By Jason Oliver Nixon
and John Loecke
Gardening has had a massive resurgence since the pandemic began, so formerly forlorn front yards are displaying a newfound floral bounty. Trees have been trimmed, flowers are blooming blowzily, and stone masons have been busily crafting patios and terraces. But how to connect the interiors of your home with its glorious exterior? Bring the timeless, fresh charms of garden-plucked green hues within — whether in the form of paint, wallpaper, fabrics or rugs. As John says, “If it works in your yard, it will work in your home. And there’s no more cool, soothing neutral hue than green.” Think paint colors such as Soft Fern from Benjamin Moore and Dirty Martini from Clare, and fabrics such as Swans Island in Meadow Green from Madcap Cottage.
Palmy, balmy interiors — inspired by a mix of the Beverly Hills hotel paired with a jigger of The Greenbrier and Palm Beach’s Colony Hotel — are bursting into bloom. Think traveler palms reaching hither and yon upon wallpaper and lemon trees scampering across sofas. Says Liz Vaughn, a guiding force at Winston’s iconic Gazebo women’s retailer, “Gorgeous palm leaves march across the library at my home and have created a timeless vibe that is one part Dorothy Draper and another part classic escape. Stepping into this room is like taking a mini vacation, no plane tickets required. The color and scale of the grand palm print wallpaper absolutely dazzles our guests.”
Rattan is finally getting its moment in the sun after seemingly falling out of favor for a blip — but never at Madcap Cottage! And the woven furnishings are not just making star turns on covered porches but also in living rooms and other public spaces. Notes Morgan Cooper, the owner of the glamorous Hive, in Winston-Salem, “Our clients are loving reinterpreted rattan that boasts a dash of unexpected whimsy and wonder. This is definitely not your grandmother’s rattan. And it might be going into a master bedroom or bathroom — not just a sun porch.”
Prince of Chintz
The pendulum always shifts, n’est-ce pas, so should you really have kept those clothes from the 1970s that made you look like Holly Hobbie to use as so-called “nap” dresses now? Rewind to the 1980s. That decade’s go-to textile, chintz, is having a big resurgence, too. “It’s not the highly polished chintz that we remember from Mario Buatta in 1987,” says John. “And we adored Mario. But today’s chintz is a bit more relaxed, less polished, and with more negative space. Perfect for a sofa or an armchair.”
“Pink is such a wonderfully flattering hue,” says John. “A pink-hued room will literally take 10 years off your face. And pink can be both feminine and masculine, so the shade can really work in any room of our home — from a living room to master bedroom or bathroom.” Our go-to pink shades include Pink Ground from Farrow and Ball, Rachel Pink from Sherwin-Williams, and Dead Salmon, also from Farrow and Ball. P.S. Our most favorite escape of late is stunning, pink-toned Manor House Room 23 at the amazing Duncraig Manor and Gardens in Southern Pines. Is it the pink walls that leave us feeling so refreshed?
We love using metallic finishes in home design schemes. But don’t think that we are referring to the old adage that “brass and glass equals class.” Think layered. Aged. Patina. Notes John, “Why not embrace metallics on a ceiling to bring light into a room that lacks luster? We often wallpaper ceilings with metallic finishes, and that gentle sparkle really brings a space to life.” A favorite is The Lost City of Silver from Phillip Jeffries — just heaven.
Tried and True
Noted Winston-Salem landscape architect Jeff Allen turns to classic, timeless garden elements to craft his magical, cooling sanctuaries. Here’s his garden go-to cheat sheet:
1. Boxwoods: versatile, beautiful and sculptural. These classic bushes provide shape and style to any garden and pair well with everything. They can be structural or architectural or can be used as an accent. With regard to the blight, there are varieties that are disease resistant, and there are treatments available.
2. Hydrangeas: dynamic, colorful and dramatic. You can’t go wrong with large sweeps of hydrangeas for dramatic color. Underplant with bulbs to extend the bloom seasonally.
3. Pachysandra: my favorite groundcover. Used liberally in our landscape designs, pachysandra provides continuity with our planting compositions.
Ah, the great outdoors! But where to kick back and relax and sip a cool sauvignon blanc whilst shaded in splendor? Follies are all the rage in England, and these whimsical garden ornaments are quickly spilling across the pond. Think whimsical temples adorned with columns and plenty of space upon which to toss back on a daybed with book and hooch. Turn to Haddonstone, the England-based cast-stone manufacturer, for whimsical creations that range from temples to pavilions, pergolas and more. Plus, Haddonstone has a U.S.-based arm, so that makes the logistical bits all that much easier.
Make an Entrance
As we all paused over the past two, gulp, years, we turned our attention to fixing up our homes and addressed areas that had perhaps been long overlooked. One such space that has been a focal point for our clients has been the foyer. Says Anne Rainey Rokahr, the charismatic owner of Winston-Salem’s Trouvaille Home, “The feeling one creates in the foyer sets the tone for the entire house and should therefore never be an afterthought and definitely not a family drop zone. Even if the rest of the house looks a little messy the foyer should always be pristine. And the foyer is the spot to go grand. Pair a spectacular chandelier (always on a dimmer), a one-of-a-kind chest, and a large mirror with a couple of yards of a fine fabric, and you’re on your way!” OH
Jason Oliver Nixon and John Loecke are the duo behind Thomasville-based Madcap Cottage.