for the love of ligustrum

Spring has officially sprung around here and I couldn't be happier!  As the last of the pollen clears out, I've been spending countless nap times pulling weeds and picking up the five million pinecones all over my yard in preparation for opening the pool for summer.  It takes me a while because I stop to admire my insane (in a good way) landscaping and the most amazing, versatile, GORGEOUS evergreen shrubs we planted four years ago that seem like they have doubled in size every year and make my relatively new yard seem like it's been here forever!  I thought I'd share my little plant secret in case some of you have the itch to revamp your landscaping or need to build a privacy hedge...if you're like me and like instant gratification for all your hard work in the yard, you won't be disappointed!!

When we built our house, we asked the builder to dig beds all around the perimeter but to leave them empty so that we could landscape ourselves. I knew I could save a lot of dough on both the greenery and the labor and end up with what I really wanted, but I also wanted to take my time figuring out what would be the perfect match for every space around the house.  It turns out the answer was ligustrum, an incredibly versatile evergreen shrub that is more like a wonder plant!  Part of the privet family, it thrives in full sun and does extremely well in part shade, too; it grows up to 12 feet tall, makes a great privacy hedge or a backdrop for smaller plants or a perennial garden; it boasts small white blooms in spring with an amazing scent that attracts butterflies and hummingbirds, is easy to find and is so affordably priced!  The more you prune it back, the more it fills out, making it the perfect plant for filling in spots in your landscaping. 

I wish I could find a picture of when I first planted these four years ago just to show you how tiny they were and how much they've grown in such a short time!  I prune these under my deck every so often so that I can still see the pool from my kitchen and doing so makes them even more bushy and full!

A closeup of the waxy green leaves.  I love to plant lime green or purple sweet potato vine as an accent around them for a pop of color:

The vine growing up my deck steps is Carolina Jasmine.  It, too, gets more and more full the more you prune it back (it has a tendency to sprout two foot pieces literally overnight in the summer) and in Spring it has the prettiest yellow blooms that smell AMAZING:

Happy Monday and happy planting!!


captain overton house

Steven Gambrel's latest masterpiece is - surprise, surprise! - nothing short of absolutely spectacular.  I've been anxiously awaiting a full reveal of the competely renovated sea captain's cottage in Sag Harbor since I first caught a sneak peek on the design genius' Instagram feed (if you haven't seen it, I seriously urge you to take a look-see here).  I'm beyond THRILLED to have discovered over the weekend that not only is a full reveal of the property now online, but the dream house is now available for a cool $10 million, if you're in the market for a quaint Hamptons cottage (!?)

Every detail is breathtaking, from Gambrel's signature pale blue and gray, tone-on-tone color palette and subtle nautical details to the fabulous mix of art, modern furnishings, antique finds and stunning lighting (the oversize bell jar pendant in the dining room is divine!).  I love, love, LOVE how all the trim throughout is a few shades darker than the walls and the kitchen is enough to make this fan of all-white kitchens run out for a can of paint and go from white to gray!  There's so much to love in every inch of this home....

Here are a few of my picks for getting a similar look and feel (for those of us without 24k gold piggy banks!):

Topiary / Bell jar pendant / Clam shell / Sailboat painting / Basket / Round brass mirror /

Happy Hump Day!


spring/summer porch refresh

Ah, Spring in the south -  the weather is warmer, the days are longer and everything is coated in icky yellow powder.  Every year around this time I get the itch to freshen up my front porch for the warmer months - nothing crazy, just a few minor changes that I think will make an impact from the curb while simultaneously satisfying my need to constantly change things up! This is a snap of my front porch from a couple years ago - I usually have HUGE ferns flanking the front door but after a super dry summer that particular year, palms were the only thing I could keep alive.  The biggest thing now is that my shutters are in need of a fresh coat of paint so I've decided to take the opportunity to swathe them, as well as my front door, in a glossy coat of navy blue that is so dark it's almost black!

I think it'll be a lovely compliment to the gray and white on the rest of the house and will be a beautiful backdrop for some new door hardware and my oversize ferns that flank my door every year.  Here are a few other lovelies that are on my list:

Nothing says Spring to me like fresh greenery and this myrtle wreath is a beauty! 

After six years in this house, I think it's time for some door bling...I'd had my heart set on this brass fox knocker for a while, but since the pineapple is the international symbol for hospitality, I couldn't think of a better way to greet my guests that with this chic pineapple knocker, instead!

I'm OBSESSED with Versailles planters and would love to fill a pair like these with oversize emerald ferns, to flank my front door, HOWEVER, the price tag on these beauties are WAY out of my budget.  After a little searching, I was excited to discover there are a TON of DIY's and tutorials on how to build them yourself.  They all seem relatively easy, so, we are going to build our own!  I'll be sure and post a tutorial when I do!

