Category Archives: seasons

8 Easy Design Tips for Fall

Bring that Fall feeling inside by adding cozy autumnal touches around your house with these festive and easy decor ideas.

Front porch greetings

Greet family and friends with a Fall themed wreath or porch vignette. Incorporate natural dried materials, gourds, and seasonal flowers into your display for a delightful seasonal welcome.

Fall wreath ideas
Creekside Farms

Faux Fur Pillows

Swapping out lightweight summer throw pillows to more textural ones like faux fur, velvet or chunky knits in darker jewel tones is an easy Fall upgrade.

Faux fur pillows
Grandin Road

Bring the Outside In

Add natural textures to your decor by mixing twigs, hay and gourds with pewter and mercury glass for an elegant Fall theme.

Natural fall decorating ideas
Pottery Barn

Pretty Paisley

A richly colored, set of paisley napkins is an easy way to transform your dinner table for Fall. Add a monogram for a personalized look.

Paisley monogrammed napkins
Donovan Design Linens

Chic Baskets

The warmth of natural woven baskets feels instantly Fall. Pile a basket with fruit in the kitchen or group a few on the coffee table to stash the remotes or hold magazines.

Natural woven baskets
West Elm

Copper Accents

Handcrafted copper items have a rich glow that fits seamlessly into Fall decorating. An occasional polish will keep it looking shiny or allow it to mellow into a verdigris patina.

Copper candles
Akkadian Candles

Tidy Up the Bath

Don’t get caught off guard by holiday guests. Stock the guest bath now with fresh towels, soap and scented candles.

Marrakech towels Matouk
Fine Linens

Cozy Up Outside

Enjoy Fall’s cooler evenings outside with seating arranged around a fire pit. Keep cozy pillows and throws on hand if the weather turns extra chilly.

Mr. H says: Autumn is a second Spring when every leaf is a flower-Enjoy!

Is your back yard pet friendly?

With the Charleston weather predicted to turn much warmer this weekend, we’ll want to venture out to enjoy some Spring temperatures with our pets.  It is a common assumption, that our yard poses no danger to our fur kids however their are some precautions to take to ensure that your animals can roam without the fear of being hurt.

photo by Boudewijn Huysmans

Escape Routes

Gaps in the fencing or the ability to tunnel should be addressed.  Besides actually escaping, animals can become trapped or pinned in causing serious harm or suffocation.  Make sure fences are too tall for your dog to jump over and do periodic perimeter checks to make sure that fencing is intact.

Wild Animals

Small dogs and cats have been known to be carried away by eagles, hawks and owls so it is important to never leave them unattended.  Other predators that could attack when provoked include, raccoons, snakes and even wolves.   Keep these creatures at bay by not leaving out food, including bird feeders, overnight and securing other food sources, like garbage cans.

photo by Zdeněk Macháček

Vegetation

The prettiest parts of your yard could be the most dangerous to your pet.  Many common types of flowers are toxic to animals, leading to vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, or even death.

Certain vegetables like onions, garlic, wild mushrooms, avocado, and grapes are lethal as well and should be cultivated away from your pet’s play area.

Chemicals

Pesticides and fertilizers keep our outdoor spaces free of pests and creates lush grass and vegetation.  These are poisons and should be stored in proper containers and out of reach to your pet.  Learn about ways to organically fertilize and get rid of pests naturally.  Same goes for the toxic cocoa bean mulch.  Pet owners will find pine and cedar mulches are good alternatives.

 

The Elements

Heat stroke can occur in all animals so be sure your yard has shady places for your pet to rest and has access to plenty of water in the summer.  Alternatively, in winter months animals should have access to a dog/cat house, garage or shed with blankets and a bed to avoid a chill.

Mr H says: Dogs laugh with their tails-Enjoy!

Ten Holiday Entertaining Tips

Throwing a holiday get together doesn’t have to be stressful or feel improbable during this busy time of year.  Follow these ten no fail tips to host a memorable holiday gathering.

