Copy of Celebrate Red, White, and Blue

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The other half of 2019 is here and with summer in full bloom, an adventure awaits on a mountaintop experience to celebrate Independence Day all month long. Red, White, and Blue happens to be our signature colors at This Side of Paris. We like to say it’s a neutral blend of patriotic colors—a perfect combination to rock a French Americana style in our experiential abode in the mountains of North Carolina.

When we purchased the cabin in the summer of 2016, we knew this 60 year-old cabin needed a revival in more ways than one. It had been in the market for over six months and if you had seen the place just as we had seen it on that hot summer day, you would have said “are you out of your mind?” ONE WORD just to describe the landscape around the house was OVERGROWN! With its uneven roof line and the 50 shades of brown inside and out, we saw visions to the “what if” questions that ran through our minds.

Today, the cabin has received more than just painted lipstick red window boxes, it has gone through some major changes in the last two years. The gardens are showing off splashes of color on a rotating basis. Reviewing this list of must change, we knew that the gardens and landscaping needed a new form. Just like a sculptor, one sees the outcome in the mass of lifeless forms. Since time was an important element in the taming of the gardens, we took every season in the last two years to mould its beauty. We placed garden elements that lend themselves to the landscape for every season. Most importantly, the side deck along with the gravel patio are rocking one-of-a-kind hand made outdoor patio furniture made from reclaimed old roof rafters and old decking boards.

At  TSOP , there are elements of design that deserve a second glance.

At TSOP, there are elements of design that deserve a second glance.

An artist’s canvas is never done, really. There is always room for change. We have one more important space inside the cabin that is begging for change. Our next major gut job is the bathroom. With its premium space and a multi-purpose room every inch counts. For us, it isn't all work and no play. We plan to take time to explore places outside of our long gravel driveway in between the jack hammering and tiling. We love exploring all the fun places near us. Business and pleasure is key to fuel the mind and body to make it to the finish line. Of course, asking God to once again “part the Red Sea” so we can make it to the other side of this renovation isn't a bad idea.

Since Grandfather Mountain is a stone’s throw away from TSOP, the Mile High Swinging Bridge would be an option to release all fears and lean on God while enjoying the beautiful landscape God spoke into existence. Mile High Swinging Bridge is a 360 degree view of all the beauty and wonder that Grandfather Mountain has to offer. Standing one mile above sea level, and infinitely beyond ordinary, this high-rise attraction was built to give visitors an easy access to the breathtaking view from Grandfather Mountain’s Linville Peak.

If cooling off is necessary, booking with High Mountain Expeditions for a white water rapids expedition to shower along the Watauga River will cool things off. The well-trained instructors will make sure your white water rafting experience is not a wash.

When days call for an higher altitude for a better attitude, driving up in elevation to Beech Mountain will take you to Emerald Outback. The seven mile trail park is open to the public year round. The trails which are maintained by the town of Beech Mountain criss-cross though the mountain top. There is a nice variety of lush forests and open spaces, all with gorgeous views. At the same time there is plenty of isolation in the trees, but don’t worry about getting lost. Just like the apple never falls far from the tree, neither does the path stray too far from some kind of connecting road or bailout point. At the end of the rainbow trail, you can head on out to 5506 Sky-bar on the summit of Beech Mountain Ski Resort. The place has a panoramic view with its 5506 foot vista to soak in all the fresh mountain air and plenty of beverages to cool you off.

These wooded chargers are made from one of the fallen trees here at  TSOP .

These wooded chargers are made from one of the fallen trees here at TSOP.

With the gardens at TSOP maturing every day, we have made it an unspoken tradition to have our lovely neighbors over for a yearly Hello Summer dinner party. Our house of fashion can help put together a great look for your next summer backyard dinner.

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Throw the perfect Red, White, and Blue garden party in style. Denim rompers from Jcrew paired with lace- up Christian Louboutin Barbaria canvas espadrilles is the perfect look for an afternoon BBQ. Mixing highs and lows is never a bad idea. The Hampton Melamine Collection dinnerware from Pottery Barn goes perfectly well the lovely blue and white garden vases from Frontgate.

We made our own King’s table from reclaimed wood on the property along with our wooden chargers. I have a feeling they will get plenty of use this summer. The Parisian bistro chairs are perfect pieces for a pop of patriotic colors.

Want to Go on a Wine Tour from This Side of Paris?

High Point Market Fever

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Our clients hire us because we have an eye for statement furniture, hand-picked just for them. We search high and low to find the perfect piece for our clients. Spring Market at Highpoint never disappoints. Highpoint, NC is the destination to be for the latest home fashion to trend. The furniture capital of the world turns into Disney World for design lovers all over the world. At Market, our team carefully executed our plan visits to RND vendors for “We Love That” favorites. Our eyes and feet worked overtime to spot the top ten pieces from the vendors we love and love us back dearly. As a special surprise, we were gifted a beautiful drink table, Annabella, from Bernhardt Furniture. It was a complete surprise that we even won. What surprised us even more is to have the piece signed and delivered to the office. Mr. Bernhardt Sr. and Jr. put their stamp of approval underneath the conversation piece that went straight to my living room— a beautiful furniture jewel addition next to my sofa.

