A Visit to the Low Country

This past Monday we handed over the rancher keys to the new owners and promptly left town for Charleston. We arrived just as the azaleas and cherries were blooming. The air was warm and the mosquitos were few and far between.  I’ll take a March day in Charleston any day!

via Clickscape.com

We stayed in the historic district on Meeting Street and a short walk away from some of the prettiest houses I have seen in my travels.  The Charleston Single house was a fast favorite. The Charleston Single is similar to the Philadelphia Row House both with their long and narrow footprints, but the Charleston Single sets itself apart with double porches that run perpendicular to the street.  The street-side door or privacy door opens onto the porch or piazza with the front door to the house off this piazza.  Before the advent of cars, the piazzas mostly looked out onto green space.  Now those small lawns and gardens are sometimes driveways.  Still, just as charming.

Photograph by Brie Williams

I left my nicer camera in Pennsylvania but I was able to take a couple of pictures with my phone.

This house had everything going for it.  Beautiful brick courtyard, iron gate and gas lamps. Gorgeous!



One of the grander houses on the street.


A closer look at the Charleston Single’s outstanding feature – the piazza.



So many pretty pretty details.


Narrow brick paths


and lots of color.



I spotted this house on Church St.  I drove by twice just to make sure it was the same one. And, sure enough it was the house featured in Southern Living’s March 2014 edition and again in March 2015 (though just the door in that issue!) and it is every bit as pretty in person.  The owner is an East Coast transplant who has her own blog – Laquered Life.

via Laquered Life

The house recently went up for sale.  Here are some of the listing pictures off of Zillow and Luxury Real Estate.

You can see the privacy door off the street leads onto the porch with the front door into the house painted the same brilliant blue.

Come on in!

Original floors.  Gorgeous.  The house was built circa 1780 and is known as the Russell-Dehon Tenement.  The house was completely restored beginning in 2011 and won a Charleston preservation award in 2013.

And, the house as photographed for their feature in Southern Living.

via Laquered Life



This house would be hard to leave.  The location is wonderful as it is situated on the quieter part of Church Street.  The water is a block away and the best parts of the city are within walking distance.

I was hoping to bring more of Charleston home in the way of antiques but there just wasn’t enough time but we did stop at one local salvage and antique store on our way out of town.  Flat Stanley suffered an unfortunate fate.


This fixture was tempting but I had 10 minutes to explore 4000 square feet so had to move on quickly.


If I were a collector, I would probably collect doors.  This would be a good starting point.


We left empty-handed but I am determined to bring a bit of Charleston back home and into the garden.

I nearly put some Spanish moss into a baggie to bring home.  I read that it has been found as far north as Delaware but I would need to see that to believe it.  Spanish moss grows on Live Oaks whose branches are often covered in Resurrection Ferns.  Our Middleton Plantation carriage driver explained that Resurrection Ferns will brown and shrivel in dryer times and with the first rain restore themselves to the green, vibrant plant you see below.

via Fine Art America

No Spanish moss, but I am armed with Charleston garden, gate and courtyard pictures that will hopefully iinspire our garden transformation this spring and summer.  Stay tuned!

The Easter Table

Tomorrow we are expecting 3 to 5 inches of snow and because this is a sore sore topic, let’s focus on Easter/Spring table settings.

This tablecloth from Williams Sonoma is perfection! The blue colorway is stunning as well.  Please, someone buy it and invite me over as tragically WS does not make the size I need.

I would choose these trimmed napkins from Sferra or something similar in the pink.  A perfectly preppy table!

Creative Candles has tapers in any color your heart desires.

These candlesticks from Terrain are even prettier in person.

And, a ceramic egg from Terrain placed into its own mint julep cup with a bit of moss would be charming especially with a pink ribbon and name tag tied around each one  . . .

and placed on each plate.  This is my wedding china – Royal Copenhagen Half Lace.  The easiest and most flexible china in the world.

I have Tiffany pilsner glasses that I like to scatter about the table.  They are narrow and tall and perfect for tulips and maybe a couple of pussywillow branches.

Another of my favorite options.  Limes! Can’t you see limes with pink or white tulips for this table?


I would love this flatware from Anthropologie, but I so rarely get to use my silver that it deserves a day out on the town.

World Market has great chargers at great prices!

Stemware from Anthropologie that would be perfect, too.

And, the best part.  Candy!

Bowls, dishes and cups of jellybeans, m&m’s are always appreciated by guests.  In fact, I did centerpieces for a wedding shower once upon a time and used layers of jellybeans as filler. Much to my surprise and delight, the jellybeans were gone by the shower’s end.  Nothing went to waste!

For this table the colors should lean more towards the pinks, greens and robin egg blues, but this picture shows how using all sorts of different dishes and containers while keeping the color scheme consistent, makes for a stunning display.

I could add and add until the table collapsed but I think that’s a pretty full and festive table.  The best part of table setting is that if you have a designated table it can be done days in advance. I prefer this as then you get to enjoy it for longer.

