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How You Can Tour the County Estate “Patina Farm”

If you’ve never been to the charming town of Ojai, located in Ventura County 80 miles northwest of Los Angeles, then I highly suggest you plan a trip this upcoming weekend. It may be last minute, but wouldn’t life be dull without a little bit of spontaneity once in a while? A trip to Ojai any time of the year is wonderful but this weekend is particularly special – especially for all you design enthusiasts out there. To kick off the holiday season, the annual Ojai Holiday Home Tour & Marketplace will take place November 10 & 11.

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The official website describes the event as follows:

“Each year the Ojai Holiday Home Tour welcomes designers and florists, each of whom are assigned a home and tasked with bringing their own vision of décor and the holidays to life. This year (November 10-11), we have lined up the following designers Bruce Abbott, Angela’s Flowers, Carolyn Bennett of cdb gardens, Laurel Crary, Brooke Giannetti of Giannetti Home, and Ojai Blooms.”

What particularly caught my attention is that the home of Brooke and Steve Giannetti is included in the home tour this year. Inspired by the country homes of Europe, the talented architect and designer/husband and wife duo Brooke and Steve Giannetti designed and built a country house in the Ojai Valley of California. It took them 6 months of planning and  18 months of construction to develop the five-acre site that is now their home and farm. Brooke is also the author of a website that I’ve followed for many years, Velvet & Linen, where she chronicled the project that ultimately led to the publication of a beautiful book that I am happy to have on my bookshelf. I’ll also be preordering their latest book, Patina Living, that provides insight on what they’ve learned while living on the farm. Patina Living is due out in April 2019 and is available for pre-order on Amazon.

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Patina Farm via Reviving Charm

The Ojai Holiday Home Tour is a wonderful opportunity to step inside some of the most beautiful properties in the valley, including Patina Farm. Tickets to the event can be purchased on-site or in advance here, with proceeds benefiting the Ojai Music Festival. I have other commitments this weekend and am very disappointed that I won’t be able to attend to tour Patina Farm. However, I do hope that one day I might be invited as a guest. In the meantime, I will sit back and enjoy Brooke and Steve’s lovely book. You can purchase your own copy here. 

If you happen to attend please send me a note to let me know…I’d love to hear all about it…

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etretat garden

A Whimsical Garden in France: Les Jardins D’Étretat

After spending time in my studio painting a few weeks ago, I started browsing through a magazine online (I forget which one) and I came across a short article about Les Jardins D’Etretat located on the Normandy coast about a two-hour train ride from Paris. The picture below captivated me and I transported myself into the shoes of the painter. I visioned myself perched on top of the ragged cliff with a paintbrush in one hand while admiring the breathtaking scenery. I could taste the salty air, hear the thunderous roar of the crashing waves from down below, and feel a cool breeze move across my face. Then, out of nowhere, I snapped out of my hypnotic state and my immediate thought was: “We really need to buy tickets to France.”

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This past weekend I spent some time in my own garden to tidy things up a bit. As I was working, I remembered the image I came across a few weeks ago. The property was once owned by a famous French actress, Madame Thébault, who was a friend of artist Claude Monet. Monet frequently visited Thébault and encouraged her to plant a garden. The scenery greatly inspired Monet and over the course of his artistic career, he painted numerous pieces of art capturing the cliffs and shoreline below. I don’t know exactly how many paintings he created of Étretat because conflicting research indicates anywhere from 30-50 individual paintings, including the two shown below.

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Etretat is becoming more and more amazing. Now is the real moment: the beach with all its fine boats; it is superb, and I am enraged not to be more skillful in rendering all this. I would need two hands and hundreds of canvases.  –Claude Monet

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Étretat is best known for its chalky cliffs and rock formations. It’s no surprise that Monet was so inspired by the natural beauty of the region.

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I would love to see pictures of what the gardens actually looked like in the early 1900’s when Thébault planted the original garden. The current gardens that I am highlighting in today’s post were restored in 2016 by Russian landscaper Alexander Grivko and are open to the public to enjoy. I am sure Thébault and Monet would be happy to know that the area continues to inspire.

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The whimsical garden combines landscape and sculpture. The willow “painter” is a tribute to Claude Monet.

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The website for Les Jardins D’Etretat is currently being revamped but be sure to check out the video on their homepage. I won’t say anything about the video other than it’s “dreamy”….. Once you check it out, you’ll know exactly what I mean. 

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Celebrating A Slice of England

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I immediately wanted to host an event after seeing this beautifully decorated table (and photos below) on the Instagram account of @IndiaHicksStyle. The accompanying comment said “This time last week. Slice of England.” After a bit of digging around online, I came to learn that this lovely table was designed for a dinner held last week in the garden of  “American Farm”, the country English home of India Hicks and her partner David Flint Wood. The event celebrated India’s new book “India Hicks: A Slice of England” released earlier this year. Every guest received a copy of the book. But you don’t have to feel left out…you can purchase your own copy here. 

