With summer soon approaching I was compelled to show you a peek into Wright-Ryan Homes' Starfish Cottage. This lovely home was built by Wright-Ryan Construction, who have been building Maine's great spaces since 1984. All pictures are from their web site. Let's take a look: We arrive on to a lovely porch. Perfect to relax with a book and listen to the crashing waves.

The entry treats us to a wonderful staircase accented with beadboard - notice the striped runner up the stairs, the porthole interior window, and the nickel lantern. Doesn't this just scream beach house?
We walk upstairs to the heart of the home, the kitchen, designed on the second level to most likely capture the best ocean views.

Notice the fantastic ceiling and porthole window. But, the pièce de résistance' is the starfish railing. What a wonderful custom feature that adds a tremendous amount of personality to this fabulous room. I love the cut outs of marine life and especially the lighthouse post. Notice how the beadboard is brought back into the design scheme, with the lower cabinet doors. The cabinets are a perfect shade of blue, which done incorrectly could have overwhelmed the space. But, this shade of blue actually adds to the ocean and beach feel in subtle but beautiful way. The lighting also reinforces that this is a place for sun and sand! Pull a stool and grab an apple!

One of my favorite secret past times is to peruse architectural design firms websites to see what interesting spaces they are creating. Here is a lovely Greek Revival Pool House designed by Crisp Architects in Millbrook, NY. All photos and information are from the Crisp Architects website.

This jewel box of a pool house serves as an entertainment area for the homeowner and her guests. The architect decided to highlight the Greek Revival details of the main house and to keep the structure as small as possible.

Although the square footage is not large, there is an abundance of classical detailing that gives the building stature and also makes the space comfortably approachable. The lovely design highlights the easy flow between the interior and exterior spaces when the multiple French doors are thrown open.

I love the use of bluestone both as a flooring material throughout the interior and as the material used for the adjacent terrace areas. A lovely entertaining space - perhaps one of my lucky readers have been invited to a party here?

With Spring on the way I was inspired to show you some lovely tablescapes from Sweden!

In all three photos I love the use of natural materials - breadsticks, rosemary, ferns. Also notice the use of white pebbles surrounding white pots with ferns and baby's breath- simple and classic and so easy!

Though not table settings, I just love these place card holders - what a terrific way to recycle and another reason to drink wine!
My best friend recently made these tomato and mozzarella appetizers for a party. They were a hit and so wonderfully displayed. Yummy!

What a simple and beautiful way to display a daisy! Happy Spring!

I stumbled upon a wonderful Swedish kitchen cabinet manufacturer as I was searching relentlessly for inspiration for my own kitchen renovation. I fell in love with the photos. This wonderful company seems to compare to the quality and design of my favorite US cabinet maker, Christopher Peacock. The company name is Kvänum Kok and all photos are from their website. If we just look at the cabinets and countertops, this could be any off white cabinet/black countertop kitchen in America - and yet it has such a Swedish feel. Let's look at how they achieved this.

First, notice classic candle chandelier with greenery and the light floors (for a great post on light floors click on Things That Inspire blog on the left) Also the checked fabric slipcovers on the slat back chairs strengthen the Swedish feel. I love the slipcover tie detailing.
Two lovely Ivy topiaries on the window sill. These are classically Swedish and you can pick them up at Target or Walmart and put them into an ironstone pot.

The sheer printed roller shade drape is beautiful. Add the ironstone, fresh flowers in a pitcher and viola - Swedish Kitchen!

The next kitchen has Cross detailing on the transom part of the cabinet. I love this design because it add a lightness to the space, but keeps all the mess still hidden with in the cabinet. Notice the more contemporary light fixture hanging over the island. It adds an interesting contrast to the rustic fireplace.

Here is the kitchen from a different angle. It shows a traditional banquette. Notice the natural linen cushions and slipcovers - also hanging candle chandelier, sconces, ironstone and bead board. The deer head is certainly a conversation piece, though I hope venison is not on the menu!

Here are the same upper cabinets again, but shown now in full glass panels. Backsplash is bead board and counters are marble. Glass panel cabinets or closed panel cabinets - soapstone or marble. Which do you like? I am understandably torn!
Kvänum Kok has a lovely color palette of green grays and off whites. They also have showrooms in Fort Lauderdale and San Francisco. How lucky for all of us! Check out their website here.

The color red, famous on Swedish Country exteriors also shows up again and again in Swedish interiors. It offers a fresh look when paired with white and is also used in simple florals, checked, and striped fabrics. It adds the punch to rooms which by nature tend to be subdued. Light colored floors and walls really reflect the light and adding the contrast of red allows a vibrancy to a room. Here are some great examples of using red.

These rooms were all designed by Katrin Cargill, famous interior and product designer. Katrin has written several books on Swedish decor and decorating. Notice that the fabrics have a larger scale print on a white background. Also notice her use of red checked fabrics. Here is a lovely room from House Beautiful. Classic red checked fabric on the Swedish bench and notice the red cross stitching on the muslin curtains - great detailing!
Finally, a simple, but classic, ironstone pitcher filled with tulips! Just a few examples to give you ideas on ways to punch it up with Red!


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