August 31, 2010

10 Ways to get Southern Style

Southern Living's September issue offers "10 Ways to get Southern Style" including tips from some of the South's greatest interior designers including Circa's owner, Cindy Smith! Be sure to check out the article on page 55 or click on the images below to enlarge (be sure to hit back afterwards!).
1. Offer a well-set table.
"Charlotte, North Carolina, designer Cindy Smith takes a slightly different approach. 'I like to mix patterns,' she says. 'The fancier, the better. I like the juxtaposition of fancy silver with simple plates and glasses'."
2. Inherit (and hand down) heirloom silver.
"Cindy loves her inherited punch bowl. 'My mother's old silver one is a favorite,' she says. 'I've used it a zillion times and even lend it out to friends. I fill it with rosemary, lavender, and Annabelle hydrangeas when it's not being used to ice down shrimp or bottles of wine."
3. Make the old new again with family portraits.
I always love a grouping of family photos down a hallway or up a stairwell with family photos. It is a great way to keep them close and fun for your guests to enjoy!
4. Add elegance and sophistication with stacks of books.
Books make a home look lived in right off the bat. Collect books over the years that mean something to you whether they be design books or not, the more the merrier.
5. Paint with luminous color.
We like Farrow & Ball's color palette when searching for the right color. They are always a bit subdued but full of richness.
6. Choose monogrammed linens.
7. Express your personality with fabrics.
8. Ease into comfortable upholstery.
Never forget when furnishing your home that at the end of the day it has GOT to be comfortable!
"For deeper seating, Cindy likes Lee's #1077 chair with a dressmaker's skirt and English arms."

Lee Industries 1077-01 chair
9. Showcase (and revamp) a well-worn piece of furniture.
" 'If you're not lucky enough to inherit antiques, don't buy cheap ones,' adds Cindy. 'Save until you can buy a good piece. You don't have to have a room full of antiques - one nice piece in a room can elevate everything around it.' As for what to buy first, Cindy suggests a mahogany Sheraton-style sideboard or a walnut English chest of drawers."
10. Finish with fresh flowers.
Flowers make any room look 10x better!

August 27, 2010

Antiques of the Week

I couldn't decide which antique I loved more so we are having TWO antiques of the week!
French Directoire Biblioteque c. 1760
Carved French mirror with candle holder c. 1780

August 24, 2010

Fresh Peach Basil Vinaigrette

Today has been a good day at Circa! Jane treated us all to a lovely picnic in the design studio...looking back on it, I should have taken pictures. We had chicken salad, fresh watermelon, and tomatoes with fresh peach basil vinaigrette. I thought I would share the recipe for the tomatoes with you was delicious and seems easy to make!
*As seen in Southern Living*
1/3 cup white balsamic vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large peach, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

Whisk together first 5 ingredients until sugar is dissolved. Whisk in olive oil. Stir in chopped peach and basil. Serve immediately.

August 19, 2010

Jane and Cindy with Bunny Williams

While Jane and Cindy were working in New York this week, they we are able to attend a cocktail party hosted by Bunny Williams and John Rosselli. At the party they got a "sneak-peak" of Bee-Line Home Collection II and her new Scrapbook for Living. I can't wait to see the new items as well as see the new book!
Cindy, Bunny, & Jane

August 18, 2010

I love Quatrefoils

Just like a four leaf clover, quatrefoils are good luck in any room! Their unique shape adds interest to whatever piece takes it form. Take a look at few that we like:

Visual Comfort Basil Flush Mount
shown in natural brass; also available in polished nickel or gun metal
11 1/4"w x 5"h
quatre feuille side table (pair available)
$675 each
32"W x 32"D x 27.5"H

Alexandra Side chair by Suzanne Kasler for Hickory Chair
18"w x 22"d x 34"h
*call or email for pricing...price is dependant upon fabric & finish*
Gothick bench by Hickory Chair
49 3/4"w x 22 1/4"d x 20 1/4"h

Visual Comfort quatrefoil table lamp
shown in aged iron; also available in gilded iron
18"w x 35 1/2"h; base 9 1/2" square

This is a FABULOUS quatrefoil pool as seen in the latest Elle Decor. It is actually at the L.A. home of one of my favorite characters of all time, Karen Walker from Will & Grace!

August 16, 2010

Original Paintings by John White

We've got some new original paintings by John White in our Charlotte shop with great colors!
(Please forgive my photography!)
Tuscan Village
Low Country Marsh
Architectural Landscape
Tuscan Field Landscape

August 13, 2010

Antique of the Week

Italian settee c. 1780
newly reupholstered in Nancy Corzine green silk with velvet back
110" wide x 28.5" deep x 47" high

custom tangerine damask pillows $275 each (sold as a pair)
custom blush velvet pillows $210 each (sold as a pair)

