One of the things I most look forward to about summer is spending time outdoors and specifically on my porch. I believe the best porches and verandas have all the style and functionality of an indoor space, with the added bonus of the incredible sights and sounds of nature. There is nothing I enjoy more than sipping my morning coffee while curled up on the porch and being serenaded by my backyard friends.
I believe outdoor living spaces should reflect the home’s interior but with a bit more whimsy and a much different expectation. While I encourage and collaborate with clients to create their personal outdoor oasis, I also remind them that mother nature always has the upper hand. Even with the latest technology in outdoor fabrics and weather resistant furnishings, it is nearly impossible to achieve porch perfection. With southern summer storms, tree debris and an abundance of outdoor critters, one must learn to live with an attitude of “perfectly imperfect”. Here are my suggestions for making the most of your outdoor living space this summer:
1. Mosquito Control – If you don’t have a screened porch, splurge for some type of professional mosquito control from a reputable company. The most beautiful porch in the world won’t be enjoyed if you are constantly battling these pesky insects.
2. Fans – Keep the air moving with ceiling fans or portable standing fans. It may not be an ocean breeze but will certainly keep you more comfortable during these hot and humid summer temperatures.
3. Lighting – Lamps, chandeliers, string lights, and candles can provide illumination as well as ambience and architectural interest.
4. Comfort – Incorporate upholstered furnishings, such as club chairs and ottomans, covered in outdoor fabrics; Add colorful accent pillows, throws and outdoor rugs. These elements used in a similar palette as your home’s interior, can create not only a beautiful outdoor living space, but also visually extend the interior.
5. Whimsy – Dare to add a touch of whimsy like a porch swing or an accent table that is a completely different style than you typically gravitate towards. Have fun and use more vibrant patterns – this is your opportunity to be more bold than you would with your interior.
6. Plants – Potted plants and flowers not only make for a chic, lush outdoor oasis, but ease the transition to the rest of your backyard.
7. Antiques – Antique garden elements, planters and wicker furnishings used in moderation help create that timeless and collected look that instantly elevates any space.
Now that you’ve got some of my favorite elements in place, all you need is a good book and a refreshing summer cocktail. This is the perfect recipe for a getaway that’s just a few steps outside your own back door!
My Dad’s Margarita Recipe
Hornitos Tequila Reposado – 8 ounces
Cointreau – 3 ounces
Bar Syrup – just a dribble
Margarita Mix – 8 ounces
One lime squeezed
Blend and Enjoy!
My love affair with antiques started at a young age stemming from an unusual childhood. With a mother who was ill and died much too young, I was blessed to have the attentions of my maternal grandmother and best friend’s mother. These women both loved antiques and instilled in me the “thrill of the hunt” as well as a penchant for high quality craftsmanship and beauty. While these women had differing tastes, each taught me about the art of studying a piece, negotiation and fair pricing. Spending countless hours with these women at garage sales, antique stores and antique shows, I received not only an unparalleled education but also fond memories filled with joy and love.
These memories along with the movie, The Red Violin, which came out in 1999, solidified my passion for antiques. This movie, about a perfect red-colored violin made in 17th century Italy, traced its ownership over three centuries and countries before finding its way to an auction house in Montreal. This movie perfectly describes the journey of an antique violin which inspires me to think about the antique furnishings that I purchase. Where have they been, who built them, who enjoyed them, etc. Each piece has a story to tell and I am listening.
Why Antiques for You?
Antiques and family heirlooms often have sentimental value and offer a connection with history and may even provide a link with your own heritage
The quality of antiques usually transcends the quality of new furnishings made today. Most were handmade and built to last for many years
Well cared for antiques tend to go up in value over time. Many experts say that now is an excellent time to invest in antiques.
Antiques can offer a beautiful patina and depth that newer furnishings cannot provide during our lifetime
Antique pieces are less likely to be super trendy which means they are also less likely to ever be completely “untrendy”
Whether it be in your own backyard, the runways of New York or designer fabrics; flowers are IN like never before. As people rebound from an overabundance of technology in their lives, they want something joyful and happy to come home to and floral fabrics fit the bill! There’s nothing happier, more vibrant and nostalgic than a dramatic floral print. And we’re not talking about demure Laura Ashley florals of the 1970’s but florals that are larger in scale and patterns that have a more painterly, organic feel, with new colorations incorporating amethyst, chamomile and duck egg. Here are a few tips on how to use floral prints tastefully in your own home:USE SPARINGLY – Floral patterns can be overpowering so unless you are Mario Buatta, the New York based designer and self-proclaimed “Prince of Chintz,” it is best to mix florals with solids and stripes. Use on one piece of furniture or several throw pillows. STICK WITH THE CLASSICS – Unless you plan to redecorate every few years, it is best to stick with the classics. Look for florals that are understated and simple and then bring in more graphic and bold accessories to keep things modern and fun. CONSIDER ASIAN FLORALS – Abstract and non-fussy Asian floral patterns such as cherry blossoms, orchids, and lotus flowers are often found in more contemporary settings. This look can be quite refreshing as part of a less complicated design scheme. So, as you enjoy Spring and all that it has to offer, take time to smell the roses and consider adding some blooms to your decor. It might just be the fresh, timeless and elegant look you’ve been searching for! “I must have flowers, always, and always…” -Claude Monet