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images via @indiahicksstyle

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Spring Has Arrived

Today officially marks the first day of Spring. Happy Spring! I have been eagerly awaiting Spring because one of my main goals this season is to tackle the design of our small backyard garden. Mr. B and I opted to tackle the project ourselves (what are we getting ourselves into?) by planting a new row of privet to create a nice tall hedge and star jasmine as a pathway border. A simple, low maintenance green and white garden is what I’m going after. I am also looking to accentuate this area with a new garden bench. Do you have any great resources for garden furniture and accessories?

In the meantime, I am loving the New Orleans garden of the aunt of Jane Scott Hodges who is the owner of Leontine Linens. More of the garden can be seen here on Bettie Bearden Pardee’s website, Private Newport.

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I love spring anywhere, but if I could choose I would always greet it in a garden. –Ruth Stout

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I am also looking forward to all the beautiful flowers that will be in bloom this season. I was hoping to plant more in the garden for the purpose of having my own cutting garden but, frankly, it seems like too much of a commitment. Instead, my goal is to visit the farmer’s market more often to pick up more fresh flowers. The arrangement below is stunning, isn’t it?

What are your goals this season?

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The Inner Circle

I’ve been doing a lot of research about garden design since Mr. and I have decided to tackle some new gardening projects in our backyard. When I retire I could easily see myself spending more time outdoors tending to the bounties of nature but for now I need something pretty and very low maintenance. In my research I came across a small garden designed by London based landscaper Karen Rogers. Her client lives in an urban London setting and was desiring a garden that would provide privacy from the street and surrounding neighbors, provide seating for 6, and serve as a beautiful space to have coffee in the morning. As a result, Karen Rogers created this beautiful courtyard garden that stopped me in my tracks. The circular courtyard incorporates a lovely sunken outdoor dining space. I can only imagine that sitting at the table would make you feel completely enveloped by nature and make you forget that you’re actually in the middle of the city. Oh, to be able to relax in that inner circle…

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Tribute to Hubert de Givenchy

It was with great sadness today that the House of Givenchy reported the passing of its founder Count Hubert de Givenchy, a major influence in the world of fashion with an enviable career that spanned decades. He was an aristocrat (literally) of the fashion industry. He was 91. home of Hubert de Givenchy_reviving charm blog 2

He lived in a 16th-century castle known as Manoir du Jonchet, located approximately 80 miles from Paris, that he purchased in the 1970’s. He restored and furnished it in such a way that makes a castle feel cozy. It feels very much like a home that is actually livable as opposed to feeling like a place where you’re afraid to sit on the chairs. Manoir du Jonchet even included pieces designed by artisan Diego Giacometti, which were auctioned off earlier this month at Christie’s (by the way lots realized over $32 million). In honor of Mr. Givenchy, let’s take a look at Manoir du Jonche, the place he called home.home of Hubert de Givenchy_reviving charm blog 3home of Hubert de Givenchy_reviving charm blog 4ahome of Hubert de Givenchy_reviving charm blog 4home of Hubert de Givenchy_reviving charm blog 4chome of Hubert de Givenchy_reviving charm blog 6home of Hubert de Givenchy_reviving charm blog 1home of Hubert de Givenchy_reviving charm blog 8home of Hubert de Givenchy_reviving charm blog 7home of Hubert de Givenchy_reviving charm bloghome of Hubert de Givenchy_reviving charm blog 2ahome of Hubert de Givenchy_reviving charm 2home of Hubert de Givenchy_reviving charm blog 5

Images via Christie’s and Vanity Fair (Spanish version).

Fascination with Orchids

I received an email recently about the upcoming Fascination with Orchids show that, regretfully, I will have to miss. But I have a good excuse and you’ll have to read tomorrow’s post to learn why I won’t be able to attend. I digress…There are countless varieties of orchid plants that come in a variety of beautiful shapes, colors, and sizes. They get a bad rap for being known as difficult to grow. My mother-in-law had the magic touch when it came to orchids and I always enjoyed seeing her collection. I will admit that they can be finicky. But if I can grow them anyone can. They need just the right amount of light and if you find that sweet spot where they are happy do not move them. Years back they seemed like the “it” plant in home decor and they would show up in almost every magazine spread. To me, they will always be a classic and one plant that I consistently keep in my own home and on my desk at work. If you live in Southern California and are looking for something to do this weekend shop by the show this weekend, September 23-34, from 10 am to 5 pm. at South Coast Plaza. There will be orchid vendors from around the world offering an array of unique varieties, as well as displays and helpful seminars. And if you need a few ideas on how to display your new orchids then here are a few bits of inspiration. decorating with orchids_Reviving Charmdecorating with orchids_Reviving Charm 1decorating with orchids_reviving charm 4decorating with orchids_Reviving Charm 3decorating with orchids_reviving charm 5decorating with orchids_reviving charm 6decorating with orchids_Reviving Charm 8decorating with orchids_reviving charm 9decorating with orchids_reviving charm 11decorating with orchids_Reviving Charm 10

