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?

 

 

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?

 

 

 

Spring is in the air…

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We’ve had unseasonably warm weather the last couple of days, even for Atlanta.  It got up to 70 degrees yesterday – it was a glorious sunny day with blue skies. It was gorgeous, but I spent most of the day in the office (boooo!) so I didn’t get outside as much as I would like.

I really prefer to be out in the field, meeting with clients, getting samples and being on the job site. I’m just not a sit behind the desk kind of person. I wish I could’ve brought my laptop outside to work. Maybe I should the next time we have such a beautiful day?

Even though yesterday was the last day of February, the warm sunny weather got me itching for spring. I’m ready to put away the sweaters and break out the preppy tunics and sandals. For the home, when I think of warm and preppy, I immediately think of Celerie Kemble.

Don’t you love this cheerful living room by Kemble? I love the way the red accents play against the green of the sofa and the frog stools. Can you just imagine yourself sitting on this sofa with a cold drink enjoying the cool coastal breeze?

Are you ready for spring?

 

Christmas time is here…

Traditionally we get our Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving. We don’t do anything fancy like go to a tree farm – we’re pretty low maintenance. We go to Pike (our local garden center), go to the $35 tree section and our boys pick out their favorite. Pike is all Christmased up -they have hot cocoa and Christmas music – it’s a fun experience for the boys. This year, we laid low on Friday, and didn’t get our tree until Saturday.

In years past, we decorated the tree with colored lights and all of my ornaments I’ve collected since childhood. It was kind of a hodge podge, but it was sentimental. Also, I kind of like a bit of tacky in Christmas decorations! Bright and loud can be fun! This year, Parker asked me to keep it klassy (yes, with a k, because I’m kool like that!). So, we really pared it down, using white lights and simple ornaments. Here is our tree in the sunroom:

 

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My youngest snuck in the hedgehog and the penguin he painted – we’ll keep them!

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I’ve put a little bit of greenery here and there to jolly it up.

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I used to have a bunch of Christmas decorations that I would put out – like reindeers, a giant musical snow globe and things like that. We decluttered last year and gave away about two thirds of our decorations. We’ve really felt the desire over the last few years to simplify and get rid of extra stuff. We really only kept what made us happy, and the rest of the decorations are greenery.

I just made the bows for the wreaths the other day. I had planned to get lime green ribbon, but my youngest was with me at Michael’s and he liked the gold ribbon, so that’s what we got. I love the wreath for my front door – it was something ridiculous like $15 at Costco! I need to get something for the urns – I have no idea what will last in the deep shade of the porch. Usually I have ferns, but they don’t last once it freezes.  Still don’t have my sconces – I’m going to give myself a hard goal to order them next week.

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Here’s my back door with the dolled up TJ’s wreath:

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This is my sentimental holdover. My grandma painted this santa – she died many years ago, and I like thinking about her when I see him. Isn’t he charming?

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This is my little tinsel tree in the dining room where I hang all of my breakable ornaments. Not all of them are valuable – there are a few Radkos and gifts from friends, but many of them are $10 ornaments that I got from here or there. I love the pickle ornament- isn’t it cute!

I keep this in the dining room to minimize the chance of it getting knocked into. You have to think of things like this in a house full of boys!

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My collection of Shiny Brite Sparkletown houses and churches is my absolute favorite Christmas decoration. I love their vintage feel. They just make me happy! This is the fireplace in our den:

 

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This little Santa is on the table behind the sofa in the den:

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That’s about all I put out this year – I have about two or three bins of decorations that are in the basement that I won’t bring out this year. I think this is enough decoration to be festive – what do you think?

The penthouse reno and a charming bathroom

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We finally got some sun yesterday after what felt like months of misty, rainy weather. It went on and on and on. I wonder if that’s what it’s like to live in Seattle? My hair has not been happy. I fight the frizz on the driest day, so I’ve been pulling my hair back everyday to contain the hair explosion!

We are in the home stretch at the penthouse for phase one! Above you can see the Walker Zanger mosaic is in. There will be a floating shelf right above the tile.

Below is the tile floor that will be throughout the home. There are floor-to-ceiling windows everywhere, and the homeowner was concerned about hardwoods fading from the sunlight, so we went with a wood-look tile. Doesn’t it look good with the dark grout?

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This is the back wall that opens up to the balcony. It’s hard to tell from the picture, but the front of the wall is tiled floor to ceiling. The owners have spent many years in the middle east where tile is used everywhere, and they wanted to bring that feel to their home.

