Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Fall Inspiration in the Asheville Air

It is morning and there is a nip in the air- 55 degrees and I see a slight tinge of yellow starting on the tree leaves.  Time to start thinking about fall- my favorite time of year.  Time to go to town and see what's happening that will inspire my fall d├ęcor.

I recently heard about a local pottery that has a store in downtown Asheville. They featured beautiful orange pottery on their website and I wanted to go check it out.

And yes- it was the perfect shade of orange for fall and will coordinate with many of my fall dishes.
It also was made in many other shades that are worthy of consideration- chartreuse, pink, gray and others.

A selection of great colors in their store.

 The pottery is made by East Fork Potters in Madison County, which is where I live.  I like to support local artists, so I purchased the 3 in the store and ordered 3 more. This color is called Ember and will be retired at the end of this month for a while.

 As I was leaving the East Fork Pottery store, I noticed a cute clothing store next door.  Vintage Moon is wonderful boutique that carries Asheville designer, Gigi Renee'.

 Look at the incredible colors in the romantic clothing line.

.  She uses plant based dyes to create designs of organic leaves and flowers on her luxury fabrics.  The sweater is cashmere and dyed with turmeric leaves on the front. What a wonderful fall color combination!
 This silk camisole is embellished with hand dyed lace and leaf designs. 
 And she packages each one in these sweet green voile gift bags.   These are perfect gifts and the start of Christmas shopping.

 A trip to Asheville for fall inspiration  is definitely worth a visit to BB Barnes on Sweeten Creek road.  They have just started carrying fresh cut dahlias and zinnias from a flower farm in Fairview.

 Since moving here, dahlias and zinnias  have become a favorite of mine. 
I couldn't resist buying two bunches to go home.

 They told me to place them in warm to hot water once I got them home to extend their life.

 Two bunches were the perfect amount to fill my antique French champagne bucket. 

 I paired the orange plates with my Blackberry Farm dinner plates and anther gold and gilded plate- fun combination!
The East Fork orange salad plates look great with brown transferware and pewter chargers.

 At home, I placed a stack of the orange plates on my dining table and
added copper, horn and linen elements. The bucket of fresh flowers added the punch.

It's always fun to unpack my velvet pumpkin collection from Hot Skwash and bring it out for fall.

 I also found these wonderful "cut-glass" bottles to hold  fall vinegars and fruit enhanced spirits.

A final stop in Hobby Lobby lead me to these dried elements.

They were the perfect element for the faux bois urn that I had purchased in Highlands, NC a couple of weeks ago.

Silk artichokes, natural reindeer moss and feathers from BB Barns and Amazon
 fill the urns on the gathering room fireplace.

 And I could not resist these red-orange zinnias from BB Barnes for the outside deck. 

It was a great shopping day in town- full of inspiration.  Temperatures are in the sixties next week!  

It has now been a week since buying these flowers.  And I even like the way they are fading away.  The trick of the warm water really extended their life, as I have normally had to throw them away in 3 to 4 days.  Time to head to town to buy some more!

Monday, September 4, 2017

Cashiers, North Carolina Historical Society House Tour

While my girlfriends were visiting from Chicago last week, we made a trip to Cashiers, NC, a luxury summer community of great shops, wonderful homes and very good restaurants.  The local historical society was sponsoring a home tour of 3 cottages.  We were excited to tour them.

All of the homes were approximately 1800 to 2200 square feet and featured 3 to 4 bed rooms. 
                           A different designer was assigned to each room in the homes.

Though out the homes, many fresh ferns were used in containers.  I particularly liked this one with the antlers placed at the base.   Also, note the painted ship lap walls. 

A galvanized metal insert was in the center of this long dining table in the first cottage. 
A long split log was placed on top with the organic floral arrangement.

Ferns placed at the bases of orchids- very pretty.

I loved the faux bois tiles placed horizontally on the back splash of this sink.

Antique bookcase used for a towel rack in the bath.

An emerald green Asian inspired day bed in one of the guest rooms.

One guest bedroom was repurposed as a study with 2 large round tables- one slightly lower than the other, so it could slide under and create an interesting workspace.

 Very masculine guest room.

 I loved the use of the white shiplap walls through out this cottage.
 An interesting arrangement over the headboard.

 A great way to create a canopy bed.

 A very cozy spot to read!

 Fish used as a hat rack- too cute!

 Many organic nature inspired touches were used in this room.

A small foyer-

Love this island in this kitchen.

My favorite room- a screened in porch with a fireplace.   The rustic table
with the black and white dining elements is very inviting.

It was refreshing to see a home tour with smaller size homes rather than a  huge mansion.
It is easier to find ideas that you can actually implement in your own home.
It was an enjoyable day and all of us carried away at least one idea to try at home!

Monday, August 28, 2017

Seven Perfect Days in the Carolinas with Friends

My girlfriends from Chicago arrived last Sunday for a week long visit. 

Day One

Jill and  I picked our two friends at the Greenville -Spartanburg airport on Sunday afternoon.  It worked out perfectly as we were staying at Jill's South Carolina  home on Sunday night so we could view the total eclipse on Monday at her clubhouse. After picking them up,  we went back to Jill's house and got them settled into their dreamy bedrooms.

I love this bed from Horchow.  It is dressed with Bella Notte linens that were purchased from Porter and Prince in Asheville's Biltmore Village.  I claimed this one as I was the first to arrive!

 Another beautiful bed from Restoration Hardware- tufted linen and pretty iron legs.  Also dressed in Bella Notte gray velvet- which washed beautifully.

