My new favorite kitchen

Ok – so I am doing a terrible job at blogging. I went to a talk at ADAC yesterday and saw one of my favorite bloggers, Sherry Hart, speak. Girlfriend has been blogging for 7 years consistently. And she’s busy with design work. I’m still figuring out how to keep up with design work and get all of the laundry washed, folded and put away!

On the work front, I’m in the homestretch to finish one of my favorite kitchens. I love the x’s on the side of the island – aren’t they cute? I can’t wait to see this one finished!

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The lanterns are so awesome – I’m so glad my clients went with them. They are from Shades of Light.

 

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I also love the custom vent hood. It’s hard to see, but it has shiplap on it. It’s so cute!!!! This makes me want to totally redo my kitchen! I guess it’s a job hazard!!!

 

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New carriage lights!

Well, it’s been a minute since I’ve written anything, hasn’t it?  I made a HUGE life change in May. I left my job doing design work at the remodeling company because I got about two seconds of vacation time and it was becoming very stressful having three children at home and no time off. I made the leap to being in business for myself, with the blessing of my thankfully very supportive husband.

I completed my first kitchen on my own in June. It turned out really pretty. We used Thomas O’Brien Katie pendants. LOVE them!!!!

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I’ve since finished another kitchen that has pretty open shelving and a bit of a midcentury vibe. My husband will hopefully  photograph it this weekend. I’m also about to finish a kitchen that has an awesome rustic beam and I am also about to finish a zen bathroom.

In October, I was hired to decorate three rooms in a house. The homeowners were thinking about moving and their real estate agent told them to get rid of all their furniture so the house would sell faster!!!! Wha’????? Well, they decided they want to stay, so I helped them furnish their den, the keeping room in the kitchen and their dining room. And…the homeowner wanted everything before Christmas! To say it was a whirlwind is an understatement.

I specified two custom sofas, two custom club chairs, custom pillows in four fabrics, custom sisal and seagrass rugs, custom bamboo blinds and curtains, two end tables, a coffee table, a console, two wicker chairs, another coffee table, three upholstered stools, three barstools, a dining room table and dining chairs. Whew! It was a lot of work and hectic, but my client was so sweet and awesome. I hired an assistant who helped me style everything on the install day and it was so sweet when my client texted me later that day when she saw everything – she was so happy! She gave a me thank you gift of a bottle of Verve Cliquot – yum! We enjoyed toasting with it on Christmas day!

I also worked on two spec homes and three custom homes for builders. I love doing the spec homes – they give me a budget and I go to town selecting all of the hard finishes. Lighting is the hardest part to choose. For a five bedroom home, the budget is $4,000 – $4,500, which sounds like a lot, but once you choose all of the the utility lights, under cabinet lights and the door bell, I have to find chandeliers that are in the $300-$400 range. It takes a lot of time to find pretty lighting that doesn’t cost much!

And on a personal front, I finally!!! found my carriage lights (after a year of having no lights on the front of my house!).

I ended up going with carriage lights that are handmade in North Georgia. They are so pretty. This is the first one we considered. It looked too small.

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We ended going with these, which I love!

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They are 24″ tall, which I think is a much better scale for the front of the house. Don’t look at the sad, sad urns that are naked. I just got rid of the evergreen boughs that were in there. I need to find something that can work in the deep shade of the porch. Maybe some camellias?

 

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Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles Decorators’ Show House

This past spring, my mom and I visited the Atlanta Homes and Lifestyles Southeastern Showhouse. The show house is held every year – it used to be The Atlanta Symphony Show House, but now it is run by Atlanta Homes and Lifestyles Magazine. (This year was the first year it was held by AH&L.) The show home is always in Atlanta’s toniest residential area, Buckhead. This year was special – two of my favorite designers had rooms – Suzanne Kasler and Phoebe Howard!!!

 

This is the front hall. If you look past the hall table, you see a couple of ladies admiring the chandelier in the dining room designed by Suzanne Kasler.

 

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Here is the study/library which is on the other side of the front hall (on the front of the house).

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And here is the dining room by Suzanne Kasler. It is so elegant and refined. The chandelier is so gorgeous! I love how her style is luxurious and elegant, but not stuffy – I like how she has a little edge added in with the accessories.

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Check out the lacquered ceiling – isn’t it gorgeous!!!! A better picture of the chandelier-

 

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I love the clean lines of the fireplace. Notice the herringbone pattern in the fire box – so pretty!

 

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I like the funkiness of this lamp – just the right amount of glam.

 

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Perfection….

 

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If you like Suzanne Kasler, but, like me, can’t afford her services, more accessible items designed by Kasler are available at Ballard Designs.

