StyleFile #31: A Beach Wedding

Beaches are popular places to have weddings. But how can you make your beach wedding different? Try some of these ideas from the current issue of British Weddings Magazine.


A casual beach house creates the perfect backdrop for a lighthearted wedding with just family and friends. The color scheme is inspired by its location- cool blue and crisp white. Even the house gets into the act with white siding and blue shutters! The bride has on a white tulle dress with lace and ribbon- from Suzanne Ermann.


Adding a whimsical touch is this bike set against the side of the house. In its basket is a beach pail with flowers.


Have the photographer take candid shots of the bridal party sitting around instead of large formal group portraits. The groom wears a white linen suit from Marc Wallace and floral shirt by Favourbrook. On the young pageboy are blue jacket, blue shirt and white shorts all from Hackett.

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Table settings continue the blue and white color scheme. Here shells are arranged in bowls and the names of guests are attached to beach bottles. Silver lanterns held by ribbon hang over the tables. The flower girl’s blue tulle dress is at Nicki MacFarlane.


A quiet moment alone. The groom wears a simple white suit from Marc Wallace. The bride is in an ivory and pale blue tulle dress with bead detail designed by Je T’aime.


Flowers crafted into spheres are hung from branches found on the beach.


I love this boutonniere- just a stem of Queen Anne’s Lace. Groom’s striped shirt by Hackett.


A beautiful ivory tulle dress with blue velvet sash by Candy Anthony is perfect for a beach wedding.


A delightful wedding cake rests on a weathered blue table. Note the icing shaped into sea shells! The flower girl is wearing an ivory dress by Pearce II Fionda and the pageboy has on shirt, shorts and cummerbund all from Nicki Macfarlane.


Garden Note #9: The Blue Ribbon

Most gardeners enjoy showing visitors their gardens. But given the chance, gardeners love to take newcomers to their compost bins or piles. Here, they explain, is where it all begins. Without a compost pile, there is no garden. It takes several years to build up a compost pile of leaves, dirt, vegetable scraps, and usually a secret additive the gardener swears by. According to my mother, my grandfather’s compost was “black gold”. I never thought too much about composting until I started gardening. Some unused space by our garage became the location for my pile. And for the last two years I’ve been working on it. When my parents came for a visit last spring, I took them to see my compost pile. They looked at the heap of dirt and remarked, “Grandpa would be proud.” I beamed as if I had won the blue ribbon.


Garden Note #8: Greenhouse Dining

My grandfather was an avid gardener and built his own greenhouse. I remember being in it as a child and looking at the plants thriving in the heat and moisture. I would love to have a greenhouse but not just for plants! My inspiration came from this old greenhouse on the property of Alexander Julian and his wife. When time came to work on their house, the builders offered to level the greenhouse at the same time. Instead Julian had the rest of the broken glass and plumbing removed, but left the metal framing. Now they say that “it’s not an eyesore, but a focal point.”


The greenhouse from the outside has an old European feel to it that I love. And the inside…


…is laid with bluestone with beds of plants around the borders. What I’d really like to do with the inside is…


…this! Isn’t it fantastic?! I love the idea of turning a greenhouse into a dining space. Here a French couple left the overhead glass but removed the side glass, and then laid down a cedar floor. The rattan chairs are from the 1930’s.

Extra, Extra: Check out the back article from the New York Times called “The Heiress Out Back”, September 28, 2006. It’s about how Dollie Briggs restores two vintage greenhouses and lives in them!

And look for the current issue of Better Homes and Gardens Country Gardens (Spring, 2008) which has another article on Dollie and her greenhouses.


( Met Home 1999, House and Garden 2007, Copyright photo for both C.M. Glover and The New York Times)

Garden Note #7: Displaying Small Garden Tools

I’m always looking for creative ways to store and display small hand held garden tools. Here are a few-


An unused, rusty mailbox becomes a storage box to stash tools in.


Vintage tool ( hammers, nails, etc.) carriers are hard to find now but they’re great for toting garden tools around.


An impromptu desk in a potting shed holds tools on the wall. Note they’ve been outlined for easy storage.

A garden tool can be a fun door handle to a shed or greenhouse.


