Kelly Christakos Stivers


4 showstopping summer plants I can't live without

To say that I am not the most patient person when it comes to planting in my yard is a bit of an understatement.  Don't get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE planting, weeding and keeping it looking beautiful, but I tend to rely on plants and flowers during the warmer months that become showstoppers in virtually no time.  Fortunately, here in the South, there are quite a few that provide instant gratification for me and require very little care.  Here are a few of my favorites:

Boston fern - I have always had two of these babies flanking my front door and with a little water every few days and some afternoon sun, they make a fabulous first impression.  They are so inexpensive, but make such a dramatic impact!  I picked these two up at Home Depot three summers ago...they've weathered the winters well in my garage!

Sweet potato vine - These annuals come in bright lime green or gorgeous purple and grow like a weed!  They fill in empty spots in perennial beds, spill over from planters and pots and seem to double in size overnight!  The colors are just gorgeous and are a beautiful compliment to evergreens:

Purple queen -  these succulents have taken up residence in my whiskey barrels and have basically taken over!  I love the deep, purple/gray color and, because they are succulents, they require very little watering.  The best part is that they tend to come back the next year if we have a mild winter:

Knock out roses - If there's anything better than a splash of hot pink in your perennial beds or borders, I don't know what it is.  When each rose starts to lose its leaves and die, snip the head off right at the base - three more flowers grow back in its place!

What are some of your favorites?


Irish hunt-inspired nursery

I've designed my fair share of nurseries over the last couple years and my favorites have always been those where the clients let me bring in the unexpected (remember the longhorn I mounted above the crib in this nursery?).  For me, the best baby and kid spaces are those that aren't too serious - or too baby-ish, for that matter, so when I saw the Irish hunt-inspired nursery that blogger Laurel-Dawn of Abode Love designed for her baby boy, my jaw hit the floor!  From the custom wallpaper Laurel-Dawn designed, had printed on fabric and then adhered to the walls with liquid starch to the iron canopy crib, nature-inspired artwork, blue-painted ceiling and that fabulous baker's rack for extra storage, every last detail is well thought out and absolutely adorable!  Mommy even painted a four-leaf clover print that is also available for sale through her blog.  I love that she eschewed tradition and didn't include a changing table, either.  The result is perfect for a baby boy to grow into a little boy in!

I am a firm believer that any space can benefit from a gallery wall, even a nursery and I love the mix of framed cards, paintings, a set of antlers and mirror Laurel-Dawn used in this one:

The baker's rack is an unexpected, but fabulous alternative for additional storage:

Love the dresser wall's forest green accent color, instead of wallpaper:

To see more of this nurser and for a complete source list, check out Laurel-Dawn's blog (and be prepared to drool!)


rifle paper co.

I am completely smitten by Rifle Paper Co lately, a Florida-based boutique stationery and gift brand run by husband and wife team Anna and Nathan Bond!  Specializing in handpainted illustrations and lettering, Rifle Paper Co offers the most gorgeous prints, witty cards, stationery, gift wrap, calendars, invitations and some of the most gorgeous journals, all printed in the USA on recycled paper.  This synchronized swimmers print initially caught my eye - how adorable?! - but, after a quick glance at all their goodies, I kind of want them all now!  Here are some of my favorites from their line:

Love these city prints - great gift ideas for friends, and would look amazing in a nursery to mark all the places mommy and daddy have been:

Lovely botanical-inspired linen-covered journals:

Obsessed with their Rosa wrapping paper and Peony gift tags:

Love these recipe cards and tin holder:

Beautiful calendars - the perfect gift for the perpetual gardener or traveler!

The most adorable iPhone cases:

To see more of their products, check out their website here.

Happy Shopping!


come hither

This month Ralph Lauren Home celebrates 30 years since the launch of their home collection and, in a lot of ways really, the beginning of changing the way many Americans decorated their homes.  If you've ever been in a Ralph Lauren retail store, you know it's quite an experience...sensory overload, really.  Each space is decorated with incredible attention to detail with historic-reproduction quality furniture, accessories and decor modeled after one-of-a-kind pieces and antiques found through travels abroad, all to transport you to another time and place.  Do you remember when Home Depot used to carry their paint line?  I still have every paint swatch and seasonal design folder that came out every season hoarded away in my stash!

So, in honor of their 30 year anniversary, I thought I'd share one of my all-time favorite collections, Hither Hills, which debuted back in 2007 featuring a blue and white color palette, warm wood furnishings, weathered linens, a fabulous tufted striped sofa and lots of stripes...a weathered, oceanfront retreat with an inviting, free-spirited feel.  Makes me think of an old sea capain's house with an updated, modern twist!

To see more of Ralph Lauren Home's amazing collections, check out their website here or this fabulous tumblr page dedicated to all past and present Ralph Lauren Home collections.

Happy Hump Day!


black + white + chic all over

I had high hopes of sharing before and after pics of the farmhouse table that I made and custom stained myself with you today, but the weather's been so crappy, making it impossible to get good shots.  So, I thought I'd share some goodies that have caught my eye lately, instead: gorgeous black and white goodness for your closet and your home! 

This striped maxi is super comfy and flattering; I love the key hole detailing in the back and for $30, you can't beat the price!  Perfect for everyday wear, or dress it up with a denim jacket, wedges and oversize gold hoops for an evening out!

I love a chunky gold watch, especially the black face on this beauty.

Blogger Erin Gates' new ceramic collection with Jill Rosenwald launched this week and I can't get enough - black and white stripes, gold trim AND monogrammed?  Be still my heart!

We just bought these gorgeous ebony lamps to add a little sophistication to a client's all-white guest room at her beach house and they are exquisite!

Bold black and white pillows are a beautiful compliment to any neutral sofa, chair or bed.  You can never go wrong with la Fiorentina, a beautiful floral or a simple grograin ribbon border:

These candles smell as divine as they look; once you're done burning them, use them as a vase for flowers or corral your makeup brushes on your vanity:

Obsessed with this photographic equine print - in a simple black frame, it makes such a dramatic statement:

LOVE this soft black leather foldover clutch with cobalt blue detailing and that fabulous tassel - perfect Fall accessory:

This simple, washed-linen border duvet is understated luxury at its finest:

One of my favorite design books, Celerie Kemble's Black and White is a beautiful source for black and white inspiration for your home: