Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Delightful Coastal Garden -- full of color and surprises!

An article I wrote for this month's Coast magazine features Lizette Gaudin's garden in Galveston. If you'd like to read it for her pre-planting tips and floral favorites, this link will transport you there. 

This master gardener's additional tips on how to plan your garden can apply, I think, to anyone, anywhere. And when the weather gets too rainy, snowy or gloomy for outside activity, why not curl up with a few garden books and catalogues? One gets dropped in my mailbox (outside and online) regularly. Called Gardener's Supply, it's fun to browse. Spring will be here before you realize it! 

Lizette's garden is full of color, texture and unexpected surprises. Below are a few images of her front garden. When Hurricane Ike destroyed her ancient live oak, she had an artist carve two herons from its remains:

The birds serve as one of her garden anchors; something she addresses in the Coast article.
Many residents in the historic East End in Galveston turned their dead oaks into art pieces. 
In fact, they are a huge hit among tourists and locals alike. 
Lizette says she finds people out on her sidewalk all of the time, taking photos of the herons.

Additional front garden views -- and glimpses of her 19th century home:





When guests look closely at Lizette's garden, they see all kinds of whimsy and little surprises . . . like a shell-encrusted vase, sea glass sprinkled on top of the soil, a little fish bobbing in her ceramic fountain, a bright purple hanging plant holder -- all of which she either collects or receives from family and friends:





















These photos were taken last November; however, I bet her garden still looks like this. For many, I know it's almost unimaginable to have this look during this time of the year. But, if you find yourself out and about and run across a little something, consider placing it in your garden -- whenever that might be.








Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas from My Family to Yours!





Hope your time with family was as fabulous as mine!
Wishing you the very best.
warmly,
-susan

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Dear Santa: All I Want is A Stone Cottage....






Photo Credits:
http://www.hortensiacottage.co.uk/

http://www.french-country-cottages.co.uk/sites/french-country-cottages/pages/Home.aspx

http://www.e-countryproperty.com/listings/detail.asp?PropID=59952

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stone_Cottage

http://ecosalon.com/thatched-cottages/




Monday, December 20, 2010

A Few Gift-Wrapping Ideas That May Travel Well

Piling gifts into a car results in certain unbecoming consequences. Like smashed 
ribbons and bows . . . .  The following ideas not only look great under the tree -- or elsewhere, I bet they travel well:
And if you run out of tape -- which happens frequently 
to me -- it's no problem when you go this route. Just wrap and wrap the twine again until it secures 
your present in a most abstract yet pretty way. 
(from: In Habitat )


Using letter stencils, create messages -- like Merry Christmas, a name, Happy Hanukkah. Cut letters from old maps, sheets of music, fabric, colorful paper and etc. 
Perfect for travel and a fun way to personalize a present. (From Bugsandfishes )

A Sweet Idea:


It doesn't get any easier than candy and a hot glue gun! 
If traveling and fearing cracked the candies, then
 apply the lifesavers upon arrival.

Collect Paper Scraps This Year and Create Next Year

Rather than throw away your paper scraps this year, save them and
do a mix-and-match look next year. Be "green," get creative.




Thursday, December 16, 2010

Personalizing Your Space: Tips From a Pro!

Interior Designer Kelley Proxmire possesses the knack for turning sterile model houses into warm, personalized homes.  Zuckerman Partners and Gibson Builders -- both located in Washington, D.C. -- repeatedly have turned to Proxmire to do her "magic." She graciously shares her four-point formula to ensure your home is as welcoming as the one her clients wish to sell.


1. Embrace a House’s Strengths; Address its Challenges.






She turned the dining room access by way of kitchen to her advantage, making the area visible from the living room at once formal and inviting by pairing a trestle table with big wing chairs.




2. Think Neutral with a Shot of Color Drama.


Kelley mixed textures -- such as sisal, wood, burlap, silk -- to create drama.
And, because she wanted broad appeal, she kept to neutrals and applied deep browns and blacks for effect.

3. Reinvent/Re-purpose the Overlooked and the Ordinary.

A too-leggy console with redeeming classic lines discovered in a consignment shop was chopped down, painted, and outfitted with a marble top. Lamps on the West Elm console  used in a NY showhouse were originally black and yellow and taller. Proxmire had them cut down, repainted, and added new shades. A wrought iron outdoor table dressed in burlap became a dining room table. Unmatched junk oak chairs painted white with seats recovered in a leopard print fabric inject relaxation and fun into the formal dining room.

4. Believe in the Power of Personal Accessories.


Personal favorites, arranged thoughtfully and en mass, create a mesmerizing and 
attractive vignette.  Kelley gravitates to old interesting boxes that she finds
"junking" or at estate sales. “I love boxes,” says Proxmire. “They’re unique. You can put them in any room, stack them, incorporate them with books.”

Kelley also likes to use old china plates to personalize a space. 
And she likes to bring in plants that "add life."

 “In-town European villa,”  Built by Jim Gibson, Gibson Builders, designed by architect Ankie Barnes. Phillips’ Park community off Foxhall Road, NW, Washington, DC. Photo Credit: Erik Johnson.

Kelley is recognized as one of DC’s top designers and highly sought after for her tailored traditional style. She is in the Washington Design Ctr Hall of fame—a coveted honor in the DC market. She was selected to design the Design Ctr lobby last spring, an installation on view for six months.  You may see more of her work at www.kelleyinteriordesign.com  








Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Christmas House in Buena Vista, Colorado

This house still makes me smile.
Taken with my phone; I clipped it close to the top. 

I saw this little "dollhouse" for the first time during the Chamber of Commerce's Holiday Home Tour in Buena Vista, CO. This tiny house, located in town, was my first stop. There is a large room upstairs with four or five twin beds -- all covered in well-kept old quilts. Very quaint but rather large.  There is another bedroom upstairs, too. It features an antique clawfoot tub in the corner of the room. And it is plumbed, says the owner. 

This house had been condemned when the current owners bought it in 1989 to restore. It was boarded up and had neither water or electricity. Of course, it is quite livable now. The kitchen features a lot of Jadeite, an original sink and an old working wood stove. 

The homeowners created the front gate from an old ticket window used in the Amsterdam train station in Missouri. The fence comes from an old cemetery, also in Missouri. They installed inside tin ceilings, which came from an Amish community. 

I wish had more photos to share. But, unfortunately, I don't.

A 9-foot Steinway concert piano, like the one above, served as the inspiration for one of the houses I visited during this particular tour. Both homeowners -- former professional musicians -- had this house literally built around the placement of the piano, which sits, center stage, in the front room where guests enter. The floor-to-ceiling windows by the piano location usher in a stunning view of water and rocky cliffs. (No photos...sorry.) The owners/musicians  enjoy hosting concerts in their home for charities.




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