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 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.


Tuesday Tip No. 6

As I was putting this post together I realized that several of my Tuesday Tips involve the use of fresh flowers. I guess that’s because flowers can create instant impact, often on the cheap and easy. With Spring officially here, I am already starting to see blooms appear on the trees in our front yard. A recent article in Victoria Magazine (that includes the photos highlighted in this post) reminded me that twigs and branches shouldn’t be overlooked as a decorating touch. Those with beautiful blooms can be particularly stunning when brought indoors. With very little effort you can create a stylish arrangement using something readily available right outside your own door. decorating with branches via Reviving Charmtuesday tip no 6 via Reviving Charmdecorating with branchesdecorating with branches via Reviving Charm 4decorating with branches 3decorating with branches via Reviving Charm 2


You won’t find me talking politics here but I do think it is important to vote. Given that tomorrow is Election Day to select the next President of the United States, I think this quote by former President Franklin D. Roosevelt is quite appropriate:

Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves and the only way they could do this is by not voting.       –Franklin D. Roosevelt


Since we are on the topic of Presidential matters today, I would like to share pictures from the grounds of the Franklin D. Roosevelt home, library, and museum with you. My first visit was in 2001 on a road trip that took Mr. B and I from upstate New York to Massachusetts.  While preparing this post I pulled out the small handful of photos and memorabilia from that trip that were tucked away in a scrapbook.


Fast forward to Fall 2015. We took a similar trip and once again visited the FDR National Historic Site. It is beautifully situated in the town of Hyde Park, New York along the Hudson River. The property contains several buildings including “Springwood”, the home where FDR was born and raised. The property was donated to the American people in 1943 with a condition that the family be allowed to use it until after his death. It was later transferred to the U.S. Department of the Interior in 1945 and is now considered part of the U.S National Park Service.

As someone who is avidly interested in all things design related, I couldn’t resist taking a few pictures of Springwood and the beautiful grounds surrounding it. I was hoping to supplement this post with information from the FDR Library and Museum. I sent an email to them on October 23 requesting information and have yet to hear back…


The facade of the home is stunning with its balustrades, rock facade detail, vivid green shutters and ivy-covered walls. If you choose to tour Springwood, the front door is where the tour begins. fdr-home-via-revivingcharm_com-4

The tour of Springwood ends with you walking out a hideous back staircase that was installed by the National Park Service. I understand the need to provide accessibility (probably for fire exit reasons…after all, safety first) but something more appropriate for the style of the home would have been a much better alternative.  fdr-home-via-revivingcharm_com-8

As you walk down the exterior staircase you are able to catch a beautiful view of the grounds. fdr-home-via-revivingcharm_com-5Just beyond the thick row of trees on the right is the Hudson River.

The horse stable (above & below) is beautifully designed inside and out. I thought it was humorous to see a plaque above one of the stables for the horse known as “New Deal”. For some reason, I didn’t manage to get a picture of the plaque but I did capture some great metal work detail of that stable door (bottom, right).


The final resting place of FDR is a serene location on the Springwood property. The building seen in the distance is the FDR Library and Museum. We’ll go there next…keep scrolling down…fdr-grave-at-springwood-via-revivingcharm_comThe official FDR Library dedication was a small, quiet affair with only close friends and family attending the ceremony in June 1941. Did you know that this was the nation’s first Presidential library and the only one ever used by a sitting President?

Here is the front entrance to the Museum and Library as it exists today. Don’t let the size fool you. Although the  building may look rather modest in size, it contains a rather large collection in the upper and lower levels.  From the exterior, the scale of the building is very appropriate for its setting.

Design details of the Museum and Library building.fdr-home-via-revivingcharm_com-9

Ladies and gentleman, this concludes our extremely quick tour of the grounds of our nation’s very first Presidential Library. I hope someday you might be able to visit for yourself. And if you do be sure to allow for an entire day to take advance of all the property has to offer. It is definitely worth a visit. Enjoy Election Day and don’t forget to vote!

Original photos by Reviving Charm via Iphone, unless otherwise noted.