“The Collected Library”: Summertime And The Living Is Easy…Well Maybe Not!

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents  the collected library summer reading

Summer 2015 has been very busy at Chestnut Cottage! With a new puppy, a party for the governor, lots of trips to the lakehouse , and keeping up the garden, squeezing in time to read has been a real challenge! One of my favorite times of the year and of the day is the late afternoon in summer.   With a cool breeze blowing, all I want to do is take a good book and a chilled glass of champagne and head for the front porch. And in the last few weeks, I have done just that… with a great book under one arm and Duncan MacDuff under the other. A wonderful client who knows my reading habits recommended a book to me earlier in the summer and I knew that it was probably a “must read”. And indeed it turned out to be just that! ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE, by Anthony Doerr is one of the most magnificent books I have ever read.

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents  the collected library summer reading

Image- Amazon

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, this instant New York Times bestseller kept me away from gardening, cooking, and almost away from my design business! I looked forward each day to getting out on the front porch with this book. It is about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.

Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris where he works as the master of the locks at the Museum of Natural History. When Marie-Laure is six, she goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and she and her father flee to the walled city of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them, they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.

In a mining town in Germany, an orphan named Werner grows up with his younger sister and both are enchanted by a crude radio they find in the trash. Werner is an extremely bright child and becomes an expert at building and fixing radio equipment. This ability wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth. Werner travels through the heart of the war and finally, into Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure’s converge.

In reading this novel, I became very interested in the walled city of Saint-Malo, its location and its history.

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents  the collected library summer reading north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents  the collected library summer reading

Image- APPSM Bernard Henry

Saint-Malo is the brightest jewel of the emerald coast of Brittany in northwestern France on the English channel. Historically, it is known for pirates and a fierce sense of independence. The city was almost completely destroyed by fire in August 1944 by American and British bombers as it was occupied by Nazi troops.

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents  the collected library summer reading

The city was re-built between 1948 and 1960 and is a major tourist destination today. Saint-Malo has one of the highest concentration of restaurants in Europe and is world famous for its oysters. That alone makes for an interesting destination.

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents  the collected library summer reading

This novel was at times very disturbing for me, always moving and a testament that against all odds, people really try to be good to one another. It is beautifully written, dazzling, and so keenly explores the beauty of the laws of nature. Among all the sufferings of war, this is a compelling and uplifting novel and I highly recommend it for your “collected library”.

I must confess that this book did keep me out of the garden for several days, but the garden did fine without me…

Stargazer lilies…dahlias…and one last foxglove of the season.

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents  the collected library summer reading

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents  the collected library summer reading

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents  the collected library summer reading

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents  the collected library summer reading

So I suppose there really isn’t a thing wrong with sitting on the front porch with a gentle breeze, a great book, a great glass of champagne, and a new puppy that is really settling in! But now it is back to the weeding, the dead heading, the trimming…..

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents  the collected library summer reading

xo Kathryn

Posted in “In the Garden”, Books, Inspired!, Take It From Kathryn, The Collected Library, What's Inspiring Kathryn? | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Home Free!! Nine Weeks at Chestnut Cottage!

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents duncan macduff greeley the westie at chestnut cottage

I know that a lot of you have been asking about me and wondering how I am doing and probably even wondering if I am even still living at Chestnut Cottage. Can you believe it…nine weeks and I am still here! I really think that I am “HOME FREE”! At least I hope so, because I really love it here. Allow me to regress a bit….

I was born on January 30th in Atlanta and had one brother and two sisters. I am told that my daddy is a show dog from the west coast and my mother is the sweetest Westie, whose name is Charm. She was so good to me and my siblings. On March 14th, The Greeleys came down to Atlanta to visit and have a look at me. I believe it was “love at first sight”! At least I would like to think so.

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents duncan macduff greeley the westie at chestnut cottage

When I was eight weeks old, my “breeder mom” sent this picture of me to the Greeleys and I imagine this “sealed the deal”! Check out the cute little tartan ribbon she used to tell us puppies apart!

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents duncan macduff greeley the westie at chestnut cottage

As I told you before,when they came to get me, we had to make a stop before we left Atlanta at my new Mommie’s friend, Ruthie, so she could “inspect” me and make sure I made the grade!

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents duncan macduff greeley the westie at chestnut cottage

Apparently I did, as we headed on to Chestnut Cottage. I slept all the way home in Mommie’s lap and three hours later I arrived at what I hoped to be my Forever Home…Chestnut Cottage!

