September 27, 2009


What a weekend! I was reminded of how fortunate I am to be surrounded with some very remarkable women.
Let's meet Susan Olson

Susan is a long time friend, amazingly talented, and a blessing as she also is part of the staff at Scentimental Gardens.

She opened her home for a tour, benefiting her town's parks. Let's see Susan's style.....................

My favorite type of home; small, charming and cozy with an abundance of the owners personal touch

Scentimental Gardens did the landscaping over a period of years. The very front posed a problem; two azalea's died on either side of the stoop. the yews had taken over and the space was too small for any additional plantings. My husband built for us these two posts, taking my key from the two finials directly under the you see them?

Upon closer reflection you will see what i mean............the posts are a repetition of an existing element, providing year round interest

If you live locally come visit our finely edited consignment shop 'SG too', in St. Charles, Il. Susan did and found this set of custom made tree surrounds

Once inside, turn to your left and view the cozy dining room. Susan just designed and had built and installed these deep cherry wall units. They appear as though they were always there.

Another side of the dining room is her silver and pewter collection. Note the nod to whimsy, a French tree stand indoors holding a fern.

Contemporary art over the living room fireplace

Much to love, found baby wash basin, transferware bowl made sink, french faucets............

Susan designed this kitchen herself

Small but practical and charming. Notice the stunning slate tiled floor.

Collections; brown transferware and egg cups

How about those counter tops? Yes, they are hammered copper........durable, warm and timeless

Meet Esther Roby, artist extraordinare!

From Rome, she typically paints like the old masters in oil but being versatile she has painted Susan's foyer and staircase in the Americana/Folk style Susan favors.

Esther is a treasured friend, see that beaming's always there, always.

Artistic license with Susan's home and dog in a fanciful setting

A real "girls" room

Collections add such personality to your home. These wooden hat molds are amazing. How about the large brimmed mold? What do your collections say about you?

This creative endeavor of Susan's is shockingly striking. Her "wallpaper" is a series of botanicals removed from a book by the publisher Taschen.

An interesting use of a vintage folding screen turned headboard. The slats in the panels provide a space for the reading sconce's and their cords.

My favorite is the "keeping room", a recent addition that belies it's youth. Susan frequently entertains in this room in the fall and winter............add low lights and candles, roaring fire, an amazing cook, laughs and chat around the large center table...............heaven.

Notice the gorgeous centerpiece, that's from our floral designer, Vicki Whitt. Many other arrangements indoors and out were her creations.............see below :-)

Part of the new addition included this four season room capturing a view of the garden, let's go

In a moment of self promotion, forgive me but I am so partial to this garden, it is our design/build.

Looking back at the four season room

Inside view of the above garden

Looking towards the rear of the property.
-perimeter was slightly raised with cut limestone, that framing will continue into the secret garden
-flagstone steppers frame the cut limestone
-two inserts of brick hold containers. the brick will additionally carry-on into the secret garden
-a focal point of our "acorn" bench
-boxwood and ornamentation provide winter interest

Side of the garage forms another "wall" in this private space. Enhanced with pear espaliers, shutters and a window box.

Yes, those are real!

Look closely...........Susan added two concrete wall planters onto wooden 2x4's to frame this vignette

Brick, limestone and a vintage mill wheel filled with steppable moss

Veggie garden...........more brick, the entry posts were salvaged from an old farm fence coming down. Susan found all the other elements

Behind the garage.............the secret garden

wisteria on aged concrete pillars

Custom built arbor, stylizing by Susan...............hope you enjoyed the tour!

-custom countertops......harvestcountertops
-custom woodworking interior and exterior....Heinz construction, 630-879-3244
-artist, Esther Roby. Contact me to forward enquiries

Meet Elaine Matsushita

Elaine is a highly respected force in Chicago as a writer and networker. Former editor of the Chicago Tribune's 'Home and Garden', Elaine has set her sites on a new career. Bringing together the design community of the Chicago region she began the Snoopster, for all things design, events, "must-knows", etc. This is Elaine greeting guests at her blog launch party at Sawbridge Studios in the neighborhood known as River North. Hosting a scavenger hunt at participating shops was a delightful way to meet and mingle. A few of the shops are featured below.

The unique Sawbridge Studios features furniture made by hand. Noted for choosing select grains, precision joinery and creativity all in a satin finish. Accessories include Simon Pearce and many one-of-a-kinds. Custom pieces are available from the genial owners.

Ligne Roset. Original contemporary designs from Lyon France. LOVE this lucite chandelier.

The 'Josephine 5D' wall sconce

Manager Cynthia modeling the adjustable love seat/bed

Arrelle Fine Linen. Opulent textiles, fine linens and duvets, fluffy towels.....voted "one of the top ten linen shops in the US. Very gracious hosts.

"Sister" (Diane Malloy) and our shop manager, Sarah Hunt with the owner of Mig and Tig. He is closing shop to develop his web presence, yourfurniturelink. A one stop sourcing for quality furniture, a virtual furniture search engine for designers, retailers and consumers. BEST WISHES!

When in the city, stay in the city. Here is sister and Sarah enjoying the newly opened restaurant
HAVANA. These women are a big part of the many hands that keep Scentimental Gardens growing.

A pitcher of 'Caipirinha', the drink of South America; a lighter lime version of a marguerita.
Fried plaintain chips with black bean dip and a mango salsa

Uh-oh, sister was not pleased, not pleased to be found raiding the wine at Sawbridge Studios as they were trying to close :-)

Lastly, there is another very special woman, Marsha Reinecke. Like the photo above, Marsha is always giving and thinking of others. I failed to bring my camera but she hosted a luncheon at her home on Friday for someone in need, a mom and her baby. You see Marsha and I lost a dear friend, our painter, Sean Pihl who died in his sleep leaving behind his family. He was only 32.

The luncheon was a coming together of women for a woman and her son. Donations flowed outright and creatively from women that both knew Sean and those that did not but heard of the story. Right before he died he called and offered to help me, an unexpected but typical call. Now it is the women of the community that came together looking up saying "our turn Sean, we can help now"

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