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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!

For Sale: The Former Home of Author E.B. White

Do you recall reading the classic children’s book Charlottes Web? It is American author E.B. White’s most famous book first published in 1952. If you haven’t read it or don’t recall the details, then here is the Cliff Notes version: The book tells the story of a deep, loyal friendship between a pig named Wilbur and a barn spider named Charlotte. Wilbur is in danger of being slaughtered and his friendship with Charlotte is what saves his life. Charlotte devises a plan to spin messages in her web in order to persuade the farmer to let Wilbur live. Her plan is successful and Wilbur’s life is spared. The story goes on to explain how Charlotte stays with Wilbur until the very end of her own life. Count on a children’s book to teach us a lesson about true friendship…

“You have been my friend,” replied Charlotte. “That in itself is a tremendous thing…after all, what’s a life anyway? We’re born, we live a little while, we die…By helping you, perhaps I was trying to lift up my life a trifle. Heaven knows anyone’s life can stand a little of that.  — E.B. White, Charlotte’s Web.charlottes web EB White

E.B. White and his wife, Katharine Angell, a former New Yorker magazine editor, called a 48-acre farmhouse property in North Brooklin, Maine “home” for over 40 years. The property was sold in 1985 to the current owner’s, Robert and Mary Gallant, who recently listed the property for sale. The circa 1795 home is the subject of an article that will be published in the September/October issue of Yankee Magazine, but a preview was just posted on their website. It really is a lovely article that I highly suggest you read. 

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eb white barn mainThe property’s barn inspired Charlotte’s Web. The rope swing still hanging in the barn is referenced in the book.White did much of his writing in the boathouse where the author’s desk, bench, and wastebasket still remain. eb white boathouse mainehome of eb whiteeb white maine farmhouse 2eb white farmhouse maine home 3eb white farmhouse maine 4

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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Happy Friday!

Woohoo…Happy Friday! I am so happy that the weekend is almost here even though I have a ton of errands to do over the next couple of days. A few things on the list include getting my hair done, as well as doing some shopping to update my summer wardrobe for work. What are your plans for this last weekend in July? 

I always consider Friday the “door to the weekend” and I couldn’t resist posting this pretty picture for today. The entrance is utterly charming. It sure makes you wonder what awaits inside…

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A QUICK LOOK BACK AT JK PLACE MALIBU

As the year winds down it’s not uncommon for people, including myself, to start reflecting on the events (good and bad) that took place over the past year. Looking through pictures taken throughout 2016 made me realize that there were several events I intended to post about that never quite made it to the blog. Not too long ago I even solicited input from readers when trying to determine when it’s considered too late to post about something. I came to the conclusion that its never too late as long as it’s relevant.

The home was featured in the movie “Nocturnal Animals” by Tom Ford and I instantly recognized the Malibu home I visited earlier this year as part of the “JK Place Malibu” event. I planned to post more pictures of the event but it never quite happened. It seems that even though the event was months ago, my pictures are still relevant given the timing of the movie and even Heather’s post. Thanks Heather, for inspiring my post today which allows me to revisit an event I had so much fun at. It was a bit hard to take decent pictures because of the sun’s glare both inside and out, but here are a few images that capture the amazing views from the home’s exterior. To see pictures of the home’s interiors be sure to check out my previous posts here and here. 

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Mr. B and I pull into valet at the driveway entrance to the home.

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Chic Italian men posing for the camera.

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Another chic Italian serving up beverages for guests.

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At the back of the house there is an expansive area of beautiful green lawn with priceless views of the Pacific Ocean just beyond the infinity pool.

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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.