May 23, 2010

Down a country lane.......

A long time dream client, Robin, lives almost two hours away. Out in the countryside.

LOVE those back roads!

Everyone collects for our annual Spring visit to her "Gentleman's Farm".

Suddenly we are all transformed...........WE WANT TO LIVE ON A FARM!

We want to be farmers, have horses, chickens with fresh eggs, Jersey Cows, bee know, the works! ( love that big lower lip)

We suddenly need long scenic views, total silence, privacy, and.....and.......the dreams are rolling in, all romantic and totally unrealistic

Envisioning total peace, calm and simple days of serenity with everything managed by a full staff

Guess what the girls are thinking on lunch break?  "Why don't we live on a farm?!"

 But since this is closer to my reality..............back to work it is

Ok, where was I........yes, wanting to share some of our projects here over the years.
This is the cutting garden. Someday there may be a fence but for now this vintage arbor/gate draws the eye and makes a statement.

Inside the cutting garden looking back towards the outhouse via the 'crazy quilt' path.

Outhouse turned potting shed. We added the 'L' shaped old street bricks to frame it's garden. Each corner is punctuated by my favorite crab apple trees, Malus 'Cinderella',  perfectly formed diminutive topiaries.

With the vast acreage we have created English "rooms", intimate settings that lead from area to area which allows for an element of surprise. By adding the concrete newell posts and bench it is creating a focal point that carries the eye deep into the garden.

Come up the antique street brick walkway, go behind a hedge and surprise! A checkerboard bed.

Playing with texture is critical. Above was set a burgundy leafed Colocasia into the silver Artemesia. If ever you have a bed that feels messy add a large leaved specimen.........instant order!

A developing parterre of Boxwoods in varying shapes and sizes

Hope you enjoyed a small peek into Robin's many gardens. But the best part is we get to come back and up, the interiors!

 Thanks for coming along...............


May 13, 2010


 I have never sent a post twice but when a new reader forwarded this photo, i said to myself.....YES!!!
What a gorgeous detail..........the fireback built in...........don't you love that?
The reader. designer and blogger, Mona,  is one of the talented sisters of Providence Design 
Welcome these new bloggers. Thank you Mona for the photo

New Ideas for a Fireback? Are you asking yourself................"I never had an old idea for a Fireback!"

                    OR  "What is a Fireback?"

In brief.............Dating back to the mid 15th century, these thick iron plates were used to protect the firebox (fireplace) from catching on fire and spreading to the rest of the building.

Initially only royalty or the aristocrats could afford such a luxury. The above example is dated 1728 and has the initials A.H.

Today's fireplace use is not only decorative but serves to keep the heat radiating back into the room increasing efficiency by 50%.

Are you now wondering if I have lost my mind?  That this might be a timely post in winter? Well........yes, I have lost my mind but that is another topic............I love to see the use of firebacks in interior decor and in the garden.

Think of this as an interesting design element behind your stove, something out of the ordinary.

Up a stairwell?

But my favorite use is in the garden as an accessory. Have a blank wall that could use a weather-proof architectural element?

This is the best use I have ever seen. Two years ago I was on a private tour for landscape professionals sponsored by the organization APLD. The home above was in Connecticut and was the weekend enclave of the Broadway producer of the musical 'CHICAGO'.

Access from the front to back was via this portico. Both sides were lined with firebacks of varying size and designs. Very effective.

Just be certain the wall is adequate, these pups are HEAVY!
                                   LOCAL  NEWS!   

My shop in Geneva, IL is participating in a citywide event called 'Gardenology' Saturday May 15th from 10am to 4pm. Interesting topics for the novice and experienced gardener will be on the courthouse lawn and sprinkled through town.

We will feature the following at the shop;

Book launch from the Geneva Garden Club, 'From Garden to Table'. The ladies will offer recipe samplings from the book, display several tablescapes and of course, the book is for sale.

Heritage Prairie Farm, of LaFox, IL. will bring their renown honey from the farm; cinnamon, chocolate, lavender, rosemary or mint plus beeswax candles and bee skeps.

Through out the day I will be doing container planting demonstrations.

The weather looks ideal and this is a fun kick-off to gardening 2010!

               An evening event (7pm to be exact) with Eddie Ross, what could be more magical? evening with Eddie Ross in town with Jaithan Kochar and learning the elements of hosting the
     WOW party...........(Without the Work)

Learn to throw dazzling parties, without spending a lot of dough and with only an ounce of effort! And after wards, we all dig in and dine together.
-via Eddie Ross
-via Scentimental Gardens

ARE YOU A FELLOW BLOGGER?  Contact Eddie Ross for the reduced rate.

Coming in from out of town? The Dunham Woods Riding Club has a limited number of guest rooms. Contact Scentimental Gardens to arrange your stay.
So.........while in party mode, the next evening will be the grand opening of my new shop in Chicago 

June 18th, 5:30pm
1822 W. Grand Avenue, Chicago 

stay tuned for details.............but save the date!

Hope you can join us

May 1, 2010



Want to go to Paris?

For ten days? 

All expenses paid?

With $10,000.00 in cash?

AND......go to the above show...the epicenter for design?

I DO!!!  And my bags could be packed in a moments notice.

But, there is a bit of work on your must enter a contest via Design-Sherpa. The requirements? Forward one image that reflects your inspiration and explain in 100 words or less why.

The image below is my submitted inspiration............think I should start packing? For Paris or an institution?

This makes my heart soar and sets my imagination spinning. I am overly inspired! Who built this, for whom, what happened?
I love the neglected, the dismissed and the forgotten home or object and dream of what could be.
So many "HOWS" and "What IF'S" .................
-  How would I restore it? Original grandeur or with a twist of Modern?
-  How would I want the gardens to look?
-  Would I make the interiors contemporary and clean lined with a nod to it's period or stay true?
-  What about the fixtures, flooring, furnishings, accessories............ 

So, that is my inspiration what is yours? Write back, I would love to know and so would the judges, you can enter here.


A blog and blogger I treasure is Sharon of 'My French Country Home'. She "tagged" me for 10th photo.
That is to show the 10th photo in your design file. Well............since I recently deleted and cleaned out the photos,  my new 10th is the one below of Suzy Stouts home.

This talented friend allowed me to come to interview and photograph her home and grounds. Suzy is a renown Interior Designer in our region. If you would like to see the whole interview go here. (you will be enchanted)

So in following along I am to mention five bloggers to "TAG". Who to choose? I spent far too much time searching for blogs that appealed to me and to whom I have never previously read or communicated with. Here are five blogs I found to be intriguing and am reaching out to:

Trey Lair of Period Homes

Camila of High Heel Foot in the Door

Christian May of Maison 21

Ness of Marley and Lockyer

Kelly McGuill of O SO D

Happy May Day
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