Saturday, March 30, 2013

On my calendar ...

Sweet swag from Designer Bath.

March has been a whirlwind ... we have had so many after-hours social events at work that it has been difficult to keep up with posting regularly on my own blog after sharing everything via Designer Bath. If you would like to see photos from the recent ASID Gala at the Mandarin, or if you are curious about the last Passport to Design seminar at Landry and Acari, then please visit the Designer Bath facebook page and design blog to check out my photo recaps. Boston Home Magazine will be announcing the winner of the $20,000 Passport to Design Sweepstakes next week so stay tuned!  

Passport to Design seminar at Landry and Arcari, March 14th
with Lynda Onthank, Katherine Hawkins, and Barbara Bradlee
photo credit: Barbara Lynch Photography

Designer Eric Haydel at the Frette showroom pre-ASID Awards Gala
at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Boston, March 21st

Candice Wu fashion show sponsored by Boston Magazine
at the Peabody Essex Museum, March 27th // via Instagram

I may be working a lot of nights lately, but it certainly has been fun (hello signature cocktails, passed hors d’ouevres, and swag bags filled with design goodies!) I’d love to see YOU at our next event at Landry and Arcari in Salem MA on this Thursday night, April 4th, from 6pm to 8pm. Sponsored by Northshore Magazine, this will be another really fun event! 

Join me at the “Love Your Home Design Challenge Event”

Three lucky readers will receive virtual home makeovers and have their previously submitted design challenges solved by local experts. The winners will be unveiled that night. ALL of our guests will have the chance to enter to win a Mini Home Makeover raffle prize valued at $2,500 donated by Sue Adams Interiors, Designer Bath, Howell Custom Building Group, Landry and Arcari Oriental Rugs and Carpeting and Lucia Lighting and Design. All proceeds from raffle ticket sales will be donated to Merrimack Valley Habitat for Humanity. And if you are a twitter fan, you could win an additional prize that night just by tweeting during the event. To register to attend, click here. Dress code? Why spring colors, of course!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

First day of spring ...

A snow garden by Heimlichs Nursery at the
2013 Boston Flower and Garden Show.

Who else is in denial that winter is not leaving New England without a fight? I think we are all getting a bit tired of posting pretty pictures of snow covered landscapes. Lets just pretend that spring will actually start on March 20th as scheduled ...  

It felt like spring last week at the Lynnfield Library during the annual Art in Bloom exhibit. As a member of the Village Home and Garden Club, I was asked to interpret a work of art with fresh flowers. My particular inspiration piece was a vibrant cut paper collage titled “Nicaraguan Volcano by Lynnfield high school student Alisha Fodera. I loved her mix of colors: lemon yellow, ocean blue, and emerald green.

The arrangements that I created for the show appeared (by complete chance) to be both submerged and rising out of the library provided cube-stacked pedestal that I draped with a delicate light blue wrap. Yellow tulips and green Bells of Ireland burst boldly from cylinder shaped glass vessels. The centerpiece of the arrangement was a plant form called “kokedama.” We were taught how to make these at our last club meeting. 

Plant root systems are wrapped in a clay-based bonsai soil (akadama) then wrapped in moss and bound with twine to create a living container. Typically the moss ball is more rounded, but mine ended up looking more like a triangle, which actually made it an ideal stand-in for the image of the volcano. Thank you, Laura Thomson, for introducing us to this unusual technique which we were told is all over Pinterest these days.

On Sunday I attended the Boston Flower and Garden Show and saw kokedamas on display. They were nice and round (although they looked a bit dry – they are watered by either submerging the ball in a dish of water or misting them daily) and inside of each of these was a paperwhite bulb. Kind of a cool idea to create a surprise garden starting with bulbs as opposed to a grown plant like we did (mine is home to traditional ivy).

paperwhite bulbs at the Boston Flower and Garden Show

boxwood, daffodils, Jacob’s ladder, ferns, azaleas

There were lots of bulb and woodland gardens at the flower show. These first-up favorites say spring to me. 

