Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A Door With No Name


Some images just grab a hold of you and will not let go.

This photograph has inspired my interiors even though I couldn't find it after I first viewed it. I saw it somewhere and it etched itself into my memory. I discovered it again but still don't know its source. Anyone?

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Monday, July 25, 2011

And George

Charlottesville, Virginia is one of those kinda towns were you visit via happenstance and never leave. This old Southern college town has a down-to-earth, casual charm with a little bit of a bohemian vib...a blue jeans and champagne kinda town that I could just cush right into and never look back.

I can't exactly say I stumbled upon the shop And George. I actually made a beeline for the store the second I hit the city limits. From the moment I read about this talented mother and daughter duo and saw Christy Ford's Charlottesville abode featured here, I knew I had to take a detour next time I was within range.  They call their shop And George and author a great blog by the same name. The store is named after their beloved English bulldog ~ George. 
The mother, Jan Roden worked in interior design in Northern Virginia for more than 20 years before moving south to set up shop with her daughter Christy Roden Ford, once a New York photographer.


The lines are blurred between the amazingly stylish shop and the artisans and creatives they represent. The watery paintings are from the aquatic series from Charlottesville artist, Abby Kasonik. If you're like me, and you want to own one of these watery pops of blue, you can purchase them exclusively at And George or through Taigan here, their online shop.


A painting from Abby Kosanik's aquatic series at home in owner Christy Ford's Charlottesville home.

 

A tablescape from And George.



The shop overflows with collected treasures from nature ~ bird's nests, eggs, seashells, driftwood ~ something you will find on every table and bookshelf in my own home. I have always loved the perfect little details found in nature and never tire of nature's boundless beauty. I collect things on my morning walk and bring them indoors to enjoy them and mix them with my favorite antique treasures. Maybe that's why I felt so at home in And George.

Another artist that And George partners with is graphic designer, Erika Jack. I am quite taken with Erika's work. Her work is woven throughout the displays at And George with invitations announcing a formal dinner party or placecards artfully incorporated into tablescapes. She also offers a few stationary gift items available for purchase at the store but her signature offering is her custom bespoke stationary and invitations. Follow the link above to experience her incredible custom designs and visit her blog.







While in Charlottesville. I picked up the most unique little book called SCOUT only to find out that it the result of the creative collaboration between Christy Ford, And George, Erika Jack and local photographer Andrea Shirey. The Scout Guide is all about promoting local businesses and encouraging residents and visitors alike to buy local. It's pages are so beautiful it is hard to believe it is free. Like an Anthropologie catalog the guide itself is a work of art in its own right. The graphic design, the photography and the collective of artists it represents leave me wanting more and planning a return trip.

 




See what I mean...the image above is just one of the pages from the Scout guide...I have to schedule a return visit just so I can explore this little boutique...I love the wallpaper!

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Friday, July 22, 2011

Pretty As A Peach



Have you ever wondered where the saying Pretty As A Peach originated?

I actually think I made it up! I went on my morning walk and came home to a little present on my front porch, a basket full of fresh peaches from a road side farm stand from my good friend Susan. Peaches are simply the most beautiful food on earth. I mean how many people take pictures of their fruit? But seriously, I love it when the peaches arrive at the farmer's market! A peach is like a tomato in that a tree ripened, fresh peach really in no way resembles the peach you buy at the grocery store.

I grew up eating South Carolina peaches. Every summer our family of five piled in the wood-paneled station wagon and drove to South Carolina for our annual family reunion. As luck would have it, my Aunt Sarah lived next door to a peach orchard. Given that my father was from a family of eleven, there were many, many cousins to make mischief with and most of that mischief took place in the peach orchard. We always came home with more peaches than we thought we could eat but none ever went to waste!

