White Kitchens

January 13, 2016

I’m still a fan.  I love white kitchens.  I am convinced that in time we will look back on what is trending now (grey cabinets, brass pulls and faucets especially) and remark at how “Two Thousand Teens” they look.  Stained cabinetry has certainly had it’s fair share of stepping in and out of the spot light over the last several decades, our on again off again love affair with stained cabinets is always fleeting or coming back… I prefer it stay in the past.  The kitchen should feel clean, bright crisp and fresh.  If you want to feel like your in a wood paneled den… GO IN THE DEN.          f59f6025a4ca81f95c6cd64ff8194efeWhite kitchens with Carrera Marble is a classic combination.  Is the over use and the seemingly endless love affair going to die?  I’m going to say No!  Subway tile on the other hand and the overuse of bead-board has to have a shelf life and I for one think were due for a surge toward something different, something new, something fresh.  I am a fan of slab backsplash.  I love the clean unfussy, monolithic approach to a functional and clean environment.

3bf2cd05339d69d97f17835889d06438 f1281061ce9f7b30f2ce72b85759258c Amy Bartlam Photography 5570db0118340b7b2d1cdf0cd6c2d50c

I know this last one isn’t a kitchen… but it’s cute.  And, I will admit this blog post feels a bit cautionary toward not falling into the trappings of what is trending so posting shiplap or horizontal boards is a bit contradictory.  It is peaking RIGHT NOW, I promise you that… But it’s a great look.  d31387195cc5fa66055881bd82a10396


January 11, 2016

So, this is what heaven looks like I’m sure.  No… Really, H.E.A.V.E.N. At least I hope so. Just look at the beauty called the Dunmore Hotel & Resort.  I think their design team nailed the look! The entire resort has a sophisticated yet relaxed look to it, one that allows you to exhale but reminds you that you’re somewhere special.  Just look at the dining room shot below, I love the collected treasures and old photographs… they add warmth and patina to an otherwise crisp and  bleached out space.  And, who doesn’t love a stripe?  They are clearly cuckoo for stripes judging from these pictures (pictures that were in fact found on Instagram, I give credit at the bottom for each individual who posted them).



In their own words…

Welcome to The Dunmore, a Harbour Island resort where the exceptional is part of each day. At our Caribbean beach hotel, you’ll experience the profound warmth of our people in a timeless retreat that blends classic elegance with contemporary comforts.

Our resort in the Bahamas overlooks the sea’s spectrum of blues and the celebrated pink sands that are uniquely Harbour Island. Join us at The Dunmore for your Bahamian holiday, and discover why we have been inspiring memories since 1963.

A little bit about the island…

Harbour Island, in the Bahamas, is one of the most celebrated destinations in the Caribbean. On the Atlantic side of the island are the famous pink sand beaches. A three-mile stretch of indescribable beauty, the sand here is truly pink. Sifted and smoothed by generations of waves, the sands are coloured by finely crushed coral. A light rose blush by day, they become a vibrant pink at sunset. With its gentle sands and the ribbons of blue in the sea, it is often called the world’s most beautiful beach.

Beyond the beauty of the beaches is the charm of the island itself. This precious place is a historic destination, dating to 1791 when Lord Dunmore, who had a summer residence here, planned the streets of the town. Today, well-preserved cottages are nestled along the streets where golf carts are now the transportation of choice.

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I wanted you to see the folks who captured these great images… follow them on Instagram!

