Friday, April 30, 2010

The glass is here!

YAY!! As I sit in our kitchen writing this post, the crew from Clear Glass Creations is upstairs installing our NEW glass shower doors! I CANNOT WAIT to use the bathroom! I don't have photos of the glass yet, so I will leave you with these for now...We have finished painting and installed the toilet paper holder:

Greg was amazing-last weekend while I was at work he started AND finished installing the baseboards:

And NOW the glass is getting done! I will post photos hopefully over the weekend when it's all in and clean.

We have a little more work to do like finishing a built-in-niche, painting the ceiling around the rain shower, and installing the towel bars and rings, hopefully that'll get done this weekend.


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Boxwood Bliss

Although I have a Masters Degree in Sustainable Landscape Design and I LOVE native plants, there are some things I will never give up. This leads me to BOXWOODS. There is something so calming and beautiful to me about the Buxus species (both American and English). Although there are hundreds, maybe even thousands of cultivars and variations it seems that I love them all. Maybe not all equally, but they all have merit.
We have made MAJOR changes in this clients yard, all for the better and they couldn't be happier. We started on the front last week. Here was the before:

And here it is now, excuse the mess, my crew was installing irrigation lines, so that's why there's dirt everywhere. I will get back down there to take some good after photos now that everything is cleaned up and mulched.

I used LARGE English Boxwood, about $250 each to keep in with the style of the house, they like a very formal front garden and a looser private garden in the rear (the path from last week is their back yard.) So in between the boxwood are white carpet roses. They will be low to the ground and will bloom all summer. Clean, white and green. Beautiful!


Sunday, April 25, 2010

Paint, easier than it looks

I'm sure we've all painted a room right? If not, perhaps we've just painted MORE than our share...We are VERY handy and are really lucky to have a mother and father-in-law who are too. They live in Naples, FL and every time they visit we beg, okay, bribe them to help. In all fairness, we don't have to beg and bribe much (maybe just some wine and beer...), they know we both work full time (in spring MORE than full time for me) and are more than happy to help us.

So, Susan (MIL) was here at the tail end of this bathroom renovation, of course not finished enough for us to use yet, but hey, it never works out that way right?? She is GREAT with color, design, etc. so she and I (after shopping and lunch of course) went to the paint store. Oh Benjamin Moore, how I love thee.

We have learned the hard way that paint looks VERY different on the paint deck than it does in a large swatch, and even different than it does throughout the day. So we paint posterboard with our top choices. We live with the colors on the posterboard for a day or so, looking at it in the morning, in the evening, and with and without the lights on. When we've narrowed it down, we'll head to the paint store. Here I am doing the "testing"

Here are two of our choices:
Sandy Shores and Monroe Bisque

And here were the other two:
Wood Ash, and one my MIL actually invented, we stole it from her and our Master Bedroom is painted the same color.

After much deliberation we decided on...Wood Ash. I will put up photos this week, so stay tuned!


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Pathway Perfection

I was lucky enough to get some AMAZING clients in 2007 who have let me completley overhaul their yard over the past several years. They came to me "needing a path." Now any of you in design know that often a client doesn't even know what they need-which is why they called me. They needed more than a path! This was the area when I started:

And here are some photos this past summer:

What a difference a path makes! I will post some photos of the front yard when I get back down there, hopefully this week, the photos with the irrigation flags aren't all that exciting ;0


Sunday, April 18, 2010

Gardening Under Glass

Sunday night I taught a seminar on "Gardening under Glass", a how-to on building your very own Terrarium (I made all the ones in my photos). This is a long post, but a good one!

I know terrariums are a HOT topic right now and Frances (the owner of The Pear Tree Cottage) was sweet enough to organize it and be our gracious host. This is she and I after the seminar was over and before a glass of wine. :)

I will include my write up on the steps and ingredients below, but feel free to check out some of the COOL things she has in her shop along with the beautiful terrariums I made while there.

