Thursday, June 1, 2017

Private Tour: Fabulous Farmhouse, Blackberry Farm in Tennessee by Designer Suzanne Kasler

Photo: Erica George Dines

In Tennessee, in the heart of the Smoky Mountain foothills, blackberry brambles grow wild, and in 1939 Mrs. Florida Lasier of Chicago snagged her silk stockings on these brambles and the name Blackberry Farm was born.  Thirty nine years later, the Beall family invested their hearts and souls in the same romantic site which has become their family home, as well as one of America's most luxurious, top rated hotels, with a Relais & Chateaux designation.  Who better to design the proprietor's personal home then the acclaimed Atlanta designer, Suzanne Kasler.  I first saw their home on 1stdibs, and I was struck by this airy, whitewashed, cypress beamed kitchen, and a refined, country elegance throughout the home.  I thought you might like a private tour.  

Photo: Beall + Thomas Photography

Photo: Erica George Dines

Photo: Erica George Dines

Photo: Erica George Dines

Photo: Erica George Dines

Photo: Erica George Dines

Photo: Erica George Dines

Photo: Erica George Dines

Photo: Erica George Dines

Photo: Erica George Dines

Photo: Erica George Dines

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Memorial Day: Frederick Childe Hassam's Flags, and Strawberry Country Cake Recipe - Barefoot Contessa

Memorial Day is Monday, which means Summer is just around the corner.  For our family, our flag comes out and stays out until September: BBQ's, watching Baseball games and Confederation Cup soccer, reading books for pleasure, and traveling anywhere by the ocean is the order of the day.  As the weather heats up, strawberries are at their peek and Ina Garten's Strawberry Country Cake is the perfectly fresh, not too heavy, delicious dessert to serve to your family and friends.  I will be making this over the weekend!

My heart felt thanks to the men and women who served and are serving.  In honor of your service I have chosen three paintings of Frederick Childe Hassam's Flag series.


Home of the free, because of the brave.

Happy Memorial Day!

Photo by: James Merell

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Make it Beautiful ... designing a life well lived

I like to write; in pencil it flows easier.  I want people to make connections, to feel, be moved to beauty in actions, to see color in clarity and expanse, shadows in personal memories, turning phrases into sight, brief moments of details so the reader fills in the rest.  Setting the tone and pace like a water color that dries in the mind of someone else.

Maybe, that is designing, before space and proportion it's feelings and memories, hopes and laughter...  I think the goal in interior design is not perfection, anyone can design that cheaply, but creating a life, an atmosphere of connections in vignettes.  Spaces for memories, reflection, living out loud, for designing a life well lived that the author decides.  My hope is as you seek beauty and inspiration in others' work, it is important that you express yours, after all, it's your life and your life is value, let others see, feel, taste and touch it.  Give it all away, and you will find there is always more.

There are moments, sometimes days, I am not satisfied if I don't create, stirring up beauty and feelings. We were created to create, to give it all away, and we get to decide what we give  ... make it beautiful.  xx

Photo: Mimi Thorrison 

Monday, May 22, 2017

HGTV'S New Hit Show HOME TOWN - Erin and Ben Napier

Erin and Ben Napier with Ben's iconic, vintage 1962 Chevy pickup truck with his Scotsman furniture logo.

Sitting on the front porch this afternoon I was trying to decide how to write this blog post.  The birds were singing and the breeze was gently blowing the elm tree in the center of our yard, and I was finishing a black tea, lemonade with no sweetener from Starbucks ...  I could hear the line from Ben Napier, "We just want to give all the old houses some love."  That was it, love.  The new hit show from HGTV -Home Town, with Erin and Ben Napier has so much heart ... He is a craftsman, she an artist, and together their love for each other, and their home town of Laurel, Mississippi comes through in spades (I thought it might be too much to say hearts).  You just want to have them over for BBQ, or for a pancake breakfast after church.  They are the kind of people that make you want to move to a small town, roll up your sleeves, and help carry in a sofa.   Here in California they are on Tuesday nights at 10:00 PM, which I DVR and we usually watch it the next day.  Ben and Erin, with several of their friends, also own and run Laurel Mercantile, with an online shop for those of us who don't live in Mississippi, which includes Ben's beautiful craftsmanship, Scotsman Co. Furniture, and Erin's new line of wallpaper.  I hope you tune in tomorrow night, Tuesday, for the season finale... you're going to love them. 

Some pictures of Ben and Erin's warm and inviting home:

Erin's restored 1988 Grand Wagoneer named Ouida, after her grandmother.

Erin and Ben, who she lovingly calls BIG, he is 6'6 and she is 5'5 and they are perfect for one another.

Erin and Ben, Congratulations on your success, this is just the beginning.  If you are ever in Cali, and need anything let us know.  Lunch or dinner is on us.

To view photos, videos, and episodes:

To shop, read Erin's Daily Journal, and hear more of their story:

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