Stafford Plantation Cumberland Island, Georgia

I’ve been away and it’s good to be back. There are seasons in life when our plates are so full of actual living that something else must be sacrificed. For me, it was blogging. The good news is all the big living that kept me away was good stuff. Our twins graduated from high school and are both away at college (did I just say that?) It’s true. They’re happy and doing well and my kitchen has never been cleaner. We miss them like crazy but they didn’t fly too far away so we see them every few weeks.

My graduation gift to myself was to get away and spend a week with other artists on Cumberland Island, Georgia, with Pigs Fly Retreats, hosted by my dear friends and fine art photographers Lori Vrba and Anne Berry. The island is rich with history, wild horses, moss covered oaks and the ruins of historical mansions that once belonged to the Carnegie family.

Our group was comfortably cared for at Stafford Plantation. Built in 1901 by Lucy Carnegie for one of her 9 children, the house was certainly deserving of a full house shoot, but our days were full exploring the island and photographing out in the southern wild of this remote barrier island. Doesn’t that sound like the best time?

I do have some highlights to share with you. All week I had my eye on the home’s butlers pantry and knew I wanted to take the time to style it just a bit and give it a proper photo shoot.

10’ tall built in cabinets, drawers for silverware and linens. Beautiful old wavy glass and stacks of the family china (the estate is still privately owned).

The copper work horse sink had a beautiful patina and dual faucets.

There are no stores on Cumberland and all supples and provisions are ferried over with each group. We were so grateful for the lemons growing out back to help flavor the island water. Truly organic and delicious even though they don’t look like perfect store bought fruit. We weren’t exactly roughing it but we were certainly grateful for what we had.

The mudroom entry served us well. This is where we left our hiking shoes and backpacks. How about that perfectly peeling wallpaper?

The hallway leading to the dining room where we gathered three times a day for delicious meals prepared by chef Mimi McGee of Island Wellness

A corner of the master suite holds an extra bed and seating. A single framed seascape flanked by bare bulb sconces. Authentic, charming and timeless.

Approximately 150 feral horses roam Cumberland along with flocks of wild turkeys that visited every evening for food. The island remains a wild and magical place.

Room No. 5 Carol Hicks Bolton

As promised, I have more images to share from my visit to Carol Bolton's shops in Fredericksburg, Texas.

Room No. 5 was stunning. So much so that I put the big camera away during my visit and shot with my iphone instead. Sometimes you just gotta soak it all up and be free of distractions.

And I did.

This was my first visit to Room No. 5 and I loved the experience. Carol and her team are so good at creating atmosphere. Warehouses can be tricky to style, but this space felt like a desaturated, poetic fantasy world.

 

Upholstered furniture, beautiful bed linens and antique furniture. All in dreamy shades of white.

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I visited Carol during her January sale and she just announced another unloading sale that's coming up quick so get this on the books. She had some gorgeous pieces and really good prices. Here's all the info: 

Follow Carol on Facebook to see new arrivals and current sale information.

If you'd like to see Part 1 of my visit to Carol's unloading sale, click here.

Slow Christmas

For the past few years my Christmas decorating approach has been laid back and slow. That's in direct opposition to everything the internets tell us. We're told we have to "BUY NOW" "DON"T MISS OUT"..ugh...I hate all that and how it makes me feel and it's simply not required. I didn't buy one single thing on Black Friday or make a single Cyperwhatever purchase and I managed to live a full life without consequence. Instagrammers have been lighting it up since Halloween. I can't even.
I wonder if they grow tired of it by the time December arrives?

We are road tripping again this year for Christmas so I'm keeping the decor very simple. Our boys are old enough that I don't have to Santa up the place too much; but I do want it to feel festive and pretty. There are several yaupon holly trees in our neighborhood bursting with red berries so I helped myself. These will mix in nicely with fresh eucalyptus and a little fresh pine.

Let's join hands and pinky swear not to let the world ruin Christmas. All those perfect pictures we see can absolutely steal our joy. There are so many who lost everything in the Hurricane Harvey flood. My heart goes out to them. Did you know there's a link on my website if you'd like to donate gift cards to flood victims? I'm still collecting and distributing gift cards to families in my hometown if you'd like to join me.

Simple Christmas decorations like paper chains and stars, fresh cut greens, twinkle lights, candles and bowls of ornaments are so pretty...let's not forget that simple can be wonderful and finished pretty quickly. Simple can save the world....like a baby in a manger.