 

Here are more pictures from the show house. So much gorgeousness! Enjoy!

 

This is the living room, which is off of the kitchen. If you are facing the fireplace, the kitchen is directly behind you and the backyard is to your left.

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This wall of windows in the living room is on the back of the house – the fireplace is to the right. You can just see the pool over to the left through the windows.

 

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Look how tall the windows are! This room gets incredible light!

 

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You can see the kitchen to the right as you walk in from the living room. Love that painting! Isn’t the lantern in the kitchen yummy!

 

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A built in coffee station in the kitchen-

 

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The kitchen cabinets are a warm gray. The counters are some sort of quartzite – I don’t remember the name. Love the proportions of the backsplash tile.

 

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That hood! It is really the star of the kitchen!

 

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Here is the island sink – the faucet is so pretty and feminine.

 

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A mirrored cabinet in the kitchen. I love the “x”s!

 

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And this – taxidermy has been popular at the show homes!

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Here is one of my favorite rooms (other than the ones by Kasler and Howard). I love the green of the plates and pillows – it just feels so fresh!

 

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Aren’t those pendants awesome!!!!

 

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Someone give that poor cat a sandwich!

 

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Here is the butler’s. Love the “x”s on the glass doors.

 

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A powder room. Love the gorgeous wallpaper and the backsplash shape.

 

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And the fabulous master bedroom by Phoebe Howard!  Love this screen on the wall – it feels like a piece of art. Love the black against the neutral walls and sofa.

 

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The pretty fireplace. Love the brick in the firebox.

 

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A desk in front of a window facing the rear of the house.

 

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This aqua is so soft and pretty. My iPhone photos don’t do this room justice!

 

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Phoebe Howard is very inspirational to me – she is a “decorator” rather than a designer, if you are following the strict definition of the terms. She talks about this in her book, “The Joy of Decorating.” She did not go to school for design, but rather learned on the job working on projects with her architect husband, and at her store, Mrs. Howard.

I think design is a career that if you have a good eye and style, you can educate yourself about design (learning on the job is the fastest way!) and running a business. There are many top tier designers who are technically decorators because they don’t have a degree. Just to name a few are Kelly Wearstler, Vincente Wolf, Darryl Carter and Charlotte Moss. They all have fabulous taste and have figured out how to parlay that into a busy career.

 

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I’ve learned so much from doing the design work in my job, and spending lots of time looking at the work of designers I admire. And going to lots of show houses!!!!!

 

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Here is the master bath. Wall to wall and floor to ceiling marble! Luxurious!

 

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Here is the lady’s dressing room. The window is on the front of the house.

 

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A secondary bathroom – love the stone on the vanity.

 

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A sweet lamp in the “mudroom.” This is more stylish than any mudroom in my house! Mine would be full of muddy sneakers and backpacks!

 

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More mudroom.

 

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Ceiling in the mudroom – gorg!

 

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Outside on the terrace level.

 

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A secondary bedroom.

 

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Love this tile. It looks handmade – lovely. The color is still neutral, and is an nice break from white subway tile.

 

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A sitting room with snack station.

 

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A secondary bedroom designed by Parker Kennedy Living. I saw them speak about color at ADAC not that long ago. Love the exuberance of their designs (and the chinoiserie, of course)!

 

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Here is an upstairs game room.

 

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My favorite – blue and white! This is an outdoor vignette right off the dining room. So cute!

 

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The beaded chandelier over the little sofa:

 

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And… the pool. Aren’t those umbrellas the best? Perfect!

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Here is a console in the pool house. This window overlooks the pool.

 

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The pool house kitchen. Do you think anyone but caterers work in this kitchen?

 

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This was a lovely house – really the vast majority of the rooms were home runs for me. There was a quiet elegance that ran through the whole house. I love going to show homes because they are inspirational, and also, experiencing a designer’s work in real life is so different than seeing it in a magazine or on the computer.

Do you think I can write off the tickets as an education expense?  😉

 

Country road, take me home….

It was spring break for most of the schools in Atlanta last week. Most of my friends and neighbors were posting pictures from the beach on Facebook. A few of my friends broke with the crowd and went to the mountains.

My family loves to go to the mountains in the area where northeast Georgia meets western North Carolina. A couple of years ago, my parents rented a house in Highlands, North Carolina for a month at a time. Highlands is only a little over two hours away from Atlanta, so it was so nice to go up to the mountains for the weekend whenever we wanted to.

I love Highlands because there are tons of outdoor things to do like hiking and exploring waterfalls. There is a great nature center right in the center of town – I love to take the boys there – there is a bog garden, a garden full of native plants like mountain laurel and rhododendrons, lots of taxidermy of local wildlife and several live snakes, turtles and lizards. Perfect for boys!

