March 6, 2017


But I live in a Georgian Colonial!

A favorite aspect of my career is updating home exteriors. I remember as a child being endlessly entertained in the back seat of the car because I was looking at houses; what I liked, disliked, what I would do differently......I am still at it today, but would admit to having a more critical eye :-)

Very linear, rigidly symmetrical
Center door
Dentil moldings
Proportioned windows
Hip roof with Dormers
Typically brick

Brick, stone or stucco
High and steep hipped roof
Flared eaves
Typically symmetrical 
Arched doors
Where to start? You can hire us 😁 or follow some of these guidelines.............

1.   Start a file of inspiration images. Toss in everything that appeals to you. The images can be the entire home or a single element, say the light fixture. You will begin to see a pattern
Once collected, begin to edit, drastically. Keep going, and narrow it down to one or two images representing each aspect of the exterior details, an overall image will appear. Depending on a minor refresh, or an extensive remodel, keep in mind how far you are willing to go

This is what I am presenting to our client
note. the above home is not hers, but close, hers comes later

2. this homeS COLOR SCHEME

    Body; SeaShell
As in the home above, the recommendation is BM City Shadow
for the window trim and surround, a pair of shutters and the front door

Should we opt for an accent, this is BM Rhine River

3.  Finish......A Lime wash with the BM Seashell, the red brick is decidedly un-French!

4.  More fun.........the architectural elements
  A limestone surround vs the existing pediment and columns. It could be a simple surround, more like a frame, but our client loves, and i so agree, this style. The addition of a curve, will emphasize French

Take note of the container, a massive olive jar. The scale is proportionate and the style laser focus
These boxes would also work.......the Versaille planter

Dentil American colonial. I would chat with a contractor and see what the least expensive option is;
-remove and add a new face board?
-box them in
-paint with a dark color for a fade effect

5.  Lighting. 
This style for either side of the front door. Love the look and aged copper turquoise! This option would blend nicely with the BM color, Rhine River, above.
6. Copper Gutters with baskets, ooh la la!
7.  Would shutters work? If yes, where? Let's keep this in mind as a consideration. If she says yes, my recommendation is for the window over the door. Over scaled, real shutters that add depth and dimension and possibly the accent color above which would marry well with the light fixture and the eventual aging of the gutters.
Never! That is until the landscaping is complete, in the style of your new home
Yes, now sit back and enjoy!

Here is the finished design. Slightly different from the above suggestions, but I think they both work!

 Here is our drawing showing some of the changes and the new landscape. Currently the landscape consists of massive yews all across the front. As is always the goal, the architecture and the garden are one
Here is the left of the front door as shown above. This area too is nothing but overgrown yews. We added a little courtyard. 
Here are images of the recommended accessories. 

A concrete bench in the color of limestone, cool isn't it? Look at the details. Zero maintenance

Large wire spheres in the planters

The pot & plinth

We would love to assist you. Drop me a line, we offer this service long distance online and local 


February 25, 2017


how much do i love thee….it is endless & forever

Box however, is becoming elusive. Here in the Chicagoland area we are experiencing disease, and now shortages. As I began to check stock, knowing of impending shortages, I was alarmed to find my favorites ‘Glencoe’, and ‘Green Velvet’, are unavailable until AUGUST! 
Having just finished a design yesterday, with massive quantities of Box proposed, we are on the hunt. 
So what is happening, what is the disease and what to do? Canker and Blight, both are a soil borne fungus.
 Canker; entire stem browning to death appears like this below
Blight; is a defoliation
Since it is more fun to talk design, let's have a brief chat on these issues first. It's all about your recognition and management.

If you want an accurate diagnosis, take a clipping to your County Extension Service. But erring on the safe side, treat both the same.
  1.  Cut out the affected stems. Between each cut dip your pruners in a jar of bleach. 
2.   Remove all dead/fallen leaves around 
       the plants. Left alone, they will re-infect. 
       Discard diseased limbs, do not put into the compost bin     
3.   Spray monthly in the growing season
      with a Fungicide. This Copper Fungicide is a good choice
Ok, back to the fun!
Boxwood is so versatile, clipped into formal shapes, rounded, square, hedged, topiary, even animal forms, to name a few. England and France have taken this to an art form.

