WELCOME to CAROLINA PANACHE! I believe our homes should be a haven, a place of beauty and peace that reflect who we are and what's important to us. I'm on a journey to add personality and panache to every corner of my house. For me, good design evolves, grows and changes with the needs of one's lifestyle. I want my home to be creative, to be stylish, to be entertaining, to be real. I hope you will join me on my journey. It's always more fun to travel together.
This blog is all about bringing style and elegance to the home. The art of dressing your home goes beyond hanging a few items on the wall and arranging furniture. Much like a fabulous set of earrings or a new stylish handbag may take your little black dress from fine to fabulous, home accesories and key furnishings can take your rooms from ho-hum to singing the Halleluiah Chorus! Join with me as we discover new ways to add panache to every room of the house.

Let's Talk Plants & Florals (Step 3)

Every home can benefit from the freshness of flowers or plants. What better time than January to add life to your home. Each year after CHRISTmas I feel as though my home looks bare. Once the holiday decorations have been packed away for another year, I begin to rearrange, repurpose and recreate my rooms. Now is the perfect time to add a nice Parlor Palm or Boston Fern to replace that Evergreen. I like nothing better than to walk into a room and see a vase of prettily arranged flowers or a lovely English Ivy that has been allowed to spill over the edges of a rustic garden urn repurposed for indoor use. Plants and flowers naturally bring life to your rooms. Not only do they bring the outdoors inside but they add the third step of accessorizing your home. They add color and texture to your decor. Unfortunately most of us do not have a green thumb. I sure don't! My husband is the one that can make things grow so a lot of times I opt for faux florals to add seasonal color and texture to my space. My floral preferences are always Roses, Hydrangeas, Tulips, Magnolias and Daisies. On the foliage side I prefer Parlor Palms, English Ivy, Boston Ferns and Magnolia Leaves.
Decorating with florals include such things as wreaths, tabletop arrangements, fireside baskets or even a single stem placed in a glass vase. I personally have a very traditional aesthetic and love an English Garden style floral arrangement. However many of my clients love a clean, modern look so I encourage them to decorate using simple stems that add pops of color or tropical foliage to complement their decor. In this photo I've used a punch of seasonal color - RED - in my entry. Just because CHRISTmas is over doesn't mean that I have to do away with all my red! This is a polysilk arrangement of Tulips, English Ivy and Holly Berry that I assembled in an iron and glass hurricane container. I love the way the bright hue greets guests with a cheery hello.

When using polysilk stems, I always stay close to nature's color palette. Soft yellow, buttery cream, white, red and pink and loads of green - in every variation of the hue - are usually my choices. The arrangement above was assembled for a head table centerpiece for an event I decorated for. It was arranged in a 24" glass vase and weight was added to the bottom of the base with beads of topaz, gold and clear glass.
The finished arrangement is about 3 1/2 feet tall and features Roses, Apple Blossoms and Boston Fern.
The beauty of decorating with florals is that they add visual panache without defining the color or style of the room. There are very few rules when decorating with plants because the objective is to add life and layer in texture.

Small indoor trees, house plants, foliage and flowers are a graceful way to soften awkward angles, add punch to dull backgrounds and disguise unattractive areas. They can also draw attention to a favorite piece of furniture
and cause a piece of art to come to life.
This arrangement was designed on a pillar candle holder. I needed something tall and thin for a narrow ledge and found the candle holder to be just the right size. I simply used florist tape to secure a block of florist foam on the flat part of the candle holder and proceeded with tucking in my flowers and greenery.

This shot highlights a collections of ferns - all polysilk - arranged in an urn. I like the way this arrangement softens the corner where I keep my umbrella stand.

When using live houseplants I usually select English Ivy, Needlepoint Ivy, Swedish Ivy or China Doll. I find these plants to be fool-proof. I like using variegated varieties as well as various shades of deep green. In the spring and summer I usually clip fresh magnolias, tea roses, tulips and daisies from my yard. However, fresh cut flowers will last about 5 days before they start to wither. If you want the beauty to last or don't feel confident keeping houseplants alive, I would recommend poly-silk. Places like Hobby Lobby and Michaels have beautiful stems and most of the time you can catch a 50% OFF sale!

Here's some tips for florist-worthy arrangements:
  1. Begin by gently bending the stems and leaves with your thumb and forefinger into soft, natural curves before inserting the stem into the foam.
  2. For a more natural look, turn the arrangement as you add flowers and leaves. Also insert the stems at various angles so flowers face different directions.
  3. Always work to achieve "breathing space" around flowers. This will keep your arrangement from looking overly crowded and will lend an air of natural elegance.
  4. Use both bud and bloom. When working with flowers at different stages of growth, you add interest and a sense of freshness to your design. Always place buds at the top and away from the full blooms.
  5. When using a single flower in your design - roses for example - always purchase odd numbers otherwise you may be restricted in designing movement within your arrangement.
  6. Long, thin flowers can give you the overall shape or rhythm while large, round flowers provide the accents or focal point. Multiple blossom flowers add to the fullness of the design.
  7. When using opaque containers, start by inserting floral foam inside to support stems and hold flowers in place.
  8. If you opt for clear glass containers, add materials in the bottom that layer in interest such as sand, shells, glass beads, marbles or Spanish moss. This will hide the florist foam and give extra support to the arrangement.
  9. If using a container with three legs or feet, always position it so that one leg is shown directly in the front. This grounds the arrangement and adds interest.
  10. Lastly, for more permanent designs, dip the ends of your stems in hot glue, white glue or pan glue before inserting them in the foam.

Our next topic will discuss adding ambiance to every room of your home. We will be talking about lighting, atmosphere, fragrance and candlelight.


Susan @ A Southern Daydreamer said...

Thanks for the suggestions! I am in the process of taking down all my Christmas decorations (almost a tree in every room) and the house looks bare!

Melissa Miller said...

Hi Alisa,
I just love all of your ideas.
Your home and entryway are gorgeous. Can't wait to see more of your lovely home.

Carolina Mama said...

Hi Alisa, Love your decorating style. I joined your follow and realized that I am a want-to-be decorator who has moments of good decorating. Do you have to boot me out? ;)

Connie said...

Hi Alisa, What wonderful ideas you write about. I need to know so much about lighting as there is either too much or not enough.
If this is your home, it is lovely. I like the two matching lamps along with the mirror --I have just the place for something like that.
So glad I found your blog!

Stopover anytime. Planning on getting a new background soon.


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