Day Dreaming: A Home Office with a View

Daydreaming of an office with a view. Happy Monday!
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Friday Reflection: The Lilly Pad

This weekend, may you discover uncommon beauty in your everyday surroundings. These photos were taken at Reynolda Gardens in Winston-Salem where I live. The gardens are only 5 minutes from my home but we rarely take the time to go and visit. It is a beautiful time of year to be outside. Get out and enjoy!

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Grilled Fig Salad with Prosciutto and Chevre

When I was first married I had a fig tree in my back yard. I was absolutely astonished at just how many figs one fig tree could produce. I had no idea what to do with them! If I only knew then, what I know now! Fresh figs are only available from mid-July to mid-September. I absolutely adore the texture and depth of flavor roasted fresh figs add to savory recipes. I especially like them when paired with prosciutto and chevre cheese. Roasted with rosemary and honey, figs elevate a simple cheese plate to the rank of gourmet. The sweet and savory flavors pair flawlessly with wine. Not that I would know.

My most recent love affair with figs was ignited during a recent celebratory dinner at the exquisite Artisanal Restaurant in the North Carolina mountains. Truly one of the finest dining experiences I have had in recent years. The husband and I are celebrating 20 years next week and decided to celebrate a little early.  My favorite part of the meal was the special appetizer for the evening ~ a grilled fig and mozzarella salad! I should mention that although I had my camera, my husband suggested ending our 20 journey if I decided to take photographs of the aforementioned appetizer. It was as beautiful as it was tasty! The Winston Salem Journal recently reviewed the restaurant and you can read all about it here.

Artisanal Restaurant

That brings me to the second recipe that I LOVED from my garden club's annual meeting:

Grilled Fig Salad with Prosciutto and Chevre

24 small fresh black figs, halved
2 tablespoons minced rosemary
2 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon grey poupon mustard
Salt and freshly ground pepper
5 ounces fresh baby arugula, washed and spun dry
8 ounces thinly sliced imported Italian prosciutto, preferably San Daniele
5 oz. fresh goat cheese (Chevre)

Place figs on a baking sheet. Top figs with chopped rosemary and drizzle with honey. Broil until slightly brown. In a large bowl, combine the olive oil, balsamic vinegar and grey poupon. Season the dressing with salt and pepper. Add the arugula and the grilled figs and toss with the dressing. Arrange dressed arugula on a platter, then figs, then top with the prosciutto and Chevre.
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Watermelon, Mâche, and Pecan Salad Recipe

I just returned from my favorite garden club meeting of the year! Many years ago, we started the tradition of starting the garden club year by bringing our favorite salad and sharing the recipes. It is a great time of year for salad as the farmer's markets and gardens are still overflowing with fresh ingredients. The first meeting of the year is always packed with business so instead of having a program, we take care of business and share salads. It's a great way to start a new calendar year, and members love the opportunity to socialize after the summer break. I plan to share my favorites from today. Below is a recipe that incorporates two southern favorites ~ watermelon and pepper jelly. It recommends a new lettuce, Mâche, a tender heirloom variety of lamb's lettuce that has a slightly sweet, nutty flavor. I loved it! You can find it locally at The Fresh Market.

Mâche, a tender heirloom variety of lamb's lettuce, has a slightly sweet, nutty flavor, but the salad is equally good prepared with baby lettuces.
Yield: Makes 6 to 8 servings

3/4 cup chopped pecans
5 cups seeded and cubed watermelon
1 (6-oz.) package mâche, thoroughly washed
Pepper Jelly Vinaigrette
1 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese

Preheat oven to 350°. Arrange pecans in a single layer on a baking sheet, and bake at 350° for 5 to 7 minutes or until lightly toasted and fragrant. Cool on a wire rack 15 minutes or until completely cool. Combine watermelon and mâche in a large bowl; add vinaigrette, tossing gently to coat. Transfer watermelon mixture to a serving platter, and sprinkle evenly with pecans and cheese.
Pat Paternostro, Metairie, Louisiana, Southern Living, JULY 2008

Pepper Jelly Vinaigrette Recipe
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup peper jelly
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon grated onion
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup vegetable oil

Whisk together first 6 ingredients. Gradually add oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking until blended.
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Books In Smashing Color!

