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A Memorable Memorial Day: Delight the Senses


Make your Memorial Day memorable by indulging all your senses. Furniture shown: The Sanctuary chairside table and Sanctuary dining chair by Hooker Furniture.

 Memorial Day is all about remembering–remembering veterans and their sacrifice for our country to give us the priceless gift of freedom. Every year as we gather at the end of May to celebrate them and the official beginning of summer, we have the opportunity to create new memories.

For me, great memories start with family, food and friends. From there, I focus on inspiring ideas that engage each of my five senses. Here’s my take on the best of the best:

colorful strawberries

A simple, semi-homemade dessert idea is to dip whole, fresh strawberries in a melted white chocolate and then cover the tips with blue sprinkles.

Taste and Smell

No successful party was ever planned without careful attention to the menu, so I always spend plenty of time (yes, searching Pinterest®) on this. Taste and smell are both rewarded here since delicious treats delight both senses.

Fresh fruit tart

Luckily, seasonal fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and watermelon complement a patriotic color scheme.

 One of the easiest and tastiest red, white and blue recipes isn’t a recipe at all…instead it’s as simple as dressing up an existing cake, tart, cheesecake, or cupcakes with fresh seasonal fruit. If you’re doing a cake or cupcakes, start by covering them with cake frosting or cool whip. Then decorate with fresh cut strawberries and whole blueberries. An easy tip is to outline your dessert with the strawberries all pointing the same direction, then fill in the center with blueberries. With a tart or cheesecake, no frosting is needed, just add the fresh fruits right on top. One of my favorites, and a go-to for any party, is a store-bought angel food cake covered in cool whip and fresh berries.


The bold red hue of the Sanctuary Tall Spindle Arm Chairs adds character and energy to a space any time of year. Photo: Hooker Furniture.


Sanctuary red chairs Hooker Furniture

The Sanctuary Tall Spindle Chairs pop in an Ultra True Red Finish. Photo: Hooker Furniture.


Whether the Memorial Day event is at my place or someone else’s, I’m a diehard fan of furniture and interior design and am always looking at and thinking about home’s décor. I love the bold colors of the American flag, and I enjoy seeing their timeless influence in home furnishings. Nothing adds a pop of color like red, calms like blue or soothes like white.


Not all reds are created equal, and few compare to the rich shade displayed on the Melange Caliente Chest. Photo: Hooker Furniture.



The Melange Nautical Chest offers the perfect combination of blue and white. Photo: Hooker Furniture.


A lovely, soft white finish on the five-drawer Sanctuary Chest ensures it will work with any room’s furnishings. Photo: Hooker Furniture.


 Down sofas, chunky throw blankets and pillows, leather chairs, smooth glass tables, silky drapery panels–for me, touching is an integral part of the interior design experience.

B-Y best seller Oct

Nothing’s more touchable than butter-soft, luxurious leather. This deep blue is just one of many delectable leather colors available from Bradington-Young.


Group Of Children Enjoying Outdoor Tea Party

It’s hard to beat a great Memorial Day party and the way it delights all the senses–from taste to sound and everything in between.


You may be thinking about music here, and while great tunes do make a good party—it’s actually the sound of my family and friends I treasure most. Sure, the kids will be fighting over whose turn it is, someone will likely be talking with their mouth full of the delicious food, and my family, well, they’ll just talk over each other.

But that’s what I love about us. That’s what a good Memorial Day celebration sounds like to me.



Infuse Chic Farmhouse Style Into Your Home


The more romantic side of chic farmhouse style is inspired by European farmhouse antiques, as in this new bedroom from the Sanctuary Collection. Photo: Hooker Furniture.

The farm-to-table movement has spawned a chic vintage farmhouse style that’s permeating everything from wedding venues to boutiques to decorative accessories to furniture.

We’re seeing rustic elegance everywhere from the stores we frequent to popular shows on television. The style embodies a return to a simpler style and way of life.


The Willow Bend Collection has a lush vintage quality that taps into the nostalgic roots of sophisticated farmhouse style. Photo: Hooker Furniture.

If the mention of farmhouse brings images of horses, chickens and tractors to your head, you are in for a pleasant surprise. The new look of farmhouse style is a sophisticated rustic look with a bit of an edge to it.

