Scotts, Market, Lake Rats and Bee Stings

When I write a blog post I always enter the title last. Because even if I have intentions to write about a certain subject you really never know what's going to come out. 

Looks like we have some hot topics today!

Let's start with Scotts Antique Show in Atlanta.

Here are some of my finds...

I love a good pile of babydoll heads in the morning. 

Next day: Market

Quick trip, but I took a bunch of pictures so I could remember what I saw. 

Nancy Price/ Design Legacy showroom...

Blue Ocean Traders...

BoBo's Intriguing Objects (always a favorite):

Then I headed down to Lake Martin for a much needed girls weekend. Felt good to be a lake rat. 

Oh, and I was excited to finally eat brunch at Spring House- the new(ish) restaurant that people have been raving about. If chef Chris Hastings has anything to do with the food I'm there!Tracery Interiors also did such a great job with the furnishings and details. 

I loved the plank walls...

and the rock garden...

To see more pictures of the restaurant (I was clearly too busy stuffing my face) visit their portfolio here

Last Topic:

My dad has recently become a beekeeper, which I find really cool. (Yes Dad you read that correctly) It's such an intricate, fascinating process.

So despite my minor fear of bees, I got all strapped in, zipped up and ready to enter their busy territory.

"They won't bother you, Rachel."

Riiiight... Honey badger don't care. 

I learned the hard way that bees don't mind stinging you through custom fitted skinny jeans. Ouch. 

Note to self:Don't try to be a hipster while harvesting honey. You already lost the battle when you put kitchen gloves on.

France, Part II

So….The Intermission lasted a little longer than expected. I had intended to finish up the second half of my France post but the jet lag threw me. It took me a few days to recover. 

Where was I…?

We were sad to leave Gavarnie, but after my brother convinced me that the hotel reminded him of The Shining I felt better about leaving.

Then we took our traveling circus to the Atlantic coast. First stop...

St. Jean de Luz

a charming fishing port on the Basque coast, near Biarritz.

Les. Pois. Sons, Les Poissons!

After endless amounts of windy mountain roads it was SO nice to see the horizon... against crystal blue water.

Being a fishing village, the markets were full of interesting creatures... 

The streets were very crowded during the day although this picture proves just the opposite.?

It's weird- I came back from France and ended up with pictures of abandoned streets and shrimp. Oh wait, here's one that proves we were around people:

A local festival activity.

Dad even did a little jig in the streets.

We stayed at the the most charming hotel- Hotel Deveniere- it was more like a local bed and breakfast.

Our courtyard out back...

That my mom liked to draw while we sat down there and sipped on wine...

And just so you know this is what my mom's sketchbook/journal looks like. Her way of describing what we ate… Martha S. would be proud, right?. 

Le Deveniere is full of antique furniture and authentic English flair. 

I loved their hardware:

This was our room-

To the left you will notice a uni-pillow. Hoyt and I like to flip our pillows alot in the middle of the night so this quickly became a problem.  We had to coordinate the pillow turns like they were football drills. If you had a tape recorder you would have heard sporadic yelling throughout the night: "… FLIP!!!!…. FLIP!!!!"

Definitely a first time for everything.

Other than the pillows, we loved our room. 

I didn't take great pictures but the rest of the place has such character. Felt like you were visiting a relative… right at home. 

This was definitely the most relaxing part of the trip, which we needed. After a few nights of pillow flipping and dancing in the streets we packed our bags and left the beach...

We hopped on a train and headed North. 

Next thing I knew we were in Paris.!!!

I have never been to Paris and immediately fell in love with the city. 

And that's not easy for me. It usually takes me a while to love big cities.

But Paris has an energy to it that sucked me in- it's elegant and edgy at the same time. 

We stayed in the heart of St. Germain- (at Hotel Millesime)- and I honestly could live in that area in a heartbeat. Such diversity. So much ART!! 

We didn't have much time there so we tried to visit as much as we could. This is also the reason I (regrettably) don't have as many pictures as I would like. OK- and I admit- I wanted to fit in and it's not very Parisian chic to wear a chunky camera around your neck.

Museum D'Orsay… a must see. Period.

The paintings gave me chill bumps. 

Notre Dame… So cool.

 We hit up Shakespeare and Co.- a little bookstore that's definitely worth a visit. During the 20s and 30s this place was a place of refuge for struggling writers like Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, Scott Fitzgerald, and others; owned by George Whitman. This charming bookstore is definitely worth seeing (across the Seine from the Notre Dame)

Not really sure what's going on with the father/son in the foreground. Hmmm… 

Pretty sure what's going on with father/daughter here.  Father sharing an important history lesson. Daughter nodding along but really paying attention to the wood paneling details behind him. 

St. Chapelle (which many of you recommended!!) was, ofcourse, stunning. 

Why don't we make buildings like this anymore?

Inside the Chapel on the second floor were the most beautiful, intricate windows I've ever seen. 

But I kept finding myself staring at the vibrant patterns on the ceilings and floors, envisioning what textiles I could make out of it.  Go figure...

Then, of course,  


I just had to stop in the fabric showrooms like Nobilis, Pierre Frey, etc. 

I celebrated my 27th birthday here- and toasted with an amazing mojito while overlooking the Louvre. (I think it should be a ritual, don't you?)

