outdoor living recipes seasons

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!

Holidays interior design

Everyday Romance

Romance doesn’t need to be confined to just one day.  Why not make your home feel like Valentine’s Day through out the year?

Passionate hot pink walls of this bedroom would arouse amorous feelings in the most unenthusiastic of suitors.

Photo by Bankston May Associates 

A beautiful table, set with an abundance of flowers and sparkling table ware, would create a pre meal aphrodisiac

Photo by Houzz

This plush living room, replete with sumptuous fabrics and comfy furniture, sets the stage for an ardent tête-à-tête

Photo by American Furniture Warehouse 

Use these sweet heart note cards year round to send out heart felt messages

Minted heart note card

Dreamy pastel tulips, arranged in a striped vase, convey tender romance (and a hint of spring!)

Photo by Miss Frugal Fancy Pants 

course, our fur friends can enjoy a little romantic interlude as well this charming heart bowl

Red Hearts Pet Bowl

Mr. H says:  Passion is universal humanity, without it romance would be useless-Enjoy!

charleston decorating flowers interior design seasons

Special Spring Blooms

I love this time of year, not quite spring, but hints of it all over town.  Late winter and early spring flowers are a sure sign of the season and here are some lovely ways to bring a little bit of their charm into your home.

The work horse of the Southern winter garden, pansies sweet blossoms should be arranged in short vases for a splash of color.  Derived from the French word pensée, meaning “thought”, the pansy was so named since the flower resembles a face.Pansy in vase

Stems of forsythia in a tall metal vase make for a dramatic display.  Budding Dogwood and cherry branches can work as well.

Forysthia in tin pitcher
Dreamy Whites

Camellias, the winter flower queen, can be arranged in shallow bowls and small pitchers to display their big blooms.  Camellias were introduced to the Charleston area in 1741 by André Michaux, botanist to King Louis XVI.  We are so lucky today that Henry Middleton, of Middleton Place, was the one to receive the plants where one of these original bushes stills survives!

Camellia bowl Croghans
Croghans Jewel Box

Symbolizing rebirth and new beginnings, the daffodil is virtually synonymous with spring.  One of the easiest of spring bulbs to grow, a profusion of cut flowers in a clear vase, heralds in the spring season.

Daffodils in vase
James DeMers

Mr. H says: The earth laughs in flowers-Enjoy!