A House by the Sea

Have you ever dreamed of having your very own house by the sea? I have! And I've furnished it and painted it and even given it a catchy name. After all, dreaming is free. The best part ~ you can own another house, any house, and do it again next year. You can move the furniture in the middle of the night or paint your walls azure or periwinkle. You can purchase all those pretty things that are just perfect for a beach house. Sofas and chairs and rugs, oh my!

The view off my rear deck provides inspiration for the color palette.

"Surf's Up" or "Cottage with the Blue Door"
Leave a comment and help me name my new cottage!

I never have trouble making a decision but I just can't decide, blue or yellow, which do you prefer?

I love the architecture at Bald Head Island. I took these pictures several years ago because I just can't get enough of the shingle style, cottage architecture and beach-inspired color palette. Have you ever visited Bald Head Island? If not, you should put a visit on your bucket list. You have to take a ferry to access the island. No cars allowed. That's why the garage, above, is so dainty. It's scaled for a golf cart.

The last time we visited the island, it was two weeks before Christmas. We headed out in the golf cart at dusk for a cocktail at the Bald Head Island Club. Let's just say, after dark on the island is a great opportunity for star gazing. Like it's really dark! Now, I don't want to give away the punch line, but you should know that our girls had been out all day long in the golf cart exploring the island and a golf cart does not have a gas gauge! Because Bald Head Island is about getting-away-from-it-all and being "one" with nature, there are not many opportunities to get dressed up. So, tonight, we have on our one, beach-chic outfit and our brand new can't-walk-but-from-the-car-to-the-table shoes on. And right about the time we are nearing Turtle Central, about two miles from the cottage, we notice the golf cart can't conquer the hill. This is where you would ask your teenagers ~ "What were you thinking?" Well, our can-do host decided to pull into the closest house, of course, my favorite house on the island, and ask for a charge. The homeowner could not have been more gracious. She actually offered us her golf cart to finish our journey to the Club while our cart charged. Her comment about lending her golf cart to four perfect strangers still makes me laugh ~ "After all, where are you going to go, we're on an island!"

Of course, I had a picture of her house in my one-day-if-I ever-have-a-beach-house-file. I love the paint color of the ceilings on the porch and the garage doors. In the outside chance this lovely homeowner ever has the opportunity to read this ~ Thank you! We plan to pay it forward!

I made an inspiration collage of some of my favorite beach house must-haves. Madame X coffee table from Tritter Feefer; carved chair in white oak vintage grey by Noir; paint colors from Farrow and Ball shaded white, blue gray, mouse's back, slipper satin and light gray; old elm pedestal side table from reclaimed elm by Noir; Verellen side chairs in linen from Circa; swivel chair from Lee Industries in Tula Spa; tradewinds wool dhurrie rug from the Barrier Island Collection; slipcovered apartment sofa in vintage sugar linen from Lee Industries; accessories from Oly Studios; fabric Ivy Paisley in ocean from Galbraith & Paul.

This entrance has so much confidence and really speaks to me. It reminds me of the creative writing "prompts" my daughter receives in her honors English class, only in picture form. If this was the cover of a new novel, what would the title be? Chapter II, Life Beyond the Skyscraper, Leading a Colorful Life On Bald Head Island

I love this driftwood coffee table, the view not only capturing the ocean but a rose climbing the railing and those graphic, blue and white pillows. I love the way people say you are going green if you buy something like this stylish coffee table. Recycling at it's very best! Oh, and the turquoise ceramic garden stool almost obscured from view. I also love the fact that the blues don't match.

Inspiration from Southern Living. What's not to like about this youthful room. It just makes me happy! I even like the J Crewish sneakers under the coffee table. I love the blue and orange color palette, the horizontal, wood paneling, the dhurrie rug and of course, those tangerine lampshades make the room.  I could just slouch right down on that sofa and curl up in that throw and read a book!

A modern and chic beach look from Max and Company. If you can't tell, I like everything blue, and I love symmetry and order. I covet the framed sea fans over the sofa and the faux bois pillows on the sofa.

Another great image from Phoebe and Jim Howard's Max and Company. The ocean photography over the sofa is a nice touch. I would love to put my new photography course to work and create some great art-photography with my daughter during our next beach trip. The thought of bringing a personal touch to the house is appealing.

I am a big fan of white kitchens, especially at the beach. I wouldn't change a thing...love the countertops, love the texture and warmth the bamboo blinds bring and love, love, love the color of that blue subway tile!