Traffic Flow

To avoid traffic jams, place the bar and the food in two different areas.  Spreading people throughout your home make for better mingling.   Create a plan for managing coats and wraps as well as gifts you may be receiving.

Easy on the Food

There is no need to go overboard on the types of foods you serve.  Having five or six items to choose from, mixing hot and cold, on a beautifully decorated table will make for an exceptional party.  Abundance is everything during the holidays, so be sure to have enough nibbles to satiate all your guests.

photo by Caroline Hernandez

Serve in Style

Eschew the paper plates and stock up on durable white melamine plates that go straight into the dishwasher.   Choose a neutral white color and cool shape so that they can be reused throughout the year.

Glassware too!

Riedel

There are economic sources for stocking up on multiples of bar ware, including Riedel stems, that can be reused time and again.  Save the boxes they come in for easier storage after the pieces are washed and dried.

Use Unscented Candles

Since scented candles mingle with other aromas, including food and your revelers perfume, use unscented candles in your holiday decor.   Keep candles in the center of the table or placed up high.  We don’t want guests catching on fire by reaching over an open flame or backing into a low placed pillar.

photo by Element5 Digital

Stock the bar

Anticipate that guests will consume two drinks apiece in the first hour, then an additional drink per hour for the party duration.   For a self serve bar, set out openers, glasses and plenty of napkins.  Check back frequently to ensure that the bar remains well supplied.

Craft a signature cocktail

Instead of a full bar, serve beer, wine and soft drinks along with one signature cocktail.  This tree beverage dispenser makes it extra special.

Try Santa Punch

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 qt. pomegranate juice
  • 3 cups blanco tequila
  • 1 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 cup cranberry juice
  • 1 (750-ml.) bottle dry sparkling wine, chilled

Bring sugar and 1 cup water to a boil in a small saucepan over high heat, stirring constantly. Boil, stirring constantly, 5 minutes or until sugar dissolves. Cool syrup completely (about 45 minutes)

Stir together pomegranate juice, next 3 ingredients, and simple syrup; chill 4 hours. Pour mixture into a punch bowl or dispenser, and gently stir in sparkling wine just before serving.

Tunes set the Mood

Every holiday party needs a good soundtrack.  Consider your music and the volume based on your guest list.  Conversation is what counts at any celebration, so be sensitive with your play list.

Keep it Cool

Even on the coldest of winter nights, a room full of guests can heat up quickly.  Keep your house cool prior the party turning up the heat only when guests refuse to shed their coats.   Instead of lighting the fireplace fill the hearth with a mix of  unscented candles.

Powder Room Prep

Have the powder room guest ready with pretty disposal hand towels, lovely soap and lotion, tissues and plenty of extra toilet paper within easy reach.

Frontgate

Mr. H says: Life is the best party you’ll ever be invited to-Enjoy!

Summer Colors

Celebrate the Summer solstice with these hues from my favorite paint companies.

Pale blues like Benjamin Moore’s “Summer Shower” has the cooling effect of deep shade on a hot afternoon

Benjamin Moore 2135-60 Summer Shower

“Summer Shower” bathroom walls create a tranquil retreat.

Benjamin Moore

The lemon lime of “Limon Fresco” from Sherwin Williams feels like a frosty Mexican cocktail.

Energizing work space walls in “Limon Fresco”

Sherwin Williams Limon Fresco

PPG Paints June Color of the Month “Honeysweet” is a cross between peach and pink

PPG Honeysweet PPG1065-3

Dewy living room walls create a refuge from summer’s heat

PPG

Mr. H says: Summer is the annual permission slip to be lazy-Enjoy!

Summer Fabrics

As temperatures soar in the Charleston area we are looking for ways to both celebrate and avoid summer’s heat.

Shimmering metallic wallpaper and ethereal white sheer curtains simulate a desert mirage.  JF Fabric’s “Magique” wallpaper collection offers a myriad of dazzling pattern choices.

