• Italian inspired garden moodboard | totallybydesign

    Roman garden inspiration for small city garden

    After fun filled, although sometimes frustrated search (favorite Anthropologie planters sold out!) my Roman inspired garden mood board is ready. Now the hard part, making it happen. I cannot wait to share the results!

    Roman garden moodboard | totallybydesign.com

    Clockwise from top left:

    Planters: Pottery Barn Umbria planters

    Outdoor sofa: Patricia Uroquiola “Foliage sofa” at Hive Modern

    Aged scalloped planters: Jayson Home

    Plant pot with saucer: Ikea

    Decorative outdoor pillows: Blossom pillow West Elm and striped pillow West Elm

    Nasturtium “Gleam Salmon”: Floret Flower Farm

    Jardin Bistro Folding Dining Set: West Elm

    Rosemary in clay pot: Burpee

    Lanterns: Anthropolgie


  • Shaftesbury cottages | totallybydesign.com
    Garden,  Travel

    English cottages of Shaftesbury

    I saw the Gold Hill in Shaftesbury on Instagram some time ago and frankly, I thought it was at least a little bit doctored image…How could this fairy tale really exist! When I arrived in Shaftesbury recently for a photography retreat with Marte Marie Forsberg, I made sure to arrive the afternoon before. I needed my time with Gold Hill. I left the bag at the hotel and instantly went for a stroll through town. I admit, I was a bit chocked up when two minutes later, following the crooked path behind the church, I saw the cottages of Gold Hill. I even took a selfie (gasp!) for my parents.

    Shaftesbury cottages | totallybydesign.comShaftesbury cottages | totallybydesign.comShaftesbury cottages | totallybydesign.comShaftesbury cottages | totallybydesign.comShaftesbury cottages | totallybydesign.comShaftesbury cottages | totallybydesign.comShaftesbury cottages | totallybydesign.com

    At 4pm in the afternoon, there was no one there, I had it all to myself. Eventually, I shared ‘the view’ with a gentleman walking the dog (very proper English, I might add) and a couple of kids returning home from school. Another words, a bliss. I walked up and down several times.

    Some of the cottages are well lived in, one was undergoing renovation, others I hear, are vacation rentals these days. Since it was mid March, the season has not really started yet. I could smell grass and wood branches being burned on nearby fields and cleared gardens, but for the most part it was a lovely, sleepy mood, draped in hazy, steel blue skies.

    Shaftesbury cottages | totallybydesign.comShaftesbury cottages | totallybydesign.comShaftesbury cottages | totallybydesign.com

  • Harvest bouquet | totallybydesign

    Wabi-sabi flower arrangements

    Dahlias are such perfect wabi-sabi flowers…I am yet to bring home a big, bold bouquet of dahlias alone. But I also know the longer in season I wait, the better they get, richer, heavier, mellower. I spotted these recently and the pink-purple hues were just gorgeous.

    Wabi-sabi dahlia | totallybydesignThis past Saturday I literally brought home from farmers market one aster, one dahlia, one snapdragon, and a couple of green fillers. I know, the idea of a “filler” even sounds terrible. Under different circumstances the same filler could be a star. I love the silvery green feathery leaves. Give me a bunch I will proudly display without any blooms.

    Harvest bouquet | totallybydesignI set out to my community garden soon after, and brought any weeds I could pull from my plot. Added a few branches of my blooming oregano gone wild, a stem or two of semi-wild black eyed susans, stone crop, and voila! Messy harvest bouquet came to life.

    Harvest Aster | totallybydesignAster and Dahlia | totallybydesign

  • Rose Abraham Darby in Container | totally by design

    Container gardening

    The last day of May just begs for a garden update. Abraham Darby just opened up this morning after a night’s rain. Probably my favorite fragrant rose! The pots are quite filled this year, roses share space with stone crop, tiger lilies, and sage. I have added even more rosemary and sage, to keep company lavender, which is slowly coming back.Rose Abraham Darby in Container | totally by designRosemary and lavender | totally by designTomato Sungold, thyme and cilantro | totally by design

    Tomatoes are getting center stage this year. I have used the biggest pots vacated by roses and I surrounded them with carpets of thyme and oregano, and lots of cilantro.  Sweets peas and lettuces are almost ready!

