Enchanting Mini-Ecosystems

tsg-terrarium-silver-leadWhile we don’t currently have any reason to complain about the weather in TSG Headquarters’s hometown of Charlottesville, Virginia, the brownness of the landscape and persistent chilliness have sparked our desire for creating lush mini-gardens indoors. There is just something undeniably delightful about cultivating a contained ecosystem featuring items of our choosing as our actual gardens lie dormant. Take, for example, the above terrarium crafted by TSG co-founder Christy Ford. Inspired by TSG Tip 88 expert Pam Heavner, during a recent snow day Ford and her children gathered materials and got to work curating a little domed paradise sure to be enjoyed until spring.

tsg-terrarium-styling-objectsWith base materials procured (see our Terrarium Tip for details), Ford assessed items around the house that would be at home under the dome. Orchids as well as everyday pieces from her various collections were excellent candidates.

tsg-terrarium-partsMoss is always a must! Mini humidity-loving plants and colorful rocks are also great for adding into the mix.


Selecting a vessel is a key component to the process. Above is a terrarium by Pam Heavner set in an antique French cheese case, which Heavner says is perfect for terrarium projects thanks to the hinged door on the top, which allows for easy access. Ferns, African violets, wild violet, and sedum all imbedded in a field of moss combine to create a gorgeous garden in the 18-inch space.

tsg_Pam_Heavner_1Above is another one of Heavner’s creations: Orchid and African violet in 19th century serving dish, with rusted wire “gazebo” with bird’s nest on top. “Mixing textures—and centuries—with organic elements is unexpected,” Heavner says.

tsg-terrarium-glass-bowl-blue-candel-sticksA simple glass compote provides the perfect setting for this terrarium by Christy Ford, which would look great on a coffee table, bookshelf, side table, or windowsill. Refreshingly green and a bit whimsical, it will brighten up any space.

For more inspiration, see TSG Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill editor Hopie Avery’s posts on her past terrarium projects with Pam Heavner here and here.


Room for Relaxation

tsg_m interiors_denAt the first hint of chill in the air, we tend to seek out cozy spaces perfect for curling up with a book or gathering for a casual evening, such as an intimate library, comfortably appointed living room, or thoughtfully designed den. As the above example by San Antonio-based M Interiors shows, a room composed of relaxing—yet refined—elements can be both conducive to conversation and the ideal place to enjoy some quiet time.

tsg_circa_heathersmith_denA soothing palette, plenty of comfortable seating, and a beautiful sense of symmetry make this room, designed by CIRCA INTERIORS & ANTIQUES‘s Heather Smith and photographed by Peter Estersohn, feel utterly serene and oh so inviting. We could easily spend hours on one of the soft pink chaises soaking in the natural light.

tsg_minteriors3_denThough adorned with antlers and featuring a NFL-ready flat screen, this space by M Interiors is no (man) cave, thanks to lovely touches like framed bird prints, stylish throw pillows, and soft, pleated drapes.

tsg_designlines_denRaleigh’s Design Lines Ltd. created the above scene in the NCSU chancellor’s house, the site of many events as well as private home, hence the need for wonderful places to retreat to read and enjoy a cup of tea.

tsg_kendallwilkinson_denThis inviting Kendall Wilkinson-designed space, situated in a San Francisco high-rise, is made even cozier thanks to shelving that envelops the sofa, layered rugs, a variety of patterns, and wood and rustic accents.

tsg_wood_densRaleigh’s Katherine Connell Interior Design Raleigh (top), and Kendall Wilkinson (above) offer excellent examples of why wood, leather, and luxurious fabrics make a cozy combination. We’d happily spend all winter in either space.


How lovely is the blue library by Anne Wagoner Interiors that we spotted in her Instagram feed (left)? The cool hue works beautifully with the leather bound books and tufted chairs, creating a charming seating area. Meanwhile, Savannah’s Rethink Design Studio‘s modern den easily draws us in with its cheerful pillows, plush rug, and wood paneling.

tsg_weaver_denWarm wood, leather chairs, a velvet love seat, plenty of books…San Francisco’s Weaver Design Group created a perfect haven in this Santa Ynez Ranch. It’s easy to imagine spending an evening ensconced in a club chair, rereading the classics while sipping a cocktail.


Camel Classics

tsg-camel-interiorClassic and quintessentially fall, camel can take on a variety of tones that add a sense of sophistication to both rooms and wardrobes. Able to complement everything around them, shades of the hue are ideal for accents, as proven by the above room by Circa Interiors & Antiques’s Jane Schwab (photographed by Laura Resen), and effortlessly warm up a neutral room without competing for the eye.

tsg-camel-interiors-2Taking the color one step further by applying it to the walls, Circa’s Kathy Smith creates a luxurious, cohesive dining area filled with camel tones and wonderful texture, resulting in a room that practically glows.

tsg-camel-mensAt its most saturated, camel can be as smooth and satisfying as butterscotch—particularly when rendered in fall-appropriate fabrics. For men looking to update their wardrobes this season, Ledbury’s beautifully tailored cashmere and wool blend Calloway blazer and smart Alden suede brogues, available at By George in Austin, more than fit the bill.

