designFall 2020In the Garden

Garden Getaway

By September 24, 2020No Comments

When Emily and Mel Smyth feel the need for a getaway from their house or a change of scenery, they don’t have to pack or drive long distances. They simply walk out their back door through landscaped grounds to their escape haven tucked in the woods under towering trees. Cozy ambiance in the fully equipped cottage provides the feeling of being at a secluded retreat without having to drive for hours.

A flagstone patio with a bench-style retaining wall circles two sides of the cottage. A round table provides outdoor dining, while a seating area offers a restful place to unwind. While relaxing on the patio, the soothing sound of water cascading over stones creates the sound of a fountain, and frogs sing at night in the stream. The stream flows by the tall stone fireplace that provides warmth on chilly fall evenings. Another dining table in front of the fi e creates a cozy, romantic setting for outdoor meals. Matching metal finials accent the mantel Since Emily enjoys having a variety of dining and seating outdoor areas, she created a loggia with an open front that looks out onto the garden. Stone floors a chandelier, lamps and a dining table covered in layers of linens embellish the setting, which is also used for entertaining.

A former Atlanta interior designer, Emily has a flare for creating stunning spaces. Since the backyard slopes and is filled with hardwoods, she decided to create “rooms” in the garden. “When you are in any part of the garden,” she says, “you can’t really see the rest of the yard, so they are like vignettes. “It is just an acre,” adds Emily, “but wandering through all these rooms divided by trees, shrubs and fl wer beds, it appears much larger. Eight benches placed throughout the garden provide seating to enjoy the landscaping and a creek fl wing across the back.” With many places to sit for savoring a cup of tea or looking through decorating books, Emily has not been bored or experienced “cabin fever” while home for long periods of time staying safe from Covid 19. The Smyths can spend days at the cottage with a full kitchen, bath, seating areas and a bedroom space. It is equipped with a large screen television.

Emily wanted the cottage built of stone to appear as an older dwelling that was here before their home was built. Double French doors open to slate floors and an arched cedar ceiling with beams that echo the materials on the exterior of the main house. Stone outlines the interior French doors and is used as the backsplash over the stove with a stainless steel hood. A huge window over the copper farmhouse sink provides views of the woodlands. Honed granite countertops provide texture that looks as though it is soapstone and concrete. A dishwasher, garbage disposal, stove, microwave and refrigerator equip the kitchen for ease in preparing meals. The cabinets are distressed white oak appearing similar to barn wood. Emily converted a kitchen island to hold
the sink and provide storage. A skylight provides plenty of brightness. The antique dining table was constructed from a 200-year-old heart pine tree. The table belonged to her mother and brings back wonderful memories. A leather rocking chair belonged to Mel’s grandfather, and other furnishings are also family antiquesa bedroom space. It is equipped with a large screen television.

Emily wanted the cottage built of stone to appear as an older dwelling that was here before their home was built. Double French doors open to slate floors and an arched cedar ceiling with beams that echo the materials on the exterior of the main house. Stone outlines the interior French doors and is used as the backsplash over the stove with a stainless steel hood. A huge window over the copper farmhouse sink provides views of the woodlands. Honed granite countertops provide texture that looks as though it is soapstone and concrete. A dishwasher, garbage disposal, stove, microwave and refrigerator equip the kitchen for ease in preparing meals. The cabinets are distressed white oak appearing similar to barn wood. Emily converted a kitchen island to hold the sink and provide storage. A skylight provides plenty of brightness. The antique dining table was constructed from a 200-year-old heart pine tree. The table belonged to her mother and brings back wonderful memories. A leather rocking chair belonged to Mel’s grandfather, and other furnishings are also family antiques.

Cushions in warm hues cover a bench accented with throws. Stacks of books and collected décor complete the comfortable, casual look. “It is hard for me to realize I am in a subdivision,” says Emily. “When we come down the steps at the house through the garden to the cottage we are at a different place. I feel like I am on vacation in the mountains or by a lake. “During this period in our history,” she adds, “it is especially comforting to be in this getaway and garden setting.” Emily is offering ideas for savoring time at home and creating your own cozy and comfortable haven:

• Keep family photos on display. Emily has family photos on each side of the door in her bedroom. Every morning it gives her a lift to see the faces of family members. Hallways are also a good place to display photos.

• Create different places to sit with vignettes of books or collected décor, but not too many small items, as it looks cluttered.

• Have what you love around you, not décor that is simply in fashion.

• Emily creates sitting areas by placing a stack of large books for making a small table by a chair. The books provide a place for setting a cup of tea or tray with snacks. Having different places to sit gives the feeling of not being in the same place all the time.

Use throws and pillows on chairs for a cozy look. Emily enjoys places to curl up to relax and look at books to feel secure.

• When Emily was growing up, her mother would make her cheese toast and a cup of tea on a tray. Now, she recreates the warm feeling by making herself a tray. Treat yourself to a favorite childhood snack.

• On chilly fall days, put a roast with onions and garlic in the slow cooker or oven to simmer all afternoon, filling the house with comforting aromas.

• Don’t cover windows. Allow more light in the house. Heavy drapes can keep rooms dark and look hot.

• If using candles, be careful not to use scented ones near food.

• Create seating areas outside for a change of scenery and fresh air. A fountain will provide serene sounds of flowing water. Add soft, colorful cushions to outdoor furniture.

• Have meals outdoors. Plan a picnic in the backyard.

• While Emily enjoys bright rooms, at night she uses soft lighting and has pink light bulbs in lamps. Soft light sets the mood for a quiet evening before going to bed.

Ann Cipperly
Contributing Writer | ann@cipperly.com

An award winning journalist, Ann Cipperly has been writing features, as well as food, travel and restaurant articles for East Alabama Living since 2004. She is a former newspaper lifestyle and food editor and currently writes features and a food column for the Opelika Observer. Ann is a native Opelikan.

 

Ann Cipperly

Ann Cipperly

An award winning journalist, Ann Cipperly has been writing features, as well as food, travel and restaurant articles for East Alabama Living since 2004. She is a former newspaper lifestyle and food editor and currently writes features and a food column for the Opelika Observer. Ann is a native Opelikan.