JF Fabrics

Designer Elizabeth Lamont crafted this living space for Curated Kravet.  Reminiscent of the California coastline, it is calm, cool and collected with neutrals and soft blues that create a peaceful oasis.

Kravet Elizabeth Lamont California Cool curated room

Robert Allen Fabrics newest collection: Madcap Cottage “Into the Garden” is a sophisticated yet carefree take on patterns we all have tucked into our collected summer memories.

Robert Allen @ Home Madcap Cottage Into the Garden Collection

Crisp blue and white from Thibaut’s Calypso Sunbrella Collection would be refreshing after a hot day on the beach.

Thibaut Calypso Sunbrella Collection

The Pavilion Collection from Duralee feature brights like lime and turquoise that hit the right notes for an alfresco summer party.

Duralee Pavillion outdoor fabric collection

Mr. H says: The tans will fade but the memories will linger forever-Enjoy!

Charleston Summer Fun

Nothing could be finer than to be in Carolina enjoying a perfect sunset, cold libations and delicious food at one of Crosby’s Dock Friday night parties.  On a recent evening we enjoyed the festive atmosphere at this quintessential Charleston locale.

Crosbys Dock Charleston South Carolina

Perched on the banks of Folly Creek, the iconic Crosby’s Fish and Shrimp, epitomizes the best of the Charleston Lowcountry’s seafood industry.

Crosbys  d

Generous plates of freshly caught seafood come straight from the dock into the rolling kitchen

Crosby's dock  Charleston South Carolina

Charming nautical decor enhances the rustic atmosphere on the dock

Crosby's dock Charleston South Carolina

Nautical decor

Bring your dancing shoes as the Friday night dock parties feature live music.  Tutus optional.

Crosby's Dock Party

The evening ended with this stunning sunset over Folly Creek.  Check their Facebook page for future dock party dates.

South Carolina Lowcountry sunset

Mr. H says: Time is marked by each sunrise and sunset whether or not you actually see it-Enjoy!

Outdoor Spring Entertaining

With the weather finally turning to Spring, it’s time to move the party outside.  In the South, elegant entertaining is a way life and outdoor entertaining should be just as luxurious.

Ditch the paper and plastic for a colorful array of assorted table top.  Hillsborough, NC company, VIETRI is the largest importer of handcrafted Italian tableware and home decor products and we all know the Italians are master sat la dolce vita!

Vietri dinnerware

Think Spring produce, like asparagus and carrots, when creating centerpieces for a Spring party.

Create a dedicated area for the bar.  Provide plenty of backyard friendly glasses and napkins.

Williams Sonoma

Be sure to plan for lighting at nightfall with solar lights strung high enough to walk under.

Pottery Barn

Gather in the backyard with family and friends to enjoy a few games of classic lawn bowling.

Williams Sonoma Lawn Bowling Game

Host a gracious picnic out of this English willow basket from Williams-Sonoma.  Filled with fine tableware, linens and serving essentials for food and beverages, it has everything for a grand outdoor dining adventure.

Williams Sonoma Wicker Picnic Basket

The cocktail hour is an entertaining must in the South.  Feature the refreshingly light British Pimm’s Cup at your next outdoor affair.  This drink pairs lemon and ginger with the spicy fruit flavors of a gin-based liqueur called Pimm’s No. 1 cup.

Pimms Cup photo Becky Luigart-Stayner  Lydia DeGaris-Pursell

Becky Luigart-Stayner; Lydia DeGaris-Pursell

  • 3/4 cup Pimm’s No. 1
  • 2 cups ginger ale, chilled
  • 1 1/3 cups sparkling water, chilled
  • 4 lemon slices
  • 1 medium cucumber, halved lengthwise and cut into 4 spears

Fill 4 tall (12-ounce) glasses with ice cubes.  Pour 3 tablespoons Pimm’s into each glass. Pour 1/2 cup ginger ale and 1/3 cup sparkling water into each glass; stir to combine. Garnish each serving with 1 lemon slice and 1 cucumber spear. Serve immediately.

