Floral Inspiration from MFA’s Art in Bloom

Floral Inspiration in WhiteFloral inspiration at the Museum of Fine Arts

If you missed the Museum of Fine Arts Art in Bloom exhibit, allow me to share a few of the photos I took that are fueling my floral inspiration this season. Every Mother’s Day my goal is to pretty up my outdoor spaces with new hanging plants, garden pots and planters. I love going to the local nursery and selecting colorful blooms, greenery, plantware and accessories. If I’m being honest, I didn’t get very far this year, but I’m glad to have gained some floral inspiration from my recent visit to the Museum of Fine Arts nonetheless. Their dramatic floral displays may not be anything I could recreate myself, but many arrangements did give me creative ideas that might extend, in some small way, to the plantings I will eventually get to this spring.

Here were some of my favorites.



Floral inspiration at the Museum of Fine Arts


Floral inspiration at the Museum of Fine Arts


Dense and Dramatic


Color Coordinated

I loved how the floral displays played off the color, texture and imagery of the art.







I have a thing for sculpture and only after having taken this photo of the ballerina did I realize it reminds me of the garden sculptures I have of two dancing girls.


Floral Inspiration

I hope you enjoyed this floral inspiration pictorial.

Let’s hope all of those April showers bring us beautiful May flowers. And June, July, August…


3 Comments Continue Reading

Dash & Albert Rugs at Helen Thomas Andover

Photo by Lisa DiAntonio of Green Park Studios


I have a weird thing when it comes to rugs. They’re always the last thing on my mind. Until recently when I had occasion to redecorate Tony’s home office and attended a Rejuvenate Your Space workshop at Helen Thomas in Andover. There I discovered their collection of Dash & Albert rugs. Check out my post about the workshop and office makeover here.

Dash & Albert Rugs

Stacks of beautiful rug samples line the back wall at Helen Thomas. I was drawn to the gorgeous colors and textures and spotted one sample, in particular, I thought would work amazingly well in Tony’s newly reimagined office.

I knew the lighter tone of the rug would be perfect to brighten the small room and the geometric pattern in blue was perfect to pick up on the blue tones I already had going in the room. It also had just the modern simplicity I was going for.

Of the many Dash & Albert rugs that Lisa Schiavone, owner of Helen Thomas, has available, I chose the Moroccan inspired, Numa hand knotted wool rug in blue. It also comes in a charcoal pattern. The blue lines are a perfect pop of color on the floor that also serves to tie all of the other blue accents together.

Our Rug

We couldn’t be happier with our Numa rug. It creates such a warm and cozy environment in a place that was formerly dull and unwelcoming.



Stop into Helen Thomas Andover

If you are in the market for a rug, be sure to stop into Helen Thomas in Andover to see their selection of Dash & Albert rugs. Oscar loves this rug so much that he prefers it over his big, blue bed that nearly takes over Tony’s office.



Also, be sure to ask Lisa about all of her home décor and design services.

Helen Thomas is located at 90 Main St. Andover, MA (978) 475-7981.

0 Comments Continue Reading

Rejuvenate Your Space –A Space Styling Workshop

*All photos by Lisa DiAntonio of Green Park Studios*

Oscar is thrilled with his (oops, I mean Tony’s) office redo.


I love interior design and home décor, yet I struggle to pull off a room makeover myself. For me, it’s daunting and overwhelming. I like choosing furnishings, art and accents but, in the end, have trouble pulling them all together. I also struggle with finishing touches, which can make all the difference.

When Lisa DiAntonio of Green Park Studios invited me to a DIY Rejuvenate Your Space styling workshop, at Helen Thomas in Andover, the timing was perfect. Tony had just asked for help redecorating his home office and I was at a loss.