When my daughter was little she didn't play with her toys. She liked to organize them in 'rainbow' order. Early in her life, she had a distinct understanding of color and a love for order. I would like to think that she inherited those traits from me. It is so gratifying to see just a hint of who I am reflected in my daughter. Although my tastes in interior design have changed over the years, one thing has stayed consistent ~ I like rooms that have a system of order. I prefer a nuetral, clean palatte with an organized presentation of color. I find rooms that are balanced and symetrical calming. I love books and have many built-in bookshelves in my home and am always reworking them and trying new arrangments. I particluarly like to change them around when the seasons change. I have been inspired lately by the collection of photos I selected below where books have been arranged in 'rainbow' order. I should also mention that I have a magazine collection that I love to browse through on a regualr basis and like to incorporate 'my stacks' into the family room shelves.

{Homes and Gardens}

{Mrs. Howard}

Notice the little bar incorporated into the bookshelf display.

I love the thought of 'finding' space for books under a window seat and creating a light filled reading nook.

{Charlotte Moss via Elle Decor}

I have always liked a room stacked to the ceiling with books. I'm not sure when my affection for a library ladder started but need to go ahead and put it on my 'one day' design list.

{Traditional Home}

{Mrs. Howard}

{Mrs. Howard}

{Martha Stewart Living}

{Elle Decor}

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The Art of Espalier

{image Traditional Home via Compulsively Compiled}

I can only imagine my exhilaration if I came outside my front door to discover pears on my espalier tree! Isn't it beautiful! I have always been intrigued by the art of espalier and have often wondered if I could actually be successful at bearing fruit. The picture above might have just convinced me to give it a try.

{image via french gardening}

The best location for an espaliered plant is against a south or east facing wall. Planting close to a wall, especially a brick wall, will help a fruit tree to flourish as the brick absorbs heat during the day and releases heat at night creating a unique microclimate.

{image via Southern Accents}

The espalier featured above from Southern Accents is in the candelabra form, one of the more popular techniques. I am totally smitten with the Belgian fence technique in the photo below, probably a little ambitious for a beginner like me.

{Belgian Fence via Gabriela Delworth}

In March this year, Garden and Gun published an article entitled Citrus as Garden Art by Haskell Harris. She recommended the Alabama mail order company Tasteful Garden for ordering fruit trees and for those of us that would like a little head start, professionally trained espalier specimens, from River Road Farms in Middle Tennessee. I would like to visit River Road Farms in person some day as the entrance to the 340 acre farm is lined with 23 matching 'Bradford' pear trees, espaliered into an intricate lattice pattern known as a Belgian fence.

{image via The Orchard Chronicles}

{image via French Gardening}

A horizontal cordon form {above} is ideal for creating a low living fence.

The lemon tree {above} is fashioned into one of the easiest espaliers to train, the fan palmette.

{image via Colonial Sense}

{espaliered grape vine}

{Belgian Fence}

{espaliered pear tree outside Normandy, France}

An espaliered apple tree at historic Reynolda Gardens here in Winston Salem.
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Mountain Serenity

I have always had an affinity for the mountains and as summer winds down, I crave a weekend getaway. I have recently discovered the most serene and beautiful Inn in the North Carolina mountains that combines my love of Swedish interior design and cooking. The Inn at Little Pond is simply everything I could hope for in a weekend away. The soft gray color palette is stunning and the unclad windows bath the interiors with natural light and afford unobstructed views of the beautiful landscape beyond. The Inn offers a compelling list of culinary experiences including artisan food and wine pairings, cookbook signings, farm kitchen culinary classes, food field trips and hiking picnics.

I recently had the great pleasure of meeting the vision keeper and taking a tour of this lovely inn. It is tucked away down a winding road just past the Mast General Store in Valle Crusis. Follow the link to her website, and you'll be greeted by gorgeous professional photographs of the inn and an impressive calendar of events.

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An Autumn Room

I'm craving a warm room that says Fall.

How does a room say Fall?

Start with a warm color palette with natural pigments from Farrow & Ball. Add layers of natural fabrics like nubby linen, cotton velvets, mohair and worn leather. Lay down a soft antique rug or diamond patterned sisal. Create history and age with antique books and weathered, peely paint furniture. Inspire the architecture with horizontal paneling, rustic old beams and a pecky cypress ceiling. Accessorize with pressed botanicals, silk lampshades, pottery and old paintings in subtle hues. Open the windows and let the breeze flow through. Light a fire and wrap yourself in a cashmere throw.

{Barbara Westbrook}

{Phoebe Howard}

{Reed Davis}

{Charlotte, NC kitchen by Bobby McAlpine}


{Amelia Handegan}

{Bobby McAlpine}

{Phoebe Howard}

{Amelia Handegan via Southern Accents}

{Tammy Conner via Atlanta Homes and Lifestyles}

{Tammy Conner via Atlanta Homes and Lifestyles}

{Phoebe Howard}

{Phoebe Howard}

{Phoebe Howard}

{Stephen Shubert via Habitually Chic}

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