must pass through Edgartown proper. As you follow the signs thru the narrow streets to the Chappy Ferry, you will find yourself in a place of white picket fences, window boxes, neatly trimmed hedges of boxwood and privet, white Federal style houses with dark green doors and shutters, small manicured lawns, and garden paths leading to casual flower beds and to the water’s edge. It is an old whaling town that has had a great impact on my own style and my thinking about home and garden over the years. I love how the front of the houses are formal and the backs are less so. I love the respect for history in the architecture, whether it is renovations or new homes being built. There is the smell of sea air and roses on summer days mingled with the clinking of glasses raised for a toast and the laughter of children and ringing of church bells (not just on Sundays). There are the water views and sailboats and the lighthouse. Edgartown is well-worn but tidy, and I like that.







The Chappy Ferry (actually there are two boats most of the time) holds three cars or two trucks and takes less than five minutes to cross. There is no town proper on Chappaquiddick. No cobblestone streets. Just sandy dirt roads. There are no shops or restaurants. There is one small store: The Chappy Store (recently purchased and revamped from its original very rustic, shall I say a bit run down condition). And the houses are not the thing on Chappy; they are hidden away for the most part, off the beaten path among the trees. The locals (there are some) will tell you about the unusual life on Chappy, like how the school children on the school bus cross over on the ferry every morning (and all you can picture are the children and the yellow bus on the rough water under gray, foggy skies with seagulls calling). You go to Chappaquiddick for the quietness and the beauty of nature that is left alone out there on the beaches and the trails. You go for the farm grown vegetables and flowers (amazing dahlias, sunflowers, lilies, and so on…), four-wheeling and kayaking, the calm, still nights and stargazing. It’s a place set apart from the rest of Martha’s Vineyard—rough around the edges and no-nonsense.








If Edgartown is like a Keats poem, romantic and flowery, Chappaquiddick makes me think of Emily Dickinson’s work, small but full of beauty, mystery, and awe.

So—this is where I have been lately.  I hope you all have been well.


(*All photographs by Michael Sneeringer, Jr.)


a flower farm (and a summer bouquet)

ECBC9125-0173-4645-AF69-C11D9CCEC3D6Butterbee Farm is tucked away along the edges of a residential community and a thirty-minute drive from Baltimore City proper. Owned and operated by husband and wife team, Jascha Owens and Laura Beth Resnick, Butterbee Farm provides locally grown flowers to the Baltimore/DC region and the Chesapeake Bay area.45636728-891C-4046-93DE-C6949F64C9310A99F8CB-E151-4619-A653-0B9ACD078F10And this past Saturday the flower farm hosted its first tour of the season. Most of us have seen dairy farms and large vegetable gardens, and we’ve seen or had personal cut flower gardens, but many of us have not seen a large-scale farm that only grows flowers.C6B340BB-7633-4FF5-B692-29E1D338E5D5530AE340-B94B-41C8-AA2E-540E8AA78BF395FBE2B1-C6D0-4EB6-91C1-E18FD677E4CC30610C67-E40F-47ED-B4A9-BC7AF3E492D3Our tour started just after 9 AM on a warm, sunny day. Led by Laura Beth, we started in the new green house (built recently so that flowers can be started early and grown during the off season), we walked around the centrally located farmhouse (where the couple lives) taking in the various sections of the farm where bulbs, herbs, woody stem flowers, perennials, and annuals are grown.74B5187E-DDA4-4AB0-B54A-29D770F6F4E5C129FE62-5F7E-4D17-8513-4C834493957DLaura Beth explained what her flower farm does: grows flowers and foliage for florists, floral designers, and DIY brides and grooms. As we walked she told us how she decides what to grow (she meets with florists who tell her the latest trends), and about the farming style she prefers (organic, sustainable, and one that involves an ancient method called occultation).4C46CABD-F260-4B84-A3D3-F0FE4D67357266774DB6-DE73-4F91-983C-ECE9066AF7E92D20B123-0A88-4109-A577-FF8E65637749The farm is small but looks out over acres of cornfields and rolling hills. And it is full of charm. Not just because of all the flowers but also because of the hosts who are clearly passionate about flowers, farming, and community. On our tour guests asked lots of questions, children wandered around, and at the end we made summer bouquets to take home.E05BA654-1309-4EFC-9AE6-C5B35C2C92F99EDDB029-7356-4F5C-9EA0-D9112B854F5CI saw straw flowers in colors and forms that I’ve never seen before, rows and rows of lanky, delicate cosmos, bright snapdragons, and lacey carrot flowers. The spring flowers were mostly gone. The sunflowers and zinnias were just beginning to bloom.9D8B1F7B-BBD5-497E-A47A-8F167D2805D46D7D038F-CFCE-41C4-B441-B6CA97481951The tours were on the half-hour and as we were leaving more folks were filing in to have a look and make a bouquet. I can’t think of a lovelier way to spend a summer morning. I highly recommend it. Click here to find out more!F7E63930-49F6-4A9D-8890-DFB46638B14AE20086C7-6484-4144-8D5B-C798C3F03A78ED14478F-E133-41B2-AB69-45DFCE1B1FD2