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents duncan macduff greeley the westie at chestnut cottage

I learned really quick that what SHE (the new Mommie) said went! I heard her tell someone the night we came home that she was taking two weeks off from her design business for “maternity leave” to train me. Now that was a scary thought! What is a puppy to do?!? It was really hard for me to see my new Daddy, he was so  far up there…I think he is about 6’6”! But he is SO sweet and kind. I think I am really going to like him! Not so sure about “Her”.

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents duncan macduff greeley the westie at chestnut cottage

The first day of this “maternity leave” wasn’t so bad. I met a nice, new dog from the neighborhood, whose name is Reggie.

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents duncan macduff greeley the westie at chestnut cottage

“She” and I spent a lot of time that first week in the garden and I learned very quickly that “She” didn’t appreciate me eating her plants! It was fun to look at the garden even when “She” wouldn’t let me roam on my own.

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents duncan macduff greeley the westie at chestnut cottage

 north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents duncan macduff greeley the westie at chestnut cottage

Then there was that first scary trip to the groomer!

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents duncan macduff greeley the westie at chestnut cottage

I heard them laughing about my big ears…I’ll show them…in no time they will be all over themselves about how adorable I am!

I really don’t mind this nice wicker crate, but I can tell you now, my goal is to get to sleep in that nice big bed in our room!

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents duncan macduff greeley the westie at chestnut cottage

There are so many strange things at Chestnut Cottage …that of course “She” says “No Duncan!”

 north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents duncan macduff greeley the westie at chestnut cottage

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents duncan macduff greeley the westie at chestnut cottage

The first trip to our lake house was certainly interesting. All new things to get me in trouble.

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents duncan macduff greeley the westie at chestnut cottage

Being on the boat for Memorial Day was really fun! Don’t I look patriotic in my scarf!

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents duncan macduff greeley the westie at chestnut cottage

My Dad even let me help drive the boat and when the wind hurt my eyes, I found a neat little spot to “get away from it all”!

 north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents duncan macduff greeley the westie at chestnut cottage

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents duncan macduff greeley the westie at chestnut cottage

One thing I really love, that “She” is always trying to take away from me are sticks! I love chewing them up but  “She” is SO worried that I am going to choke on something.

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents duncan macduff greeley the westie at chestnut cottage

Back to the lake house for the Fourth of July! Mommie and her friend Laura worried me to death trying to get me to “pose” on this flag beach towel. Too bad I didn’t have a video of them!!

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents duncan macduff greeley the westie at chestnut cottage

I really do have a good life here at Chestnut Cottage, even when “She” puts me in my little pen in the middle of the kitchen floor. I like to be able to see everything that is going on and then “She” can “keep an eye on me”. For my own good, of course!

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents duncan macduff greeley the westie at chestnut cottage

And I get to go ALL of the time…”She” is really a traveling woman. Lots of road trips and I have a nice soft fleece pad to sit on.

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents duncan macduff greeley the westie at chestnut cottage

And don’t you think I should get to sleep in the “big bed”. Please say yes! I love tunneling down under the covers in the morning when “She” lets me get on the bed early in the morning  while she reads her devotion. That bed and I are a perfect fit, don’t you agree?!?

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents duncan macduff greeley the westie at chestnut cottage

I think I have taken up enough of your time, but I will leave you with this…

I am being a really good boy and getting really cute and I KNOW they really love me and they take really good care of me and I also KNOW… that Chestnut Cottage is my FOREVER HOME!

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents duncan macduff greeley the westie at chestnut cottage

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents duncan macduff greeley the westie at chestnut cottage

Posted in Duncan, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 12 Comments

“Specialties of the House”: Small Bites!

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents happy fourth of july

Last week for my Downton Abbey party for Governor McCrory, I made these tasty little “BLT Bites”. They were one of my three passed hors d’oeuvres and were a real hit! These small bites are one of my favorites for summer cocktail parties, although, I must say they are a bit labor intensive! Your guests will love you for all of the work!

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents happy fourth of july

I start with a cherry tomato and make a good slice off the top and a very small slice off the bottom of the tomato, so that it will be set level. Then you must scoop out the inside of the tomato…very carefully! If you don’t slice off enough on the top, you will not be able to get down in the tomato to scoop out the inside. The hard part is over now, so you can relax! I know this, as I did 80 of these little tomatoes for the party last weekend!