I read in SKY magazine (I was desperate) an article about Paris. I thought this quote summed it up beautifully:

In Paris "happiness consists of something intangible and fleeting. That success can't be measured. That your experiences matter above all else…. At the very least, Paris gives charm to life's daily grind. At it's extreme, the city changes you."

(thanks mom and dad)

France, Part I

Bonjour mon amis...

I'm back!!

I have LOTS of pictures to share. And had plenty of time on the plane ride to come up with a post. Whenever journaling, writing or blogging it's best to get it all out before you a) forget the memories and b) find that you don't have time in a week. It's now or never.  So put your reading glasses on folks… and grab a BIG cup of coffee. 

Ahhh…. France. !!

Where. do I. begin  ?

The trip was unbelievable. My family likes to travel a little "off the beaten path" which means there are surprises around every corner. And a very well-rounded itinerary (with some help from Bronwnell Travel).

It started by flying into Barcelona and cramming into a little rental car: 5 humans+ 5 bags +5 carry ons+jetlag= a traveling circus.

This isn't the car but it felt that small so let's just pretend.

(also please note the fact that Hoyt and Cooper are playing with a bunny in the background. He followed them around like a puppy dog. We like to think he has a heavy French accent and goes by the name of Behr'nard De'pardieu


We were unable to spend time in Barcelona- (that's for another trip!) We immediately drove up the beautiful coast of France. Pit stop: Coulier, one of the towns that sits on the Mediterranean, looked like the perfect spot to grab a bite to eat and some fresh air.

Then on to Carcasonne, the walled city- founded in the Golden Age:

What's the Golden Age you might ask?? NO frickin clue. ;)It's just old.  

I won't bore you with a history lesson but it really was fascinating.. I felt a little like Harry Potter. But that could've been the jet lag….

We went to the local market, explored the city, and ate amazing food. (story of the trip)


Inside the walled city was this gorgeous chapel. The architecture!!! 

This group of men stood up and started singing. They sounded like angels.

Everyone silenty sat down and watched in awe...

Beautiful hotel within the walls...

Before dinner that night we walked down to see what was on the other side of the castle. 

(If only we had capes on in this picture…)

And Cooper felt like the third wheel only a few times-

My favorite picture-  it just makes me laugh. Gotcha Pops.

After a nice few days stormin' the castle' we crammed back in our car and played word games, practiced our French, and did sing a longs.

 I'm kidding. 

Think: Griswold family.  Dad trying to translate the French road signs (on volume level 10) accompanied with a familiar British woman's voice saying "recalculating" on repeat, getting stuck at toll booths with a line of angry Europeans honking behind us, siblings in the back flicking and picking on each other, complaining about someone leaving "stinky cheese from the market" in the hot car, telling Dad to please stop swerving Rachel's going to throw up. Mom trying to take photos out a moving vehicle and feed her hungry family by rationing out whatever she has: an old french baguette and a jar of pepper jelly.  Your typical family road trip. 

The next stop was Gavarnie. Good friends of our family recommended it but other than them no one had ever heard of it- not even the locals. We drove into the mountains for what seemed like forever- "recalculating". 

We just kept following the signs, holding on to our stomachs as we hugged ever treacherous turn.  Then finally, we turned one corner and came upon this….

Our mouths dropped in unison. I think my brother's gum fell out.

We stayed a night in this old charming hotel.

The inside really needs updating but when your room has a view like this- who really cares?

My dad corralled his traveling circus and announced we were going on a short hike.


(second favorite pic)

We were all just assuming a stroll down the street' so we didn't really prepare. And by prepare I mean: prepare to hike straight UP the frickin mountain.

Which is why Hoyt is seen wearing his corduroys. And we have two giant cameras and zero water.

We didn't complain (okay- maybe a little) because once we reached the top the views were breathtaking.

The town is pretty busy during the day with hikers, locals, etc. but at night it is eerily quiet.

Hoyt and I overlooking the tiny, magical city. Quite the secret. Part of me wants someone to take over the town and put great restaurants and hotels, but then I'm afraid it would lose it's charm.

Either way, if you are ever in that part of France it is definitely worth seeing.

Are you still reading?

Let's break for Intermission.

Tomorrow I'll post the second half of the trip: St. Jean de Luz and my personal favorite- Paris.

*These pictures are taken by myself and ma mere. I have a Canon Rebel XSi and my mom has a Nikon D90. We both don't have any experience other than practicing, take thousands of pictures, and never using flash.

Happy Thanksgiving

I'm heading out to our farm for Thanksgiving with the family. I can assure you there will be: lots of eating, lots of napping, lots of football, and lots of fishing.

(flashback 20 years)

Oh yes. I could catch a mean fish with that (dirty) outfit. I know y'all want those boots but unfortunately I don't think they sell them online anymore. Or anywhere, for that matter.

I'm looking forward to spending time with loved ones and taking a breather. It seems that time is flying by lately and before we know it another year will be behind us.

This year I have a lot to be thankful for. And I felt like making a list. So here goes… (in no particular order)

  1. My parents. Blog words cannot express how thankful I am for these two.BHwed078 
  2. My best friend. Happens to be good looking and really funny.


3.Boots. All shapes and sizes.