This idea takes a metal topiary frame and suspends it from the ceiling. Garden tools hang from it like a chandelier.

(Photos- Country Home, Country Living Garden, Gourmet, Outdoor Decor, Country Gardens Spring)

StyleFile #30: Maps, Maps And More Maps

Historians suggest that maps, not books, are the oldest form of written communication. We still use them today to help us with locations and travel whether it’s on paper or the internet! It’s not surprising to see our love of maps showing up on the walls of our homes.


Here an older home has maps simply applied to the walls through the use of thumb tacks. Note some fun things- an empty frame over the fireplace highlights a part of a map and more maps are taped to the closet door!


This European seaside cottage fills its halls with nautical maps.


Maps create the background for this mudroom.


Children’s rooms are great places for them- and educational!


This bedroom is made special by the addition of maps! Look for fun bed linens with maps- here the small pillow has a map design. (photo via Kathryn)


Don’t forget to hang them in playrooms too.


Companies like Rand McNally Maps make special map wallpaper.


Old school maps are wonderful to collect and display.


They look terrific in work spaces like this one in a room used for crafts. (photo via angel at my table)


Or try hanging one in your dining room.


Several maps can be used as an alternative to window shades.


A large framed map with another fun collection- metal globes!

(Photos- World of Interiors, Elle Decor, Pottery Barn, Inside Out, Land of Nod, Country Living, O at Home)

Garden Note #6: Master Gardeners

We bought our house from Mr. C. who had lived in the house and worked on his garden for over forty-five years. Most garden plants don’t even last that long. They’re subjected to the bulldozers of new construction or neglected by people who don’t stay long enough to work a garden into maturity. One overgrown garden in East Hampton, Long Island didn’t suffer that fate. For more than twenty-five years its owners have patiently worked on their lovely garden and learned as they went along.


This garden path follows the same script as the rest of their garden- deliberate design with informal use of materials. The straight path here divides the garden into quadrants but the use of brick interspersed with bluestone keeps it relaxed.


Flowers come from a variety of garden plants- annuals, perennials, bulbs, shrubs, and trees. Here a mix of white cimicifuga, pale yellow daylilies, and blue salvia. In the background are orange daylilies, roses and meadow rue.


The arbor leads into a part of the garden deliberately left uncultivated. This gate is surrounded by alberic barbier roses and white clematis terniflora. The base plants are Rhubarb and lilies- something I would love to try in my garden.


A hybrid of New Dawn roses called Dr. W. Van Fleet climbs the bedroom tower which was an addition to the original house. In the foreground, just beneath the roses, is an outdoor shower.

At the front of the house is this grape covered arbor and patio.

This whole garden is an inspiration for me to continue my garden where previous owner Mr. C. left off.

(Photos- House and Garden)

StyleFile #29: Perfect Kitchen Recipe- A Dash Of Red

I love the color red in kitchens. When I took a Color design course, the instructor spent time discussing the affects of color on people. I found out that red demands attention. No wonder we use it on traffic lights! But it is also warm, bright, fun, and stimulating. That sounds like a perfect recipe for a kitchen!


A kitchen doesn’t need a lot of red-sometimes just a touch of it- like the bright red pot on the stove or…


…the framed red “EAT” sign.


Red with the combination of black and white checker board floor is timeless!


Here ‘s another red kitchen with a black and white checkered floor. This one belongs to actress Sarah Jessica Parker. Check out that giant red apple painting!


Red can be overpowering, so it’s important to leave space for the eye to rest. In this country kitchen red paint is on the cabinets and one window frame. The other window above the sink is left white.


Lots of red accents can be so much fun! Check out the red in the rugs, red leather stools, red painted piano in the back ground, and the red polka dot apron.

A loft kitchen has stainless steel cabinets and a large restaurant supply stove. Chairs are in fun red and white slipcovers to add a punch of color!


The bottom cabinets in this European kitchen are painted high-gloss red. No upper cabinets here. Instead there are white shelves which blend in with the walls.


Red and the honey-colored wood cabinets warm up this kitchen in Maine. Notice the holes instead of handles on the cabinet doors.

(Photos- Country Living, Kitchen and Bath Planner Magazine, House and Garden, Elle Decor, Martha Stewart Living, Living Etc.)