Now for the filling…first of all I cook Oscar Meyer Center Cut Bacon in my microwave until it is done and very crisp. I drain it on paper towels and then chop very fine. I then slice romaine hearts very thinly. Even doing 80 tomatoes, it takes very little romaine to stuff down in these tasty little bites. So don’t over cut on the romaine! Of course the amounts on all of these ingredients totally depends on the number of tomatoes you plan to prepare. You will need to pipe some mayonnaise into the tomatoes. I use my disposable pastry bags and tips, but a “baggie” with a corner clipped will do just as well. I always use Hellman’s! Now you are ready to assemble the BLT Bites. I always “blot” out the tomato with a paper towel and then stuff with the romaine. Leave enough room to pipe in a bit of mayonnaise and then top with the bacon. It’s very simple after you get the tomatoes prepared! And very worth the trouble.

So wow your 4th of July guests with these little summer delights and enjoy with a nice glass of champagne!

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents happy fourth of july

I hope you are celebrating with your friends and family this holiday weekend. I am so thankful for all of the men and women who have served and are currently serving in our armed forces to keep this country safe. Happy 4th of July, everyone!

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents happy fourth of july

xo Kathryn

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“Oh What A Night”!

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents entertaining tales from chestnut cottage

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents entertaining tales from chestnut cottage

OH WHAT A NIGHT! Such a great “Downton Abbey” party and what great fun! We had rain all morning on Saturday here at Chestnut Cottage, which was disappointing, but I went ahead and made the “executive decision” early that we would need to serve dinner inside. And everything turned out perfectly! It was a very intimate setting with eight in my kitchen, eight in the living area, and eight in the master bedroom! I always have these three tables at Thanksgiving and Easter, so it was not so bad seeing all of the cooking and serving going on in the kitchen. It is often the prize tables in a restaurant that are in the kitchen, so I didn’t feel too badly.

I did all of my flowers on Friday, so that I could be enjoying them as I cooked and did the tables.

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents entertaining tales from chestnut cottage

Peonies and thistle!

  north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents entertaining tales from chestnut cottage

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents entertaining tales from chestnut cottage

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents entertaining tales from chestnut cottage

My silver trumpet vases are so tall, I had to get my little one step stool to get the flowers arranged.

Chestnut Cottage was full of flowers!

 north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents entertaining tales from chestnut cottage

It was fun to set all three of the tables Saturday morning, but I was very disappointed that we wouldn’t be eating in the garden!

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents entertaining tales from chestnut cottage

The table in our living area.

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents entertaining tales from chestnut cottage

The table in our master bedroom …which opens to the living area.

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents entertaining tales from chestnut cottage

And the table in the kitchen…which opens to the living area.

So the tables were ready and “Lord Greeley” takes a look to see if everything is perfect.

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents entertaining tales from chestnut cottage

After my table inspection, I felt it was time for a glass of champagne!

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents entertaining tales from chestnut cottage

Around 5:00 the sun came out and we were able to have cocktails in the garden. The evening turned out to be glorious for cocktails in the garden, so we welcomed our special guest to cocktails served in the wine cellar, right off my little garage!

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents entertaining tales from chestnut cottage

It is interesting what a lovely, oriental rug can do to make my garage a perfect place to set up a bar. Sadly I was very busy with my guests and did not make lots of photos, so I had to depend on others and no one seemed to photograph the “bar area”.

Around 6:00, we welcomed our Lords and Ladies to Chestnut Cottage…particularly our special guests… North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory and First Lady, Ann McCrory! What a treat to have The Governor and Lady McCrory to Chestnut Cottage for a Downton Abbey dinner.

While The Governor chatted with guests, Lady McCrory and I had a stroll around Chestnut Cottage. I was pleased to learn from Ann that she and I share a mutual passion…dogs!

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents entertaining tales from chestnut cottage

We had an incredible group of people helping with serving and bartending!

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents entertaining tales from chestnut cottage

And the tables were ready for all of our special guests.

It was such a fun group and Governor McCrory seemed to enjoy visiting all of the tables. He mentioned to me several times how much he liked the openness of Chestnut Cottage, particularly for entertaining.

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents entertaining tales from chestnut cottage

I loved that Lord Findalay wore his authentic Scottish kilt attire!

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents entertaining tales from chestnut cottage

Wells dined with my beautiful young friend, Elliott Coward. Doesn’t she look stunning in her 20”s fashions!

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents entertaining tales from chestnut cottage

I was most relieved that my food turned out well and seemed to be enjoyed by everyone!

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents entertaining tales from chestnut cottage

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents entertaining tales from chestnut cottage

Sadly, we didn’t get a photo of the yummy Wild Mushroom Soup. My chef friend , Dennis Barber , chef/owner of The Copper Door generously donated this incredible soup…and we all appreciated his talent!

north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley presents entertaining tales from chestnut cottage

BE INSPIRED TO HAVE YOUR OWN DOWNTON ABBEY STYLE DINNER PARTY!

ENJOY!

xo Kathryn

Posted in Uncategorized | 14 Comments

Downton Abbey Party Countdown!

downton abbey party at chestnut cottage presented by north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley

downton abbey party at chestnut cottage presented by north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley

Planning does make for an easier life and a successful entertaining event! And we are counting down at Chestnut Cottage this week. I am praying for good weather so that we can eat in the garden…and I would greatly appreciate lots of the same prayers from my wonderful readers here at The Collected Room!!!

Speaking of “collected”, our tables Saturday evening will certainly be “Collected Tabletops”! I am planning to have three round tables and use the same blue and white checked cloths that are shown below in the Wine Tasting chapter of The Collected Tabletop.

downton abbey party at chestnut cottage presented by north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley

Since things would have been more formal at a dinner party at Downton Abbey, I decided to use 90 inch white linen hemstitch overlay cloths. I will either use 22 inch white linen hemstitch napkins or some of my antique napkins or a combination of both!

My primary china pattern will be my beloved Old Coalport “Leighton Spray” pattern. I am so blessed to have a great many pieces of this pattern and will mix it with a few other patterns.

downton abbey party at chestnut cottage presented by north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley

For serving the Wild Mushroom Bisque, I will use the lovely cobalt depression glass that is in the  Book Shower chapter of The Collected Tabletop.

downton abbey party at chestnut cottage presented by north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley

This pattern is Royal Lace by Hazel-Atlas and is one of the most highly sought after and expensive of all Depression glass patterns. It is so delicate and works wonderfully with the Leighton Spray pattern.

downton abbey party at chestnut cottage presented by north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley

The pieces I purchased for my friend and client, Annette Anderson, (in the Book Shower chapter) will be on loan to Chestnut Cottage this weekend and will be added to my collection of this pattern.

For the fish course of the meal, I will be using an accent plate that I purchased several years ago at Replacements. This pattern is Victoria Blue by Nikko and when I found them on a very tempting sale at Replacements, I purchased 70 of these accent salad plates. They are going to be perfect for my smoked trout course .  I also use them regularly for cocktail buffets!

downton abbey party at chestnut cottage presented by north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley

And I will be using them again for the cheese course!

In that I am serving English Trifle for the dessert course, I was able to find individual trifle bowls…would you believe on Amazon!

downton abbey party at chestnut cottage presented by north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley

I am mixing four sterling flatware patterns, my “Buttercup” by Gorham , along with three of my Mother’s patterns… “Processional” by Fine Arts, “Chantilly” by Gorham, and “Prelude” by International . There is LOTS of silver polishing going on this week at Chestnut Cottage!

downton abbey party at chestnut cottage presented by north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley

downton abbey party at chestnut cottage presented by north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley downton abbey party at chestnut cottage presented by north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley downton abbey party at chestnut cottage presented by north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley

 We will we will be serving five wines, so  I have rented 5 wine glasses for each of the 24 guests and I will use my William Yeoward “Pearl” pattern water glasses.

downton abbey party at chestnut cottage presented by north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley

For cocktails, I am going to have a “collection of my “Thistle”, “Lismore”, and “Pearl” on the bar. Our special bar cocktail for the evening will of course be a refreshing Pimm’s Cup”!

downton abbey party at chestnut cottage presented by north carolina interior designer kathryn greeley

I thought you might enjoy my Pimm’s recipe from a previous post.

I suppose I better get back to all of the planning and polishing. Stay tuned for the party images and to find out who our special guest will be!

xo Kathryn

Posted in China, Entertaining, Entertaining Tales from Chestnut Cottage, Quintessentially British, Tabletop, Take It From Kathryn, The Collected Tabletop, Uncategorized, What's Inspiring Kathryn? | 3 Comments