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Unique Treasures & Fabulous Finds

10 Tips for a Beautiful Yard

Need to add variety to your garden or add color year-round? We’ve got you covered. Try some or all of these ideas to spruce up your yard.

Photo: Ralph Anderson

1. Greet Guests with Flowers

Flowers always make a home seem more welcoming. Adorn your entrance with assorted annuals and perrenials to keep color year long. Petunia, Snapdragon, Lily-of-the-Nile, and ‘Gertrude Jekyl’ roses are great additions.

If you have a small space beetween your house and the street, try putting a low fence in front. It gives the illusion that your house is farther from the street than it really is, and it also makes for a great space for planting flowers and vines.

Photo: Ralph Anderson

2. Plant Rambling Vines

Clematis is one of the showiest vines we have. It offers blossoms of blue, purple, red, pink, or white. Grow them on a fence, on a trellis, or in a container. Or let them scramble over shrubs and perennials.

Clematis Planting Guide
When to Plant: Fall and spring are good times, because the weather is cool.
How to Grow: Plant clematis in fertile, loose, well-drained soil with lots of organic matter. It likes cool roots, so plant where the leaves get sun but roots are shaded.
How to Fertilize: Feed monthly in spring and summer with an organic fertilizer labeled for roses or tomatoes.
When to Prune: Some types bloom on new growth and some on old growth. When you buy, ask at the nursery what type you have and when you should prune.
Where to Buy: Local garden centers have lots of choices in spring.

Photo: Ralph Anderson

3. Dress Up Your Driveway

By carefully sculpting the landscape and choosing the right plants and materials, you can hide your unattractive driveway. Start by creating a slightly raised island of lawn in the center of the drive. Then, add a low boxwood hedge toward the back of the island with roses, annuals, and perennials rising above the hedge in the front. Blend a variety of colors, textures, and heights for a great look. Try ‘Crystal Fairy’ rose for height, lamb’s ears for texture, and ‘Butterfly Deep Rose’ pentas for color.

Photo: Van Chaplin

4. Plant No-Fuss Lilies

Crinums laugh at drought, don’t need fertilizer, and welcome hot, humid summers with lily-like flowers that perfume the air. Growing into huge bulbs over time, they’re practically indestructible.

Crinum Planting Guide
Why You’ll Love Them: Fragrant, trumpet-shaped flowers in many colors appear in spring, summer, or fall.
How to Grow: Most prefer at least five hours of sun a day. They’re not picky about soil.
Where to Grow: Most do best in the Lower, Coastal, and Tropical South (zones 8-10). Some, such as Crinum x powellii ‘Alba’ and ‘Ellen Bosanquet,’ are hardy farther north.

Photo: Ralph Anderson

5. Deer-Proof Your Garden

To keep your flowers from being gobbled up by deer, choose flowers that people find glorious and deer find disgusting. Choose perennials like butterfly weed, globe thistle, ‘royal red’ butterfly bush, or purple cornflower. Find these at garden centers, and plant them in well-drained soil.

Photo: Van Chaplin

6. Add Height with Planters and Baskets

Add dimension to your yard with elevated planters and hanging baskets. It creates a sea of beautiful color. Plants love the good drainage and aeration that raised planters provide.

Basket Planting Guide
Each basket should contain three types of plants-a “spiller” (something that hangs down over the edges) like begonias and variegated sage, a “filler” (something that mounds and fills in) like Kong coleus, and a “thriller” (something that is tall and eye-catching for the center) like purple cordyline.

Photo: Van Chaplin

7. Grow Blooming Shrubs

Chinese snowball is one of spring’s showiest shrubs. White flower clusters 6 to 8 inches across festoon its branches in late spring. The plant gets big—12 to 20 feet tall and wide. Though it looks like a hydrangea, it’s actually a viburnum.

Chinese Snowball Planting Guide
Where to Plant: Find a prominent spot where it will have room to grow.
How to Grow: Give it full to partial sun and fertile, well-drained soil. Prune, if necessary, just after it finishes flowering in spring.
Where to Buy: It’s available at home-and-garden centers.

