Saturday, December 26, 2009

Weekly Garden Fix

From Matthew Cantwell and his team of talented designers and plantsmen at Secret Gardens of Sydney.


An outdoor room designed for living.











Plant in foreground links to the plant on the table with similar form, line and color.












Plan view shows fountain as central focal point.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Deck the Halls with Boughs of Holly

At this time of year, evergreen holly with it’s prickly leaves and bright red berries is front and center!

Romans gifted Christmas holly to their friends during Saturnalia as a sign of good luck charms and safety against evil.

How did it come to be associated with Christmas you ask?  Well, long, long ago Christians believed that Holly helped in driving away the evil spirits as it was endowed with magical powers. During Christmas time, the Holly was  hung on doors and windows to prevent the entry of witches and evil spirits. 

We continue to this day, to hang evergreen wreaths on our doors and windows at Christmastime.

 Southern Living

Holly also became associated with the Christmas festival.  Christmas festival was a time to celebrate and enjoy. The entire month of December was utilized to prepare for the Christmas festival.

Because of its evergreen foliage, it was believed that the Christmas holly plant was sanctified.  According to Christians, one winter night, the holly amazingly grew leaves in off-season to hide the Holy Family from Herod's armed forces. Since then, it has been an evergreen Christmas plant indicative of Christ's gratefulness. Christmas Holly is also said to be the tree of Christ's cross.

Germans believed that its twigs were woven into an agonizing crown and placed on Christ's skull and its berries were white until Christ's blood left them with a permanent red color.

Holly came to symbolize the crown of thorns Jesus was forced to wear on his head.  While the leaves of the  plant represented the crown of thorns, the red berries symbolized  the blood that he shed in this world.

 Martha Stewart Living


 Photo by Laurey W. Glenn, Article by Madeline Crawford, Southern Living

Holiday wreaths have long been made by twisting or bending evergreen branches into a circular shape.   In Christianity, the holiday wreath represents the circle, a symbol of eternity. When made of evergreen leaves and branches, the wreaths symbolize everlasting life with the green color symbolizing hope and new life. During the 15th century,  the wreath began to be used as a hanging decoration.

 Photo by Laurey W. Glenn, Article by Madeline Crawford, Southern Living

Evergreen plants, such as holly, ivy, pine, and even magnolia, have long been used to create holiday wreaths.  

Traditional Christmas wreaths are a symbol of faith.  There circular form symbolizes God's eternity and mercy during the Christmas season. When decorated with evergreen leaves and branches they also represent everlasting life and God's everlasting love.


Martha Stewart Living

Merry Christmas everyone! 

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Beach Cottage Love

I normally don’t go into the interiors of homes and post about them, but I have made an exception in this case.  Last weekend I sat in this beach cottage in Wrightsville Beach and fell in love with it!
My camera does not do it justice, but I’ll share my photographs any way.

Diggs House 001

Upon walking in to this beautiful beach cottage on Harbor Island in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, you are greeted with the colors of the sea.  The front room on the ground floor is a sitting room with four identical chairs gathered around a round glass table.

Diggs House 002 
The adjoining space  is a small desk and nook area.

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There are two bedrooms on the ground floor, a bathroom and a large laundry closet.

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The first bedroom had a large closet, a chest of drawers and two single beds.

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The second bedroom was larger and had a double bed,

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benches that also doubled as storage, and

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a window seat sandwiched between two closets.

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I loved this vase in the bathroom.

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The stairs from first to second floor were painted in a shiny black lacquer.  Once upstairs you enter into this room.

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The  large front room has a fireplace in it and adjoins a very wide front porch, which runs the length of the house and is highly usable for outdoor living.

The dining table is made of glass and is supported by twin urns painted black.

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Each chair had a pillow.

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The fireplace is not used for wood any more, so the owner decorated it using the coastal theme.

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A detail from the fireplace mantle featuring the wood trim and mosaic tile.

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A chandelier hangs over the dining table and is reflected in a mirror over the fireplace mantle.

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There is plenty of light in this room with many double hung windows overlooking the very wide 2nd story porch.  

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The porch is accessed through a door in the front room and is essentially, an outdoor living room.  What a great place to be 3 months out of the year in Wrightsville Beach!

Photo from Wilmington MLS (Thanks Terry!)
Another front window looks out at the neighbor’s house.  I love the sheer drapes.

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The 2nd floor has a very open floor plan.  The front room adjoins the kitchen area.

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I love how the kitchen island and cupboard are both painted in the shiny black laquer paint that matches the stairs in the front room.  The kitchen counter is a shiny black granite and the cabinets are white.  The interior of the tall black built-in cupboard is painted sky blue.

The owner used the wall space beneath a high window to create this little area between the kitchen and the front room.  The small table consists of a cart with a glass table.  The burlap runner matches the burlap runner used on the dining room table.

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Here are some of the goodies displayed on the table.

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Above this little table was a window with a shutter awning.

Here is the view out of the same window …

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And the view looking toward the front room from the kitchen. 

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The kitchen sink and countertop are classic.  The owner was wise enough to make that sink large enough to accommodate a large pot of crabs, that can be caught in Banks Channel right across the street!

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The family room behind the kitchen was added on.  There is an opening between the two rooms where there once was a window.

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This is a spacious and light family room with a fireplace.

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The back of this room is all glass and opens up to a spacious back deck that leads down to the back yard area.  There were large evergreens planted on the other side of the deck, giving this room both privacy and a “tree house” feel.

The master bedroom was stunning.  The bed had a built-in headboard.  Can you see the palm trees on the sheer curtain fabric?

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The room had a large walk-in closet on one end and adjoined a luxurious bath and large walk-in shower  on the other end.  That shower can be entered from either side.

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There were his and her sinks on opposite sides of the master bath room.

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Finally, there was one more bedroom upstairs as well as another full bath.  Here is the bedroom.

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A painted desk in this room is sandwiched between two closets.

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Can you believe I was so taken with the interior of this house, that I didn’t even take one photo of the outside?!   However, I did go out there.  The back yard was completely private and fenced in and featured a lovely sitting area and garden courtyard.

This home is situated on Harbor Island in Wrightsville Beach, NC within walking distance to the ocean!  It is currently for sale at a price of $879,900 and is listed by Debbie Mitchell at Intracoastal Realty Corp.  It has 4 bedrooms, 3 baths and is 2601-square feet.  Please contact me directly if you would like more information!

This, in my opinion, is the epitome of coastal living!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Spotlight on Philip Nixon Design

Awesome firm!  Note the use of solids and voids.  An excellent display of plants used for traffic control and circulation. 

I also love the use of the planters and water elements throughout the design.

 Chelsea, London

It is also very well illuminated.

This project is a residential one.  The fence is a nice backdrop for the outdoor living spaces and doubles as wood storage for a firepit.

These trees look espaliered to me.  They serve as a high privacy screen.  I would love to see them in winter without their leaves.

 Berkley House, Gloustershire, England

   Want more?  Visit Philip Nixon Design.