Would you wake up a different person in this bedroom? This new shade of lavender is everywhere and I love it! The other things about this image that secured a place in my beach notebook is the tone-on-tone wall bracket + coral arrangement over the bed. It provides interest and order but not clutter. I liked the quote I read recently in Traditional Home Magazine from Gabrielle Reece "I love interior design, but it's easy to get intimidated. I finally realized that it's really about just finding things you want to sit in and see every day. Comfortable pieces that aren't too high-maintenance. When we become slaves to our environments, we've gone backwards. They should nurture us, not the other way around."

I want more! This view gives me just enough detail to really, really, really want to see more of this stylish room. You rarely see these blue coral prints at the local antique shows unless you see them in a stack with a "sold" sticker on them. I stay for hours in the print dealers booths trying to find the perfect set of prints to frame. They obviously did too!  Notice the details...the herringbone pattern inside the real wood burning fireplace; the limed horizontal paneling, the linen slipcovered sofas and the white porcelain faux bois lamp. Love it!

Image from South of Market, a Charleston and Atlanta based store filled with great things for the coastal home. SOM is owned by interior designer, Kay Douglass.

Scale, texture, color! South of Market nailed it!

This would make a perfect dining area for a beach house. The slip covers are at once practical and chic, and the chairs look comfortable with the lumbar pillows. I love that you can see the view from the table and that the table looks like driftwood. I am also a big fan of white dishes. I think they let the food be the focal point of the table. I always like to visit the farmer's markets on the way to the island and load up on farm fresh produce. At least once during our visits, we like to take the ferry across to the mainland and bring back fresh-from-the-sea fish and scallops and clams.

 A rare occurrence, snow on Bald Head Island. I love visiting the beach in the off season. If I had a beach house, it would have a big, stone fireplace and lots of cashmere throws and a library of good books!
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Through The Garden Gate: Local Gardens that Inspire

I have learned over the years that I need time outdoors to feel whole. I am inspired by nature and enjoy seeing what others have done with their gardens to capture nature's beauty and bounty. Take a walk with me through my neighborhood and see what the possibilities hold. I love the fact that earthy, organic and green are once again popular and that buying locally grown produce is now hip. I think the highest compliment one can receive is being labeled "down-to-earth."

Winston Salem's gardens through my lens....

In my good friend's garden, she has trained lorapedium to climb the chimney. It blooms little ruby flowers in the early spring and fall.

Designed so that she can look out into the garden from her sun room, this charming symmetrical garden is designed with four quadrants and a central focal point, a verdigris topiary form. Separated by a pea gravel path, each quadrant features boxwood, herbs and perennials. It is enclosed with a white picket fence bordered by pink rose bushes..

I love this enchanting gate and the "peek-a-boo" nature of the privacy fence. I long to swing up the circular drive after a long day and walk through this gate and into my personal garden...a great path to start and finish each day.

This house and garden are meant to be together. The garden compliments the cottage feel of the home and the home architecture provides structure that compliments the garden.

This garden really has "swagger".

Look through the rose arbor at the shaped topiary on the patio.

 I can only imagine the depth a garden like this would add to my life. I think I need to capitalize on the green movement and start a new exercise movement entitled gardenZen.
GardenZen = vitamin D from the sun + garden yoga + aroma therapy + organic vegetables + meditation

A pea gravel path winds from the garage through the garden to the backdoor.

Charming and playful, this garden gate welcomes with whimsy!

The plaque reads "A garden of friends is always in bloom"

Flopsy, Mopsy and cottontail would certainly have a romp in this garden!

When I was very young I spent hours in the garden with my grandmother. My favorite thing to do was to pick and eat the sweet peas. We would go into her backyard garden in the late afternoon and pick and gather what we would eat for dinner. I love the way she would "wilt" the greens and now wish I had paid more attention. I also loved to help her mash the strawberries. She would serve them with heavy cream for dessert. After dinner, I had the privilege of taking the vegetable peels, apple cores, and strawberry tops and returning them to the garden for the birds and rabbits.

The lovely house in the background above is currently for sale and is my favorite house in Winston Salem. The gardens were done by local landscape architect Chip Calloway of Greensboro.

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High Point Furniture Market: Floral Inspiration

I have attended the High Point Furniture Market for almost ten years and every time I go, I come away with the most amazing ideas. The funny thing is my inspiration is not always related to furniture. The people watching is incredible given that you have a sea of design professionals from around the globe. You might call it "fashion fusion". Should you ever get "a seat at the table" in one of the showrooms, you'll discover the food is also inspiring and delicious. While in High Point this season, I made note of the floral design. Here are just a few snapshots of floral designs that inspired me.

I love the simplicity of this table centerpiece~ long stemmed artichokes in glass hurricanes. I wonder if there is a place that sells long stemmed artichokes locally? My guess is that you can special order them through  Whole Foods Market.