(All photographs by Michael Sneeringer, Jr @elsneero)





antiquing (and other things) in Annapolis

1D114624-33B5-4965-9BFA-93A447F74416This weekend the weather was perfect, blue skies and low humidity, so we took a little jaunt down to Annapolis to take in the summer sights and do some shopping. It has been too long since we paid a visit to this lovely historic town, and it was nice to revisit some favorite shops and discover some new ones. Maryland Avenue, directly off the rotunda around the State Capital, is a quaint street with some of our favorite haunts. 1DC57626-E8C1-4712-868D-549A1D7CDAE81890BCC1-E32C-4FA8-9149-E8694B6366DBAt Evergreen Antiques and True Vintage you will find reasonably priced vintage and antique pieces. Proprietor Joanna Young has a great eye for the eclectic and elegant. She’s got the best selection of vintage clothing that I’ve seen in a while (I bought a yellow silk beaded shift dress right off the mannequin when I walked in). There is also a nice selection of artwork—interesting mid-century paintings and sketches with a Bloomsbury, Bo Ho feel to them.EB344734-68D5-44A3-AD5E-DB12180C299BF059625B-F196-4426-8652-198A97801A06629852D2-ED54-4B41-84B6-8B53D5C08B6DBlue Crab Antiques is an old-school shop brimming over with wonderful collectors’ items—mostly maritime themed pieces, but other beautiful decorative objects as well. There is an impressive collection of Wedgewood US Naval Academy Plates and stunning oyster plates for the serious collector.AC82E37A-CB5C-49EE-A079-8605765A73EF75408979-48BA-4675-8285-F6F8225B585396DD6CCB-869C-400A-89A1-F21B4F5D620A418A65BB-EB1D-4D93-A1C2-3038AF4820FDDBD34AE4-98D2-4E81-BCD6-C02D68D10401If you love used bookstores with volumes stacked everywhere and a shopkeeper who knows exactly where every book you ask for is located, then The Annapolis Bookstore is for you. It was certainly my kind of place! (I found a copy of Colefax & Fowler by Chester Jones for a steal and an MKF Fisher that I haven’t read and… you get the picture…)DDAB35FF-6DAA-4897-AAA5-25D9DE1AEE22996191DD-43FB-4BCB-BC64-8DA7351F5853B5244A1A-5858-464E-8C54-D8ACAE0F114C50B77D95-FD71-4EEE-9FBD-06095C43AD36Natalie Silitch’s shop has what I would call a Parisian coastal feel to it. There are striking pieces—like a black chinoisserie table, French tole trays and tables, botanical book pages (perfect for framing), herbarium pages (already framed), Florentine tables, coral pieces, and a gathering of charming small original paintings scattered around (perfect for vignettes and bookshelves and a great way to start collecting art for your home).  The main attraction is Natalie herself, an artist who creates and sells her whimsical folk art pieces.  1A6AAA78-8277-4480-8F87-A0F96C3CD124A15858E6-5DD3-4D22-93D0-FBA0B421DD142F7B58D1-5802-4A5A-A73D-9457DBEE82C1There are two wonderful shops for home interiors on Maryland Avenue as well. Be sure to stop in Peake House, which has two floors of beautiful and sophisticated pieces for a traditional look, and Be Home Annapolis, which has a lively and smart collection of home and gift items.

Of course there is much to see in Annapolis down closer to the docks and along the other side streets, which we walk just to look at the old narrow houses and be inspired by their beauty and their history. We ran into a bridal party rushing for photographs (the bride’s attendants wore a perfect colonial blue color and I couldn’t help sympathizing with the floral designer who worried that the bouquets were wilting!).D3D9C366-1C48-4E57-A45A-BE9B09EDB728


(All photographs by Michael Sneeringer, Jr @elsneero)