Archive for June, 2011

Hamptons Gardens

The Hamptons, is best known as the glamourous, summer colony for the rich and famous for New Yorkers and East Coasters. Hampton Gardens, by author Jack deLashmet takes you behind the hedges of some of the most, lush and exclusive estates. This gorgeous book shows the gardens and how they frame and extend the living space to the outdoors of these fabulous beach homes. The stunning photography and history makes this a most exciting book to include in your library.
Have you see the movie Grey Gardens? If you haven’t yet you must. It is story about Jacqueline Kennedy’s cousin and aunt, Little and Big Edie Bouvier Beale, who lived at Grey Gardens where at one time were the toast of the town, rich, glamourous and beautiful and how they ended up living in squalor with hundreds of cats. It is a fascinating story. Grey Gardens has been purchased and totally renovated by Sally Quinn and Ben Bradlee. You will wonder how in the world they did this after you watch the movie and see the deterioration of this home.
Go to to see more.

Canada Day and Independence Day!

I’m so very fortunate to be able to call two of the greatest countries in the world home. I was born and raised in Canada and came to the USA 12 years ago. Every since I can remember I have celebrated both countries holidays…many are the same and a few have different dates like Thanksgiving. But having many American relatives I have always celebrated both countries holidays. July 1st is Canada Day and July 4th is Independance Day…both countries celebrating their independance and self-governing. Canada and United States of America have a unique relationship with each other sharing in peace, unity, freedom and friendship. As we listen to the news we realize how special this relationship really is in this world. So this year I will be celebrating both once again!!
Fireworks(in this photo) are exploding on the Detroit River with Canada on one side and the USA on the other (cities being Windsor and Detroit). Every year millions of people come to see the fireworks set off on barges in the river to celebrate our friendship and Canada Day and July 4th!

Getting Ready for the Fourth!

I don’t know where the time has gone but we are at the end of June and you should be finishing up your planning for your Fourth of July gathering. Here is a great idea for your table centerpiece for the holiday. Easy and not expensive but looks fantastic!

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The fourth of July is just around the corner.

Ikat Rugs! What’s Old is New Again!

i-kat (ee kaht) – a method of creating patterns in fabric by tie-dying the yarn. It is a universal weaving style common to many world cultures. Likely, it is one of the oldest forms of textile decoration.
Chic designer Charlotte Moss has just come out with a new collection of rugs by Stark called The Passport Collection. There are 12 designs and they will surely add spice and energy to any space. The inspiration for these rugs came to Charlotte after a trip to Istanbul and viewing their gorgeous patterns and colors.

One Hundred Degree Temperatures!!

Here in Texas we already have had several week of high 90’s and 100 degree temperatures! I know the days are already getting shorter but the heat is still on and will be for a few months yet. Many of my flowers are already fried so I thought I would try something a little different in my container gardens. Succulents! They are low maintenance, have great texture, come in many shapes and many colors…surprisingly. They need well drained soil and just enough water to keep their leaves plump. I’m going to give them a whirl and see how they do and how I like them as I am a flower child!

Transform your Bookshelves to Speak Volumes!!

Bookshelves in a room are your largest accessory. Arranging them into a stunning, personalized display is simpler than you might think. Backing your bookshelves in a contrasting color or even wallpaper (not too busy) will help to make the objects on the shelves stand out. This is a perfect place to display collections and items of personal interest. Having lighting from either above, behind or underneath will add focus and warmth. Use hard cover books not paper backs on the shelves and arrange them both horizontally and vertically, alternating throughout the shelving. Fill in the unused space with decorative objects such as family photo’s, ceramic pieces, small works of art and other personal items that you would love to display. I have from our years living in Singapore an array of items from Asia from textiles to celedon pieces that I have collected to lacquer boxes from Bangkok. I enjoy looking at the shelves as each piece is a reminder for me of some of the experiences I had while living in Asia. When you travel you too can pick up objects of interest and display them and besides the wonderful books on the shelves are happy memories as well. Also the battery operated candles that have timers on them are fantastic for the shelves as they can go up high and they last for months, just make sure they have timers on them when you purchase them.
I have a friend who has a wall of the vertical cube boxes like in the photograph above but his cubes are filled with record albums. It looks very cool in his music room and music is his passion. Don’t have a passion or collection? No worries random pieces of decorative objects works great as well.

Nothing lights up a Room Like Flowers!

Ever since I can remember I have always had fresh flowers in the house. I need flowers like people need a coffee in the morning….I don’t drink coffee so flowers are my vice. They just make me happy. I look at anything and everything to be a potential vase. If it can hold water then it will work. So let’s think for a moment outside the box of the traditional vase….tea pot, compote, tea cups, crystal bowls, baskets, fish bowl, pitcher, silver bowls and sugar bowls…as you can see the ideas are endless. So take a look around and find something you wouldn’t ordinarily use as a vase and then put some flowers in it and enjoy. I have even made an arrangement in the revered Stanley Cup when it was at party I had done flowers for. I dropped an arrangement in the top of the cup and said it made the perfect vase!! Because of my need to have flowers in the house besides fresh cut flowers I always have orchids, once the fresh flowers die you always have the orchids in the meantime. Many people are afraid of orchids as they think of them being delicate and exotic and difficult to take care of. They are probably the easiest and least demanding to maintain. I right now have some orchids I got the beginning of March. The prices on orchids has come down quite a bit and Whole Foods usually has a beautiful selection and less expensive than I can get at the wholesalers! I usually have the orchids arranged in a pot with moss and curly willow so not disturb the arrangement I place two ice cubes per orchid plant around the stem about every 10 days and that is it my friends. Orchids do not like being in a draft so be careful with the air conditioning! They love to be misted as they crave the humidity. When I lived in Singapore orchids where everywhere. Daisies were the exotics there! So you can imagine our home was filled with orchids of every kind.

Encyclopedia of the Exquisite!

This is a fun historical look at the stories of everyday elegance’s like champagne, gloves, masquerade, perfume and art for arts sake! Encyclopedia of the Exquisite is a lifestyle guide for the gourmet, style maven, traveler and art lover. It focus’ on the elegant, rare, commonplace and delightful. This book is cleverly illustrated and is an ode to the extravagant to the eccentric.
I think this is a must read for everyone where you can celebrate luxury and it doesn’t necessarily require you to spend money!!

Can’t stand the Heat? Go to your Outdoor Kitchen!

Designing outdoor space into useable space for the entire family to enjoy is a trend that we are seeing especially as we are leaning towards more casual living. An outdoor kitchen can be small and simple or as elaborate as your budget will allow. The key elements we are seeing these days are a grill, fridge, stone baked pizza ovens, food prep area, sink and sound system and television. The gang can gather around a built in bar or outdoor sofas and tables and chairs. If you live in a climate that doesn’t have severe winters you will have more options on your design. Look through of these photo’s and pick your fav. I just finished a backyard and we also added a fireplace and it has become the family room for 6 months of the year.

Most of these pictures are quite elaborate and everyone doesn’t have the space of money to go all out but with some great design work we all can enjoy a little luxury out back.