4. A good cup of coffee.

5. Sweet animals… who love you even when you torture them.


*We lost Hobbes (our orange kitty) this past summer. :( I guess I haven’t wanted to admit it on the blog. But I am thankful for Hobbes- thankful that he was our ‘little buddy’ for 3 years. He will be missed.

6. Sleep. Gotta love it.

7. Iphones. Sometimes I curse the day they were invented but I have to admit- they do make life/work a lot easier.

8. My younger brother, Cooper. We used to fight like cats and dogs when we were younger- now we compete together for our parents attention. Us vs the cats and dogs. 

Linville August 2006 075
9. The little things in nature that are so beautiful I have to stop and take a picture.


 10. Music!

11. My friends (old and new). I don’t know where I would be without you guys. This picture is from our wedding and although it doesn’t include everyone I think it accurately illustrates my friendships.

Wedding professional pics 361_2

 12. Hoyt’s side of the family. My in-laws, his brothers and their wives, his sweet grandparents… I couldn’t have asked for a better bunch. And we miss you all this Thanksgiving!

13. This includes my painfully cute nephews and nieces. This pic was a while ago (and it's only half of them!) but I love it. 


14. Fabric samples that show up at my doorstep. And when I find the downtime to sift through them, oooing and ahhing.

15. Help. I’m thankful for Amy who works her boots off in the office and is my right brain. And Leslie who is my part of the brain that I think I was born without- the accounting and bookkeeping part. Thank the Lord for them!

16. My clients! I’m thankful that doing what I love results in lasting friendships. It makes everything worthwhile.

17. A booked schedule.  Although at times it’s overwhelming, I’m thankful for work.

18. Funny youtube videos that have me in tears from laughing.

19. Photo Booth, Yearbook Yourself, FatBooth (Ohhh the tears.)

Photo on 2010-11-24 at 15.41
(anonymous freak)

20. A comfortable bed.

21. My only living grandparent- Elsie Lee, aka “Mimi”. She’s adorable and hilarious. She inspires me to stay young at heart, and I’m thankful for that.


22. FOOD!!! Good, good food.

23. Running Water. (I just asked Hoyt to insert one and this was his.)

24. Marrying a utilitarian. :)

25. Good wine, good conversation.


26. Scrabble with Friends (the real life version). Ok, and Words with Friends (I’m addicted.)


27. Shelter magazines and design blogs.

28. YOU. Seriously… thank you for reading. And for always being encouraging!

29. God’s grace. (See evidence: #1-28)

  Wedding professional pics 629 

Happy Thanksgiving! 





Opinion Game

Sometimes I accompany Hoyt to his business school functions. And find myself standing in a circle with a bunch of people talking about equity markets. I smile and nod hoping someone will bring up a topic I can remotely relate to. ... or just hand me a drink.
Hoyt always assures me that if he were standing among several designers he would feel like an idiot too.

He usually doesn't care about house stuff and patiently plays along when I rearrange our rooms every 3 weeks. He pretty much keeps his opinions to himself and lets me do my thing.. which I am very grateful for! But he has to have an opinion- everyone has an opinion, right? So one night I tested him.  (I'm in PINK) (Hoyt's in BLUE) 

Want to play a game??  - me

... Not really. 

You sure?

Okay, what game...?

(I hold up my computer screen with this picture on it)

Bedroom_elle decor
 What do you think about this room?

Love it. Except- I hate zebra rugs...

 But I like that- ya know-headboard thing.....And I like those little lamps that stick to the wall.


.. yeeaah. 

Ok. What about this room?...

 I like the simple frame. It's not ornate..

You can be really honest in this game. It's your personal preference.

(He glances at my expression, making sure it's truly safe)

 The dog looks weird and the chandelier is ugly.


What about this?

LOVE that.

I like wood. Wood's good.

I pretty much love anything with tons of wood and metal.

Hmm.. Shocking! 

And did you seriously just say 'wood's good' ? 

Mirror sunburst083 

That's cool. I like red lamp shades.. I mean, who has those?? Can WE get red lamp shades? We can put it on that lamp-? (points to our floor lamp)

No, we can't do that.

Well whatever- OR we could get a green one to go with the-

No babe- let's stick with the lamp shade we have.


 It looks like Grandma's Pottery Factory. 

And what's so bad about that?


Not practical.

Fair enough. But I like it.

 Nothing about that photo I like. I mean... not at all. 

You know it's Chris Martin's dining room. 

Well his dining room must be from 1972- from the TV show Dallas.

Uhh... it's okay.?.... I like it.

Really? I thought you wouldn't.

Well, the chairs are the same as the---I need more contrast!!

(looks at me with a smirk as he proudly uses his new design word)

The bed needs to be darker too. Contrast. YOu know how I love contrast..

I think you just like to say your new design word.

That too.

Last one-

Elle decor mischka
I love that.

Me too. Glad we can agree on something. :)

 Does your significant other have an opinion about design?


(1) via elle decor (2) via veranda (3) via house beautiful (4) designer William Waldron, via Southern Accents (5) Designer Kathryn Ireland, via Veranda (6) via urban grace (7) designer Suzanne Kasler, via House Beautiful, photo credit: Frances Janisch (8) Badgley Mischka's kitchen, via Elle Decor, photo credit: Roger Davies

Art Quilts

It's time to introduce my April artist. Before I begin I'd like to state for the record that I do not get paid to talk about these artists nor do I expect anything in return. I simply want to share my secret resources with you...and brag about the incredibly talented people I am surrounded by! If you have missed out on the previous artist intros click here and here

So far these artists have been near and dear to my heart, and this one is no exception:


Meet Murray Johnston (aka "Muff"), my wonderful aunt. Muff is an art quilter.