Photo: Van Chaplin

8. Hide Outdoor Structures

Sheds, garages, and outdoor workspaces are not always the most attractive in your yard. Use these spaces as a setting for a beautiful display of plants and flowers. Try adding brackets and a wooden plank to create a shelf on the exterior of the structure above the entrance or windows. Then, set lightweight fiberglass planters filled with flowers atop it to hide the structure. Potted ferns are great additions for the base of the structure.

Photo: Ralph Anderson

9. Plan a Garden Surprise

Create a garden paradise in your yard with intersecting trails, meandering streams, inspiring vistas, and hidden rooms. Design small hideaways where people can gather for drinks and try mixing formal with informal for stimulating visual tension. You can also get creative and save the biggest garden surprise for the farthest spot in your yard instead of putting it directly next to the house.

Photo: Ralph Anderson

10. Enjoy Color Year-Round

A great thing about gardening in the South is that we get treated to colorful flowers, leaves, or berries in every season. Look for these each season:

Seasonal Flower Guide
Spring: azalea, daffodil, forsythia mandevilla, dogwood, wisteria, bearded iris (pictured), peony
Summer: hydrangea, daylily, gardenia, crinum, lantana, crepe myrtle, impatiens, zinnia
Fall: pansy, aster, sugar maple, beautyberry, ginger lily sasanqua camellia, holly, autumn crocus, mum
Winter: winterberry, Colorado blue spruce, amaryllis, Lenten rose, rosemary, saucer magnolia, flowering quince, crocus


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5 Fashion Trends for Spring 2013

So for those facing the change from winter to spring, it’s worth baring in mind which trends will remain in fashion for spring 2013.

1. Capes

The cape is such a perfect winter layering staple that it can be hard to imagine wearing one in spring. But capes can not only work, they can be a pleasant and unexpected surprise in the warmer months. Burberry Prorsum’s runway was the perfect example of that: capes in Duchess Satin in seasonal colours proved that the cape was here to stay, and more desirable than ever.

capes for all seasons
Salvatore Ferragamo F/W ’12, Burberry Prorsum S/S ’13

2. Oriental-inspired clothing

You known when Miuccia Prada jumps onto something, it’s here to stay… for a while at least. Prada’s Japanese-inspired runway of modern Geisha girls brought the oriental fashion fascination into the coming warmer months. And it wasn’t just Prada – the likes of Etro, Issa and Behnaz Sarafpour bought Asian influences of their own. So those kimonos and oriental-print silks you got for fall, are more than welcome to stick around.

asian inspired fashion
Dries Van Noten F/W ’12, Prada S/S ’13

3. Leather skirts

Leather is just for winter – said no-one ever who actually knew what they were talking about. Leather works across the seasons and those leather skirts we loved so much for the colder months aren’t precluded from working in spring and even summer. Lighter weight leathers and in lighter hues will of course be ideal, but don’t forget that you can always head out at night – once the sun has gone down – in your black pleated leather skirt even in spring.

leather skirts
Akris F/W ’12, Rag & Bone S/S ’13

4. Playful retro pieces

If you’ve found yourself indulging in some playfully retro pieces – like 1950s style costume jewellery, pencil skirts, vintage-style hats and anything that takes its cues from the bold, bright side of 1960s fashion, fear not: there’s no reason you can’t keep playing dress-ups with it. Spring brings ample opportunity to show off legs in micro-mini mod dresses, or to cinch waists and layer on the attitude like a retro bombshell babe.

playful retro
DSquared2 F/W ’12, Moschino S/S ’13

5. Metallics

The spring 2013 runways shone with metallic hues: bronze, gold, silver, leather, silk, lurex… If it was metallic, odds are you could spot it on some runway or another. You’ll also find that, come spring / summer 2013, metallics will be on many a shop shelf. Keeping any metallics you’ve invested in through 2012 is not only a good idea, it’s a must.

metallic to keep
Paco Rabanne F/W ’12, Emporio Armani S/S ’13


Written By: Tania Braukämper Publish Date: February 1, 2013 Publish Site:–clothes-to-keep-across-seasons-37644.html

Graphic Design: Decorating With Geometrics

Whether you passed geometry class or not, decorating with geometric shapes is an easy A. Here’s how interior designers do it, and how you can incorporate them into your home.