There is also a cute gourmet grocery store where we go for coffee during the day. In the evening we like to go to the Wine Garden at the Old Edwards Inn for a drink before dinner. Here is the bar area  –  we like to sit a table rather than at the bar.

 

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My sister in law’s sister got married at the Old Edward’s Inn several years ago. She had her rehearsal dinner at the Inn right by the pool – it was so pretty.

 

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Here is the entrance to the Inn when you are on Main Street. The Wine Garden is on the left. Hint – if you stay here they have mini fridges around the Inn that have Dove ice cream bars!

 

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Here is The Farm, where my sister in law’s sister held her (spectacular!) wedding:

 

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Here is the main “barn” – I danced the night away with my youngest, who was just a bitty then (he is 8 now, sniff).

 

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Here is a view of the entrance to the property:

 

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There is also a house on the farm property that my sister in law’s parents rented for the wedding. It is amazing!

 

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Here is the kitchen. We went for drinks on the back porch – this house was so cute!

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Highlands and its sister town (20 minutes away) Cashiers hold a special place in my heart. It’s an area surrounded by spectacular waterfalls, hiking trails and gorgeous views of the Smoky Mountains. The air has a fresh smell that you just don’t get in the city. There are lovely rhododendrons and mountain laurel everywhere.

 

North Carolina also was a favorite for designer Charles Faudree. I love this home that he designed in Cashiers.

 

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Most of the homes in the Highlands/Cashiers area have lots of wood on the walls and ceilings. I like how Faudree used it just on the ceiling here.

 

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I’m not usually a plaid lover, but this is perfection. I love how Faudree painted the ceiling in the dining room. I love the walls, aren’t they gorgeous! And the antler chandeliers – everything is just perfect!

 

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Love the railing here. We’ve rented several homes in the area, and people can go crazy with the “mountain” theme. Faudree was so excellent at creating an environment. This home feels like you are at the mountains without having to have bear doodads everywhere. Love the fabric on the chairs!

We spent the last half of spring break in the North Georgia mountains. It was fun, but it’s not as pretty as Highlands. We came back Saturday, so I had a couple of days to get ready for the week, but it sure was hard getting up at 5:30 yesterday and going to work!

 

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So, are you a mountain person, or a beach person. Or both?

 

 

Lavender – I never dreamed I would like it so much!

We hosted Easter dinner for my parents and my brother and his girls (my sister-in-law had to work, boo!). I set the table with my favorite china and a little bunny vase I picked up at Goodwill. I filled it with hyacinths I got at TJ’s and then I put little blue and white covered dishes on either side of the bunny vase.

As I was eating dinner, I was struck at how great the lavender of the hyacinth looked with the blue and white. (I also love blue and purple hydrangeas in a blue and white vase.) I’ve never been a huge fan of purple in decor, but I am warming up to the idea of a soft grayed down lavender. It looks especially pretty with a dark blue like in this London apartment:

 

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I’m so looking forward to hydrangea season – I hope we have a better year than we did last year! My hydrangeas barely bloomed at all and the blooms I got were green and purple! Here are some pretty blue and purple hydrangeas in the same London home. I like how the designer mixed blues and purples in this chair. Do you think nature was an inspiration?

 

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Here’s an edgier mixing of blue and lavender by Ruthie Sommers. The purple walls are so dark they are almost black. I love the acid green against it!

 

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Isn’t this lavender paper by de Gournay gorgeous?

 

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Here is a lavender dining room. It’s so pretty and feminine. I like how the overall feel is a creamy white with pops of lavender. The color is an accent here and not overwhelming.

 

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LOVE the blue and white mixed with pops of purple here. This makes me want to like straight up purple, which I’m usually not a fan of in decor. This is so pretty!

 

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Here’s a NYC living room by one of my favorite designers, Ashley Whittaker. I love how she mixed different tones of lavender. Notice how the wallpaper in the entry reads as purple even though it is a pattern. Ashley Whittaker is so great with color.

 

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And a living room in the Hampton’s home of my favorite tastemaker, Aerin Lauder. LOVE the lavender walls with the blue and white. Spot on – so elegant and fresh. Yum!

 

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So what do you think about lavender, could you use it in your home?

Atlanta Junior League Tour of Kitchens

This past Saturday and Sunday was the Atlanta Junior League’s annual tour of kitchens. My mom loves to go to show homes, so I invited her to go with me. Saturday, my youngest had a soccer game at 12:30, so I wasn’t able to leave for the tour until close to 2:00. I rushed over to my parents’ apartment building in Buckhead, which is an area filled with traffic, even at 2:00 on a Saturday, so it took me close to 45 minutes to travel about 10 miles.

