Celebrating Earth Day

 ...along these mossy steps.

I made these photographs last summer when I was in Highlands, North Carolina and thought that today was the perfect day to share them.

At the time as I walked below the canopy of evergreens, I created a little project for myself...capturing the secret steps and woodland paths built from the indigenous materials of the mountain.

Granite steps, chiseled flat rocks, rustic railroad ties, tree limb hand rails...

...all lead me from one secret garden to another.

Mossy steps.

Steps that kept me wandering...

...and then I found this little bird cottage.

 Happy Earth Day.

Please honor our Earth and all that Mother Nature has given us.

Ciao amici,

Lofty Downtown Style

I want to share with you all a peek at some of my recent design work, which is what usually keeps Italian Girl in Georgia away from here.  

Let's take a walk up these stairs for a closer look.

Last month I participated in our local Historic Foundation's semi annual Design House, which this year instead of the traditional selection of an Antebellum home, was an old building in the downtown district that had been renovated into a retail space and lofts.   

Lucky for our town rich with historic architectural gems, this has been the theme of gentrification for several years now.  And right up my alley because ever since I began my studies and graduated with a degree in architecture I never really wanted to build from the ground up.  

I have always believed that with so many abandoned buildings, both historical and relatively new throughout our cities and towns, that these structures could be put to good re-use with the right architectural and design modifications.

So, as a member of the organization and as an architectural and interior designer who believes in not wasting a useful space and wanting to help beautify our city, I thought it would be appropriate that I participate this year.

The area in the loft I was assigned to and enjoyed very much designing was the semi public space within the building - the stairways and landings that connected the loft downstairs to those upstairs.

The palette I chose was clean and crisp - warm grey {which changes its tones throughout the day}, brilliant white, and coal black.  I absolutely love how my glossy white French chairs and table stand out in front of the black wainscoting {which is original to the building}.

I specified that the hand rails and risers on the stairs also be painted the coal black.  This created a strong graphic look and accentuated the interior architecture further - giving even more of a lofty gallery feel to the space.

I took full advantage of the vast wall space and high ceilings and used it as a private gallery, specifically showcasing my original black and white photographs of iconic places and images of this town along with the work of other photographers, mixed media art pieces I made, and vintage Italian posters I have had in my own art collection for many years.  

All that with a mix of whimsy and humor, of course.

When I was in graduate school in Athens, Georgia, I lived in a loft and drew from that experience as I considered the design of this space.

The furnishings were minimal - a couple of French arm chairs {different but compatible}, a traditional side table painted glossy white, large scaled silver framed mirrors on the walls of each landing to reflect the light coming in from the skylight above, a deconstructed crystal chandelier, and the monochromatic eclectic arrangement of art on the walls {some of which even included my son's pen and ink artwork}. 

Art Deco inspired sleek black candle holders, vintage Georgia history books, and...

...a splash of hot pink with over-scaled wall flowers {poppies}, a tiny but sculptural Kate Spade glass vase, and a silk tassel the drawer pull of the table were some of the smaller scale details.

The industrial chic and minimalistic crystal chandelier I designed and made with Swarovski crystal garlands and pendants which surround and dangle from the scalloped metal wire lamp shade frame I then converted into a hanging fixture.

During the day, the light changes as it flows through the skylight above and the crystals cast a kaleidoscope of color on the walls.

I hope you enjoyed your tour!  Thank you for your visit.  As always, I appreciate the time you take to read my stories.

Ciao amici,

Easter Harvest

Our tradition every Spring is to plant our summer vegetable garden on Good Friday.

This year we started a day early by harvesting our winter produce so we could till the ground and get it ready for the new seedlings...

...which included bunches of cilantro that we gave to Gucci and these scrumptious, roots of beta carotene, which he ate like a motor!

Delicious baby carrots, just three to four inches long at most, and full of flavor.

So delicious that a little chipmunk could not wait until the harvest.  {This was not the only half eaten carrot I found below the soil.}

Gucci will have a fabulous Easter dinner and we will too enjoying some of this fresh organic and home grown produce.

Mother Nature made them so beautiful that I had to pose them and make a photograph just as the sun poked through the clouds.  'Just love their perfect imperfections.

Happy Easter Friends!