I will be borrowing this idea for my backyard this summer for sure! Vertical containers made out of aluminum air ducts hold twig gardens and sphagnum moss. Finally a way to make my husbands HVAC supplies look fabulous! Love it!  

large leaf hostas, curly willow, fern, vinca // Crystal Brinson

Gardens are more than just plants ... stepping stones and rocks add interest to a predominantly green shade garden at the show.

forsythia, gerbera daisy, Italian ryegrass, birch, ivy, billy balls 

The show had plenty of garden club variety arrangements, too. This was one of my favorite constructions titled “For the Love of the Game – Tennis” by Andrea Graveline of the Hopkington Garden Club. It won a blue and red ribbon for creativity and design. Playful!

This birthday party theme table top arrangement was designed by members of the Wareham Garden Club. I could appreciate their explanation: “Life for a six-year old boy can be a piece of cake, but often looks like a circus!” Yeah, I can attest to that.

Serenity! If you have trouble growing gardens, why not try starting a collection of moss covered rocks? They are basicaly maintenance-free and verdantly gorgeous, too. And you won’t find a quicker growing plant to go with them then bamboo. This minimal landscape, artfully arranged, makes gardening look like a simple task.

Japanese garden by members of the Newport Flower Show

If you don’t have a lot of room or time, you could start your garden out really small like this Japanese rock garden which was just a few feet across. Sweet. I think I will make one of these in my patio area. I have plenty of moss, ferns, and pea stone. I love a cost-free plan that isn’t labor-intensive.

design by Hiroko Matsuyama and Keiko Thayer // Ohara School

I am totally into vertical gardens lately. White mitsumata branches are striking in this Ikebana display (Japanese art of flower arranging) when combined with camellia leaves, yellow oncidium orchids and dripping amaranthus caudatus ‘Rosary.’ Thankfully names of plants and materials used are posted beside each arrangement! 

More vertical fabulousness. Electrical pipe curls and grows out of a white rocked stream surrounded by dwarf mugo pine and spritely English daisies. This flowing sculpture garden is titled “Beneath and is inspired by the forms and textures found on the ocean floor. Delightful!

This year I vow to give my garden the attention it deserves. I have been completely inspired! How about you?

Friday, March 8, 2013

Winter’s last breath ...

The snapshot above was taken last Sunday. I was so excited to see these crocuses making their way out of their frozen slumber! Today we are buried under a foot of the white stuff again. 

While a monochromatic canvas exists outside my window, my thoughts drift to colorful bouquets and flower shows ... 

Spring on my mind ...

On Monday night, the annual Art in Bloom exhibit at the Lynnfield Library will be opening. I am hoping to find some pretty spring-like blossoms this weekend to use in my floral interpretation of a local high school student’s artwork. Last year was the first time our garden club opened up the show to student artists. The collaboration was really inspiring and brought a youthful energy to the exhibit. 
This year we have even more students participating. I promise to share some favorite photos after the event.

“Pastorale” by Beth Aaronson // floral arrangement by Bootie Stevens
View Art in Bloom 2012 here

If you are in town, stop by the library between 7:30 – 9 pm to join us for the opening night reception with the artists and members of the Village Home and Garden Club. Refreshments will be served and there will be some raffle prizes. Last year someone took home a gorgeous tree from Northeast Nursery to plant in their yard. Art in Bloom is open to the public through Friday, March 15th.

The ultimate interior landscape ...

I just realized that the Boston Flower and Garden Show opens next week and runs Wednesday through Sunday at the Seaport World Trade Center. I hope I can make it over there before it ends. Like many of my New England neighbors, I am in serious need of brightly-hued flowers, warm sunshine, and the smell of fragrant blossoms to beckon me back outdoors.

Boston Flower and Garden Show 2011

Fabulous florals in silk and wool ...