The new farmhouse comes in two main flavors, an American farmhouse look epitomized by the Willow Bend Collection,  and a more romantic look  inspired by European farmhouse antiques.  Some of the newest pieces in the Sanctuary Collection by Hooker Furniture are a good example.


The round aluminum-top dining table, Chalky White Marshmallow chests and Ultra True Red dining chairs from the Sanctuary Collection offer a fresh spin on sophisticated farmhouse style. Photo: Hooker Furniture.


The Willow Bend Collection, including these display cabinets, is a perfect example of simple designs, clean lines and industrial hardware. Photo: Hooker Furniture.


Light fixtures inspired by the classic “Edison bulb” play well with both farmhouse chic and industrial styles. Photo: BHG.com

Even if you love this style, you may ask yourself, “How can I incorporate this look into my own home?” Luckily, the farmhouse style is easy to add to any existing style from modern to traditional!

The key is to view each farmhouse piece as an accent and not the main style of the room. Even though the piece is new, it gives the feel that you just picked it up at an antique shop, flea market or estate sale.


Farmhouse style is easy to add to any existing décor from modern to traditional. Photo: BHG.com


A bookcase such as this one from the Willow Bend Collection can be used anywhere from the home office to the dining room. Photo: Hooker Furniture.


Smaller-scale writing desks like this one are a great furniture piece to use to infuse a warm farmhouse feel into any setting, even a modern one like this. Photo: BHG.com


Distressed color finishes create a happy farmhouse style vibe in this desk, chair and display cabinet from the Sanctuary Collection. Photo: Hooker Furniture.


The X-base Willow Bend Writing Desk has warm wood tones and textures that can soften a room and make it more engaging. Photo: Hooker Furniture.

Farmhouse furniture pieces can look like an industrial accent when paired with a modern style. The clean lines and simply quality of the furniture are classy and chic. The warm wood tones and textures soften the modern style of a space without looking out of place.


Pair a classic farmhouse trestle dining table with colorful chairs that add a splash of color to your room. Photo: Hooker Furniture.

The new dining chairs and trestle table from the Sanctuary Collection, above, add an upbeat design element to farmhouse style by taking a classic, nostalgic piece like the Windsor dining chair and updating it with a modern color palette.


The round pedestal table and ladder-back chairs from the Willow Bend Collection. Photo: Hooker Furniture.

If your style leans toward the traditional, the Willow Bend Collection feels like the addition of a vintage antique. Your newest purchase might look like your oldest. The warm tones will blend in easily with any style and color palette.

If you feel the farm-to-table style calling your name, start off one piece at a time. Some of these pieces look best when paired with crisp white walls and simple accessories.


One piece in each room or an entire collection will bring the look and feel of a simpler, relaxed and comfortable time to your home.


Finding Sanctuary in Charleston, S.C.

Prolific Flower Boxes

The prolific flower boxes make the cheeriest greeting for the city’s guests. Photo: Wanda Horton

To live within a short drive of one of the world’s top destination cities is a beautiful gift.

While others may make extensive travel plans, I’m able to pack a few bags and head down the highway to Charleston, South Carolina for a “beauty and bliss” experience.

Whether I’m enjoying a walk on the waterfront or a stroll down the cobblestone streets with historic dwellings graced by overflowing flower boxes, it’s a place where I find sanctuary.

There’s a genteel and mannerly cadence within this graceful city, and many architectural details to take in.

Charleston door

The doors of Charleston are a story –and study — unto themselves. Photo: Author.

scroll work

The intricate scroll work of a Charleston door. Photo: Author.

There are also many influences from around the world due to the vast number of folks from different countries who came to settle the early colonies and continue to visit, to this day.

The Battery

Walking along The Battery, where the Ashley and Cooper Rivers meet to form Charleston Harbor, you can imagine all of the traders coming into port with their wares. Photo: Author.

Charleston was founded in 1670 by English colonists, and it evolved from being mostly a seaport to become a city of great wealth, with many of the exquisite mansions having been built for tycoons of trade and agriculture.  Some of them are open for touring, and while cameras may not be allowed inside, you can take your time to appreciate the historic collections still intact within their walls.  I particularly enjoyed being able to see the Calhoun Mansion during this trip.  The current owner offers visitors the incredible opportunity to view the original Louis Comfort Tiffany lighting and painting, along with Wedgewood and Russian chandeliers.