Mr. H says: Spring is God’s way of saying, ‘One more time!’-Enjoy!

Tranquil Tryon

Nestled on the first peak of the Blue Ridge, the sleepy town of Tryon, North Carolina is a charming place to visit.

Tryon’s Frog and Swan is a delightful antique shop

The fabulous home of a friend and fellow designer was headquarters for our country weekend

Tryon North Carolina

Cabin chic best describes the interior design of this home

The sophisticated, light filled dining room

Comfort reigned in the guest bedroom

The outdoor spaces allowed us to enjoy the nip in the air and the Fall foliage

Resident dog Liam kept us entertained

Mr. H says: Autumn is the mellow time-Enjoy!

Front Porch Ready

This beautiful Charleston weather has us all craving some porch time.  Here are some ways to enjoy in style

Whitecraft’s South Terrace Collection inspired by designs found at the Biltmore House in Asheville, North Carolina features faux bamboo and wicker frames.

Whitecraft South Terrace Collection

Whitecraft

It’s hard to choose a design with all the amazing colors and patterns from Sunbrella fabric

Sunbrella cushion fabrics

Sunbrella

Set the stage for a memorable meal with the Williams Sonoma La Med dinner ware collection.  Made of shatterproof and scratch resistant melamine.

Williams Sonoma La Med Dinnerware

Williams Sonoma

Add atmosphere with these adorable green cane string lights from World Market

World Market Cane String Lights

World Market

The soft tinkling of wind chimes swaying in the breeze is the only background music you need

Windchime

Mr. H says: Nothing is better than sitting on the front porch watching life go by-Enjoy!

Friday Five: Staying Cool

Hot.  That’s the Charleston forecast for at least the next 126 days.  Here are five ways to stay cool in style this summer:

1-Turn on the Ceiling Fans-We all know the efficiency of using a fan but have your heard?  Lowcountry Lighting is having a ceiling fan sale when you buy one you get one ½ off through August 31st! http://www.lowcountrylightingcenter.com/

Wicker ceiling fan

2-Misting Patio Umbrellas-Enjoy the outdoors in the hottest of temps with a market umbrella that features misters on the ends of the ribs.   Refreshing mist cools the air 10 degrees.

Misting Patio Umbrella

3-Freezer Mugs-Keep those drinks cold with these ingenious mugs.  Double wall plastic has liquid that freezes keeping drinks cool without ice.

Freezer Mugs

4-Close the shades-Solar heat gain from direct sunlight makes your summer home warmer.  Simple roller shades, in a chic pattern, is a fashionable way to keep things cool.

Window Roller Shades

5-Eat some spicy food-Scientists believe that spicy foods make you sweat without actually raising your body temperature. Capsaicin, a chemical found in things like hot peppers, will make your skin is damp thus cooling you with evaporation.

Here’s a spicy Cooking Light recipe: Thai Shrimp Salad with Spicy Sour Dressing

  • 4 ounces uncooked linguine
  • 12 ounces peeled and deveined medium shrimp
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon hot chile sauce
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 4 cups torn romaine lettuce
  • 1 1/4 cups vertically sliced red onion
  • 1/4 cup matchstick-cut carrots
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/3 cup chopped dry-roasted cashews, unsalted

Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Add shrimp to pan during last 3 minutes of cook time. Drain and rinse with cold water. Drain.

Combine juice, sugar, hot chili sauce, and fish sauce in a large bowl, stirring until sugar dissolves. Add pasta mixture, lettuce, and next 4 ingredients (through cilantro) to juice mixture; toss to coat. Place about 2 cups pasta mixture on each of 4 plates. Sprinkle each serving with 4 teaspoons cashews.

Mr. H says-It’s hard to remain elegant in such hot weather-Enjoy!