What is an art quilter?? you might ask.

It's exactly as it sounds. She quilts works of art. And they are. Amazing.


<click to enlarge- the detail is insane!! >

She takes scraps of fabric then pieces and sews them together like a collage to create beautiful works of art that can be hung on a wall! Atleast, that's how I describe it. Her description of the process is much more eloquent so I asked her a few questions and let her do the talking.. (from here on out I will comment in blue)

Who has inspired your artistic style?

I majored in art history in college – so the list of dead artists who have influenced me one way or another is very long and would get very boring to try and list them. (thank you for sparing us:) 

BlueCanyonMemory Actually – it is not really the artists themselves or their styles that inspire me – but it is nature and the land that surrounds me that seems to bring out my creative juices.  I am constantly challenged and inspired by what I see and hear as I climb the mountains or walk out onto my deck in the early morning or late afternoon. The colors of the day, the messiness and intricacies of bark and leaves, the sound of the wind and the rain are a constant delight.  For me – the trees in the moonlight whisper and creak and send me messages about what to do next.  Light falling across the yard and the shadows of the trees is the best kind of inspiration.  I also would have to include the contemporary quilt artists  Michael James– not so much their styles but the way they showed me how to take that artistic  leap and be willing to risk it and try something new. 


Windswept II copy copy 

The Studio 

Muff has a studio in her house that is dreamy...I told her not to clean up. It's perfect just the way it is! Here she describes the detailed process of creating her art quilts...

IMG_4162 "Beginning with an idea /memory, the surface design of the quilt grows and changes as I work to have it become the unique expression of the original memory. This surface is a combination of fabric collage and machine piecing. Cotton fabrics and batting and rayon threads are the medium. Textile inked fabric and hand printed words on fabric may be incorporated into the work. The process is primarily done on a large work wall... (see below)

The whole image is finally enhanced with free form thread drawing, outlining and filling in the abstract images of the surface design. The images that make up the quilt come from my heart and my head with little drawing ahead of time."


In terms of quilting, what is your greatest achievement so far?  

Without a doubt – it is the quilt that I was commissioned to do for the new chapel at Duke Divinity School in Durham, NC. It is a triptych that is 8 feet high and 10 feet wide. It depicts the Tree of Life and the River Jordan feeding the Judean desert. It took me five months to complete and I was not working on anything else at the time –which is unusual for me. It hangs above the entrance to the Care at the End of Life Offices in the School and was used on the Dean’s Christmas card the year after it was done. I am very very proud of that piece. 

Duke divinity 

(Have any of you seen it? Amazing.)

  What books are currently on your bedside table


Well, I always read several books at once- and tend to re-read certain things. But currently: White Teeth by Zadie Smith, John Adams by David McCullough,  Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress by Susan Jane Gilman (I love this one!! It's the only book that has ever made me laugh out loud.) and lastly- Savory Baking and a Sarah Foster Cookbook – I can read cookbooks like novels – never have too many! (note to self: read recipes before bed if you ever want to cook like Aunt Muff)


What are 3 things in life you cannot live without? 

You mean besides my husband, my kids and my dogs?!

Well – I guess that would be fabric, good books and wine. (I'll second that!)

 Circling Light II 

(click to enlarge- so cool!)

Do you have any other passions or interests that consume you like the quilting does?

Abbey Yes – as a matter of fact- I am very into showing dogs - Bernese Mountain Dogs to be specific. I got coerced into it about 10 years ago and found that I loved the quirky world of conformation showing (if you have ever seen the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show on TV – then you know what I do and how crazy it is!) (Muff, where on earth would WE get THAT idea?? *click here for my guess*) And I have also been able to successfully combine the two passions in my PupQuilt Portraits – people send me photos of their dogs that I print onto fabric and then surround with original fabric collage, quilt it and frame it for them.  And my latest is a free form quilted dog head for a health fund auction to raise money to research and battle cancer in dogs. (Seriously guys: Quilting dogs, and showing dogs- she rocks both!)

3pupsboxsm K's shih tzu 

Rolling Over the Ridge 

Of all of your quilts which one is your personal favorite and why

Whatever is the last one I am working on – I get excited about each new color or turn that I decide to take  - so it is always my favorite.  And my current favorite is the free form tree quilt – Watcher In the Wood...

Watcher 2 

It has been a huge change and very liberating for me to move from the confines of the usual rectangular shape of a quilt into this totally free form work. It is still a quilt in the sense of having three layers and being stitched – but it is now an almost sculptural form and I am very excited about this new direction.

Free-Wheeling2But then I also love my Box frame pieces that are smaller and easy to place, (like the one to the left- 13"x21"), my Christmas Trees – I call them my tipsy trees, (see below) , my smaller Christmas trees and hearts, (see below) my PupQuilt Portraits – it is hard to not love them all.

Snow Trees
Heart Strings 1 Tiny TIPSY 1 

(These small trees and hearts start at around $50 each, depending on the size. They are perfect gifts!)