The final seminar in the Boston Home Magazine Passport to Design series was rescheduled to Thursday, March 14th (canceled from its original night on the 7th because of you guessed it, another snowstorm). I will be at the Landry and Arcari showroom in Salem, MA from 6 to 8pm with my peeps from Designer Bath and the rest of the Passport to Design team members. Registered guests will learn how to select fine carpets to decorate their homes. If you would like to attend, please email to get your name on the list. This will be the final opportunity to enter to win the $20,000 Home Makeover Sweepstakes, which could easily outfit any home with a fresh new look for spring.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

New York Look Book

For my last Brizo post, I want to share some visual bits from the Eventi Hotel and the city outside its doors. We spent a lot of time in the conference room above, although it was arranged for meetings at the time. The color palette in this suite was punctuated with creamy white, mixed with cinnamon papaya, pomegranate red, and watery blue. 

A multiple panel image of a young couple swimming fully dressed underwater forms an intriguing art installation outside of the restrooms.

Medallions were repeated throughout the hotel. From wallpaper patterns to ornate mirrors to decorative embellishments on the boutique-like furnishings. 

The guest rooms featured simple line art drawings, luxurious robes trimmed with zebra prints, textured wallcoverings, and fabrics etched with NY cityscapes. 

Outside my window, a roof top garden is blanketed with fresh snow. The streets are quiet on this mid-winter morning.

In the hotel lobby, a mystery closet beckons with its brightly colored jungle wall paper. Yes, a few of us did explore inside.

Filigreed shutters mimic the dappled leaves in the ceiling art. 

A cyclist prepares to ride.

On this Saturday morning after the previous day’s fashion marathon, a few of us met in the lobby – in our comfortable clothes – to brave the elements and head outside the building to grab some breakfast. What I thought was going to be a short walk ended up being 16 blocks, but it was actually nice to get some fresh air and travel the city on foot with camera in hand.

Our enthusiastic tour guide, Judd Lord of Brizo, brought Donna and I to a small coffeehouse, The Grey Dog, favored for its casual ambience and delicious servings. We probably talked more than we ate, but the food was definitely worth the trek through city slush to discover this hidden gem.  

Industrial chic decor, the perfect setting for design enthusiasts!

After breakfast window shopping.

The souvenir I wanted to take home.

The rest of the afternoon was spent packing for my Sunday departure, and checking on the family back home, but I was happy to meet up with the last remaining Brizo bloggers for dinner and drinks early that evening.

Marilyn and I enjoying dinner AND a movie ...

Movies play on a super sized flat screen on the adjacent building.

Laura Brooks of Brizo stopping by for a final farewell.

After dinner we took over the Eventi lounge, which is a cozy mix of modern decor and retro chic. Barbara was the first to join us, then Donna stopped by for a bit. We may have gotten a little carried away on Instagram that evening, but we shared a lot of laughs and an equal amount of Prosecco with Saint Germaine (our signature cocktail!)

The golden ram was declared our Brizo-adventure mascot!

Or was the waiter our official mascot?

{Our last day}

The next morning we enjoyed one last meal as the final four!

After breakfast, it was just Barbara and I until our flight to Boston was scheduled to leave in the early afternoon. We spent our free time on a self-guided tour of the hotel to record favorite details and stunning views.

A super-sexy green velvet tufted bench on the top floor.

A unique way to reflect light in a long hallway.

A second ram.

Leaving our beloved mascot behind!

Our trusty driver delivered us to the airport where we were informed at check-in that the only seats available together were in first-class and would we be willing to upgrade for $50 each? Seriously? Barbara and I looked at each other and practically burst out laughing! Good thing we decided to splurge (we thought about it for about a milli-second before jumping at the chance) because my luggage ended up being beyond the weight limit by 3 pounds and I would have had to pay over $100 to check my bag had we flown coach! What a delightful ending to our Brizo-in-New York getaway : )

It was so much more fun flying home with a friend!

The view from my window seat to show my boys.

Landing in Boston right on schedule ...

What I missed while I was gone!

While this marks the end of our trip, it’s just the beginning of our new friendships as Brizo #Blogger19 Alum! It was so nice to connect in person with other design professionals from across the country, to share our stories about work and life, while learning about the Brizo brand, and having a LOT of fun! Thanks again, Brizo, for the extremely generous invitation and for being the Best Host Ever!