Blog created by interior decorator Peggy Clarke to help create homes that reflect the people who live there and how they (want to) live. Blending spirituality with the art of interior design, Clarke aims to help people who want to create harmonious spaces for balanced living.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Christmas Decorating Gone Natural

I've been in stores looking for great Christmas decorations, but, as usual, it takes a long time to sort through a lot of tacky stuff. This Christmas, I'm going to use a lot of natural elements rather than things I buy in a store. Consider doing the same in your home. Here are some tips:

(BTW, I'm having trouble with the spacing on this blog. Sorry if it looks messy.)

Try decking your halls with poinsettias.
They're inexpensive, make a significant holiday statement and belong in every room of your house. Go to your local Home Depot and pick up a dozen or two in varying sizes.
Cover the floor around the staircase or tuck them in threes in a corner of
your family room or living room.
Keep a small one in the guest bathroom in a simple basket.
As cliche as it might be, strings of cranberries are festive, easy and inexpensive.
Consider starting a new tradition in your family by spending an hour with your kids making your own garlands.
Cranberries are better than popcorn, which will wilt in under a week. Popcorn looks great, but only if you string it a few days before the holiday.
This web site has tips on how to do make these garlands:
Another inexpensive idea is to take an autumn hike in a local park or around your neighborhood for sticks, pinecones and evergreen branches. Carry a basket or bag with you for your collection and when you get home, decorate your mantle or nestle your findings in baskets or around candles. Use your cranberry garlands to add color.
I'm not suggesting you make your own ornaments or even a wreath; very few people have the time and inclination for that. Rather, I'm suggesting bringing in some natural elements which will allow Christmas decorating to be both simple and elegant.
If you love the way a room in your home looks, send me a picture.
Maybe I'll post some of them! (

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Thanksgiving Table

Sorry these posts have taken me so long. 3 posts in one day has to make up for it right?

I'd love to pile this posting with great family recipes, but, really, who cares how things taste if the place doesn't look great.

I'm particularly interested in black and white this year. One of my favorites is this pattern available at Berdorf Goodman.

These Kate Spade plates are just what I'd want on an elegant, sophisticated and contemporary table.

These plates are interesting and a little bit feminine, which is typical of Anthropologie (the retailer). The design is unusual, which is difficult to come by these days.

This piece is a decoupage by John Derian available at which is a great site to visit if you've never been there.

This classic bird pattern is also available with a white background, which is less dramatic, but might work better with your decor. The pattern is done by Jasper Conran.

This blue plate has a lot going for it. It would look wonderful on top of a white charger (see Tiffany for some gorgeous ones) and a white tablecloth. It will make a statement when your guests first see your table.

I don't like clocks in the dining room, but these don't tell time, so I'm letting it slide. Pattern by Ralph Lauren.

Useful, Helpful and Different

There are some fabulous things on the market today that make life easier and with online shopping, getting them is just as simple. Check these out:

This new Microwave Drawer (in 30 and 24 inch sizes made by Sharp) solves some space problems.,1050,49,00.html

Barbara K is single working mother how seeks empowerment through authentic independence. She's founded a company that creates and sells tools for women.

Spray Painter that actually works for under $100

Sustainable Design

Few things are as important today in the field of interior design than sustainability. It is the role of the artist to comment on culture, but the true artist can also offer solutions. Sustainable design is our response to our current ecological crisis and our need to walk gently on the earth.

Hardwood is one of the most sustainable products we have today, which is wonderful since there are few products that inspire such universally positive, even visceral, responses. Hardwood comes from trees that have leaves, not needles. The produce fruit or nuts in the summer, loose leaves in the fall and are dormant in the winter. American forests grow by 10.2 billion cubic feet a year, but we currently use only 6 billion cubic feet, thereby allowing us to safely use this natural resource. (Numbers come from the US Forest Service.)

Over the last 50 years, our forests have grown by nearly 90%. (This is due in part to the loss of farm land and open space.) US Hardwood forests cover 269 million acres of property. Of that land, 73% is privately owned by a total of 7 million families, each owning an average of 50 acres. 11% is held by the forest industry and the rest by federal, state and local governments.

In other words, feel good about adding hardwood floors to your new house, hardwood cabinets to your new kitchen or contracting a new bedroom set made of Sycamore or Ash. It’s gorgeous, affordable and sustainable.

Here’s the list of American hardwoods:
Alder, Ash, Aspen, Basswood, Beech, Birch, Cherry, Cottonwood, Cypress, Elm, Gum, Hackberry, Hard Maple, Hickory, Pecan, Pacific, Red Oak, Poplar, Sassafras, Soft Maple, Sycamore, Maple, Walnut, White Oak, Willow

More resources if you’re interested: