Bird Watching

I am no ornithologist but I have thoroughly enjoyed coffee by the pool in the mornings while I watch our resident mother Finch feed here five babies. They are snuggled in a nest that was built in a large blue pot. This blue pot houses very large and happy flap jack succulents. The red tinged leaves have spread wide and cover the nest wonderfully so that when Mama is hunting one can barely see the five constantly open mouths. My oldest cat Olive takes her mornings by the pool as well. She lies beneath large philodendra leaves and acts as if she is not interested in the birds. Olive cannot fool me because her relaxed body posture is in conflict with her impenetrable stare in the direction of the birds and the end of her tail subtlety twitches with excitement. I wanted to maintain this charade by feigning disinterest myself and my mind wondered to James Audubon, birds and the world of decorating. Let’s take a peek into the dining room of a Williamsburg Model that has come to life with classic wainscot and one large snowy egret, compliments of James Audubon, somewhere in the heart of The Villages.

• Paint The New Dining Space is Light Bright and Airy!
The room was a dark sage green which tends to suck light out of the space.
We re-painted the room into a soft light crème that added light to the space.

• Wainscot
The dining room in a Williamsburg model is really big and can be challenging. The homeowner wanted a classic feeling so we decided to utilize wainscoting. We added wainscoting all the way around the dining room. The wainscot continued around the bookshelf that is the divider for the dining room and into the dining room stopping at the slider. The wainscoting from the chair rail down to the floor was painted completely white. This makes the space look amazing and the added architectural value of wainscoting is timeless. Even though this is a classic application, wainscoting will look great with any style because it provides a strong pop of white into the space. Wainscoting can be any style you like. Many of my customers are doing shaker style wainscot treatments, which are a bit more casual. I hope to show some in the future.

• Jogging the wainscot
The sideboard is taller than the chair rail. We did not want the chair rail running behind the sideboard. As you can see in the picture we raised the chair rail up to run over the top of the sideboard providing a two inch reveal all the way around the large cabinet. This process makes the sideboard look custom to the space! Don’t worry about having to leave the piece of furniture if you move. Most sideboards are similar in width and the new homeowner should be able to find something that fits that niche.

• Paint the sideboard
We loved the size of the sideboard and it was an expensive piece that the homeowner really did not want to replace if we could find a way to make it work. We made it work by painting it expresso! The look of the space was transitioning to a classic tommy Bahama/west Indies feeling and the topiaries and English ivy did not really fit in the new feeling of the space. We re-proposed the topiaries on the front porch and painting the sideboard cost about one fourth of the cost to replace the piece. The expresso color popped against the white wainscot and tied into the dining set very well.

• Mirrors
We needed to catch light from the large kitchen window. In order to catch light we added mirrors. The Williamsburg has a large dining room wall that required two mirrors to fill the space; just one would look under scale. We used antique gold arched mirrors that were 48” wide by 72” high. These were hung above the wainscoting and look amazing! Why does the arched mirror win so often in spaces? They mimic a Palladian window so when they are installed it is a two for one. We get the light reflected and the mirrors really look like windows.

• Zebra Rug
We added a zebra i-kat rug under the table for a modern approach to the classic print. The colors of zebra print are neutral in nature so they blend with any look and add a high end feeling into the space. Don’t be afraid to use a zebra print if you have wanted too! It does not make you wild or “out there” it makes you awesome!

• Pineapple sconces
The golden pineapple sconces are amazing and look so rich. Pineapples are the universal sign of hospitality so having them in the dining room is classically appropriate. They hold two taper candles each. The taper candles are the luminaire brand and they look real but without the fear of burning the house down.

• Chandelier
The chandelier looked a little heavy before the makeover but once the mirrors were in place it felt much lighter and we wanted it to stay.

• Lamps and art
The Snowy Egret by James Audubon hangs over the sideboard. The lamps on each side of the sideboard are brushed gold with a touch of black marble and creamy golden shades. They look a bit like a golden palm tree. Also, a touch of greens and a piece of coral finish off the space.

• Big orchids
Orchids are the perfect flower! They are elegant and casual at the same time. We created a large orchid arrangement in a teak bowl for the center of the table. These orchids look and feel real and the best part is they do not need water.

P.S. –Attention all club presidents! We give free decorating seminars. It is lots of fun and very informative. Call and schedule your club today. Also, we are on-line check out our web-site at and you can always e-mail us at or Call Ruth your full service decorator at 352-804-2056.

Before and After Pics Below