The Pomegranate

Dramatic, gaudy and dangerous. Sweet, tart and delicious. The pomegranate is the seasonal fruit I look forward to the most. Clearly, the most beautiful fruit in the produce department. It's a shame grocery stores don't give them the presentation they deserve (I'm available...call me!)

Life got you feeling some sort of way? Grab a pomegranate and enjoy the slow tactile delight of de-seeding this beautiful fruit. Ignore all those worthless how tos offering empty promises of quick de-seeding results. They lie.  Give yourself the gift of time it takes to appreciate the color and textures of this mythical "apple with many seeds". This tutorial is the best way to de-seed and avoid damaging the arils. 

Add them to your Thanksgiving menu with this pomegranate relish, or these individual loaded sweet potatoes. For a lighter option, this delicious salad. Recently, I thought I had reached genius level pomegranate consumption status when I sprinkled some of the seeds on my morning peanut butter toast. It. Was. Delicious. A quick google search reminded me there are zero original ideas, but that I was in good company. Cheers to a beautiful pomegranate season!

Art Corner

If you haven't yet,  I hope you can set aside a little time this weekend to listen my recent interview with Karen and Zandra of Little Yellow Couch and the Style Matters Podcast. One of the topics that has resonated with listeners is the discussion we had about a few pieces of the art in my house.

This corner in my family room holds pieces that are dear to me for different reasons and happens to be where the only pieces of mass produced art can be found downstairs. My husband gave me the long architectural prints ages ago when we bought our first house. They're at least 6' long and very unique. The framed owl print on the media cabinet is by my dearest and bestest lifelong friend, Lori Vrba, who is a photographer and mixed media artist.

But what I get asked about most is the vintage coastal painting that literally hangs by a string.

Come hang with me and the ladies of Style Matters and hear why I think making thoughtful choices about the art in your home is one of the most overlooked opportunities in decorating.

Style Matters Podcast

Earlier this summer I talked with Zandra and Karen of Little Yellow Couch and hosts of the Style Matters Podcast. We had the best time chatting about my work as a prop stylist, decorating and the fear that comes with making design choices, thrift stores, crappy art and we even went deep with the question "why does style matter?"

These ladies know how to ask good questions and kept me on my toes. We kept coming back to the conversation of how fear can be paralyzing. It's a juicy convo but one that I hope will inspire you to not take your choices so seriously. It's just decorating! 

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Click the arrow above to listen to our Style Matters podcast. 

Grassroots fundraising for Hurricane Harvey

Over the last couple of weeks I've had a very generous response to my request for gift cards in small denominations to donate to the flood victims in my small hometown, Vidor, Texas.

This is a very simple grassroots efforts and is an easy way to put a little money into the hands of people that need help immediately. 

The problems small towns face in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey are huge. A lack of housing for those displaced by the flood, a shortage of building materials, slow insurance claims processing if they're insured at all (and most aren't).

There is a small amount of financial aid available via the Red Cross and Salvation Army but their systems can't keep up with the need and people who have lost everything are left with what volunteers have brought in for them. 

If you or a group of friends would like to collect gift cards in small denominations to donate, I am delivering them personally for as long as I possibly can and putting them directly into the hands of people that need them.

Gift cards from WalMart, Lowe's, Home Depot and Ace Hardware are a great option. You can easily grab a gift card from the grocery store while you're there. 

If you'd like more information, please email me at becki@curiousdetails.com and I will be happy to coordinate a collection and delivery for you. It's very easy!

Let's help our small Texas towns!

Coastal Bedroom

Have you ever been so delighted in your decorating choices that every time you walk in a room you're smacked in the head with joy? This is now happening when I walk into our master bedroom.

We're just back from summer vacation and I've gone all in with my favorite place/vibe/dream and have covered the wall in coastal paintings. Some vintage, some painted by me and one sneaky poster print.

It was time for a little refresh in our bedroom and I didn't want to spend much so I gathered my paintings and started a gallery wall. I want to mention our master bedroom is on the small side but the paintings don't overwhelm the room at all. It gets tons of pretty natural light and I've kept most of the room neutral.  Don't be afraid of installing big art in a small space. 

 I hit up HomeGoods for night stands. By some lucky miracle there were two matching night stands at the same store (you know that NEVER happens) so I grabbed them right away. 

I stripped the bed and simplified by removing some of the decorative pillows and adding a light cotton summer blanket. I did splurge on one big beautiful linen pillow by Pine Cone Hill that I picked up at Kuhl-Linscomb in Houston. With the wall now being a bit beachy bonkers, the bed needed just a little color and simplicity. One big soft blue pillow was all it took.