Rejuvenate Your Space


Rejuvenate Your Space flyer


In this fun space styling workshop, Lisa gave attendees the tools and motivation to make a plan. We each sent in before photos so we could collectively talk about issues, ideas and action plans. Lisa’s best tip was to have us write down three relatively simple things we could do to get the ball rolling, that wouldn’t overwhelm us. My three things were:

  1. Remove cumbersome, rarely used conference table
  2. Replace dated table lamps
  3. Replace the unimpressive mirror over the fireplace mantel with something more eye-catching


Mission accomplished. That’s a TV!


By the time I left, I had a clear idea of how to make Tony’s office the manspace of his dreams. He says, “It’s better than I could have imagined.”

The Full Makeover

  • Starting this process with my three action items successfully barrel-rolled into a complete room makeover. We held onto many pieces that still worked allowing us to indulge in some extras that have elevated this room exponentially.
  • A gorgeous Dash and Albert rug from Helen Thomas in Andover brightens the room and creates a lush feeling underfoot (stay tuned on Thursday for a post about these great floor coverings.) Oscar loves this rug!
  • Adding to the light and bright factor, we repainted the walls an airy Benjamin Moore Winds Breath. And we painted over the natural wood mantel a few tones deeper in Benjamin Moore Stone Hearth. We are left with a fresh, modern look that both Tony and I love.
  • The final two changes are likely Tony’s favorites. We swapped out an ugly old recliner, that I hated, with a beautiful and streamlined Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams sofa that is perfectly long enough to accommodate Tony’s 6’ 2” frame.
  • And the pièce de résistance, since we saved on many repurposed items, a Samsung Frame TV that Lisa told me about at her workshop. It is mounted, flush to the wall, above the fireplace and looks exactly like a picture in a frame. When not in use it displays a variety of beautiful artwork. It is very cool.

I am so satisfied having completed this project and Tony is so happy with his new space.

Before and After Photos

The space was so cluttered before. Even with Oscar’s big, blue bed, there is now plenty of room to move around.

It’s All in the Details


Personalizing with photos I took in NYC added a nice touch. And changing the frame and matting of a special lake print made a huge difference.



Thank You

Thank you Lisa, for sharing your knowledge and great ideas. I couldn’t have, wouldn’t have, done this without your inspiration.

Lisa’s next Rejuvenate Your Space Workshop ($75) will be held next week at Helen Thomas in Andover
Monday, April 9th at 10 am.
Link here to sign up now!
9 Comments Continue Reading

Repost-Floral Design Trends Boston Flower Show 2017

This year’s show is happening now – Boston Flower and Garden Show 2018.

**Below is my post from last year’s event**
FullSizeRender 5


In another attempt to spend time in Boston, I attended the Boston Flower and Garden Show last week. I dragged Tony along with me, which was funny because he has absolutely no interest in botanicals of any kind. In fact, if I so much as reference a plant by its proper name (i.e. Forsythia) he rolls his eyes. He claims it’s pretentious to “name drop” plant names. Oh right, I should just say the yellow bush – my bad!

Regardless, we had a nice time in the city and I loved seeing the gorgeous displays. I was most interested to see the latest in floral design trends. However, I was also impressed with the landscape and stonework displays. Some were very elaborate.

FullSizeRender 3
This was inside the Seaport World Trade Center


As we walked around, I looked to identify the top floral design trends and popular plants.


As far as plants go, it looks like succulents are still a favorite. They were abundant throughout the show. I imagine the easy care and hard to kill nature of these plants allows them to maintain their popularity. Bonsai creations were also quite attractive to the crowds.

FullSizeRender 7
Succulents galore
Faux succulent arrangement
Faux succulent arrangement
FullSizeRender 8
Bonsai table


While the plant and garden displays were eye-catching, my focus was on flowers. I was happy to discover the Floral Design Competition room tucked in the back of the convention hall. Here, I took my time and perused the colorful and creative arrangements. I looked for patterns in color, structure and flower choice. The trend that most intrigued me was the fusion of floral and sculpture – flowers combined with some kind of manmade structural component. I did find these creations interesting and dramatic, however I prefer the beauty of blooms to stand alone.