tsg-camel-sweaterDenver’s A Line Boutique always has beautiful and unique finds, such as the above charming camel-adorned knits, stylishly paired with winter white pants and suede shoes. Simply throw on a camel coat and you’re ready to walk out the door.

tsg-camel-sutro-2Camel hues mixed with blues can result in a rich and refined combination, as illustrated by the above sitting area in a home by San Francisco’s Sutro Architects.

tsg-camel-abby-c-2TSG Designer Abby Ciucias appreciated the beauty of the camel on a recent trip to Morocco. Fortunately for those of us who couldn’t tag along, she took pictures like the one above.


tsg-camel-womens-2As soon as we saw the Joseph coat in the Facebook feed of Omaha’s She.la earlier this season, we started dreaming about fall; gold and moonstone earrings by Austin’s Liz James feel like a warm autumn day; and Givenchy’s medium leather Pandora Box, available at By George, inspires back-to-school-levels of excitement with its chic hue and clean lines.

tsg-camel-womens-4Layered with lighter versions and creams, camel can be oh so pretty, as in the Raquel Allegra example (left), which can be found at Charlottesville’s eloise. We’d love to top off an ensemble with an edgy Helmut Lang leather jacket, available from By George, or a cozy cashmere Bottega wrap from Aspen’s Souchi—both of which would enjoy places of honor in our fall closets.

tsg-camel-accentsCamel decor does not need to be limited to fabrics, paints, or wall coverings in the classic color. As the room by Page Home Design shows, a well-placed camel accessory can anchor a room, and who wouldn’t want to add a pair of camel bookends, available from Tchoupitoulas Furnishings in Northern Virginia, to their shelf?

tsg-camel-interiors-3Paired with a dusty pink velvet sofa, the plush camel-hued rug takes this room by San Francisco-based designer Kendall Wilkinson to absolute perfection.



Be Our Guest

tsg-guest-bedroomsSpring brings so many lovely things: warmer weather, birds in the trees, flowers in the garden, and friends from afar who know that this is the perfect time for a visit. In addition to creating the ideal itinerary to show off our favorite local spots (need help creating one for your city? We’ve got you covered!), we love any opportunity to reevaluate our guest rooms to make sure the place we’ve set aside for visitors is as comfortable and welcoming as possible. Whether you look at it as an exercise in maximizing space or a chance to experiment with your taste, you have to admit there’s just something so satisfying about creating the perfect enclave for a friend.

tsg-guest-rooms-1When it comes to a guest room (or any room, for that matter), you cannot go wrong with neutrals. Far from feeling stark or sterile, neutrals create a calming palette anyone can appreciate. Who wouldn’t feel spoiled in the top room by Triangle Interiors? Between the luxurious linens and the fabulous yet functional leather and lucite bench we might never leave. The neutral nook by Wiseman and Gale is equally inviting; we’d love to cozy up under the camel throw. Tyson Geary’s room (bottom, right) is full of wonderful touches. The gray gingham accent pillows and blanket add a homey touch without sparing sophistication, and the stool is both a quaint and thoughtful addition.

tsg-neutral-3A salon grouping of framed antique art adds warmth and interest without straying too far from the neutral vibe, and offers guests an opportunity to play guess-the-ancestor (no need to tell them you’re not related). As shown in the room by Nest & Cot (top, right, captured by TSG: Houston photographer Megan Thompson Lovoi), a few simple elements thoughtfully placed on a dresser can go a long way in saying “welcome to your home away from home.” And a single pale pink bloom is a sweet addition to the neutral beauty designed by Sarah Hamlin Hastings Interiors that will make any guest feel extra special.

tsg-guest-room-wallpaper-2A guest room is the perfect place to experiment with wallpaper – there’s something about it that is just so inviting. We love the cheery pink and orange print in MMR Interiorss room. Nelson Barnum’s plaid guest quarters are anything but stodgy. And the paisley print in the room featured below, right is perfectly complemented by crisp monogrammed pillows by Leontine Linens.

tsg-guest-rooms-wallpaperLavender isn’t just pretty, it goes with everything. We love the floral wall covering paired with a simple white sconce in the room by Sandra Morgan Interiors. The pattern in the Suellen Gregory-designed room makes the space feel done while leaving the sleeping area free of added fuss.



Of course, a guest room doesn’t have to be an actual room. Bright and cheery nooks can easily function as places for guests to rest. While not queen-sized, Jeannette Whitson of Garden Variety’s trundle daybed is fit for a queen. Orrick and Company’s little sleeping space, complete with footed green glass side table and trusty stuffed companion, is a cozy place to rest your head. And who wouldn’t be thrilled to sleep in a pool house as utterly charming as Todd Richesin Interiors’s version? We’d definitely stay an extra night.

{Images via Pinterest and featured businesses}


Not-So-Traditional Thanksgiving


Traditions have their place, and we’re all about the comfort the comes with continuing the family rituals that have been shared from generation to generation. That said, we think switching it up is just as important! Here are 3 ways for you to do exactly that this Thanksgiving.