I've been really lucky finding coastal paintings for ridiculously cheap prices. I think it's because of the amount of shopping I do as a stylist. It just naturally puts the odds in my favor that I'll find a deal. The painting in the image above right was $1.00 (don't hate me). There are actually two on this wall that cost $1.00. The other was coated with a think layer of tobacco smoke scum I had to scrub off but was worth it. 

The abstracts are palette knife paintings I did myself. The only framed piece came from my friends at HASbins (top right corner). I do have one cheater piece (top left corner, also from HASbins). It's a thick poster print that was originally a store advertisement. The colors and dimensions were exactly what I needed to finish the wall so I'm using it as a place holder until I stumble upon a painting or paint one myself. It doesn't bother me a bit that it's a poster. I love the moodiness of it. 

I removed the wall mounted lamps I had previously and replaced them with some trendy brass and marble task lamps from Target that I found on clearance (the website has them at full price now, hmmm).  I love that they're adjustable and have built in dimmers. The play of the modern lamps against all the vintage is nice as well. It's all about the mix. 

This room is officially freshened and done. Until Christmas anyway. 

My Home Office Featured in Better Homes and Gardens

Hey look, that's me! I'm sitting at that very desk in one of my favorite rooms, as I write this.
The nice people at Better Homes and Gardens magazine featured my home office in their January issue. The story was included in "most" subscribers magazines. Sometimes magazines do regional stories and mine was one of them. But not to worry, I'm sharing it here.

A few gallons of paint totally transformed this room from a dark paneled sad office to light and bright and fresh. The walls are painted with Benjamin Moore's Gray Owl and the cabinets are Benjamin Moore's Snowfall White (one of my favorite whites for cabinets and built-ins). If you're living with a dark paneled room that you hate grab some primer and a paint brush and go! Trust me, you won't regret it. 

If you'd like to read more about this office makeover, click here. Like most creatives, I love change and this room is all mine and I love working and playing here. This fun post might inspire you to have a little fun in your own home. We need more of that I do believe. 

To see more of our home in Better Homes and Gardens, click here.

Many thanks and much love to my friend Janna Lufkin who produced and styled these features along with photographer Brian McWeeney and his wife Carolyn. 

Pine Shelf Styling

We speak so often of our homes telling a story, that sadly, it's almost become a cliche'. I do sincerely love the thought and apply it to my clients and my own home. It's one of the first things I love to chat about with new clients...their lives and how to bring the proof of their lives into their homes . I think that matters. What's more original than your life and how you live it?

When Christmas was done and the decorations put away, I felt twitchy about our dining room. I've been patiently waiting on the "just right" cabinet to show up for the past year and it hasn't happened yet. It needs to be big and accommodate collections and props and serving pieces and textiles and silverware. Not too pricey, not too trendy, not too small. Jussssst right to suit this Goldilocks. 

Then I remembered, in the rafters of our garage was a pine shelf we bought during the first year of our marriage when we lived in Connecticut, 29 years ago. My memories of this shelf play like a flickering 8mm home movie.  I've used it in every house we've lived in in one way or another but I had never brought it into this house. I remember finding it in an antique shop and forking over a whopping $50 for it. I loved the pine and way it smelled. It's heavy and always needs big screws to secure it to the wall and it leaves big holes when it's taken down. I don't care. I love it. 

We hung it over the stainless steel restaurant prep table I use as a buffet and filled it up with the things I love that I had on hand. Ironstone, botanical transferware, brass candlesticks, pieces from my coral collections and a few bits from nature. Keeping it neutral and natural. We've been eating dinner in here more often which we all enjoy.  Lighting the candles in the evening and really lingering, even if it's leftovers, has been a nice change. 

A couple of wonky unframed vintage paintings and my New Years tradition of paperwhite bulbs. There really is no easier indoor plant/flower to grow in my opinion. Vessel, rocks, water, bulbs, done. I usually get blooms in 2-3 weeks that are long lasting and very fragrant.

I am loving how it feels in the room. The collections, the plants, the contrast of the white against the wall, the story behind the shelf. We went back to New England last summer for vacation for the first time since we lived there many many years ago.

Full circle moment, I believe, is what this is called.

Cruise with Country Living

My friends at Country Living Magazine know how to have a good time. They've put together a fantastic cruise and you're invited!

Look at that line up! Texas junkin' superstars the Junk Gypsies will be on board with decorating demos and much much more. 