In Remembrance: PIERRE BERGE

This morning I heard the unfortunate news about the death of Pierre Bergé, the French businessman who co-founded the fashion house Yves St. Laurent in 1961. After a battle with a long illness Mr. Bergé passed away in Paris this morning. Bergé’s passing comes as two new major museums dedicated to Yves Saint Laurent are to be opened by the Foundation Pierre Bergé this fall. He was also the life partner of Yves St. Laurent. They a married in 2008, the year of St. Laurent’s death. Bergé later married American landscaper Madison Cox. A few months ago Marie Claire Maison Magazine featured Bergé in the garden of his Paris home, where I hope he found much joy and serenity.

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The White Garden at Kensington Palace

Princess Diana resided in Kensington Palace for 15 years during her marriage to Charles, Prince of Wales. During her time at Kensington, one area of the grounds that gave her much joy is known as the Sunken Garden. She was known to often stroll through this area to admire the garden and chat with the gardeners. This past Thursday marked the 20th anniversary of Princess Diana’s death. And as a special tribute to Diana, the Sunken Garden was transformed into a beautiful “White Garden” that opened to the public beginning in May 2017. The Sunken Garden was intended to be viewed as a complete picture from the surrounding “Cradle Walk”, so access into this area is typically off limits. However, the gates are open to the public through the end of this month to coincide with a temporary exhibit inside the Palace known as “Diana: Her Fashion Story” displaying some of Diana’s most memorable outfits. The plant scheme was inspired by colors and textures of Diana’s wardrobe as she often wore shades of cream and white. As a result, over 12,000 bulbs were hand planted last fall to create an stunning show of nature with flowers to be freshened up throughout the Spring and Summer seasons. While the White Garden is scheduled to be open only through the end of this month, it is a lovely tribute to the People’s Princess.

If you would like to add an array of beautiful white flowers to your own garden, be sure to view and print the official White Garden planting list.
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A California Hidden Gem: Grand Tradition Estate & Garden

I’ve been doing a lot of research lately for several trips in my future and I am specifically seeking out those “hidden gems” to discover and experience. You know, things off the beaten track that make you feel like you are experiencing a town like a local. I am a Southern California native and this past weekend I discovered a hidden gem surprisingly located only 2 hours away from home. Grand Tradition Estate & Gardens is located in Fallbrook, California, a small rural community in North San Diego County. Grand Tradition was the brainchild of Fallbrook couple, Beverly and Earl McDougal. They purchased the property in the 1970’s and turned this former swampland and orange grove property into what I like to call a “life event center”, a venue for weddings and other special events. The entrance is rather unassuming and looks like the driveway to an adjacent office building. But once you turn down the driveway and pass the gates, you realize you’ve discovered something special tucked back behind the main road.
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The main building on the property is known as Beverly Mansion, which looks and feels like a Victorian Era home but was specifically built in the 1980’s as a special event venue. Instead of constructing a Spanish style building, which would be more appropriate with the surrounding community, Beverly McDougal opted for a Victorian because she wanted something more “romantic” in style. The McDougals had no experience in architecture or landscaping but they did a lot of research and had a ton of vision. And when they ran short of money during the construction process, they cut all the shingles for the facade of Beverly Mansion by themselves in order to reduce costs. They left no piece of wood left for scrap. beverly mansion grand tradition fallbrookgrand tradition estate and garden beverly mansiongrand tradition estate and gardengrand tradition estate and garden fallbrook 1grand tradition estate and garden fallbrook californiagrand tradition estate fallbrook garden

Behind Beverly Mansion is a large heart shaped lake with a fountain and gazebo. The gazebo is a popular spot for weddings. The day I visited, I witnessed a couple taking engagement photos here and throughout the property. grand tradition the veranda beverly house fallbrook

The Veranda Restaurant is located on the backside of Beverly Mansion. The Veranda overlooks the vast gardens, pond, and fountain. I enjoyed a nice lunch with some of the ladies in my family to celebrate a belated birthday.

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What I enjoyed most about visiting Grand Tradition was spending time with family and being able to slow down to enjoy the moment. The short few hours visiting Grand Traditions made me forget the stresses of daily life while enjoying such a beautiful park like setting.

If you decide to visit Grand Tradition, I strongly suggest you take a golf cart tour of the grounds. For $25.00, our small group (in addition to the entrance fee), received a private tour of the property. Our docent was friendly, very knowledgeable when it came to identifying particular plant material, and provided a great overview of the history of the site. A wonderful afternoon was had by all…

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Photos 1, 5, 6, & 13 via Grand Tradition; All other photos by Reviving Charm.