Million Dollar Interview

I am a big fan of podcasts. There are several that I listen to in the car on a regular basis and one of my favorites is Million Dollar Decorating. The host James Swan always presents a really informative and entertaining show with the stars of interior design. Its a bit like a design hall of fame: Suzanne Rheinstein, Alexa Hampton, Benjamin Noriega-Ortiz and on and on the list goes.
Today I am featured in episode 140. So please tune in and listen to a lively discussion of design influences and ideas that have guided my career. Enjoy!

A Day in the Graden

One of my favorite ways to spend a summer afternoon is lunching with friends. Our friends Ian and Madeline Hooper recently invited us to a divine Saturday lunch at their house, Rockland Farm. Of course no visit is complete without a tour of the garden. So after lunch we took a walk through their Garden of Eden. The only way to describe their garden is if gardening were an Olympic sport the Hoopers would be gold medalists.

The Potager with its raised beds and seating area. 

Their ten acre farm is a breath taking example of gardening's finest pleasures. A series of gardens rooms that flow one after another that feature a 450 rock ledge with a dry garden, pastoral views of the mountains and a water garden that would make Monet envious are some of the highlights of this paradise.

This beautiful support was made from branches found on the property. 
Fortunately you don't have to wait for a lunch invitation to see these splendors. This weekend the garden will be open to public on Sunday, July 17th. This is one of three gardens in the area that will be open, for more information please visit The Garden Conservancy for details.

The pool and pergola. 

A Stylish Setting

Who wouldn't want to spend a weekend at Rosecliff Mansion, the stunning ocean front property on historic Bellevue Avenue in Newport? The house was the setting for the annual Newport Flower Show. The show which is fast becoming the grand dame of flower shows on the east coast was brimming with inspiration around every corner. From the judged arrangements to the garden installations on the front lawn of the mansion the creativity of the participants was boundless.

Our table on the terrace of Rosecliff. The Fretwork tablecloth is made in a custom blue for the show. Garden Folly seat covers on the white ballroom chairs in leaf echo the lettuce Charlotte dinner plates from my collection.
Thomas and I were very happy to have been asked to be a part of this esteemed event this year. The table we designed for the oceanside terrace was inspired by the colors of nature that engulf the property: blue and green. We really tried to achieve a modern formal setting that reflected the history of Newport society and that would offer a fresh background for the judged arrangements that were displayed on the table.
The new Thomas charger in gold paired with the Charlotte dinner plate
in lettuce and Charlotte dessert plate in Celeste Bleu.
The custom blue of the my fretwork fabric printed on white fit the bill and when paired with the blue, green and gold of my china it really looked crisp and summery. A clean, modern and traditional table perfect for today.
Bettie Pardee's summery arrangement. 
The four flower arrangements that were displayed on the table were done by the shows participates and were judged arrangements. I was very lucky that Newport style maven Bettie Pardee decided to come out of flower show arrangement retirement and do one for our table. Hers was an airy symphony of complimentary blues and greens that fit the table perfectly.
Arrangement by Jeri Bedient.
Jeri Bedient did a wonderful arrangement that used an heirloom punchbowl from her collection. I got to meet Jeri while I was there and her arrangement is as delightful as she is. She went out of her way and bought my book to have an idea of our style and her interpretation of it was pitch perfect.
Custom napkins by Julia B.
The amazing Julia B. and her line of custom linens came to the rescue and created these amazing monogramed napkins for the table. Since Thomas and couldn't decide which monogram to use we split them fifty fifty and alternated napkins on the table.
Hand painted place cards that I made to echo the Garden Folly fabric motif. Vintage place card holders from Etsy.
Why are fun place cards so hard to find? I had a deuce of a time finding cute ones. So I decided just to make my own using watercolors in a fun loose style. Presto, interesting and unique place cards. For additional images please check my Instagram or our Traditional Home Magazine Designer Takeover feed from the show, both have fun videos and a broad array of beautiful images from the show and Newport.

We are thrilled that we have been asked back to do it again next year! The shows theme is Fete des Fleurs: Paintings and Parterres and will be held again at Rosecliff and starts June 23, 2017. 

An Event of Beauty

Rosecliff, the setting for the Newport Flower Show.

One of my most memorable book signing events that I have done was two years ago at the Newport Flower Show. To have had the opportunity to spend a weekend in Newport, Rhode Island against the back drop of the stunning Rosecliff Mansion surrounded by the beauty of the show and the location was a a magical dream. Needless to say when I was asked to be a part of this years show it took about a spilt second to say yes.
Thomas and I are thrilled to be designing one of the two show exhibit tables that will be featured on the oceanside terrace of Rosecliff for the service a la Russe floral class. Using a custom color of my fretwork fabric as a tablecloth, my hand painted dinnerware of course and Julia B. custom napkins as a foundation we have set out to create a fresh summery take on formal dining. I will also be showing my new Thomas gold chargers for the first time on this table.

Sneak peek of the upcoming table setting. 
This year marks the 21st year of the show whose theme is Gilded - Artful Living. The show starts this weekend Friday June 24th to Sunday June 26th. You can follow all the fun of the show, the table, flowers, gardens and mansion on my Instagram feed. We will also be taking over Traditonal Home MagazineInstagram starting Friday night at 5 pm for the weekend during our #designertakeover.

Designer Bunny Williams
There will be numerous speakers throughout the three day speaker series which is kicked off by a luncheon lecture by designer Bunny Williams on Friday. She will be discussing garden design during her lecture Classic Style Inside and Out. Saturday's luncheon presentation is by floral designer Bruno Duarte, who will be sharing his design experiences during his lecture Leaf Manipulation/
Floral Art. The full list of the topics and times is available here for all the great things happening at the show.

One of last years inspiring display gardens at the show. 
I was fascinated by the display gardens that were installed on the lawn of Rosecliff. The originality of the plantings and colors as well as the execution is amazing. In addition to amazing floral displays, fantastic speakers and events there is an entire array of vendors with tempting wares in the Oceanside Boutiques and the Gardener's Marketplace.

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