Happy Friday, friends!

I must admit that lately I’ve been a little obsessed with the work of designer Mark D. Sikes and, judging by his enormous success, I’m not the only one! His LA home is utter perfection, I’ve posted about it here and here. For today, I thought we can take a closer look at his West Hollywood gardens as they were featured in House Beautiful and Veranda over the years. In addition to the magazine photographs, I’ve corralled some candid images of this dreamy space that Sikes often shares on his Instagram account.

The outdoor furniture is in one of my favorite styles. The sleek, black metal frames are timeless while the ample cushions provide comfort. Sikes reupholstered his Restoration Hardware Catalina set in a soft blue with a white banded trim. Personally, I love both iterations. The elegant furniture set is complemented beautifully with a stone table that displays chinoiserie blue and white porcelain bowls and vases. Garden stools, potted boxwood and geraniums surround are everywhere. Lime washed brick laid in a herringbone pattern covers the terrace and the stairs, fig ivy covers the terraced walls – a blanket of greens that augments the garden experience. So charming!

Cafe Design | Patio Dreams 1

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Since the early days of the Roman Empire, Capri – a tiny island in the Gulf of Naples- has been a stylish and sough after destination and today’s tour takes us on a dream trip to one of its private residences.  With panoramic views of the sea, right above the Blue Grotto, this chic villa belongs to a Neapolitan lawyer who carefully restored it with the help of architect Francesco Della Femina and interior designer Pasquale Capasso. The interiors reflect the island’s vernacular – thick, white walls and vaulted ceilings, and an assortment of rooms and alcoves connected to the outdoors. The gardens, filled with orange and lemon groves, are divided into small spaces that are an extension of the interiors. It is truly a dream holiday destination and now I’m in the mood for Italy! Enjoy!

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Happy Friday! Or should I better say, happy Saturday? Because if you’re anywhere near the Hamptons tomorrow, June 17, and would love to get a master gardener tour, you can join the ARF 31st annual tour that will benefit abandoned animals. This way you can contribute to a beautiful cause and enjoy the seven stunning gardens featured on this year’s schedule, one of which is the fabulous Bee Cottage. I just wish I lived closer!

The grounds of Bee Cottage have been designed by esteemed landscape designer Jane Lappin of Wainscott Farms and are perfectly suited for this fairytale cottage. Here’s a virtual tour for all of us who won’t make it to tomorrow’s tour!

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”A garden to walk in and immensity to dream in — what more could he ask? A few flowers at his feet and above him the stars.” Victor Hugo

One of the best perks of living in the suburbs is that one can tend and care for a garden. It could be anything really, from small flowering shrubs that add to your home’s curb appeal (and keep the interiors pretty too), to ample vegetable parterres and orchards. I once read that gardening takes a lot of water, especially in the form of perspiration. If that’s the case, the satisfaction that comes from taking care of even the tiniest patch of land is worth the effort!  Plus, studies show that gardening lowers the risk of heart disease by lowering blood pressure, so let’s get gardening! I’m starting small by flower-sitting a friend’s avocado tree, we’ll see where that goes.

For those of you with a real garden and a willingness to get dirty, I have just the right inspiration. Tucked in my ”garden files” I found a pretty garden tour published in Traditional Home. It is a small cutting garden in Winnetka Illinois, designed by landscape designer Craig Bergmann of Lake-Forest. The owners wanted a ”secret” place in a private area of their property, with lush views year-round so Bergmann designed the perfect mix of annuals and perennials that bloom throughout the warmer months.

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Happy May Day, dear friends! I apologize for the lack of posts this past couple of days, but we’ve been traveling last minute. My husband had a work trip to Cambridge come up and Isabella (my daughter) and I decided to join in. Despite the rainy forecast, the weather was stunning over the weekend so we had tons of fun outdoors, exploring Boston and its surroundings.

Today we’re back to life as usual and I just realized it is May already!!! How is that even possible?!! Did April just whizz by?

For today’s post, I’m thinking fine dining outdoors. I gathered over time a great number of beautiful al fresco dining inspiration and it’s time I share some of it with you. Country living definitely has its perks and one of them is being able to be outside more. However, despite your location, there’s always a way to carve out some space for a relaxing, nature filled corner. Even small balconies can be transformed through clever design ideas into a veritable oasis.

In my opinion, one of the best ways to make use of a garden is entertaining outdoors! Nothing beats a fun garden party and I hope you’ll find through these images inspiration for your next garden bash. Spring is on!

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Nina Griscom’s New York apartment

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