Thursday, August 20, 2009

My Secret Garden Room

My favorite spot in my house this summer actually isn’t in my house at all. I have been taking my coffee each morning (and a glass of wine many evenings) in this newly designed garden room.

The inspiration for this outdoor living space has been hanging on my refrigerator since I ripped it out of
Southern Living magazine in May of 2008. While they went with a black background for their garden room, I chose the opposite. The feeling of being surrounded by lush plantings and a green view remain the same.

Southern Living, May 2008
Photograph by Van Chaplin
Styling by Scott Martin

When I first saw this photo, the green striped chairs reminded me of the Winston Patio set that my husband and I bought over a decade ago for our last house. While the chairs are still in great shape, the cushions could use a little freshening up.

Some fabrics I have been looking at ...

Winston Marrakesh Palm

I love this pattern. It reminds me of the unopened buds of a hydrangea blossom. My design plan is to keep a neutral color palette on the chairs, but change up the colors in tablecloths and accent pillows to match the flowers that are in bloom at the time. These perennial hydrangeas (in pots right now) will later be planted in my garden.

This chocolate brown, green and pink outdoor fabric with white ferns would be nice as a table topper or on a set of pillows. It looks very much like the one in the inspiration photo above. Maybe I would pair it with a more subtle pattern on the chair like the stripe in the Winston Cedarkey Kiwi.

Available at JoAnn Fabrics

We chose to cover the walls with a barn-board like MDF that comes in huge vertical sheets and is pre-primed. Since the room is adjacent to our garage that is next to our barn, it seemed appropriate. Painting the entire corner room in brilliant white gives the vertical siding a more glamorous appearance. I love how pristine it looks, and hesitate to put anything on the walls. For now, I am using dark accents to contrast with the white backdrop.

Set of two Parisian Luminaries available
through Southern Living at Home

This tablescape with its iron cherub and fretwork candle holders inspires this fabric choice for the chairs ...

Winston Antique Fret

If I decide to have slip covers made through my workroom, I might use this outdoor fabric in a similar pattern (but available at a much lower price point than brand new cushions):

Available at JoAnn Fabrics

Maybe I will add this Chinese Garden Stool from

Wisteria for a bit of contrast to the white walls.

And if I want to change up the colors completely, this palette of blues and greens would be nice especially if we decide to add that pool next year we keep talking (or dreaming?) about ...

Winston Skyline Sea Mist

Winston Aqua Turquoise

Solarium Tropique Peridot

I so love this antique lantern, but it’s not in my budget this year (it lists for $3,500) ... from The Elemental Garden on 1st Dibs.

A work in progress ...

With such high ceilings, I feel I should make the space more intimate by adding something to the walls (even though I am loving this blank canvas right now). I have a couple of items that may work ...

This garden plaque is simple but elegant.
I might put it above the cafe table.

An ornate iron scrollwork piece matches
the colors of the ceiling fan and would
fit well above the paired seating.

Bodiam Garden Urn in Stone Finish
from the The Well Appointed House

At 22 inches high, this urn could be cool as a cocktail table. I would fill it with moss (we have plenty of that around here) and then cover the top with a piece of round glass just slightly larger than the opening. I think I saw something similar at a design show house but it was filled with shells.

Photo courtesy of vintagesteph

This white vintage birdcage from the curated collection of vintage finds available through vintagesteph would be sweet in the corner with a shade loving plant nestled inside. See more cool items like this at

And just so you can appreciate how far this space has come, here is the before photo taken in early spring of this year (this is actually an improvement from when we first moved in and it was full of dirt, weeds and a rickety door into the garage).

Before ...

After ...

View before ...

View after ...

I created a focal point by adding a plant stand plus vintage gate in front of the grapevine arbor. In a former life, the gate was used to secure the eighteen sheep that used to graze this property in their pen. Now it is hard at work holding back the raspberry cane and other weed-like growth!

Chair before ...

Chair after ...

A client of mine gave me this set of four chairs along with the cafe table. In an afternoon, I recovered the ripped vinyl seat cushions with new foam and outdoor fabric in a verdant green striated pattern. Now I use two of them in the space as end tables or spare seating. I could have spray painted the wire frame, but decided a little vintage patina would be a nice contrast to the new fabric.

Design inspired by nature ...

a perennial favorite.

Southern Living at Home Coffee Mug in Provence

A special thank you to my husband who spent a couple of weekends building and painting this room, and to my dad who cleared brush and laid the stone “floor” so that I could enjoy my morning coffee al fresco!

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