Monday, November 28, 2011

Cape Breton: Island Beauty

A favorite subject of mine....I'm fascinated with barns. 
 In Cape Breton, ocean side barns are a classic sighting.

The dreary days of November can be the perfect time to get away for an Island vacation,,,,of course most people would probably dream of that island being in a tropical local - but not me, at least not this time.  I'm taking my summer vacation a little later than originally planned and am currently spending some time touring around the East Coast Island of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.  My boyfriend and I travelled around all of Nova Scotia in the summer of 2010 and were completely smitten with Cape Breton.   The highland landscape, the dramatic coastline, the lush green valleys and mountains,,,the food and the music captured our hearts.   

Most of the island is predominantly seasonal with tourism really dominating the local businesses from May thru October.  We've decided to spend a couple of weeks here during the off-season because, well we just prefer to do things differently,,,,,without the masses and to experience the Island not so much as tourists.  Some of the benefits of traveling during the off-season are that there are no tourists,,,there's actually NO ONE around here for the most part so its been great for photography,,,,but not so great at times trying to find places to eat or basic accommodations outside the main town of Sydney.  Definitely the best part about visiting during these chilly days,,,,hot seafood chowder and warm biscuits!  The best.

I could spend all day, every day with my camera and never run out of beautiful images to capture.

Cloudy days are great for shooting.

Except for a freak snow storm a few days ago, its been fairly mild and walks on the beach are still very enjoyable.

The inland waters are almost as expansive as the open ocean.

 I was crazy for these vintage deco like chairs in a little bakery in Mabou.  They were striking against black beadboard wainscotting.

Nothing beats local mussels and warm homemade biscuits....except enjoying them during an afternoon cailidh, the floor moving beneath you as the fiddle players pound their feet is an experience that's unforgettable.

Discovering a little Bistro in the middle of nowhere, hours from anything,,,,,that serves up gourmet delights is just heavenly.  Everything homemade,,,and the best scones I've ever had!

I hope to share more tales from Cape Breton soon as I find some wifi again. : )

Friday, November 18, 2011


I've had an affection for topiaries for as long as I can remember, going way back to before I ever went to design school.  I remember making them out of moss or dried roses for my own bedroom when I was just a teenager (ok, so maybe I spent a little too much time in my room!?).  I think its the sparseness and their sculptural quality that I'm drawn to, very much the same reasons I'm drawn to potted orchids - simple but ornamental.  Looking back at past projects I notice that I've used topiaries on almost every job, from traditional to modern spaces.  They're an artistic form of nature that I find timelessly appealing.

Last year at this time I was in NYC and I remember being captivated by a shop window that was full of topiaires. I stood there gazing (drooling) as if they were designer shoes or handbags,,,,,,for what seem like ages, wanting so badly to take a few home with me!  

Rosemary topiaries are one of my favorites, beautiful and edible!

On a recent photoshooot I used a couple of mismatched ones to style my clients kitchen table.  At the time, I had to scour the city trying to find them (why is you can NEVER find what you need when you want it!!??) - all I kept thinking of was the little shop in NYC that had been overflowing with them...

I love the look of this one, its wild shaped top paired with a modern cube pot.  This one currently sits on my own coffee table, a nice change from the fresh orchid I usually have here.

My current favorite pot for topiaries are these taupe coloured clay pots from Home Depot. I'm simply crazy for this colour which i find so much more chic looking than typical terracotta colour.


I couldn't do a post on topiaries without including this space by one of my favorite designers Vicente Wolf.  I simply love everything about this grouping, especially those chairs.

It feels good to be back on the blog again - its been a while!!  So much to blog about soo little time,,,,I'm looking forward to updating all that's been happening here soon......

All Photos:  Carol Reed
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