Happy 4th of July!

We’re going to relax this weekend and celebrate America’s birthday!

july 4th decorating


What are your plans?

4th of July decorating


Have a well-designed holiDAY,



  Photos: The Welch Company; The Glamorous Housewife


Floral Friday

June is such a beautiful month in Vermont – the fresh green is so vibrant!  What colors better represent Vermont than white & green?  I thought I’d feature classic white & green tablescapes in this week’s Floral Friday.

Rutland Vermont Interior Designer


I love tablescapes that feature over-scale urns.  They work best at buffet tables or long farmhouse banquet tables – that way it doesn’t hinder your guests view across the table.

Floral Friday Blog

I absolutely LOVE this centerpiece – white Astilbe, Peonies, Queen Anne’s Lace, Star of Bethlehem and Lupine – all tucked in a vintage green glass vase.  Charming!

Killington Vermont Interior Designer


I adore Ironstone and Lilacs and this demure centerpiece would be perfect for a bridal luncheon or baby shower, wouldn’t it?

Have a well-designed day!



Photo: Just Call Me GraceWedding ChicksInspiritation Lane all via Pinterest

Floral Friday

pink peonies

The peonies in my garden are blooming!  That’s always one of the happiest days for the garden fairies.  Isn’t this combination of pink peonies and crisp green a perfect pair?  Perhaps we’ll have dinner al fresco this evening.

martini bar pink and green peonies with green apples

Have a fabulous weekend everyone,


Photos: Vermont Vows

Ladies Outdoor Luncheon

Having friends over for dinner is always fun but what could be more fun than having an al fresco ‘ladies luncheon’?  Saturdays are typically busy but a Sunday
afternoon would be perfect.  The morning is open for church or errands and everyone will be home in time for dinner with their family.

outdoor dining

Decide on a simple menu of cocktails, easy hors d’oeuvres, a buffet-style main course and a yummy make-ahead (or store bought) dessert.

Since this is an easy summer affair, keep the set-up simple.  Cover a picnic table with a beautiful tablecloth or some colorful fabric. For the buffet, bring out a card table and cover it with a piece of burlap (make sure you cover the legs). For simple centerpieces, trim hosta leaves and place them in a large vase or use our potted plants from your yard as centerpieces, just make sure they aren’t too high.  To add some extra panache use these elegant (and practical) placemats.  Since they’re paper you can write your guests names on them.

Elegant paper placemats


Some of my buffet tips (from  my e-book How to Entertain Effortlessly):   It’s more elegant to serve from fewer heaping platters (14 inches wide or so) rather than several smaller ones.  Be sure to keep extra food nearby so as a dish gets consumed, you can quickly refill it.  If the food is warm, keep two platters: one on the buffet, the second in the oven.  Swap them to make sure the food is hot.  I’ve warmed bricks in the oven, wrapped them in aluminum foil and tucked them under the tablecloth.  It elevates the food and keeps it warm.  Just make sure you protect the table underneath.  If your tablescape is rustic, you can even place two bricks (or flat stones) a few inches apart from one another and place a tea-light underneath.

I always recommend that you serve dessert in a different location.   If dessert is served in the buffet area, it requires you to get up and clear it before dessert can be served, rather than lingering with your guests.  I prefer setting up the dessert in another part of the house, which allows you to relax in a new setting.  Worry about the dishes later. Since you’ve been cooking and cleaning all day, you’re entitled to some down time to enjoy your company.  

Menu Ideas:

Hors d’ouvres should be minimal – perhaps a crudite platter (with veggies from the garden or farmer’s market), some crunchy cheese straws (which can be made ahead or purchased) and a few bowls of olives and nuts.

The buffet options should all be ‘make-ahead’ style foods but you can certainly mix in some store bought items if you’re short on time.  A pasta salad, broccoli salad, cold salmon or even a platter with sliced ham and buttermilk biscuits to make sandwiches.  If you prepared a Niçoise salad, you’d have the main course & salad in one!

nicoise salad

Dessert could be an effortless rhubarb crisp or some fresh berries. Make sure you have a refreshing cocktail prepared to welcome your guests as they arrive and you keep a few bottles of white wine and some sparking mineral water chilled to serve during lunch.

 outdoor dining style me pretty

Embrace the warm weather and the company of friends and throw a fabulous outdoor luncheon this weekend!



Photos: Lovely Clusters ; Ruxana’s Home Interiors; Pinterest, Dana Treat, Style Me Pretty

9 tips on attending a home & garden show

This weekend is the 17th annual Burlington Home Show.  Over the years I estimate I’ve attended (and presented) at more than 60 trade shows.   Spring is a busy time for Home & Garden Shows and I have some tips to help you.

Rutland Vermont Home Show

Photo: Jodi Helmer

9 Home & Garden Show Tips

Pre-registration is not required but it usually expedites your entry on the day of the show and you frequently get discounted (or free) tickets.