Geometry 101

Not all geometrics are created equal, and designers have found that some are easier to incorporate into your decor, as well as more transitional over time. Their go-to prints include, hexagons, diamonds, stripes and the Greek key pattern. Photo courtesy of Mary McGee.


Start Small

Little flourishes go a long way when it comes to geometric shapes. Use bold prints in small doses, such as throw pillows for your sofa, a geometric carpet, which also hides wear and tear, or on the cushion of a side chair. But if you do one, don’t do the other, says Los Angeles designer Mary McGee, who kept this all-white living room refined and calm, while adding visual interest in the form of zebra- and lattice-print pillows.

Keep Your Balance

A common trick of the trade is to juxtapose modern shapes with more classic ones — which is what Dallas-based designer Elaine Williamson did when she chose these mod, Jonathan Adler fixtures to counterbalance the elegant sophistication of a bathroom’s carrera marble countertops. The mirror works as a mix between the two styles — mod with sophisticated lines.

Color Coordinate

Designers agree that color is critical when incorporating geometric prints into your decor. Their best advice: choose one that weaves through all of the patterns in a room. “The reason that these geometrics work well together is due in part to the fact that they’re kept in the same subtle color family, so as not to compete with one another,” designer Julie Massucco says of the rug and woodworking her firm Massucco Warner Miller chose for this master dressing room. Design by Melissa Warner.

Show Your Soft Side

“To ensure your patterns don’t become too harsh or rigid, remember to add patterns with curves, such as concentric circles or waves, to patterns that are more structured, such as chevrons,” Elaine Williamson says. She does it in this small living room by using a curvy zebra rug and circle-like honeycomb pillow to offset the sharp diamond pattern on the wall.

Size Things Up

“Scale is the most important part to keep in mind when introducing a geometric, or really any pattern, into a room,” says New York designer Elizabeth Bauer. If you pair, say, a large pillow pattern with a small one, the larger pattern will certainly overshadow the small. An easy rule of thumb: pair geometric shapes with the next largest or smallest pattern, like Bauer does here, matching the large stripes in a vintage print with slightly smaller ones in a pair of chevron stools.

Stay Neutral

This tiny powder room, designed by San Francisco-based Niche Interiors, is a study in bold design. Principle designer Jennifer Jones used a slightly metallic ogee trellis wallpaper to give the space an element of surprise. When working with this much pattern, however, you’ll want the palette and other elements to remain neutral. “It works because we kept the rest of the bathroom neutral — white moldings, wood floor and a mirror to tie it all together,” she says.

Ground Your Graphics

Bold prints may win your attention when you enter a room, but your eyes inevitably need a place to rest. Create a few spots in between using solid color. They’ll help ground the geometric patterns and keep it from feeling overly busy, like in this tiled kid’s room created by Miami designer Deborah Wecselman.

Advanced Geometry

Ready to take your geometric game to another level? Layer it on with other patterns, says Chicago designer Summer Thornton. “I’m a huge fan of layering patterns, but it does take some practice,” she says. Blending and layering adds depth, as in the case of this floral window treatment and graphic pillow combo Thornton used in her own home. Plus, it’s much softer and easier on the eyes than two geometric patterns paired together, she says. Thornton’s trick for making sure two patterns are complementary, “Imagine the pattern in black and white. How much contrast would the pattern have? Is it entirely mid-range or lots of very deep saturated colors contrasted against bright white? When layering, look for some of each.”


Written By: Jessica Cumberbatch Anderson Publish Site:

Spring At Home Trends & Inspiration

eclectic dining room by Dufner Heighes Inc
By Dufner Heighes Inc
1. This first trend is something we’ve seen for the past two seasons: An Emphasis on Pattern and Print.

Sarah's House's Photos - Sarah's House: Season 3 | Facebook

I included this image in an ideabook I wrote last week on, well, pattern and print, and everyone seems to agree that it’s just a fantastic space.
eclectic  by SGH Designs inc.
By SGH Designs Inc.
2. Eclectic Chic. This is a broad design category and a favorite of mine because it’s so flexible – it’s not that tough to be eclectic (though it is tough to edit yourself so “eclectic” doesn’t turn into “hoarder.”)
eclectic kids by Ish and Chi
By Ish and Chi
3. Bold Color. Last week’s spring collections were full of exuberant color, which makes the slideshows very pretty to look at on dreary, rainy days like today.

color combos - orange
And bold color at home is so much fun. Bright walls make it easier to get out of bed in the morning.