The Holland America cruise ship leaves from Fort Lauderdale March 12, 2017 and will dock at Grand Turk, The Bahamas, St. Maarten and Puerto Rico! This sounds perfect for a spring break getaway.

Here's the inside scoop: Cabins are going really fast but you can get yours now for a special $200 off discount until Nov 18, 2016. And if you're wondering, Yes! kids are welcome and plans are in the works for fun crafting sessions for them. Gotta start them early right?

And there's so much planned for adults: crafting, cooking demos, cocktail hours, design consultations and lots of really fun merchandise like tote bags, beach towels and pool floats. 

So go ahead...grab your girlfriends (or boyfriends) and get this trip on your calendars. What a lovely opportunity to spend a week with like minded people that talk your language; design, cooking, crafting and junkin'. Sounds perfect! 

To book your cruise head over to countrylivingcruise.com for all the details. That's where you'll need to make your reservations for this special trip.  Let them know I sent you over by choosing my name, Becki Griffin, from the drop down menu as you're checking out. Bon Voyage!

Chart Art for Fall

I believe that given the chance Texans would indeed love fall. The absence of crisp cool weather until near November leaves us awaiting our Starbucks pumpkinmochachokalattewhatevers in shorts and flip flops.

But the seasons change whether the temps do or not. Life moves.  And we feel it on dark Monday mornings when the sun rises later than we do for school. I feel it. And I want our home to feel it just a little too.

One of my favorite ways to cozy up the house is to switch out a few pieces of art. Vintage educational charts are easy to roll up and store so I pick them up when the price is right. The warm tones in this large vintage German chart do most of the heavy lifting for me. (Flechten refers to lichen.)

Road side weeds stand in for Queen Anne's lace along with a few pumpkins of the non decorated variety. Just like nature intended. 

This is the sweet spot for me. Just a touch here and there to enjoy before the holidays amp up everything. The simpler the better. 

John Derian Provincetown, Cape Cod

Our summer vacation to Cape Cod was epic and about as far from southeast Texas as you can get and still be in the same country. Don't be surprised if I refer to it for the next year and a half. That's how good it was. 

We covered a lot of ground on this trip. One fabulous day in particular, we made our way to Provincetown so I could fulfill a shopping dream by popping into John Derian's Provincetown store. Do you think he knows there are fan girls way down south that just want to tiptoe into his dreamy stores to catch a glimpse of him working away in a corner, maybe decoupaging something? 

Beckoning...that's what the entry of this store does. It beckons you and then you pray your kids and husband get lost parking the car so you can enjoy this tiny little sacred place all alone. 

The small studio like space is artfully layered with textiles, vintage portraits and lighting, paper flowers, whimsical objets and of course John's signature decoupage line. John's layered and collected style has been a steady and constant influence in my own personal style.  This little gem in Provincetown is open seasonally June - Sept. 

I touched virtually everything in the store and was tempted by a piece from the black forest menagerie but felt the most delight when I  found a glass case filled with spun cotton animals by artist Crystal Sloane. This little octopus slid comfortably into her new habitat and has made herself right at home amongst the shells and sea glass souvenirs from this trip and various others. Do you shop in thrift stores on vacation? I love to check out what the locals have discarded. The Cape Cod by Thoreau book was a .25 thrift store find that held my foraged fern fronds until we got home. Oh yes....I foraged. A lot.

Here's something to look forward to.  Oct 4th is the release date for John Derian's first book, Found. 300 big beautiful pages of 19th century images from his archives. Pre-order available now through his website.

The charm of Provincetown is intoxicating and the exact opposite of what the scenery is like in Houston Texas. Therefore, I didn't want to leave. That's also the goal when planning a vacation, right? I stole a few snaps as we strolled the narrow streets and private alleys of Provincetown before we made our way to the beaches. 

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more to come.......

A Game Room for the Boys

We are so excited to see the boys game room featured in the August 2016 issue of Better Homes and Gardens.

                                                               Image by Brian McWeeney

                                                              Image by Brian McWeeney

Having a dedicated space for the boys has been good for all of us. They need their own space to hang with buddies and enjoy their media and this little room has been perfect. 

The issue is available now. You can also read about the before/after of this space here.

Thank you to Better Homes & Gardens, Brian and Carolyn McWeeney and my friend Janna Lufkin who produced and styled this story.

The Bar Cart

I wasn't looking for a bar cart. I was looking at vintage tablecloths at an estate sale earlier this summer that happened to be piled a mile high on the bar cart. Another shopper had unloaded the piles of linens and was giving the cart a test drive. And I kicked myself for not noticing it.