Who would you most like to collaborate with on a project

 I already collaborate with my sister-in-law – Bo Berry – your mom. It is a really fun and always a challenge to see how to combine our work. I look forward to our next collaboration – you never know where it is going to take you .

(painting+stitching.... very cool!) 

I also collaborate with Liz Spear – a weaver in NC. I do quilted patches that she incorporates into her clothing. (I see a future Project Runway contestant in the works...)

Art Quilt in Room

When Hoyt and I got married we were lucky enough to get one of her art quilts for our home. I hung it above our TV and the colors and energy of this piece add so much to our room!


But what meant even MORE to me was when she surprised us with ring-bearer cushions for our wedding. Here is my nephew holding one of them before the ceremony (without the ring:). It was the perfect touch to our outdoor celebration!


Detail leaves on the tree

 Last question: What is your favorite luxury in life?

Seeing the clear light of any late afternoon create such wonderful patterns and images across the landscape.

I can never get enough....


To visit Muff's website click here. To contact her for more info or pricing email her at murraybjohnston(at)


Loved like crazy

This weekend I went up to visit my precious nieces and nephew that live in Louisville..  


Every now and then I take off my career woman hat and put on my Auntie Rach hat. It's one of my favorite things to do because my full time job is to love on these munchkins... and squeeze on those little thighs (seen above). 

Don't get me wrong- I know a house full of kids is hard work. It's non-stop and tests your energy, patience and... I'm getting tired just thinking about it. If any of you are stay-at-home parents, props to you! 

But all tantrums aside--- their joy is contagious... you can't deny it.

So here are some pictures I captured this past weekend mixed with Sugarboo Designs artwork (a company that I fell in love with at market- and you will too!) and some other random tidbits...

Picture 4 


Picture 6 IMG_7465 


Picture 2 Picture 5 

Picture 7 


16_TangerineRope_M 20_MagentaBead_canvas_M 20_PinkFlower_cvs_M 

IMG_7451 Picture 13 6a01156e5d7bde970c01347ff7c359970c-800wiIMG_7512 

 Picture 11 

 IMG_7485  Picture 9


 Picture 8 Fuchsia


( uh oh ) Can't help but laugh at Miss Thang. 

Picture 10

All kid photographs by me ( Except that last one- that would be Julianne/Super Mama!.. You've seen her before on the blog- here)  

 This is ( my camera ), I never use a flash, and I'm still learning. :)

All artwork and signs by Sugarboo Designs; navy/black stripe rug from william sonoma; pillows from hable construction; lamp from stray dog designs; pink/orange fabric from Quadrille via house beautiful; hot pink moroccan pouf from John Derian

Merry and Bright*

Merry Christmas!!

We're at home with family in Birmingham. 

Internet/phones have been down for the past 3 days. And to top it off the power went out the other night. No reason... a squirrel must have gotten some happy feet on the transformer out here in the woods.

 It's been kind of nice... and gives us an excuse to light every single candle in our house. 


My mom and I decided some 'greenery' was much needed in her table setting. Luckily we live in a wooded area with lots of moss so we grabbed our flashlights and went on a midnight hunt for moss.

Came back with a bag full!



I'm signing off for the week, but before I do- 

What's Christmas without a few humiliating Christmas cards from years past...??


My mom (left) and her two sisters in front of their country christmas tree straight off the farm.

My first Christmas... (or second?)

Ahhh yes. The year we put a donkey in our christmas card. That's my little brother, Cooper. (and the boy to the left? no idea.)  


 A drawing by me, 7 yrs old. Check out my Dad's creepy face...

the picture that went with it... as always- strangling our animals.


Although it's been said

many times, many ways

Merry Christmas    to you!


Bo Berry Art

A while back I promised you all that I would share my secret resources and introduce an artist every month. Well, if you're keeping up with my promises I obviously skipped October. And you've also probably found that I have skipped 2 notes to months. Ahhhhh just give me some time- I'll catch up. 

This November I'd like to introduce you to another artist, one of my very favorites, and she just so happens to be... My mom.

Bo Berry

Mom Shapeimage_1 

Born and raised on a farm in a small town outside of Greensboro, Alabama my mom began to paint the beautiful, rural scenery around her... And it stuck. Growing up I used to tell my friends: "My mom? She paints farm animals." 

 Drawn to the simplicity of that country life  her oil paintings reflect "the beauty of rural scenes, the farm animals and the bounty of the good earth."
I asked this talented-mother-of-mine some questions:

To get to the other side 

to get to the other side

 What is your favorite luxury in life? 

    Only one? There are lots of mini- luxuries that I appreciate more and more everyday... like summer tomatoes, heated car seats (she's being polite here- we like to call them 'butt warmers'), walks, thunderstorms, driving down a country road, working in my garden, coffee in the morning with my husband, my devotional and a dog or two at my feet. 

Rainy day at home 

(She isn't lying here, folks. Cats, dogs, everywhere!! Each with their own bed!)

But if I have to say one, it would be the freedom we have to enjoy all of the above and more.


Picture 2


Something to squawk about 

remember seeing this chicken in this room: ??


   What has inspired your artistic style?

 I have always been inspired by artists who have strong use of light in their paintings like Edward Hopper, some of Fairfield Porters works and many Russian artists in the last century. Of course, the masters inspire us all. I particularly like the rich colors of Pierre Bonnard. 