Martha Stewart's 50 Top Kitchen Tips

Martha Stewart Living's latest is the Home Issue. I thought I'd share "Martha's 50 Top Kitchen Tips" with you as we are always interested in efficient yet beautiful kitchen design. Rather than listing all 50, here are some highlights:
(Click images to enlarge and read each tip in detail)
1. It's all in the details. Notice the supports that Martha chose for her shelves. This bird's beak support avoids holes and hardware so the look is very streamlined.
2. Open up and use every inch. Martha's open shelves are easily accessible and they were built almost to the ceiling. Why waste space?
3. Create stations. Notice how she has a coffee station to her left. Keep everything you need to make a great cup of espresso right there...cups, coffee in the drawer below, electric grinder catch the drift.
4. Islands, Two are better than one. By pairing marble-topped islands, she creates one for prep work and the other for informal dining. I love this --- one island is on casters, so when Martha has a large party, she can move the rolling island to the stationary one to create a large buffet. Here's a good tip: "An island must be at least 4' long and 2.5' wide; clearance of at least 3 feet all around is essential."
5. Hang up the pots. By hanging your cookware above the island you save quite a bit of undercounter cabinet space.
6. Customize storage. "Decide what you want to keep in the islands, and plan the space accordingly."
7. Add baskets and bins. These baskets add warmth and texture to the room. Martha suggests adding adhesive pads on the bottom so they slide smoothly.
8. Protect surfaces. A large commercial cutting board always sit on the countertop so you always have a safe place to chop vegetables.
9. Keep a towel handy. Mount hooks on the side of the island for dish towels.
10. Plug it in. Martha suggests having electrical outlets near the top of your island so you can use that food processor or other small appliances without the cord being in the way.
11. Display, but don't clutter. Be sure not to overdecorate your kitchen (i.e. fill your counters with decorative jars and plates). Be sure to keep things you love that are kitchen appropriate but keep plenty of workspace for yourself to actually cook!
It kind of kills me how organized she is. I'm not recommending this page! The highlight: Plan for lots of drawers and use small bins to keep similar items together. 
30. Enjoy the view. Make it a priority to have a window over the sink. It makes washing dishes a lot more fun!
32. Get into the groove. Consider adding slightly angled grooves to the draining-board counter beside your sink. Water will drain run back into the sink. I also like how this looks!
33. Focus on the faucet. Circa designers like this gooseneck bridge faucet look in polished nickel.

36. Get an edge. Notice the marble bracket at the end of the counter in the photo below. This is great for high traffic areas (like beside a door) to keep items from being knocked off. By using a graceful silhouette design it also adds added design value to your kitchen.
40. Let the sunshine in. Tall windows in the kitchen are great to bring the outdoors in as well as give you extra natural light.
43. Keep spoons and spatulas handy by the stove. Use good-looking containers for this!
You know that we love dogs around here! Martha's tips # 47-50 involve keeping your pet organized. Keep baskets for their leaches and collars so they are always easily accessible. Keep dog food in smaller containers so you don't have to lift a huge bag of dog food each time. Clear plastic bins work great for this. 
Lastly, I really liked how they line shelves with custom cut sheets of 24-gauge brushed stainless steel. (You can order this from It looks great and is easy to wipe clean.

SO there is no need to feel like your kitchen needs to be an organized workhorse like this one! BUT...these tips are helpful when thinking about your kitchen's design. Keep your needs in mind first and foremost...kitchens should be efficient. You don't want it to seem cold and unfriendly so we like to warm up these spaces with rugs and fabrics on breakfast room chairs, drapes, or leather barstools.

Oh, and one more thing...In case you like Martha's paint color, it is Martha Stewart Living Paint (of course!) Bedford Gray on the cabinetry and woodwork with Flagstone on the walls.

August 12, 2010

Sister Reunited

We are convinced that Sister has been reunited with her long lost twin! Well, maybe not...but aren't they identical???
This is the labradoodle of a new Circa client that came to their appointment today! We've all been walking by thinking that he was Sister out of the corner of our eyes. He is adorable!
I think they are new best freinds!

August 10, 2010

I Spy...

I love playing my adult version of "I Spy" each time I pick up a new design magazine. I look for items that Circa carries or I've seen our designers use in recent projects.

I love these burlap cone pendants that we have in our shop:
$650 each (sold as a pair)
See how a designer published in the September 2010 Veranda used them over an island in a French style kitchen:
In the same issue of Veranda, I spotted Circa's favorite Lee Bongo bar stool used in a yellow linen in this kitchen. The yellow is a fun contrast:
This nailhead enhanced stool comes in lots of sizes (17"x17"x30" barstool;17"x17"x22", 16"x16"x18", 16"x16"x24" ottomans). There are also varying base options. Check them out on Lee's website.
I recognized these seat cushions when flipping through the September 2010 House Beautiful:
As seen at Circa:
$35 for a set of 2

August 3, 2010


These decorative accents allow for great candlelight; perfect for dining. I picture this pair of candlesticks at the end of a buffet or console as well as on a long dining table. The oil lamp would be fabulous on a big outdoor table.
Morro candlesticks $150 each
(sold as a pair)
cappuccino oil lamp $250

Antique of the Week

Duchess Suite in green Classic Cloth damask fabric

August 2, 2010

New Shipment

We just received a shipment of new pieces. Take a look:
pair of wicker chairs (sold as a pair)
 $924 each ($1155 retail)
burlap ottoman (pair available)
$672 each ($840 retail)
30.5"D x18"H
zinc top dining table with wooden base
$2100 ($2625 retail)
60"D x 30"H
quatre feuille side table (pair available)
$675 each
32"W x 32"D x 27.5"H
shell on stand
$672 ($840 retail)
curved vintage grey oak chair (pair available)
$630 each ($788 retail)
20"W x 20"D x 42"H
white oak upholstered chair
$1344 ($1680 retail)
32"W x 39"D x 40"H
3 drawer nightstand (pair available)
$1008 ($1260 retail)
36"W x 22"D x 30"H
metal demilunes with rivets (sold as a pair)
$1540 each ($1925 retail)
48"W x 24"D x 32"H
low display table $675
30"W x 22"D x 32"H
3 drawer dresser
$2380 ($2975 retail)
54"W x 23"D x 34"H
cabinet with mirrored doors $1350
42"W x 20"D x 36"H