For large expo-style shows, research the floor plan and strategize which vendors you’d like to meet.  You want to make sure you don’t have to track back to find vendors or worse, you discover when you get home there were vendors you missed.

Be sure to bring a pad of paper and a pen. You’ll want to make notes – like the name of a window manufacturer or perhaps a few tips a decorator shared with you.   Home shows often host workshops so you’ll want to make sure you can take notes (another good reason to pre-register …you get first dibs on the workshops).

Don’t be shy about taking photos of ideas or set-ups you like. The shows are meant to inspire you and vendors spend a lot of time creating and setting up their displays.

Vermont Tent Company

Wear comfortable shoes, and bring a few snacks and bottled water. Some of the large expo-style shows only serve fast foods (hot dogs and hamburgers) so it’s nice to have healthful snacks handy.

Brain-storm what questions you need answered and bring the list with you. Even if you won’t be using a particular vendor, they may have information you need and from my experience, they’re always happy to visit. If a vendor offers brochures; write on their literature what you liked about them (or their product) and why. It will make it easier to remember them when you get home and you begin to sort through dozens of brochures.

Rutland designer home show

Photo: Ruxana's Home Interiors

A great time saver is to have your information printed on mailing address labels. When you visit vendors that interest you, rather than repeatedly filling out the same information, simply use your stickers. Necessary information to include: your name, mailing address, e-mail address, and a daytime telephone number.

Many shows will provide you with a bag or tote at the registration table but in case they don’t, be sure to bring one. You’ll be gathering magazines, brochures, samples, freebies and more…that’s a lot to lug around.

Be sure to bring your appointment book so you can schedule to meet with a vendor at a later date.

Vermont Designer tablescape ideas

Perfect for a spring tablescape

So, grab a girlfriend, your daughter or your husband and head to a home and garden show.  They’re inspiring, motivational and educational.



Garden inspiration…

A little motivation, no?

drawing with quote


Have a delightful day,


Photo: Content in a cottage

Floral Friday

Multi level arrangement

I was away for a few weeks earlier this month and I missed ‘lilac season’ here in Vermont.  It’s such a fragrant and colorful time (especially when you have a lilac bush outside your bedroom window :) ).  So, I thought this would be a perfect post for ‘Floral Friday’.



table setting


Hydrangea and lilacs




pansy plate


hydrangea arrangement



Table setting

Have a delightful weekend, everyone!


Photos: Vermont Vows

Floral Friday

“I thought I was alone; then someone sent me flowers”.  Christina Anello

rusty bird bath with floral bouquet

It’s not too late to join our ‘Design University ~ The Art of Art Placement’ TEA PARTY this Sunday at the Vermont Wreath Company.  Give me a call or drop me an e-mail (ruxana@ruxana.com) to RSVP. 

Have a fabulous weekend everyone, hope to see you Sunday.



Photo: Vermont Vows

The perfect escape…

While my husband (the official ‘snow removal engineer’ of our household) is busy shoveling the remnants of yesterday’s storm, I’m dreaming about spending the day here……

Tropical treehouse

Happy daydreaming ~


Photo: I can’t remember :)

Living with Garden Stools

I’ve long been an admirer of Chinese garden stools – they’re colorful, versatile and seem to add a bit of whimsy when decorating a room.  For years I’ve had one that I keep between two bookcases in my office.  The stool is pretty by itself but when I’m thumbing through a book quickly I use it as a seat and if my (very tall) husband isn’t home, I stand on it to reach the books on the top shelf.  Like I said… ‘versatile’. 

They’re great as side tables:

Dovecote photo with orange accents and garden stool
blue and white Chinese garden bench
Chinese Art and garden stool as side table
Veranda magazine light blue garden stool in white room
garden stools as side tables

Grouped together, they can be used in place of a coffee table:

Garden stools used as a coffee table
sectional sofa with garden stools as coffee tables

They can be used to add interest:

blue bathtub with white garden stool
garden stools under side table
garden stools as foot board in bedroom

Garden stools can even be used in….you guessed it, the GARDEN!  Well, here in Vermont that’s several months away….

outdoor chair with white garden stool
5th ave. terrace garden with garden stool
orange garden stool on terrace
outdoor dining with garden stool

Last year I proposed one to an interior design client (as a side table) for a room in her home here in Rutland.  She responded: “They’re too ‘too’ ”.  :-D I love that line.   The ease with which I found these photos (and dozens more) leads me to agree.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t have any plans to get rid of my garden stool but I did pass on one that was up for bid at an auction recently.  Although, based on the volume of bids it had, garden stools aren’t going anywhere.   

Cheers ~


Photos: Dovecote; Traditions Unlimited; Luxe; Veranda; Robert Verdi; Lonny; West Elm; House Beautiful;

Wisteria; BHG;unknown;  Content in a Cottage ; BHG; unknown

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