Gardening Under Glass

Terrarium Workshop hosted by: The Pear Tree Cottage
Taught by: Amy Strunk, Landscape Designer

Items to get you started:
Glass container with or without a top
Gravel, sea glass, pebbles
Activated charcoal
Terrarium plants
Sterile potting mix
Moss (optional)
Decorative elements (optional)

Step 1:
Wash and dry your container well. Add a layer of moss to the bottom of the container, it will act as a sponge to soak up any water and it looks nice.

Step 2:
Layer about 2” of gravel or stones in the bottom.

Step 3:
Add your active charcoal next. This will help drainage in this little eco-system and will also help control any odor that may occur.

Step 4:
Add another layer of moss. This is optional, some people like the green in the jar, and some people don’t. If you’re not adding moss, now is the time for your potting mix. Preferably a few inches so the plants are able to root and establish.

Step 5:
Plant placement-will your terrarium have a front and back or will it be viewed from all sides? Think about layering your plants, tallest in the back, middle next and lowest in front. Or move from left to right.

Step 6:
Get those plants in there! Remove them from their pots, tease the roots and gently place them in the potting mix. You may have to do some pruning, that’s okay; it will help keep the plants the correct size for the space.

Step 7:
Tamp down your soil, you don’t want to leave any air pockets. I like to use my hands, but you can also use chopsticks or a long spoon to make sure the soil is tight next to the plant roots.

Step 8:
Water your plants lightly. You can mist them with a spray bottle to dampen them, just make sure to clean any water off the sides of your glass, you want to be able to have a great view of your new piece of living artwork!

Do you see the frog prince I tucked into the back of this one??

I'll put up a photo of the one I have in my living room later on this week, so check back! *Amy

Bathroom Update

So we are making progress on the bathroom, but came to a standstill tonight when we realized the drawer pulls we liked did not have the correct screws to go through the drawers, UGGGHHH. When you're THISCLOSE to finishing a project you just want to be done. But I know, I know, it needs to be right. And of course we're going to find the right solution, but we're anxious!

In the meantime, I'll give you something happy to check out, the progress pictures of our Master Bathroom redo.

A great friend of ours JR (in photo above), also happens to be an electrician-SOOOO happy to have him as a friend! He came over to help us switch out some ugly outdated 1980s fixtures and update them to can light CFL's (Compact Fluorsecent Lightbulbs) a much more energy effifient light and not to mention a WHOLE lot brighter. Although we did put them on a dimmer switch so we're not blinded in the morning when we first get in there.

There is never a dull construction job, as this is what he found when he took out one of the lights:

Yes, your eyes are not deceiving you, that is a BEER can, Budwiser no less, I mean obviously "The King of Beers" is in everyone's ceiling??

He also hooked up our heated floor and installed a thermostat so it will turn on by itself before we arise in the morning so we have toasty toes in the winter, ahhh, I cannot wait!

In other exciting news...

The cabinets and the granite are in:

And the tile is done!

So I will leave you with that for now and will of course update again when we've made even more progress.

Enjoy the last few hours of the weekend!


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Dwell Studios

So I found this great blog In Stitches through another blog, isn't that how the blog world works...Not only does she have some great ideas, but she's also hosting a giveaway. Now being the meticulious cleaner that I am, these coasters from Dwell Studio on All Modern's website would look GREAT in my house, and keep my coffee tables and end table spot free! However, they could also look great in your house, so go check out this great blog and enter to win!

Gate Coaster in Java

Gate Coaster in Sun

Pop on over and check it out! Off to DC I go to install some BIG boxwoods, I will do my best to take some photos and post what I've been working on tomorrow.


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A bird in the hand

Thankfully is NOT messy. At my job today look at what the crew and I found...

They were sweet enough to put it back up in the tree they found it in. None of the eggs were broken and as we didn't touch them with bare hands I'm hoping the momma bird doesn't smell people and will take care of her young. I'll keep you posted, we'll be there tomorrow and Thursday.


Monday, April 12, 2010

Spring is in full swing

This is an appropriate post as a Landscape Designer. This is the time of year we feel the crush of busy season, spring is by far the most pressing time of the year, followed closely by fall, but for now we're designing and installing gardens daily, sometimes twice a day, very fun but a LOT of work! So on any given day I wish I was hanging out in one of these...Take a look...Let me know what your favorite spot would be!

