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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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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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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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Villa Astor in Sorrento

Ciao from Italia! Mr. B and I are still traveling around Italy and although we’re actually in northern Italy at the moment (Lake Como, to be exact), I couldn’t help but share the beautiful Villa Astor located in Southern Italy. The property is probably one of the finest in Sorrento perched high above the Bay of Naples looking out toward Mount Vesuvius. The neoclassical structure was originally built by the late William Waldorf Astor, a diplomat (former Ambassador to Rome), developer (including New York’s famed Waldorf Astoria Hotel), and financier. Astor passed away in the early 1900’s and the home was then passed onto the Italian government. In the 1970s the home was purchased by shipping tycoon Mario Pane and his wife Rita. They held onto it for more than three decades before selling it in 2012. The new owners completely renovated the property in 2016 and hired famed French designer Jacques Garcia to renovate the interiors. The property is breathtaking and the renovations were documented in the book “Villa Astor: Paradise Restored on the Amalfi Coast” published earlier this year. The book also contains a foreword by Lord Astor of Hever, William Waldorf Astor’s great-grandson. For today let’s enjoy a bit of the beautiful Villa Astor. The current owners will actually rent it and if money is no object you might consider renting it to call it your own for a few nights. Just remember that if you decide to rent it, you must allow me to tag along!

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.

The French Garden of John-Mark Horton

I love a beautiful garden and I look forward to the time when I can start properly planning the gardens of our seaside ranch home. Patience is probably the most important virtue of a gardener but unfortunately, it is not a trait that I possess when it comes to gardening. When dealing with landscaping, I have to remind myself that things come slow and steady. After all, it took many years for even the most beautiful gardens in the world to evolve and literally bloom into something unique and special. And speaking of beautiful gardens, the current issue of Elle Decor features the French home of Los Angeles designer John-Mark Horton. Friends of his mother, Raymond Poteau, a French antique dealer, and Henry Clarke, an American photographer for Vogue, purchased several properties one by one to create a lovely hillside home. As a child, John would visit the property with his mother and play in the garden. He recalled “The extremes of light and shade, and all the little corners you could hide in – it was glorious”. After the death of the couple, John decided to purchase the home after learning that it would be auctioned off. The home, perched on a terraced French hillside overlooking the beautiful blue sea, was in a state of disrepair and was reworked through a labor of love. I can definitely see how John was captivated by such a stunning location.

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The three pictures of John’s garden above are the only ones featured in the Elle Decor spread. They made me long for more so I hopped on over to his website and Instagram feed where I found a few additional pictures. The one below was particularly intriguing to me since I love a good “before” and “after”. It’s amazing to see how this particular part of the garden had filled in completely over time. It would be a treat to visit in person. 

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Carolyne Roehme’s Weatherstone

I’m not sure why, but for some strange reason I find it very amusing when foreign magazines highlight properties in the United States. I guess just as much as American’s are fascinated with great European design, European’s are intrigued by us as well! I can only assume. But great design is worthy of worldwide acclaim and in this month’s issue of Marie Claire Maison (Italian edition) there is a multi-page spread featuring Weatherstone, designer Carolyne Roehm’s beautiful Connecticut estate. If you aren’t familiar with Carolyne Roehm, she is an acclaimed interior designer, author, style-maker, and fashion designer who worked alongside Oscar De La Renta for nearly a decade. She makes life beautiful…carolyn-roehm-weatherstone connecticut

 

For Carolyne, Weatherstone was a real labor of love. In the late 1990’s the home burnt down due to an electrical fire. Over the course of 20 months, it was eventually rebuilt. Like any good designer, Carolyne turned the tragedy into an opportunity by reconfiguring many of the original rooms often combining several small spaces into larger ones. The home is refined and elegant. The gardens are perfectly manicured. The property is everything you could expect from the talented designer and author. The home has been highlighted by various publications and outlets but Marie Claire Maison features a few new pictures of the estate that I don’t previously recall seeing. Just in case you aren’t familiar with Weatherstone, I’ve also included a few other pictures previously featured in Architectural Digest and on One King’s Lane. If you’re like me, you can never get enough of Carolyne’s creations.carolyn-roehm-weatherstone connecticut 2

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If you’re interested in a previous post featuring Carolyne’s inspiration on entertaining then be sure to check out this.

 

ADVENTURES IN GARDENING

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I have always loved and appreciated beautiful lush gardens but it wasn’t until Mr. B and I moved into our seaside ranch home that I became interested in our own landscaping. This is primarily due to the fact that we bought a fixer and the gardens left little to be desired. At some point we will rework the outdoor spaces. But for now everything is kept neat and tidy since we are currently focusing on the interiors of our home. When the time comes to reevaluate our outdoor spaces I would love to work with someone like Molly Wood. In the meantime, I will continue to enjoy the garden as it is, particularly the when the roses and spring flowers are in bloom. I love when I can cut flowers from the garden and bring them indoors. Simple pleasures.

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Flowers from our garden waiting to be arranged – Spring 2016

Even though the garden isn’t quite where I want it to be I have enjoyed trying out new plants and flowers in various areas of our property to see how well they respond.  Since I am a planner by nature and have a great affinity for stationary supplies, I am not surprised at the fact that I wanted to purchase a gardening journal to document events in our garden. I recently purchased this journal from Color Box Design & Letterpress. I can’t wait to put it to good use.

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My new garden journal from Colorbox Design & Letterpress.

It has a sweet letterpress design on the cover and is wire bound with 60 blank pages leaving me to decide exactly how I want to put it to use. I am planning to document planting instructions, including what has been planted and where. I plan to incorporate pictures so I can see progress (growth) through pictures and note at what time of year specific plants and flowers were planted and how long they lasted throughout the season. I know it’s winter and but it is never too early to start planning for Spring. Note to self: need to order spring bulbs soon. 

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Flowers in our garden – Spring 2016

A gardening journal accompanied by a nice pen or pencil (my mechanical pencil shown above is from A.G Spalding & Bros.) would make a great housewarming gift or the perfect gift for the gardener in your life. Heck, they are so affordable why not treat yourself to one also. In addition to Adventures in Gardening, Color Box Design & Letterpress has a few other designs that would make perfect gifts including Adventures in Parenting, Adventures of the World and Adventures in the Kitchen. Journals can be purchased here.

All original photos by Reviving Charm via iPhone.