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Here is the tile on the balcony wall. It’s a really pretty taupey grayish color.

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We are designing a custom entertainment center. The top part will be open cubbies. Two floating shelves will be below on the left and the tv will be on the right.  There will be three drawers in the section at the bottom. We taped it out on the wall so the homeowner could approve it. We had to size it down from 10 feet long to 9 feet because it wouldn’t fit in the elevator at 10 feet long.

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Here is my favorite tile in the fireplace wall. It’s a really pretty very light grayish taupe – it’s got this subtle texture that looks a bit like wood. I can’t wait to see it grouted.

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Here’s another project in the works. We are adding a bathroom to a master. This house was built-in the 1920s and has lots of charm. The master bedroom is quite large for such an old house, and there is enough room to add a bathroom without adding on.

Here is the adorable fireplace in the bedroom. The guys like to listen to music like Bon Jovi while they work.

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There are a couple of sloped walls on either side of the bedroom because the roof is pitched here. The house is so cute.

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The guys started tiling the bath. We went with classic subway tile. Their existing bathroom has all of the original tile and we wanted to keep the new bathroom in the same spirit.

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In the shower we are tiling to the ceiling with subway. Outside the shower we are doing a tile wainscot. Isn’t that wave tile pretty? My client wanted a sample of that wave tile before we purchased and I had the worst time getting it! Daltile has two accent tiles called wave – this one is super traditional and they have one that is contemporary. It’s really cute, but not what I needed. I got sent the contemporary one three times! It took many calls, and I finally got the right wave tile. It was worth the trouble, thought, don’t you think?

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Winterfell inspired living room

My husband and I love to watch Game of Thrones.  We started a couple of years late, but we caught up with the first two seasons quickly by watching an episode a night! We’ve watched the first two seasons two times, and I want to re-watch seasons three through five as well. The story lines are so rich and complicated that it’s easy to miss something important.

We don’t have cable, so we had to buy HBO Now to watch Season Five, which just ended (tragically, if you haven’t seen it.). My favorite characters are all of the members of the Stark family and Tyrion Lannister. I’m coming around to liking Jamie Lannister – he has grown as a character. He was very selfish and unlikable at first, but he is becoming human as he deals with some very difficult situations. I’ve liked Tyrion from the beginning – he is smart and funny and the most politically astute character in the whole show.  He survives any situation through his ability to read the politics. I think eventually he will be the Hand to Daenerys Targarean. I think she struggles to rule, and can be a bit idealistic – Tyrion will be a big help to her politically. I think understanding human nature and politics is the only way to survive in the seven kingdoms. Cercei Lanister thought she understood politics, but she let things get out of control and now she is paying a harsh price (Shame! Shame!).

All of this talk of politics brings me back to the Stark family. Lack of understanding of politics and the belief that if they play by the rules everything will work out brings down the Stark family again and again. I loved Ned Stark, and I hated how his rule following eventually led to his death. He was offered the Iron Throne many times, if he would play the game, and he never would. Jon Snow, who is supposed to be Ned’s bastard son, (I don’t think he is – I think Ned was hiding Jon for someone who will be revealed later) has the same stubborn fault of refusing to play the political game, which eventually gets him attacked by a faction of the Men of the Nights Watch who are angry that Jon saved the Wildlings (we are holding out hope that he survives!).

The Stark family lived in Winterfell until Ned died and Theon Greyjoy ransacked the castle to impress his father. The Boltons took over Winterfell in Season Three after the Red Wedding (if you haven’t watched Season Three, this is one of the most heartbreaking scenes, until of course the season finale of Season Five, grrr). Under Bolton rule, Winterfell is not the happy warm place it was when the Starks lived there.

I long for the days when all of the Starks were together at Winterfell. Here is a living room inspired by the happier days at Winterfell. They were such a sweet loving family – it has been so hard to see so many of them die (please stop George R. R. Martin!!!). I think Catelyn would love this velvet Knowle sofa in a soft coral red. Since it is so cold in Winterfell, a tapestry would help warm up the stone walls. You need a fur throw too. I like this one – it reminds me of Bran for some reason. (I’ve heard that we will finally see Bran again in Season Six.)

The pale green fortuny pillow maybe was brought back by Ned when he returned from King’s Landing. The barley twist table could be an heirloom Catelyn brought with her to the marriage. The Circa Lighting chandelier brings a bit of a modern touch to the room, but it still feels classic.  What do you think?  Would Catelyn approve?Screen Shot 2015-06-17 at 5.54.09 AM