    Thyme and cilantro | totally by designLettuce and chili peppers | totally by designSweet peas in containers | totally by designEdible garlic shoots | totally by design


    I am growing barley, oats and wheat in a container for her to nibble on, but clearly, garlic shoots are all the rage. Now, that’s a cat with a gourmet taste.


  • Simple wreath / totally by design

    Simple wreath

    There were many hours spent in the yard this weekend. The inventory is not looking so good, some English roses are not coming back after extremely snowy and soggy winter. Still, I am looking forward to the redesign. This year even more focus on vegetables, drought resistant plants and more comfortable outdoor dining space. While pondering it all, I started pulling branches overtaking our fence on one side of the house…and it clicked. They were so pliable, but strong at the same time. I made an impromptu wreath in less then 10 minutes, no wire base needed!

    Simple wreath / totally by design

    Simple wreath / totally by design

    Simple wreath for the door / totally by design

  • Magnolia buds / totally by design

    Decorating with tree branches

    Today was the first day of gardening. If removing snow, slush, ice, and water from my English roses planters counts as gardening…Carl has been moving snow by hand from our back yard all week now. Today was the grand finale, and sad faces as we realized that 3 ft of snow broke the branches of many of the rose bushes. In retrospect, I should have trimmed them much shorter, but they were still trying to bloom in mid November and it never seemed cold enough.

    But it is the little things that count, right? I picked up a lovely magnolia branch today on the afternoon walk, that was before the snow starting coming down again fiercely! I admit, I had a bit of inspiration this past week as I looked at a pretty magical photo on Mimi Thorisson’s post. Magnolia trees and branches are just dreamy to work with. Here is my vignette of branches and tulips.

    Magnolia buds / totally by design

    Magnolia branches and tulips on marble / totally by design

    Magnolia branches and tulips/ totally by design

    Magnolia buds / totally by design


  • Garden,  Table Styling

    Best of November photos

    November has been very much absent from my blog, but it was very productive in so many ways! I hope this will soon bring some very real, finished projects, however small…For now, I just wanted to share a few of my favorite photos. As it happens, these received the most response and comments from my Instagram friends and followers, and inspired me to work even harder! Here is my November through images…



  • Garden

    Oak leaves, acorns, and autumn mood

    This morning I posted my first true fall photo of the season. Sure I love all the shades of purple, red, and tan, but I have been avoiding brown…And orange. Even the pumpkins I photographed at the farmers market were white, not orange. But I could not help but to fill my bag with acorns yesterday while walking though the park. I intended to glue them together to their shells for some sort of whimsical display, but they ended up on a table and I took this photo. I was so honored when Design Sponge shared my photo on the Instagram earlier today. Acorns and chestnuts always remind me of childhood and the little figurines I would make using wooden matches for arms and legs.

    Oak leaves and acorns
    Oak leaves and acorns

    I also spotted some gorgeous fall roses yesterday in a park. Here are just a few, that evoke the fall mood best.YellowFallRosePeach-RosesPinkRose

  • White Rose "Iceberg"

    Fall color palette

    As a perfect way to celebrate a classic New England fall weekend One Kings Lane featured my photo on Instagram yesterday. A simple walk after the rain let me capture my favorite purples, grays, and reds, with a hint of yellow.KingsLane

    Here is more color inspiration, captured in the garden.

    White Rose "Iceberg"
    White Rose “Iceberg”


  • Garden

    My photo on Design Sponge today


    I was beyond thrilled to find out this morning that my photo submitted for Design Sponge #dssummer hashtag challenge was one of the 30 finalists, and had been selected from over 4,800 images. You can read all about it here. Funny that it happened on a completely rainy, not summer-like day. Another words, perfect day for reflections, and rounding up all summer memories. I have been planning a post about orange and blue color inspirations lately – this will be a perfect start. Coming up later in a week…