FullSizeRender 6

FullSizeRender 9

FullSizeRender 4

It was nice to get a touch of spring at this event. Hopefully we, here in New England, won’t have to wait too much longer for the real thing.


Feeling blue? Go buy yourself a bunch of happy flowers…sniff and smile. They always do the trick for me.

3 Comments Continue Reading

Decorating For Christmas – REPOST!


I posted this last year with only 10 days until Christmas. Here it is again this year with a little more time to think about your holiday decor for 2017.  Are you doing anything different with your decorations this year?

Let the Countdown Begin

Well, here we are with ten days left until Christmas and I’m just now blogging about holiday decorations. I had every intention to post this sooner, but if I’m being honest the finishing touches to my Christmas décor are happening today.

How did Christmas 2016 get so far away from us? I know I’m not alone because so many people I’ve spoken to are also feeling as frazzled as I am.

When normally my sunroom window sills would be full of festive Christmas cards, today I only have a few dozen. They are beginning to come in more steadily, but the delay seems to support my personal feeling that Christmas crept up on us more quickly than usual this year.

So, if you are like me and a little bit behind the eight ball, maybe you still have some decorating to do. When I’m decorating for Christmas I get a lot of inspiration from the homes and places I visit.  Here’s how I’m decorating this year.

Decoration Inspiration

I have always been a big fan of white lights on the Christmas tree. I just love the look of it. But recently I’ve also fallen in love with red and white lights together. Last year, when I first tried the red and white combo I decided to try a themed Christmas tree too. We went for a rustic red and white theme.  As much as I loved it and still do, I missed all the other ornaments that didn’t fit the theme. I couldn’t bear keeping them in a box, so last year I tacked all of them onto a bulletin board.  This year, time was limited so I took the easy way out and placed all of my sweet and sentimental ornaments in a big bowl – so easy, so fun and so full of memories.

Here is my fun bowl of ornaments and a couple of other Christmas decorations that always make a statement.

Bowl of Christmas ornaments, musical snow globe, candy cane hurricane filler
Top: The ornament bowl. Bottom left: One of my ultimate favorites – musical snow globe. Sits center stage on the mantel. Bottom right: Candy cane hurricane filler – Yes, I had to unwrap each of those individually – Worth it!


When it Comes to Decorating for Christmas, Less is More

Something that I learned when photographing homes for publication is that certain, special things can and should stand alone. Often when decorating for Christmas, we have a tendency to go with the more is more philosophy. A minimalist at heart; I have come to truly appreciate the less is more approach, especially at the holidays.

If I have a home accent or holiday decoration that is sentimental or special in some way, I make it the focus. This is the case with this beautiful Simon Pearce glass Christmas tree that Tony fell in love with on a trip up to Vermont last year. This exquisite example of craftsmanship sits simply in our entry way atop a platform that illuminates taking the tree’s beauty to another level. It makes me happy every time I walk by it.

Simon Pearce glass Christmas tree
I love the way this Simon Pearce glass Christmas tree lights up the hall.


Winter Whites

Another trend I like and have incorporated into our traditional holiday trimmings is winter whites. With all of the wonderful colors Christmas decorations bring to our homes, it’s nice to find a place where neutral, but festive, décor can allow the eyes to rest a bit before moving on to the next bold and beautiful thing.

Joy Snowbird table decoration, gingerbread house, white nativity
Winter white!


My joyful snowbird display has become one of my new favorite Christmas decorations along with the white nativity that has been in my family for generations. Originally my Noni’s, the wooden manger was hand built by my grandfather. I even decorated an all-white gingerbread house this year to add to the theme.

Old Meets New

When it comes to decorating for Christmas I love holding up all of my family’s traditions as well as introducing some new looks and styles that may become traditions for my children in the future.

Have you tried anything new when decorating for Christmas this year? What are your favorite ways to dress up your home for the holidays?

6 Comments Continue Reading
1 2 3 5