Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Digging in the Dirt: Contributing to Earth Day

Better later than never, I bring you my Earth Day contributions- or rather, my focus on sustainability. I have made a concerted effort to reduce the number of "bad things" I have or contribute to our Mother Earth.

This summer, it started with our chairs. Our cushions were beyond repair- and while thick- not the nicest quality. Mr. Southern and I had several discussions- he wanted to just buy a whole new set. I argued that no one would want the chairs without cushions and I couldn't see sending them to a landfill just because of cushions. Even though new cushions were nearly as expensive as a whole new set.

Several test runs of cushions later, we found these fabulous Sunbrella ones from Home Decorators Collection (if you, like me, had turned your nose up at HDC in the past, you should check them out again. I was surprised- ok, shocked- to recognize several of their decorative accents. And very reasonably priced!!).

Back to the chairs. Clearly, we were test driving the look, as the plastic wrap is still on the second chair. And if I were totally Earth Friendly, I'm sure the cushions would be made of hemp or something, but I'm trying! I will say that Sunbrella is worth the extra cost. The water beads up nicely, I can brush off the pollen, and the color gives the porch a nice punch.

Phase two of the project will be sanding and repainting the chairs.

In the garden (aka yard), I prefer Organic solutions to the bevy of chemicals. To be honest, this started because of Tilghman, our dog who likes to eat weeds. Not grass- just the weeds. So it makes treating the backyard quite challenging. (Unfortunately, he also likes the organic fertilizers- so I'm fertilizing, watering, and keeping him out of the yard).

As any gardener will tell you, the easiest way to cut down on chemicals is to buy low-maintenance plants. I've learned this the hard way and am now brutal about my selection. Usually this comes about by buying a sampling of plants, killing half of them, and buying more of the ones that managed to stay alive. While I adore roses, I'm sticking with the Knock-Out variety, until I improve my green thumb. Here are my knock out roses I planted last year.

The first is the Sunny Knock-Out, planted late in the season.I was a little worried they would "take" but looking great! And the rose has a lovely scent. So far, totally disease-free!

Here's the double-knock outs in pink- they are now a profusion of blooms- but this is what it looked like last week. We also have some residual daylillies underneath that probably need to be moved and some creeping phlox (light blue flowers), which I adore. Makes a great groundcover under the roses. It's probably getting a bit out of control though and the roses could use a trim?

To the right of the roses is our mammoth holly bush cluster. We, and the previous owners, have had landscape plans done in the backyard, and both teams said to eliminate the hollies. Yes, they require trimming (and are well past the contained stage) but other than that, they require no work. Lovely scented flowers at the start of Spring, no black spot, no fungus, impervious to insects and Tilghman's marking... what more can you ask for? I can handle a little trimming.Certainly better than the grass, which I keep trying to convince Mr. Southern to let me get rid of.

Total change of topic... I was in Puerto Rico again this past week- which contriburted to my slacker posting/commenting- so I thought I'd share with you the beautiful view from my room (the rest of the trip, I was in the convention center... not such a pretty view!).

Very cool fort of some sort on the property, that I think would make for fabulous photos...

The Condado section of San Juan, and the Conrad where we stayed the last trip.
And my attempt at artsy photography. I love the ocean in the morning.

Hope y'all have a fabulous week!! Looking forward to catching up.


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Relaxing in Shade

I just received my green and white striped shirt from this-- Caitlin Creer Interiors: Giveaway from Shade Clothing and had to share.

You'll note I clearly love the shirt based on the hanger I gave it.

One of the best parts? It's just $21.50. The shirt is 48% polyester, 48% viscose, and 4% spandex, which gives it a nice fit. It is a bit form-fitting, so just an FYI (or TMI) to those with more than their fair share of "girls." I got a Medium but may try a Large in the next shirt I buy. It worked fabulously under my khaki jacket yesterday!

Great details, like a wider "cuff" at the end of the 3/4 sleeve.

And no tag- THANK YOU!
You can also see the great finish of the hems here.

This is the perfect shirt to celebrate Spring, which I see everywhere! Makes me so happy. I had to stop and take pictures of these cherry trees at my library....

Have a beautiful week!


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Designers' "Split Personalities"

As I've gotten older- or gotten to know myself better- I've realized that in my personal interior design, I need muted colors-- a sense of calm, and a nod toward minimalism (ok, scratch minimalism, let's say streamlined). While I love lots of bold colors and energizing spaces, I am too much of a stress case to live in an environment like that. But that doesn't stop me from loving those spaces.

Perhaps because of this dilemma, I imagine it must be great fun as a designer to express or illustrate so many different sides or styles of design. Sure, there's something oddly reassuring about a so-called trademark style. For example, there are some rooms that scream, "yes, that is a Miles Redd room." (though a glance through his portfolio may challenge some of our notions). Phoebe Howard rooms are very Phoebe to me- and I'm not sure I'd want it any other way (I LOVE Phoebe).

But here are a few examples of what I'm calling "Designer Split Personality" and in no way am I trying to be disrespectful. Admittedly, this is less about true styles or types, like midcentury modern, traditional, or my least-favorite term, transitional, but rather about the feel of a room.

First example- Sarah Richardson Design. I admit I had my own ideas of what I thought constituted Sarah Richardson Design. On the edge of rustic, a country European feel.

But then I saw these rooms. Did anyone else stop to take a second look, at these?

Amanda Nisbet also provides a lot of variety. Yes, lots of color pops in her room with fun and funky...

But she does elegant glamor just as well...

I also have very definitive ideas about Jamie Drake's designs. COLOR and very hip.

But check out these more muted rooms... the first illustrating a definite shift in style.

Ruthie Sommers portfolio is all over the board (pardon the pun) with some spaces I adore, and others are just not my favorite.

She has dark bold rooms with a "global" feel...

to streamlined updated traditional..

And Romantic "country" or European style.

Michael S. Smith differentiates among Beach House, Town Home, and High Rise, which give hints at different styles.

The City...

And The Country

So what do you think? Do you "buy" my theory of different personalities being represented? Can you see consistent themes of each designer throughout their work? Who else would you add to the list?