Goose necks 

Goose Necks

Picture 3

Dont Cry for Me Vidalia

Who would you most like to collaborate with on a project

   I have collaborated with my sister in law, Murray Johnston, who is a wonderfully talented textile artist. She creates contemporary art quilts that are stunning. (that's for another month!) For our collaborations she will prepare a piece of canvas, I paint on it leaving a border of a few inches and then she quilts the border incorporating fabrics that blend with the painting. We appreciate each others work and have had a couple of "sister shows" together.


"Cowlaboration"- *double click on it for the full effect- you can see the perimeter is quilted on and the middle section is painted. Stunning in person!


What books are currently on your bedside table?

   I have a couple of stacks in different places but to name a few.. The Art of Racing in the RainThe Story of Edgar Sawtelle, The Ragamuffin Gospel, Driftless, To Kill a Mockingbird...

Quality time 

Quality Time

What inspires your creativity and designs?

   Usually I am inspired when I see the subject and I visualize it on a canvas. It can happen when I am driving on a rural road (like I mentioned above) and I see a clothesline moving in the breeze or cows grazing in the late afternoon light. I love walking through the Farmers' Market surrounded by a plethora of colors and shapes.


Carrots and raddishes 

Picture 5

Of all of your paintings which one is your personal favorite and why?

  I don't think I have a single one.. there have been lots of favorites over the years. Some of them have 

sentimental value and there are a few that come under the "wish I hadn't sold that one" category. I am not a hugely prolific painter so each one is significant and if I can't keep it, I want it to have a good home. :)



Unsold cat   Unsold chicks

Unsold sheep 

Since you've always painted out of your home have you ever run into any problems with that? 

Picture 4
 I have done pen and ink renderings of homes for many years. If is very detailed and tedious work. (see above) Years ago when our children were small I worked in our dining room. This one particular day I had been working long hours on a drawing and leaned it on the hutch to go into the kitchen. My son who was about 4 at the time was charging around the house in his red cape (his wardrobe staple for most of that year)...

Cooper cape And as he swept through the dining room with his sword in hand (a magic marker) he took a swipe at the drawing leaving what looked like a Zorro mark straight across the middle. Luckily Dad was at home and stood between me and my son- who knew by the color of my face that he was in deep trouble.  Bless his heart! Lesson learned for both of us. 

Just in case you don't believe her- here's a picture of me and my brother Zorro at that age:


(Another one of our fine Halloween moments... do we look drugged or what?!) *And if you're wondering where I come up with these old pictures so fast- it's because most of them were used for our wedding video and thanks to my mother-in-law they are now on my computer!)


What is your most unusual request?

  I had a young woman ask me to paint her father's favorite pet...his chicken. She said she would take some pictures and send them to me.  Of course I expected to get pictures of her in the chicken yard but instead I get ones of the chicken sitting on the sofa eating spaghetti off her Dad's plate!  

(Mom, that's so weird. Please send pictures...)

Picture 6


Lastly, what are the things in life you cannot live without

 My faith, my family, my friends and the critters. 

Dogs Linville August 2006 076
And yet another one from our wedding slideshow (for kicks):

Whoa, Watch out for those cheeks!    Now if only I could only get Mom to find the picture of a chicken eating spaghetti...


Although many of the paintings above are sold works, some are unsold. {Contact her for more info}

To visit the Bo Berry Art website click here.

You can also email her at bo.berry(at)


Rooftop Party and flowers


This weekend I helped throw a party for Hoyt's, and his good friend, Russell's 30th birthday. A group bday party with a handful of Hoyt and Russell's close friends and family. 

The invitations:


I thought it was pretty funny. (Made from That was the only embarrassing thing I was allowed to do for the whole get together. Trust me, I wanted to do more.

We scored BIG with the location. Russell is a contractor for Brasfield and Gorrie, the company responsible for constructing the Pinnacle Building in downtown Nashville. It is the first new building to gain LEED Silver Certification- a national standard that measures a building's greenness, or environmental friendliness. So we were able to throw a rooftop party atop this fabulous new building!!


Since the setting was so beautiful we didn't have to decorate much at all. We just put small arrangements of zinnias on the tables, with burlap tablecloths and some striped ones from Target. 



birthday boys and their girls- it took about fourteen different tries to get a good picture. Hoyt is known for blinking every time someone says CHEEEEESE. Exhibit A-




the early arrivers got to see the sunset...





This giant storm cloud came rolling in... along with a swarm of black birds. All of a sudden it felt like we were overlooking Gotham City.


Good news- it did not rain. And the weather was perfect!

On a similar note: Have you seen the new fall issue of Flower magazine? It got me really excited about the autumn season!!! It included a bunch of simple flower arrangements that are just beautiful. For example:


Pick up the latest issue to see more! Or click here to get a subscription.

Which brings up another thing I've been wanting to post about. How cute are these cards? Stationary by Courtney Khail, spotted via flowermag blog.

Courtney stationary




Click here for her website.

Sorry, I got a little side tracked! back to birthdays-


This is a picture of Hoyt when he turned three.

This time he turned thirty and although he wasn't AS excited about his birthday, I think it turned out well. 