This is also a simple idea that brings a rustic, farmhouse quality to the table. I envision a luncheon for friends with tiny pots of lavender in crumbled paper bags, tied with twine at each individual place setting.

A European. bread bowl filled with eggplant, artichokes, herbs and perennials graces a display at BoBo Intriguing Objects. I would love to create one of these arrangements for my kitchen table. This is the perfect arrangement for this year's Market as "organic" and  "green" are still the hot buzz words in design.

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What to collect now: Antique Brooches

When I was little I loved visiting my grandmother and playing in her jewelry. Her favorite Saturday morning outing was to cruise the neighborhood for yard sales and purchase vintage jewelry, nothing expensive, just fun, colorful, often quirky, and interesting. I was reminded of those early days when I received the email from anthropologie featuring the vintage brooch necklace. My grandmother passed away when I was twenty-something before marriage and kids. A good friend of mine suggested that I keep all of her old jewelry for a dress-up trunk, just in case I ever had a little girl. It's still upstairs hidden' away in an old hat box. And yes, I did have a little girl, who is not so little any more, who loved playing dress-up.

I can think of so many reasons to buy this necklace.

necklace + boyfriend jeans + white t-shirt = day at antique market
necklace + sundress + cowboy boots = date night
necklace + my new book + glass of wine + pj's + candle = girl's night in

During my annual visit to the Winston-Salem antique show held Thanksgiving weekend, I always stop and browse the vintage brooches in building one. I pick out my favorites and linger but the
thought keeps running through my head ~ "What are you going to do with them?"

I think the wedding bouquets from fantasy floral designs are just so incredibly cute!

Fantasy Floral Designs

Fast forward 10 years...Madison's bridemaids. Substitute cowboots for rainboots!

Brooches: Timeless Adornment

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2010 Symphony Guild Designer House

I was home last week for one of my quick drive-through-grab-style visits to Charlotte and decided to cruise through this year's Symphony Guild Designer House. When I was twenty-something and living in Charlotte right after graduating from college, I joined the Symphony Guild and one of my first projects was working at the designer house. Did you know that it is one of the longest running designer houses in the country? I always enjoy it and come away with many simple design ideas. If you are struggling this year to find the perfect gift for your mother, why not take her on a tour of the designer house and out to lunch. The 2010 Designer House is at the MET Terraces, 1225 Baxter Street at King’s Drive overlooking Uptown Charlotte. It is open through Mother's Day this Sunday, May 9th Thursday-Saturday 10 to 8; Sun 1 to 6. Tickets are $16. For more information: www.symphonyguildcharlotte.org/. I should mention Trader Joe's and West Elm are located in shopping area of the Met Terraces!

Dining Room by Phoebe Howard

There are so many things to like about this little gem of a dining room ~ the collection of artwork, the banquet, the varied seating pulled up to the table. You have to admire Phoebe Howard for always thinking outside of the box and bringing together traditional and modern elements for a room that makes a statement. Her color palette and mix of textures creates a soothing and restful space that makes you want to linger.

Bedroom by Ann Pearson

If you go, be sure to look at the detail on this bedskirt. We checked the resources and it is sold! Oh, I should mention that if you find something you can't live without, check the resources list. Most things are for sale.

I like the arrangement of prints ~hung above the bedside tables and over the bed. The simple yet sophisticated curtains are made from a brown ticking stripe in silk.

I also love the simple detailing of the shower curtain in the adjoining bathroom.

Bedroom by Betty Kohn
Betty Kohn's bedroom is very serene and painted a beautiful shade of pink. I've noticed this pink a lot recently in magazines, showhouses and on blogs. I think it is one of the "colors to watch" this year. This bedroom was a very personal space that did not feel like a showhouse room but rather like the well-loved bedroom of a mother, collector, traveler, or antique dealer!

I loved the sea fan placed behind the Staffordshire piece on this bracket in the room above.

This paint color is too die for! If I could give it a name I would call it Pistachio. It was not listed on the resources sheet for the room.

Sitting Room by Patrick Lewis & Catherine Walters of Circa

This room was so ethereal in person. It is painted the most attractive and restful shade of gray and the trim is also painted gray knocked-down-a-notch and in gloss. The mirror behind the desk extends all the way to the floor and the hostess said it took 6 men to carry it up. That might be a deal-breaker if it involved by own home and my own husband! The window treatments are made from a most-unusual sheer numby-silky-linen. The rooms that are done by Circa always look so simple but it's the extreme attention to scale and details that make them so restful and simply perfect!

I love this tablescape!
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