I loved this modern garden swing from De Bruir, what a perfect way to add some interest and a little modern style into a garden.

The next few swings from Myburgh Designs are very different but very cool.

This pumpkin swing makes me want to curl up inside and read a good book. Perhaps "Where the Wild Things Are" or "Alice in Wonderland."

I especially love this lily swing, and look at that view, right by the river, mmm, I can just feel the breeze as I drift off for a nap. That sounds so nice right about now!

LOVE the wire work on this swing, can you imagine sitting out here as a little girl and playing in the garden. Ahh, what a swanky life with those fluffy pillows!

I will leave you with a leaf swing, as that relates most to my job at the moment and the garden that I need to finish designing. Have a happy Monday!!


Wednesday, April 7, 2010 a good way

As I rushed out of the house (as always) and was backing down the driveway, I looked back at the front garden to see this beauty looking back at me. So of course, the plant geek that I am, put the car in park, grabbed my digital camera and snapped away.

What you might ask is this beautiful weeper? Well, she's no other than a Redbud. To be specific, it's Cercis canadensis 'Traveller'.

A brief history:
Named in honor of Robert E. Lee's horse and as a tribute to his alma mater, Washington & Lee University.

A little on habit, culture and form:
A weeping form which is more compact than most, reaching 10-12' tall and 6' wide at it's most. Although mine is about 6' tall and 3' wide, which is just perfect! The new branches gracefully arch downward, creating a cascading waterfall effect. They will trail along the ground if left untrimmed (nothing a little judicious pruning can't fix!) Vigorous, pest-resistant and blooms with a spectacular show of vibrant pink flowers. Beautiful glossy dark green leaves in summer, mine is in a west-facing garden against brick so it's really hot in the summer and the plant didn't have a single nick on it's leaves.

Here it is on Monday, just starting to open.

And here it is this morning (Wednesday).

Can't wait to get home tonight to see how much more it has changed! Happy Spring everyone

Monday, April 5, 2010

The Easter Bunny

These beautiful Grape Hyacinths welcomed me this morning as I hopped into my car, so I couldn't pass up putting their happy photo up!

We spent Easter at my parent's house. We are lucky that they live close by, so I baked these goodies:

A carrot cake with cream cheese frosting and walnuts in the middle layer. It was a HUGE hit!

Then there were these:

Vanilla cupcakes with vanilla buttercream frosting and toffee nests with Cadbury mini-eggs in them. I got the idea from Torie Jayne , I didn't make the cupcakes the same way, but I did make the toffee nests and they were awesome!

Then of course my talented mom had to upstage me (just kidding) with this awesome Bunny Cake:

My mom used to make this cake for Kathy and I when we were young and we LOVED it. Okay, we STILL love it. And we have cousins that are young (7 and 10) so they loved the bunny cake too. Perhaps now we know where I got my crafty genes from??

Bathroom Progress Report

So it's a VERY good thing I got a new car...An SUV, and a CUTE one at that! I love it! When my husband said "Let's look at a Hyundai" I looked at him like he had 7 heads, but lo and behold, it was by far the best car I test drove (and I drove a LOT of 'em) and the one I ended up bringing home!!

With us working on the bathroom and doing so much of it ourselves, we needed it for projects like bringing our new cabinets home, Greg's car first and then mine:

Two FULL suv's! Greg measuring the spacing to make sure we have everything lined up nicely:

We decided to custom order cabinets from Home Depot. We did a lot of research and decided we didn't need to spend thousands of dollars on cabinets as this is not the forever house. Not that we would spend that even in the forever house-haha, but still. We liked the options of being able to pick and choose our drawer size, base cabinet size, etc. We did have to wait three weeks for them, but I'd say it was worth the wait!

Stay tuned for more updates, they should finish the tile this week and the granite counters went in on Saturday-YAYY!! It's all coming together! Next up, paint colors...