Decorating Mistakes

Liza and Elizabeth from Style Blueprint (our favorite Nashville style blog!) asked for me to share a few mistakes people make when decorating their home...

Before you click over to read- I thought of another mistake that I often see in homes:

People tend to OVER decorate. Don't mess with a good thing.

Our tendency to over decorate always reminds me of a funny story about my niece, Whitman.

(This isn't the last time you'll hear about my highly entertaining nieces and nephews)

About a year ago Whitman came home from Mother's Day Out pretty upset. It was festival day and the face painting lady did NOT decorate her face the way she wanted.

"Well, what did you want?" her mother asked as sweet Whitman stared up at her with a butterfly and heart on each cheek. 

"I wanted a snake on my forehead!" 

Whitman 1

Hmmm.. can't imagine why the face-painting-lady refused that one.

So her mother kindly drew a green snake across her forehead and called it a day.

You would think that the story ends here... Wrong. 

The very next day Whitman decided to decorate her face the way SHE wanted.....

Whitman 2

I repeat: Don't mess with a good thing.

Thanks Liza & Elizabeth! 

And Whitman, when you get older and realize I have put these pictures of you on the internet you might not be pleased with me. If this is the case you have my permission to paint my face however you want.
Me and whit


Berry Patch

We went home to my parents house over the holiday weekend... Every few months I get to a point where I need a recharge and there is only one place I want to go:

My maiden name is Berry... this sign has been here For. Ev. Er. 
A bit cheesy but it grows on you.

The house used to be my grandparents but when they passed away my mom and dad decided to slightly renovate it and make it their own. 
Being in the design business I learn new things every single day... so when I go home I'm always noticing new details and renewing my appreciation for this cozy place I (still) call Home.
I wanted to share some of the reasons I love the Berry Patch. And plus, I had some free time to mess around with the camera:

Oh, and I found my grandfather's old, dusty tripod in the attic and messed around with it all weekend. But then it started feeling like work -on a holiday!.... So I quickly found a new use for it: 

The Setting:

The Garden (props to Mom)
The back patio setting... 

The Kitchen

This is where everyone hangs out... I don't know why I didn't take a picture of this but right behind me is a wall of windows and 2 comfortable chairs. AKA: Prime Location

I love the little jars/pottery/artwork sitting around everywhere. Cozy clutter.
*This is a perfect example of having an all white (or neutral) kitchen and adding color with jars, small pieces of artwork, and food! 
IMG_1192 IMG_1422 
*the Jesus art is Lila Graves- and the pottery bowls are Tena Payne

The Produce
Fresh veggies, fruit and flowers from the farmer's market... Always. 
*Never underestimate the power of food and flowers in decorating.

The artwork. Everywhere...
My mom told me not to put a picture of "that ratty sofa" on my blog. Oh well, the room is in the process of getting a face lift so stay tuned... (and say goodbye to Ratty)
*chicken painting in the background is one of my mom's pieces- I'll post more on her artwork soon!

The Views
and my mom's ability to bring the outside IN... literally!:
And probably my favorite part about home...
The Animals
Mona. She's new. She's a rescue dog so she's pretty shy- but sweet as pie.

Fish, but we call her Fesh. My mom rescued her from a neighborhood near our church. She's a drama queen but her eyes are the prettiest color green. I want to turn them into a paint color. 
..and call it "Fish Eyes"
I can see it now: me walking into Porter Paint with a cat carrier.
"May I help you?"
"Yes, please. I need you to match a paint color to something..."
Buck, best dog in the world!
(you can argue with me in the comments section)
Grace, another rescue kitty found around our church. She rules the roost.
Spoiled rotten.
Baby Box Turtle- 
We found him on our walk the other day- he's too cute. And way too small to cross the road! (check out fingernails on either side of him, that small!)
But I let him go because I couldn't figure out what to feed him. And he'd be happier outside anyway.


So those are the main reasons I appreciate going home to Birmingham.
I have to say that it has a lot to do with my parents- the house wouldn't be the same without their welcoming arms (and fresh, home cooked meals).
Which is a good thing to remind myself when I work on residential homes all week. You can spend all the money in the world on fine linens and antique furniture to make your home more inviting and beautiful. But, in the words of Michael Bolton, you ain't got nothin' if you ain't got love

*a bit cheesy, but hopefully I'll grow on you

I. Heart. Home.

Damommy and me 

Meet my grandmother: Murray Berry. And that little squirt she's holding? ME.

In my life Murray Berry was known as "Damommy" (Yes, it's true. Feel free to comment on this name at the end of the post).

In my twenties I find myself asking the same old question: How did I get here? Where did I get this itch to design homes? And in each year that passes the more all signs point to...


 Aside from the life lessons Damommy taught me (including: travel, love well, comb your hair before pictures, follow your heart, dinner before dessert (never the opposite!), no sniveling, and always help people who are less fortunate,.. the list goes on)  I feel that she instilled in me a strong sense of "home."  You walked into her front door and it wasn't just a roof over your head- you were stepping into her world. Everything that she represented was wrapped up in 4,000 warm & cozy square feet.

Home has always been like that for me. And yes, you could definitely say I'm a homebody. I think that's why I love what I do... to help someone else make their home a true reflection of them, somewhere that is a safe haven for their family, a place that provides contentment... Whether it is a client that wants it all with frilly fringe or one who prefers the modern, minimal approach- the second I walk in the front door I enter their world. 