And then she decided it wasn't for her.

It's hard to be cool at estate sales when you see someone put an item back you want. I had zero cool and no shame. The cart was mine and for a song. 

Bar carts have been the super trendy item to buy the last couple of years but they're not something I ever thought I needed or had a place for. But this little cutie with it's warm wood and simple lines felt like it could multi-task as a plant stand and that was the ticket for me. And I could easily wheel it outside if I needed it to serve around the pool.

Parked in front of a window that gets pretty morning sun near our back door, its where I do my summer gardening now. Once July rolls around, all bets are off for me working in the yard. Good luck lavender! Hang in there pentas! I'll see you in October when it cools off. Like outside gardening, puttering with the plants in the morning is contemplative and rewarding.

I gathered some plants I had on hand along with a few other fun garden elements. Pretty bottles and green and gold bohemian juice glasses to catch the light and hold clippings. A vintage plant sprayer (obsessed with this). Beach pebbles found on our recent vacation to Cape Cod. Vintage Japanese pruning shears. And of course a cute blue tooth speaker. The plants seem to thrive with a daily dose of Lucinda Williams and Lyle Lovett. 

It's got me thinking which flowering plants that normally grow outside, might grow well inside. I'm giving geraniums a try because they seem pretty tolerant and are so summery.  I'm hoping this one grows long and leggy with big blooms that spill over the side of the cart. We get tons of natural light in our house so I'm feeling optimistic. If you have any tips for growing flowering plants indoors, do share.

Would you Buy a Mattress Online?

There are three things that I know I would never consider buying online: a swimsuit, jeans and a mattress.
But then an opportunity comes along and I learned I just might have been wrong. 

 

This happened recently when the nice people at GelFoam Bed reached out to me and asked if I would like to receive and review one of their mattresses. As long as I've been blogging I've never done a sponsored post or accepted gifts to review. I'm not against it, it's just that the timing wasn't right. 

We are due to update a few things in our master bedroom. I'm on the lookout for new bedside tables (which are taking far too long to find) and new wall mounted lamps. And coincidentally, our high end fancy schmancy mattress was starting to lose it's firmness. We were just starting to have the conversation about replacing it when I heard from the people at GelFoam Bed. We were plenty skeptical about a mattress being delivered that we hadn't tried out. My husband and I are pretty picky and a good night's sleep is non-negotiable so the mattress is very important. 

We've slept on gel foam mattresses on vacation and loved them so we were willing to give it a try knowing we could return it if it didn't work out for us. Here were our choices:

We chose the 12" Miranda Medium Plush because we wanted a plush mattress with excellent support. 

Bingo, it's exactly that. 

Each mattress is made to order and arrives compressed and rolled up in a box for shipping. I think this is genius and my boys were fascinated with the unpacking process.

                                  We used a knife.  House full of men, you know we used a knife.

                                 We used a knife.  House full of men, you know we used a knife.

 That part about clearing the area is no joke. The mattress starts to decompress immediately and it's really fun to watch. We placed it right on top of our existing foundation.

That part about clearing the area is no joke. The mattress starts to decompress immediately and it's really fun to watch. We placed it right on top of our existing foundation.

Within 5 minutes, my husband was in love. At that point the mattress was still decompressing and I thought it might be too soft but the packing material says it actually takes it a couple of days to fully decompress so I was going to wait and see. 

Ya know what?  I love it too!!  We've had it about a month now and for some of that time we've been on vacation. I gotta tell ya, I really missed it when we were traveling and it was great to come home to. It's definitely a keeper.

There are a couple of things that are different between this GelFoam Bed and our previous mattress, a Simmons Beauty Rest Pillow Top. The Simmons has reinforced sides, the GelFoam does not, so if you're sitting on the side you notice it's a bit softer. Also the Simmons was a couple of inches thicker than this mattress because of the pillow top. It's not really a big deal to me and I don't mind that the mattress sits just a bit lower. It's not unsightly at all.

Choosing the right mattress takes time and is very subjective. If you're thinking of replacing yours consider looking at a GelFoam Bed. Believe me, I know you might never even think of buying a mattress online that you've never tried out. GelFoam Beds come with a 100 night risk free guarantee. That's pretty cool right? 

If you're interested, GelFoam Beds is offering my readers a coupon worth $50 off your purchase. Just use code "curiousdetails" when you check out for the savings.

I'm happy to answer any questions you might have if you'd like more information regarding our GelFoam Bed mattress.