#1: Keep it casual. There’s an assumption that on Thanksgiving, you have to use your nicest china, silver, and crystal. All the things you got for your wedding or that have been passed down to you from the older generations. It’s almost as if there’s an obligation to use it, especially since in today’s world there aren’t many opportunities to be fancy.

But who cares about all that. Free yourself to go casual! Who says you can’t use your formal things on a random Tuesday night?

- Use your everyday white china, the casual utensil, and simple canvas napkins.

- Instead of a fancy tablecloth, use your favorite scarf as a runner, raw burlap, or even brown craft paper.

- Don’t spend money on flowers. A long twig, wheat, feathers, and ferns all picked from your yard take on new meaning when artfully arranged at the table.


#2: The simplicity of potted plants placed down a long table is utterly chic, and a no fail way to create atmosphere. Above, Atlanta based interior designer Barbara Westbrook uses autumnal plants and rosemary bushes. The rustic table, casually upholstered chairs, and dark, plum colored room make for a moody, atmospheric Thanksgiving look.


#3: Mix in fun patterned china plates and ornate silverware. Pictured first is a fun scene that Naples event planning experts from 50Fifty styled for Naples Illustrated. The colorful peacock plate anchors the cornucopia of fresh fruit, creating a delightful more-is-more feel. Below is a table setting suggestion from Norfolk’s Table Seven. The toile plate, simple linen napkin, and wheat/lavender detail has a lovely, old-fashioned feel to it.


Renaissance Revival



It’s no news that designers have embraced a medieval aesthetic. After last season’s baroque explosion, this season comes with lavish embellishments, dramatic capes and royal silhouettes. The climax of this ornate trend was Dolce & Gabanna’s byzantine collections, seen above on the left. However Sarah Burton’s collection for Alexander McQueen is just as lavish, complete with cage-like jewels that cover the entire face.

The point is that it feels like this trend is bigger than just a runway seasonal choice. Collecting furnishings and antiques from these ancient era’s is quite popular, and mixing these old pieces into decor is common practice. In terms of the look, think old needlepoint tapestries, mosaics, embellished everything, brocade fabrics, velvets and damasks. The Byzantine inspired jewel seems to be everywhere as well, characterized by iconographic motifs, roman crosses and many intaglio-clad pieces.

Note the emphasis on regal designs and opulence traditionally fit for royalty back in the middle ages. We’re just not purists over here: we see this all as sort of going together. The royal, crown wearing motifs tie in with the tapestry fetish, which seems to coincide with the brocade dresses and byzantine jewelry theme. Our focus is on the home, and the ways that people are embracing ancient finds in their space.

Tapestry’s have always been considered lavish, belonging only to royalty during the middle ages. They would drape them over their bed to keep warm. Now, these incredibly rare, gorgeous pieces of history are hung on walls or used to upholster furniture. Buy this 18th Century Flemish tapestry and pair of 19th century tapestry covered chairs

from Garden Variety//Nashville, TN // 615.509.2145 // 1st Dibbs



Barbara Westbrook loves to layer in a bit of Byzantine glamour into her decor, as seen in the hanging tapestry, pillows on the bed, first above. And how about this lush, violet velvet tufted bench? Opulent in the best of ways.

Westbrook Interiors // Atlanta, GA // 404 355 9430


The color combination of gold, deep red and cobalt blue seen in this pillow and tapestry is so authentic to the Baroque periods of fashion. They’re sure to add a timelessness to any space. The gifted curators at Trouvé  seem to pick only that which has historical meaning enough to really make your space special.

Trouvé // Scottsdale, AZ // 602.778.9777


Also found in Phoenix: this incredible antique leather chair and wooden chest, apart of a growing collection available for purchase via the vibrant interior design showroom of Wiseman and Gale.


It’s so easy to get a handle of what is chic from simply looking at the different stationery coming out of Arzberger Stationers. Case in point: this hand cut monogrammed card, that has just a touch of Gothic edge, we couldn’t help but include it here.

Arzberger Stationers // Charlotte, NC // (704) 376-6795

TSG_Boroque jewelry

The classic styles of the past have been popular within the TSG network for quite sometime. The best example being Elizabeth Locke, pictured top right. Her designs are always based on ancient cameos, coins or relics, and this Byzantine inspired charm is no exception. Pictured top left is an instagram from TSG CVille’s editor Heather, who is shown trying on the gorgeous rings from Ana Cavalheiro Fine Jewelry.

Of course, if your price-point is not quite, shall we say, at that high a level, never fear, we’ve got vintage finds! Check out Phoenix’s Vintage by Misty’s robust Etsy store, featuring fun clip-ons like the ones above.


Dolce & Gobanna’s Fall 2013 line.


The heels here, as fun as they are, won’t give you as much joy as owning this richly upholstered pillow that you can pass down to your kids. The rare find is naturally from Hunt Country, VA, a hub of great taste and fine breading:

Firefox Gallery & Antiques // 540.687.5241 // Current Featured Items