Here's the recipe I think is most worthy of first-of-the-season peaches: 

Photo by Peter Frank Edwards for Sara Foster's Southern Kitchen

Grilled Peach Salad
with Shaved Country Ham and Summer Herbs

"You don’t have to look far to see how much Southerners like to mix their sweet with their salty. This summery salad, featuring balsamic-glazed grilled peaches and shaved country ham tossed with fresh herbs and creamy goat cheese, is an elegant tribute to this unendingly popular flavor combination. For real Southern flavor, use sticky-sweet Georgia peaches."

1⁄4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
4 peaches, halved and pitted
2 ounces country ham, thinly sliced
6 cups baby arugula, washed and drained
1⁄2 cup chopped mixed fresh mint, parsley, and basil
Juice of 1 lime
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1⁄2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled soft goat cheese

Prepare a hot fire in a charcoal or gas grill and let the coals burn to gray ash with a slight red glow; if using a gas grill, heat the grill on medium.  

Combine 2 tablespoons of the olive oil with the vinegar, stir to combine, and brush the mixture on the cut sides of the peaches. Grill the peaches, cut side down, until golden-brown grill marks appear and the skins start to loosen, about 3 minutes. Remove from the grill. When cool enough to handle, peel and discard the skins, which should slip off easily.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the remaining olive oil in a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until sizzling hot . Add the ham and cook until crispy, about 2 minutes per side. Remove and drain on a paper towel or brown paper bag.

Place the arugula, herbs, remaining 3 tablespoons oil, the lime juice, and salt and pepper to taste in a large bowl and toss to mix. Chop the peaches into large chunks or quarters and add to the salad, tossing to mix. Transfer the salad to a large serving platter or individual serving plates. Break the ham into large pieces and scatter on top. Sprinkle evenly with the goat cheese and serve at room temperature.



Sara Foster's cookbooks are my go-to resource for seasonal farm-to-table recipes. Sara Foster's Southern Kitchen is Sara Foster's fourth cookbook, probably my favorite as this one not only includes great Southern soul food but it is photographed by Peter Frank Edwards.




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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Summer Hours

The Chapel at UVA in Charlottesville, Virginia

By now you have probably noticed that I am keeping Summer hours. I am not exactly sure what I have been doing but I have been busy, busy, busy enjoying summer. My daughter and I just returned from a wonderful Northern excursion for my niece's bridal shower and our first college tours. It was crazy fun!

The last time I visited the chapel at UVA was twenty years ago for the wedding of my husband's best friend. We are still the closest of friends. They now live in Boise, Idaho with there three  little big girls. Don't ever listen to Taylor Swift's Never Grow Up...it will make you cry, especially when you are going to your first college tours.



I normally don't give out stock tips...shhhh! but buy Cracker Barrel! I can not believe how many people were at the Cracker Barrel at our stop just outside Richmond. Speaking of absolutely not believing it. We arrived just outside of DC around 10:30 at night and the traffic looked like Washington had just issued a code red and everyone was fleeing the city. Insanity!


We stopped at a roadside stand and bought these sunflowers to take to the bridal shower...the best part you paid via the honor system...grabbed your flowers from the stand and left your money in the box.


My daughter as we walked up to the shower.


I haven't been to a bridal shower in many years and miss the simple traditions. The above picture is the bridal bouquet we made from the present ribbons that Ashley will carry during her wedding rehearsal. We played shower games and fashioned bridal gowns from toilet paper for the mother-of-the-bride and the groom's mother. It was fun explaining all the traditions to my daughter and explaining what happens at the rehearsal. Sometimes you forget that they don't already know these things.

After the shower we stayed with more family in a picturesque, rural setting just outside DC. We had juvenile fun dancing to Just Dance on the Wii in their media room. Post Script: My daughter now covets a media room. I went and hid when they suggested we make an 80's style MTV video with their green screen. I am sure given my dance skills and the amount of wine I had consumed that the aforementioned video would have gone YouTube viral in a matter of minutes...picture Elaine Benis from that Seinfeld episode. My brother-in-law and family are really in touch with their creative side and a visit with them is beyond fun. The next day we visited the Spy Museum in DC, something from my daughter's bucket list, and got back to the media room just in time to watch the Women's Soccer World Cup....frown!