I bought a pair of metal garden obelisks from Target a few years ago and, while they get moved around my landscaping constantly, I love how they add a little interest to my front porch in the summer months, so I'm bringing them from the back deck for a little change.

Monogrammed navy pillows with nautical-inspired jute cording are a no brainer for my white Adirondack chairs.

Farrow and Ball's Black Blue is my pick for the front door and shutters.  In high gloss, of course.

I'm still a little obsessed with my coir lover's knot door mat; it's held up so beautifully and I love the nautical feel it brings to my front step.  It took me a while to track one like this down, but Ballard Designs has the exact same one on sale right now for $16, if you're in need!

Every year I hunt the biggest, greenest ferns I can find for either side of my front door.  Nothing adds more drama or a beautiful pop of color!

How do you like to get your porch ready for Spring?


using vacation pictures as art

I would looooooooove to escape on a little getaway right now, but unfortunately, it's just not in the cards, so, instead, I've resorted to looking at photos from vacations past and it got me to thinking that a lot of them would look amazing on a large scale and framed!  You guys know I love to decorate with personal items and what's more personal than memories from some of your favorite getaways?  I found quite a few contenders from past trips that would actually look amazing blown up (you guys don't need me to tell you how much I love oversize art, right?)  So, I thought I'd share a few of my personal favorites to inspire you to bring your camera on your next vacation, day trip or even walk around town for some creative, budget-friendly pretties for your walls!

My hubby snapped these from our first sailing trip in Newport, Rhode Island years ago with a pocket-size point-and-shoot and they look like they were professionally taken! I love the fresh pop of color and the nautical vibe!

Right now, I have one printed in an 8x10 and framed on my built-ins, but I'm itching to print it bigger!

One of my favorite things to do in Charleston is to walk King Street all the way down to the Battery and picnic underneath the huge oak trees.  It's so peaceful and pretty and there' always a bit of a breeze from the water, and at night, the trees are softly lit and look hauntingly beautiful! I've always thought an oversize shot of these beauties would make such a dramatic statement!

And how amazing does it look in black and white?

I've had this image of an oversize black and white beech in a living room by Carrier and Company saved as inspiration for a while:

I don't think you can ever go wrong with photos of the beach or the sea; the picture below was from one of our jaunts to Riviera Maya and not only does it remind me of such amazing vacations, but I love the color and calmness that it would bring to a space:

This master bedroom by designer Steven Gambrel has always been a favorite, mostly because of that gorgeous, oversize photograph of the sea over the bed.  It's like a window to the sea!

Here's another shot from a girl's trip a couple years back to Palm Beach; one of my good friend's, who was born and raised there, actually has this one blown up and framed in her house here in North Carolina as a reminder of the dreamy place from which she hails and she's ALWAYS getting compliments on it!

What are some of your favorite spots to vacation?  And what kind of photos do you think would look amazing on a large scale?


my favorite, budget-friendly curtain panels are baaaaaaack!!

Thank you all SO much for your sweet comments about our big news, here and on Instagram!!  We are all so excited, especially as we get closer to finding out what we're having!  Today, though, I wanted to take it back to all-things-decor with some other exciting news, this time for your windows!

The second most asked question I get about my house (behind my wall paint color) is where my curtain panels came from.  There's always a moment of disbelief when I tell them they are from IKEA!  Who doesn't love crisp white curtain panels that are as affordable as they are dramatic? 

The bleached Merete grommet curtain panels have always been one of my favorite, budget-friendly ways to soften a room and they look fabulous paired with bamboo Roman blinds and are long enough to puddle a little on the floor. My panels are 118 inches long, which Ikea stopped selling about six years ago, much to my absolute heartbreak, but a client recently texted me from a jaunt to the superstore to tell me that they're back! (Cut to me doing cartwheels down my driveway!)

I love custom curtain panels as much as the next design fanatic, but when you're on a budget and want a big bang for your buck, you just can't beat these.  At $40 for a pack of two panels, you'd be hard pressed to find fabric by the yard for that price! And if you don't like the grommets, you can always cut them off, hem them and add pinch pleats and rings (this is an easy job for a seamstress and is relatively inexpensive) for a more custom look. (This is actually exactly what I'm going to do for our dining room!)

I am a big believer that a room really isn't finished without some window treatments; if you're on a tight budget, you really need to check these out ASAP because who knows how long they'll be back for!  The best part is that those of us who don't live right around the corner (myself included) can have them shipped to you!  Just be sure to choose the 118" option in the drop down box:

Happy shopping and Happy Monday!