Happy Table setting!


Kitchen Cabinets

The cabinets in a kitchen will be the lion’s share of the budget.  I think we are all worried about getting this part right as those cabinets are there to stay for a very very long time.  That is, unless you are my old neighbor who is on her third kitchen!  Most of us do not want to think about renovating another kitchen for a very very long time after suffering through months of washing dishes in the bathroom sink and living off micowaveable or toaster-ovenable (my word) food.

Like everything involving the house and home, there are no less than 1 billion options involving cabinetry.  Fortunately those billion options can be broken into 3 main categories.

Stock cabinets:  The Most Economical Option

There are so many options in this category these days.  In-stock cabinets are great for the do-it-yourselfers as they usually come assembled or at least pre-assembled if you are looking to do the install yourself.  There are some great options to customize and some of the better manufacturers will offer well-built products equal to the strength and durability of solid wood. Most stock cabinets are particleboard or MDF, but combining the engineered wood with real wood doors is a great look and a huge money-saving option. Laminates are often offered for the sleeker, more modern look and are another economical choice.  Stock cabinets typically run in 3-inch increments with the narrowest at 9 inches and the widest at 48 inches.  The upper cabinets are typically 12 inches deep and the base cabinets 24 inches deep. They are always 36 inches tall, which is the industry standard and something to keep in mind should you need taller cabinets.  Fitting stock cabinets can take a little bit of creativity, good spatial reasoning and a carpenter or homeowner with an eye for where to fill and trim.  You are usually looking at costs between $75 to $400 a linear foot or $500 to $1500 per cabinet box.  Professional installation will of course add to that cost.

Remodelista – IKEA Cabinets


Pinterest – Ikea Lindingo Cabinetry

Martha Stewart has a line of stock cabinetry at Home Depot offering some of the more interesting and decorative elements that Ikea does not.

Here is a kitchen using Martha’s line.  Notice the corbels on the island.  And, if you need glass cabinets, she offers some really pretty options – though I can’t find a single good picture of that glass!



Martha Stewart for Home Depot
Another Martha Stewart for Home Depot

Semi-Custom Cabinetry:  Best of Both Worlds?

The pricing goes up with this option to about $150 to $900 a linear foot.  Many of the higher-end custom cabinetmakers offer a lower, semi-custom line which is great if you have a tough spot and need the odd custom cabinet.  Different from stock cabinets, there is a much broader range of customizable features and finishes.  And, sizing goes up in 1″ increments with much more flexibility in length and width. The cabinets are not constructed until you place your order so wait times are usually between 12 and 14 weeks.

brookhaven kitchen cabinets
Brookhaven by Wood-Mode Kitchen Cabinets


Omega Cabinets from Dynasty Cabinetry


Shiloh Cabinets


Custom Cabinetry:  The Bespoke Option

Custom cabinets are whatever you choose in any wood, any finish, any size, any configuration! Usually they are built on site but not always.  A local cabinetmaker can take up to 8-10 weeks to complete these completely personalized cabinets.  The price reflects this as custom cabinets can range in price from $500 to $1400 a linear foot.

Smallbone Kitchens UK


Wood-Mode Cabinets
Plain & Fancy Cabinetry

Next we’ll delve into the titillating world of cabinet door overlays.  Bear with me as I do a bit of due diligence for our own kitchen renovation.  Figured I would take you all along for the ride.

Around the House

I am still thinking about our dining room.  In a week the moving van arrives with the rest of our belongings and there will be quite a few pieces that will need to live in the dining room, at least until the addition.

The table, mirror and lamp you see in the left corner will be moved out of the room, and the plan is to have the china cabinet you see in the far corner painted.  A painted armoire may be joining the party as well as an older server.

Right now there is a bit too much dark wood for my liking.  I am itching to use the quart of Hollandlac from Fine Paints of Europe that I bought last week.  We’ll see if it’s as good as I hope it will be.


Besides paint, the chairs are looking a little bit naked lately.  These slipcovers would certainly take care of that.

House Beautiful

And, of course, the windows could use something on them but if you recall from previous posts, I am moving on that about as quickly as winter is leaving us this year.

The radiator covers will be put together next week with 3 more to be constructed for the bedrooms.

Here is the library.  It is the smallest room in the house and one of the only rooms I have started to really make feel like home.  The room will not be touched in the next construction phase.  Last week our neighbor, an electrician, installed a new outlet just behind the desk so I didn’t have to look at the cords that were originally plugged in on the outlet to the right of the radiator. Much much better!

IMG_1152 IMG_1151

A new sconce found its home near the front door.   That wall will eventually be filled with some art so the sconce does not look so lost. IMG_1142

Isn’t the front door screaming to be painted?  But what color?  Should I go black?

And, the front entryway and hallway are the last of the liver-colored paint.  Thank you, God!IMG_1145Here is a view looking into the dining room.  A different piece will soon occupy that space and I have my eye on an interesting mirror for that wall.

Have a great weekend . . .