Architecture of Instagram

January 9, 2016

imageI have made this confession before, but I will make it again… My blog suffered the day I discovered Instagram.  It occupies every minute I allow it to.  I look at it before email, Facebook or any other Ap. or program, I guess you could say I’m addicted.  One (of many) favorite pastimes on Instagram is stalking beautiful acrhitecture.  Every style from every corner of the earth, every thing I didn’t even know existed is on Instagram, at my fingertips.  Just look at these beauties… imageL.A., man… Nobody does it quite like Los Angeles.  This courtyard of apartments is so charming, isn’t it? Probably 1920’s.  They had me with the Spanish influences but the symmetry of this one is so great.  Looks like every detail is intact.  I could live there. imageOh, you fancy huh?  Well there’s plenty of fancy to be had in Instagram… just look at this stunner. Metal window frames, classic architecture, formal black and white palette… this house could be 1930’s or 1940’s but could just as easily be contemporary.  My guess is it’s new built to look old.  I love it.  I could live here. imageIf I was going to build a home this one would educate the decisions I made.  I love that way if feels rural and farmy but still has a clean, crisp modern bend to it.  What you can’t see is the back of this beauty, it’s almost all glass.  Is that metal siding? love. Giant sliding doors? love. And when those trees mature a bit and create a long allee… perfection!  I L.O.V.E. this one too.  imageChic… that is all. C.H.I.CimageIf I had to be an urban dweller, this would fine with me… the breeze sole over the upstairs side windows… imageAnd, I ‘m pretty sure I like this shot because I love the clean traditional shoe of this structure, I love the clean white siding and all that glass… who wouldn’t want this much connection to their back yard? the interior looks pretty perfect and if that upstairs room is the master?! Hello, I’m in!

Blackberry Farm

January 7, 2016


I’ve never been to Blackberry Farm but these images (all from Instagram) made the decision for me to add it to my “must visit” list. I had never even heard of this beautiful place until today, but just look at it.  I’m sure my southern friends will say “hello, where have you been…”  I’m just happy to have discovered Blackberry Farm.  The decor and care and attention to detail is clearly something they pride themselves on.  To see many more beautiful images and to learn more about Blackberry farm visit their website here.  Here’s more in their words (taken for their website)…

In 1939, Mrs. Florida Lasier of Chicago snagged her silk stockings on a wild blackberry bramble while exploring the idyllic Smoky Mountain foothills, and the name Blackberry Farm was born. Thirty-nine years later, the Beall family invested their hearts and souls in the same romantic site that has become their family home and lifelong passion. Today, one of America’s most celebrated intimate luxury hotels beckons discerning guests who aspire to escape modern-day frenzy and slip into a Blackberry state of mind. Situated on a pastoral 9,200-acre estate in the Great Smoky Mountains, Blackberry will show you the many reasons why it is one of the top rated properties in the world.


Whether you select the intimate charm of an Estate Room, the legendary elegance of a spacious Singing Brook, Farmstead Cottage, Holly Glade Suite or luxurious comforts of a Hill Cottage, Blackberry Farm’s accommodations offer a haven of carefree comfort. From heavenly feather beds adorned with sumptuous linens to plush robes and luxurious amenities, your accommodations reflect a meticulous attention to detail.


Winter Rates available January – March:
Roaring fires, frosty mornings and everything signature Blackberry Farm in between – plus our annual winter rates for rooms and activities. No matter what draws you, there are plenty of reasons to slip away to Blackberry this Winter and enjoy the stillness of the smokies during truly one of the loveliest times of the year.
(Winter rates available from January 1 – March 13, 2016)

Winter Romantic Escape: Spend more time together at Blackberry Farm in an exclusive offer for a complimentary fourth night when you book three weeknights during December-March. You will also receive a split of champagne on arrival, a seasonal welcome amenity, and a rose petal turndown one evening.
Call 800–557-8864 for information and details. *subject to availability

imageNo promotional enticements or fees were paid for this blog by Blackberry Farm or another person or company.  This is just me, telling you what I think is chic and what deserves to be celebrated and admired.  