Calhoun Mansion

The Calhoun Mansion side porches overlook the gardens. Notice the traditional “haint blue” on the ceiling. It was originally thought to protect the home from spirits or evil. The architecture is Italianate. Photo: Author

Patterned to Perfection

We were allowed a few photos of the immediate entry foyer in the Calhoun Mansion. The snippet of the floor tile provides an inkling as to the amount of detail to be seen in the interior. Photo: Author

The Sanctuary Fretwork Chest, above, brings forth a similar motif to the entry floor tile in the Calhoun Mansion.

While I was in town for some touring, I also attended a conference. Our luncheon was located in the elegant William Aiken House. Chock full of antiques, it was refreshing to see rooms adorned in crisp colors, to keep them from feeling stuffy. The South Carolina pine floors and the time-loved patina reminded me of a favorite furniture piece found in the Sanctuary Collection by Hooker Furniture –so aptly named.

Timeless Patina

You can see how at home the Sanctuary Box on Stand side piece would be in this historical dwelling. It captures all of the elements of yesteryear while it timelessly transitions into today’s homes. The legs emulate the balusters found on so many Charleston areas porches.

William Aiken House

The William Aiken House, circa 1820, is now a popular venue for weddings and events. Photo courtesy of Patrick Properties.

Low Country LivingNot all of Charleston interiors are made up of family antiques. Mixing in touches of modern art and new furnishings are also part of the norm for this sophisticated city. there many be a reference to certain traditional shapes of designs, such as the Sanctuary Collection’s Nest of Tables connecting back to the scrolled, iron gates, but the look is lighter and more playful.

Sanctuary Console Table

The Sanctuary Collection Console Table is both playful and striking. Photo: Hooker Furniture.

Graceful OverlaysCharleston could almost be called the “City of Gates,” as there are so many different varieties on display. The iron versions provide great inspiration for pattern mixes. The overlay on the Two Door Mirrored Console could easily be adapted into a magnificent entryway. Since so many residences front on busy streets, the gates give the inhabitants a bit of privacy while allowing a glimpse into their beautiful courtyards–a private sanctuary to be cherished.


The Two-Door Mirrored Console in Ebony finish with gold fretwork brings to mind the patterns of Charleston gates. Photo: Hooker Furniture.

After a long day of presentations and touring, the Mills House Hotel was just the place to rest. Although it’s not as old as many of the other lodges or bed and breakfasts, it blends in with its style and panache. Being that it’s located in the heart of the downtown restaurant  and shopping district, as well as a close walk to area neighborhoods, it made enjoying the city so fun and convenient.

Lobby Mills House

One of the lobby rooms at the Mills House offered very soothing surroundings. Photo: Author.

Garden Fountain

This garden fountain, glimpsed through a garden gate, overflowed with charm. Photo: Author.

 No matter how tiny the spot, Charlestonians know how to enhance every little nook.  I was able to capture the photo, above, through a garden gate.  Even the window boxes are planted to their fullest capacities.  In all of the heat of the summer, I’m amazed at the exuberance with which they bloom.  You can tell the pride of a city by its caretakers!

Flower Box ColorsThe Sanctuary Collection Spindle Arm and Side Chairs would be lovely “planted” around a dining table, don’t you think?

Spring is certainly one of the loveliest times of the year to visit this antebellum city.  The gardens are at their finest and it’s a bit less steamy for walking around.  Within about thirty minutes to an hour, there are many other surrounding islands and inlets to visit.  From refined to rustic, you can find yourself feeling as if you’ve had multiple retreatsThe Sanctuary, on Kiawah Island, not only fronts the ocean, but there is a world class spa for being pampered.  Edisto Island is further south and if going a bit more off the grid is your style, there is very little commercial development to be found.  The area is rich in history with both Gullah/Geechee and Native American heritages.

Wall of Flower Boxes

My exuberance for this city is evident and I can’t wait to go back!  I’ll leave you with a parting shot.  We can say “ah” together!