I'm just here to help.

With that being said, Damommy could always count on her fingers the things every home needs. So get out your notebooks:

1. Every House Needs.... A Bookworm

In other words: Display those books! Nothing gives a more lived-in, comfy feel to a house than a stack of hardcover books. In any room...

Bookcase domino simon upton
Image from Domino magazine, RIP :(
Bedroom bookcase martha

Bookcases domino

Bookcases domino roman barrett 
above 2 images from Domino Magazine

My grandmother would always say it's not only important to display your books, but it is how you display them as well. The key here is: Don't think about it too hard. Be flexible!  If you aren't you will end up with a bookcase that looks programmed and stiff. Put them in all different directions, take off the ugly jackets that aren't working with your scheme (no offense Tom Clancy), put your all time favorite books in a prime location, mix the colors up, grab a stack of larger books and place them somewhere else in the room (see picture above).
*One trick Damommy taught me was: When you're filling a bookcase up with rows upon rows of books be sure to have one or two books pulled out and placed on top of the others... like you had just used it. It loosens things up, AND you look smarter. :)
*And another trick (I'm throwing these freebies out, catch 'em while they're hot!): It looks nice to have a good mix of books, artwork and accessories. If you're a numbers person let's say: 70% books, 15% small framed artwork or photographs, 15% accessories (Damommy would say *pottery only)
*And the most important trick!!**: Pull the books to the very front of the bookcase. No shoving them in the back! It makes the biggest difference, I promise.

Bookcase martha

2. Every Home Needs... Fresh Flowers
Enough said.

image from House Beautiful

Houseplants martha

3. Every Home Needs.... Art

I think the moment I really realized my grandmother (drastically) rubbed off on my 'nesting' style was shortly after I got married. We settled into a cute, old house in Nashville and within days I had every wall covered in artwork... and 3 pieces of furniture to speak of. I joked with my friends: "I'd love for you to come over to our new house- We can all sit on bean bags and look at our pretty walls!" 
In other words: BYOC.
Bring your own chair.
We are fortunate to have artistic friends and family (hence the wedding gift wall decor)- and I still have trouble choosing an ottoman over a beautiful framed b/w photograph. 
The point is: start collecting! There is nothing better than artwork.

Artwork urbane martha

Artwork susan lyne martha
Image from Southern Accents magazine

Pink painting

4. Every House Needs.... Good Lighting!

This topic deserves a post of it's own so I won't go into too much detail. But if there is one thing that my grandmother and I both put emphasis on it's LIGHTING. It can make or break a house. Here a few helpful hints from Damommy herself:

*Use pink light bulbs.... it makes everyone (including yourself) look better.


*Turn all the lamps on when you are expecting guests. EVEN WHEN IT'S DAYLIGHT.

Vc lamp1


*All lamps from Visual Comfort

This (is completely unrelated but) goes hand in hand with one of my best friend Katie's advice about how to make your day better: Open your windows. Turn on every light in your room. And make your bed.
... and no, katie is not 4 years old.

*Avoid overhead lights whenever possible. This does not necessarily apply to chandeliers or sconces... I'm talking fluorescents, surface mounts, ceiling fans with light kits, or any other light that frequently catches the silhouette of a dead bug, casting a dark shadow into the room. (You know exactly what I"m talking about)

5. Every House Needs... A Welcoming Entry

Damommy would probably say that the most important part of the house is the entry. Whether that be your foyer, stair hall, courtyard or front porch- do not neglect this spot.

Entry hall-HB Suzanne Kasler
image in House Beautiful, design by Suzanne Kasler

Entry HB j randall powers
Image from House Beautiful, design by J. Randall Powers

Ways to spruce up your entry may include:
*Sweeping the front porch!!
*Replacing out-dated lighting with something that is more your style- a fresher look
*Put your favorite rug in the entry hall
*Take care of the landscaping around the entry
*Grab a handful of gardenias and place them in a vase by the entry door (my favorite smell*)
*Hire an acapella group to sit on your front stoop and sing "Bright Side of the Road" to anyone passing by.... Why not?
A few more beautiful, welcoming foyers:
Entry SA mary evelyn
Image in Southern Accents, design by Mary Evelyn McKee

Porch river martha

6. (Last but Least $)
Every House Needs.... A Mouse

This is a family saying. I can't explain it. Other than the fact that in every one of our homes there is some thing that resembles a mouse. It might be a good luck charm- keeping away the real things. For instance, when my aunt and uncle built their house they surprisingly came upon a corner of their granite kitchen countertops that looked exactly like a mouse! (I'll get her to send a picture for proof)

Start Looking, you'll find one.
And odds are if you don't find a fake one, you might want to call Cooks Pest Control. Or buy one of your own.
To purchase this little guy for your house:


Damommy passed away in August of 2003, shortly after my grandfather's death. We think she died of a broken heart. Perhaps that same roof over her head didn't feel like "home" without him in it.
But she left lifelong lessons with each of her kids and grandkids- mine just happens to be about design. And thankfully it helps me understand who I am and what I'm doing. I think she's looking down from her new Home now- proud that I am sharing her love of all things beautiful...
Although I think if I mentioned that I had a "blog" she would hand me a tissue and send me to bed.

xo RH