I got to the building and pushed the buzzer at the main door. My dad answered – I asked him if mom was coming down. He said, Don’t you remember? We’re at your brothers? I thought you were picking Mom up here? Urghh! I didn’t have time to go back and get her – it would take me another 45 minutes to get to my brother’s since he lives near me! Argh! So, Mom didn’t get to join me Saturday since the tour was over at 4:00. She did join me on Sunday and there were some great homes that day.

I only had time to see four houses on Saturday, so I chose houses that were close to Buckhead. Pictures are from the Atlanta Junior League online brochure.

The first kitchen was pretty contemporary. They went with very high end appliances and plumbing. The faucet didn’t have a handle – there is a little light beam that comes out in the toe kick, you wave your foot to break the beam, and the water turns on – isn’t that crazy?

I like the color of the cabinets and the stone was just gorgeous.

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The second house was cute, but not my favorite. They had a big island and then a “table” built out of cabinets and stone and jammed into the corner of the island. They had a great laundry room, though. The laundry had pretty dark gray cabinets everywhere  – cabinets for the kids’ backpacks and shoes, cabinets for cleaning supplies and cabinets around the washer and dryer. It was so organized – I loved it! There are no photos of the kitchen, just this:

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The third house I went to was my absolute favorite from Saturday. It was in a little neighborhood of adorable homes that looked like they came out of a New England village (but they were relatively new). The kitchen was not that big, but everything was super organized and everything had a place. The cabinet designer was really sweet – she opened up just about every drawer and door for me. The colors were really pretty – the cabinets were soft greyed down cream and the stone was a gorgeous Taj Mahal quartzite. Loved!

Notice the ceiling – isn’t it gorgeous? There was amazing attention to detail in this house.

 

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One of my favorite details was the backslash behind the range. I love how the quartzite goes from the top of the range to the bottom of the hood. Check out that little scalloped detail at the bottom. So pretty. The hood was amazing – it’s a limestone that has been crushed up and mixed with a resin (kind of like how Caesarstone is made). That way, they can use less of it – solid limestone would be way too heavy to use. I just loved how this kitchen was so soft and warm – it had a bit of a French feel to me too. Well done!

 

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I got to my last house of the day at 10 minutes to four. This kitchen was really pretty too. The cabinets were cedar with a soft warm gray wash. The perimeter counters were a gorgeous Perla Venata quartzite. It’s amazing in person. I used it in the penthouse remodel – this stone looks good no matter where you use it!

 

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In my next post, I’ll share with you the homes from Sunday – there were some showstoppers! Which kitchen is your favorite?

Palm Beach Preppy

Do you have a morning routine? Every morning I get up by 5:45 a.m. The first thing I do is brush my teeth and then make some coffee. Then I usually make the boys’ lunches (I really should do them the night before – I need to get more organized!) and then get ready for work. Every day, Parker gets up and makes my breakfast while I get ready. Isn’t that sweet?

I like to start my day taking a little time reading about current events and design. I love these quiet moments at the beginning of the day when I am drinking hot coffee – no sugar and lots of half and half. Lately, it’s starting to get warm here (it was 85 degrees today!!!!) so I’ll be switching to iced coffee soon.

Today I woke up at 4:00 a.m. and couldn’t go back to sleep, so I got a little more quiet reading time. I have my favorite blogs that I read regularly – The Pink Clutch is a new addition to my reading list that I discovered when author Paige Minear gave a talk at ADAC on color.

A recent post by Paige is about her trip to Palm Beach, which has got to be the preppy capital of the world. I’ve never been there, but when I think Palm Beach, I think Lilly Pulitzer, Celerie Kemble and Bonanno sandals. Most people think of Jack Rogers sandals first, but Bonanno’s are the original. There is a good post about it here.

Palm Beach also makes me think of tropical landscapes, which of course, include palms. Here is Nate Berkus’ living room covered in the iconic Beverly Hills Hotel Martinique Palm Leaf wallpaper. I love the lush tropical feel of this room.

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Here is Dorothy Draper’s earlier version of this print:

 

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Carlton Varney’s refresh of Palm Beach’s The Colony lobby:

 

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When it’s in the 80s with blue skies and the azaleas popping, I’m starting to feel like trading in my boots and knit ponchos for these.

 

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Wouldn’t you love to sit outside with a drink in the evening here? I love Celerie Kemble’s work! It’s so fresh and cheerful. Love the green print fabric.

 

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Love this tropical bedroom by Celerie Kemble.

 

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Are you feeling spring fever too?