Another iron bed from Restoration Hardware.  It is dressed in white , leopard and red tartan.
I adore this room- it is so pretty.

After settling in to the bedrooms, we headed out to the screened in porch for iced tea and a light lunch.  Outdoor slip covered furniture from Lee is so comfortable.

The view below from the screen porch of the fire pit- I just love the landscaping! 

For dinner plans, we headed down to Greeneville to Hall's.  Known as a fine dining steak house, we all decided to have fish!  Their stuffed Carolina Trout is awesome.

Beautiful presentation of a chopped salad.

My trout with the jumbo lump crab and wild rice and cranberry stuffing.  So good!

Day Two

 The next day, we headed down to the Cabin at Mountain Park for the Total Solar Eclipse party.
Chairs were placed all over the lawn for comfortable eclipse viewing.

Laurell, Christy and Jill heading in for lunch.

 All of the dishes were named for Solar events.   A wedge salad was served to resemble the shape of
a crescent moon.
 Pulled pork, grilled salmon, pin wheel sandwiches were gourmet delights. 
Dessert was a cute cup cake!

 Christy in her eclipse glasses waiting for total darkness.

 And just as the full eclipse was 10 minutes away, the clouds moved in to obscure the view.
You could still see it through the clouds with your glasses.  The area got dark and the night
sounds started.   It was really cool!

Then it was time to head home to my house, so we headed further north.

 Time to get them settled in their rooms.  Fresh towels and a welcome gift waited on the beds.

 Facial masks, body lotion and other goodies for enjoying while here.


 Hang out at the house and have a spa day.  Hair and facial masks and lots of new decorating books and magazines kept us busy. 

 Out to the screened porch to enjoy the sounds of the river.

For dinner, we headed back to Weaverville to enjoy pasta at the Glass Onion.
Pasta Carbonara was ordered by all!


We drive  2 hours south to Cashiers, NC to meet Jill again.  We met at a wonderful antique shop and then went to lunch at Cornucopia. 
Cornucopia- a great place for lunch! 

After lunch we attending the Cashiers Historical Society's home tours of three cottages.   I will report in detail on the house tour on my next blog!

After the house tour, we headed 45 minutes south to Lake Rabun in Georgia. I wanted to surprise the girls, so I booked a stay at the Lake Rabun Hotel, an historic inn built in 1922. 

 Arts and Crafts stonework fireplaces and chimneys adorn this quaint inn. 
It is known for it's Farm to Table cuisine and it did not disappoint. 

But the best surprise for the girls- our friend Lynda Sue drove up from Atlanta to join us!
Screams of delight when she arrived!

 Trees are used as interior columns. 

Chloe the cat on the porch waiting to be petted.


After a breakfast at the inn, we drove around the lake to check out the area.  It is wonderful!

 Lake view of the boat houses around the lake. 

I am definitely coming back soon! 

 A great little lunch place in the Lakemont Historic village!
 Lunch on the porch of the country store.

Then it was on to Clayton, Ga to check out the shopping.  Its about 10 miles north of Lake Rabun and on our way back to North Carolina.

Dogwoods is a great collection of old and new and is completely on trend.  Between the four of us, we all purchased something.

 Very classy exterior- dark gray with brass down lights.

Interior shot of Dogwoods.

Then it was back to Madison County, with a stop for dinner in Weaverville for dinner.  Bang Bang shrimp and sweet potato rolls at Soba hit the spot. Delicious!

Beautiful plate going to another table!

Then it was home to play with our new finds. 

First order of business was placing my new chair from Dogwoods in the conservatory!


 Up early to meet my neighbor Tony for an ATV ride in French Broad Crossing.
What a blast on back trails with Tony navigating. 

 The view from Tony's deck of the surrounding area.
Got a picture of my roof peeking through the trees from the mountain above!

Then it was down to Asheville to shop for the afternoon.

 On the way home, we picked up flank steak for dinner,  We wanted to try a recipe that we had watched  on TV earlier that week .  Laurell set the table on the deck with my new tablecloth purchased at April Cornell that afternoon.
  It was a perfect night for having dinner alfresco- cooler and no bugs!

Here is the recipe!
Definitely a keeper recipe!


After a leisurely breakfast on the porch, we headed down to Asheville to the River Arts District via the road by the river. 

 You can drive to Asheville from Madison County along the French Broad River. It a particularly pretty now because the wild jasmine and honey suckle are blooming in abundance on the sides of the road.

  It takes about 10 minutes longer, but it is worth it.  The road- Rt.251-  enters Asheville directly into the River Arts district.
 Had lunch here- great wood oven pizza! The yellow store front on the left! 

A very fun area with all types of artists- pottery, jewelry, clothing, paintings, sculpture.

Christy and I purchased pottery from artist Michael Hofman.  He uses old laces to create the designs in his oven and dishwasher safe pottery. 

 Next it was back to Marshall to eat in my favorite restaurant - the Star Diner.
 Located in an old Gulf Station, the Star Diners elevates old classic recipes.  It is my favorite place to take guests! 

 Chef Brian makes the best crab cake ever!  No filler- just lump crab and a little bit of heat!

It love the ambiance-  it's tiny!

Dinner was Chicken Saltimbocca and Crab Cakes! 
Then it was back up the mountain to sit on the porch and listen to the river and night sounds!


I can't believe the week is over!  Too much fun!

Back to the airport with my dear friends.
Tears leaving- very sad. I think they need to
move here.

Off to pick up Harry at the dog hotel- tail is wagging!

Back up the mountain home with my dog.  Time to sit on the porch and listen to the river!