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.
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.
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.
A home could never have too much storage, especially if it is a tiny house. Every square inch becomes an inch of premium space. As a designer, I see spaces a bit like a Venn diagram - a place for everything and everything in its place by way of close proximity and association. Yes, I do use both sides of my brain, equally! .
One of the most important things to consider in keeping a well-organized home is utilizing case goods or furniture pieces that are both functional and beautiful. We all want to come home to a tidy house that isn’t stripped of luxury or essential things because we simply can’t keep an orderly home.
In the many occasions I have designed a house, no matter what room it is, I place organization at the same level of importance as beauty. When a piece of furniture is both beautiful and purposeful, it will be equally appreciated for both.
Scale and style are two top deciding factors in selecting the best piece of “keep all” furniture. Our fashion sense is a good indicator of our home style. We are often drawn to pieces of furniture that mirror our sense of style. Based on Consumer Buying Behavior magazine’s survey of current popular style, Rustic Glam seems to be the top style category. Those who love worn-out jeans with stylish boots or dressy heels paired with a sophisticated top may lean more towards the style of weathered wood and leather mixed with brushed gold.
As interesting as this may seem, take a look at our case good pairings and see which one speaks to your inner style.
The House of Fashion Rustic Glam mood board is inspired by Peter Do’s crepe yellow and black dress featured on Net-a-Porter. The bright mellow yellow is a reminder of the morning sun that shines across Paris Road and cascades down the birch trees on the property. The touch of black echos the shade of wet hardwood. I love the pairing of the metal and wood bookcase from the Crestview Collection with the honeycomb mirror credenza. I included Regina Andrew’s brushed gold globe lighting for that modern touch.
Modern English Cottage
For those that bend towards delicate, sophisticated, and a bit of whimsy, the Modern English Cottage vibe is the right house of fashion fit. Whenever I am asked to design a cottage, my one go-to case good must be a painted furniture piece. I started my business working in custom decorative finishes which involved doing plenty of painted furniture pieces. Crestview Collection’s cheerful green cabinet with an elaborate fretwork on its mirrored doors is perfectly paired with Harp and Finial’s limewood washed modern armoire - a useful piece in homes that need additional storage for essential items. This Modern English Cottage mood board was totally inspired by an Oscar de la Renta tasseled floral halter silk dress. This classic halter style dress with its fun floral print paints a picture of the perfect afternoon garden party on an English country estate surrounded with beautiful English blooms. The dress is paired with the unexpected leopard print flats from J. Crew. This approach of mixing high style with budget friendly pieces mirrors my approach for a curated look. Of course, a room is not fully dressed unless it is crowned with just the right light fixture to balance the element of style.
If your style sense leans towards Hollywood glam-black, white and gold with a punch of bling, then your eyes will gravitate towards Arterior’s Artsley charcoal gray cabinet. The gorgeous glass front and brush gold is a versatile piece that can showcase pretty dishes or can double up as a handsome liquor cabinet. You can’t go wrong with Regina Andrew’s Nebula chandelier. It is both glamorous and stately. This light swings in the style direction of both Rustic glam and Hollywood glam. For a strong contrast I brought in Crestview Collection’s cream fabric studded accent cabinet. This piece when bought in pairs and placed together behind the sofa creates additional storage for seasonal pillows and blankets. For an added fun chair, I chose this lavender faux fur walnut chair from Harp and Finial.
With a brand new year comes a brand new list of adventures. Bucket listing seems to be the thing these days. With Spring around the corner, there is this eagerness to press the “reset” button and start that bucket list. We managed to cross off the “redo the kitchen” from our list. It seemed like there were a lot of hurdles to overcome, and having no access to running water made us more determined to carefully think through our construction process and timeline to get a functioning Parisian kitchen. Nothing says Ooh, la, la, better than navy cabinets with modern brushed gold pulls and a large dose of white slab marble backsplash. I posted the before-and-after photos on our La Cuisine blog. Any pastry chef who accompanies us on a weekend getaway will be tempted to whip up the words bon appétit’.
Not only have we been hard at work giving this tired cabin a new lease on life, but we have also managed to pause and smell the mountain air and travel the beaten path. At This Side of Paris, we’ve discovered local gems in the area that we thought to be the perfect way to enhance your experience next time you find yourself here in the High Country.
Although there is a lot to get done this year from our bucket list of renovation projects, we are privileged to be able to work among the beautiful surrounding areas of the North Carolina Appalachians. We want the essence of 2019 to be celebrated all year long here at TSOP!
The places you will go in Boone, Banner Elk, Blowing Rock will carve a memorable profile as profound as Grandfather Mountain. A scenic drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway never fails to make the elements of your experience shine brighter than Gustave Eiffel’s tower. Whether you are traveling as a family, exploring as a single, or adventuring as a couple, exploring this side of Western North Carolina will leave you with beautiful lasting memories.
Whether it be the enchanting atmosphere of Vidalia Restaurant, or gazing the twinkling stars at night on Grandfather Mountain, it is our desire that the places you will go this year are of some of the sweetest experiences yet! if the natural elements surrounding the property at TSOP don’t sweep you off your feet, then perhaps Sky Valley Zip Tours will whisk you away with fleeting zip lines that will take you on the ride of your life! They offer all kinds of adventures ranging from single riders to tours for the whole family.
This year we are ready to let go of the old that no longer serves us joy, and welcome with open arms the new that comes with the year; what better way to “let go” of the old and ride through 2019 than 140 acres of canopy tour fun? If being up in the air is not your style, then you may enjoy staying down to earth, and letting your inner Daniel Boone guide you down the paths of Grandfather Mountain for some modern day pioneering. Don’t feel bad if you end up doing more exploration at the King Street Creamery than on the trails.
Finding the right outfit to wear while traveling in style should not be a guessing game. We have put together a collection from our House of Fashion to inspire you.
Solo Wanderer || Two Peas In A Pod || Family Pack
If complete solitude from the world makes you want to travel solo, these places will keep you company. For the two peas in a pod travelers, these places will keep you tethered. For those that travel in a pack, there is a place for everyone.
Regardless of where 2019 goes, make sure that the places you will go are the ones that will make you say….. la joie de vivre. We like to think that the joy of living is a handpicked panel of places and activities that reveal the rustic glam essence of This Side of Paris throughout Boone, NC - each in their own unique way.