In formal gardens
Rustic gardens. Personally loved the tightly sheared box settled in to the free form of all else. CONTRASTS!
Brilliant in containers
Here is an image of my garden in early spring. You can imagine that this view is attractive all year as the Box element looks the same season after season
Here is a wider view. I would like to take your eye to the far right, there you will find a massive box. Look really close, can you see a chicken, the face and the upright tail? These attempts take FOREVER!  
My landscape crew had a massive brain freeze and cut off the head and the tail!  WHAT?!? These guys are good, really good. Oddly, no one knows who the executioner was 😡
 The Europeans do not hesitate to add Box to their veg and cutting gardens, for the sole purpose of aesthetics........nice!

                                                         Let's dream...........
 This is a client who enjoys the snugness this hedge provides without impeding her views
The former garden of the uber talented Loi Thai of Tone on Tone blog, Swedish antique specialist, shopkeeper, designer, and best of the best on social media, he is well loved. Photography by Helen Norman
Did you get any ideas? If Boxwood is in your future, secure it now!

This image stopped me in my tracks. Ever notice how an image can reach out and grab you, you can't stop staring? This is it for me. Pay attention when that happens to you. Recognize what it is that pulls your heart & soul in, why are you drawn and take note. Try incorporating those elements into your life or let it rest in the place of your dreams to visit again and again. The aspect that draws me in is the contrast of a motionless plant and the movement of the wood straps. Contrast!
LOCAL NEWS!  see below, this will not scroll down 😡
THIS WEEKS CLASS…….Lean Fake Calligraphy
Yes, you can do this in a few hours.
Course includes, instruction, macro mini pen from Japan, 
Rhodia fine paper notebook
Thursday March 2nd. 7pm  3 spots left  $30.00
SG GENEVA;  630.232.1303


February 17, 2017



        OCTOBER 2-9, 2017

Want to get away? Be inspired? Get behind Londons Design scene?

 Our journey to London dives into the world of  interiors & antiques, behind the scenes, with those in the know, meet the makers, and be inspired!
                       London Interior tour
“Apologies to Milan,  Paris, Stockholm and New York. Regrets to Berlin and Tokyo, London is the new Design Capital of the world!” 
 NY TIMES   September 2016


“My personal favorite is the Decorative Antique & Textile Fair…..
Here is a peek at a last years blog post on the fair

The Bermondsey Flea
A London Street market, set in the shadow of Tower Bridge, a virtual treasure hunt!

This designer/architect/shopkeeper, du jour, is a must stop for design enthusiasts, our Mecca!            

       What else?
        Sooooooo much more! 
 The venerable museum of design… with a private chat   
     Victoria & Albert      

 Petersham Nursery & Cafe “There is no better, anywhere”  Debra
Upmarket, wildly inventive, all you could dream of……..demonstration & lunch in the gourmet cafe

Geffrye Museum of the Home
 The history of home interiors spanning 400 years                         


Where iconic British manufacturers, etc. maintain their showrooms. We will have access to all showrooms. 

Within the Design Centre is this manufacturer of fine wallpapers since 1875. They will provide an introduction and share a portion of their archives with us
Abagail  Ahern!

As the "the high priestess of interiors", Abigail is the perfect guide to show you how to rip up the rulebook, push the boundaries and transform any room.

In her alternative Masterclass, Abigail shares her insider knowledge, decorating secrets, and tips and tricks of the trade that will enable you to create seductively stylish spaces overflowing with personality. Take away oodles of inspiration, pick Abigail's brains and discover all you need to know to create your dream home.

We meet Abagail in her HOME, for the masterclass + lunch + visit to her shop!

    Plus..... a day on your own 

Plus much more, the group decides 

Limited space…….this is a very small group

     Hope you can join us...Cheers!         
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