Stairway to Heaven

January 5, 2016


An architect makes a house, a staircase makes a home… if it’s a show stopper like these!  I love a dramatic staircase because foyers and stairwells are typically difficult to festoon or bedazzle with furniture and fabric, although one or two of these images may prove me wrong.  It’s really all in how they are designed, built and decorated.  If you’re not lucky enough to have the budget or space to create something magical, work with what you’ve got a god for some DRAMA.  imageAlways a classic, the white painted riser and the black tread makes a statement.  It’s an elegant choice and can be achieved on almost any typical staircase.  All one color works too, but go for something bold if you choose a monochromatic  look.  The sisal on these stairs is a nice counter  to the slick, shiny formality of the black and white.  It ‘s the perfect Yang for the stairs Ying.  …if you know what I mean.  imageYou might not have an all brass circular staircase  in your home or apartment – get one if you can – but you could think about panting  existing metal  balusters antique gold in lieu of the expected black.    You can also replace  balusters without replacing your entire hand rail system, check into it if you hate yours.  imageMMMMMM…. I do like a spanish influence, and these stairs are pretty classic.  In the  States, I think you’d see more terra-cotta tile with these pretty decorative painted tiles but simple cement stairs like this  that are made on site are everywhere in Mexico, Spain, Portugal and other  countries… I find this style charming and they last forever.  imageLet’s just pretend you are stuck with a plain old, run of the mill staircase.  First paint it, stain it or do what ever it needs to freshen it up.  Then add pattern, animal works for me.  But if you a bit more conservative you can go geometric or stripe… but I suggest animal.  Grrrrr.  imageYour last resort, the absolute final final option is add art, LOTS of art, like Philip Mitchell did at the Kips Bay Show House (and follow him on Facebook too, he’s fab).  He actually did a lot more than just toss some art around, the rug, wall coverings, paint, light fixtures and everything else you see were all carefully hand chosen – you should be as diligent.  But if all else fails, add art.


If you’re going to leave it bare, and I mean completely naked… you had better have one sexy staircase already!

imageHere is how I updated my back stairs.  I painted the risers and left the treads a stained pumpkin color and added an antelope pattered broadloom, expertly installed I might add.  The texture of the V-groove vertical boards is enough to add interest without hanging art.

FYI: Stair_Parts_copy

BOXWOOD Obsession

January 3, 2016

 imageThe concept of training plants into topiary is a centuries old tradition.  Topiary is the horticultural practice of training live perennial plants by clipping the foliage and twigs of trees, shrubs and subshrubs to develop and maintain clearly defined shapes, whether geometric or fanciful. The term also refers to plants which have been shaped in this way, as an art form it is a type of living sculpture.  The plants used in topiary are evergreen, mostly woody, have small leaves or needles, produce dense foliage, and have compact and/or columnar growth habits. I’d say the most common species chosen for topiary is the boxwood or “European box” however arborvitae, bay laurel, holly, myrtle, yew and privet are all widely used.  I love a simple boxwood ball (or may as the case my be above).  It’s such a happy shape, the form is classic, the technique time honored.

imageThis is a perfect example of how adaptable boxwood is, look at how sharp this stair detail is.  It’s just so chic.  The picture below was inspiration for a “redo” of our small garden in front of the beach house.  We pulled out everything but a climbing rose and planted different sized boxwood spheres.  For greater visual interest we under planted with bulbs of white tulips and purple allium. I can’t wait for spring!
imageAnd this is my back yard in the City.  The garden is asleep (taken late november) but the form of the boxwood is something I count on in the winter months to give the yard color, and structure.  Please excuse the sofa cover.  There is nothing prettier than a dusting of boxwood on a boxwood. imagephoto4

Above is an image of my garden a few years ago and a different application of boxwood, grown into a knot garden.  We planted different types of hosta in each of the diamond shapes formed by the boxwood.  In my head it looked like the image below, maybe not quite… But you gotta start somewhere.  The Dogwood tree is certainly bigger now, and the X’s more clearly clipped.  brodsworth-formal-garden-via-tripadvisor

LOVE Naturally

December 31, 2015


This is my Jam! I love the creamy natural vibe of these spaces, these finishes and the relaxed, natural aesthetic (drink) they present.  I don’t miss the patterns, the colors… I don’t miss anything that isn’t in this range, everything I need in a room is right here… The white,the leather, the polish and the rough… perfection.
Same goes for this kitchen… the Walnut/Teak tone of the wood and the marble and the white and the polish… thats all, thats everything.

316934_247682428627012_158446624217260_700394_1630259487_nOf course there is a style to the furnishings that is also VERY compelling.  I’d say these are all pretty contemporary spaces, but the warm natural elements keep these rooms feeling warm and inviting. There is a mid-century vein running through these images that feels authentic and not kitschy.  I like it.

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 I’m crushing on these built-ins BIG TIME!  What a dreamy place to sit and drink coffee!  Marble table (Saarinen) for the win…l7c4493