We left that night for Charlottesville and our first college tour. On Monday we toured UVA and then drove to Lexington, Virginia to tour W&L the next day...



The chapel at Washington and Lee where Robert E. Lee is buried along with his wife, family and horse. Yes...his faithful horse, Traveler! Evidently, students still bring apples to sit by his grave.



It is hard to believe that we are visiting colleges already....time flys!



I did take thirty minutes to visit And George while in Charlottesville...I'll post about this amazing little shop this soon.

When you write a blog it's hard to determine how much personal stuff you include in your posts. I know I enjoy getting to know many of you that write blogs and thought I would try to open up a little. I hope you are having crazy fun this summer, too! I'll talk to you soon...

Happy Summer!


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Thursday, July 14, 2011

In Love With Banquette Dining

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I am one of those people that always request a booth when I go to a restaurant. There is something so intimate and cozy about sitting in a booth.

That's why I am so excited to see the wealth of stylish options for banquette seating for the home. From chic upholstered banquettes with tufted walls to the most casual, family friendly built-ins that even include hidden storage. There were actually so many inspiring images out there in the blogworld that I had a really hard time narrowing the images to share with you today. I tried to highlight a variety of styles with the deciding factor to include only those that I would welcome in my own home. Currently, I don't have a banquette but I am eyeing little corners for just the right spot.

There are so many reasons to adore the banquette. The banquette is comfortable and inviting and adds softness to a room like a kitchen that might not otherwise have soft furnishings. Banquettes are great for feeding a crowd in small spaces and  reinvents the concept of family dining. They come in a wide range of styles and can be paired with round, rectangular or square tables.


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It's hard for me to decide my favorite as each brings with it such a different aesthetic.

Do you have a favorite from the banquettes I shared?

 
Sources: {1} Atlanta Homes Magazine {2} Pam Pierce for Vernada {3} House Beautiful {4} {5} Atlanta Homes Magazine  {6}Caldwell Flake via Decor Pad {7} {8}Elle Decor {9}Massucco-Warner-Miller Design {10} Erin McLaughlin via Domino Magazine {11} Southern Living 2009 Texas Idea House {12} Lonny Magazine {13,14} Phoebe Howard {15} Circa Interiors via Southern Accents

 
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Thursday, July 7, 2011

Seasonal Palette: The Color of Sunshine


I crave sunshine and flourish under the suns bright yellow rays. As I follow the colors through the seasons and as we approach the sunniest of months, I explore yellow in all its brilliance. I like yellow in rooms that exude old world charm filled with antiquities and a subtle palette of greige and gold, bare floors and a little bit of matte black. The tawny yellow pops off the palette and reminds me of the settings I have discovered while traveling abroad.

I also like yellow when paired with the purest of whites. A clean, crisp white backdrop punctuated with lemon drop yellow just says happy to me!

Domino Magazine

 




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This Belgian inspired living room from the home of Kay Douglass in Atlanta is one of my all time favorite interiors. Flooded with sunshine through the large steel windows, this room's natural floors, symetrical cabinets and driftwood coffee tables in combination with the crisp white linen and pops of yellow are simpy perfection. Hello sunshine! To see more click here.


This bedroom featured in Atlanta Homes and Lifestyles home tour of the Buckhead high-rise Sovereign showcases the glamourous home of Lee Kleinhelter, owner of Pieces, a home decor shop in Atlanta.



Designer Mimi Williams presents pops of yellow in her recently completed Highlands, North Carolina, retreat featured in Atlanta Homes and Lifestyles here.



You'll need to make a reservation in order to grab a window seat in these iconic butter yellow chairs at my favorite New York restaurant, BG, on the 7th floor of Bergdorf Goodman overlooking Central Park, designed by Kelly Wearstler.


The above image is a second photo from the high-rise home of Lee Kleinhelter's Atlanta bedroom.


Wishing you summer days filled with lemonade and sunshine.

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