White Kitchen

4. Minimal White. Yes, it’s the opposite of bold color, but there are no rules that two opposites can’t be trendy at the same time, right? Regardless, I do love white kitchens.

5. Pajama Dressing. This was the most interesting trend, in my opinion: clothes that are all about comfort and fluid motion. These outfits are often made of neutral silks and hang beautifully – reminding me of draps in the wind.


traditional bedroom by The Lettered Cottage
By The Lettered Cottage
“Pajama dressing” is about sheer fabrics, too, and calm colors like this blue.

6. Seventies. Some of last week’s shows had a definite retro vibe – just like this room, with it’s wallpaper and vintage Raggedy Ann doll.
modern dining room by Amy Lau Design

By Amy Lau Design
Isn’t the whole concept of a wet bar totally seventies too? In a good way, of course!

Written By: Kit Pollard Publish Site:—At-Home

Decorative Solutions Using Artwork

In many interiors artwork is brought in as the finishing touch. It’s one of the elements that can instantly warm up a space and make it feel like home. Art can expand a space both visually and emotionally, give us a window to the world, add color, create a theme, and infuse welcome doses of personality and interest in a room.

However, there are some spaces that pose special decorating challenges. Spaces that feel too large, rooms that seem small or narrow, or furnishings that are devoid of character are just some of the opportunities where creative art placement can help minimize problems and provide pleasing solutions.

Here are some suggested design solutions for several common decorating dilemmas.


Challenge: Solution:
Expand a small room…
Title: Dunes, Artist: Lois Gold -- Images courtesy of
One way to expand a small room is to hang a large landscape print with a faraway horizon. This will create the illusion of more space.
Broaden a narrow room…
Title: Two Jimson Weeds, Artist: Georgia O'Keeffe -- Images courtesy of
Paint one wall a darker, richer color. Hang an exciting print on that wall, then hang a custom framed mirror on the opposite wall. The reflected art will make the room appear wider. On the ArtSelect website you can preview your pictures on your choice of wall colors.
Heighten a low ceiling
Title: Antibes, Artist: Claude Monet -- Images courtesy of
In a room with a low ceiling try using a darker floorcovering. Then choose a light color to use on both the ceiling and walls to draw the eye upward. Hang prints with strong vertical lines to heighten the ceilings. Using portrait format (taller than wider) will add to the sense of height.
Warm up a stark space…
Title: Friendship, Artist: Deborah K. Mayo -- Images courtesy of
Warm up a stark space by using Country-inspired prints. Mix the prints with antiques, quilts and country accessories for a cozier feeling.


Whatever decorating challenges you may have, consider the solutions that artwork can bring to the space. Then can provide another “window”, a flash of color, and a hint of another time and place.

Remember, however, in addition to any problem-solving value a print might provide, it should be something you enjoy looking at, something that makes you happy whenever you see it.

Where could you use some art today?

Challenge: Solution:
Fresh air for a cramped room
Title: Fisherman's Cottage on the Cliffs at Vaengeville, Artist: Claude Monet -- Images courtesy of
Do you have a room that is small, dark, and cramped? Introduce a breath of fresh air with some beautiful prints to bring the outdoors in and brighten space with bursts of color.
Lengthen a room…
Title: Iris Field and Two Cottages, Artist: Timothy Easton -- Images courtesy of
Hang prints with strong horizontal lines to create the illusion of increased length in your room. For best results use the landscape style format and prints with light expansive colors (several prints in a row compound the effect.) Panoramic vistas work very well for this situation.
Room without windows
Title: Afternoon Sun, Artist: Jose Salvador -- Images courtesy of
Use prints to open up a space in rooms with few or no windows. Landscapes, windows and doorways lead the eye outward to create the illusion of added space and light.
Bring a large room down to size…
Title: Les Carrelets, Artist: Andre Bourrie -- Images courtesy of
To scale down a large room, hang a series of small prints together on a large otherwise blank wall. Hanging a collection of prints together can create an optical illusion of diminished space.

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