Bernhardt Annabella Drink Table

Bernhardt Annabella Drink Table

The Spring Market also ushered in new book releases from our favorite designer friends. Shayla Copas launched her beautifully photographed collection of table settings for all seasons of entertaining. The book includes favorite recipes and she gives credit to the talented chefs who have helped her put together fabulous events. Just like the organized designer that she is, the book is presented beautifully in seasons bursting with full color photography showcasing her work. The extraordinaire, Christopher Kennedy published his recent book, “Making Midcentury Modern.” In it, he gives 100 inspirational tips on blending modern design elements with midcentury classic. I absolutely love how he was able to capture this design blend and bring it into the 21st century. Another favorite designer who released a book at Market is the superbly talented and down to earth Greg Natale, Australia’s fineness designer. His book, “The Patterned Interior” is a design cocktail for the eyes. As a lover of pattern myself, I get excited when I see this design element done right. Greg effortlessly infuses pattern in celebrated rooms with the look of “more is more gorgeous” - a complete opposite of “less is more.” His uber high-end projects are stunningly printed in his latest book. Oh, I should mention that Greg is one hundred percent into detail. The book itself, with the gold leaf hardbound cover, will add a punch of high-end style to any coffee table.

Our three days at Market gave us opportunities to meet furniture makers and the companies that set the trend to what will follow in stores near you. The best thing about hiring a designer to help with your interior design is all of the ground work on finding that “it” is done for you.

We selected our top favorites that simply wowed us this Spring Market. The first piece that caught our eyes was Mally Skok for Dowel Furniture. Her “lounge lizard” chair is perfect with a modern fabric. The seat has ample space that fits all in the right places. Mally approaches classic pieces of furniture with a bit of fun in the fabric design.

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C'est Beau Le Vie: What are you wining about?

 

High Country Wine Trail

Our winter’s focus on interior spaces has given our living room a fresh, inviting look and the increasing warmth and sunlight pulls our attention to the avid green growth on tips of twigs and in the garden. Hmmm, we saw that after the 20 inch snowfall covered other vegetation, the deer had a field day munching on the edges of our cypress trees around our pergola. However, the eager growth of warming days seems to be overcoming this setback! We survey the grounds to see what is blooming and what needs to be thinned or moved to more prosperous spots. The hollies we planted last spring have grown a foot since last year, and the four hydrangeas we transplanted from our home in Charlotte are thriving. One hydrangea given to us by a neighbor was severely damaged by roofers in the fall, but we are delighted to see that it is recovering in step with the rising temperature.

Every step outside the door shows me new evidence of spring renewal. Vinca enthusiastically covers new ground with shiny green leaves and gently swirled periwinkle petals. The flower boxes are showing hints of the perennials we planted last year, and I made space with my trowel for the bold pink tulip left by one of our TSOP guests. Kylie noticed the pink on our TSOP logo and on our signature RND candles and left us this thank you for her recent stay. I planted the tulip in the flower box in hopes that next spring Kylie’s tulip will bloom for her next visit.

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After planning, digging, and planting in our terraced hillside garden, we opened the windows and drove up the mountain to breathe the crisp air of the High Country Wine Region and taste its fruits.

Wandering a baker’s dozen of miles to Deer Run Lane, we came to Banner Elk Winery, eager to tour their Tuscan-inspired Villa, vineyards, and blueberry orchard. As we ambled past the unfurling vines and budding blueberry bushes, the mountains stacked about on all sides drew our eyes to their grandeur and lifted our hopes toward a season of growth. Bocci ball, hikes, and a fire pit invites visitors to relax and rejuvenate. Our senses filled and soothed, we capped our visit with a glass of delicious Blueberry Ice wine paired with a cheese and nut tray. A taste of their robust Cabernet Sauvignon and velvety Marechal Foch Reserve is penciled in for our next excursion up the mountain!

A welcome respite from renovation decisions and fingers steeped in garden dirt, Grandfather 
Vineyard is one of my favorite refreshment jaunts, just 5 minutes from This Side of Paris. I love to linger over a glass of their 58° Fusion wine on the veranda overlooking the Watauga River. This wine is named after the 58 degree slope of the vineyard on the southwest face of Grandfather Mountain, and is a complex blend of red wines that soothes and satisfies. Families and dogs are welcome to come with picnic baskets. When the river is low, children can often be seen laughing and throwing pebbles into the water. This inviting place and their variety of tasting packages makes us glad again and again to be near neighbors.

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In our adventures through the western mountains we look forward to visiting more mountain vineyards, wineries, and event venues. Linville Falls Winery in Newland, NC is run by Jack Wiseman who returned to North Carolina after spending his post-Korean War years in Napa Valley wine country. He bought a former dairy farm near Linville Falls and built a Christmas tree business, which provided the capital to fulfill his vineyard dreams. He and his grandchildren now run this vineyard, winery and event venue, featuring a full schedule of live music events beginning in late April. They offer both dry and semi-dry wines as well as some dessert wines, and their Friday tasting events are known to be crowded by a variety of enthusiasts.

Villa Nove Vineyards and Watauga Lake Winery are neighboring vineyards just over two miles apart near Butler, Tennessee. Villa Nove is a farm winery producing all six of its estate wines from its own vineyards. They are open from May through October with regular Sangria Saturdays featuring wood-fired pizza, and Sunday picnics in the vineyards with deli baskets available to enjoy with their wines.

Watauga Lake Winery produces a variety of award-winning wines and also hosts regular weekend events, often partnering with Villa Nove. Watauga’s dry reds include Copperhead Hollow, a cozy blend of Cabernet Franc, Sangiovese, and Chancellor grapes. Two more popular dry reds are Big Dry Run, a bold fruity blend, and Doe Mountain Reserve, with a complex current, blackberry, and peppery profile born of late-harvest Norton grapes. Watauga also produces dry whites, blushes, and dessert wines. There is so much to look forward to in the coming months!

Respectfully, our Airbnb Plus listing invites travelers to “Go on a Wine Tour” at This Side of Paris. Our picnic basket is waiting to be carried on a stroll to one of the many beautiful vineyards around this side of the mountains. We encourage our travelers to take part of the High Country Wine Trail and follow the map for a fun day of exploring the many vineyards around TSOP.